Meaning of professional development for stakeholders in rural Pakistan
Professional Development (PD) has generally been associated with the learning opportunities teachers avail externally. However, the latest trends propagate grounding PD activities in the work place with the assumption that such shift will not only enable teachers to be engaged in ongoing learning but also help them to find contextual solutions for their specific issues. For other academics, however, PD refers to all the planned and unplanned activities which teachers avail to improve their practices. In this background, this research explored how relevant stakeholders in rural Pakistan perceive PD. Using a survey method and questionnaire tool, data were collected from teachers, school leaders, education department officials and representatives of PD providers. The outcomes showed that majority of stakeholders associate PD to external learning opportunities provided to the teachers. In addition, there is a lack of shared understanding among different stakeholders with regard to the meaning of PD. These conclusions have implications for PD providers and educational reformers. Teachers should be oriented on latest trends in PD as well as supported to use the latest school-based PD models for their ongoing development.