How should teachers be prepared in order to educate their students to address the most pressing issues of the future? Conducted over the years 2018–2019, this book presents the results of a study of large-scale teacher professional development programs that aimed at equipping students for the uncharted territory of a rapidly changing world. This introductory chapter traces the roots of the impetus to educate students holistically, helping them develop a broad range of cognitive and socio-emotional skills. The chapter explains the value of comparative analysis to advance a robust theory of the role of professional development in instructional improvement which can guide implementation of large scale programs, and introduces a staged model of development of education systems, contingent on the level of skill and preparation of teachers and summarizes the key contributions of the chapters in this book. The chapter reviews previous research on the role of largescale teacher professional development in preparing teachers to lead their students in deeper learning and in developing a broad range of cognitive and socio-emotional skills. Given that much of that research has been generated in highly resourced environments,
a staged model of development of education systems contingent on level of teacher preparation justifies attention to the role of professional development in more diverse contexts. The chapter further examines some literature on the implementation of large-scale educational change, setting the stage for a comparative study of largescale programs of teacher professional development. The chapter examines data from a recent cross-national survey of teachers to discuss their expressed needs for professional development and perceptions of the characteristics of the most effective professional development programs. Finally, the chapter synthesizes the findings of this study and draws out their implications for teacher development in ambitious system level reforms that aim at preparing students with a broad range of skills to invent the future.