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LINGUIST List 20.1981

Tue May 26 2009

Diss: Applied Linguistics: Lee: 'ESL Teacher Professional...'

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        1.    Kean-Wah Lee, ESL Teacher Professional Development & Curriculum Innovation: The case of the Malaysian Smart School project

Message 1: ESL Teacher Professional Development & Curriculum Innovation: The case of the Malaysian Smart School project
Date: 24-May-2009
From: Kean-Wah Lee <keanwahgmail.com>
Subject: ESL Teacher Professional Development & Curriculum Innovation: The case of the Malaysian Smart School project
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Institution: Lancaster University
Program: Thesis & Coursework
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Kean-Wah Ken Lee

Dissertation Title: ESL Teacher Professional Development & Curriculum Innovation: The case of the Malaysian Smart School project

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Alan Waters

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis reports on an investigation into the role of the ESL component
of a teacher professional development (PD) system in a national-level
curriculum innovation initiative - the Malaysian Smart School Curriculum
(SSC) project. The central aim of the study was to attempt to carry out an
in-depth investigation of the functioning of a PD system occurring in a
context which is currently under-represented in research and theorising,
with a view to contributing thereby to the further development of
understanding about such systems and their overall conceptualisation.

The study employed a mixed-method design, consisting of an initial
'horizontal' dimension and a subsequent 'vertical' one. The former took the
form of a survey of ESL teachers and ESL 'managers' in a single state
within Malaysia, aimed at eliciting information and views about the
functioning of the SSC PD system. The latter consisted of a case study,
based on a single SSC secondary school in the same state. Interviews, field
notes and documentary analysis were used to elicit data, with a similar
focus to that obtained in the first part of the study, from the school's
ESL teachers, management team and the wider related network of SSC PD
personnel.

The findings were analysed in terms of the 'state-of-the-art' model of PD
presented in Adey (2004). In overall terms, a number of major discrepancies
were found between the two systems. In the main, the SSC PD system was
found to have an overall 'Skills and Knowledge Transmission' orientation,
i.e., to focus mainly on the provision of 'input' about the SSC via
off-site training courses with relatively little on-site follow-up, in
contrast to the additional presence in Adey's model of an important linked
"Community of Practice"-oriented PD element. The SSC PD system was also
seen, by and large, not to have brought about the desired understanding at
the classroom level of how to put SSC-related teaching and learning
techniques into practice.

However, these outcomes were not viewed as implying that PD systems such as
the SSC one should simply be redeveloped to conform to the 'prestige'
model. Rather, it is argued that there needs to be greater appreciation of
the way the design of PD systems is influenced by socio-cultural factors,
and of the importance of attempting to remedy any shortcomings in them in a
culturally-appropriate manner.



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