Teacher knowledge and the role of theory in practice in TESOL

Shirley, Ken (2017) Teacher knowledge and the role of theory in practice in TESOL. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The research project explores teacher knowledge and the role of theory in the practice of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers. It addresses issues which are relevant more widely to the field and profession of English Language Teaching (ELT). It includes a literature-based survey of the types and sources of knowledge relevant to the work of ESOL-ELT teachers, which are collated into a conceptual framework (CF). The CF includes aspects of teacher knowledge and learning such as the ‘apprenticeship of observation’ (Lortie 1975/2002) and ‘personal practical knowledge’ (Clandinin 1985; Clandinin & Connelly 1987). Relevant contextual factors are analysed, with four levels of policy identified as impacting to varying degrees on ESOL teachers’ practice. These (policy) contextual factors include notions of ‘best practice’, ‘appropriate methodology’, and the ELT-ESOL curriculum. A further contextual area of influence on the role of theories in ESOL teachers’ practice is the recent history of teaching methodology, including ‘ELT methods’, which is analysed in a ‘genealogy of ELT’. Several of these ELT methods have traditionally embodied elements of theories from Applied Linguistics. One such ELT ‘method’ (or ‘approach’) - Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) - is identified as influential on the thinking of ESOL teachers. The question of theory and the relationship between theory and practice are discussed with reference to the work of Alasdair MacIntyre and his use of Aristotelian concepts, such as praxis. Views from ELT and mainstream education regarding the role of theory and practice are also discussed. In addition to the theoretical and conceptual analysis of the research question, an ‘empirical’ data-collection element of the research design involves conducting ‘semi-structured’ qualitative research interviews with eight ESOL teachers who work in the same UK Further Education College as the researcher. A qualitative, interpretivist research approach is adopted, which draws on several research methodologies and ‘paradigms’ such as phenomenology and critical realism. Data analysis methods draw on ideas from ‘Grounded Theory’, and use NVivo computer software to process the research interview data. Findings from the interview data are briefly presented (in Chapter 5) and illustrative quotations are included in Chapter 6. Conclusions and recommendations are presented, relating to issues of ESOL teacher education, teacher development, policy, and areas for future research (in Chapter 7). They highlight the potential value for ESOL practitioners of a greater examination of the role of theory in their practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: ESOL, ELT, theory, practice, teacher knowledge, FE.
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Davis, Professor Robert
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Mr K.S. Shirley
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8221
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2017 13:42
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2017 13:44
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8221

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