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Early Days: The experience of novice Cert TESOL teachers Richard Kiely Jim Askham IATEFL Brighton 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Early Days: The experience of novice Cert TESOL teachers Richard Kiely Jim Askham IATEFL Brighton 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Early Days: The experience of novice Cert TESOL teachers Richard Kiely Jim Askham IATEFL Brighton 2011

2 This presentation Background The study Findings Conclusions and implications

3 Background – The programme TCL Cert TESOL* 5 assessed units 4-5 weeks 135 hours organised learning time 6 hours teaching practice (TP) * We would like to thank Trinity College London for funding this study and supporting it in a range of ways.

4 Background – Initial Language Teacher Education Focus on longer programmes (Andrews 2007; Farrell 2006; 2008; Peacock 2009; Wright 2010); Focus on language learning cognitions, especially the role of SLA (Peacock 2009); Constructing the reflective teacher (Wright 2010); High level of subject expertise for L2 teachers (Andrews 2007).

5 Background – Deficits A one-month course concentrating primarily on practical techniques may be attractive when teaching can be conceived of as the implementation of a particular method or set of procedures. Today, however, more than ever, such circumstances do not obtain. We live in the post-method age, and there is no theoretical consensus for any one methodology. Ferguson and Donno (2003:31) Such courses do not pretend to be anything more than they are: the delivery of a range of classroom survival techniques enabling the novice to approach the ELT classroom with a degree of confidence and the capacity to develop and experiment from that point forward. Brandt (2006:263)

6 Background – The Study Aims To explore trainees perspectives on the strengths of the TCL Cert TESOL training programme; To explore the particular impact of the assessment procedures of the TCL Cert TESOL training course; To determine ways of enhancing the quality of the training programme, and of developing the TCL portfolio of offer in language teacher education

7 Background – The Study Impact Readiness and confidence Platform for continued situated learning Identity formation Furnished imagination Varying levels of support in work

8 Background – The Study Research strategy Cert TESOL successful trainees in work Payment for two interviews Interview 1 – 4-8 weeks into work Interview 2 – 3-6 months into work Interviews by phone or Skype Interviews 25-50 minutes All interviews transcribed Interview focus: impact of the learning experiences of the TCL Cert TESOL through the prism of TESOL work

9 Background – The Participants Total: 27Background categories Pseudonyms L1 & L2 A (n=8) No relevant experience Amber; Amy; Anita; Adam; Annie; Alfie; Asha; Alice B (n=5) Some language learning, work & teaching experience Barrie; Betty; Bernice; Ben; Biba; C (n=7) Some teaching, training or coaching experience Chloe; Chris; Cathy; Cara; Connor; Costa; Charlie D (n=4) Extensive relevant experience (language; teaching) Dahlia; Diane; Debra; Dilys E (n=3) Extensive experience in fields different from teaching or language Eunice; Edna; Eve

10 Findings Three themes 1. Guidance and support 2. Materials 3. Professional identity

11 Findings 1 Guidance and support In established schools, such as BC schools and international schools, new teachers benefit from organised systematic induction, support and ongoing training (Barrie; Chloe; Ben; Anita; Costa) theres a lot of academic support [...] classroom management skills are something that is quite lacking in me [...] I really appreciate this kind of help from my teachers [...] we have to attend the planning meetings so we get to know what is going to happen in the coming weeks. Costa Int 1

12 Findings 1 Guidance and support In less established contexts such as UK summer schools, there is little formal support; (Adam; Debra; Eve; Chris; Alfie) Its not great [...] we are supposed to be as new teachers [...] paired up with a mentor, but thats not happened. Every week theres a new class and a new teacher, so its madness at the moment [...] chaotic. Chris Int 1

13 Findings 1 Guidance and support There is an orientation to and culture of hacking it – doing it without asking for help; (Amy; Dahlia; Amber; Betty; Bernice; Biba; Dilys; Cara; Annie; Chris) I get the sense that if its not really important, dont bother me, you have to fend for yourself. Betty Int 1

14 Findings 1 Guidance and support Teachers who did not have any systematic help were happy not to have the monitoring and observation that went with it. (Diane; Chris; Annie) Academic support – I think its there if I were to go looking for it, [...] but theres no one looking over your shoulder and saying, Is everything OK? And thats fine with me. Chris Int 1

15 Findings 2 Materials Many report work places with extensive resources, but feel the challenge of becoming familiar with these resources; (Dahlia; Amber; Betty; Bernice; Ben; Diane; Anita; Dilys; Eve; Annie) There is a wealth of material available but [...] I havent got to grips with it yet. Ive tended to use the materials that were available to me whilst I was training. Diane Int 1

16 Findings 2 Materials Course books are a challenge because they have not been an integral part of the teaching during training (Barrie; Diane) The way our tutors did TP was they left us to our own devices, our own ideas. And as a result of that I am not terribly comfortable teaching from a coursebook, even though that is a very important skill. Barrie Int 1 The language school, I think because they are British Council accredited, they have to use a course book, or had to be seen to be using a course book. Cathy Int 1

17 Findings 2 Materials New teachers are critical of the prescribed books, feeling they need to be adapted or augmented; (Dahlia; Biba; Eve) The two language schools have all the books, the full pack [...] but I dont like to stick so much to the book. I like making my own materials, especially when it comes to young children. Biba Int 1

18 Findings 2 Materials Some use their own materials including materials prepared during the training course; (Chloe; Bernice; Ben; Edna; Debra; Connor; Alfie) The next week, one of the things I did was a puzzle, a silhouette of the human body that was laminated so you could write and draw on it. I used it straightaway with the class. Edna Int 1

19 Findings 2 Materials Many note a pressure of time when preparing for teaching derives from the search for or development of materials (Cathy; Dilys) [using my own materials] the practicalities of doing that: we have a photocopier, but not a printer, so it is a bit difficult. Also the time restrictions: I am in at 8 oclock, and dont finish till half past five, and then there are meetings. But we are encouraged to adapt the materials. Dilys Int 1

20 Findings 3 Professional identity Hacking it: being able to operate autonomously in their classroom; (Amy; Dahlia; Amber; Bernice; Diane) I feel my boss is very approachable enough [...] however if I need anything I probably use my own resources. [...] At school, we are a team of four teachers, it is a case of turning up and teaching your lessons. Bernice Int 1

21 Findings 3 Professional identity TTT – reflecting the practice observed and valued on the course, and meeting performance requirements in the classroom; (Dahlia; Diane; Anita; Adam; Edna; Debra; Connor; Costa; Charlie) Reduce TTT, reduce TTT, something I definitely think about now Connor Int 1 I found it difficult to grade my speech to the appropriate level; that is something I still think I need to work on. I have not had much experience with beginners or elementary levels, but I think I would find that difficult. Debra Int 1

22 Findings 3 Professional identity Capability though not always with confidence, though confidence comes from success in the course; (Dahlia; Ben; Edna; Eve; Costa) I vary my voice, speak with varying intonation [...] I can see the difference straight away [...] Im still lacking in confidence, especially in classroom management Costa Int 1 Taking the course gave me a lot of confidence that I had been on the right track [...] perhaps my expectations of people were not as high as they could have been [...] they were pushing the students to go way beyond what I would have expected them to do. Edna Int 1

23 Findings 3 Professional identity Solo in the classroom, but team player in the staffroom. (Bernice; Biba; Anita; Cara; Annie) If I went and asked for help, Id be pointed in the right direction, but Im more likely to ask my peers than go upwards. [...] Sometimes its a bit of moral support as much as anything, [a colleague] will say, oh I dont feel Ive taught them anything today, I dont feel theyve learnt anything, so its quite nice to say, thats alright [...] it does sort of make you feel better. Annie Int 1

24 Findings 3 Professional identity Solo in the classroom, but team player in the staffroom.(Bernice; Betty; Biba; Anita; Cara; Annie) Int:So that sounds like there is an informal mentoring system T:There is, there really is because I have friends with whom, you know, they started around the same time, and others who have been there for around 8 months. So they kind of tell me oh I remember what it was like when I first started, but I seem to have navigated things pretty well so far. Betty Int 2

25 Findings 3 Professional identity Professional standards – personal rather than institutional (Betty; Chloe) Well I think the observations are just completely due to company policy. I actually ended up getting a really good review on my observation, so I was one of those top new teachers. I actually have my second one coming up next week, and theyre going to observe because you have a follow-up observation, so it was great that I did so well the first time, but now I have to do even better. So Ive kind of, you know, set the bar pretty high for myself. But after that, you arent observed for a year. So Im basically just looking to kind of getting it over with. Betty Int 2

26 Conclusions The Cert is an intense learning experience They are amazed at what they have learnt They know how things should be They have furnished imaginations, the basis of a well-stocked repertoire, from observation of significant others during the course They strive for autonomy in the classroom They find materials challenging They are ready to continue learning

27 Some Implications The importance of work after training courses A good workplace involves a balance of freedom and support Freedom to construct safe learning spaces Support to ensure team membership and continuing learning The transformative potential of the intensity of the learning experience The centrality of performance in professional identity, which has the potential to lead ongoing, situated learning.

28 References Andrews, S. (2007) Teacher language awareness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Brandt, C. (2006) Allowing for practice: a critical issue in TESOL teacher education. ELT Journal 60 (4):355-64 Brandt, C. (2008) Integrating feedback and reflection in teacher preparation. ELT Journal 62 (1):37-46 Burns, A. & J. Richards (2009) The Cambridge Guide to Second Language Teacher Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Farrell, T. (2006) The first year of language teaching: imposing order. System 34(2): 211-21 Farrell, T. (2008) Novice language teachers: insights and perspectives from the first year. London: Equinox Ferguson, G. & S. Donno (2003) One-month teacher training courses: time for a change? ELT Journal 57 (1):26-33 Peacock, M. (2009) The evaluation of foreign language teacher education programmes. Language Teaching Research 13(3): 259-78 Wright, T. (2010) Second language teacher education: a review of recent research on practice. Language Teaching 43(3): 259-96

29 Thank you For a copy of this presentation, see IATEFL online or email me:

30 Additional slides

31 Background – The Study Data collection strategy – Access Volunteers Consent Payment – Documentation Form 1: Bio-data and consent TP Journal summary Unit 4 Assessment sheet

32 Background – The Study Interviews (1 & 2) – In work – Telephoning – Recording – Transcribing

33 Background – The study Interview structure Structured: - Biographical data Semi-structured: - Focus on work, systems and experiences - Focus on 5 assessed training units - An evaluation of the programme

34 Background – The Study Interview 1 The learning experience of new teachers The work experience of new teachers Strengths of the programme and suggestions for improvement

35 Background – The Study Interview 2 Further dialogue on learning experiences Further dialogue on work experiences An opportunity to reflect further on/revisit issues raised in Interview 1

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