Teacher Professional Development in Malta

Liberalizing the Way We Learn

In: The Teacher’s Role in the Changing Globalizing World

Like many other societies, Malta is undergoing major changes that are affecting our traditional and conservative social fabric, such as migration, multiculturalism, and the concept of family, together with other developments such as the impact of technology on our lives. This is having a direct impact on the way we currently conceptualize schools and, more so, the education we provide. As a result, schools are becoming extremely demanding and complex environments. At the same time, teachers are faced with what Helterbran describes as “prescriptive, teacher-proof curricula and instructional strategies driven by politically mandated forces” (2008, p. 124), further augmented by top-down teacher accountability that is driven by standardized tests and external international testing. These demands and pressures have raised a clarion call to review how we conceptualize the professional development of teachers. This chapter starts off by acknowledging these challenges and, after describing current provision, argues for liberalizing professional learning so that school leaders and teachers can manage and control their own learning, even if they have to function in a context of restricted autonomy. It calls for a respect for teaching as a profession that allows space and time for teachers to engage in transformative learning from within.