SBS Research Coordinator Co-Publishes in A Peer Reviewed Journal: Facebook Groups are fertile avenues for teachers’ professional development
Continuous professional development of teachers is important in ensuring teachers are kept abreast of the latest developments in education. The latest study by Harry Bett (co-published with Prof. Lazarus N. Makewa) focuses on how teachers are using Facebook to enhance their professional development. The exploratory study looked at engagements by teachers in one Facebook Group (Teachers of English), and established that the resultant discussions are professionally relevant.
With an estimated 2.27 billion Facebook users globally, Facebook has provided a platform for teachers to discuss professional- related matters. Reports indicate that many Kenyan are now connected to the internet due to affordable data bundles and phones that can access the internet. Many Kenyans, teachers included, are now interacting on Facebook.
Teachers Interactions on Facebook Groups
Facebook groups allow individuals to share resources and discuss ideas without necessarily being friends on Facebook. Studies have documented how teachers share resources, follow relevant pages and groups, on social media platforms such as Facebook. As a result, many of them grow professionally through this informal avenue.
The main aim of the study at hand was to explore the discussions that Teachers of English Facebook Group have, and to establish if they had any professional contribution to its members. Teachers of English (ToE) is a closed Facebook Group formed in 2011 with the aim of creating a platform for teachers of English to share ideas.
Findings showed that teachers of English had discussions in areas such as grammar, content knowledge, pedagogy, general education, among others. The study concluded that teachers’ interactions on the Facebook Group does indeed contribute to their professional development as it touches on various key areas of their work.
These findings are important as teachers in Kenya often have limited opportunities for ongoing professional development. Also, with the introduction of the new Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) in Kenya, such platforms can be utilized to better prepare teachers for the anticipated changes.
Harry Bett is the Student Research Coordinator at Strathmore University Business School, and currently pursuing his PhD in Communication.
Click the link below to view the full publication: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1359866X.2018.1542662