Samantha Cook— International School of Tanganyika (Tanzania)
The purpose of this research project was to investigate which professional development opportunities teachers working with the International Baccalaureate’s (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) found most influential, and to what extent their views and practices had changed over time. The project used an online survey to gather quantitative and qualitative data from PYP educators worldwide about which professional development opportunities had made the greatest impact on them, as well as the extent to which their perceptions of the programme, and their teaching practices, had changed over time. Two focus groups from contrasting schools in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, shared their views on how the IB, the school, and the individual could enhance and support the professional development of PYP educators. Findings indicated that educators find the PYP complex and challenging to work with, and that it requires significant changes in practice. Respondents indicated that while formal professional development opportunities such as workshops and conferences had benefits, by far the most influential factors on teachers’ development were collaboration with their colleagues and ‘learning on the job’. Implications include how the IB can best promote and support effective in-school professional development, and the need for schools to consider how best to actively provide a supportive, on-going, collaborative work culture to support the development of PYP teachers.