The Teachers’ Perspective: What They Want and Get From Supervisory Practices in a Saudi EFL Context
Abdul Rehman, Adil
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I wish to publish papers using material that is substantially drawn from my thesis.
The aim of this study was to investigate teachers’ perspectives on how they want to be supervised with a view to critiquing existing practices in light of teacher experience, viewpoint and professional aspirations. Documents used in the supervisory cycle in the setting of the study were analyzed to develop a broader understanding regarding the issues that comprise the supervisory activities and the supervisory criteria as documented by the educational organization that was the setting of this study. In addition, a total of eleven preparatory year EFL teachers in a university in Saudi Arabia were interviewed. The study used qualitative methods, with the data subjected to rigorous analysis that employed an analytical approach informed by the principles of grounded theory. The ideas gathered from the qualitative analysis of the interview data - complemented by the insights developed from document analysis - led to the emergence of two themes under which teachers’ expectations and ideas were grouped: 1) the professional aspect and 2) the social aspect. Under the professional aspect, teachers discussed their ideas regarding activities and concepts directly related to teaching practice and professional activities of teachers. The second theme, the social aspect, covers concepts which are related to the way the organization deals with teachers. Analysis of teachers’ interview data showed that there was some level of commonality between the ideas and expectations of teachers regarding some of the general points related to how they want to be supervised. However, there was considerable disparity in their priorities and their expectations regarding the overall approach of the supervisory system, to the extent that at times the expectations and priorities of some teachers were incompatible with and mutually exclusive of the expectations of the other teachers. This led to the conclusion that a multi-streamed supervisory system would provide for the needs of teachers with different expectations, priorities and needs. Such a system would have different streams with different activities for beginning and veteran teachers, with one or two more streams in between for teachers who do not fit in either stream. A multi-streamed system could allow the teachers the opportunity to articulate their needs and expectations and it does not impose a ‘one-size-fits-all’ system on all the teachers. Furthermore, it was recommended that supervisors should draw on the literature on professional life cycles and consider variables related to the workplace (regulations, management style, social expectations etc.) and to teachers’ personal lives (family, cumulative life experiences, individual disposition etc.) so that they can make informed decisions when assigning teachers to different streams within a multi-streamed supervisory system.