An investigation of professional communities amongst those responsible for English teacher development in Oman

Al-Sinani, Salima Khamis (2023) An investigation of professional communities amongst those responsible for English teacher development in Oman. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Research into professional communities has grown internationally over the past three decades. Although there are a range of definitions, most agree professional communities provide an environment for professionals, including educators, to share knowledge, problem-solving and professional values, while developing networks. This research sheds light on two kinds of identified professional communities: ‘Communities of Practice’ (CoPs), and ‘Professional Learning Communities’(PLCs). The latter was recently adopted in the Omani educational context, as a model for improving the achievements of schools and students.

This study investigated the collaborative work (or lack of it) of English-subject teacher-educators acting as trainers, supervisors, and senior school teachers – roles which were created after educational reforms in 1998/1999. There is scant research regarding how these groups operate together as teacher-educators supporting school teachers. Embracing an interpretive approach over fieldwork totalling 6 months, I investigated the perceptions of 8 trainers, 12 supervisors and 11 senior teachers across three governorates in Oman and 5 senior staff from the Ministry of Education (MoE)‘s Supervision and Training departments. I used semi-structured interviews, an in-depth analysis of national policies, and non-participant observation of group meetings for data triangulation.

The study highlighted seven key findings. The most salient revealed mixed attitudes in participants’ perceptions regarding their collegial workplace-relationships and collaborations. A number of participants highlighted the passive role played by their MoE leadership in terms of enhancing better relationships and communication between them. The findings also revealed an overlap in the roles and responsibilities of trainers and supervisors, which causes conflict between these two groups in some governorates. Finally, obstacles such as negative attitudes, differing cultural behaviours, an overwhelming workload and the extensive range of duties demanded were all highlighted as challenges that would hinder the implementation of professional communities. The study recommends that MoE officials consider addressing these obstacles to implement professional communities effectively in the future and calls for more collaboration between the three groups to enhance their working relations. The study extends our understanding of how Western ‘professional communities’ principles work when adapted for use in the Omani context.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Odena, Professor Oscar and Alves, Dr. Ines
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83700
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2023 13:42
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2023 08:13
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83700

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