This study investigates how Saudi mathematics teachers develop their understanding of classroom dialogue through a 'reform orientated' professional development programme modelled as a Community of Practice (Wenger 1998). It hypothesizes that Saudi Arabia provides an interesting context for research on teachers' professional development due the recent introduction of a 'reform orientated' primary mathematics curriculum which emphasizes a more active, dialogic role for students. This contrasts with the teacher-dominated, transmissionist pedagogy, which is widely recognized to be dominant in Saudi classrooms, thus creating a contradictory and conflicted context in which to conduct research on professional development.Therefore, this thesis reports on an evaluative case study of the aforementioned teacher professional development programme (TDP) which I instigated over a 10 week period in Saudi school based in Tabuk, North West SA. This TDP operated a cyclical design whereby discussion workshops reflected on video episodes of the teachers' classroom practice, which then produced new teaching strategies to try out in practice and then reflect on in future workshops. The purpose of researching this TDP is to establish how a community of practice on professional learning can be made to work in the SA context and the associated impact on teachers' identity development. The findings highlight how teacher development, as an issue of 'practice-and-identity' (Wenger 1998), occurred through the teachers' and my own participation in the TDP, which enabled them/us to implement new meanings and teaching strategies for developing the quality of dialogue in their classrooms. The findings also highlight how the 'landscape of practice' in which the TDP was situated generated meanings and contradictions which were negotiated by the teachers and myself as the workshops progressed. Such meanings were also important in mediating the teachers' developing identity as teachers but also in other domains of their life (e.g. as parents). The study concludes that the contradictions embedded in the SA context offer potential developmentally, in that they appear to motivate professional development (rather than hinder it). This makes a useful additional to the international literature in this field which is dominated by research situated in western contexts.
|Date of Award||31 Dec 2016|
- The University of Manchester
|Supervisor||Laura Black (Supervisor) & Julian Williams (Supervisor)|