Because many factors are affecting the teaching and learning process nowdays, teachers must rethink their own practice, to construct new classroom roles and expectations about student outcomes, and to teach in ways they have never taught before - and probably never experienced as students.
Professional development must extend beyond mere support for teachers' acquisition of new skills or knowledge. Professional development today also means providing occasions for teachers to reflect critically on their practice and to fashion new knowledge and beliefs about content, pedagogy, and learners as pointed out by (Ibid & Richard Prawat, 1992).
Some of the important characteristics of the Professional development plan that have been highlighted in the literature (Hammond and McLaughlin, 1995) are:
* It must engage teachers in concrete tasks of teaching, assessment, observation, and reflection that illuminate the processes of learning and development.
* It must be grounded in inquiry, reflection, and experimentation that are participant-driven.
* It must be collaborative, involving a sharing of knowledge among educators and a focus on teachers' communities of practice rather than on individual teachers.
* It must be connected to and derived from teachers' work with their students.
* It must be sustained, ongoing, intensive, and supported by modeling, coaching, and the collective solving of specific problems of practice.
* It must be connected to other aspects of school change.
Darling-Hammond, L., and McLaughlin, M.W., "Policies That Support Professional Development in an Era of Reform," Phi Delta Kappan, 1995. Reprint by MiddleWeb.
Ibid.; and Richard Prawat, "Teachers' Beliefs About Teaching and Learning: A Constructivist Perspective," American Journal of Education, vol. 100, 1992, pp. 354-95.