Investigating Teachers’ Perceptions of the Influence of Professional Development on Teachers’ Performance and Career Progression
Author: Nesrin Tantawy
Keywords: professional development, differentiated professional development, school culture, teacher’s commitment, career progression
Understanding a process is the key to maximizing the outcomes of such a process; teachers’ professional development (PD) can be further facilitated through fully apprehending the process by which they grow professionally and the factors that contribute to such growth. In this study, the author intends to explore the relationship between a school environment and teachers’ readiness for PD as well as how they perceive of the impact of PD on their professional and personal qualities, students’ performance, teachers’ career progression, and commitment to the job and workplace. The author administered semi-structured interviews with three English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers who are in their mid-career stage and work for private, American curriculum-based schools in Dubai. The results show that all three interviewees admit the positive influence of PD on their professional performance, personal qualities, students’ outcomes, career progression and commitment to the profession. How a progressive school culture would impact teachers’ inclination towards PD has also been brought to attention by the interviewees as a critical aspect. As potential areas of research on PD, it is recommended that students’ academic performance is to be looked into closely through examining their assessment results in order to muster tangible evidence on the significance of teachers’ PD. Also, a conversation analysis of classroom discourse following a number of classroom observations of teachers in different career stages would be another informative research method to investigate the impact of PD on teachers’ performance and on classroom dynamics.