Darling-Hammond (2012) defines the quality of teaching as an 'instruction that enables a wide range of students to learn'. And despite the fact that teachers are already successfully developed as educators when they get their degree, this job requires consistent learning and improving throughout life. Academics are aware of the value of teacher professional development but unfortunately, this is slowly implemented in schools around the world.
The aim of this research paper is to get an idea of why teacher development is so poorly widespread on worldwide level.
The first thing I have found to be a reason for a lack of development in teaching methods and strategies is time. The schools have an immense burden - to achieve positive results with their students, which leaves very little time for teachers to learn and move towards change, document the success and achievement of their students and share such knowledge with other educators.
Additionally, the introduction of scripts and books that teachers must follow in the classroom leave little freedom for them to develop more professionally. Teaching the same things repeatedly is a barrier to both teachers and students. When given the same content and a guideline of the order they should be taught, teachers do not have the room to learn or add something new to their classes. Why would a teacher aim towards development if they cannot use it in practice?
Brookfield, 1994 has stated that current professional development often fails the teachers' needs. However, many researchers state that the change does not start with the school or the educational system, but with the individual. Even if schools introduce teacher development, the inside-out approach to change is still something that needs to be driven and maintained by the teachers. According to Swanson and Finnan (1996), reflective practice is the only way teachers will search to improve the practice and think about new approaches.
The efforts to promote teachers' development and make teaching more professionalized are not yet widely accepted. The movement that exists in schools now is restructuring, but has huge disadvantages based at its core. As we all know, autonomy comes with many responsibilities. Right now, every local school and the teachers that work in it are accountable for the practices and programs they implement. So, teachers' decisions are constantly evaluated and data driven. Therefore, teachers are rarely allowed to get out of the 'safe teaching area' and explore a bit in order to develop their professional teaching methods and abilities.
According to Johnson (1993), what needs to be done is an action research. Such research will assist the practitioners in identifying the needs of changes that need to be implemented, help them evaluate the outcome and asses the process of development. Action research is the only secure way that would lead the education towards teacher professional development, mostly because the needs and requirements of teachers are extremely different from those of students. Learning what adult learners need in order to upgrade their knowledge must be based on their foundation of knowledge, their qualities of being self-directed and of course, their abilities.
Action research structure will not only allow teachers to be more flexible in pursuing new knowledge, but will also reward them for what they did well. This in term, should result in higher efficacy on behalf of the educators in the schools.Conclusion
This research paper is aimed towards determining why teaching development is not a widespread custom in schools around the world. Aside from determining the key reasons why teachers do not use their tremendous potential in teaching students, I have introduced the action research structure as the most promising way of solving this problem.