Effectiveness of professional development activities for EFL teachers

2017-06-15
Gedik Bal, Nur
Savaş, Perihan
Problem Durumu In the field of ELT, the effectiveness of teaching has been evaluated by examining the teachers’ performances and characteristics for years. However, there has been no consensus on the definition of the attributes of an effective EFL teacher. Many studies have included both students’ and teachers’ perceptions of an effective EFL teacher and even though certain terms have been accepted, it is still debatable. Furthermore, even though the main goal of many pre-service teacher education programs is to equip future teachers with the knowledge and expertise in teaching, not all objectives are achieved fully. According to Berry, Daughtrey and Wieder (2010), ideal practices and teaching methods are taught to prospective teachers, but these programs generally do not consider the needs of the local population (p.2). Therefore, there is a need for ‘continuous professional development’ when teachers start their profession. It is not just a must for a newly recruited teacher to be trained to adapt to the teaching environment with the help of induction programs but it is an ongoing process that even the most experienced teacher may want to attend to revitalize his or her teaching. It might be teacher’s initiative to develop himself/herself, or sometimes developing oneself as a teacher might be mandatory in an institution. However, having traditional or reformative professional development activities are also debatable in terms of their contribution to teaching. In many studies (Corcoran, 1995; Birman et al., 2000; Collinson, 2000; Hirsh, 2001; Kelleher, 2003; Easton, 2008), traditional professional development activities such as workshops and conferences were criticized because of their lack of length, depth, and ineffectiveness as cited in Bayar (2014). Indeed, there are many factors that make such programs effective or ineffective. This study aimed to reveal teachers’ and teacher trainers’ perceptions of the effectiveness of certain professional development activities such as keeping teaching journals, peer observations, teacher trainer observations, action research, online teacher development courses, webinars related to ELT, attending to teacher certificate programs, and participating in seminar and workshops in ELT. The study also aimed to explore the qualifications of an effective EFL teacher and teacher trainer considering teachers’ and the trainer’s beliefs and experiences. Araştırma Yöntemi The study was a qualitative study. The main research questions to be investigated via qualitative inquiry were a) What are the perceptions of EFL in-service teachers on the qualifications of an effective EFL teacher and teacher trainer? and b) What are the perceptions of EFL in-service teachers and trainers on the effectiveness of in-service teacher training activities? The participants of the study included a private university teacher with five years of teaching experience, a state university educator with eleven years of teaching, and a teacher trainer with 25 years of teaching and 19 years of training. All of the participants had in-service teachers training experience. Data collection tools included semi-structured interviews which lasted from approximately 35 to 80 minutes. The interview schedule was organized under 12 categories with a variety of questions to collect data on the perceptions of participants to answer the research questions. Total number of questions asked in the interviews to each participant was 56. The interviews were recorded and transcribed. Data analysis done on the transcriptions was carried out by using constant comparison method in which the codes, concepts, categories and themes were discovered with the help of open, axial and selective coding suggested by Glaser and Strauss (1967). Beklenen/GeçiciSonuçlar With the help of the experiences of the instructors and the trainer, the study revealed the participants’ perceptions of the qualifications of an effective EFL instructor and a teacher trainer. These qualifications were mainly related to the personal traits, knowledge, and experience of the teachers and teacher trainers. Moreover, benefits and challenges of aforementioned professional development activities were also unearthed. These varied from one professional activity to another. However, some of them (keeping journals, peer observations, action research) were unanimously considered as useful by all the participants’ whereas some (online teacher development courses, webinars and workshops) were debatable in terms of their benefits to teaching of the instructors. In addition, some recommendations regarding the improvement of these professional development activities and programs were identified in the study, which can inform teacher trainers for the development of professional development programs, and inspire language teachers to continue their life-learning with similar activities.

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Citation Formats
N. Gedik Bal and P. Savaş, “Effectiveness of professional development activities for EFL teachers,” Denizli, Türkiye, 2017, p. 1675, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/84785.