Active support of school leaders on curriculum implementation and professional development of their staff is crucial for quality education. It is expected from School Management and Governance Development officials and Circuit Managers to support school leaders and teachers so as to enhance their professional development concerning teaching and learning.
From 4 to 8 May (Motheo, Xhariep and Lejweleputswa district) and again from 11 to 15 May (Fezile Dabi and Thabo Mofutsanyana district) Free State Circuit Managers gathered to learn more about curriculum implementation and leadership for effective CPD. The workshop was facilitated by staff from the Free State Department of Education (Curriculum and Management & Governance sections) and from VVOB.
The main objective of the first part of the workshop was to equip participants with better understanding about effective Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Participants learned more about effective CPD practices and reflected on their current practices. They realised that poor alignment of development initiatives often confuses teachers and principals. It was also clear that professional development activities ought to take participants from a point of awareness all the way to mastery of new skills. A supportive environment where things can be tried out and where mistakes are allowed is essential for implementation. School leadership plays a key role in setting up such an environment for learning.
CPTD Management System
The workshop specifically focused on the SACE CPTD Management System in which Circuit Managers are required to orientate and sign-up teachers and monitor the participation of teachers, HODs and principals in the accumulation of CPTD points at school level and the development of Professional Development Portfolios (PDPs).
An example of an effective CPD practice is bringing teachers together to learn with and from each other. These groups are called Professional Learning Communities (PLC). PLCs are currently being established in many provinces, but many role players have different understandings of what PLCs are which leads to confusion. Participants engaged with the concept of PLCs and realised that more conceptualising needs to be done for them to support PLCs effectively.
The workshop then moved focus to curriculum delivery and management. Participants got acquainted with their role in Curriculum Management, the implementation of the strategies aimed at improving learner performance, school infrastructure planning and delivery.
The last part of the workshop comprised the identification of priority domains for professional development to support Circuit Managers in 2015 and 2016. The purpose of this activity, as well as of a survey on their current CPD practices and needs, was to develop an action plan and timetable that describes the specification of the support that VVOB can provide, the development of resources needed, if any, and the formulation of planning of training including workshops, mentoring and coaching.