English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 28.2
Volume 28 No 2 9 English Australia Journal held in Sydney. Two key initiatives are the English Australia Action Research in ELICOS Program, sponsored by Cambridge English Language Assessment (Burns, 2010), and the ‘System-wide Innovation Research Project’ at the University of Sydney’s Centre for English Teaching (CET). Both of these programs are directed toward what Butler and Schnellert (2012, p . 1207) refer to as the ‘teacher learning’ level of teacher inquiry, where teachers focus on generating knowledge for themselves and the ELT community. In this particular view of teacher learning, this is the most advanced level of teachers’ engagement with inquiry, considered higher in terms of the degree of teachers’ self-regulation of their learning, and their focus on evidence-based practice. The lower level is referred to as ‘practice level inquiry’, with a focus on teachers using resources (other teachers, ELT literature, research) to inform their work, and the lowest of the three levels is ‘student-level inquiry’, where teachers’ main areas of focus are on methodological improvements aimed at discrete student learning outcomes, often through the mode of the ubiquitous one-shot workshop. The PD project, recontextualised from the Thai to the Australian context, is aimed at developing teachers’ abilities to conduct inquiry at the second level (practice level inquiry) in order to prepare them to participate in the higher level of inquiry (teacher learning), that is, the level at which the two initiatives referred to above are positioned. It also seeks to address the problems posed at the teacher-research interface, where many teachers are not engaging with the research designed for their consumption, and which Ur eloquently argues, ‘can make a substantial contribution to professional knowledge’ (Ur, 2012, slide 9). Finally, it is aimed at moving PD activity from passive, one-shot workshops to active inquiry in collaborative professional communities, focused on instructional improvement and student achievement. This project, then, integrates PD within the individual college, and also makes possible future links with other college-based PD initiatives that are instrumental in driving PD in English language colleges in Australia. The Study Context The study was carried out in a medium-sized language college in central Sydney, employing 12 full-time teachers, and providing intensive English courses for over 150 international students. One researcher has worked at this college and others in Sydney as an academic manager and prior to that was the principal developer of the PD program in Thailand. The second researcher currently works as an academic manager at the college, and has been keenly enriching the PD culture of the college as well as contributing to initiatives with other colleges.
English Australia Journal 30.1
English Australia Journal 28.1