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English Language Teachers’ Views Toward Professional Development In The Iranian Context
Teacher professional development as a significant aspect of any educational context due to its complex and dynamic nature has been perceived, designed, and delivered differently by various professionals. A more traditionally oriented perspective regards it as a one-shot practice at initial teacher education programs, while the more dynamic view emphasizes its continuity and sustained nature developing during one's profession. Despite the recent growth of interest in the latter, studies investigating the issue through teachers’ lens as critical agents in their professional development in Iran are underdeveloped. The present qualitative study explores a group of Iranian experienced English language teachers' perspectives in this regard in two contexts of high schools and language institutes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect experienced teachers’ views regarding professional development. The body of transcribed data explored through open, focused, and axial coding procedures led to three significant themes, namely the teachers' understanding of professional development, their beliefs about the authority/institute/organization/ responsible for teacher professional development, and their suggestions for improving the status quo of professional development, each theme including specific subthemes. The result of the interviews underscored the need for a combination of theory, practice, and teacher as the three fundamental sides of a triangle, indicating that teacher education courses should be guided by teachers as a principal-agent along with teacher trainers and educators to have a voice to share their valuable personal practical knowledge and experience. The emic understanding gained through this study has implications for teacher education curriculum developers, administrators, supervisors, and TTC trainers.
Zohreh Nafissi is an Associate Professor of TEFL at Alzahra University, Tehran, where she has been teaching for the past 23 years. She has presented more than 45 papers at (inter)national conferences, has published extensively and supervised numerous dissertations. Her main research interests are Teachers’ Professional Development, Identity, and the Intersection of language and ethical education.
Fatemeh Jahedi is currently a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) PhD student at Alzahra University, Tehran. She has been teaching English courses at University of Guilan since 2016. She has two published papers. Her research interests are Language Teacher Education, Teachers’ Professional Development, Identity, Morality and Sociocultural Aspects of Language Teaching and Learning.
Zohreh Babazadeh is a TEFL PhD candidate at Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran. She currently teaches at University of Science and Culture and her research interests concern Teachers’ Professional Development, Curriculum Development, Spiritual Intelligence (SI), Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL), and sociocultural aspect of language education.