This book builds on work commenced by the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in the United Arab Emirates, which nurtured a research culture and encouraged young professionals to evaluate practices in the workplace of teaching, the classroom. The current volume takes this further and features the work of mature and experienced teachers who use action research to examine problems and practices in a variety of situations through the prism of leadership and management. The book features two introductory chapters. The first highlights the importance of research for the academy, and in particular for the academies of the United Arab Emirates. The significance of research and publication for the development of quality in education is discussed. Similarly, the twin concerns of learning through investigation and the sharing of that learning through publication are emphasized. Chapter Two gives background to action research and identifies the small but growing body of work in this field in the United Arab Emirates. The particular relevance of action research to leadership and management in English language teaching is discussed, especially the learning capacity that this method of enquiry encompasses. Chapters Three to Ten feature the work of the local researchers. These chapters cover a variety of concerns which can be roughly grouped into management of classroom and teaching issues and broader educational leadership matters. Classroom management issues include making group work more effective, improving students' out-of-class learning, improving students' personal responsibility and attendance patterns, stimulating oral participation in class by students and improving student interactivity. The broad leadership matters explore issues of time management, understanding students and developing effective staff meetings. The book concludes with a short chapter of reflection by the eight researcher-authors, written twelve months after the original action research investigations. This section marks the book as special, as retrospective evaluation is rare in education. The chapter shows that the professional development, engagement and enrichment which result from action research are empowering qualities.
About the Author: David Prescott is Associate Professor at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. He teaches in the MA TESOL program (Leadership and Management in ELT, Technology in the ESL Classroom) and supervises MA thesis work. He also works in collaboration with the College of Engineering for which he has developed a language and communication course for undergraduate engineers in profession-oriented collaborative, communication and academic skills. This work addresses The Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET accreditation requirements which have necessitated addressing the needs engineers have for competencies beyond a sound technical knowledge, engineering skills and technical writing ability. He is a member of The Provost's Knowledge Taskforce, involved in planning knowledge and information management for the university's future needs. He is lead researcher of a cross discipline team investigating the uses of the university's course management system and he will be trialling a new pedagogic model in the course Teaching and Learning in Electronic Environments in the Fall, 2011 Semester.