Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) practices of teachers in working class schools in the Western Cape
Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) of teachers at working class schools in South Africa has come under scrutiny over the past few years. Despite new education policies which incorporated the dire need for CPTD, the achievement of learners at working class schools remains poor. This investigation was prompted by the cause of this discrepancy. This study investigates the participation of teachers in Continuous Professional Development initiatives at working class schools in the Western Cape. The primary research question for this research paper is: “Why are teachers at working class schools not participating in CPTD initiatives as expected?” A qualitative approach within the interpretive paradigm was adopted throughout this study. The interpretive approach allowed the researcher to gain a more social world interpretation of the respondents as it provided insight in CPTD practices at working class schools. The process of data gathering was inductive as information emerges from interviews and questionnaires. Open-ended questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were used to gather data. The study comprised 15 respondents and included teachers at two schools and three officials from the Department of Education. The demographics of the two schools were similar which made it possible to ask the same questions for all respondents. The study highlighted the lack of participation of teachers in CPTD due to human, material and financial constraints. Urgent consideration needs to be given to eradicating these barriers for continuous professional development of teachers. Providers of CPTD should ensure that the needs of teachers are met and training should be embarked upon on a continuous basis. In addition, priority should be given to teachers employed at schools in working class areas.