The concept of staff development recognises that all people
may improve their capabilities and become more efficient at
what they are doing. Much of the time we are likely to say 'This
is an area in which I think I can do better'. We may be aware
that we can improve by observing the performance of others.
Sometimes, however, we need another trusted person to help us
identify those areas in which we need to better our performance.
Once we have done this, there are various ways in which we can
get others to assist us in in the process of self-development.
Individual study time: 3 hours
After working through this unit, you should be able to:
identify the training needs of your staff
plan training programmes to meet these needs
implement a training programme
evaluate the outcome of such training.
Responsibility for initiating training
Responsibility for initiating training is shared by those
in need of training, their immediate supervisors, and those
in management positions from the district, regional or head
Those who are in need of development are actually the ones
in the best position to initiate training. Thus teachers are
likely to have a fairly strong awareness of their own training
needs. If they wait for others to organise training for them,
they may find that their training needs are not satisfied
for a long time, if ever!
School heads also have an interest in arranging training
for themselves and for their teachers. As the chief administrator
of the school he or she has a responsibility for ensuring
that education takes place efficiently. If this is not happening
because the teachers are incompetent or lack confidence, the
school head should initiate in-service training.
At the education office there will be officials with a controlling
or advisory function - superintendents, inspectors and subject
advisers. The actual designation of the post does not matter:
their job entails ensuring that sound education takes place
in their schools. They, too, have a responsibility for ensuring
that staff development is possible for their teachers and
Any one of these parties can sit back and wait for someone
else to initiate training, but it is really a joint responsibility,
and each of the members of the partnership can be the one
who facilitates staff development.
Identification of needs
We have suggested that the teacher knows in what areas
he or she is in need of training. Similarly, the school head
and other school administrators will know in what areas of
management they are falling short.
This intuitive knowledge is not sufficient for the development
of a fully adequate training programme. Detailed questionnaires
completed by the teachers will point more clearly to the areas
in which training is needed. But in the absence of a scientific
approach a great deal can be achieved by a group of teachers
using brainstorming techniques, provided they are completely
open and honest.
In brainstorming one member of the group is chosen to write
up on a blackboard all the ideas suggested by the other members
of the group. Teachers will call out the problems they experience,
and each will be written down without discussion or comment.
When no-one has any more suggestions, the members of the group
will discuss the problems briefly and group together those
that are related. Only after this is there a detailed discussion
of each of the problems and the sort of training which would
help to overcome it. During this discussion there should be
no particular reference to the person who first identified
the problem: it is discussed in general terms, but as experienced
at that particular school.
Using the technique described above, list the training
needs of your staff members.
If too many problems have been identified for discussion,
the group decides which one is most pressing, and another
time is set for the discussion of the other problems.
In the paragraphs below some of the likely problem areas
are briefly reviewed.
Problems identified may include:
the lack of participation by the staff in management
poor planning, for example, when dates for important
staff and subject meetings are not set sufficiently far in
advance, when there is a lack of relief cover when a teacher
is absent from class, etc.
poor communications when, for example, staff members
are unaware of the details of decisions which affect them.
Teachers may feel that they would achieve greater success
with their pupils if they had greater competence in teaching
methodology. Specific problems may include:
depending too much on the textbook and using a lecturing
having academic knowledge of a subject but not knowing
how to transmit this knowledge to the pupils
classes being too large for adequate attention to be
given to the pupils' individual problems
pupils achieving poor text results, despite seeming
to understand their work in class and doing their homework.
The content to be taught is set out in the syllabus. Many
teachers depend so heavily on the textbook that they forget
that the syllabus must be regularly consulted, as this is
the document which should determine what should be covered
and how much attention should be given to each aspect. When
there is a change of syllabus, the teachers may need guidance
on interpreting the new document, and may find that there
are sections of the syllabus which they simply do not understand
because of advances in the subject since they underwent training.
The syllabus normally has very specific instructions about
the way in which assessment is to take place. Teachers' problems
may however be of a very practical nature, such as:
how to get a test or question paper neatly typed and
how to organise security so that pupils do not have
access to questions before the time
how to keep an accurate record of marks awarded during
how to set examination questions that adequately cover
Teachers who are either unqualified or who have subject
qualifications but no teaching certificate/diploma may need
to learn about the stages in child development and about how
to motivate children to learn and to discipline them fairly.
In many cases learners have to work through a medium of
instruction which is not their home language. Although the
subject teacher may have a good grasp of the subject content
and be competent in subject methodology, little learning may
take place as a result of communication problems. Special
in-service training may be needed to overcome this problem.
(1) Utilising your list developed in Activity 2.1 group
the problems into the areas suggested above.
(2) Rank the list in priority of training needs.
Before looking for outside assistance, the staff of a
school should make use of the skills they have available on
the spot. The more experienced teachers on the staff should
be able to help those who are less experienced. Those with
higher qualifications should be able to help those whose training
has been less thorough. Even two teachers experiencing similar
problems may, by discussing their problems with each other,
be able to work out a solution.
It should be remembered that every member of staff has something
to offer his or her colleagues, and that every member of staff,
however competent, can still learn from others.
Having grouped the training needs of your colleagues (Activity
2.2), suggest a possible person or institution that can provide
the required in-service training.
Once everything possible is being done to use the skills
available within the school, it may still be necessary to
look further afield for assistance. Outside assistance should
in the first instance be sought from neighbouring schools.
For management problems the circuit inspector could be called
on to assist, and if the education office has subject advisers
available, requests for subject-related assistance could be
Outside assistance could also be sought from the personnel
of teachers' resource centres, of training colleges, of universities,
of other ministries (for example, an agricultural extension
officer for biology or agriculture) or even individuals from
the private sector (a pharmacist for science, a journalist
for some aspect of language work, a banker for accounting
and so on). Regional co-operation could also be utilised.
Co-operation with teachers at nearby schools can be arranged
by the school heads, or even by the teachers themselves. Ideally,
the possibility should have been raised during a staff meeting,
and the school head asked to take the request to the head
of the neighbouring school. But a teacher with a particular
need could go directly to his or her school head with such
a request; or could even initiate contact with a teacher from
the other school. In this case the arrangements would be informal
and unofficial. There is, however, probably more to be gained
from a co-ordinated action which involves more of the teachers.
An approach to the education office of the Ministry of Education
for assistance from inspectors or subject advisers should
be conveyed by the head of the school, and should be followed
up by him or her if there is no response within a reasonable
period of time. It must, however, be accepted that the education
office staff have many demands made on their time and however
willing, there may be delays in setting up an advisory visit
or a workshop.
Approaches to other educational institutions like training
colleges and to other ministries should also be made by the
school head; approaches to individuals in the private sector
may be made by the school head or by the teacher.
There are many ways in which training can be done. Depending
on the type of problem which is being addressed, some styles
may be more appropriate than others. It is also important
to provide variety, and not to use the same format every time.
Here a number of suggestions are made, each of which will
have to be adapted to local conditions and to the problem
1 A teacher may sit in on the lesson of a competent teacher,
observe what takes place, and afterwards discuss what has
2 A teacher may plan a lesson, discuss it with a more experienced
teacher, make adjustments to the lesson plan in the light
of the discussion, and then have the experienced teacher attend
the lesson. Afterwards the strong and weak points of the lesson
can be discussed.
3 Two or three teachers of the same subject (from the same
school or from different schools) may together do their lesson
planning, exchanging ideas and discussing difficulties as
they go along.
4 A workshop session may be planned, during which one or more
teachers demonstrate particular teaching techniques. The less
experienced teachers may try these out over the following
two weeks and then at a further workshop their successes and
difficulties may be discussed.
5 A workshop session may be held during which teachers set
test or examination questions, and then work out the answers
to one another's questions. In this way weaknesses in the
wording of the questions or in the allocation of marks will
come to light.
6 For practical subjects a workshop may be arranged during
which the less confident teachers actually do the practical
work under the supervision of skilled teachers.
7 For management and disciplinary problems the staff may meet
for a brainstorming session, during which problem areas are
identified. Thereafter the meeting could break up into smaller
groups, each group working on possible solutions to one of
the problems. After a set time the groups all come together
again. At this stage the possible solutions can be discussed
and decisions taken on action by all members of the group,
or one or more members of the group may be asked to read an
article or a section of a training manual, and lead a training
session based on what they have read.
(1) Drawing on your experience of in-service training methods,
list the different techniques applied.
(2) Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each method
Evaluation of training
Any training which is done should be evaluated. After
a training session, the participants should be able to say
whether they feel any benefit from it and they should be able
to identify the aspects which they found most satisfactory,
and those which they found least satisfactory. These details
should be communicated to those who arranged the training,
so that in future training sessions the aspects which caused
dissatisfaction can be minimised or even eliminated, and those
aspects which were found to be satisfactory may be further
If the weaknesses of a workshop or training session are not
reported, the same faults are likely to occur in the future.
However carefully the presenters of a course plan it, they
can never be absolutely in tune with the needs of those attending.
The larger the group, the more true this is. It is therefore
most important that everyone should be completely honest.
In general, it is important that the objectives of a training
exercise should be carefully stated beforehand. Training fails
if it attempts to do too much in too short a space of time.
Staff development can be seen as an important component
in building the capacity of schools to function efficiently.
This unit has looked at the need to engage in a programme
of staff development and to identify the needs of the staff,
and has suggested a number of training techniques that might
be employed to achieve the desired results.
Finally, it has stressed the need to view staff development
as a joint responsibility of those in need of training and
those in management positions.