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Title: Teaching and learning in large tertiary Syrian classes : an investigation into students' and tutors' perspectives
Author: Ajjan, Mais
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 0750
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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Teaching and learning in large classes has been an area of educational research interest for some decades now. Much previous research, however, has been largely positivist in nature and based on quantitative designs. Surveys have failed to document the ‘live experiences’ of those involved in large classes: teachers and students. The large class issue has often been treated as a single isolated factor without taking into account the complex interplay of the other contextual factors in classes. Although there is a wealth of speculative suggestion in the literature on how to deal with large classes, there is limited research into tutors’ accounts of good practice in large classes and students’ perspectives and preferences regarding these practices. With the above in mind and being firmly set on a qualitative ground and based on semi-structured interviews, classroom observation and observation field notes, this investigation aims to obtain insiders’ perspectives on the reality of being in a large class with limited resources, by eliciting teachers’ and students’ views in a Syrian university context. Data was collected in two phases within one academic year. Classes in the first phase were observed over a period of six weeks in four different courses taught by different tutors to the same cohort of (400+) students. First phase findings revealed that tutors and students held different views on the same situation. Being in a large class was just one factor among several that shaped their experience. Students did not mind being in a large class as long as they were taught by good lecturers. These findings were the motivation for the second phase of research where classes were also observed over a period of six weeks in four different courses taught by different ‘good’ tutors to a different cohort of (400+) students. The aim in the second phase was to look more closely, from students’ perspectives, at ‘popular teachers’ and at the ‘successful’ teaching practices they have developed to teach in large, under-resourced classes. Findings draw attention to important tutor and lesson characteristics which student interviewees considered the attribute of good tutors and good lessons in this specific context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Syria. Wizārat al-Taʻlīm al-ʻĀlī [Ministry of Higher Education] ; Jāmiʻat Ḥalab [Aleppo University]
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB2300 Higher Education