Designing Culturally Appropriate Online Professional Development for English Language Teachers through the Incorporation of the Action Research Paradigm

Paul Graham Kebble


A qualitative heuristic, single case study was conducted into the cultural suitability of an extended international online professional development course for English language teachers. To promote cultural suitability, course participants were required to utilise action research within their specific professional context and to consider, through reflection and discussion, the appropriateness of pedagogic methodologies, approaches and materials presented within the course. The research therefore wished to determine whether an online environment can be designed to promote culturally empathetic professional engagements delivering relevant learnings, and whether the action research paradigm can foster culturally suitable professional development. Course participants were practicing English language teachers in various professional settings, predominantly in the Pacific region, and identifying as being monolingual English speakers, multilingual with English as one first language or having English as a second or other language. The research’s qualitative methodology employed a thematic analysis of the multiple sources of collected data, including a narrative written by the course provider, with the discussion and conclusions emanating from the triangulation of the generated themes and relevant contemporary literature. The research concluded that online PD can be designed to provide a culturally empathetic learning environment, and by adopting the action research paradigm, the mode of course delivery was deemed to be successful in providing culturally suitable professional development.


English language teaching, Action research, cultural suitability, thematic analysis, professional development

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