In Saroyan & Amundsen’s (2001: 344) words, teaching is “a complex, cognitive ability that is not innate but can be both learned and improved upon’. As a natural outcome of this, professional development of teachers has been studied from various aspects. To Avalos (2011: 10), “at the core of such endeavours is the understanding that professional development is about teachers learning, learning how to learn, and transforming their knowledge into practice for the benefit of their students’ growth”. Teacher cognitions and perspectives play a vital role to advance through this rough process struggling for adding the existing agenda to respond to evolving demands. Hence, this study is devoted to unveil teachers’ perceptions regarding to their self-initiated development efforts to detect their general attitudes, the activities employed and the various individual or institutional impending factors encountered throughout their journey in the profession. The data were collected from 96 EFL Instructors at seven different State universities in Turkey via “Self-Initiated Professional Development Questionnaire” adapted from Karaaslan (2003) and the interview conducted with 20 Instructors for in-depth insights on the issue in question. The results reveal that instructors generally hold positive attitudes towards self-directed professional development, they perceive collaborative activities, trying out new suggestions, action research and reflection on own teaching as critical to their development. Within the problem framework, excessive workload, lack of self-motivation and institutional support were the frequently encountered ones. The overall findings implicate the need to reconceptualise the concept of professional development to match the institutional and individual needs.


teacher perceptions, professional development, self-directed training.

Author : Özge Gül ZEREY
Number of pages: 49-66
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18033/ijla.3854
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International Journal of Language Academy
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