Source: European Journal of Teacher Education, Volume 33, Issue 1, February 2010, p. 31 – 41.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study was conducted to reveal teachers' views of the effectiveness of the INSET courses they attended on the new curriculum. Furthermore, the study was aimed to evaluate the courses based on the teachers' views and the effective INSET characteristics reported in the literature.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with both primary and secondary school teachers during the 2007-2008 academic year.
The study was conducted with 20 primary and 18 secondary school teachers; 53% of the participants were female and 47% were male.
The participants had different teaching experience: 32% had 1-10 years of experience, 47% had 11-20 years of teaching experience and 21% had more than 20 years of teaching experience.
Data were analysed based on the effective INSET criteria identified from the literature.
According to the findings, the INSET courses were found to be ineffective, mainly in terms of the quality of the instructors, teaching methods employed, duration of the courses and support after training.
Duration of the courses
More than the half of the teachers indicated that their courses lasted for one to three days while the remaining had five-day long courses.
Most of the teachers indicated that because such a short time was allocated, the teaching method employed was direct instruction of the theoretical information, which made courses uninteresting and less effective. There was no time for practical work or discussions.
Teachers indicated that the courses they had attended were delivered by Ministry inspectors or former teachers. All of the teachers in this research agreed that the course instructors were not knowledgeable enough to deliver the courses properly.
Follow-up work and sustained support after courses
None of the teachers who participated in the study received support or any follow-up work after the INSET courses they had attended. The teachers indicated that inspectors were responsible for following the implementation of the new curriculum; however, they said that the inspectors did not have enough knowledge either - hence, they could not help them to implement the new curriculum or solve their problems.
The data revealed important issues regarding the current situation of INSET courses. Overall, based on the six indicators of effective INSET courses detailed in the literature and discussed at the beginning of this paper, the courses that the participants in this study attended were found to be ineffective.
In order to conduct an effective INSET, needs assessment should be carried out carefully and courses should be planned and delivered accordingly. In addition, practical or concrete how-to-do-it advice is an important factor to consider while delivering an INSET course.
Furthermore, experts of the content should deliver courses through demonstrating how to implement what is taught in practice, and offering participants opportunities to learn by 'doing'.
Finally, delivering the content effectively is necessary but not the only condition for effective INSET. Follow-up work is vital to complete an effective INSET.
Based on the study's data and what has been reported in the literature, the authors recommend that INSET courses be delivered with a combination of presentation, modelling, practice, feedback and coaching. Practice, feedback and coaching components of training will be highly likely to solve the problem of the transfer of knowledge and skills into the classroom.