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Teacher Professionalism, Education Reform and 21st Century Skills in the United Arab Emirates

Kinuthia, Heather Jane; (2021) Teacher Professionalism, Education Reform and 21st Century Skills in the United Arab Emirates. Doctoral thesis (Ed.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Abstract The United Arab Emirates National Agenda Vision 2021 calls for a ‘complete transformation’ of the current education system ‘to serve the knowledge economy’. The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), with 16 campuses, are the largest Higher Education Institution in the UAE. Aligning with the national vision, their strategic plan 2017- 2021 sets out key goals ‘to empower students with 21st Century skills’ and to ‘improve academic programmes’ through ‘blending traditional and innovative teaching methods to ensure student centred learning’. To promote this, HCT aimed to increase teacher professionalism through a collection of measures: HEA membership, a new professional pay scale, training in a learning management system and 40 annual hours of professional development, all orchestrated through a performance management tool. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, recurrent themes are identified which reflect the experiences of seven teachers, who come from countries with exposure to, and experience of, student-centred pedagogies. The in-depth interviews found that HCT strongly promoted a form of controlled professionalism, within which knowledge development and innovative teaching methods became subsidiary to the instrumental outcomes of the strategic plan. A managerial and administrative approach to accountability relayed control in a way that teachers’ agency and co-agency were significantly reduced. The higher order cognitive competencies, behaviours and values (21st-century skills) of teachers and students envisioned by the reform were constrained in the controlled model. The study was able to elaborate on how the positioning of the individual within the processes, procedures and accountability mechanisms that surround their work shapes their capacity to affect change. The findings present a professional model that moves away from the individualising concept of ‘performance management’, towards horizontal modalities, where advancement is positioned as both individual and mutual, locating transformation within an inclusive, institutional dialectic based on democratic participation.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ed.D
Title: Teacher Professionalism, Education Reform and 21st Century Skills in the United Arab Emirates
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: 21st Century Skills, Professionalism, Education Reform, United Arab Emirates
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121811
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