EFL teachers’ attitudes towards, and knowledge of CPD

Abstract
As the number of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers increases in higher education,
quality language education must be guaranteed by providing continuing professional
development (CPD), regardless of whether teachers have received pre-service educational
training. This study will investigate EFL teachers’ attitudes towards, and knowledge of CPD
in relation to their educational background. The findings of this study will be presented to
policy makers at King Saud University (KSU) in the hope that a CPD programme for EFL
teachers will be implemented subsequently. Thirty-nine teachers took part in an online survey,
with thirteen participants from each of the three majors being investigated (translation, English
literature, and education). The results demonstrated a positive relationship between the
participants’ knowledge of CPD and their attitudes towards it. Teachers with degrees in
education showed greater knowledge of CPD programmes than the two other groups due to
their exposure to pre-service training. This conversely affected their attitudes towards CPD. In
contrast, teachers with degrees in translation and English literature, who had not undergone
pre-service educational training, exhibited lower levels of CPD knowledge. Consequently, they
held relatively negative attitudes to CPD. Finally, having an English related major was
discovered to be a significant indicator of teachers’ attitudes towards CPD.
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Introduction
Studies have shown that the recent increase in popularity of teaching English in higher
education has augmented the number of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers.
Teaching English at this level requires qualifications, knowledge and skill (Day & Sachs,
2004). For this reason, the need for continuing professional development (CPD) for EFL
teachers has increased, and is now recognised as essential to provide the required professional
training for inexperienced and novice teachers (Friedman, 2013; Greenland, 1983; Kennedy,
2005).
However, minimal research has been conducted in relation to the provision of CPD for
EFL teachers in higher education, particularly in Saudi universities. From a personal
standpoint, as a language teacher teaching English to EFL students at KSU since 2008, the
author has never received any in-service educational training. Moreover, the majority of the
author’s colleagues were not offered any educational pre-service training despite having
graduated from different English related majors (education, English literature, and translation).
In most cases, teachers with degrees in education do undertake pre-service educational training,
which facilitates their teaching practice. However, this is not replicated in the other two degree
disciplines. The lack of effective training across all degree disciplines for EFL teachers means
they encounter serious challenges when seeking to teach English effectively because they lack
professional knowledge of TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages)
techniques. To address this problem, higher education authorities should implement a CPD
programme for EFL teachers.
Aim and Objectives of the Study
To determine the content and design of any new CPD programme, the researcher needs
to survey teachers’ knowledge and attitude towards CPD. In pursuit of this aim, this study
will address the following objectives:
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  1. Survey EFL teachers from the three degree disciplines outlined above at KSU, to
    investigate their knowledge of, and attitudes towards CPD;
  2. Identify whether there is a correlation between the level of teachers’ knowledge
    surrounding CPD, and their attitudes towards it;
  3. Examine whether it is possible to predict teachers’ attitudes towards CPD based on their
    educational background and knowledge of CPD.
    This study may also help to identify teachers’ professional development needs, which
    could assist policy makers in designing and implementing an effective CPD programme.

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