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In Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, subject teachers of English medium in government schools are recruited from overseas and have a wide range of years of teaching experience. Research is divided into whether or not years of experience necessarily translates into a positive correlation with student-centred classroom practice such as the use of hands-on learning and inquiry-based approaches to learning in science. Abu Dhabi is in the process of dramatically overturning its education system, resulting in at times challenging teaching environments. Teachers working here are in the unique situation of being part of a rapidly developing education system and face similar challenges regardless of their years of experiences. This study surveys 249 expatriate English medium teachers to explore how their number of years of experience varies with their classroom practice, teaching beliefs and confidence levels. Although teachers with more experience were far more likely to express confidence in their own abilities (self-efficacies), we found the classroom practices of those between five and ten years of experience aligned most closely with inquiry-based, student-centred learning approaches applied in Abu Dhabi classrooms.
Keywords: Years’ teaching experience, classroom practice, reform.