Practitioner research : nation-wide educational reform for school improvement in the Kingdom of Bahrain

Abdul Razzak, Nina (2020) Practitioner research : nation-wide educational reform for school improvement in the Kingdom of Bahrain. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This commentary consolidates research carried out from 2011-2016 in the island Kingdom of Bahrain, which is a vibrant context of educational reform. It draws attention to the main themes shared by the publications and demonstrates how together they form a clear picture of the development of educational reform in Bahrain and current outcomes. In addition, it demonstrates how these publications have contributed to related knowledge and scholarship, and delineates how, through reflecting on these publications, the researcher advanced her research skills and acquired new perspectives. Four themes are discussed. The first theme is crosscutting, as it relates to research opportunities and limitations with respect to research in education in Bahrain. Such opportunities and limitations impact the investigation of educational practices such as the teaching and development of 21st Century skills (e.g. higher-order thinking skills and deep learning) creating significant challenges, in particular to school improvement efforts. These challenges are the focus of the second theme and link to the third theme, which centres on the main potential factors behind them. Specifically, Theme 3 concentrates on the predominance of a conservative culture of teaching and learning in the educational institutions of the Kingdom. Finally, the fourth theme highlights pedagogical strategies related to student-driven learning, which may mitigate the existing challenges and the factors contributing to them. The discussion of the themes is followed with reflections on what the researcher envisions as the possible way forward in educational reform in Bahrain, which entails an emphasis on an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented approach to learning. Further reflections examine the experiences of being a researcher in a vibrant context of educational reform such as Bahrain’s and what they involve in terms of opportunities and challenges. The final sections highlight how the researcher’s publications have contributed to the scholarly literature and discusses some methodological considerations and possible future research directions.

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