The development and progress of any society is closely linked to the educational standard of its constituents. The propagation of knowledge is, therefore, the most important activity in molding the society, in order to successfully meet future challenges.With the knowledge base ever increasing, in terms of depth and diversity, it is essential that the method of imparting knowledge are monitored, researched, optimized and revised on a continuous basis. Early realization of this need has resulted in a continuous research process, since past several decades, on not only the improvement of teaching methods, but also on the efficacy of teachers as individuals, as they are the primary instruments of knowledge propagation. Mere possession of knowledge is not sufficient, unless it is backed by an effective method of imparting not only its content, but also its usefulness to the society. Both the teachers and students being human individuals susceptible to diverse behavioral patterns, social and cultural backgrounds, it is also important to impart the basic values which sustain the contemporary modern society, which include scientific temper in the field of knowledge and a sense of fellow-being, justice and compassion in social relations. The psychological aspect of motivation, commitment and engagement in the teaching-learning process is also an essential parameter of any study of this subject. Continual Professional Development (CPD) is the keyword for the teachers today. In this context,
educators are faced with a myriad of options to fulfill their CPD needs. They may be required to participate in summer courses, in-service training seminars, weekend lectures or workshops and attend educational conferences. In some instances, during their employment, they are offered the opportunity to undergo university courses as an option for Further Education (TQFE) and Professional Development (PD). For schools and universities to continue to offer such options to full time teachers, it is important that they know the effectiveness and practicality of such ventures. Education professionals can benefit from knowing potential effectiveness and possible downfalls of such undertakings.
Research topic: In order to evaluate the efficacy of these courses, it is necessary to conduct an elaborate research on "How does involvement in a university course related to teaching practice affect teachers' practices, attitudes and beliefs about their professional practice and continual professional development (CPD) ".
Scope of this paper: The subject areas covered by these UG courses broadly include:
Theories of learning and teaching (PF410)
Mentoring and Coaching (PF416)
Educational practice-based Enquiry (PF411)
Developing Leadership Skills (EE421)
School Self-Evaluation and Improvement (EE423)
Since comprehensive research enquiry covering all the above topics will need vast amounts of resources, the present research is focused on a limited subject area and is titled as "How does participation in a UG university course related to teaching practice and applied research, affect teachers' practices and beliefs about their teaching and professional development" The scope of this study is limited to the identification of the effects of participation in an applied research course from UG on teaching and professional practices within the School of Creative Sciences (SCS) at Sharjah. The main objectives are:
To describe the effects of offering PG studies as an option for the school-teachers in the school's CPD program.
To identify common factors in the perceived effects of participation.
To identify the most common factors influencing SCS teachers' choice to participate in UG courses.
To identify the most common types of support reviewed for participants involved in a PG CPD program at SCS, Sharjah.
Review of literature:
Scientific methods applied to education have been the subject of study since the later part of nineteenth century.