informal opportunities provided by the school. ; The intensity of participation. In some countries, teachers participate in a handful of days each year, whereas Korea offers 30 days of professional development annually. ; Equity issues raised by the partici- pation of various groups within coun- tries. For example, older teachers tend
to be underrepresented, and within-country variation in participation rates
between younger and older teachers is
large, most notably in Korea, Spain,
Italy, Poland, and Mexico.
; The type of professional development activities.
Survey data show that teachers’
participation in professional development goes hand in hand with their
mastery of a wider array of pedagogical
methods. However, school systems need
to do a better job of matching the costs
and benefits of programs as well as
responding to teachers’ specific professional development needs. Relatively
few teachers participate in two kinds of
programs they find most beneficial—
namely, qualification programs and individual and collaborative research.
Conversely, the types of activities
teachers consider less effective—such as
one-time education conferences and
seminars—show comparatively high
participation rates (see fig. 1).
Nearly one-half of respondents
reported that the most common
obstacle to engaging in professional
development is conflict with their work
schedule. Almost as many cite the lack
of suitable professional development,
which is the main obstacle noted in the
three countries in which participation in
professional development is lowest—
Denmark, the Slovak Republic, and
Quite consistently across countries,
teachers reported the greatest need for
professional development in three areas:
dealing with differences in student
learning styles and backgrounds, effectively using information and communication technologies, and improving
student behavior. This finding provides
clear directions on where future professional development efforts should focus.
That a sizeable proportion of teachers
underwrite the cost for their professional development is evidence that
many teachers are willing to contribute
their share to advancing their careers. In
fact, teachers who paid for their own
FIGURE 1. Valued Professional Development vs. Actual Participation
; Teachers reporting moderate or high level of impact ; Teachers participating in professional development
Data from the OECD survey show a discrepancy between the kinds of professional development activities teachers believe
have high impact (indicated in blue) and the kinds of activities they actually engage in (indicated in tan).
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