Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Pre-Service Foreign Language Teachers' Perceptions of Research Skills: A Qualitative Study

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Pre-Service Foreign Language Teachers' Perceptions of Research Skills: A Qualitative Study

Article excerpt

Introduction

As the teacher is one of the most considerable variables on the EFL teaching and learning processes, it is evident that their roles in the mentioned processes directly and considerably relates to on the learner's achievements, motivation levels, affective states, perceptions of and attitudes towards foreign language learning. Thus, in the context of foreign language teaching, the teacher has several roles. Among those roles, as Harmer (2001) underlines, teacher as facilitator aims to facilitate the students' progress in some way or other. Second, teacher as controller, teachers control the teaching and learning continuum in each way to make the acquisition of the target language efficient. Third, the teacher as organizer comes as a need to prevent indecisive atmosphere and create an accomplished acquisition. In other words, organizing feedback draws and enlightens the way of the learning process. Clarifying the way of teaching and activities can be done with the organizer role, which makes it a vital role in the teaching and learning. As the fourth role, teacher as assessor gives the reinforcement to the learners and steer them into the right level. From time to time, learners may feel suspended during some activities and cannot find the way to proceed. In such cases, the teacher plays the fifth role, teacher as prompter. This role requires being teacher as participant during any activity or a learning process. No matter the situation, the seventh role teacher as resource is a must and a need in the language classroom, as it related to guiding learners to search for information. In some cases, teacher as prompter and resource role of the teacher combines and creates another role, teacher as tutor. In this personal contact, the learner has a real chance to be supported; thus, the general class atmosphere is greatly enhanced (Harmer, 2001). The last role, teacher as observer, gives an accurate idea of the progress of the learners and takes a chance to the teacher on evaluating the materials used in the classroom. To conclude, it is evident that a language teacher should play different roles in accordance with the learner's needs and expectations. However, it should be underlined that teacher as researcher should be another role that the teacher plays, as it is obvious that the teachers' research skills may broaden their perspective in the teaching and learning contexts.

Research skills constitute a considerable place in the EFL teaching context due to several reasons. First, research skills are required to improve aspects of teaching the language in the broadest perspective. That is because it is an insight that views teachers as active participants in conducting research to improve their working conditions, support in professional development planning and to revise their curriculum. Second, foreign language teachers seek to develop themselves. Their practice will benefit from students by constant and unthinking repetition, as Harmer (2001) underlines. To achieve this aim, teachers need research skills to facilitate accomplishing the development of successful teaching and learning. In this sense, teachers also transfer their own research skills to learners and make them learn in a more efficiently, which is the third reason for the importance of research skills. The competence of research skills lends assistance to teachers to degrade the individual differences among learners. Furthermore, teachers with research skills are able to make more accurate assessments, as assessment criteria relate to the research steps (Stokking, 2004). However, research lacks how teachers perceive research skills and to what extent they are aware of the role, teacher as researcher. Thus, it is strongly necessary to explore their perceptions of research skills and to see how the role of researcher facilitates the foreign language teaching and learning processes. In other words, teachers' perceptions of research skills require a special attention to facilitating foreign language teaching and learning. …

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