Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Training English Language Pre-Service Teachers Using a Team Based Learning Approach

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Training English Language Pre-Service Teachers Using a Team Based Learning Approach

Article excerpt


Team Based Learning which focuses on enhancing positive group dynamics is a relatively popular instructional approach in several disciplines such as Health Sciences and Business but has yet to gain popularity in Education. This paper examines the use of Team Based Learning in teacher training as well as the receptiveness towards the approach as indicated by a group of Teaching English as a Second Language teacher trainee. The trainees were asked to write diaries regarding their experiences working in a team during a course for a semester which were then collected in three cycles throughout the semester. Entries were analysed in terms of whether there were positive, negative or neutral reference to working in teams. All members of a team were also required to participate in individual micro teaching sessions for which they were evaluated. Findings indicate that Team Based Learning has a potential role in teacher training as positive entries outnumbered negative entries. Additionally, teams with high average micro teaching scores also had more positive diary entries.

Keywords: diary studies, team based learning, teacher education, teacher training, TESL

1. Introduction

1.1 Understanding Team Based Learning

In recent years, various educational approaches such as problem based learning, task based learning and project based learning have captured the imagination of educators. Each of these approaches has its own pedagogical goals and objectives. Problem based learning, for example, was first developed by Barrows (1986) in order to find a more practical, hands-on approach to teach student doctors as opposed to listening to traditional lectures. Task based learning, on the other hand, emphasizes the completion of authentic tasks by learners and is popular in language teaching and learning through the use of language related tasks. Project based learning, similarly, emphasizes learning by doing as well as the completion of personally meaningful projects that serve a clear educational purpose (Larmer & Mergendoller, 2010). These educational approaches have emerged from a need to meet changing learning demands, cultures as well as new approaches and techniques slowly surface due to this need.

Team based learning (TBL) is a learner-centred and instmctor-led educational approach introduced in the 70s by Michaelsen and has been described as being based on the notion of scaffolding and that people learn from their own experiences as well as the experiences of others (Gracia, Latorre, & Peiró, 2008; Koles, Stolfi, Borges, Nelson, & Parmelee, 2010). Although similar in some ways to cooperative learning and the more general collaborative learning approaches, TBL is more focused and is especially applicable at universities and other institutes of higher education. Unlike the other approaches which are designed to help learners learn content material, team based learning fosters positive group dynamics by encouraging better intra-group communicaton skills to achieve a common goal.

The relevance of TBL to tertiary level education is quite apparent in preparing undergraduate students for the workplace as many professions can expect work to be more effective and efficient when done in teams. Lencioni (2002), for example, argued that rather than finance, technology, and strategy, "it is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage" (p. vii). In the Malaysian context, the development of "soft skills" is regarded as an important aspect of a comprehensive education. The Malaysian Education blueprint 2013-2025 clearly states that "Malaysian education aspires to ensure that every student achieves their full potential" (pp. 2-5) and to achieve this, emphasis is given to six elements, one of which is Leadership Skills which is further detailed out into the four elements of entrepreneurship, resilience, emotional intelligence and strong communication skills. TBL has the obvious potential in contributing to this goal through its obvious emphasis on student engagement and interaction. …

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


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.