Professional development can help overcome shortcomings that may have been part of teachers’ pre-service education and keep teachers abreast of new knowledge and practices in the field. This ongoing training for teachers can have a direct impact on student
achievement. Case studies from Bangladesh, Botswana, Guatemala, Namibia and Pakistan have provided evidence that ongoing professional development, especially in the early years after initial preparation and then continuing throughout a career, contribute significantly to student learning and retention (Craig, Kraft & du Plessis, 1998). Effective professional development may take many forms; it should not be limited to formal off-site kinds of programmes. Dialogue and reflections with colleagues, peer and supervisor observations and keeping journals are all effective ways for teachers to advance their knowledge (UNICEF, 2000). A programme in Kenya, the Mombassa School Improvement Project, built on this approach to professional development and showed that teachers supported with in-service as well as external workshop training improved significantly in their abilities to use child-centred teaching and learning behaviours (Anderson, 2000). In India, an effective programme used interactive video technology to reach a large number of teachers who sought professional development. This programme found that training using interactive video technology led to improved conceptual understanding of pedagogical issues for a large number of geographically dispersed teachers (Maheshwari & Raina, 1998).