01 SES 09 B, Professional Learning in Context
Paper/Ignite Talk Session
To be globally competitive an increasing number of universities around the world are offering their degree programmes in English, (Deardon, 2015). Many of these universities provide ‘pre-sessional’ English language programmes, to enable students to develop their ability in English prior to starting to study their chosen degree programme, which will be mainly delivered in English. The English language teachers who lead the pre-sessional programmes are often an international group with a range of learning and teaching experiences gained from living or working in a number of different countries. As with all higher education staff, the pre-sessional programme teachers are expected to engage in professional development to enhance their knowledge and understanding of new learning and teaching approaches. The results from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (Schleicher, 2016) indicate that the nature and extent of teachers’ professional practices varies significantly across countries. More needs to be known about how prior experiences influence the international group of pre-sessional teachers’ interactions and engagement in professional learning.
The objective is to explorehow an international group of pre-sessional teachers engage in professional learning. The study examines the drives and/or barriers to effective professional learning which emerge with this international group of pre-sessional English language teachers.The analysis of the data discussed and shared in this presentation is part of a larger research study.
How do teachers’ prior experiences of learning and teaching influence their interactions with an international group of teachers and their engagement in professional learning?
Much has been said about how prior experiences can influence teachers’ interactions and engagement in professional learning (e.g. Biesta, Priestley and Robinson, 2015). However, staffing in higher education institutionsare increasingly international (Vongalis-Macrow, 2007) and research concerning the drivers and barriers to teachers’ professional learning in international teaching contexts is more limited. This presentation aims to add to knowledge by exploring how teachers from different nations, cultures and learning backgrounds interact and engage in professional learning.
To better understand these inter-cultural groups’ interactions better, Hussain and Bagguley’s (2015) concept of ‘reflexive ethnicity’ is utilised. They draw from Archer’s (2003, 2007) and Lash’s (1994) more general research on reflexivity and take it further in their consideration of“reflexive ethnicity” by looking at different perceptions of ethnicity. Ratherthan agency and choice being the core concepts linking individuals to the wider discourses of ethnicity, they argue it is various forms of reflexivity that provide a better conceptualisation of these relations. This study aims to offer new understandings by drawing from and adapting Hussain and Bagguley’s analytical frame to explore the concept of cultural reflexivity with pre-sessional programme teachers who have a wide variety of inter-national and inter-cultural experiences which they bring to their interactions and engagement in professional learning.
The theoretical framework contributes to developing a better understanding of the heterogeneous culturally reflexive community of teachers in pre-sessional programmes. Teachers’ perceptions of drivers and barrier to professional learning are explored in a context where teachers are from developed and developing countries.
Methodology: The study takes an explorative interpretive case study approach involving the analysis of teachers’ experiences and perceptions in three private universities in the three main cities of Turkey. An interpretivist paradigm was chosen to incorporate the diversity of voices, backgrounds, and opinions to better comprehend the subjective world of human experience (Cohen, Manion, and Morrison., 2011). For the purpose of this presentation a sub-set of the data collected from a larger study was analysed. The findings from 3 participants from each of the 3 universities are discussed. The international participants included native English-speaking teachers and non-native English-speaking teachers. The international teachers were predominantly male and originally from countries other than Turkey, while the national teachers were predominantly female from Turkey. The participants had from 1 to 20+ years experience in English language teaching with a complex variety of experience in different countries working with different age groups from pre-school to adults and different genres of English. They had a wide variety of qualifications, work, and learning experiences. The participants took part in semi-structured interviews that lasted for approximately 1 hour which provided opportunities for rich data to be gathered (Kvale, 2007). The participants were invited to share, in detail, their perceptions of professional learning in their current and previous work contexts and to identify what engaged them and supported their professional learning as well as what inhibited it. The data gathered were coded to identify themes and evidence in relation to the drivers and barriers to teachers’ professional learning.
Expected Outcomes: Better understanding of the drivers and barriers to professional learning in a complex international environment. Insight into how interactions between the teachers in an international group influence teachers’ engagement in professional learning. In the current climate of internationalisation in higher education where international staff and students are increasingly the norm rather than the exception, the consideration of the factors influencing teachers’ interaction in and engagement with professional learning has relevance for everyone with responsibility for teachers’ professional learning in higher education.
Archer, M. 2003. Structure, Agency and the Internal Conversation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [doi:10.1017/cbo9781139087315] Archer, M. 2007. Making our Way through the World: Human Reflexivity and Social Mobility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [doi:10.1017/CBO9780511618932] Biesta, G., Priestley, M., and Robinson, S. (2015) The role of beliefs in teacher agency. Teachers and Teaching. 21(6), pp. 624¬–640. [DOI: 10.1080/13540602.2015.1044325] Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2011) Research methods in education. 7th ed. Oxford: Routledge. Dearden, J. 2015. English as a medium of instruction – a growing global phenomenon. [Online]. British Council. [Accessed 26 May 2017]. Available from: https://www.britishcouncil.org/education/ihe/knowledge-centre/english-language-higher-education/report-english-medium-instruction Hussain, Y. & Bagguley, P (2015). Reflexive ethnicities: crisis, diversity and re-composition. Sociological Research Online, 20 (3), p. 18. Online at: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/20/3/18.html DOI: 10.5153/sro.3776 (Accessed 19.01.2017) Lash, S. (1994). Reflexivity and its Doubles: Structure, Aesthetics, Community in Beck, U., Giddens, A. and Lash, S. Reflexive Modernization: Politics, Tradition and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order. Cambridge: Polity Press. OECD. (2018) Preparing our youth for an inclusive sustainable world. The OECD global competence framework. https://www.oecd.org/education/Global-competency-for-an-inclusive-world.pdf (Accessed: 30.01.2018) Schleicher, A. (2016) Teaching Excellence through Professional Learning and Policy Reform: Lessons from Around the World, International Summit on the Teaching Profession, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264252059-en Vongalis-Macrow, A. 2007. I, teacher: Re-territorialization of teachers’ multi-faceted agency in globalized education. British Journal of Sociology of Education. 28(4), pp. 425–439. [DOI: 10.1080/01425690701369376]
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