An autobiographical approach to exploring secondary ELTs' professional development in developing countries: Syria and Pakistan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


The new trends in learning/teaching English, as a foreign/second language, highlight teachers' professional development (TPD) as essential in bringing about educational reforms through enhancing teachers' subject-content and pedagogical content knowledge, and changing their attitudes and beliefs about their roles and teaching. Therefore, this study focused on exploring English language teachers' (ELTs') professional development (PD) in developing countries; namely Syria and Pakistan. For approaching this phenomenon, the study used qualitative research with a case-study design. Moreover, it applied the auto/biographical approach to get more insights into ELTs' learning experiences by analyzing the stories of two ELTs. Furthermore, it employed cross-case analysis to identify the emerging issues in both contexts (Syria and Pakistan), and to find out some similarities/differences of ELTs' learning experiences between these contexts. The study was conducted in a private secondary English-medium school in Karachi with a Pakistani ELT and me, as a research participant from Syria. Reflective journals, semi-structured interviews, ELTs' auto/biography, documents analysis, informal talks and classroom, observations were used for generating the data for this study. Analyzing the data, some key themes emerged in relation to the process of achieving PD of ELTs. Out of these themes, stories were generated about ELTs' learning journey. Moreover, data resulted out of the two ELTs' cases drew attention to ELTs' unique ways of learning during the journey of PD such as learning in the workplace (informally: by doing, and by reflecting on past experiences and on action/practices), and learning off-site (formally: by attending professional training). Applying the cross-case analysis revealed the commonalities and differences between the two ELTs' professional development. As for the key findings emerged out of the analysis and discussions, they were: a) Significance of ELTs' self-motivation, b) Learning in-service through formal/informal opportunities, c) Impact of schools learning environment (with reference to school cultures and a principal's leadership), and d) Role of family in supporting ELTs' professional development.

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