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Doctoral Dissertation: Instructors’ views, experiences and expectations of continuing professional development activities in Turkish schools of foreign language contexts, adopting European Commission frameworks

26.1.2021

Continuing professional development (CPD) of teachers has gained attention in the field of education, more specifically in English Language Teaching (ELT). In her doctoral research M.A. Arzu Eryılmaz points out that CPD requires significant investments beyond the traditional ways of providing several resources such as time, delivery, participation and funding. It is essential to have a planned and defined policy or set of strategies that will serve as the backbone for CPD programs to meet the recognized standards.

Eryılmaz investigated the perceptions, views, experiences and expectations of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) instructors, school leaders and CPD coordinators regarding the current CPD policies and practices in Istanbul and in Ankara, Turkey. She also examined to what extent European frameworks such as the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and the EAQUALS Language Teacher Training & Development (TD-FRAM) are implemented at universities in Turkey.

– My research brings new insights into increasing teacher effectiveness in ELT and improving the quality of education in a sustainable manner by adding value for learners, teachers and employers by adapting European Commission frameworks, Eryılmaz explains.

The study contributes to research on CPD by pointing out some gaps in the existing research literature and by providing insights and implications for further policy implementations.

Limited resources and lack of awareness of the European Commission frameworks

The EFL instructors in Turkey are concerned about their resources, including heavy workloads, intense pacing and lesson planning, and universities not financing any of their CPD activities. Furthermore, inconvenient scheduling and/or lack of flexibility, lack of teacher-learner autonomy, the mandatory participation policies of their administrations, and working during their time off are mentioned.

– The bureaucratic norms and administrative constraints and demands from the administration in institutions are also considered as obstacles to engagement in CPD, says Eryılmaz.

Most of the EFL instructors participating in the study expressed their lack of awareness of the European Commission frameworks (CEFR and TD-FRAM) in Turkey. Regarding the barriers to participation in CPD both at the organizational and personal level, it is not surprising that all of the participants mentioned lack of sufficient financial and motivational support from their institutions.

– It is essential to have a planned and defined policy or set of strategies for CPD programs to meet the recognized standards for all instructors, school leaders and policy makers as well as the learners, stresses Eryılmaz.

According to the school leaders, there is room for improvement in CPD. On the whole, CPD practices need to be tailored around based on EFL teachers’ needs, and there should be better-structured policies. Furthermore, EFL instructors need to be encouraged further to take part in international organizations by providing financial assistance from their organizations with well-structured policies such as providing enough funding and allowing more time for instructors to pursue their own preferences.

Information on the defence

Arzu Eryılmaz will be defending her dissertation “Instructors’ views, experiences and expectations of continuing professional development (CPD) activities in Turkish schools of foreign language contexts, adopting European Commission frameworks” with the permission of the Faculty of Education at the University of Lapland on 5 February 2021 at 12:00 noon. The opponent is Professor Kirsi Pyhältö from the University of Helsinki and the custos is Professor Tuija Turunen from the University of Lapland.

The public defence will be held in English.

The event can be followed online at: https://connect.eoppimispalvelut.fi/vaitos/

Information on the doctoral candidate

M.A. Arzu Eryılmaz (born 1976) holds a Master’s degree in Educational Administration Supervision Planning and Economy at the Institute of Educational Sciences, Hacettepe University, Turkey. She investigated the levels of organizational alienation of high school teachers in her master’s thesis in 2010.

She holds a bachelor's degree in English Language Teaching (ELT) and has been working as an English Language Instructor at several universities in Turkey since 1998. Additionally, she holds international certificates in English language teaching from the UK from the period 2000 to 2010, such as the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA), Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Motivational skills of students, Leadership, stress and change management, and Teaching approaches and methodology including the lexical and phonological aspects of English.

Eryılmaz’s research interests include language teaching, teachers’ continuous professional development, students’ and teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs, achievement goals and academic performance.

Additional information

Arzu Eryılmaz
aeryilma(at)ulapland.fi and eryarzu(at)gmail.com

Information on the publication

Arzu Eryilmaz: “Instructors’ views, experiences and expectations of continuing professional development (CPD) activities in Turkish schools of foreign language contexts, adopting European Commission frameworks”. PDF: Acta electronica Universitatis Lapponiensis 303, ISBN 978-952-337-250-4, ISSN 1796-6310. University of Lapland Printing Centre, Rovaniemi 2020.

The publication is available at: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-337-250-4