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Abstract

Over the past years, significant and rapid changes in many aspects of society and the world have led countries such as Qatar and others in the Gulf Region to reform their national education systems, focusing on the integration of standards, assessment, and accountability. One of the key elements in most of these reforms is the professional development as a central feature of such educational improvement initiatives for the many contributions it can make. It is reasonably assumed that improving teachers' knowledge, skills, and dispositions is one of the most critical steps to improving students achievements (King & Newmann, 2001). Further, it plays a key role in addressing the gap between educators preparation and standard-based reform. However, proposal from many quarters argue that professional development itself need to be reformed (King & Newmann, 2001). Much of the professional development that is offered for teachers and principals simply does not meet the challenges of the reform movement (Birman, Desimone, Porter, and Garet, 2000). Professional development in Qatar is no exception. Professional development has always taken place in Qatar independent schools. In contrast, "teachers and principals noted a downside to the steep quantity of professional development opportunities: Teachers reported feeling overwhelmed and burned out" (Brewer, et al., 2009, p.50). However, the quality and effectiveness of professional development were highly variable. As evidence, the Supreme Education Council (SEC) in Qatar found that relying primarily on international organizations to deliver staff development have not developed the capacity to prepare current and future educators for the reform schools. Despite a substantial national investment in professional development initiatives, concerns remain about the quality of the educational staff and the subsequent impact on instruction (Brewer, et al., 2009). Further, teachers and principals at independent schools in Qatar have raised important questions on the effectiveness of traditional professional development programs and its impact on their performance. They have attended many professional development programs, yet significant professional development needs remain (Palmer et al., 2010-2011). Another concern is the difficulty for teachers and principals to carve out time during the work day to participate in professional development because of the increased workload that many Qatar Independent school teachers reported. Most of them have to stay after regular working hours and into the evening to attend workshops, so many of their days became quite long (Brewer, et al., 2009, p.50). In response to these concerns and needs, School Based Support Program (SBSP) was launch in September 2011 , by the National Center for educator development (NCED) at Qatar university, to address some of the concerns and needs noted. In particular, to conduct high quality, practical, and school based professional learning activities derived from research-based best practices, to significantly improve the performance of the participating independent schools and their principals and teachers professional practices . Therefore, the purpose of the study was to measure the impact of SBSP program as perceived by participating schools' principals and teachers.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarf.2013.SSHP-013
2013-11-20
2019-12-15
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