Enhancing professional learning : identifying obstacles and solutions to the successful development of pedagogical skills for teachers in an online distance school
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Citation:Lata, R. (2018). Enhancing professional learning: Identifying obstacles and solutions to the successful development of pedagogical skills for teachers in an online distance school (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Applied Practice). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4637
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4637
This study examines obstacles and possible solutions to the successful development of pedagogical skills for teachers in an online distance school, with a particular focus on enhancing professional learning. Governments around the world have invested millions in professional development for teachers to compete in a globalised knowledge economy. There is a growing demand for more advanced technological skills for teachers, for example: teaching in distance contexts. In practice, however, much of the available professional learning opportunities for teachers is short-term reactive, designed to 'solve' problems that arise, rather than long-term and proactive, with a focus on developing teachers holistically. This study set out to explore the impact of enhancing professional learning on teachers’ professional practice in an online distance school. A mixed-method approach was used to explore why some of the teachers do not use the full range of the online features available in the online platform of the school, and in what ways professional development might inadvertently contribute to this. Results show that for some teachers, professional learning is seen as a burden and not as an opportunity to improve their practice. This happens as the teachers are made to take part in various standardised professional development programmes that are not tailored to their specific needs. As a result, these becomes less effective in helping the teachers improve their own practice. In addition, teachers face barriers during professional development, such as the generic, un-personalised nature of the professional learning, a lack of financial support, the short-term/one-off nature of professional learning, and above all a lack of time. It was found that professional development is more likely to enhance teachers' practice if the teachers are provided with more time and resources to consolidate their learning. The final part of the thesis offers a number of recommendations for enhancing professional learning opportunities and delivery in schools, with particular reference to the New Zealand context. ... In general, this research study is aimed at enhancing the best way to deliver PD for online teachers.