Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

The Construct Definition of an English Language Teachers' Content Knowledge

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

The Construct Definition of an English Language Teachers' Content Knowledge

Article excerpt

English Language Teaching (ELT) has undergone fundamental changes in the past few decades. These changes include the emergence of different English language teaching methods such as Audio-lingual method, silent way, natural approach, etc. known as period of unity as well as period of diversity in 1987 (Larsen Freeman, 2012) and from communicative language teaching to task-based teaching (Kumaravadivelu, 2006). Cook's (1989) article propelled the next movement by emphasizing that methods are not only neutral, but they also contribute to the unequal relations of power. This was supported by highlighting that there is no such concepts as best method (Kumaravedivelu, 2006; Prabhu, 1990) and teachers have to find a personal way to teach in a way that leads to effective learning (Prabhu, 1990). Degrading the nature of methods (Nunan, 1989; Richards, 1990) as well as death of the methods (Allwright, 1991), it thus leads gradually to the emergence of post method pedagogy (Kumaravedivelu, 2006).

The above mentioned transitions undoubtedly affected the conceptualization of language teachers in general and teacher education programs in particular. About fifty years ago, becoming an English language teacher only required the knowledge of knowing how to speak the language efficiently. Consequently, native speakers of the language were considered as the most qualified language teachers. However, as a result of the aforementioned changes, ELT gradually transformed from an occupation to a profession. Although there are continuing controversies regarding the consideration of the ELT as a profession (Zeichner, 2005), attempts have been made to establish the field as a profession (Barduhn & Johnson, 2009; Katz & Snow, 2009). Defining professionalism as the process of continual intellectual growth (Lange, 1990,), teachers are assumed to have an effective role in managing the most successful learning process (Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005). As a result, it then accentuates the needs of training and move towards educating teachers who are fully qualified and not just label them as competent teachers solely due to their capability of speaking the language. Consistent with the discussion of professionalization, Burns and Richards (2009) consider ELT as a career requiring a certain types of knowledge that can be acquired through experience and education. Accordingly, the impetus for defining qualified teachers has tended to direct the attention towards teachers' subject matter preparation. Even there has been claimed that students' achievements are highly linked to the amount of teachers' knowledge as well as the quality of learning opportunities provided by teachers (Hattie, 2009). It can be thus inferred that there is a fundamental shift in duties carrying work load to the shoulder of teachers as they are now seen as the autonomous authority in the field being responsible for activities done in the classroom. Hence, they need to be familiar with all information required on appropriate handling of any pedagogical task in classroom. This requires the knowledge of why such an act or task are carried out for a particular audience and under what conditions. Additionally, an English language teacher is a person familiar with teaching procedures and related knowledge. Considering teachers as authority in the above mentioned sense is consistent with other expressing similar assumptions, most notably Prabhu's (1990) "sense of plausibility," Hargreaves's (1994) "ethic of practicality," Kumaravadivelu's (2006) ten macro strategies of post method pedagogy, and Richards's (2001) post method era, as well as the equally persuasive concept of teachers as "therapist" by Khani (2003). Thus, one might claim a professional teacher is the hidden authority in language learning classes.

Similar to any certified association of education that has theoretical underpinnings of professional training, the field of ELT relies on the Second Language Teachers Education (SLTE) programs for its development. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.