Faishal Zakaria


Where does your international research/engagement take place?

Please briefly describe your research/activity?
My research focused on a group of Indonesian English teacher educators who converged in an informal online learning community. In general, my study sought to explore how these teacher educators sustain their community engagement, collaboratively pursue their continued professional development in a non-institutional setting, and how writing and publication expectations, including governmental external quality standards, shaped their conceptualization of and conversations about professionalism.

Why does your research/activity matter?
Research has indicated that online professional development (PD) is a viable alternative to traditional face-to-face PD. However, there are gaps in the literature, much of which focuses on formal online PD in which some kind of institutional oversight is present or does not investigate what teacher educators actually do to develop professionally. My study matters because it could offer insights into how teacher educators could take PD matters into their own hands.

What led you to this research/activity?
Parts of the problems that led me to this research were that PD is highly inaccessible and not affordable to many Indonesian educators. People from thousands of islands have to converge to major cities to attend face-to-face PD (i.e., mobility issues). Available government-sponsored PD activities are usually very top-down (i.e., educators are not at the forefront) and, thus, not always connected to teacher needs.

What problem do you hope this research/activity will solve/what are your hopes for this work?
I hope that my research offers evidence-based insights that help fill in the gap in the literature. Also, its findings could hopefully shed light on the types of PD experiences English teacher educators may encounter as they engage in similar communities. Finally, the findings could provide the basis for further development of contextualized professional learning communities as platforms for language teacher PD in Indonesia

How will your work create change for the better?
One of the implications of my study findings is that the government's adoption of external quality standards (i.e., Western standards) for professionalism could undermine efforts to promote more contextualized quality measures for local scholars' professionalism. My study has therefore suggested steps that the government and related stakeholders could take to mitigate over-reliance on Western standards. This could hopefully create change in how local scholars and their performance are assessed.