T7 Issues on Philosophy of Education

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  • Profession and Professionalism
    • Teacher professional practices
    • Professional Self Enrichment
    • Lifelong Learning
  • International Performance Standard
    • Implication of policy makers (infrastructure, teacher-student ratio)


Issues may be view as “An important topic or problem for debate or discussion” (“Issue”, 2015). When educational philosophy is concerned, it often revolves around the quality and effectiveness of the design, development of curriculum, the professional development and practice of the teaching professionals as well as the quality and equity of the student’s learning.

Here, we shall focus more on the teacher’s professional development and practice as well as the international performance standard to give a clear picture on how should the teachers as well as the policy makers should respond in order to resolve as many issues as possible.

Issues on teachers’ professional development

The five principles of teachers’ professional development (Gulamhussein, 2013) are:

Principle 1:
The duration of professional development must be significant and ongoing to allow time for teachers to learn a new strategy and grapple with the implementation problem.

Researchers such as Corcoran, McVay & Riordan (2003 as cited in Gulamhussein, 2013) found that teachers with 80 hours or more of professional development were significantly more likely to use the teaching practice they learned than teachers who had less than 80 hours of training.

French (1997 as cited in Gulamhussein, 2013) concluded that teachers may need as many as 50 hours of instruction, practice and coaching before a new teaching strategy is mastered and implemented in class.

Principle 2:
There must be support for a teacher during the implementation stage that addresses the specific challenges of changing classroom practice.

Truedale (2003 in Gulamhussein, 2013) shown that teachers who had been coached during the implementation phase were able to apply and sustain the interest as well as effectiveness in implementing the new approach than those who merely attended the workshop without follow ups.

Principle 3:
Teachers’ initial exposure to a concept should not be passive, but rather should engage teachers through varied approaches so they can participate actively in making sense of a new practice.

Activities that involves active engagement include: readings, role playing techniques, open-ended discussion of what is presented, live modeling, and visits to classrooms to observe and discuss the teaching methodology (Roy, 2005; Goldberg, 2002; Rice, 2001; Black, 1998; Licklider, 1997 as cited in Gulamhussein, 2013).

Principle 4:
Modeling has been found to be highly effective in helping teachers understand a new practice.

Modeling is found to be more effective than mere receiving theories passively in enabling teachers pick up new skills. It was found that when an expert demonstrates the new practice — has been shown to be particularly successful in helping teachers understand and apply a concept and remain open to adopting it (Snow-Renner & Lauer, 2005; Carpenter et al., 1989; Cohen & Hill, 2001; Garet et al., 2001; Desimone et al., 2002; Penuel, Fishman, Yamaguchi, & Gallagher, 2007; Saxe, Gearhart, & Nasir, 2001; Supovitz, Mauyer, & Kahle, 2000 as cited in Gulamhussein, 2013).

Principle 5:
The content presented to teachers shouldn’t be generic, but instead specific to the discipline (for middle school and high school teachers) or grade-level (for elementary school teachers).

It means, deliver the new ideas in the context of the teacher’s subject matter. Several studies have shown that professional development that addresses discipline-specific concepts and skills has been shown to both improve teacher practice, as well as student learning (Blank, de las Alas & Smith, 2007; Carpenter et al., 1989; Cohen & Hill, 2001; Lieberman & Wood, 2001; Merek & Methven, 1991; Saxe, Gearhart, & Nasir, 2001; Wenglinsky, 200; McGill-Franzen et al., 1999 as cited in Gulamhussein, 2013).




The issues:

  • Is there enough funding for professional development?
  • Time factors is a critical element. Are teachers given enough time to be exposed to and practice the new strategies and content matters?
  • Do all teachers get the opportunities for professional development, especially in the acquisition of the ICT skills?
  • How effective are the professional development courses or workshop?

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