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Title: Teacher Professional Development in an online Learning Environment : An Action Research Project
Author: Andreou, Andreas M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2678 7884
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2008
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Various reports from the European Union and UNESCO consider teacher professional development (TPD) as the first priority in educational reform plans. The same reports emphasise the inadequacies of current teacher professional development programmes to meet the immediate demands of the lifelong learning policies and educational reforms. The case of Cyprus reflects the European and global situation in that matter. This study explores an alternative way for ongoing teacher professional development through the power and flexibility of the Internet. It situates teacher professional development within a constructivist framework underpinned by adult learning theories and aided by the literature on teacher professional development. It applies this framework to the development and delivery of an online learning environment to primary school teachers in Cyprus. The general aim of this study is to delineate the factors that contribute to effective professional development and develop a more democratic teacher professional development programme by giving greater control to the teachers. Thirteen of my colleagues - in-service primary school teachers from Cyprus - voluntarily participated in an online learning environment for a period of two months. Results show that teachers are more responsive to voluntary participation in professional development programmes than compulsory participation. Teachers may assume an intrinsic motivational orientation to learning and their professional development when they have control and ownership of the process and context of learning as well as time and place flexibility. Problem solVing enhances teachers' participation, interaction and collaboration and helps to promote a sense of community. Socialisation between learners nourishes the learning process and enhances intimacy and social presence and strengthens the sense of community. Subsequently, learners are more responsive to cognitive engagement. Asynchronous CMC seems to be an effective medium in supporting both the cognitive and the social aspects of learning. Scaffolding, at least during the initial stages of the learning process, is essential for learners in order to assume self-direction in learning. Control over the content and the learning environment increases learners' engagement with the content. This study suggests that the power and fleXibility of the Internet, under certain conditions, can afford teachers an alternative learning experience in which they can assume control of their professional development in collaboration with their peers in online learning communities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Not available Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available