An investigation into teacher-initiated or DIY Professional Development
: The push and pull of teacher Professional Development

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education

Abstract

Within education formalised teacher professional development (PD) has long been an area of research interest. In contrast informal, teacher-initiated PD has been researched far less. This thesis addresses this issue by investigating the proposed concept of DIY teacher professional development.

This study employs a bricolage methodology involving pragmatic decision making to select any method or tool at the disposal of the researcher. The theoretical perspective, used as a lens for analysis, was influenced by critical pedagogists. Data collection was via a Delphi study (administered via electronic means) in which the initial round utilised a qualitative open-ended questionnaire, analysed thematically to produce statements. The second round involved a quantitative questionnaire to establish expert consensus on these statements. Data were analysed through descriptive statistics; alongside this a personal reflexive journal was compiled to track the researcher’s own developmental journey.

The consensus from the expert panellists was that teacher-initiated PD (the term preferred to DIY PD by participants) could be used as a separate classification of professional development. Key activities included: professional conversations and learning communities, which could expand to include networks. Key factors relating specifically to teachers included: relevancy to the participant; motivation, trust, agency and ownership, with collaboration as a facilitating factor. A further notable delivery factor included location of the PD delivery. Finally, given the complexity of this subject, the study also identifies emergent themes including: teacher identity, implicit learning, accountability and transparency, alternate discourse, and power, hierarchy and control.

The thesis makes a contribution to the education community on three levels. Methodologically it shows how a Delphi study may be used within the educational context, as currently this is an under-utilised approach within education. Secondly the study informs the wider education community, including: teachers, administrators, policy makers, and teacher educators, on what PD may involve and might develop over coming years. The final contribution is a critique of the way the author has developed professionally which will inform their ongoing professional, and personal, development as an educator and researcher.
Date of Award2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorLiz Lakin (Supervisor) & Susie Schofield (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • CPD
  • Professional development
  • Education
  • Teacher education
  • Professional learning
  • CLPL
  • Grassroots
  • DIY
  • Scottish Education
  • Bricolage
  • Delphi study

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