Language teacher research: Managers' perceptions of the micro, meso and macro levels of development

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Journal Article
The European Journal of Applied Linguistics and TEFL, 2019, 8 (2), pp. 101 - 119
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Language teachers conducting research is now considered an important aspect of teacher education, and also of teachers’ professional development throughout their careers. A growing number of studies in English language teaching (ELT) have explored teachers’ perceptions and experiences of research engagement. However, most of these studies focus on the micro (individual) level of teacher development, with little attention paid to the meso (institutional) and macro (broader sector) levels of development. In addition, ELT managers’ perceptions of teacher research engagement have been largely ignored, which is surprising since managers can be highly influential in encouraging and sustaining such engagement in research. This empirical study contributes to the literature by investigating how managers of English language teaching (ELT) centres in Australia perceived the impact of teachers conducting Action Research (AR) as part of a nine-month national program. Semi-structured interviews with nine managers across the country revealed four key perceptions about the positive influences of teacher AR engagement at three different levels: (1) empowering and engaging teachers professionally (micro level), (2) creating roles models for other teachers (meso level), (3) increasing the status and reputation of institutions, and (4) contributing to the professionalism of the sector (both macro level). The study offers practical implications for ELT leaders and teacher educators about the systemic benefits of encouraging teachers to engage in research.
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