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Second language teacher education - Essay Example

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The article basically discusses issues regarding second language teacher education, specifically the influences that led to how teacher education is understood now and how this insight affects our notion of second language teacher education. The essay also touches on the…
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Second language teacher education
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Summary The article basically discusses issues regarding second language teacher education, specifically the influences that led to how teacher education is understood now and how this insight affects our notion of second language teacher education. The essay also touches on the misconceptions between teacher training and teacher development and further explains how mastery of the teaching process should go hand in hand with knowledge of language teaching to make the educator become more effective in imparting instruction.
Teacher development is used when an educator studies to teach a second language. Teacher training, on the other hand, is used when it is a non-educator. As a whole, however, individuals who study to teach another language are called teacher-learners. What second language teacher education should be has evolved from content, to the person of the teacher and finally to the process of learning or teacher education. Several researches have been made to connect the two concepts under teacher education - teacher training and teacher learning.
Previously, second language teacher education was focused on the content – second language – and not how this should be taught. Although there are many reasons for the gap between teacher education and teacher learning, it was generally acknowledged that teacher education was based on principles on teaching imparted to the teacher in the classroom which are then practiced by the educator in his own class. Background research has shown that this idea of transmitting principles eventually evolved into the teachers’ developing their own knowledge through their experience as a teacher. This change was due to the fact that adoption of the transmission idea failed to recognize the learning teachers would get from their classes.
According to the reading, there are four influences that have an effect on the understanding of second language teacher education. These are input, prior knowledge, institutional context and time. Input is recognized as something made, how it is given to the student and the outcome it produces. In second language teacher education, strategies for input come from teacher training and teacher development, which are the combination of content and process. Where teacher training encompasses all the various processes learned by the teacher like academic programs, teacher development deals with the educator’s experiences and knowledge and how they can apply this to their teaching methods.
Since in second language teacher education the teachers may be individuals who want to be a second language educator, prior knowledge also refers to the beginning teacher’s familiarity of the happenings inside the classroom even before teacher education. The task that follows is how to train these individuals to use their existing knowledge once they are in the classroom as second language teachers.
While beginning teachers see schools as a place to practice and eventually find employment, experienced teachers use these structures as a place to impart the knowledge they themselves learned while studying to be a teacher. Although the knowledge transmission process has its downsides, there exist some reforms which were made in the hopes of improving teacher development. Thus, the role of schools cannot be neglected in teacher education.
Lastly, the influence of time has something to do with the length of a teacher’s career. The focus in their roles as teachers would be different between beginning teachers and those who have been teaching for five or ten years. Programs in second language teacher education should then be adapted to these concerns so as to directly address the differences.
The view regarding teacher education has changed the understanding of second language teacher education. The important thing is to know how language teaching is learned and how to teach it best.
Reference:
Second language teacher education. (2001). In The Cambridge Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Retrieved from http://ezp.lirn.net/login?qurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.credoreference.com/entry/cupteacheng/second_language_teacher_education Read More
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