Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Investigating the Relationship between Iranian ESP Teachers' Self-Efficacy and Their Expertise

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Investigating the Relationship between Iranian ESP Teachers' Self-Efficacy and Their Expertise

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

There are over one billion people learning English in the world for different reasons (Beare, 2006). English for Specific Purposes (ESP) is language instruction for learners who generally need immediate language competency to successfully perform in real-life tasks or jobs in the diversity in order to obtain specific or professional purposes. ESP learners usually have acquaintance with English, but need more concentration on language grammar and English structure. ESP integrates the subject areas into the real world for the learners (Fiorito, 2005).

1.0.1 Teacher Characteristics

Several teacher characteristics have been associated with measurements of teacher efficacy. They include English background, English educa tion background, grade level taught, gender, multiple intelligences, and teaching experience.

It has been found repeatedly that beginning teachers who have strong science content knowledge, as evidenced by having taken a large number of science courses, by possessing a science degree, by being able to answer commonly misunderstood science questions accurately, or by exhibiting low levels of anxiety toward the teaching of science have higher teacher self -efficacy toward the teaching of science. Likewise, many beginning teachers who took the minimum required number of science courses feel that their content knowledge is lacking. As a result, they tend to avoid teaching topics that they do not know well for fear that their students will ask questions that they cannot answer, and they lack confidence in the subjects that they do choose to teach. The relationship between content knowledge and self-efficacy beliefs has been generally explained through the "success breeds success" adage. In short, teachers who know a lot about science typically feel comfortable with their understanding of science. As a result, they are comfortable sharing that understanding of science with students and have a high expectancy that students will be able to learn from them as teachers (Desouza, Boone & Yilmaz, 2004).

1.0.2 Student Characteristics

Some characteristics of students have been associated with teacher efficacy beliefs. Most notably, teachers of high ability or honors students have a more positive sense of teacher efficacy. Thi s is generally explained through student engagement rather than innate intelligence-honors students are perceived by teachers as more engaged, and therefore easier to teach and influence than students in lower track classes. Student socioeconomic status appears to have a mixed impact on teacher efficacy beliefs (Ross, 1998).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Increasing number of scientific publications in English necessitates the development of English language in non-English speaking countries including Iran. Nearly all universities have both general and specific courses to develop such knowledge. However, there is no agreement on the satisfactory outcome of the allotted courses. One reason for inadequacy of ESP classes seems to be the teachers. Most researchers interested in assessing "the progress of ESP as a component of ELT", agree that one of the most constraining factors to this progress is the lack of appropriate Language teachers (Shim, 2006; Swales, 1985). Two types of teachers are usually recruited to teach ESP courses in Iranian Universities. The first group includes those teachers whose majors are English teaching, English literature or English translation. The second group, on the other hand, consists of subject matter specialists. The latter group teachers usually include those who are, to some extent, confident with their own English. There is a controversy on the efficiency of these two groups. Therefore, the present study intends to investigate the relationship between self -efficacy of these two groups to understand which group may be a better option for teaching ESP classes.

1.3 Purpose of the study

The primary and major objective of this study will be to understand who is more qualified for teaching English for specific purpose (ESP) from teache r's view. …

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