'Let them fish': empowering student-teachers for professional development through the project approach

LayHuah Goh, Kok-Cheang Loh

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    9 Citations (Scopus)


    This action research was a form of appreciative enquiry into my practice with my group of Bachelor in Education (TESL) students. I have adopted a postmodernist approach to research as narrative; that is research as it is experienced and not just research as it is described . I used a project as an approach to relinquish control and empower my students to organize a seminar for their professional development. Twenty-six student-teachers (15 males and 11 females), aged around 24 years old, made up my target group. In this study, I used three data sources: student reflections, a post-mortem feedback session, and a self-reflection journal. All documented reflections, communications and transcriptions were analysed to elicit patterns and conclusions from the data. A significant learning point for the student-teachers was that communication and interpersonal skills were important in getting results from the top management and people of authority. The project was a process of change and self-discovery for the student-teachers. Students had to get over their resistance towards unwanted responsibilities and accept that in the real world, irrespective of their preferences, the job has to be done. The learning points I have acquired from this action research exercise will allow me to improve the project approach and make it more effective for increased capacity-building of the future teachers in my care. This research was significant in exploring the issue of empowerment in developing the professionalism of the student-teachers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)202 - 217
    Number of pages16
    JournalEducational Action Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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