Teacher Autonomy for Professional Development: A Longitudinal Case Study of Novice EFL Teachers

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

1 Department of English Language Teaching, Faculty of Humanities, Islamic Azad University, West Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of English Language Teaching, Faculty of Humanities, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

10.22111/ijals.2021.6824

Abstract

Despite many studies on teacher autonomy (TA) and its connection with learner autonomy (LA), scant attention has been devoted to TA on its own and how it might contribute to teachers themselves. Against this backdrop, the current study set out to investigate novice English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers’ autonomy development in terms of their self-directed professional development (PD) and capacity for their self-directed PD, the two subcomponents of the multidimensional framework of TA. To this end, two novice EFL teachers’ audio diaries on the aforementioned subcomponents were collected for 10 months. Moreover, to complement the probable gaps in the diary phase, the teachers were interviewed in five terms. The thematic analysis of  the  collected diaries  and  diary-based  semi-structured interviews revealed that novice EFL teachers’ main activities for self-directed PD embraced peer observation, peer coaching, reading books, making use of technology, reflection, action research, and attending workshops. Additionally, the findings indicated that novice EFL teachers were equipped with both capacity and willingness to self-direct their PD. The constructive factors enabling  them  to  develop  such  capacity  included  experience,  reading  books,  and  external support. The findings bear implications for teacher educators to underline the value of PD strategies for teachers. Teachers should also be aware of the PD strategies they could employ for their self-direction. The findings suggest some implication for institute managers too.

Keywords


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