Teachers’ engagement in professional development: a study of the influences that affect groups of national and international English language teachers

Macfarlane, Gaele Morag (2020) Teachers’ engagement in professional development: a study of the influences that affect groups of national and international English language teachers. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

To be globally competitive, an increasing number of higher education (HE) establishments around the world offer English-medium instruction (EMI) degree programmes. Many of these universities provide students with preparatory year programmes (PYP) of international English language tuition prior to commencing an EMI degree course. The English language teachers who lead the PYP courses are either national or international and come with a wide variety of learning and professional backgrounds. Professional development (PD) is often available to teachers to enhance their knowledge and understanding of new learning and teaching approaches. However, there is little research on the factors that influence these national and international PYP teachers’ engagement in PD. The objective of this study is to explore how groups of international and national PYP teachers engage in PD. The study examines how the teachers’ learning and professional backgrounds, their interactions with each other, and the PYP curricula influence their engagement. The theoretical framework for this study is based on both adult learning theories and social learning theories, such as professional learning communities and situated learning. While staff at HE institutions are increasingly international, research concerning the influences of teachers’ engagement in PD in international teaching contexts is more limited. This thesis aims to contribute to the field by exploring how teachers from different nations, cultures, and learning backgrounds are influenced to engage in PD.
The study takes an interpretive, qualitative approach in analysing the experiences and perceptions of 20 teachers at three private universities—one in each of the three main cities of Turkey. The international participants include native English-speaking teachers and non- native English-speaking teachers. The international teachers were predominantly male and originally from countries other than Turkey, while the national teachers were predominantly female and from Turkey. They had a wide variety of qualifications, as well as work and learning experiences.
The participants first took part in a pre-reflection task, followed by a one-hour semi- structured interview, and finally, a post-reflection task. These three tasks provided opportunities for rich data to be gathered. The participants were invited to share, in detail, their perceptions of PD in their current and previous work contexts and to identify what engaged them and supported their PD as well as what inhibited it.
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All the data gathered were analysed in a systematic way and were coded in NVIVO to identify themes and evidence in relation to the factors that influence engagement in PD. After the first sweep of the data, Biesta, Priestley, and Robinson’s (2015) analytical paradigm of agency was used to facilitate an understanding of the teachers’ engagement.
This study produced a number of key findings: the influence of teachers’ learning and professional backgrounds on developing a common understanding of teaching, curriculum, PD, collaboration, and educational culture was explored. Additionally, longevity in the profession was also found to affect teachers’ perceptions of PD as was the presence of high- stakes, inflexible assessment, both of which can influence the smooth running of a teacher’s engagement in collaborative PD.
In the current climate of internationalisation in HE, where international staff and students are increasingly the norm rather than the exception, consideration of the factors influencing engagement with PD has relevance for everyone with responsibility for teachers’ PD in HE.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: professional development, teachers, agency, multi-national.
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Professional Learning and Leadership
Supervisor's Name: Livingston, Professor Kay
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Dr. G M Macfarlane
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81486
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2020 06:12
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2020 16:06
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/81486

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