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We Taught Them About Reading Teaching But What Did They Learn?

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There is an urgent need to invest in teacher education programmes in the Arab world. Outdated curricula and methodologies, reliance on rote learning and not enough qualified teachers present a threat to the quality of education in the region. This presentation outlines a qualitative case study that explores the perceived and observed impact of shaping and contextualizing teacher education reading pedagogy upon an evolving system of knowledge, beliefs and reading teaching styles in a UAE context. The findings suggest that by attending to a Vygotskian constructivist-based contextualized EFL model of second language teacher education pedagogy, the potential to enhance the capacity of Emirati female student teachers to teach reading successfully and enact pedagogic change in government schools is increased. While investigating the unique features of the case itself, these findings may have resonance for teacher education programmes in other Middle Eastern contexts.

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We Taught Them About Reading Teaching But What Did They Learn?

  1. 1. We taught them about reading<br />but what did they learn?<br />A UAE Case <br />Dr. Fíodhna Gardiner-Hyland<br />
  2. 2. Outline of Presentation<br />The study: issues, methodology, analysis<br />Findings: 3 key themes<br />Pedagogical and conceptual implications for other contexts<br />Limitations and idiosyncrasies<br />What did they learn?<br />
  3. 3. The study: issues, methodology, analysis<br />
  4. 4. Key components of the study<br />
  5. 5. Theoretical Background of the Research: Three issues <br />Issue 1: Effective Initial Language Teacher Education <br />Issue 2: Impact of Teacher Education Delivery Approaches upon Student Teacher Practices <br />Issue 3: The Power of Prior Reading Experiences <br />
  6. 6. Research Focus<br />Perceived and observed impact of reforming:<br />Curriculum<br />Delivery approaches...of a revised teacher education reading methodology course<br />...on knowledge, reading teaching practices and prior beliefs of Emirati student teachers<br />
  7. 7. Participants<br />Key participants: <br />An intact group of 16 Year Two B.Ed. Emirati women at college x<br />Researcher/key teacher educator at college x<br />Secondary participants: <br />79 B.Ed. students from five other colleges across the Emirates<br />Seven teacher educators<br />
  8. 8. Tools, contexts, timeframe and phases for the study<br />Tools: Focus groups, documentation, online discussions, observations<br />Contexts: College classroom, government school classroom<br />Timeframe: 6 months<br />Phases: Intervention, application, interpretation<br />
  9. 9. Data Analysis – a Hybrid Approach <br />Deductive approach<br /> (Crabtree and Miller, 1999)<br />Inductive approach + discourse analysis <br /> (Boyatzis,1998)<br />‘Cut and paste’ technique <br /> (Stewart and Shamdasani, 1990) <br />Critical incident technique (CIT)<br />Colour coding <br />
  10. 10. Findings: 3 Key Themes<br />
  11. 11. Findings: 3 key themes<br />Behaviourist vs constructivist reading paradigm<br />Transformational teacher education pedagogy<br />Becoming ‘agents of change’ through reconstructing conceptions of practice <br />
  12. 12. 1. Behaviourist vs Constructivist reading paradigm<br />
  13. 13. 1. Behaviourist vs Constructivist reading paradigm<br />
  14. 14. 2. Transformational teacher education pedagogy<br />Systematic microteaching<br />Links theory to practice<br />Develops pro-activity, confidence, resourcefulness, reflection and improvisation<br />Minimizes the risk of failure in the EFL primary classroom<br />An alternation between school and college, taught Theory (T) and (t)<br />
  15. 15. 2. Transformational teacher education pedagogy<br />Explicit modelling of EFL reading strategies<br />Shared Reading and Reading Aloud<br />Reader’s Theatre<br />Electronic books<br />Vodcasts<br />Intonation and Predictive Questions <br />Musical approaches to reading<br />Implicit modelling of positive attitudes towards reading<br />Connections between college modelling of reading strategies and best practices in private English schools<br />
  16. 16. 2. Transformational teacher education pedagogy<br />Problem-based learning <br />Challenged and motivated student teachers’ beyond what was just out of their reach<br />Discussed, authored and documented example cases within the context of teaching reading in an EFL Emirati environment <br />Produced their own language of practice<br />Developed collaboration and reflection on contextualized teaching<br />
  17. 17. 3. Agents of change <br />Becoming a versatile foreign language reading teacher that enacts pedagogic change, may be more challenging than expected<br />
  18. 18. Emerging Styles of Teaching<br />1. Developing Reading Teachers<br />Interactive styles<br />Promoted constructivist approaches<br />Took some risks, sometimes adapting lesson plans<br />Compartmentalized learning from year to year<br />
  19. 19. Emerging Styles of Teaching<br />2. Reluctant Reading Teachers<br />Behaviourist styles<br />Promoted constructivist approaches<br />Took few risks<br />Perceived teacher educator performance modelling as an exclusive way of teaching<br />Unconsciously, past experiences are the primary influence on teaching styles, when observed<br />
  20. 20. Conflicting beliefs and practices for Group 2<br />The reluctant reading teachers aspired to become agents of change and constructivist reading teachers <br />The realities of an EFL Emirati class<br />Fall back into old patterns of behaviourist learning experiences<br />The power of prior learning - the ‘apprenticeship of observation’ (Lortie, 1975, Clarke, 2007)<br />
  21. 21. Emerging Styles of Teaching<br />3. Confident Reading Teachers<br />Eclectic styles (both interactive and behaviourist)<br />Promoted a combination of approaches<br />Assimilated/accommodated past and present influences<br />Took many risks, adapted lesson plans, were versatile, accommodated knowledge and skills<br />Developed a personal orientation to teaching<br />Aware of the artificiality and limitations of situated college practices. <br />Raised challenges they may face when entering the EFL Emirati classroom environment<br />
  22. 22. Student A: In my Classroom…<br />“In my classroom, I will try to implement several reading approaches that help EFL to develop their reading skills like Reading Aloud, Shared Reading and Reader's Theatre, either at the end of the day or at the beginning of the day.I want to encourage students to love reading, to motivate and encourage them to participate in discussions. I want to take good points from each method, including behaviourist ones”<br />(ODP, No. 49, 2008)<br />
  23. 23. Student A: Observational Analysis<br />“Combining her previous learning experiences as a learner with college experiences, her reading teaching style included a combination of behaviourist and interactive methods…depending on her aim at that particular time in the lesson… She used the best of both methods. She set up a temporary reading corner and created a literacy-rich and print-rich environment, while remaining enthusiastic and focused throughout the placement... Student A has excellent potential as a future EFL student teacher.”<br />(College X, TPCMR: Confident Student teacher, 2008b)<br />
  24. 24. Student B: In my Classroom…<br />“ I think I will use the reading strategies promoted in college in UAE classrooms because this is the right way to teach reading. I will forget about the traditional way because I didn’t learn that much from it... it forced us to read” <br />(FGD, Group 3: 2008, p.9). <br />
  25. 25. Student B: Observational Analysis<br />“Student B’s style of teaching is traditional and teacher-centred. She uses lots of repetition and focuses on accuracy of reading. She has good classroom control. However, she needs to work on eliciting sentence level answers from students by giving them time to answer, developing her own questioning techniques to include more open-ended questions and engaging students in the story itself.”<br />(College X, TPCMR, Reluctant Student teacher, 2008b)<br />
  26. 26. Pedagogical Implications for other contexts<br />
  27. 27. Pedagogical Implications for other contexts<br />Co-construct understanding of content and build concrete links between reading theory and practice<br />Adopt a balanced pedagogical approach with EFL student teachers, using both constructivist and behaviourist approaches<br />Engage in curriculum review processes<br />Teach by example - be a model of good practice<br />Prepare students for the practical realities of an EFL environment<br />Engage in alternations of practice with theory<br />
  28. 28. …Pedagogical Implications for other contexts<br />Connect to previous learning experiences<br />Use the ‘Think Aloud’ technique<br />Engage in paired microteaching<br />Use contextually appropriate materials <br />Engage in ‘what if…? Scenarios (PBL)<br />Scaffold experiences through assisted performance, guided participation and collaboration<br />Make college learning realistic, contextualized and meaningful<br />
  29. 29. Conceptual Implications<br />Developing in student teachers, an awareness of the influence of prior beliefs/experiences upon their developing teaching styles <br />The formation of teaching styles as a dynamic process of identity development involving both past and present influences<br />Paradigm shifts may happen for only some student teachers, regardless of quality of delivery and pedagogical approaches used.<br />Developing a culturally responsive context for learning. <br />
  30. 30. Limitations and idiosyncrasies<br />
  31. 31. Limitations<br />Over-scaffolding, over-assisting performance and over-guiding participation <br />Data collection over a six month period in Year Two of a four year degree<br />The influence of mentor school teachers’ teaching practices on student teachers’ developing reading styles has not been as strongly attended <br />
  32. 32. Idiosyncrasies<br />Participants as first nationals to become professionally qualified English teachers<br />Widespread reform of their country’s educational system<br />The small numbers of student teachers involved <br />Relatively few constraints on innovation due to a new programme<br />
  33. 33. We taught them about reading teaching but what did they learn?<br />
  34. 34. We taught them about reading teaching but what did they learn?<br />Diversity of EFL reading approaches<br />Importance of explicit/implicit modelling<br />Improvise as a teacher<br />Problematize and solve problems<br />Importance of a print and literacy-rich environment<br />Importance of addressing students’ previous learning experiences<br />
  35. 35. We taught them about reading teaching but what did they learn?<br />Importance of realistic, contextualized teaching<br />Teaching does not always equals learning<br />Teach for learning<br />Develop their own styles of reading teaching<br />Assimilate past and present influences<br />Agents of change or implementers of the curriculum?<br />
  36. 36. Conclusion<br />
  37. 37. Contact<br />
  38. 38. Selected References<br />Bailey, K. and Nunan, D. (eds.) (1996) Voices from the language classroom. Cambridge, Cambridge University press.<br />Bodrova, E. and Leong, D. (1996). Tools of the Mind: The Vygotskian Approach to Early Childhood Education, Columbus, OH: Prentice-Hall Ltd.<br />Clarke, A.M. (2005). Teaching Identity: The Discursive Construction of an Evolving Community of Practice. PhD Thesis (Unpublished), Department of Language, Literacy and Arts Education, University of Melbourne.<br />Clarke, M and Otaky, D. (2006) Reflection ‘on’ and ‘in’ teacher education in the United Arab Emirates. International Journal of Educational Development, Volume 26, Issue 1, January, pp. 111-122<br />Crandall, J. (2000) Language Teacher Education, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, Vol. 20: 34-35, Cambridge University Press.<br />Eilam, B. (2002) “Passing Through” a Western-Democratic Teacher Education: The Case of Israeli Arab Teachers (University of Haifa) .Teachers College Record, Columbia University, Volume 104, No. 8, , pp.1656-1701.<br />Freeman, D. & Johnson, K.E. (1998) Reconceptualizing the Knowledge-Base of language Teacher Education, TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 32/3, p. 399.<br />
  39. 39. … Selected References<br />Gallagher, K. (2007). An exploration within a socio-cultural approach to language teacher education: A reflexive case study, PhD Thesis (Unpublished), Canterbury Christ Church University.<br />Korthagen, F.A.J., Kessels, J., Koster, B., Lagerwerf, B., & Wubbels, T. (2001). Linking practice and theory: The pedagogy of realistic teacher education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.<br />Lortie, D. (1975). Schoolteacher. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.<br />Loughran, J. (1997). Teaching about teaching: Principles and Practice. In J. Loughran, and T. Russell (Eds.), Teaching about teaching, pp.57-70. London/Washington, DC: Falmer Press.<br />Lunenberg, M., Korthagen, F. & Swennen, A. (2007) The teacher educator as a role model. Teaching and Teacher Education, doi:10.1016/j.tate.2006.11.001. Elsevier Ltd, pp.1-16<br />McNally, P. Harold, B. and McAskill, T. (2002) Teacher education in the UAE: Teachers as agents of change. Abu Dhabi: Zahed University Press.<br />Mograby, A. (1999). Human Development in the United Arab Emirates. Education and the Arab world, Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, Abu Dhabi.<br />Syed, Z. (2003) The Sociocultural Context of English Language teaching in the Gulf. TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp.337-341.<br />Wells, G. (1999). Dialogic enquiry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. <br />Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge. MA: Harvard University press. <br />

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