The Impact of a Training Program Based on Pedagogical Knowledge on Improving the Speaking and Writing Skills Teaching Practices of Female English Language Teachers
Weshah, Hani A., Tomok, Tamara N., Reading Improvement
This study investigated the impact of a training program based on pedagogical knowledge on improving the speaking and writing skills teaching practices of femme English language teachers. The participants consisted of 30 teachers: 10 as an experimental group and 20 as a control group. To answer the study questions, the researchers developed a classroom observation sheet to measure the impact of the training program on the experimental group. The means and standard deviations were calculated. The covariance analysis was also used to verify the significance of differences between the means of the groups. The results revealed a positive impact of the training program. In light of the study results, a number of recommendations were suggested to improve the English language female teachers' practices in teaching speaking and writing skills at schools.
Keywords: Pedagogical knowledge, content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, training programs and English language teachers
The English language is increasingly gaining momentum in our modern time, partly because it has emerged as a main medium for publication in scientific research in different disciplines throughout the world. The importance of English language is heightened by the challenges of present knowledge revolution manifested in almost all social, scientific, political, economic, cultural and technological fields, which made it necessary for man to be opened to other global cultures using, at the same time, his own intellect and knowledge for the ultimate goal of discovery, innovation and modernization.
The leadership of Jordan, since the establishment of the State in the 1920s, has been cognizant of that fact. For this reason, the Ministry of Education (MoE) introduced English language as a basic subject to k-12 school curricula and has been implementing several relevant programs since the First Educational Reform Conference in 1987. Such reform involved the development of school curricula, improvement of students' achievement, teachers and school principals training, and boosting of the school environment to eventually improve the quality of education at Jordanian schools (MoE, 2006).
Bygate (2000), Head and Taylor (1997) and Moon and Mayers (1994) indicated that English language teachers encounter several challenges, and their success is contingent on the body of knowledge that an effective teacher is required to have. Such knowledge, according to Sesnan (2000) falls into three categories: knowledge of the subject, knowledge of teaching methods, and knowledge of students' learning strategies.
In pursuance of solutions for educational challenges, Shulman (1986a) offered a model and a set of hypothetical domains of teacher knowledge. He argued that "the study of teachers' cognitive understanding of subject matter content and the relationships between such understanding and the instruction teachers provide for students" (1986a, p. 25) may be the missing component in educational research. In his model, Shulman tried to differentiate between three types of content understandings and call for the study of their impact on classroom practice: subject matter knowledge, pedagogical knowledge (PK) and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) (Shulman, 1986b). Those constructs have prompted considerable interest in both the arenas of research and practice.
In their research work, Wilson, Shulman and Richert (1987) provide evolving conceptions of the domains of teacher knowledge, the description of pedagogical knowledge (PK), and their place within the constellation of knowledge categories including content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, curricular knowledge, knowledge of learners, knowledge of educational contexts, and knowledge of the philosophical and historical aims of education.
Although the concept of pedagogical knowledge has been given scant attention in most discussions of Schulman's (1987) model of teacher knowledge, which may be due to the true complexity of pedagogical knowledge and multiplicity of sources that contribute to that knowledge, a scrutiny reading of Shulman's articles reveals his acknowledgement of several aspects of pedagogical knowledge. More recent research provides further material to highlight the importance of pedagogy in research on teaching. According to Dershimer (1985), the conception of pedagogical knowledge to be explicated, the following three points are important to consider: First, knowledge of educational purposes is inseparable from knowledge about evaluation and assessment procedures. Second, curriculum knowledge is fed by both content knowledge and knowledge of goals/assessment procedures, while pedagogical knowledge is fed by both knowledge of learners/learning and knowledge of goals/assessment procedures. Third, studies in the three major areas including: classroom organization and management, instructional models and strategies, and classroom communication and discourse have contributed to general pedagogical knowledge and learners as critical contextual features of pedagogical practice,
Wilson, Shulman & Richert (1987) further explored pedagogical knowledge and its role in the integration and transformation of other forms of knowledge. In the last two decades, pertinent literature has been dedicated to the exploration of teacher's knowledge of subject matter in general (Ball, Thames, and Phelps, 2008, and Brophy, 1991), and in specific disciplines (Grossman, 1990).
The most comprehensive delineation of the knowledge bases for teaching and their interrelationships is found in Grossman (1990), where she defines four general areas of teacher knowledge as the cornerstones of the emerging work on professional knowledge for teaching: "pedagogical knowledge, subject matter knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and knowledge of context" (p. 5).
Of the four knowledge bases, pedagogical knowledge was anticipated as having impact on teachers' decisions and classroom actions. Shulman (1987) emphasized that the teacher's pedagogical knowledge should go beyond content knowledge to make it understandable by students through using explanations, dialogues and concrete representations to help students achieve the intended learning outcomes. This knowledge is created through reflection, active processing and the integration of professional knowledge and personal knowledge.
Pedagogical knowledge, gleaned from the research literature on classroom organization and management, instructional models and strategies, and classroom communication and discourse is ultimately combined with personal pedagogical knowledge, which includes personal beliefs and perceptions about teaching. A critical and integrating aspect of pedagogical knowledge is teaching experience, where the subtleties of applying pedagogical knowledge to classroom situations are learned. The result, context-specific pedagogical knowledge, assists in teacher decision making and contributes most directly to PCK (Dershimer, 1985).
Teaching depends upon the presentation of content …
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Publication information: Article title: The Impact of a Training Program Based on Pedagogical Knowledge on Improving the Speaking and Writing Skills Teaching Practices of Female English Language Teachers. Contributors: Weshah, Hani A. - Author, Tomok, Tamara N. - Author. Journal title: Reading Improvement. Volume: 48. Issue: 4 Publication date: Winter 2011. Page number: 179+. © 2009 Project Innovation (Alabama). COPYRIGHT 2011 Gale Group.
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