The Benefits and Challenges for Cambodian Teachers Implementing Peer Coaching
In Cambodia, the professional development of teachers is a priority. Although many training programmes and workshops are provided for teachers to learn new skills and improve practice, the rate of their transferring these learned skills into the classroom is still low. According to the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports (2005) one explanation for this low rate of skills transfer is the lack of collaboration between peers. To address this issue, this thesis explores the benefits and challenges for Cambodian teachers implementing coaching as a way to improve peer collaboration. It seeks to discover their perceptions and experiences in undertaking peer coaching and to find out the strategies that could work for Cambodian teachers when they engage in peer coaching. To address the study’s research questions, action research and a qualitative, interpretive design were used. Six Cambodian teachers teaching English in one school volunteered to participate in this study. Data were collected through reflective notes, seminars, individual interviews, and a focus group. The interview data were transcribed and coded using the inductive content analysis in order to categorise them and draw conclusions. The findings indicate that the implementation of peer coaching was influential in shaping participants’ understanding of current practice and improving their teaching, such as teaching methods, reflections and collaborations. This study found that administrative support, constructive feedback and a change in the peer coaching process could inspire Cambodian teachers to collaborate. It also found that there are some major challenges impacting on peer coaching, including lack of time for undertaking peer observations, lack of teaching resources, big class size, and nervousness of the teachers and students. The study, however, suggests that the success of undertaking peer coaching requires both administrative support and individual teachers’ self-efficacy. Further research into the effectiveness of providing feedback on teachers’ practice needs to occur to see if this phenomenon is widespread.