Tackling sustainability

First steps towards co-designing teacher professional development

  • Maria Lurdes
  • Santos Gonçalves
Keywords: Professional development, Heritage language teaching, Sustainability, Leadership, Supervision


Transformative, innovative practices and sustainable professional development are not achieved just by attending workshops, seminars and specific designed teacher education courses, though these programmes may often include action research methodologies (Fullan, 2007; Vieira, Moreira & Peralta, 2014). Therefore, other ways for in-service teacher education should be sought, namely more flexible ways, suitable to specific educative contexts, which really address teachers’ concerns and needs, enabling self-directed professional development (PD) processes and simultaneously empowering teachers and strengthening their professional knowledge (PK). To meet all these requirements we believe that besides the committed and collaborative participation of teachers, PD processes should include leadership and supervision. This paper looks at the particular case of teaching Portuguese as heritage language (PHL) in Switzerland. It analyses the PD strategy designed by the pedagogical coordinator (PC), which was based on the conclusions of a previous study on PD (Gonçalves, 2011) and followed a job embedded approach in trying a direct connection between teacher’s work in the classroom and the PD teachers were provided, as argued by DiPaola and Hoy (2014). The study analyses the PD offers provided to the teachers from 2014 to 2016 in different perspectives – contents, structure, preparation, implementation, evaluation and outcomes. The data analysis indicates that the chosen PD strategy started by gathering the available knowledge, followed by putting it into circulation among the teachers, and finally tried to improve it, shaping its improvement with the active contribution of the teachers towards a joint planning of PD, which could be considered a step into co-designing teacher PD, towards its sustainability.
How to Cite
Lurdes, M., & Gonçalves, S. (2017). Tackling sustainability: First steps towards co-designing teacher professional development. Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies, 11(3), 81-99. https://doi.org/10.17011/apples/urn.201712104585