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Target language use in Modern Language classrooms: Perception and change among newly qualified teachers in Scotland

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalScottish Languages Review
StateAccepted/In press - 10 Apr 2018

Abstract

An investigation into the practices and perceptions of some Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) of modern foreign languages (MFL) in Scotland in relation to how they use the target language (L2). The issue arises because of the continuing gap between what initial teacher education (ITE) advocates in respect of L2 use and what qualified teachers say they do. Data was gathered through questionnaire to modern languages teachers and semi-structured interviews with a small group of PGDE (Secondary) Modern Languages students together with audio-recordings of these students as NQTs and follow-up interviews. The findings revealed that the NQTs used considerably less target language during their NQT year and had changed their views on the target language substantially since their PGDE year. At the same time there were huge changes in their practice and big changes in their views vis-à-vis L2 use. Significantly, the data revealed that these changes in practice and views happened very quickly, were a lot starker and occurred a lot faster than previously thought. This situation seems to have many causes – influences from experienced colleagues, survival tactics, how teachers develop their own pedagogy and identity as teachers. This thesis recommends that those involved in ITE and Career Long Professional Learning look particularly at the two areas of situated learning and teacher cognition in relation to the use of the target language to develop an understanding of how to promote effective learning and teaching strategies in relation to the use of the target language in class.

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