Alshibany, Entessar (2018) Libyan Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching English as a Foreign Language at Preparatory and Secondary Schools: Teaching Methodology, Curriculum and Professional Development. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis aims to develop an understanding and explanation about what Libyan teachers think and believe about teaching English. It examines how they regard themselves as English language teachers, addresses their beliefs about classroom practices and the current curriculum, and what might be regarded as professionalism within the Libyan educational context. This interpretive qualitative case study was conducted in the southern part of Libya and involved fifteen teachers of English from seven public schools who were purposively chosen and then observed and interviewed to generate data. Four inspectors and the head of a university English department were also interviewed to elucidate the wider context.

This research adopted Ajzen’s (2005) Planned Behaviour Theory (PBT) and Desimone’s (2009) model of professional development as a theoretical base for the study. PBT underpinned an exploration and explanation of teachers’ beliefs, taking into consideration a variety of motivational factors. The way teachers’ intentions acclimatised to certain practices were analysed with regard to the three main determinants of PBT: behavioural, normative and control beliefs. Desimone’s model of professional development then was implemented as a relevant basis to explore the change required with respect to teachers’ current practices and their professional development in an evolving context such as Libya.

The findings of this research confirm that Libyan teachers’ pedagogical practices are largely traditional. However, it also demonstrates that this occurs, in some cases, despite initial teacher training, since there were those participants who had had a pre- service background in teaching methodologies but, nevertheless, still adopted a traditional role once in the classroom. Significant factors which influenced this were: firstly, a lack of alignment between the Libyan assessment system and the principles of the English curriculum; secondly, an inconsistency between the official inspection regime and the principles of the current curriculum; thirdly, inadequacy in initial training and in any subsequent continued professional development (CPD). The Libyan inspection regime itself also displayed inconsistencies owing to inspectors’ incongruent views about what constitutes effective teaching in Libyan English language classrooms.

Moreover, the research findings regarding teachers’ beliefs, as they emerged from the data and were interpreted under the main aspects of PBT, suggest that the participant teachers hold a range of beliefs which influence their practices. Those beliefs were formed in various ways initially as a result of background factors: their previous preparatory and secondary school experiences as language learners, and then advice from inspectors and other colleagues. However, significantly, the Libyan public examining system encouraged them to teach to the test and define success solely in terms of assessment while defining their concept of professionalism exclusively as years of teaching experience.

This thesis reveals then a lack of alignment between the Libyan English curriculum and its assessment. It also indicates that professionalism in Libyan education is conceived as years of experience rather than as pedagogical knowledge and understanding, and that, currently, there are few opportunities either through pre- service training or continued professional development for that to change.

Entessar Alshibany Final thesis.pdf
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