This course introduces participants to the theoretical, practical and research-based traditions underpinning the field of language teacher education and development. Starting from a perspective on teacher education which has emerged as common ground for the preparation of teachers in diverse disciplines around the world, the seminar delves into the major pedagogical principles historically shaping the curriculum that educational institutions have put into place to support teachers’ learning and development. The aforementioned general and global perspective merges with specific and local outlooks when the seminar gravitates towards the education of Nonnative English Speaker Teachers (NNESTs) in the Colombian context. While facilitating participants’ interaction with a representative body of knowledge in the field, the structure and dynamics of the course engage participants in critical reflection aiming at the design of context-sensitive teacher education experiences.
Most teacher educators in Colombia teach themselves how to educate others who wish to become teachers. Their transition from regular teaching to teacher education is mostly supported by their formal knowledge and experiences as language learners, and their undergraduate education while they are required to supervise and mentor prospective teachers in universities. Although building a teacher educator identity is "best understood as a process of becoming" (Dinkelman, Margolis & Sikkenga, 2006, p.6), the same scholars underscore the pivotal role that formal education played in the preparation of their researched participants as teacher educators. Given this, the course in teacher education seeks to provide the theoretical foundation, research knowledge, individual and collaborative reflection to introduce participants into the field. Thus, the course contributes with the preparation of new generations of professional Colombian teacher educators who can further elaborate on more local knowledge construction.
The Ministry of Education has been implementing various initiatives towards bilingual education in Colombia, being the most recent ones Programa Nacional de Bilingüismo (2004), Programa de Fortalecimiento al Desarrollo de Competencias en Lengua Extranjera (2010), Ley de Bilingüismo 1651 (2013), Programa Colombia Bilingüe (2014), Programa Nacional de inglés Colombia very well (2015) and Colombia Bilingüe (2016). Since the first initiative was launched, very little was known about what bilingualism was let alone the difference between individual and societal bilingualism or the differences between being bilingual in educational contexts vs. informal contexts and some other sorts of differences. Still today the teaching community is in need of sound knowledge regarding this complex topic in order to set attainable goals for themselves and for their students. This course attempts to offer a space for debate and reflection on the way the term has been used and their implications for the teaching profession.
Students in this course should be able to:
- Understand the ways in which policies on bilingualism are enacted in a particular setting
- Develop a genral understanding of what bilingualism is
- Familiarize with some different types of bilingualism
- Get acquainted with research on the area of bilingualism and bilingual education at the local and global level
- Take a critical stands in regards to plans and reforms related to bilingual education in the country.
Reflective teaching is an approach which has gained significant momentum in language teaching. In his personal reflection about thirty years of TEFL/TESL, Richards (2015) contends that language teachers have moved away from a search of the perfect method and have shifted their attention to developing and exploring their own teaching through reflective teaching and action research.
Murphy (2001) points out that teachers can grow as professionals in different ways which let them look inward, both within themselves and within the courses they offer, to access information about what happens in their language classrooms. He asserts that a central reason to be interested in reflective teaching is to “gain awareness of our teaching beliefs and practices” and to learn “to see teaching differently, and to learn to take action in order to enhance the quality of learning opportunities we are able to provide in our classrooms. "He also claims that we should spend time and energy to develop understandings if we consider our continuing needs as teachers and the needs of the language learners we serve. Murphy poses three main purposes of reflective teaching (RT): To expand one’s understanding of the teaching learning process. To expand one’s repertoire of strategic options as a language teacher. To enhance the quality of learning opportunities one is able to provide in language classrooms.
Students in this course should be able to:
- Identify the features of reflective thought
- Become aware of the main theoretical tenets underlying reflective teaching
- Make explicit the underlying beliefs, assumptions and principles they hold about their teaching practice
- Explore the teaching and reflect on the teaching principles and teaching practices
- Draw a metaphor about their teaching identities
- Put into effect thoughful reflection and professional dialogue on critical issues in education and language teaching
- Adopt courses of action to solve problems and to improve their teaching practices
- Implement diverse reflective teaching tools as a way of exploring and keeping a record of their teaching experiences
- Develop critical thinking towards the literature available on reflective teaching
- Exchange their professional views and give each other feedback
- Conceptualize their professional identity by means of their internal narratives.
Since 1994, when the Ministry of Education in Colombia established as compulsory the teaching of a foreign language to children, teachers have been worried about the serious challenge it represents. University professors started to focus their research studies on this field, and foreign language teacher education programs to design their curricula to fulfill the expectation of teaching English to children. This course is intended for professionals who are interested in evaluating their current practices and exploring new ways of facilitating children the learning of English. Emphases are on child development and the implications in foreign language teaching, methodological principles to teach an L2 to children, lesson planning, strategies and techniques to promote interaction in the classroom and assessment processes. The course will be structured around theoretical, practical, and research components.
The teaching of English around the world has spread rapidly during the last 20 years. Many countries have implemented linguistic policies to promote the teaching of English in public education and from a very young age. From this world developments, scholars, teachers and researchers think and problematize naturalized and taken for granted discourses about the presence of English in the world. One of these problematized issues is English as an International Language. This course is set out to inquire on what the literature says about this issue and how distant or close it is to other labels like English as a Lingua Franca, or English as a Global Language.
To achieve that purpose, the course brings different voices that have tackled these topics in order to give participants different perspectives and points of analysis. By the end of the course students should have a good grasp of various concepts and be able to position themselves with their own views supported by their critical appraisal of the literature studied in the course. Participants should be able to give their opinion of the issues involved and see themselves as playing a part in the continuing development of this phenomenon and be able to decide how they intend to play out their part within their own context.
Topics for consideration will include language spread, shift and change; trends in the economy; standards for English as an International language; the advent of World Englishes; the relationship between language and culture; imperialism and identity crisis in ELT; the debate between native and non-native English teachers; the role of English language teaching in the education of world citizens, the complexities of school practice in relating the conditions necessary for the developing of global minds in a knowledge society; changing ELT policies; challenges and opportunities for language teachers in a globalized world; job satisfaction and economic competitiveness; thinking global, acting local.
Didactics, as an integral part of Applied Pedagogy (Mallart (n.d)), takes care of the teaching-learning processes. Thus, it studies the type of didactic materials that should be used for the teaching-learning process to be present in the classroom. Due to the growing importance of materials development (MD, hereafter) as a research line, language teachers should look into the development of materials as both a field of study (a science), and a creative activity that has been growing for decades (Tomlinson, 2010). On the other hand, Applied Linguistics has recently identified within its domains, the development of materials as a broad open path to the study of how these socio-cultural artefacts contribute to the process of learning and teaching languages. Currently, researchers such as Neville (1991), Timmis (2002), Bolitho (2003), McDonough (2003), Maley (2003), Pulverness (2003), Sercu and Bandura (2005), Hurst (2006), Tomlinson (2008) and Núñez, Téllez, Castellanos and Ramos (2009), to cite some, have seen in MD, a field of study that goes beyond authors’ creativity and motivation to develop didactic materials at an instructional level. MD, as a field of study, demands a scientific methodology that allows validating the efficiency, appropriateness and relevance of materials within the context of learning a language.
Based on the aforementioned insights, this course presents the development of teaching and learning materials as a scientific activity that allows language teachers to assume a critical stance to approach the phenomenon of materials development from a more social and political viewpoints; to innovate through the development of contextualized or customized materials that complement textbooks or make up for the lack of them; and to enrich their teaching practice as well as to foster the creation of better teaching and learning settings. The course will be structured into four main components:(a) Theoretical foundations and practical insights for MD; Second Language Acquisition (SLA) Principles relevant to MD and principles for MD; authentic versus inauthentic materials in the teaching of English as a foreign language (EFL, henceforth); the systematic evaluation for the selection of materials to teach English; and current trends in syllabus design and MD. (b) Approaches to develop materials; addressing students' needs; the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL); approaches to the application of language learning strategies; the role of MD both in professional and personal development and in the instructional components of research projects; (c) The use of songs, laughter and riddles in the EFL classroom and In-house EGP and ESP materials for the teaching of English in the dual model. (d) The creation and adaptation of materials and course books for EFL and guidelines for the development of the pedagogical intervention of research projects.
This course offers an introduction to the use of technology, primarily digital, in the field of second and foreign language education. Participants explore the technologies, applications and tools available and consider models for their integration into language learning and teaching. Students review key terms and concepts related to new ICTs and L2 pedagogy, explore the historical evolution and the state of the art of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), and discuss the benefits and implications of using technology in the language teaching process. On a more practical ground, students examine internet resources and design their own activities to incorporate in their L2 teaching. Course participants continually read and reflect upon current articles on key issues in the use of technology in language teaching. The ultimate goal of this course is to raise participants’ awareness in regards to the suitability of computer-and-web-based possibilities in order to respond to the new global and local demands in second language education.
The final thesis is a consolidation of the independent research study they have been working on since the second semester. This course is self-managed, under the guidance of a thesis advisor, and intended to build on knowledge and skills acquired from the previous research modules. The completion of the final thesis involves the identification of and critical analysis of a problem or question relevant to English language pedagogy, and an extensive exploration of relevant literature, including current research.
During this course the students are expected to carry out the process of data collection and data analysis as part of the development of the research proposal that they consolidated in the previous course (Research Methods). In the case of action research, they will prepare and conduct the action/intervention stage of the project. Students in this course must work on the findings, discussion, and conclusions in their preparation for the write-up in the final course the following semester.
This course is an introduction to the most common approaches used in EFL/ESL research, including qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods designs. We will pay attention to various designs including but not limited to action research, narrative inquiry, case study, to provide teachers with tools to investigate issues in their context and community. This course will cover topics such as research paradigms, research designs, research problems, research questions, the role of the literature review, and methodological designs. By the end of this course, students are expected to consolidate their research proposal for their final thesis.