Presentation on theme: "Exploring the changing attitudes of TESOL teachers to classroom-based research Tim Graham & Alice Oxholm, Sheffield Hallam University."— Presentation transcript:
Exploring the changing attitudes of TESOL teachers to classroom-based research Tim Graham & Alice Oxholm, Sheffield Hallam University
the nature of action research as part of language teacher education courses for its own sake the attitudes of teachers towards doing research as part of their studies the outcomes and effects on teachers own classroom practices and beliefs of having undertaken research
Allwright's 7 aims for teacher research Relevance Reflection Continuity Collegiality Learner development Teacher development Theory building Allwright,D. in Edge, J. & Richards, K. eds. (2000) Teachers Develop Teachers Research Heinemann
Type of research task: a) small-scale b) classroom-based c) student-selected d) tutor-supervised/peer-discussed (in VLE – Blackboard)
A couple of example topic areas: Learners as Teachers: Developing Learner Autonomy through Peer-Teaching of Grammar in the Language Classroom An investigation of reading strategies at Intermediate level
Sequence and role: Thinking of an idea: Teacher as learner. Creating researchable & manageable project: Teacher as interested researcher Designing research instrument: Teacher & Tutor as involved researchers
Collecting data: Teacher as self-directed researcher Analysing & discussing findings: Teacher as self-directed, questioning researcher Writing report: Teacher as 'author' based on Graham & Oxholm Research as conversation: developing a positive approach to action research (2005)
Teachers' context and background: The research group initially involved 13 pre-research teachers just embarking on this assignment as part of the Post Graduate Diploma (Group A) and 18 post- research teachers who have all successfully completed the course (Group B). All 31 teachers teach full or part time and study individually via e-learning and communication.
Group A (pre-researchers): context: : 5 working in UK teaching ESOL (FE), 8 teaching overseas teaching EFL/EAP /EYL 2 in China, 4 in Italy, 1 in Saudi and 1 in Latvia Group B (post-researchers): 7 UK based – ESOL, FE, HE, EAP/EFL, 2 in Japan, 2 in Thailand (EYL), 3 in Italy, 2 in Switzerland, 1 in Saudi, 1 in Greece
Method: Anonymous questionnaires to both groups: Some questions parallel enquiry Some specific to pre- and post-researchers
Focus from Questionnaire 'A' Q3. How do you feel about doing research as part of this course? Q4. What is the practicality of doing research in your professional context? Q5. What aspects of the process of doing research itself do you see as challenges?
Focus from Questionnaire 'B' Q2(a). Before you did the course at SHU, how did you view the value of research in your role as a classroom teacher? Q2(b). After you did the course at SHU, how did you view the value of research in your role as a classroom teacher? Q3. How did you feel about doing classroom research as part of the course? Q7. How did doing research further your understanding of the topic you focused on?
Q9. What were the formative influences on your research? Please rank the following in order of importance to you with 1 being the MOST important (you may give equal ranking to any of these factors if you wish) Rank: a) Reading books____ b) Reading key set texts____ c) Reading journals____ d) Doing web-searches____ e) CD-ROM input____ f) Colleagues at school/work____ g) Individual tutor support____ h) On-line discussion with peers____ i) Other (please specify)____
A dip into results: Questionnaire A: Q3: Positive: 9 Negative: 1 Q4: Availability/willingness of participants: 7 Fitting research into timetable: 6
Q5: Co-operation of others: 2 Time: 5 Deciding on focus: 3 Resources: 2 Consultational framework: 2 Seeing value of own research: 3 Methodology (data collection): 3
Questionnaire B: Q2 (value of doing research) a) positive = 0 negative = 1 neutral = 9 b) positive = 9 negative = 0 neutral = 1 Q3 (how they felt): Positive 10 Negative 0
Q9 (key influences): in ranked order: a = reading books c = reading journals b = reading set texts g = individual tutor support (on-line discussion with peers came out as lowest)
Some before and after comments: BEFORE: 'I hadn't really thought about research as such. My priorities were producing good lessons and meeting the needs of my students which as far as I could see wasn't achieved by carrying out research. Research was more academic – and perhaps more theoretical than practical.'
AFTER: 'Although I still am not particularly good at the recording of research info, I found that research is very much practical and should feed teaching practice and was hugely beneficial to my teaching as I created a whole new programme of materials which has been very useful. Also it made me think about how theory relates to practice.'
Conclusions: Doing research in teacher education courses is seen as challenging but rewarding Our results suggest the aims along the lines of those noted from Allwright are being largely met Research itself still appears individualised and non-collaborative