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Teachers as inquirers : exploring and alternative model of professional development in Bahrain Mahmood, Minas

Abstract

This study is a qualitative case study, which explored the value of teacher research as an approach to teachers' in-service development in one of the girls' secondary schools in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The transcriptions of the participants' group meeting, interviews, written responses to a questionnaire and documents from students formed sources of data which were gathered over a period of one academic school year. Three research questions were addressed in the study: 1) How is teacher research conceptualized and enacted by a group of Bahraini English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers over a course of one-year, self-directed professional development program? 2) How does teacher research from the perspective of the EFL study group contribute to development of individual teacher's classroom practices? and 3) What is the impact of teacher research from the perspective of the EFL study group on students' learning? The analysis of data revealed a number of insights as a result of implementing an inquiry approach into practice. The teachers in this study validated the notion that as professionals, teachers are capable of directing their own professional development and contributing to the production of knowledge about this process. The case study further demonstrated the complexities associated with the process of engaging in inquiry especially in contexts where such practices are not the norm or might even not be valued. The insights gained from this case are significant and inform teacher educators of the important role practitioners can play in bringing about change into their teaching and improving educational practices. These insights would therefore necessitate the re-examination of the way teacher development is conducted in Bahrain. Moreover, it creates the need for providing the opportunity for the inclusion of the voices of those teachers who have explored alternative approaches to in-service development and have generated knowledge about this process. Drawing upon the experiences and knowledge of these teachers would contribute in portraying a different image of teachers- as -professionals in Bahrain and inform the educational community of their significant contributions in educational reform.

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