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Understanding Teachers’ Professional Development of Preschool Teachers in North West Province of South Africa

Masello Hellen Phajane


Aim: The aim of this study is to explore the extent to which classroom challenges a teacher’s professional development. In the child-centered approach, which is an integral part of early childhood education, child development is facilitated through interaction with the social and physical environment. Preschool teachers in have been criticized for not incorporating this perspective into their practice. This failure is often justified by the pressure of external constraints such as the demands of the curriculum and parents’ expectation of success. Materials and methods: The classroom practice of two preschool teachers was analyzed and post lesson interviews were carried out. This research study employed a qualitative research design, using interviews and field notes to succeed in investigating various coping strategies used by analyzing the curriculum management, learner-teacher interaction and classroom management procedures operating inside each classroom. An ethnographic approach was used to explore the classroom teaching. Results: The data collected revealed that the professional development of teachers was limited by their inability to extend their thinking beyond their own personal concerns so that the needs of the children were not the major determinant of their classroom practice. Instead, external constraints dominated the teachers’ thinking. All the teachers were competent in time management but appeared to lack awareness of the conditions necessary to teach for understanding rather than for knowledge acquisition. Conclusion: The study concluded with various ways of bringing about a transformation in teachers’ thinking to improve the quality of the children’s learning experience are considered.


Early Childhood, Child development, Classroom practice, Preschool learners, Professional development

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