Leadership Part 5

Doctorate of Philosophy (Education) proposal


Further to my previous 3 part blog series International Edcuation and Leadership, I decided to embark on a Doctorate of Philosophy in Education. The following represents my Doctoral Research Study proposal submitted in October 2000, and accepted by Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane Australia.
Section 1.1 – Research Study Proposal Objective                        
Section 1.2 – Research Study Proposed Title                              
Section 1.3 – Research Study Proposed Question                 
Section 2.1 – Preliminary Literature Review                    
Section 3.1 – Methodology                                        
Section 4.1 – Suggested Time Line                              
Section 5.1 – Bibliography                                         

Section 1

Research Study Proposal Objective

  • Recently ELICOS ESOL teachers’ roles have been reported to have broadened beyond what was previously expected (Crichton 1994;Walker 2000). I propose that this development has been as a result of the industry’s and providers’ attempt to improve the service provision (TESOL-academic and non TESOL-academic in nature) for the customer’s (ESOL student’s) benefit, rather than as the result of developments in ESOL theory and methodology.
  • Such a customer-centred perspective emerges out of the contemporary management paradigm of service orientation. Central to this perspective is the ELICOS providers’ intent to remain market-responsive and profitable, securing their market share through providing a competitive TESOL service.
  • Within a ‘service organisation’, the attitudes of the employee towards their roles impacts directly upon how they will perform within the organisation. Specifically, what they are prepared to do and what they aren’t prepared to do: what they perceive as useful activities, and what they don’t. It is therefore important to the organisation to ascertain these employees’ opinions and perceptions. Given this then, it would be beneficial to identify ELICOS teachers’ attitudes and perceptions.
  • I feel that ELICOS ESOL teachers could have opinions about perceived trade-offs that may be considered to exist between the various aspects of the new broader ELICOS teaching roles. It is important to survey these service providers’ attitudes about their perceptions of their new broader roles. It is for this reason that such a research study has been decided to be undertaken: to gain distinctions of ELICOS ESOL teachers perception’s of their roles within an ELICOS service organisation.
The merit of highlighting the perceptions of ELICOS teachers of their roles is:
  • Such insights could provide valuable feedback for ELICOS Managers, Educational Managers and Program Coordinators about current professional development and teacher training practice for ELICOS ESOL teachers for the Australian service-orientated ELICOS context. This could be useful for both formal (University education training programs and ELICOS intensive teaching certificates) and informal teacher training program/event (in-house professional teacher development; conferences – EA, NEAS,ATESOL; association workshops – QTESOL; institution induction processes) purposes.

Research Study Proposed Topic

Given the contentious nature of the appropriateness of the inter-relationship between the two models, I have worded my topic as follows:
Have I Sold My Soul To The Devil?”
 However, due consideration of the inter-relationship of these two models I believe is deserved. Trying to derive possible benefits and synergies between two considered ‘incompatible’ disciplines could be a worthwhile exercise. As such, I have added the following advice:
“True Happiness Does Not Come From Obtaining What One Likes: It Comes From Cultivating A Liking For What One Dislikes” Gandhi-ji

Research Study Proposed Question 

  • What are ELICOS teachers’ perceptions of their new broader ESOL teacher employee role (in contrast to the more accepted expected ESOL teacher educational role) in the new market-based TESOL provision environment of College X?

Section 2

Preliminary Literature Review

The ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) industry in Australia was established in the early 1980’s. In 1982 there were 9 ELICOS member associations, with two of those commercial entities. The ESOL (English as a Second Other Language) industry was “still in its infancy, and managed to maintain a good reputation”. “However”, they pondered, “if the current rise in (ESOL) student numbers continues, it is likely that more commercial enterprises will spring up to deal with the demand” (EA:1990:9). Over the past eighteen years there has been comprehensive growth in the Australian ELICOS industry. The EA’s 1982 prediction has proved correct, with now over 190 NEAS accredited commercial institutions competing to service the 65,671 ELICOS students (1999) that have come to study in Australia [average of 345.6 students per college per year] (EA:2000:4).
As part of the global English language learning phenomenon, the number of nations providing ESOL has also grown over the past 20 years. In 1982, Britain was the main provider country of ESOL instruction (EA:1990:9). By 2000, the continents of Europe (England, Ireland), North America (Canada, USA), and Oceania (Australia, NZ) all provide TESOL opportunities, giving students now wishing to study ESOL a range of English speaking countries to choose from. These nations compete to gain the business of the potential ESOL student (Singh:2000:12).
In this preliminary literature review, I will show how this competitive English language learning phenomenon has had an impact on ELICOS ESOL teacher roles, broadening what is expected of the teachers. I will show how these developments are a result of the industry’s and providers’ attempt to improve the service provision (TESOL-academic and non TESOL-academic in nature) for the customer’s (ESOL student’s) benefit, in order to remain competitive. The major development has come as a result of how ELICOS institutions are perceived conceptually from a management paradigm, more so than from developments in ESOL theory and methodology. This approach could be graphically represented as such below, showing the relationship between the two theoretical frameworks of service organization management and TESOL. 
As a result of these developments however, irrespective of whether one sees such development as necessary or even philosophically correct, a tension exists between the expected role of the ELICOS ESOL teacher educator, and this broader role now required of the ELICOS ESOL teacher as an employee of a service organization. Specifically therefore, in order to explore the extent of such tension, the preliminary literature review will examine:
  • Firstly, the service organization management paradigm and the role of the service organization employee, and;
  • Secondly, TESOL and the ESOL teacher role – both the expected ESOL teacher educator role, whereby generally only TESOL-academic activities were considered part of the ESOL teacher’s role, and the new broader ESOL teacher employee role which includes both TESOL-academic and non TESOL-academic responsibilities, inside (classroom activities) and outside (non-classroom activities) of the classroom. 
The contrast between the two considered roles could be described as: 
Firstly, the service industry. The service industry is defined as one that is made up of service organizations, where each organization is providing a service to a (range of) customer/s (Hicks & Gullett:1976:44). McColl et al defines a service as “an activity or benefit that one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything” (Kotler & Armstrong, 1991 in McColl et al:1998:45). The early definitions of services referred primarily to ‘essential’ (usually government-owned) services, such as hospital services, etc (Leebov,1988). A service organization was defined as one “that stands ready to assist persons without requiring full pay from each recipient of service” (Hicks & Gullett:1981:44). As such, “early economists paid little attention to services, considering them to be totally unproductive” in terms of contribution to the nation’s GDP (McColl et al:1998:45). However by the mid 1990’s, there was a shift in perceptions of what a service was, and what an organization that delivered service could be defined as. McColl et al contributed a broader definition of service: “the production of an essentially intangible benefit, either in its own right or as a significant element of a tangible product, which through some form of exchange satisfies an identified consumer need” (McColl:1998:47). This broadening of definition was due in part to a recognition by organisational managers of the importance of considering the needs of the consumer, as a result of increasing competitiveness in the global marketplace (Schneider & Bowen:1995:3). Classified in terms of characteristics held, a service organization is now said to be one that includes: ‘intangibility of service; inseparability of service; variability of service; perishability of service; and lack of ownership of service’ (McColl et al:1998:51). Schmenner claimed in 1995 that 70% of total employment in the US was now recognised as being attributed to the service sector. In fact, due to a broadening of the definition of ‘service’, Schemmer claimed that it would be now difficult to find any organization that couldn’t be classified as a service organization, given that all organizations could be defined as ‘attempting to satisfy a customers’ need’ (Schmenner:1995:2).
Walker (1999) suggests that the provision of TESOL should also be considered one of service, rather than in terms of provision of a product. Such a position accepts the ELICOS organization as a provider of language learning and associated services to international customers, rather than the provider of a ‘tangible product’. George in his study of ELICOS expectations found that the majority of ELICOS students surveyed, uncompromisingly expect a high level of service in all areas of living overseas, both academic and non-academic (George:1994:26). It is against this backdrop, that I would like to explore the implications of such a shift in organisational management paradigm upon one of the important roles of the ELICOS organization: that of the ELICOS ESOL teacher.
Discussion about the specific roles of ESOL teachers have continued over the past decade. Crandall’s (1999) “Preparing Teachers for Real Classrooms” highlight the fluidity of the TESOL area, with constantly changing roles and responsibilities of ESOL teachers, and therefore the need to continually reappraise the ESOL teacher role (Crandall:1999:1). Nunan confirmed this, finding that ESOL teachers were now expected to go beyond what they have previously been expected to do. When asked to summarise their perceptions of their newer ESOL teaching roles, “one group of teachers reflected that they saw themselves as having primary responsibilities for the following: firstly, identifying the learners’ needs; secondly, selecting and grading syllabus content; thirdly, selecting and creating materials and learning activities; fourthly, monitoring and assessing learner progress; and lastly, course evaluation” (Nunan:1998:8). Therefore, according to Nunan, it could be said that the two primary areas of a ESOL teachers responsibilities are considered to be that of TESOL-academic classroom activity and TESOL-academic non-classroom activity.
Last century marked the development of theory and teaching practice related to the provision of English as a Second Other Language (ESOL). Much research, debate and discussion over the last century was focussed upon the development of traditional perspectives of (first) language acquisition theory into a specific discipline of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) Theory and ESOL Teaching Methodology (Nunan:1991:228). As a result, by the later half of the century, new theoretical and practitioner perspectives continued to emerge. Nunan (1991), in summarising some of what he considered to be the main methodologies of the century, suggested that these methods should be considered complimentary and therefore used in an eclectic approach by TESOL practitioners. Such eclectic approaches became very topical in the 1990’s, with Williams (1995), Lashway (1995), Fotos (1993), Howes (1993), Crabbe (1993), Freeman & Richards (1993), Imel (1986) and Richards & Rogers (1986) contributing their views on possible combinations of ESOL teaching approaches. The eclectic method, whilst perhaps providing an answer to a number of highlighted ESOL teaching methodological issues, is not without its’ own shortcoming. Namely, the effectiveness of a teacher to select from the various methods to make a pedagogically sound decision. (Kumaravadivelu:1994:28).
Kumaravadivelu (1994) suggests that the Post Method Condition, through principled pragmatism overcomes the weakness of the eclectic method and empowers the practitioner to construct a classroom oriented, location generated theory and practice. It also promotes teacher autonomy and this autonomy empowers the teacher to theorise from their practice and practice what they theorise (Kumaravadivelu:1994:31). Kumravadivelu describes the key to the post method condition as the ‘strategic framework for L2 teaching’. This framework consists of macrostrategies and microstrategies which assist the teacher to make theoretical, empirical and pedagogically sound decisions. A macrostrategy is the broad guideline, while the microstrategy refers to the classroom techniques. Therefore the macrostrategies are made operational in the classroom through the microstrategies (Kumaravadivelu:1994:32).  
 The ten (10) macrostrategies consisted in the framework are as follows:
  1. Maximum learning opportunities;
  2. Facilitate negotiate interaction;
  3. Mimimise perceptual mismatch. Through the awareness of the 10 potential sources of mismatch, the teacher is able to effectively intervene whenever problems are noticed in the classroom. The 10 potential sources are a) cognitive, b)communicative, c) linguistic, d) pedagogic, e) strategic, f) cultural, g) evaluative, h) procedural, i) instructional, j) attitudinal;
  4. Activate intuitive heuristics;
  5. Foster language awareness;
  6. Contextual linguistic input;
  7. Integrate language skills;
  8. Promote learner autonomy;
  9. Raise cultural consciousness;
  10. Ensure social relevance (Kumaravadivelu:1994:33-42). 
Kumaravadivelu proposes that the strategic framework encourages the development of strategic teachers who:
  1. a) reflect on the specific wants of a situation;
  2. b) reflect on the process of learning;
  3. c) stretch their knowledge, skill and attitude;
  4. d) stay informed and involved;
  5. e) design appropriate macro and micro strategies to maximise learning;
  6. f) monitor their response and create meaning (Kumaravadivelu:1994:43).
Kumaravadivelu (1994) however warns that in current language teaching institutions, two key changes will have to occur before the true potential of the post method condition can be realised. The first is that the institutions will have to implement a teacher training and development program so that the teacher can be truly empowered to be autonomous; and the second challenge is for institutions to go through a cultural readjustment as far as the attitude towards syllabus-dominated teaching is concerned.
It would seem therefore that ESOL teaching role expectations are largely derived from the institutions and groups with which the teachers work: schools systems, tertiary institutions, programme administrators, professional colleagues, teachers and students (Turney and Wright:1990:31). In reporting her experience as an ESOL support teacher in a mainstream school in Melbourne Australia, Akoudis highlighted the unique (and often under prepared and under considered) set of circumstances that ESOL teachers had to cope with, as well as the attitudes and limited understanding of the programme administrators and professional colleagues (Akoudis:1994:51). Whilst Crandall’s issues essentially surrounded her academic role as ESOL teacher (‘expected’ ESOL teacher educator role), the issues that Akoudis highlighted clearly involved a range of factors that existed additionally outside of this world. It included issues of both TESOL academic and non TESOL-academic responsibilities, requiring activities both inside and out of the classroom. These could be said to be the basis of the new broader ESOL teacher employee role.
Crichton, Jameson and Walker supports the view of the new broader ESOL teacher employee role, with both TESOL academic and non TESOL-academic functions. Crichton in his article ‘Students as Clients: Consequences for the Construction of Teaching Roles’ puts forward what he sees as two most prominent classroom roles of contemporary ELICOS teachers: that of teacher and marketer. Rather than being critical of the ‘conflict’ in the role, Crichton “challenges the assumption, prevalent in the content of ELT (English Language Teaching) training courses, that the role of the teacher is exhausted by the competent application of a particular methodology. This view of the teacher’s role pays insufficient attention to the complex and potentially conflicting obligations inherent in the role of the teacher/marketer (Crichton:1994:14). Crichton finally offers the suggestion that perhaps more valid consideration needs to be given to the context of the ELICOS classroom that the trainee teachers will enter upon their graduation. “ELT teacher training courses, which typically focus on the teacher/student relationship, would do well to pay attention to the constraints and dilemmas which face teachers in the management of clients” (Crichton:1994:14). Such observation shows the acceptance of a broader ELICOS teaching role. Acceptance also implies the willingness of Crichton to accept an increase in terms of the teachers’ duty and responsibility, given the additional non TESOL-academic nature of the role (teacher as marketer). Jameson reports on a model of ESOL teachers’ roles for an aspect of the ESOL industry in which she is involved in, workplace TESOL programs. The “role of the ESOL teacher” (methodological issues in the classroom) “is only one of many different roles that the workplace instructor is expected to fill. Other roles range from curriculum developer to program evaluator, from market analyst to program salesperson”. Such description highlights a ‘broader’ range of duties, four in all: marketing,  planning and development, implementing, and evaluating (Jameson:1997:1). Extending upon this, Walker (2000) puts forward that teachers in the provision of ESOL should be considered as service industry providers. “In terms of some of the roles and skills required, as well as the nature of the work itself, ESOL teachers’ work already embodies classic service provider fundamentals” (Walker:2000:30). Walker continues by outlining some of the benefits of doing this. ”Commercial TESOL operations exist within a competitive environment where success is linked to creating service quality” (Walker:2000:30). This perspective clearly shows a ‘market-based TESOL provision’ perspective, in contrast to the more traditional expected role of ESOL teacher as SLA methodology practitioner. Rifkin (1996) and Dent (1995) put forward that such a view of a service provider is indicative of the demise of the state run institutions during the dawning of the post-market era. They propose that such ‘multiple roles’ should become the norm rather than the exception in the 21st century (Dent:1995:261). Jameson agrees that a teacher with expertise in the TESOL classroom has to learn to cope with such ‘multiple roles’ (Jameson:1997:1). Such discipline will allow the teacher to maintain mobility, flexibility and market-responsiveness and therefore remain competitive in the global market place.
To focus on the TESOL-academic aspects of a ESOL teachers’ role, whether classroom or non-classroom, limits the potential of the organization to act in a capacity of a service organization. As a service organisation, “the organisational culture, whereby customer satisfaction is the dominant value, is part of an approach founded on service excellence” (Fabien & desMarchais:1998:12). A service organization accepts and therefore expects its members to be involved and responsible to a level where product organizations do not. “The contribution of contact personnel is pivotal to customer satisfaction and centres on delivering service” (Fabien & desMarchais: 1998:12). Walker claims: 
“TESOL institutions…can capitalise…by assisting their teachers to become better acquainted with services management principles”,… “function as professional consultants and marketers ‘so that they see themselves as satisfying customers rather than just teaching students”.  
Walker suggests that it is the frontline ESOL teachers who are the personnel with direct contact with the organisations’ customers. As such, it is these teachers that “have most potential to influence the customer’s perception of the quality of the service” provided (Walker:2000:30). This view again supports the broader employee role of ‘new market-based TESOL provision’ perspective, in contrast to the more traditional expected role of ESOL teacher as SLA methodology practitioner. Service organisational employees are expected to possess affective behavioural traits such as “internalised values and attitudes that are coherent with the target culture”. Staff are recruited upon their perceived suitability to serve the customer, and to support the organisation in its aims of service excellence. In addition to ones’ ‘technical’ qualifications, experience and expertise therefore, it is imperative that service organization employees exhibit three ‘functional’ capacities. These are: the ability to listen to customer’s requests; the ability to interpret customer’s requests; and, the ability to communicate to the customer (Fabien & desMarchais:1998:12).
Like other service organizations, Walker argues that similar employee characteristics are desired by TESOL organizations. Singh supports this with his calls for greater involvement of all TESOL participants:
“….decisions have to be made by everyone from classroom teachers, through teacher education and public servants to politicians about the TESOL industry that will bring about innovations in particular English language businesses and their classrooms” (Singh:2000:12).
One way to holistically secure this innovation could be in the organization of the ELICOS institution. As part of a need to become more mobile, flexible, market-responsive and therefore competitive, consideration needs to be made as to how to involve all employees of the organization. Perhaps the key here is how ELICOS institutions are perceived conceptually from a management paradigm. Therefore a TESOL organization, Walker concludes, should be approached from a service organization management perspective, rather than from a standard product management perspective that has occurred during much of the nineties (Savage,1996;Pennington, 1991). This would allow customer-conscious providers of ELICOS to have a framework with which they could constantly be in the process of looking for more efficient ways of providing a better level of service.
As one can see from the chart below, the role of the new broader ESOL teacher employee includes both TESOL-academic and non TESOL-academic responsibilities, both inside (classroom activities) and outside (non-classroom activities) of the classroom.
As already noted in the service organisation, the attitudes of the teachers towards their roles impact directly upon what how they will perform within the organization. Specifically, what they are prepared to do and what they aren’t prepared to do: what they perceive as useful activities, and what they don’t. It is of great importance to ascertain these opinions and perceptions. The discussion in this literature review thus far has not broached the possible trade-offs that may be considered to exist between the various aspects of the new broader ELICOS teaching roles. Whilst I do not feel that it was appropriate to discuss their possible existence here, it is this area that I presuppose that teachers’ will have opinions about, and for that reason it is important to survey their attitudes about the conflicts of such broader role expectations. Once their opinions and perceptions have been elicited, it would then be possible to consider appropriate professional developments sessions to address those points and issues of concern that are highlighted as potentially impeding the change process.
Over the course of this preliminary literature review, I have looked at the relationships between two theoretical models/orientations: 
  • Firstly, the service organization management paradigm and the role of the service organization employee, and;
  • Secondly, TESOL and the ESOL teacher role. 
As an integrated model, this could be graphically represented as:


Specifically, I have noted the competitive nature of ESOL provision; both in terms of the nation, and individual colleges. I have shown how this has had an impact on ESOL teaching roles, broadening what is expected of ESOL teachers. This breadth has been both in terms of their TESOL-academic and non TESOL-academic roles, both inside and out of the classroom. I have proposed that such development of the ESOL teaching roles has been as a direct result of the industry’s and providers’ attempt to improve the service provision (TESOL-academic and non TESOL-academic in nature) for the customer’s (ESOL student’s) benefit. The major development has come as a result of how ELICOS institutions are perceived conceptually from a management paradigm. Such a customer-centred orientation has its roots firmly entrenched within a more widely applied contemporary management paradigm; that of service orientation. Central to this perspective is the Australian ELICOS providers’ initiative to remain mobile, flexible and market-responsive, securing their global market share through a competitive TESOL service.
As a result of the developments, irrespective of whether one sees such development as necessary or even philosophically ‘correct’, a tension exists between the ‘expected’ role of the ELICOS ESOL teacher educator, and the broader role now required of the ELICOS ESOL teacher as an employee of a service organization. Given this, I have chosen to undertake a research study to gain greater distinctions of this tension. 

Section 3


What are ELICOS teachers’ perceptions of their new broader ESOL teacher employee role (in contrast to the more accepted expected ESOL teacher educational role) in the new market-based TESOL provision environment of College X?
 Survey research is the methodology that has been deemed most appropriate to assist in the achievement of this research proposal objective. Survey research is one of the most important areas of measurement in applied social research. The broad area of survey research encompasses any measurement procedures that involve asking questions of respondents. A “survey” can be anything from a short paper-and-pencil feedback form to an intensive one-on-one in-depth interview. There are however some misconceptions about these methods. Perceptions seem to be that questionnaires always ask short closed-ended questions while interviews always ask broad open-ended ones. However, some questionnaires include open-ended questions (although they do tend to be shorter than in interviews) and there will often be a series of closed-ended questions asked in an interview. Irrespective of the detail of each of these, the survey researcher’s main job is “to ask questions in such a way as to obtain valid responses and to record the responses accurately and completely” (Burns:2000:582).
Given the research question is aiming to highlight the perceptions of the current teaching staff of a service orientated ELICOS institution (“College X”), a survey that focuses upon the beliefs and values of people is required. Hence, an attitude survey. The attitude survey is one that attempts to apply “standardised questionnaires to enable individuals to be placed on a dimension indicating degree of favourability towards the object in question” from the point of view of their beliefs (Burns:2000:555). The advantages of the attitude survey (utilising the Likert scale) are according to Burns (2000): “greater ease of preparation”; greater objectivity than the Thurstone approach; the “validity and reliability are reasonably high” due to the “more homogenous scales” (Burns:2000:560).
 A disadvantage of the attitude survey (utilising the Likert scale) is according to Burns: the Likert is “an ordinal scale”, rather than being capable of providing “interval data”, as many assume; “the total score of an individual has little clear meaning” (Burns:2000:560). Burns continues: “The chief criticism that might be levelled at all attitude scales is concerned with the indirectness of measurement”. Burns suggests that it is possible for attitude scales to be “easily faked”. Attitude scales are self-report measures and they suffer the from the same problems as all self-report techniques” (Burns:2000:564).
In addition to the attitude survey, a semi-structured interview will be used to elicit more rich data from each participant. The semi-structured interview will allow for more specific items to be addresses across the whole population. The researcher will have a pre-determined list of questions that should elicit open-ended responses. The results can then be quantified to a degree and evaluated to ascertain further distinctions as to the perceptions of teachers of the newer broader ELICOS organisation ‘teaching role’. The advantages of the structured interviews are: “observation of the respondent’s non-verbal communication and environment”; “the interviewer is able to control the sequence of the items”; and the ability to obtain responses from people who would otherwise “find a written response impossible”(Burns:2000:583).
The disadvantages of the semi-structured interviews (based on Burns 2000) that may impact this research are: expense and the time factor; the skill of the interviewer – an untrained interviewer may affect the interaction between the interviewer and respondent” and “respondents may feel that they are being ‘put on the spot’”; the downside of having flexibility in survey responses may mean that “difficulties may arise when attempts are made to categorise and evaluate responses”; attention must be given to the validity question – whether “the interview or questionnaire is really measuring what it is supposed to measure” (Burns:2000:583). There are certain ways to over come some for these disadvantages. These are: to ensure this validity is maintained by recruiting the services of a learned colleague to “examine the items to judge whether they are adequate for measuring what they are supposed to measure”; having two different interviewers interview the same individuals to check on the consistency of the results is one procedure for assessing reliability”. Additionally, “internal consistency may be checked by building in some redundancy”, such as including some items that are rephrased and repeated in the same interview (Burns:2000:585); in order to ensure the reliability and validity of the survey, sound sampling procedures should be used, following the guidelines for developing, administering, and analysing surveys.
There are two types of sampling methods: non-random sampling and random sampling. Non-random sampling is when statistical validity is not a concern. In these instances, researchers tend to pick someone like themselves or choose a convenient location for the surveys. Non-random sampling is widely used as a case selection method in qualitative research.  Random sampling is data collection in which every person in the population has a chance of being selected which is known in advance. Random samples are always strongly preferred as only random samples permit statistical inference.
 For the purpose of this research, a college that has attempted to deliberately embrace a service orientation will be the focus (‘College X’). The ELICOS institution will be chosen as a college that is deemed to be managed by a Principal in a service management manner. The service management framework introduced in the preliminary literature review will be used as the criteria to develop a series of questions to determine the eligibility of the ELICOS organization to be the subject of the Research Study. I would like to choose a service orientated ELICOS college in which to study; that is, a like-minded principal. I would like to determine a particular ELICOS college that is service orientated, and survey the teaching staff for their perceptions. In such an instance, it would be a non-random sample. However, in determining whether a college is one of a service orientation, it may be determined that no ELICOS college meets the criteria of a service organization management paradigm as defined in the preliminary literature review. As this evaluation process has not commenced yet, this is a possible outcome that has to be considered. In such an situation, where an ELICOS college can not be determined clearly as following specifically a service organisation management paradigm, an alternative sample method may need to be considered. Perhaps a random sample of all south-east Queensland ELICOS colleges could be an alternative.
Once the survey research method and the subjects have been selected, the attitude survey and the semi-structured interview itself will be constructed. There are a number of issues that will need to be addressed, including: the different types of questions; decisions about question content; decisions about question wording; decisions about response format; and, question placement and sequence in the survey instrument.  It is planned to recruit the services of professional peers to assist in the complex question formulation process.
A range of possible questions to be used as a basis for development of more specific questions for the attitude surveys and interviews, to allow elicitation of the distinctions regarding the differing perceptions of teachers.  Who are you type questions:
  1. educational experience?
  2. educational training/background?
  3. ESOL experience? Onshore? Offshore? Adults? Children? Accredited college?
  4. perceptions of industry of TESOL; current forces at play within the industry; positives? frustrations?
  5. Current educational (teaching) role?
  6. Duties expected?
  7. Beliefs around relevance/importance of duties?
  8. Using a summary of academic literature re ‘teachers roles’ and ‘employee roles’ to gain teachers’ perceptions of how best to describe/categorise their roles in contemporary TESOL environments
  9. Extra supporting comments re above question to give greater understanding
  10. What assistance/professional training/induction process have you as teacher received from your place of occupation?
  11. How has this been of use to you in better equipping you as a professional given questions 3 – 6 (8)
  12. Reflective comments re progress of perception of role over the past say 5 years? 10 years? (ie questions 4 – 8),
  13. Reflective comments re progress of professional’s institution’s perception of role over the past say 5 years? 10 years? (ie questions 9 – 10),
  14. Comments re professional educational training being provided to the industry – formal and informal
It is intended to determine the profile of the interviewee for the purposes of having a broader portrait to better frame the perceptions elicited. It is not at this point intended to use such a profile as an evaluation criteria to determine the eligibility of the interviewee. It has been suggested that such an evaluation process may be valid. At present it is just that: a suggestion.
When carrying out the survey process, certain ethical guidelines will be followed. As a basic guideline in survey research, the surveyor is to make sure that: no individual suffers any adverse consequences as a result of the survey; the survey process involves voluntary cooperation from potential respondents; it’s OK to encourage participation, but individuals should never be forced to complete a survey; potential survey respondents should be informed that their participation is voluntary; respondents are to be assured of confidentiality; if there are limits on the confidentiality that is being offered, they should be clearly stated; respondents are to be informed of the interviewer’s name and the purpose of the survey, and how the data will be used.
As it is intended for the subject group to be contained within the one institution, I do not foresee as many logistical challenges as a traditional survey research may encounter. Nevertheless, in order to ensure a valid research process, due consideration to the method of data collection needs to be given. As part of my initial plan, I intend to: commence the study with the attitude survey. It will be arranged for the subjects to receive the survey at a common time, have time to respond, and return the completed surveys by a pre-specified date. Following this, the study will continue with the semi-structured interviews. It will be arranged for the subjects (and interview assistant) to be available at pre-determined times, allowing enough time for the subjects to respond concisely and thoroughly, and to have the whole subject group completed by a pre-specified date.
An electronic device will be used to ensure that the information elicited during the semi-structured interviews is recorded accurately for analysis at a later time. Patton says that a tape recorder is “indispensable” (1990:348). However, to avoid the intrusion of a recording device that Lincoln and Guba warn of (“do not recommend recording except for unusual reasons” (1985:241)), it is recommended that the recording is done knowingly but discreetly. Lincoln and Guba base their recommendation on the intrusiveness of the recording devices and the possibility of technical failure. Recordings obviously have the advantage of capturing data more faithfully than hurriedly written notes might, and can make it easier for the researcher to focus on the interview. As the data that this research intends to collect is rich and descriptive, a tape recorder will be used to allow for a better accuracy and reference.
Bogdan and Biklen define qualitative data analysis as “working with data, organizing it, breaking it into manageable units, synthesizing it, searching for patterns, discovering what is important and what is to be learned, and deciding what you will tell others” (1982:145). It is the objective of this study to similarly work with a situation, to analyse the data elicited, to query, to reflect and then make some interpretations for the benefit of the TESOL industry.
NVIVO software (1999) will be used iteratively to look for patterns and further determine categories. Analysis may require some creativity. The challenge is to place the raw data into logical, meaningful categories; to examine them in a holistic fashion; and to find a way to communicate this interpretation to others. As the raw data is broken down into manageable chunks, the researcher must also devise an “audit trail”. That is, a scheme for identifying these data chunks according to their speaker and the context. The software package will allow for the above to take place.

Section 4

Suggested Time Line for Completion 

Approach potential supervisors
Finalise the supervisor
Commence the study logistics (approvals),
Approach Experts to Assist with Survey/Interview Questions
Commence Drafting the Survey/Interview Questions
Refine Selection Criteria for an ‘Appropriate’ Service Org
Draft the Survey/Interview questions
Finalise the study logistics (approvals)
Refine Criteria for an ‘Appropriate’ Service Org
Contact Range of Potential ELICOS Service Org
Pre-Test ELICOS Service Orgs for Suitability
Review/Refine the Survey/Interview questions
Ensure ethics are considered – both in terms of surveys and research proposal; approach ‘designated institution’ for necessary approval to conduct study
Assess Service Orgs for Suitability
Approach subject group for ‘invitation’
Finalise the Survey/Interview questions
Approach subject group for ‘invitation’
Arrange interviews; arrange attitude surveys
Arrange interviews; arrange attitude surveys
Conduct interviews; arrange attitude surveys
Collect responses
Conduct interviews; arrange attitude surveys
Collect responses
Conduct interviews; arrange attitude surveys
Collect responses
Collect responses
Appraise responses / Data analysis
Appraise responses / Data analysis
Appraise responses / Data analysis
Appraise responses / Data analysis
Commence to write up Findings
Write up Findings
*Propose Organisational Training Manual
Write up Findings
*Develop Organisational Training Manual
Write up Findings
*Develop Organisational Training Manual
Write up Findings
*Develop Organisational Training Manual
*Refine Organisational Training Manual
*Finalise Organisational Training Manual
Submit Draft Doctorate
* = Additional Project Element Required for EdDoc 

Section 5

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– ©David L Page 16/10/2000

Concluding comment

Whilst I decided to embark on this Doctorate of Philosophy in Education, and had my Doctoral Research Study proposal submitted and accepted by Queensland University of Technology, after a number of months I got very busy with my educational management role in GEOS Corporation.


I began to realise my management role actually provided me the perfect opportunity to apply what I had been theorising in  my Doctoral Research Study proposal into an actual industry situation. Quickly I gained further insight and understanding  that the life of a proactive industry management practitioner was similar to that of a doctoral student embarking upon a research study. They must research in order to appraise the environmental context of their organisation – both internal to, and external of; then they much critically analyse; they must along the way reflect, hypothesise, and develop a strategic option; seek feedback from key stake holders (executive management, governance members, industry, mentors and peers); refine the strategic option developing a strategic plan; consult, refine and test this plan; implement it; analyse the results; and again seek feedback regarding its’ degree of success; modify the strategic intuitive and strategise further implementation plans. I accepted that the opportunity before me as a practitioner was a unique one, and therefore focussed my energies in that area for the next ten years. It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my role and apply my doctoral research project  proposal to an industry-based context: an educational institution.
All other images and charts courtesy of: DLP Accessed 15th October, 2000
GEOS image courtesy of:  GEOS Corporation   Accessed 18th November 2010
QUT image courtesy of:  Queensland University of Technology   Accessed 18th November 2010
– updated ©David L Page 19/11/2010
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

David L Page

View posts by David L Page
With over 20 years experience in the arts & post-compulsory education, David has lived, studied and worked Internationally including Japan, India, Fiji, the US and NZ. David has extensive interests as per the extensive blogs hosted on his site (see below). Additionally, David has published in both lay texts and academic (peer-review) publications.

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