Researcher development in UAE classrooms: Becoming teacher-leaders

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Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues


Purpose: In contrast with much of the existing academic discourse, through the autoethnographic technique of "narratives of self" this paper aims to provide an account and evaluation of the progressive development of an undergraduate research seminar in a college of education at a United Arab Emirates (UAE) university. The seminar provides opportunities for preservice teachers to develop knowledge and skills that allow them to make realistic contributions to professional practice and educational reform in the UAE. Design/methodology/approach: The review of the capstone seminar was done using autoethnographic techniques using a blending of autobiography and ethnography. Data were drawn from student research projects, supervision notes, course syllabi, student reflections on the research process, and the authors' own reflections about their role as research supervisors. The data were analysed using an inductive process of identifying themes. Findings: Some of the findings reflect the themes in the wider literature on undergraduate research such as value and benefits, challenges and implementation issues, while others are more specific to the Emirati context. These relate to language challenges for bilingual graduate students and to emergent leadership development. Five key thematic elements emerge from the data including professional learning and leadership development, complexity, teaching approach, and assessment. Originality/value: The paper contributes to the knowledge base on professional learning through the development of a better understanding and analysis of undergraduate student teacher programs, processes of professional learning, and the development of research skills in preservice teachers. The broader potential for undergraduate research to contribute to better understanding of classroom practice, educational reform, and leadership growth in the UAE is also discussed. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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Author First name, Last name, Institution

Barbara Harold, Zayed University
Lauren Stephenson, Zayed University