An investigation of the effectiveness of professional learning activities for physics teachers in Saudi Arabia

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Alhaggass, Youssef S (2015) An investigation of the effectiveness of professional learning activities for physics teachers in Saudi Arabia. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This thesis addressed the issue of professional learning activities for teachers as an important factor that may affect students’ achievement in physics. It is recognised that it is not the only one. Other factors that could influence students’ achievements include availability and use of learning resources, classroom size and climate, family background characteristics, and students’ attitudes toward physics. Professional development can play a vital role in helping teachers to improve their teaching skills, knowledge and competencies. However, research shows that many professional development programs have failed to improve teaching practice (Birman, Desimone, Porter & Garet, 2000; Newmann, King, & Youngs, 2001; Armour & Yelling, 2004; Hofman & Dijkstra, 2010). This is also the case in Saudi Arabia for physics teachers where there are many opportunities for training and professional development, but these are not being reflected in student achievement. As seen in the disparity of results, with Saudi Arabian students in secondary schools obtained a low mean score in physics compared with chemistry, biology and geology (Educational Information Centre, 2010). This lack of training effectiveness may occur due to: poor analysis of teacher training needs (Alnooijm, 2005; Abo Atwan, 2008); failing to provide teachers with appropriate content during training courses (Kildan, Ibret, Pektas, Aydinozu, Incikabi, & Recepoglu, 2013); or trainers’ not being adequately skilled (Mansour, 2003; Al-Shehri, 2006). Such deficiencies reinforce that more effective approaches, such as Guskey’s (2002) five levels of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Transformative Professional Development (TPD) (Johnson & Fargo, 2010), should be drawn upon to inform training approaches.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Education
Keywords Onaizah, teaching, education of teachers, teacher training, secondary schools, science teachers, content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, effectiveness
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