Date of Award

1-6-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Kadir Demir

Second Advisor

Dr. Gertrude Tinker Sachs

Third Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Esposito

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Iman Chahine

Abstract

Effective teacher development is significant for any educational system to remain competitive in the global arena (Bayar, 2014). However, science teachers’ professional development activities have often been found to be ineffective (Opfer & Pedder, 2011). Science teachers also minimally participate in such activities due to their ineffective experiences (Chval, Abell, Pareja, Musikul & Ritzka, 2007). Understanding how science teachers’ experiences are constructed is also crucial to create programs to meet their needs (Schneider & Plasman, 2011). It is essential in the construction of professional development experiences to recognize who is being served in professional development (Saka, 2013). But rigorous methods are required to understand the outcomes of professional development (Koomen, Blair, Young-Isebrand & Oberhauser, 2014).

The purpose of this phenomenological case study was to study how secondary school science teachers describe their lived experiences of professional development in Punjab (Pakistan). How do these teachers understand, make sense, and use of those intended goals of professional development opportunities and change their practices through the implementation of learned knowledge of professional development? This study used purposive sampling to collect the qualitative data from fifteen secondary school science teachers of Punjab (Pakistan). The data collection was done through conducting semi-structured in-depth phenomenological interviews with these science teachers (Seidman, 2013). The data were analyzed using three-stage coding methods, and thematic analysis.

Three main themes emerged from the analysis of data. The first theme of sense making is about their understanding and description of intended meaning of professional development activities. The second theme of meaningful experiences captured the participants perceived benefits from the PD activities. The third theme of contextual and cultural factors is focused on the understanding the impact of these factors in imparting of professional development experiences. The findings of the study communicate the significance of science teachers’ role in professional development activities. Science teachers’ voices, needs and active involvement must be taken into consideration in the designing and implementation of such activities.

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