10 SES 08 A, Professional Learning and Leadership
In an era of globalisation and continuous change, teachers` professional learning (PL) has gained importance to meet the needs of education systems (Burn, Mutton and Hagger, 2010). As a result of these changes in education systems, teachers are expected to act as life-long learners who not only improve their practice throughout their career but also model for their students the process of continuing learning by enabling them to `learn how to learn` (Hagger, Burn, Mutton and Brindley, 2008). By prioritising to improve teachers` performance, countries expect improvements in students` learning outcomes as well which ultimately will lead to improvements in their education systems (Hodkinson and Hodkinson, 2005).
Achieving a good quality in teacher education is believed to be possible through three steps, having high requirements for teacher candidates, pre-service teacher education, and in-service teacher support (Gomleksiz, 1998). However, Turkey does seem to have problems related to these steps. Although several attempts have been made to improve the teacher training system since the 19th century, many problems still exist regarding the pre-service teacher education in Turkey. These problems can be classified as four; namely, political precautions, the quality of student teachers, problems related to education faculties and practice schools, and not incorporating reflection into the programmes. In order to compensate for the aspects that the current English Language Teaching (ELT) programme lacks in offering, in-service teachers should be engaged in professional development activities to get ready for challenges in the global arena (Tokoz Goktepe, 2015). The related literature suggests that teacher learning can occur both individually, through reflective practice (Farrell, 1998), and collectively, through collaborative working (Lave and Wenger, 1991). And these two concepts seem to have been given place in other countries` agenda, such as Finland, the UK and Singapore, while the situation in Turkey seems to be different.
This study focuses on in-service ELT teachers in Turkey and aims to understand their subjective experiences of professional learning under the concepts of reflective practice and collaborative working. The study adopts a qualitative approach with a multiple case studies design. The study will have a small sample with 6-10 ELT teachers working in public schools in Turkey. In order to gather the required data, triangulation will be done in the data collection tools. Firstly, in order to understand the big picture of ELT teachers` professional learning lives, life histories will be employed. Secondly, in order to capture more specific experiences related to professional learning, critical incidents will be used. As the last step, semi-structured interviews will be conducted in order to cover what has been missing from the previous sections.
This study attempts to fill a gap in the literature, since, to the best of my knowledge, there have been no empirical studies in Turkey exploring teachers` professional learning under the concepts of collaborative working and reflective practice. Moreover, in terms of the qualitative approach the study adopts, the study can be claimed to fill another gap in the literature since there are not many qualitative studies focusing on ELT teachers in Turkey. Since the researcher is a junior PhD student, she has not started her data collection yet. However, it is expected that the study will provide insights into the impact of contextual factors and individual dispositions on teachers` pursuit of their professional learning, which will enable the researcher to make further suggestions.
References Burn, K., Mutton, T., & Hagger, H. (2010). Strengthening and sustaining professional learning in the second year of teaching. Oxford Review of Education, 36(6), 639-659. Farrell, T. S. C. (1998). Reflective teaching: The principles and practices. Forum 36(4), October- December. Retrieved from http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/usia/E-USIA/forum/vols/vol36/no4/p10.htm Gomleksiz, M. N. (1999). Training Foreign Language Teachers, Problems and Solutions. Firat University Journal of Social Science, 9(1), 79-101. Hagger, H., Burn, K., Mutton, T., & Brindley, S. (2008). Practice Makes Perfect? Learning to Learn as a Teacher. Oxford Review of Education, 34(2), 159-178. Hodkinson, H., & Hodkinson, P. (2005). Improving schoolteachers` workplace learning. Research Papers in Education, 20(2), 109-131. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tokoz Goktepe, F. (2015). A Critical Analysis of Foreign Language Teacher Education Practices in Turkey. International Journal of Languages` Education and Teaching, 3(1), 128-143.
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