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Title: Teacher research for continuing professional development at a Saudi university language institute : teacher conceptions and institutional constraints
Author: Alzahrani, Hamdan Farhan
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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Teacher Research (TR) can be broadly defined as research conducted by teachers in their own classrooms as part of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD). In TR literature, the purpose, process and value of TR are often conceptualised for teachers by leading scholars, with teachers being expected to engage with such conceptualisations unquestionably. The literature offers few examples of TR conceptualisation based on teachers’ own conceptions of TR and of its feasibility for their context. My research explores the possibility of developing a contextually appropriate conceptualisation of TR for CPD at a Saudi university English Language Institute (ELI). To this end, the study investigated participants’ understanding of the purposes of CPD, their understanding of TR for CPD, their conceptions of what might constrain the use of TR based CPD in their context and what would be needed to support it. Using a collective case study approach, the data were sequentially generated over four phases through open ended questionnaires, a first set of semi-structured interviews, focus groups and a final set of semi-structured interviews. The findings of this study show that the purpose of CPD as understood by participants is to help teachers develop their practices and thinking. Participants understand an ELI- relevant conceptualisation of TR (which can help teachers develop) as one which is carried out by teachers to understand and address issues in their classrooms and institution through a data driven process nurtured by reflection and informed by relevant literature if feasible. The findings further indicate that TR at ELI needs to be subjective in nature, but transparent enough to be first shared locally at ELI and then possibly disseminated externally through different means. The insights of this study suggest that while the teacher conceptualised version of TR is relevant to teachers’ needs in their context, it is not automatically applicable. Some barriers to the implementation of TR at ELI (such as standardisation, prioritising ‘best’ practice based CPD on the part of the institution) need to be considered. Participants propose several ways to address the constraints and to enable TR to become one means of engaging in CPD at ELI. This study contributes to TR literature through providing understandings of how the conceptualisation of TR based CPD can be made context specific through teachers’ own conceptions and informed by TR literature.
Supervisor: Wedell, Martin ; Hanks, Judith Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available