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The contribution of research to foreign language teachers’ continuing professional development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSecond Language Acquisition
PublisherMultilingual Matters Ltd
Number of pages36
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Jan 2019

Abstract

This study looked at the contribution research can make to the continuing professional development (CPD) of foreign language teachers. The issue arises because of the continuing gap between what initial teacher education (ITE) advocates in respect of second language (L2) use and what qualified teachers say they do. Data was gathered through an online questionnaire issued to all modern languages teachers in Scotland and semi-structured interviews were conducted with a small group of Professional Graduate Degree in Education (PGDE) Secondary Modern Languages students at the end of their PGDE year and at the end of their first year of teaching as Newly Qualified Teachers fd(NQTs). Audio-recordings of the NQTs were also made during this first year of teaching. Data from the four sources were analysed using an inductive approach. 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. They reported that they found it difficult to use L2 for discipline, grammar teaching, explaining things and for social chat. At the same time there were huge changes in their practice and big changes in their views vis-à-vis L2 use. It is recommended that those involved in ITE and CPD look particularly at the two areas of situated learning and teacher cognition in relation to the use of the target language. It further recommends collaborative research between teachers in schools and other agencies.

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