Examining Teaching Approaches, Academic Culture, and Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Instructors at a Palestinian University

Pauliina Alenius
Tampere University

Tahani Z. Aldahdouh
Tampere University

Vesna Holubek
Tampere University

Nazmi Al-Masri
Islamic University of Gaza

Alyan El-Holy
Islamic University of Gaza

Jyri Linden
Tampere University

Vesa Korhonen
Tampere University

Only a few studies have examined work cultures, teaching approaches and self-efficacy beliefs of academic teachers outside Europe, North America, and Asia. This mixed-method study investigated the following research questions: 1) What kinds of approaches to teaching and self-efficacy beliefs can be identified among academics in the selected Palestinian university?, 2) Are there disciplinary or career-stage differences in the teachers’ approaches to teaching or concerning their self-efficacy beliefs?, 3) What features of academic and teaching culture can be identified among these academics? and 4), Which factors affect teaching and learning in this institution. Quantitative data were collected from 119 teaching staff through an online, self-reported questionnaire. Qualitative data consisted of four focus group interviews with 18 teaching staff. The results showed that teaching staff reported high self-efficacy beliefs, whereas the teacher-centered approach was slightly more dominant than the student-centered approach. In qualitative data, the social and religious mission of teaching was highlighted; universities should primarily educate ethically conscious people who would serve their communities and society. The academic culture encompassed many features of contrived collegiality in which collaboration relies mainly on formal practices and is based less on informal, voluntary collaboration among teachers.

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