Towards an Effective Professional Development Model to Deepen History Teachers’ Understanding of Historical Concepts, pp. 14 of 16

One of the interviewees shared,

“It is good that many of the participants were mainly STs and experienced teachers. I think we would have a certain grasp of things and our teaching methods and experience gave us some advantage in trying it out. As a new teacher, because such ideas are new, they might struggle a bit and try to follow (what was taught) as closely as possible without making the needed adjustments to fit their students.”

The insight revealed through this teacher’s sentiment pointed to the suggestion that if differentiated instruction works for diverse student learning needs, such an approach may also apply to teacher professional development and learning (Bowgren & Sever, 2010). This fits well with findings from studies which concluded that teacher personal epistemologies often serve as filters, frames, and guides for their teaching practice. These in turn affect their perception of reality, especially in developing a sense of efficacy belief or motivational constructs to influence their willingness to take action in their classrooms (Fives and Buehl, 2012).

Taking into consideration teacher beliefs and change ideas

The PD design also needs to start from and work at teacher conceptual understanding and change. This involves enabling participants to see how concepts are translatable into concrete teaching practices and strategies. This is important because teachers often operate with deeply ingrained and set conceptualisations about the nature of knowledge, the process of learning and the role of a teacher in impacting changes for learners through teaching experiences (Fives & Buehl, 2012). As a result, the suggestion is for PD design to have at least three cognitive processes which are deemed essential for conceptual change (Patrick & Pintrich, 2001):

  1. Metacognitive awareness or the recognition that previous belief is not satisfactory (e.g. Need to teach historical thinking and going beyond skills and content)
  2. Ability to engage with new learning at a deep level of processing(e.g. Teaching accounts and causation using concrete strategies)
  3. Ability to engage in practice and scientific thinking about the information (i.e. develop and test ideas or hypothesis); (e.g. online support and coming back to plan and share lesson ideas)

Related Teaching Materials

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Annex30.36 KB

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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