DISRUPTIVE PRACTICE IN SAUDI EFL STUDENT TEACHERS' LEARNING TO TEACH THROUGH FLIPPED CLASSROOM AND REHEARSAL: A GROUNDED THEORY STUDY

Open Access
Author:
Al-Fahid, Mai Fahid
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
October 03, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Anne Angiline Whitney, Dissertation Advisor
  • Anne Angiline Whitney, Committee Chair
  • Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, Committee Member
  • Jamie M. Myers, Committee Member
  • Xiaofei Lu, Outside Member
Keywords:
  • distruptive practice
  • learning to teach
  • EFL preservice teachers
  • teacher educators
  • rehearsal
  • flipped classroom
  • practice pedagogy
  • teacher education
  • saudi arabia
  • student teachers
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to lay the groundwork for a theoretical framework for disruptive practice in the context of Saudi English as a foreign language student teachers’ learning-to-teach experience. The participants of the study were given a professional development workshop, “Flip Your EFL Classroom,” which introduced student teachers to how they could implement the flipped classroom teaching approach during their teaching in practicum. Rehearsal training sessions as a pedagogy of teaching practice for student teachers were also provided on a weekly basis throughout the period of study. The main question of the study was: How do rehearsal sessions impact the Saudi English as a foreign language student teacher’s learning-to-teach journey through the implementation of the Flipped Classroom method? This was accompanied with the sub-questions: To what extent do rehearsal sessions help Saudi English as a foreign language student teachers develop their teaching skills? How does rehearsal-session feedback influence student teachers’ actual teaching in the classroom? How do Saudi English as a foreign language teacher educators utilize rehearsal sessions as a professional development tool? These questions were investigated through observation of both student teachers and teacher educators’ performance and interaction during rehearsal-based training sessions and their actual classroom teaching throughout the course of their practicum experience. At the end of practicum, I conducted interviews with the Saudi English as a foreign language student teachers and their teacher educators to explore their experiences with both the rehearsal pedagogy of practice and the flipped classroom teaching approach, and to what extent these contributed to disruption of their practice. The participants of my study were three groups of Saudi English as a foreign language female student teachers. Each group consisted of four student teachers, assigned to three different schools. In addition, there was a teacher educator for each group, including this researcher in one of the groups. Thus, the total was 12 English as a foreign language student teachers and 3 teacher educators. The practicum took place in three public high schools in the city of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. In this study, I embrace Corbin and Strauss’ (2008) school of grounded theory research methodology and built my analytical process on their concept of “analysis as a process” which consists of five stages: description stage, analysis stage, theoretical sampling stage, integration stage, and theoretical saturation stage. Data analysis resulted in the development of the core category of the study: learning through practice. The storyline of the study’s findings consists of five phases under each phase number of developed concepts and sub-concepts. The first phase gives a first glance at the field of Saudi student teachers’ learning-to-teach experience during practicum in connection with prior academic preparation in college. The main category raises a call for English as a foreign language preservice teachers’ professional development reform and carries with it the following concepts: the gap between student teachers’ academic preparation and the field, student teacher’s existing self-awareness, student teacher’s self-doubt concerning their own efficacy, and the generally misguided image of teaching. The second phase advances the findings and takes the analysis closer to the field with implementation of the study’s interventions. I call it “In the middle of wonderland!” and include the following concepts: the distinction between actual teaching and rehearsal, micro-teaching vs. rehearsal, rehearsal as more complex than actual teaching, and, finally, out of the cooperating teacher’s shadow. The third phase explores the issue of practice and enactments and brings with it two concepts—“the third space” and “aha moments.” The fourth phase, “Meet me at the end of the day,” sheds further light on the role of teacher educators while mentoring student teachers. It includes the two concepts of teaching delay and adoptive performance. The last phase addresses the flipped side of flipping, highlighting the impact of the flipped classroom approach on student teachers’ learning to teach through these two concepts: flipping student teachers’ learning-to-teach experience and developing student teachers’ agency, which carry with them the two sub-concepts of student teachers’ decision-making skills and student teachers’ autonomy. To conclude the study, I further expanded my data analysis to draw the developed theoretical framework of the study. I aimed to develop a middle range theory of practice in teacher education that is rooted in Ericsson’s (2002) notion of “deliberate practice.” I sought for a deeper understanding of practice and a shift to a practice that imparts the essence of learning to teach. I developed a pyramid for practice in learning to teach called “the degrees of practice pyramid.” It consists of three levels for practice from the bottom up: blind practice, approximations of practice, and deliberate practice. On this pyramid, higher levels of practice indicate greater levels of practice complexity.