Teacher development centres as a support strategy for the professional development of primary school teachers in Malawi

Banda, Grace Mkandawire (2012) Teacher development centres as a support strategy for the professional development of primary school teachers in Malawi. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This thesis is about the influence of the teacher development centres (TDCs) as a support strategy for the professional development (PD) of primary school teachers in Malawi. PD of teachers is becoming an integral part of educational reforms in many countries. However, supporting and sustaining PD especially in poor countries is quite challenging. Many countries have adopted the use of teacher centres (TCs) as a support strategy for the PD of teachers and the TDCs in Malawi are an adaptation of the TCs from developed countries such as Britain where the concept of TCs was first hatched.

The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of the TDCs as a support strategy for the PD of primary school teachers in Malawi. The issues investigated included: activities which take place at the TDCs; teacher involvement in the PD activities at the TDCs; teacher changes in their professional practices as a result of their involvement in the PD activities at the TDCs; and factors which affect the sustainability of the TDCs in providing support for the PD. I develop an adult learning approach to a study of the influence of the TDCs as a support strategy for the PD of teachers and I demonstrate how the theories of adult learning can be used to investigate how teachers learn with the support of the TDCs.

The study was conducted in four TDCs in Zomba rural and Zomba urban in the South East Division in Malawi. I used both quantitative and qualitative approaches, which involved the use of questionnaire surveys and semistructured interviews to collect data. A total of 586 teachers were involved in the questionnaire surveys. A total of 16 teachers and 22 other key education personnel who were strategically linked to the establishment of the TDCs for TPD in Malawi were involved in the semi-structured interviews. To increase the validity of the data and the findings, I used both methodological and data source triangulation.

The findings of this study indicated that there were a variety of activities taking place at the TDCs and that some of them were of little relevance to TPD. The majority of teachers were involved in the TDC activities and that some teachers noted in themselves some transformation. However, the findings also revealed that teacher involvement in the TDC activities was constrained by limited access to the TDCs due to the long distances which some teachers had to travel to the TDCs; teachers’ desire for workshops and monetary gains due to poverty; ineffective management of TDCs due to variations in the composition of the TDC committee members whereby some members had little formal education; limited coordination of the TDC activities due to lack of training of the TDC coordinators in TPD and the TDC coordinators had too many roles and responsibilities which were in conflict with those of the coordination of the TDCs; inadequate resources in the TDCs to support teachers in their PD; and lack of clear policy guidelines in the operations of the TDCs.

In light of the findings of this study, it was concluded that the TDCs as a support strategy for the PD of teachers were implicit because they did not exert much influence on TPD. However, to have an explicit support strategy there was the need for a clear policy that would guide the operations of the TDCs in Malawi.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Convery, A.E.
Keywords: Elementary school teachers; Teacher centers; Career development; Malawi
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1705 Education of teachers
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 52710
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2018 12:13
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2018 12:30
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/52710

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