Contribution to professional development for English teachers

James Coburn defended his PhD entitled "The professional development of English language teachers: Investigating the impact and design of a national in-service EFL teacher education course"
on November 22nd at campus Hamar.

Contribution to professional development for English teachers

The purpose of James` study is to investigate the effectiveness of one of the national in-service courses for teachers of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and it aims to contribute to the knowledge base of EFL teacher education and the delivery of in-service language teacher training.


Dr. James Coburn

“There is a tremendous shortage of teachers with EFL education in primary schools in Norway today. This is even more worrisome since a new law was recently passed in Norway mandating to increase the threshold of qualification of EFL teachers in primary schools. Therefore a further expansion of the number of EFL courses and improvement of the courses are needed,” said Coburn.

Coburn employs a mixed-methods article-based study to examine the impact of the EFL teacher education course of a group of experienced primary school teachers who had taught English without any EFL teacher education before. The study compares course design and course impact on the teachers’ professional development.

His findings indicate that teachers experienced increased competence as EFL teachers, used significantly more English in class, became less dependent on textbooks, and encouraged more pupil activity. Coburn also points out weaknesses of course design with a lack of follow-up and connection with teachers’ schools, and lack of opportunity for oral English practice and teacher collaboration in between seminars. The study is aimed to assist EFL teacher educators and designers of future in-service courses to gain a better understanding of the processes underlying the professional development of English language teachers.

“If this research project can make a significant contribution in this new and growing field, it will have served its purpose. Hopefully, the results will be of interest in Norway and also relevant and transferable to other countries in Europe and the rest of the world,” said Coburn.


Dr. Corbun (left) is congratulated by the Dean of the Faculty of Education and Natural Sciences Morten Ørbeck.

The opponent panel of Coburn’s defense included Professor Janet Enever from University of Umeå and Professor Ion Patrick Francis Drew from University of Stavanger. We congratulate Dr. James Coburn with his dissertation!


PhD Programme in Teaching and Teacher Education

The Faculty of Education and Natural Science has offered a PhD programme in Teaching and Teacher Education since 2012. The PhD programme is oriented towards the education subjects in English, Norwegian and Pedagogics (including Multicultural Pedagogy and the Religious Education Pedagogy).

Click here for further information about the PhD programme.

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