Bristol Conversations in Education - A small-island-developing-state lens on teacher professional development and learning
Aminath Shiyama, School of Education, University of Bristol
Room 4.05/06, School of Education, 35 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1JA
This event is part of the School of Education's 'Bristol Conversations in Education' seminar series. These seminars are free and open to the public.
In many contexts, teacher Professional Development (PD) is often a top-down policy imperative where teachers have no voice with respect to content, mode or form. Consequently, teacher PD is detached from actual classroom teaching and learning. Current research in both high and middle/low income contexts calls for making PD collaborative and contextually relevant for the schools and teachers. However, these approaches to PD tend to require financial and human investments, together with an education system that can readily accept these approaches. This presentation explores the relevancy, practicality and challenges associated with engaging primary school teachers in a collaborative approach to PD in the small-island-developing-state of the Maldives, where the education system is highly centralised, and with an entrenched legacy of traditional pedagogies. Findings from the data reveal that ‘collaboration’ is understood by these teachers as ‘mere participation’, which is critically different from the conceptualizations proposed by Western research literature in the field. Teachers are unable to imagine working collaboratively on their professional development and learning because they are used to quick-fixes or are exposed to a limited pallet of PD and pedagogic approaches.