Continuing professional development for teachers remains key for teaching in today’s environment

(SKNIS): Technology has resulted in a dynamic environment for learning in the classroom. Against this backdrop, equipping teachers with upgraded skills to communicate better in the classroom and to make a meaningful impact on students through continuing professional development is of great importance.

This was echoed on Wednesday’s (July 18) edition of “Working for You” with Joycelyn Archibald-Pennyfeather, Dean of the Faculty of Teacher Education at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) and Professor Dr. Joel Warrican of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus.

“There should always be continuous learning and I like to think of professional development for teachers as continuing and professional development. So it sends the message that when you are trained it does not end there. That is just the starting point,” said Professor Warrican. “When you become a teacher it is like a ladder profession…. Times are changing, technology is changing. What we knew as knowledge yesterday is no longer adequate today, so that you have to move with it and the way to do that is to have continuing professional education.”

Mrs. Archibald-Pennyfeather described professional development as capacity building but noted that as it relates to trainee teachers at the CFBC there has always been a challenge offering the training to them.

“When we did our own analysis here at the Teacher Education Division we found that we did not do enough professional development. In the wider region in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), it has also been found that enough professional development is not being done to promote the standards of our teachers in terms of helping them to upgrade,” she said, adding that measures were put in place earlier in 2018 to correct this issue. “The first teaching professional development was held in St. Lucia to promote professional development and to look at some of the challenges that teachers are facing in the region.”

The Dean of Faculty commended the local Ministry of Education for taking the initiative towards professionalizing the teaching profession as a means of ensuring that teachers are recognized as professionals, while Dr. Warrican paid credit to all the Ministries of Education in the OECS region.

“They have always embarked on a set of professional development education programmes. For example, in the summers there are always workshops. That is part of professional development. They send people on short courses, but to me the bigger and better question should be is it enough. And that is where we have to delve into it,” he said.

He added that professional development forms a strong part of all successful professions that exist today.

Recognition was given to a number of organizations for supporting professional development for teachers in the region. These include but are not limited to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and OECS’ Education Development Management Unit (EDMU).

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