An investigation into teacher-initiated or DIY Professional Development

: The push and pull of teacher Professional Development

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education


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
Awarding Institution
  • University of Dundee
SupervisorLiz Lakin (Supervisor) & Susie Schofield (Supervisor)


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

Cite this

An investigation into teacher-initiated or DIY Professional Development: The push and pull of teacher Professional Development
Holme, R. (Author). 2019

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education