A qualitative study of the opening phases of cross cultural in-service teacher training interaction in rural Malaysia
thesisposted on 01.02.2010, 11:58 by Stephen James Hall
Interaction during the early opening phases of in-service teacher training courses in Malaysia between native speaker teacher trainers and rural Malaysian teachers involved potential cultural issues. This qualitative study of four rural sites addresses possible tensions from differences in learning cultures as native speaker teacher trainers introduced courses. There were issues of whether primary and secondary teachers accept training techniques. If teachers were to see the courses as useful there was a need for early acceptance of discourse strategies, techniques and the experiential approach. Analysis of this with teacher trainer talk, non-verbals and perceptions of early phase interaction was derived from lesson transcripts, field notes, semi-structured interviews and reflection. Interviews explored teacher acceptance of training techniques. 12 out of 16 Malaysian teachers were positive about the usefulness of training techniques. Most teachers were positive about the early phases of the learning culture when teacher trainers introduced themselves, facilitated transferable tasks, encouraged success and included bilingual approaches. Unexpectedly, humour was important in reducing reliance on the ‘native speaker’ teacher trainer and in creating convergence. While some secondary teachers valued the teacher educator as a knowledge source, for most, the pedagogic approach was pivotal to accepting techniques which were less hierarchical than teachers’ earlier training. Teacher educators stated that teacher interest at both primary and secondary levels focused not on cultural difference as expected but on transferable techniques. Teacher educator stereotypes were abated by cultural adaptation as training techniques reduced the expert knowledge dispenser role. Teacher educators reflected on this and the role of reflection as transcripts and field notes were discussed to develop practitioner knowledge. The teacher educators spoke positively of this reflection. This study provides data for teacher education practice where meeting everyday classroom needs were perceived as central to fostering interactive rural classrooms.