CPD for teachers and effective schools
Purpose: In Singapore, serious attempts have been made by the Government to develop a many layered, multi-faceted response, changing and adapting to shape long-term and productive responses. Another major societal change that gives impetus to teachers’ staff development in Singapore is the changing scene of Singapore society in terms of social structure, norms, aspirations, behaviours and values. All these mean that Singapore teachers will need to assume responsibility to grow as adult learners by participating actively in different types of CPD activities (Formal, Informal, Self-Directed and Nonformal Activities), to change their mindsets, to think, and to tailor solutions with Principals to school problems in order to succeed in their role as lifelong learners and change agents. The main purpose of this study is to find out teachers' needs, and school and CPD factors that influence their participation in CPD. It is also intended that the empirical data from schools can be integrated with findings from literature, together with the personal philosophy of the writer, into a comprehensive and effective school programme that meets the needs of Singapore primary schools in the 21st century. Design of the Study: The instrument that was used to collect data was self-constructed and designed with input from teachers and information gathered about CPD from literature. Part Two No 2 (1) was adapted from the 'Assessment of Performance of Teaching' (NIE) and from the instrument that was self-developed by the researcher for her M Ed paper (University of Sheffield, 1999) on 'An Induction Programme for Beginning Teachers in Singapore Primary Schools'. The Role of Principals scale and the CPD Activities scale were adapted from readings by Wideen and Andrews (1987) and an instrument used by Fesslar (1990) for his study on Principal and teacher behaviours towards CPD activities. The rest of the questionnaire was self-constructed based on the researchers' literature review. The final questionnaire comprised three main measures: (1) Personal Factors Measure, (2) School Factors Measure, (3) CPD Activities Measure. Personal Factors Measure The Personal Factors Scale was developed to measure teachers' perceptions about their needs or skills by age, gender and years of teaching experience. This comprised thirty-six items on six aspects namely, planning, managing, instructional techniques, interaction, assessing and providing feedback and relations with community. Qualitative data was obtained through an open-ended item on teachers’ perceptions of Personal Qualities of Good Teachers. This would give added information on teachers' perceptions of needs (or skills) as well as knowledge, attitudes and values of teachers that can effectively manage the educational changes.