An Evidence-Informed Study to Determine Why Singapore Teachers Engage in Professional Development

Project Number
OER 24/12 CCH

Project Duration
January 2013 - September 2015


Set against the motivation for NIE/GPL to enhance Teacher Professional Development (TPD) in meeting the needs of our stakeholders, the question of what makes a teacher want to engage in TPD was raised. While a literature scan has shown numerous studies on TPD that advocate different types of PD that teachers consider effective, there exists little consensus on which type of PD works best, and consequently no conclusion on what makes a teacher want to do TPD can be drawn. Specifically, the Singapore literature suffers from a dearth of empirical studies to show what motivates a teacher to do TPD. Adopting a social psychology framework of Planned Behaviour Theory (TPB), this study seeks to address the research problem above through a baseline study and an extended exploration on the factors affecting a teacher's motivation to do TPD. Indeed, Planned Behaviour Theory explicates the process that translates beliefs into behaviour. Three main concepts of attitude towards belief, subjective beliefs and perceived behavioural control will anchor the inquiry into what makes a teacher want to engage in TPD. A variety of data collection methods are proposed to study this. In-depth interviews and questionnaire survey will be used to construct the baseline while Focus Group Discussions will deepen the exploration and provide the triangulation to data collection, essentially improving the reliability of the study. The findings from this study will present important implications for NIE such as in informing the institution on how PD is made sense of on the ground. At the same time, it is envisioned to provide information for the group in rethinking its course and if needed, modifying its nature of service delivery. Ultimately, the results will add to the growing body of literature on TPD engagement of teachers, nuanced with a contextual understanding of the Singapore situation. As a baseline study, this research is envisioned as the first in a series of projects targeted at deepening inquiry into the nature of TPD in Singapore. Scholars worldwide have built a well-documented body of research on TPD, examining its form, content and nature, from delivery to engagement to measures of effectiveness. In Singapore, however, there is not a substantial number of local studies on the city-state's TPD system albeit praises it has garnered from international observers. Thus, this study aims to provide local and contextual understanding of the Singapore situation vis-?-vis global trends in TPD scholarship.

Research Themes
Teacher Learning/PLCs/Lesson Studies

Funding Source

Related Links
ReEd Vol 9 (2013): Developing as a Teaching Professional

Related Projects