This chapter focuses on how the professional development of teachers influences the teaching and learning process in schools. In the chapter, the experiences of Bojanala East District (North West Province) Life Sciences teachers with regard to the professional development support they received from the Department of Education and Training are explored. Subsequent to 1994, South African Life Sciences teachers were subjected to a plethora of educational policy reforms, all of which affected the content of and the teaching approach to Life Sciences as a subject. In all these reforms, the Department of Basic Education organised professional development workshops as an in-service teacher training (ITT) to empower teachers in respect of the new policies. The study sheds light on whether or not the training (according to teachers) enhanced the teaching and learning processes in the classrooms. A qualitative research approach was used in the study and a purposeful sampling technique was employed to select participants. The researcher used one-on-one interviews and a single focus group to collect data. Drawing on the findings of this study and on support uncovered in the literature, indications are that the in-service training programmes left teachers incompetent in terms of dealing with both the new approach and the new content due to the programmes not addressing teachers’ needs.
Part of the book: Teacher Education in the 21st Century