AbstractProfessional development (PD) has attracted a great deal of attention in recent years. Despite research findings, the development of many PD programmes often rests on faulty assumptions of such research or even no research at all. The purpose of this article is threefold: to explain why some PD programmes have been unsuccessful; to outline key factors that may influence the effective implementation of PD and to explain the importance of contextual factors like environment, internal conditions and individual considerations as the major sources of momentum for PD in schools. Specific categories that are high-lighted include the following: learning styles of educators, educator commitment, transformational leadership, out-of-school conditions, in-school conditions and requirements of PD programmes. The design of PD requires a new way of thinking and interacting and, most importantly, should be a step towards improved learner performance.
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