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Dissertation Proposal Draft

Enhancement of Online Teacher Professional Development for English Language Libyan


Khalifa Elgosbi

Northern Illinois University

ETR 520 / Fall 2014

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Enhancement of Online Teacher Professional Development for English Language Libyan

1- Introduction

Libya is a vast country; more than 2,000,000 square kilometers of area, but the population

is very small; less than six million people. This geographical fact has imposed on the country

that any kind of development is surrounded by many challenges, and English language teaching

and learning is no exception. English language teaching and learning has been one of the areas

that suffered the consequences of remotely located institutions along with scattered teacher

population. According to an official report, teachers are the outcome of pre-service teacher

preparation training. The report stated that when a student finishes secondary school she/he

either joins university or “enrolls in a teachers’ training college that qualifies him/her to teach in

secondary education in his / her field of specialization” (General People’s Committee of Ed.

Report: 8).

English language teachers like all other teachers graduate from pre-service training colleges

after four years of study in the hope that the authorities will support them with in-service training

and professional development programs. Actually, a lot of research studies showed that such in-

service training is either nonexistent (Hamdy, 2007), still lagging behind (Clark, 2004), or a

complete failure due to the surrounding circumstances. (Rhema & Miliszewska, 2010).

On the other hand the General people’s Committee for Education report highlights the role

of its Department of E-learning by saying that a “design and production of the elctronic book,

and the management of the educational portal, and activating learning and training programs

from distance” are among its duties. (General People’s Committee of Ed. Report: 14) the report

also points that “The year 2006 witnessed the direct implementation of a pilot project that
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included a number of 6 schools, in collaboration with an international company specialized in e-

learning.”(General People’s Committee of Ed. Report, p. 12).

This study is an attempt to address the problem of lack of online teacher professional

development as a solution to the problems of insufficient in-service training for English language

teachers and the shortage in well-trained teachers in Libya. The departure point of this study is

the hypothesis that there is a good relationship between teacher professional development and

teacher evaluation. This relationship can be exploited in solving the problems of implementing

online learning for teachers who seek professional development and it is only a step towards

providing of well-trained teachers. It is intended to investigate the teacher training situation in

Libya and find a solution of the problem of lack effective teacher development programs. The

researcher will be concentrating on the idea that once online professional development is

approved by the authorities and accepted by the working teachers as to be included in the

evaluation system, then the evaluation forms are going to be adjusted to include items that

measure teacher self-engagement in online teacher professional training. Teachers who succeed

in such involvement will be given credit which can lead to improvement in their classroom

teaching actions. The assumption that teacher development needs to be enhanced by teacher

evaluation forms can lead to the following research questions:

a) How can the teachers’ awareness of the problem help in suggesting online teacher


b) What are the Libyan educational administrators’ perceptions about implementing a

new evaluation system that includes teacher self-engagement in online training?

It is apparent that the main variables are interrelated in the sense that updating of evaluation

forms and teacher awareness will bring about teacher participation in an online program, which
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will consequently lead to better teaching procedures and tactics in the classroom. These

variables are namely:

i- Teacher awareness (IV)

ii- Administrators acceptance (IV)

iii- Updating forms (MV)

iv- Teacher involvement (DV)

2- Literature review

According to Schmidt (2010), who investigated the power of an online social self-study

experience, both teachers and university professors accepted to use “Livemocha as part of their

curriculum.” Making language learning and teaching easier and more effective can be made

possible by gaining teacher awareness for combining technology into teacher training programs.

Teacher awareness of technology-driven learning can be a key factor in improving the teaching

techniques of an in-service trainee teacher. Moreover, Enever (2011) raises the point of

reconsidering our procedures to enhance teaching and learning effectiveness and improvements

when she stated that “without fundamental reappraisal of the values and systems with which ELT

is organized, teachers will continue to be in the firing line and students be short-changed in their

efforts to learn English”. Related research to this study has revealed that researches almost agree

on teacher development as being consistent with other issues of learning and teaching

theories.(Kabilan, 2004; Armstrong, 2011; and Moore-Hayes, 2011). Thus, the framework for

this study has been decided building on the conceptual components of the social constructivist

theory which asserts that “learners should take primary responsibility for their learning and ‘own

the process as far as possible.” (Wilson, 2012, p. 45). Moreover, constructivist theory values the
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notions, which hold that “learning is a social activity involving collaboration in authentic

practices of communities” (Wilson, 2012, p. 45).

Teachers, who will become part of this study, will provide an explanation to the theoretical

arguments of the constructivist researchers that the workplace learning is also controlled with the

general learning theories of human practice. Learning in places “where possible, reflection,

assessment and feedback should be embedded ‘naturally’ within learning activity” (Wilson,

2012, p. 45). According to UNESCO officials Libya is in urgent need of teacher training that is

well-structured and professionally supportive. “We believe that the high number of teachers

available in Libya can be a driving force to increase the quality of the education, but this will

happen only if they are highly motivated, appropriately trained and supported,” as stated by

Carel de Rooy, UNICEF Libya Country Director. (EU & UNESCO report)

Due to the fact that the English language teacher population in Libya (the targeted population) is

considerably a large one (Zatoug, 2013), it is more beneficial for reliability and validity purposes

that this study is conducted by means of qualitative design. Qualitative research can yield

important information in this case because the situation of the Libyan preparatory/secondary

school teachers of English is described as complicated multifaceted one. This implies that the

more directly the data are collected the more reliable the conclusion will be.

If this study can converge with constructivist theoretical findings and make them a reality for the

Libyan English language teacher, it will gain the teachers’ consent that training is a social

responsibility in which benefit is individual as well as social. Teaching is an ongoing long-life

learning process where teachers add to their knowledge and techniques and styles as they carry

on doing the job. The styles and techniques of teaching are being revised and adjusted along with

teacher developing experiences gained from online development scenarios. It is easy to consider
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teachers’ development as a learning process in which teachers learn new information on how

they handle the different teaching situations and how to build their teaching knowledge through

experience. The next step for a working teacher would be to reflect what is learnt onto everyday

teaching and teaching becomes meaningful and creative.

3- Methodology

A pilot study which will be conducted prior to the real research will reveal some

information on how to avoid data collection problems; such as getting permission from subjects

to record the interviews, to use their recordings, and to decide the best timing for the interviews

and so on.

All of the information for this study will be collected by means of semi-structured

interviews, which will be conducted with two purposive samples, namely, the Libyan

educational administrative evaluation inspectors and Libyan secondary school teachers of ESL.

However, the nature of this study might also impose using another kind of instrument. Choosing

the instruments will depend on two factors: (a) the size of the target population and (b) the

results from the pilot study. For the purpose of this study, sampling will be done by means of a

combination of two ways of convenient sampling:

i- Homogeneous Sample (to represent the teacher population)

ii- Typical sample (to represent the administrators population)

The samples will be decided depending on the following main dimensions:

a) Geographical concerns (urban v rural)

b) Statistical (concentration of schools)

c) Age (newly hired v senior instructors)

d) Gender (male teachers v female teachers)

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e) Attitude towards technology (technophiles v technophobes)

This study will highlight the significance of teacher self-development scenarios and the

teachers’ role in being responsible for their own development, which will result in improving

their performance in general. Moreover, this study will lead to the future achievement of the

creation of a new system through which teachers can be developed.

Finally, this study will be conducted in LIBYA because the target population is located in

there. The information will be collected from both the samples of this study at the same time

(over a short period of time) in order to maintain reliability since a long time period might affect

the variables of the study. For example, teachers who accept to participate in the study might

change their minds if the interviews take longer time. Later, the data will be arranged and

analyzed with the help of the researcher’s supervisor and department (ETRA department, NIU).

The study then will be presented as a dissertation for an Ed. Doctorate degree.
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Armstrong, D. A. (2011). Students’ perception of online learning and instructional tools: A

qualitative study of undergraduate students’ use of online tools. TOJET- The Turkish

Online Journal of Educational Technology. V 10 (3), July 2011.

Clark, N. (2004). Education in Libya. Retrieved October 28, 2009. Retrieved 10/11/2014 from


Hamdy, A. (2007). ICT in education in Libya. Libya Country Report. Retrieved 10/13/2014 from


Hartnell-Young, E. (2009) Learning for teaching: Building professional knowledge on a national

scale. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology. V 35(1) Winter 2009. Retrieved

10/13/2014 from http://madlib.athabascau.ca/index.php/cjlt/rt/printerFrindly/516/246

Kabilan, M. K. (2004). Online professional development: A literature analysis of teacher

competency. Journal of Computing in Teahcer Education. V 21(2)

Moore-Hayes, C. (2011). Technology Integration Preparedness and its Influence on Teacher

Efficacy. Canadian Journal of Learner and Technology. V 37 (3) Fall 2011.

Rhema, A., & Miliszewska, I. (2010). Towards E-Learning in Higher Education in Libya. Issues

in Informing Science and Information Technology. Volume 7, 2010. Victoria University,

Melbourne, Victoria. Retrieved 10/11/2014 from The World Factbook. (2009). Retrieved

October 10, 2009 from: https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ly.html

The General People’s Committee of Education. (2008). The development of education: National

report of Libya, Geneva 25- 28 November 2008. Retrieved 10/11/2014 from

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Wilson, B. G, (2012), (2007), (2002). Constructivism in Practical and Historical Contexts. In

Reiser R. A. & Dempsey, J. V. (Ed). Trends and Issues in Instructional design and

Technology. (pp. 45-52). Boston, MA. Pearson.

Zatoug, N. (2013). Better Education through teacher development. As part of the United Nations

Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Ministry of Education. Education Reform in Libya-

CfBT. Retrieved 10/10/2014 from http://www.cfbt.com/en-GB/.../cs-education-reform-