Using the Internet to support Libyan in-service EFL teachers' professional development

Elmabruk, Reda (2009) Using the Internet to support Libyan in-service EFL teachers' professional development. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Libyan in-service teachers of English with poor INSET provision and low-resourced school environments stand to gain a great deal from Internet-based Continuing Professional Development (I-CPD). The aim of this exploratory and descriptive study was threefold: first, to understand current practices and conditions pertaining to CPD provision for Libyan teachers; second, to explore the potential of Internet-based CPD for Libyan teachers through a bottom-up informal approach; third, to develop an I-CPD model appropriate for the Libyan context.

A mixed-method interventionist case study approach formed the methodological framework of the research. Fact Finding (Phase 1) was carried out to scout the field using a teachers' questionnaire and semi-structured interviews at six language schools in Tripoli. In the Case Study (Phase 2) a typical language institution with in-house Internet access was selected to deliver a progressive intervention course designed to meet the needs of teachers in low-resourced school contexts, but with access to public Internet cafés. Eight case teachers were engaged in problem-based learning to enhance their Internet skills, then using instructional, peer and task support teachers were engaged in blended learning via a web-based Yahoo Group. A ten-week long Extended Case Study (Phase 3) merged Case members from Phase 2 with other teachers from Libya and the UK, forming a larger online group (60 participants) facilitated by a web-hosted Virtual Learning Environment (Merlin).

The Fact Finding phase revealed an overall intermediate level in Internet skills and encouraging attitudes towards I-CPD. A more organised petroleum sector emerged, where professional development was assigned higher priority than in the public or private sectors. The Case Study data showed moderate teacher participation in blended learning while task responses reflected minimum engagement with tasks, and little critical reflection. The low response in the Extended Case Study phase prompted attention to the possible causes of low online participation.

In addition to generic barriers to asynchronous online learning, such as lurking and the lack of time, underlying context-specific causes have emerged which point to what is termed intellectual-error phobia (ie-phobia) within unbonded groups: while teachers readily participated in low-level tasks, when faced with high-order group-based tasks, they admitted fear of posting trivial responses that were archived and perhaps criticised by other teachers. To minimise ie-phobia and encourage online interaction, a blended multi-dimensional support model is proposed in which f2f orientation and social cohesion precede Internet-based learning that adopts progressive online activities, thus gradually fostering teacher independence and promoting sustainable I-CPD that is holistic and optimised.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:McGrath, I.
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
ID Code:1038
Deposited By:Dr. Reda Elmabruk
Deposited On:23 Feb 2010 15:18
Last Modified:06 Dec 2011 09:39

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