Oduho George Ben Soforon 1,2,*, Svein Arne Sikko 1 and Solomon Abedom Tesfamicael.
This paper aims to provide an understanding of effective professional development (PD) for
mathematics teachers according to the context of South Sudan schools. Hunsicker’s (2011) checklist
of effective PD was taken as a framework. The framework has five characteristics—supportive,
job-embedded, instructional focused, collaborative, and ongoing—and these five characteristics have
been used for shaping the study. Interviews were designed and administered to educational officials,
principals of two schools, and six sampled mathematics teachers, patterning their understanding
about effective PD of mathematics teachers in the South Sudan school context. The analysis showed
that the types of PD that exist in the South Sudan school context include the preparation of a lesson
plan and the scheme of work for novice teachers, a weekly professional participation of teachers
within their working hours, and informal dialog and guidance among peers. In addition, some
unqualified teachers are sent to teacher training institutions during holiday times, which can be
regarded as a kind of in-service and continuous PD. Our findings are that most of the participants do
not have a clear view of what effective PD means. The participants mentioned aspects that can be
seen as parts of effective PD according to the literature, but none of them had a holistic or explicit
understanding. There is a need to engage those stakeholders to work deeply on aspects of effective
PD if a meaningful improvement in student learning is to happen in classrooms.
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