Supporting English language teachers doing further degrees at a distance: a web based strategy researched
This thesis explores how the world-wide-web can be used to support English language teachers doing further studies at a distance. The future of education worldwide is moving towards a requirement that we, as teacher educators, use the latest web technology not as a gambit, but as a viable tool to improve learning. By examining the literature on knowledge, teacher education and web training, a model of teacher knowledge development, along with statements of advice for web developers based upon the model are developed. Next, the applicability and viability of both the model and statements of advice are examined by developing a teacher support site (bttp://www. philseflsupport. com) according to these principles. The data collected from one focus group of users from sixteen different countries, all studying on the same distance Masters programme, is then analysed in depth. The outcomes from the research are threefold: A functioning website that is averaging around 15, 000 hits a month provides a professional contribution. An expanded model of teacher knowledge development that is based upon five theoretical principles that reflect the ever-expanding cyclical nature of teacher learning provides an academic contribution. A series of six statements of advice for developers of teacher support sites. These statements are grounded in the theoretical principles behind the model of teacher knowledge development and incorporate nine keys to effective web facilitation. Taken together, they provide a forward-looking contribution to the praxis of web supported teacher education, and thus to the potential dissemination of the research presented here. The research has succeeded in reducing the proliferation of terminology in teacher knowledge into a succinct model of teacher knowledge development. The model may now be used to further our understanding of how teachers learn and develop as other research builds upon the individual study here. NB: Appendix 4 is only available only available for consultation at Aston University Library with prior arrangement.