A Lesson Study of Internet Usage to Enhance the Development of English Language Teaching in a Libyan University
El Abbar, Magda
The research discussed in this thesis is based upon a programme of study in a Libyan university, which focused on the use of the Internet in the classroom in order to enhance English language teaching and learning. In the last few decades, information and communication technology (ICT) has strongly influenced society as well as education as it has become a part of daily life, offering access to a world of knowledge. This thesis describes, through a single case study, how three teachers at the University of Benghazi collaborated in the use of a ‘Lesson Study’ approach, in order to engage a group of English as Foreign Language (EFL) students in an e-learning teaching programme. The Lesson Study approach is a technique in Action Research whereby teachers work collaboratively to improve their pedagogy by observing the teaching as well as the learning as they teach students. This study explores university rationales for using ICT, by means of a case study in which myself, teachers and school managers were engaged in a pilot project which implemented ICT in teaching.
My interest in researching this topic started while working at the University of Benghazi as an EFL teacher, as described above. In this role, I had an interest in contributing to the improvement of teaching practices in Libya in general and the University of Benghazi in particular. I began to do this by improving my own pedagogical practices and by creating opportunities for developing practice within the department. The study was prompted by a set of concerns that emerged as a result of my own English language teaching practice at my university. I found that even though students were happy to learn English, they could not practise the language in authentic situations, because in Libya English is not generally spoken outside the classroom. I discuss a curriculum initiative devised to tackle these concerns, directed towards engaging students to learn in a technology-based, collaborative, cognitively demanding and intercultural way.
The broad aim of the study was to investigate how Libyan students’ current English literacy practices might be enhanced by using the Internet and E-learning strategies and how the Internet may be used as a medium to further assist the students’ English learning development. Through an extensive and in- depth use of literature, drawing on journals, articles, books and previous research studies, this thesis also explores some of the possibilities of the Internet in developing differing styles of classroom pedagogy and the
implications of incorporating the Internet into existing programme design and curriculum. It also reports on the way in which Lesson Study was used as a professional development strategy in a new setting and to discuss its effectiveness in research.
In terms of the methodology, interview data was combined with questionnaire data and analysed. Support was found for a preparative rationale, a pedagogical rationale and a motivational rationale among teachers and students. Some limitations in this study needed to be bridged in order to build a widely supported vision and policy plan on conducting this thesis. The significant findings from this study include the observation that the lesson studies process contributed to bringing about change in teacher pedagogy. The major issues highlighted by these findings include the need to make changes to teacher practice and the way that the Lesson Study programme, as an Action Research model, impacted directly and positively upon teacher pedagogy, with an observed increase in student motivation for learning. These findings therefore have implications for the teachers of Higher Education in Libya if they are going to make sustainable pedagogical changes that will positively impact on student learning and outcomes.
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