Research on effective schools has shown that the greatest influences on student achievement are the teacher and the quality of teaching that takes
place in the classroom. Quality teaching requires, among other factors, the engagement of
teachers in ongoing teacher professional learning by teachers.
Teacher professional learning must not only focus on enabling teachers to implement curriculum reform initiated by the National Department of Education, but more significantly, must also enable teachers to engage in a process of critically reflecting on their teaching and using research evidence to continuously improve their teaching. The focus of teacher professional learning should be on improving teachers’ teaching effectiveness and student academic outcomes.A number of teacher professional development models have been used in Papua New Guinea (PNG) with varying success. These include: the expert-novice; cascade or train the trainer, and school or cluster-based models. Research has shown that the first two models were in most cases ineffective in improving teachers’ teaching effectiveness. It was found that teacher professional learning using these models did not have a multiplier effect, that teachers who are beneficiaries of these learning programs rarely use the knowledge and skills acquired to improve their teaching practices and that there was no institutionalisation and sustainability of what was learned.
Conversely, research has shown that site-based models of teacher learning are the most effective for sustained changes to teachers’ teaching practices.
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