Title page for ETD etd-02032006-092318
||Investigating the opportunities and challenges for professional growth created through a process of developing learning support materials
|Dr L Jita
- professional growth
- learning support materials
- materials development
- professional development
- teachers as learners
- teacher leaders
Science and maths teachers in Mpumalanga were selected to participate in a Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funded programme of professional development, the Mpumalanga Secondary Science Initiative or MSSI. The basis for the professional development is the formation of clusters of schools, organised by the curriculum implementers (CIs) in the province and lead by cluster leaders (CLs). Clusters are expected to meet regularly to work together towards their own professional development. The University of Pretoria (UP), in collaboration with the Mpumalanga Department of Education (MDE) and members of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), have supported the CIs and CLs by participating in the development and distribution of learning support materials in the form of study guides for use by the teachers in the cluster meetings as well as in the science classrooms. As the CIs and CLs are involved in the development of the materials, the process of development is expected to contribute to their professional learning and growth.
This case study investigated some of the opportunities for professional learning and growth that the materials development processes provide, the challenges to professional growth, and the lessons that can be learnt from such a process. The study shows that involving CIs in materials development provides rich opportunities for professional growth and a chance to take ownership of the process and product. However, organisational constraints, time, and inadequate subject content knowledge of participants pose serious challenges to the processes. While the MSSI has been effective in setting up a province-wide system of clusters providing professional development opportunities to all teachers in the province, it has not been as effective in providing a learning environment for its CIs, CLs or teachers to developing effective learning materials in the future. If these constraints are not properly addressed, it will seriously impede the value of professional growth opportunities that the CIs as MSSI leaders can be provided with in the materials development processes.
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