Professional development in fostering self-directed learning in German Second Additional Language teachers

Gerda-Elisabeth Wittmann, Jako Olivier


Teaching is a value-laden profession, and certain demands regarding lifelong learning are put on teachers worldwide.  Requirements for entry-level qualifications and professional development of South African teachers are stipulated in the National Qualifications Framework Act (67/2008): Revised policy on the minimum requirements for teacher education qualifications (DHET, 2015) and the CPTD Management System Handbook of the South African Council for Educators (SACE, 2013). However, teachers in general, and German Second Additional Language (SAL) teachers in particular, struggle to meet these requirements. In line with international teacher development tendencies, this article recommends for a shift in teacher professional development programmes towards a more participant-centred approach. Theories of self-directed learning (SDL) are considered, and it is recommended that teacher professional development programmes focus on fostering the characteristics of SDL in South African teachers (especially German SAL teachers), which would enable these teachers to be active participants in their learning. The article strives to motivate the need for a professional development programme fostering SDL to support the existing developmental shortcomings. Recommendations are made on how SDL can be sensibly fostered in teacher professional development programmes in order to enable teachers to become self-directed learners. Practical recommendations are also made on how teachers can be empowered to become self-directed learners.


German Second Additional Language; self-directed learning; teacher professional development

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ISSN 2224-0012 (online); ISSN 0259-2312 (print)

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