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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN PUBLIC-SECTOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING: A QATARI PERSPECTIVE

A. Abu Tineh

Qatar University (QATAR)
Tremendous resources are invested to support public-sector English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers’ professional learning around the world. However, despite this human and financial investment, the quality of teaching in EFL classrooms remains uneven, and student outcomes are often criticized. A prevalent view is that teachers are mainly to blame for lack of improvement because they do not implement the professional development they receive. However, there is little research that probes teachers’ perceptions and experiences, and to understand the kinds of professional development activities they participate in, the supports and obstacles to participation they experience, what they learn and how they believe they use it in teaching.

This paper is part of the Learning4Teaching project, a foundation-funded research initiative to document public-sector English as a foreign language teachers’ experiences of professional development in three countries—Chile, Turkey, and Qatar. The paper reports on findings from a national sample of EFL teachers in Qatar who responded to a survey that examined their experiences of professional development over the last three years. Broadly speaking, the findings show that uptake from professional development is affected by several factors including the language of delivery, where teachers are in their careers and the grade levels they teach. The findings also report that most of professional development events for public-sector teachers are government-provided, although these may not be aligned with national policies. The session will be of interest to teachers, teacher educators, and to educational policy-makers.