Publication Details

Rahman, A., Hoban, G. & Nielsen, W. (2014). Transcending teacher professional development: From determinism to complexity. The Asian Conference on Education 2014 Official Conference Proceedings (pp. 15-30). Nagoya, Japan: The International Academic Forum.


There is a multiplicity of factors and actors that come into play to make teacher professional development (TPD) a strategic and powerful scheme for improving teacher practices. This multiplicity is evident in educational practices and theories. Consequently, traditional perspectives that take a simple view of TPD as a single, independent entity in teacher learning in isolation from other factors and actors are problematic. To better understand how TPD can bring about change in teacher practices-transforming teacher learning, there is a need to transcend the linear, causal, deterministic assumption about TPD. Here, in this discussion paper, I argue that powerful TPD is neither determined nor directed, but rather emerges. Powerful TPD emerges from many interconnected agents and these agents interact and combine in different ways depending on the situation, are reciprocal and are always nested, thus TPD is a complex enterprise. In order to showcase the complexity of the enterprise, TPD in the Indonesian context will be scrutinised using the lens of complexity theory.