01 SES 07 C, Factors Affecting the Professional Development of Women Educators
In the last decades, gender issues have been covered in the existing literature from diverse perspectives: biological; psychological; linguistic; social and cultural. In the educational context, gender has been widely explored and has gained significant scientific and scholarly discourse relating it to aspects inside and outside the academic arena. Nevertheless, a shortage of literature linking gender to Teacher Education (TE) and development has been noticed. Accordingly, this qualitative ethnographic study aims at bridging the gap between the two aforementioned significant fields by digging deep into the socioeconomic and cultural factors affecting Algerian female EFL university teachers’ careers through Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The incentives behind conducting this research are twofold: first, Algerian women teachers/lecturers, as in many other countries, manifest themselves in great proportions at all levels including Higher Education. Second, CPD seems to be overshadowed, compared to other ways of professional development (i.e. pre-service, and in-service training). In light of this, my research enquiry attempts to answer the following questions: a) How do Algerian female EFL teachers perceive their careers in the Algerian higher education? b) What types of CPD do Algerian female EFL teachers engage in and do not engage in? Why? c) To what extent does CPD have an impact on Algerian female teachers’ careers? d) How are Algerian female EFL teachers’ careers perceived by their colleagues and students? e) What are the socioeconomic and cultural factors affecting Algerian female EFL teachers’ careers in the Algerian higher education? My oral presentation will attempt to provide a brief overview of the Algerian context as well as my experience in the fieldwork as an Algerian female ethnographer in an already familiar setting, but an international researcher. Through adopting a number of data tools, data was collected in situ. My initial thematic analysis revealed some gender-related findings (e.g. family and motherhood, single vs. married female teachers) some of which will be presented and discussed. In addition to the theoretical part of the literature, excerpts from my data will be used to demonstrate how gender can be a significant issue in the ongoing learning of women university teachers. Merriam and Tisdell (2016) argue that in order to ensure the ‘validity’ and ‘reliability’ of any research, it should be conducted “in an ethical manner” (p. 237). Regardless of the heating debate around the terms used, the rigour and trustworthiness of my research are reflected through the ethical considerations I kept in mind prior, during and after my fieldwork. My constant engagement in reflexivity has helped me acknowledge my assumptions, my biases and, to a certain extent, fight my familiarity within the field. Lincoln and Guba (1985) suggested four alternative evaluative criteria to ensure rigour and trustworthiness, which are widely used by qualitative researchers: credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability. Accordingly, in an attempt to meet the aforementioned criteria, I followed these steps: pilot study; peer debriefing; ‘thick description’ that is the backbone of my ethnographic research; member checking and crystallisation. Through this doctoral enquiry, my aim is to raise awareness on the significance of investigating women university teachers’ professional careers, not only from the perspectives already explored in the literature (e.g. leadership), but also their Continuing Professional Development. Although my research setting is based in Algeria, this phenomenon might be transferrable (Lincoln and Guba, 1985) to other contexts, as women university teachers/lecturers are deemed to be in great proportions in the teaching field in many parts of the world. What characterises university teaching is that it is not simply about teaching, but also about being involved in academia (Missoum, 2015). This research, therefore, aims to bring about change in the policy and practice.
Arguably, the researcher’s decision of what data tools to employ should be linked to the nature of the research questions, the research design as well as the population being researched (Patton, 2015; Holliday, 2016; Cohen et al., 2018). My research is qualitative, interpretative, ethnographic falling under the postmodern paradigm because it has a set of objectives: first, to dig deep into Algerian female EFL university teachers’ careers through Continuing Professional Development. Second, it seeks to obtain first-hand experiences by being immersed in the natural setting of my participants for a period of time. Third, it endeavours to understand the multiple interpretations or variation of understandings attributed to the same phenomenon and further interpret them (Holliday, 2016). Additionally, my study is underpinned by a set of philosophical assumptions (epistemology, ontology and axiology) that serve as a scaffolding to my thinking and my research-related decisions. By keeping all these important elements in sight, a number of data tools have been employed: overt participant observation, informal conversations, individual/group semi-structured interviews, and fieldnotes. Photographs and teachers’ reflections were not used in my thesis for ethical reasons. Following the focus of my research, my main participants are female teachers, but male teachers, female and male students were also invited to take part in my research to get diverse perspectives about the same phenomenon. Given the urge to be flexible in the fieldwork, my participants were selected through various sampling types: purposive, snowball and opportunist. To analyse my data, I used thematic analysis as the first layer to help me identify the main themes. Critical discourse analysis or content analysis are two other types of analysis that might be significant to delve more into the data.
To date, this doctoral research is still in its early stages and has not reached the core data analysis yet, which makes it challenging to predict what exactly my findings would be. However, my initial thematic analysis that started in the fieldwork helped me see some preliminary themes emerging, some of which are gender based: family and motherhood, power and hierarchy, economic crisis, autonomous learning, self-integrity etc. In addition to thematic analysis, I am thinking of adopting critical discourse analysis or content analysis to dig deeper into my data and be able to fulfil my role as the main research instrument who thoroughly and ethically interprets the interpretations of others under study.
Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2018) Research Methods in Education, (8th Ed.). London: Routledge. Holliday, A. (2016) Doing & Writing Qualitative Research (3rd Ed.). London: Sage. Lincoln, Y. & Guba, E. (1985) Naturalistic Inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Merriam, S. B., Tisdell, E. J. (2016) Qualitative Research A Guide to Design and Implementation (4th Ed.). CA: Jossey-Bass. Missoum, M. (2015) ‘Autonomous Continuing Professional Development for Algerian University Teachers of English’, Bejaia University, International Conference Proceedings. Arab World English Journal, pp. 164-179. Patton, M. Q. (2015) Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods (4th Ed.). London: Sage.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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