ELT Online Teachers’ Professional Development During the Covid-19 Pandemic Outbreak: Perceptions, Implications and Adaptations


  • Abdullah Al-Bargi King Abdulaziz University




Covid-19, ELT, online teacher professional development, Saudi Arabia


As lockdown restrictions were implemented in most countries around the world with the subsequent transition to full-mode online teaching and learning, English language teachers (ELTs) in particular, had to adapt and adopt new teaching strategies. These unexpected changes to the medium or mode of teaching necessitated the provision of efficacious and coherent professional development (PD) training in order to smoothly navigate the transition from full-time (or semi full-time) onsite teaching and learning to full-mode online teaching. This research study, based on sequential explanatory mixed-methods research design, is aimed at exploring the availability and provision of ELT PD opportunities at English Language Institutes (ELIs)/English Language Centers (ELCs), at five major universities in Saudi Arabia and the perception of the ELT teachers on its coherence and adequacy. A total of 307 English as a Foreign Language (EFL) male and female teachers participated in a custom designed 20-item questionnaire on a 5-point Likert scale, as well as ten EFL teachers (6 female and 4 male) taking part in 40-minute semi-structured interviews, to explore their perception and opinions of online PD opportunities. Analysis of results of the gathered data indicated that the majority of the teachers felt that there were adequate online PD opportunities while the structures of these opportunities sufficiently addressed most of their needs. However, some teachers voiced concerns regarding the correlation between contextual, full-mode online teaching and the online PD sessions provided. Implications and recommendations for stake holders as well as for future research are given at the end of this study.

Author Biography

Abdullah Al-Bargi, King Abdulaziz University

English Language Institute


Al-Abdullatif, A., & Gameil, A. (2021). The Effect of Digital Technology Integration on Students’ Academic Performance through Project-Based Learning in an E-learning Environment. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET), 16(11), 189-210. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.3991/ijet.v16i11.19421

Arifani, Y., Khaja, F. N. M., Suryanti, S., & Wardhono, A. (2019). The Influence of Blended In-service Teacher Professional Training on EFL Teacher Creativity and Teaching Effectiveness. 3L: Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, 25(3). 126 – 136

Beavers, A. (2009). Teachers as learners: Implications of adult education for professional development. Journal of College Teaching & Learning (TLC), 6(7). 25-30

Behroozi, A., & Osam, U. V. (2021). Micro-level episodes tell a tale: A look into an English language teacher’s online professional development. Revista Argentina de Clínica Psicológica, 30(1), 799 - 814.

Borg, S. (2011). The impact of in-service teacher education on language teachers’ beliefs. System, 39(3), 370-380.

Boruah, P. B. (2018). Investigating ELT practitioners’ perceptions of self-learning materials (SLM) development as an effective CPD activity. Issue 9: Taking responsibility for professional development (2), 1-40.

Chen, J.-Q., & McCray, J. (2012). A Conceptual Framework for Teacher Professional Development: The Whole Teacher Approach. NHSA Dialog, 15(1), 8-23. https://doi.org/10.1080/15240754.2011.636491

Cherrstrom, C. A., & Boden, C. (2019). Curation in Education: Implications for Adult Educators in Teaching and Research. Adult Education Research Conference 2019 Conference Proceedings (Buffalo, New York). https://newprairiepress.org/aerc/2019/papers/5

Christie, M., Carey, M., Robertson, A., & Grainger, P. (2015). Putting transformative learning theory into practice. Australian journal of adult learning, 55(1), 9-30.

Clark, V. L. P., & Ivankova, N. V. (2015). Mixed Methods Research: A Guide to the Field. SAGE Publications. https://books.google.com.sa/books?id=DatiCgAAQBAJ Retrieved: 15th of June 2021.

De Oliveira, C. M. (2019). A Professional Development Program for Beginning High School Teachers. In Teacher Education in the 21st Century. IntechOpen.

DeAngelis, L. (2021). Enabling the Exploration of Disorienting Dilemma in the Classroom. Journal of Education, 0022057421991865. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022057421991865

Edmonds, W. A., & Kennedy, T. D. (2016). An Applied Guide to Research Designs: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods. SAGE Publications. https://books.google.com.sa/books?id=QAjiCwAAQBAJ Retrieved: 20th of June 2021

Firmansyah, R., Putri, D., Wicaksono, M., Putri, S., Widianto, A., & Palil, R. (2021). Educational Transformation: An Evaluation of Online Learning Due To COVID-19. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET), 16(7), 61-76. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.3991/ijet.v16i07.21201

Greene, M., & Jones, W. (2020). Towards a Critical Conceptual Framework for Technology Integration in Professional Development for English Language Teachers. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 29(2), 113-132.

Khatser, G., Khatser, M., Bukharina, L., Dybchinska, Y., & Lysenko, M. (2021). Transformation of the Educational Process within Online Technologies Implementation in the Period of the Global Crisis. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET), 16(11), 245-260. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.3991/ijet.v16i11.21265

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2006). TESOL methods: Changing tracks, challenging trends. TESOL Quarterly, 40(1), 59-81.

Lay, C. D., Allman, B., Cutri, R. M., & Kimmons, R. (2020). Examining a Decade of Research in Online Teacher Professional Development. In Frontiers in Education (Vol. 5, pp. 1-14). Frontiers. https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2020.573129

Paesani, K. (2020). Teacher professional development and online instruction: Cultivating coherence and sustainability. Foreign Language Annals, 53(2), 292-297. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/flan.12468

Powell, C. G., & Bodur, Y. (2019). Teachers’ perceptions of an online professional development experience: Implications for a design and implementation framework. Teaching and Teacher Education, 77, 19-30. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2018.09.004

Sato, E., & Chen, J. C. (2019). Rise to the occasion: The trajectory of a novice Japanese teacher’s first online teaching through action research. Language Teaching Research, 25(2), 306-329. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168819846794

Truong, M. T., & Murray, J. (2019). Understanding Language Teacher Motivation in Online Professional Development: A Study of Vietnamese EFL Teachers. TESL-EJ, 23(3), n3. 1-23.

Xie, K., Kim, M., Cheng, S., & Luthy, N. (2017). Digital content evaluation as technology professional development. Educational Technology Research and Development, 65(4), 1067-1103.