Teacher professional development outside the lecture room: Voices of professionally unqualified practicing teachers in rural Zimbabwe secondary schools
Keywords:Rural education, unqualified teachers, professional development, experiential learning, Education for All
Attempts to address global pressure to achieve Education for All have been hampered by two fundamental challenges in developing countries, namely an acute shortage of teachers and large rural populations in these countries. In addition there is a trend for qualified competent teachers to shun working in rural settings. While recruitment of professionally unqualified graduate teachers into the teaching profession has become internationally acclaimed to address in particular rural school postings and Education for All commitments, there remain outstanding questions regarding how such teachers professionally learn and grow in these rural contexts outside the Teacher Education Institution lecture room.┬á An understanding of how they develop professionally is crucial. The study explored professional development experiences of professionally unqualified practicing teachers in rural secondary schools. A qualitative design was adopted and three-interview series complimented by photo elicitations were employed to explore the teachersΓÇÖ professional development experiences. Data were transcribed and manually analysed inductively utilizing open coding. Findings suggest that professional development experiences for these teachers occurred in four sites: school structures, wider professional sites, planned and unplanned gatherings, and the classroom. Drawing on concepts around professional development to describe, analyse and understand data, I illustrate that professionally unqualified practicing teachers in rural secondary schools experience professional development outside Teacher Education Institutions in interaction, through domains of formality and experience: non formal, informal and experiential.
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