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ENGLISH LANGUAGE ACADEMICS’ PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SAUDI ARABIA; A LITERATURE REVIEW

H. Assalahi1, S. Rich2

1King Abdulaziz University / University of Exeter (UNITED KINGDOM)
2University of Exeter (UNITED KINGDOM)
This paper aims to provide an overview the major themes in the literature concerning English language academics professional development (PD) in tertiary education in Saudi Arabia (KSA). By extension, the literature review depicts the status of academics’ professionalism and the effect of recent trends and developments in professionalising the academic staff. Whilst PD has been recognised as a critical source for achieving educational reforms, the literature indicates a dearth of studies in the field of language teacher professional development in HE in KSA. It also points to a gap between PD processes and the inherent discourses of professionalism, workplace complexities and the conditions that affect teachers’ learning to teach. How and what teachers’ PD mean is still an unresolved issue, and thus the review offers new insights into understanding PD as a complex process. The paper aims to bridge this gap and contributes more broadly to our understanding of the academics’ development within the context of their professional workplace communities. The review indicates a simplistic conceptualisation of PD among the scholastic research community generally speaking and more specifically the academic staff development in KSA. Encouraging the academic staff to pursue their professional growth is a lot more complex than what a lot of TESOL literature has presented as sanctioned training or collaborative teacher-lead learning initiatives. The findings of this literature survey suggests a need for a holistic understanding of academics’ professional development and learning in their workplace contexts. We argue that due attention must be paid to the understanding of the context in which teachers’ learning takes place, and that decisions about PD must take into account dimensions of professionalism; both in tertiary education in Saudi Arabia and worldwide.