The impact of continuing professional development on EFL faculty employed in federal universities in the United Arab Emirates
Jafri, Naziha Ali
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The main aim of this thesis is to explore the continuing professional development (CPD) of expatriate English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers employed in the foundation English programme of federal universities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In order to understand the phenomenon of CPD from the perspective of experienced teachers in the context this study explores their perceptions about CPD; along with their choice of CPD initiatives and the reasons and factors which impact on their choice. It also explores teachers’ suggestions about improving CPD in their context. It is expected that the results of this thesis will create awareness of these aspects among experienced EFL teachers, their institutions, local CPD organisations and as well as the community of experienced expatriate tertiary teachers of EFL. It is also expected that the study will raise implications to consider for improving the CPD experience of teachers in the context. Data was obtained using face to face individual and focus group interviews with volunteers who were foundation EFL teachers with a minimum of five years teaching experience in the context. Results revealed that participants in the study valued CPD as lifelong professional evolution that resulted in evident change. High preference emerged for participation in learning through participation in activities that provided opportunities for dialogue and collaboration. However, participants experienced less empowered and without a voice in the implementation of the institutional CPD agenda. Similarly disillusionment was experienced with CPD organisations’ standardized initial teacher education focused CPD. The study highlights how when teachers feel less empowered in their existing professional and occupational communities, they exercise their agency in finding alternative means of professional development. One result of this situation is the emergence of teacher initiated communities where learning takes place in an environment of mutual shared understandings. This also illuminates the existence of untapped expertise in the context which if exploited can benefit federal institutions; their teachers, CPD providers and subsequently others in the context. The main implication arising from this study is for federal universities, teachers and CPD providers to work in tandem and attempt to establish teacher learning communities of practice within the institution for situated learning within the context of practice.
Doctor of Education in TESOL