University of Sussex
Alhawsawi, Hajeej.pdf (10.49 MB)

Teacher educators’ approaches to teaching Islamic education at a university in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, KSA

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posted on 2023-06-09, 08:59 authored by Hajeej Alhawsawi
Debates about the quality of teacher education in KSA resonate with international debates, which show that teacher educators play an important role in preparing future teachers. This is because they influence the quality of teaching and learning in teacher education programs. Although there are several studies about teacher educators globally (Lattuca et al. 2014; Mansour 2009), there are very few studies relating to KSA. The main aim of this research is to examine the teaching approaches adopted by female teacher educators teaching the subject of Foundation of Islamic Education (FIE) at the College of Education, City University (CU), KSA. I draw on the ideas of social constructivists and others (Vygotsky 1978; Freire, 2001; Bloom, 1994; and Bruner, 1996) as an explanatory framework to develop a nuanced understanding of how these teacher educators approach teaching and learning. This research also draws on institutional theory to examine how the university’s policies and structure influence teaching approaches. The overarching research question of this study is, ‘What are the teaching approaches adopted by teacher educators and how are they influenced by the institutional policy of CU?’ This study is qualitative in nature, adopting the case study approach. The case in this research is teacher educators who teach the FIE course. The main data collection tools are semi-structured interviews, supported by document review and observations. The participants in this study are purposively selected female teacher educators. In addition, the perspectives of students studying the course were considered in order to enrich the data. This study includes findings related to institutional policies. These findings focus on identifying and examining the university’s policies, structure, expectations, and demands, as they relate to encouraging students’ active learning and influence teacher educators’ approaches to teaching and learning. Specifically, it highlights how the university’s policies in relation to assessment, in-service training, and the integration of Information Communication Technology (ICT) affect the teaching approaches that teacher educators deploy. Additionally, the study discusses the teaching approaches adopted by the teacher educators in the FIE course. It finds that these approaches, amongst the majority of the teacher educator participants, tend to be teacher-centred. Teacher educators using this approach consider their role to be that of knowledge transmitters. It suggests that they make decisions as to what is to be learnt and how their students should learn. They view themselves, their skills, and their learning materials as the main source of knowledge in the classroom. On the other hand, some teacher educators use student-centred approaches in which they encourage their students to take control of their own learning. The study considers how these teachers encourage their students to participate in the teaching and learning process. These teacher educators regard themselves as facilitators who help their students construct their own meaning. This study contributes to the knowledge about teaching approaches, especially in the context of higher education in KSA. It highlights the diverse nature of Islamic education and how this influences the way the FIE course is taught. This study provides suggestions for further research which can contribute, theoretically and methodologically, to teaching and learning in KSA higher education institutions. It also discusses the implications of the findings for the improvement of teaching practices; this includes revising polices and providing teacher educators with the necessary support to become confident in using student-centred approaches in their classrooms.


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