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Considering teacher cognition and motivation in teacher research engagement: a mixed-methods study involving English language teachers at Vietnamese public universities
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 19:09 authored by Thị Mỹ Truơng
Teacher research has been recommended as a powerful and transformative model of teacher professional development, but remains a minority activity among the general population of teachers worldwide, including those who teach English as a foreign language (EFL). Since available empirical research into this situation in the field of the language teaching is scant and demonstrates several thematic and methodological limitations, this study seeks insights into the current status of research engagement among Vietnamese public university English language teachers, and the role their cognition and motivation play in the found scenario. Guided overall by Korthagen‘s (2004) Onion Model of Levels of Changes, the study explicitly investigates the research engagement practices reported by these teachers, their conceptions of research, self-efficacy beliefs, attitudes, context beliefs, and motivations surrounding the ―research concept, and the relationship between these factors and teachers‘ reported level of research engagement. Teachers‘ initial motivations and how they are sustained or eroded in the research engagement process is also qualitatively examined. Following the sequential explanatory mixed-methods design, the study employs a mixture of survey questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and documents of both public and personal types to collect relevant data from a randomly-selected sample of 568 EFL teachers and 27 leaders of English departments from 31 public universities in Vietnam. Quantitative data, which were analysed with descriptive and inferential statistics, were explained, extended, and deepened by, or triangulated with qualitative data, which were analysed on a thematic basis, to fulfil the research objectives. The results show a modest level of research engagement reported by the sample, who also described their research experience as mostly small-scale, practice-driven, and formally, domestically published. Data on the sample‘s demographics, cognition and motivation uncover many distinct features of the group as well as several unusual relationships between these factors and the frequencies of doing research the sample reported. For instance, instead of exhibiting a technical view towards research as commonly found among the participants of previous studies, Vietnamese tertiary EFL teachers demonstrated diverse views of research without any clear common tendency. Their experience of research mirrors the practice-driven, qualitative-oriented patterns shown in the teacher research manual literature, but does not bear significant relationships with certain aspects of research self-efficacy, motivations, teacher attitudes and context beliefs about doing research as normally predicted and previously found in the existing literature. The findings of this study help add Vietnamese teachers‘ voices to the global picture of language teacher research engagement, and hopefully will be of practical and theoretical use for various stakeholders.