English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 28.2
Volume 28 No 2 15 English Australia Journal A prevalent theme of the initial interviews was the value placed on PD with practical application, followed by the value placed on learning from peers. As indicated, a main aim of the new program is to move towards a ‘practice level of inquiry’ (level 2). Phase Two of the project will seek to incorporate activities which will support this move from ‘level 1’ to ‘level 2’, as well as respond to requests from teachers, and explore a range of different activities for evaluation. Activities for Phase Two are indicated in Table 5. Workshops and seminars Individual activity Collaborative activity • Attend internal or external workshop or seminar • Lead an internal or external workshop • Self-study module – teaching writing • Complete a teaching journal • Complete a for-award TESOL course • Develop an online PLN • Collaborative workshop: assessing and cross- marking writing • Peer observation (if not part of a teacher ’s Phase One PD) Table 5: The professional development activities in Phase Two The findings reported above provide some confirmation for the belief that the PD program developed in Thailand, based on solid principles of reflective practice and teacher cognition, is suitable for this context. All activities, including the workshops, consisted of several stages, usually including a preparation activity, the carrying out of the activity, and a reflective stage, thereby representing much more than a one-shot workshop. Teachers responded favourably to this model of a collaborative professional community focused on instructional improvement. Indeed, some felt that improvements to their own practice were already having a positive impact on their students’ learning. Peer observations proved popular among the teachers, who saw the potential for mentoring, coaching and the development of collaborative relationships. This is a very encouraging finding and bodes well for developing further the collegial approach to revealing the hidden goings-on in the classroom, allowing for teachers to discuss and critically reflect upon issues, leading to deeper understanding of teaching. As Farrell (2013) implores, the best reflective practice is evidence-based and developed through dialogue aimed at linking beliefs with practices. Peer observations provide the means to achieve this, as do the article discussion groups, which are a more structured, collaborative activity that unpacks good teaching practice through empirical evidence presented in the articles, which is subsequently recontextualised through the discussions to inform the participants’ teaching practice.
English Australia Journal 30.1
English Australia Journal 28.1