Towards an Effective Professional Development Model to Deepen History Teachers’ Understanding of Historical Concepts, pp. 8 of 16

From the results (in Table 2), we can see that there had been a noticeable improvement in the ‘Knowledge’ domain. The differences in means before and after the Master Class are 0.86 and 1.08 for Knowledge (Causation) and Knowledge (Accounts) respectively[iii]. Both differences are statistically significant (p < 0.05). This showed that the teachers had acquired a better understanding of how to teach the concepts of Causation and Accounts as a result of attending the Master Class.

Although there were no statistically significant improvements in the ‘Practice’ and ‘Belief’ domains, it is important to note that for the two domains, participants had already indicated a high level of agreement in the ‘Practice’ of PD content (M=1.31) and ‘Belief’ in PD content (M=1.46) respectively (in the pre-class survey before the first session). As such, we did not expect statistically significant improvements in these 2 domains. These initial high levels of agreement were also not unexpected because of the profile of the participants. Participation in the Master Class was not offered to the entire history teacher fraternity and invitations were extended to mainly teacher leaders. Given their profile, the participants would be more likely to already have a positive attitude towards the ‘Practice’ and ‘Belief’ aspects of the PD content. Moreover, participants’ commitment to attending this relatively long-duration Master Class (one full day and two half days stretched over two months) pointed to their positive attitude towards this PD, which also could account for their high level of agreement.

The qualitative findings from the interviews and data derived from the standard feedback form were used to answer the second question, “What aspects of the Master Class contributed to the changes in teachers’ classroom practice, knowledge and beliefs regarding the PD content?”

Conscious Practice

With regard to the ‘Practice’ domain, an analysis of the data highlighted the importance of active, hands-on and conscious practice of the strategies taught at the Master Class session. This hands-on experience (i.e. trying out the strategy during the Master Class itself) played a part in encouraging participants to try out what they have learnt in their own school context.

Related Teaching Materials

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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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