Khush Funer Murtaza
Guskey (1995) states that: “If we are going to have improvement in student learning than staff development is an essential prerequisite to that.” Similarly, Fullan (1993) concluded, “To restructure is not to reculture’, that ‘changing formal structures is not the same as changing norms, habits, skills and beliefs” (p. 49). In other words, if teachers are to change teaching practices or if the culture is to become better in the sense of improving student learning, teachers and school leaders must be provided opportunities to learn.
Keeping in mind the importance of professional development, moving schools always design a careful plan for their staff development. That plan is different from the traditional one where it is seen as an activity occurs once in a year for a short time rather than it becomes part of their daily practices. Through the practices teachers create a collaborative environment where all staff members learn from each other and try to bring improvement in the school. In the words of Sparks (1994)
Constructivist teaching will be best learned through constructivist staff development. Rather than receiving ‘knowledge’ from ‘experts’ in training sessions, teachers and administrators will collaborate with peers, researchers and their own students to make sense of the teaching/learning process in their own contexts (p. 27).
Any mechanism which is designed for the professional development of the staff is not only helping the schools to facilitate the teachers to enhance their knowledge, skills and attitude but also provides enough data to monitor and evaluate the innovations in the schools for further improvement.
The writer works in the Aga Khan University’s Professional Development Centre North as a Senior Instructor.