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Title: Understanding teachers' professional learning
Author: Al Dakl Alla, Muhammad
ISNI:       0000 0004 8498 7972
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2019
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This multi-level mixed-methods study aims to provide an in-depth understanding of teacher professional learning (PL) based on a variety of different perspectives and experiences within the education hierarchy in Scotland: education policy-makers, local authority officers, and teacher practitioners. In an attempt to create a comprehensive picture of PL provision, the study reviews teacher education policies internationally and locally and maps the current provision in Scotland across the three levels within the education hierarchy. The main purposes of the three phases of research are; first, to understand the current PL policies and opportunities in Scotland, second, explore how teachers use the Professional Standards provided by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). Third, the research aims to investigate the role of the GTCS Standards (2012) in improving teacher practice and pupil learning. Finally, the research intends to investigate the impact of PL on teaching and learning to explore the ways teachers may use to better improve impact evaluation. A qualitative approach was used in phases I and II as a framework for developing key themes in the current PL provision, understanding the role of the GTCS Standards in improving teacher practice, and exploring PL impact and improving its evaluation. The quantitative method facilitated gaining different perspectives from teacher practitioners in phase III. The variations in the views of the participants within the education hierarchy will be discussed in relation to the literature and the research questions. The main themes synthesised from the qualitative and quantitative data were the perceptions of PL and professional development (PD), PL provision and effective forms, PL influences and impediments, and PL impact evaluation. The findings suggested that PL and PD are inconsistently defined and having an agreed definition of what constitutes PL and PD is challenging. In addition, the findings revealed mixed attitudes to PL provision and the GTCS Standards (2012) which guide PL in Scotland. The findings showed some gaps in PL provision and identified areas which require attention to provide coherent PL experiences in Scotland. Moreover, the findings indicated the importance of measuring PL impact. However, the findings showed measuring PL impact is challenging because it is influenced by many factors like the learning process itself. The findings provided some recommendations particularly for directing the Standards to support PL and improving impact evaluation. The main recommendations include: simplifying and reducing the Standards as well as offering practical support so that teachers feel confident to engage with them and identify PL needs and impact. The findings recommend doing more work to ensure that teachers have the skills to be reflective practitioners and develop their understanding of PL and the GTCS Standards to engage with the suitable set in a more confident way. Providing teachers with time to engage in quality PL is another recommendation the findings highlighted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: L Education (General)