Edcamp and Innovation in Professional Development for ALTs

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Bernadette Denston, Konan Women’s University; Thomas Stringer, Konan University

Teacher professional development (PD) is essential to improve English language instruction in Japan. Nevertheless, current PD models have been criticised. Edcamps are a form of collaborative PD that has recently gained attention. We look at a compulsory PD event for assistant language teachers (ALTs) based on elements of the edcamp model. The aim of this study was to assess the participating ALTs’ attitudes towards currently available PD, investigate their criteria for suitable PD, and measure their responses to the edcamp model in reference to those criteria. ALTs broadly approved of the edcamp model but expressed concern that the PD did not meet their needs. They indicated that suitable PD should offer new ideas and direction as to how to apply them and should involve peer collaboration. The results highlight difficulties with moderating and offering opportunities for equal contribution. We make recommendations for the generalizability of the edcamp model for PD.