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Diverse pathways for life-long teacher professional development
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Paper presented at the International Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Conference (ISMTEC 2013): “Transforming Science, Mathematics and Technology Education”, Bangkok, Thailand, 17-20 January 2013
Teaching has become increasingly more complex in recent years. All over the world, education reforms demand that teachers teach contents new to them, inculcate 21st century competencies among their students, use interactive, student-centred pedagogies that may not match the predominant cultural norms, embed high technologies to suit students who are digital natives, and so on. To cope with these new responsibilities and teaching strategies, teachers must become life-long learners to regularly upgrade their competencies and change their mind-set such that whatever one is already doing well now can be further improved on. Many pathways in teacher professional development can be created to help them do so. This talk will discuss four pathways: coherent transition from pre-service training to in-service education, inquiry into personal practices through participation in education research, use of locally validated materials and practices, and building communities for mutual support such as lesson study. Practices from Singapore mathematics teacher education will be cited to illustrate these diverse pathways and seven reflection tasks are included to stimulate international discussion of critical issues about teacher professional development for mutual benefits.
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