Who Provides Professional Development? A Study of Professional Development in Qatar

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 University of Michigan, US

2 Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar

3 Qatar University, Qatar

Abstract

This paper argues that understanding what is offered as professional development frames what matters in English language teaching in a national education system. Analyzing these offerings articulates the values and perceptions of the work environment in which teachers live professionally. The Learning4Teaching (L4T) project is a multi-country series of national studies that examine public-sector English language teachers’ experiences of professional development. The studies document 1) the learning opportunities provided in the national context, 2) how teachers view participating in these opportunities, and 3) what they believe they take from them. Drawing on data from the first phase of the study (#1 above), this paper examines the provision of professional development to ELT teachers in the ‘independent’ (public school) sector in Qatar between 2012 and 2015. Of the 150 events offered during this period, 50% concerned teaching methodology. The university/training center sector provided the bulk of professional development (79% of events). The professional development offerings presented teachers with a view of English language teaching as: highly focused on methodological expectations and skills; driven by a set of policy priorities around managing the learning environment, assessment, and standards; in which methodological knowledge and skills are seen as the currency of a teaching identity.

Keywords