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A study on Professional Development of Teachers in Bhutan: Practices and Challenges based on Teacher Human Resource Policy 2014. Contents

A study on Professional Development of Teachers in Bhutan: Practices and Challenges based on Teacher Human Resource Policy 2014. Contents
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C(&,72&,(% (; Q62+<6'1 """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" !> M"8 R216 &<6 KI I6D,76'= K'(+611 """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" !> M"> T(%1,1&6%+= 2%) 9*1&2,%24,D,&= (; KI K'(:'201 """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" !B @RFR@RVTR9- !EW!P  !""#$%&' &)  V*046' (; &62+<6'1 D627,%: &<6 1=1&60 2%%*2DD= !M  !""#$%&' &&)  F3TX9 G@3XK I$9TX99$3V !SW.S   . 1.   INTRODUCTION TeachersÕ Professional Development (PD) is seen as one of the most important tools in the hands of the teachers around the world. Likewise, the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Bhutan has also been studying on ways to improve the professional development capacity of teachers over the years. The TeachersÕ Human Resource Policy (THRP) was officially endorsed in 2014. Some of the available literature on teacher PD define teacher professional development as a set of activities that combine both formal and informal activities that are considered to be meaningful and favorable to teacher learning and professional growth (Day 2001; Flores et al. 2007; Richter et al. 2011; Forte & Flores, 2014). Similarly, Petrie & McGee (2012) also recognized teacher PD as a key vehicle to improve teaching and in turn to improve student academic performance and achievement. The MoEÕs annual education statistics for the year 2015 revealed that the total number of teachers as 8605 with 7887 teaching in government schools and 718 in private schools. The MoE declared 2016 as the year for ÔProfessional DevelopmentÕ in order to fast forward the  programme on up-scaling teacher competencies to improving the quality of education in the country. Carrying forward this initiative, the MoE rolled out the transformative pedagogy training to all the teachers in the country this year. This initiative is a testimony that teachers are put at the heart of learning process as seen around the world. Thus, there is a call for continuous effort, indeed in educating teachers on a continual basis. 2.   AIMS AND OBJECTIVES This study attempts to review the Chapter 5 of Teacher HR Policy (2014) , which describes the Professional Development of teachers. Teacher HR Policy (2014)    being a recent initiative, to carry out an overall assessment and evaluation of its effectiveness is hard to ascertain at this point. Therefore, the aim of this study is to find out if all the teachers in Bhutan get adequate PD hours as stipulated by the Teacher HR policy (2014), ÒEvery teacher shall receive or acquire a minimum of 80 hours of need-based PD programme in a year organised at the school, cluster, Dzongkhag/Thromde, TRC, national and   8 international levels.Ó  A minimum of 80 hours of PD programme is expected to be achieved through conduct of various teacher in-service programmes. Therefore, the key issues that this study proposes to address are: 1.   What are the present-day PD practices? How is it delivered? 2.   What are some of the challenges faced by Bhutanese teachers in the area of PD in delivery and reception of a minimum of 80 hours in an academic calendar? 3.   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY The study findings will be significant for both the MoE and the schools in the country. It will assess the applicability and possibility of 80 hours PD requirement as reflected in chapter 5 of THRP. It will bring out the advantages and challenges of current practices in teacher  professional development in Bhutan. The study will fill in the literature gap, as very less research is undertaken in the given context. It will provide a basis and guidance to the future researchers to build on further and explore in this field of inquiry. 4.   LITERATURE REVIEW Teacher professional development has been accorded as a top means to achieve the desired teaching standard by numerous researchers. Studies conducted by Rennie et al., (2001); Sanders (2004); Levitt (2001); Keys (2005); and Johnes (2008) revealed that the professional development is very important for teachers and has been identified as key area for their  professional growth and progress. According to Leigh (2007) and Phillips (2008) the quality of teacher can improve learning outcomes for students. The Australian Council for Educational Research refers to Professional Development for teachers as ÒA vital component of policies to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in schoolsÓ (Phillips, 2008). Similarly, studies conducted by the European Commission (2007); Eurydice (2009) and Caena (2011) went on to demonstrate that teaching is complex a phenomenon and therefore strenuous effort must be made to involve teachers in such activities over and again. Hence, Professional Development is critical for maintaining continuous improvement in teacher quality.   > Having recognized the importance of teachersÕ PD, there has been growing criticism of short-term, transmission models of PD that pay limited attention to the individual needs of the teachers or the specific school context. In response to the criticism, it is now recognized that meaningful teacher learning is often a slow, difficult, gradual and uncertain process (Borko, 2004; Richardson, 2003; in Petrie, & McGee, 2012). This finding is reflective and applicable to the Bhutanese education system. Similar studies on PD (Angrist & Lavy, 2001; Darling-Hammond et al., 2005; Rivkin, Hanushek, Kain, 2005; Rockoff, 2004; Caena, 2011) reported significant and positive correlations between teacher quality and student achievement. It recognized teaching quality as one of the single most important within-school factor in explaining student performance in the school environment. Empirical studies have highlighted the complexity in determining the need and delivery of PD opportunities to teachers. Forte & Flores (2014) mentioned that professional development is an extension of the learning in teacher training colleges. In a study conducted by Petrie & McGee (2012)   in New Zealand, primary schools teachers pointed out that the schools were  provided with series of new policies that were piloted and tested by the schools. Empirical studies reported that for a PD program to be effective and successful, it needs to be sustainably planned with time matching the needs of the teacher determined by number of teaching years, subject content and individual requirements (Garet et al., 2001; Killion, 2005-2006; Petrie & McGee, 2012). Hunzicker (2010) and Forte, & Flores (2014) pointed out that the teachers consider professional development relevant when it directly addresses their specific needs and concerns or when they see a connection between a learning experience and their daily responsibilities. According to studies conducted by Coburn (2004); Earl & Katz (2006); Nguni, Sleegers & Denessen (2006); Sleegers, Geijsel & van der Berg (2002); Toole & Louis (2002); Zwart, (2007); and Caena (2011), the aspect of teacher learning and development has also been linked to two theoretical perspectives of: 1)   Psychological factors (teacher cognition and motivation); and 2)   Organizational factors (leadership, teacher collaboration, staff relationships and communication, locus of control, opportunities for teachersÕ learning) that affects the teacher learning and development.   B Study on Bhutanese Education system conducted by Maxwell, et. al., (1999) reported in their studies that the School Based In-service Programme (SBIP) in the Bhutanese schools were encouraged as a form of staff development at the school level. However, according to Chhetri et al. (1995) and Maxwell et al. (1999) said that many teachers found it difficult to accept that they could gain from sharing their ideas with each other from such a forum. Similarly, Garet et al. (2001) and Saunders (2014) questioned on whether the impact of professional development programmes on teacher beliefs and practices explicitly examined the impact of  professional development. Therefore, the impact of PD programs on Bhutanese teachers needs to be studied for further improvement. 5.   METHODOLOGY A qualitative Focus Group Discussion was found to be appropriate for this study as it generates rich descriptions of data required to understand the underlying issues (Bryman, 2006; Bryman and Bell, 2011). A focus group discussion is best way to bring together people from similar background to discuss on common issues and generate insight from their knowledge, experiences and practices. Through purposive sampling, a total of five  participants comprising of a teacher, principal and three vice-principals were interviewed using semi-structured questions. The purposive sampling technique was found suitable since it identifies the respondents who will be able to provide rich and in depth data, compensating for small sample size (Creswell, 2013; Punch, 2014). All the participants were male teachers with field experience of more than 10 years serving in Mongar, Trashiyangtse, Zhemgang, Samtse and in Thimphu districts. The conversation  between the participants was moderated through modification of questions and leading the discussion. The discussions were also carried out using the snowball technique where the moderator open up the discussion topic with clearly set out backdrop of the topic. Participants also opened and thread responses depending on the relevancy of the discussions at hand. 6.   FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION Ð DATA ANALYSIS
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