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ERIC Number: ED543225
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 263
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2672-9072-4
Learning a New Approach to Teach in a Traditional Context: A Case of Thai Primary School Teachers Making Fundamental Changes in Their Practice
Namfa, Benjalug
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
This study examined a unique professional development model and its contribution to teachers' practice. The study also sought to understand the process of teacher learning as teachers made fundamental changes in their teaching. The new model of professional development was implemented in the context of the Social Forestry, Education and Participation (SFEP) project. The study examined the contributions of different components of the professional development intervention and the process of change that teachers went through as they tried to transform their teaching. The kinds of changes advocated by the SFEP project represent a radical departure from traditional Thai teaching which is teacher-centered, textbook based and test-driven. To help teachers move from these practices to more student-centered, community-based and inquiry-oriented teaching, the project designed a new kind of professional development program. This program combined a "teacher-as-learner" workshop with classroom support by supervisors and regular teacher meetings. The study found that the three components provided different learning opportunities for teachers. The intensive workshop provided a chance for teachers to experience the same kinds of learning opportunities which they would later provide for their students. Supervisory follow-up support played a different but equally important role in teachers' learning and change. Supervisors helped teachers clarify their role in guiding student learning. They served as a mirror, helping teachers see more clearly what was going on and to think about what they needed to do to improve the quality of student learning. The teacher meetings provided collegial support for teachers to share and solve problems together. They enabled teachers to use their colleagues as resources in refining their practice. Teacher change is an ongoing process that consumes time and involves learning. In-depth case studies of two teachers provided insights about the content and process of teacher learning. Both teachers had to change their beliefs and their practices. In the first stage teachers transferred activities from the workshop into the classroom without rethinking their role. In the second stage, teachers learned to pay close attention to students as a basis for figuring out appropriate ways to help them learn. The study has implications for policy makers and staff developers. To make such fundamental changes in teaching and learning, the professional development intervention provided to teachers has to fit with the goals of the reform initiative. The supervisor's role needs to change to be able to provide appropriate help to teachers while they experiment with new teaching in their classrooms. An alternative to supervisors (or in conjunction with a role change) could be the development of "mentor teachers" to provide supportive assistance to targeted teachers. Expansion of a project like this requires creating an infrastructure of support and guidance to help new teachers. Finally project teachers need help to deepen their understanding of subject matter and pedagogical knowledge. They need to learn how to help other teachers make basic changes in their teaching. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A