Reflecting my experience of teaching in community campus in Sindhuli, I realized that very few teachers from community campuses have participated in professional development training or other aspects of teacher professional development. I am not aware if there are any training agencies active in providing professional development training for teachers of community campus. However, University Grants Commission (UGC) provides some grants for training, seminar, course refresher training, training on capacity development, etc. Few campuses apply for UGC grants to conduct small scale research and short-term academic training.
As a lecturer of a community campus of Nepal I feel that there is very important role of teacher professional development to improve teaching and learning activities of our community campuses. Professional development training is an opportunity for teachers to share their knowledge and develop new instructional practices. Teachers’ professional development (TPD) keeps academics up-to-date with the changing world and knowledge. Teacher agency is considered to be a core section of educational institutions, who can bring change in the performance of students as well as institutions. Teachers’ participation in all-round academic activities including their professional development training is expected to transform conventional practices of educational activities and produce dynamic graduates who can explore wider world across the border. Pokhrel and Behera (2016, P. 190) asserted “Teacher professional development is defined as a process of improving both the teacher’s academic standing as well as –acquisition of greater competence and efficiency in discharging her/his professional obligations in and outside the classroom”. Pennington (1990) considered that every teacher needs professional growth throughout their career. Gnawali (2008, P. 220) argues that continuous professional development of teachers is significant to enable them to understand classroom environment and changing pedagogies. Teachers can participate in various professional activities such as training, seminar, workshop, symposium, conference, teacher exchange, reflective practice, peer discussion, blog writing, researching, writing article, publishing, further study, online program, etc. Their participation in such programmes develops professionalism and strengthens their academic skills. Wajnryb (1992) emphasises teachers’ self-motivation in professional development activities increases their learning and becomes highly effective in their academic activities.
Importance of TPD for Teachers
Teachers’ professional development is significant aspect of teaching profession. It helps teachers develop various professional skills and knowledge Continuous professional development activities upgrade teachers’ teaching skills and help teachers survive in the profession. Their learned skills and ideas bring a kind of shift in classroom teaching and learning activities. Teachers’ professional development, which has direct association with students’ learning, improves institutional performance, particularly academic achievement. They become creative as well as energetic through various exposures in TPD programme. They learn to understand the problems of students and they can address and handle students’ needs. TPD programme may encourage teachers to do researches in academic fields.
Teachers’ Expectation of TPD
As I mentioned above, I am unaware of university teacher professional development programmes where I have been teaching for many years. If I were one of them who develops university programmes, I would priorities professional development programmes for university teachers. I would say at least my campus could develop such programmes for faculties and administration staff for upgrading their skills and knowledge and for improving academic activities of the campus. Similar to Western universities, I have observed that my university needs to emphasise conferences, seminars, workshops, orientation and visiting programs. Academic activities particularly research and publication, which promote the university, would develop individual teacher’s professional personality and institution. I wish I would have such opportunities for participating and developing my academic knowledge and skills.
TPD in Community Campus
There is mixed perception about autonomy of institutions for the educational performance. Crossroad conversations in Nepal lead to criticisms against the current system of university management, a single body governance over all universities, which has spoilt educational quality. However, all the community campuses in the country are autonomous in their management as they rely on students’ fees similar to private colleges. Does this matter in educational achievement? Many may argue that autonomous institutions can develop better and perform outstanding like the ones which are totally privately managed. Why are the majority of community campuses not able to perform at the level of private colleges? There is always a strong financial support for community campuses from University Grants Commission although they are autonomous. Does this make any difference in academic performance? If so, why are they unable to demonstrate educational qualities in results and academic activities? These areas can subject to researches in Nepal. Regarding TPD of the teachers of community campuses, I believe that teachers themselves need to understand their professional role and development of their professionalism, and they need to explore learning opportunities for their own career. . They need to be conscious and enthusiastic to take different training for their own professional development. However, there is always a greater role of institution to inspire teachers to find professional opportunities.
Qualification is of course a valid document to join an academy, but it is not all that can work throughout one’s professional life. With the changing context, an academy needs to upgrade own life skills for the place where he has been working and is going to work. An academic tutoring hundreds of students has a great role to change their lives whereas an institution has a greater role to all-round development of many youth generation and the country itself. Therefore, universities have to provide academics with options of professional development so that they can contribute to the development of institution and society.
Gnawali, L. (2008). Teacher development: What is it and who is responsible? Bodhi: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 2(1), 219-223.
Pennington, M. C. (1990). A professional development focus for the language teaching practicum. In J. C. Richards and D. Nunan (Eds.) Second language teacher education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Pokhrel, T. R., and Behera, S. K. (2016), Expectations of Teachers from Teachers Professional Development Program in Nepal. American Journal of Educational Research, 4 (2), 190-194. doi: 10.12691/education-4-2-6
Wajnryb, R. (1992). Classroom observation tasks. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nani Babu Ghimire is a lecturer at Siddha Jyoti Education campus Sindhuli, (TU) Nepal. He is currently an MPhil scholar in English education at Tribhuvan University.