Preparing student teachers to be teachers of EFL reading: effectiveness of curriculum development and instructional delivery of a Revised Teacher Education Reading Course upon student teachers' delivery methods during teaching practice in the U.A.E.
thesisposted on 16.12.2011, 11:28 by Fiodhna Gardiner-Hyland
There is an urgent need to invest in teacher education programmes in the Arab world. Outdated curricula and methodologies, reliance on rote learning and not enough qualified teachers present a threat to the quality of education in the region. Traditionally, language teacher education programs have focused on transmission, product-orientated approaches that are applicable to any teaching context. However, there is a growing shift towards a constructivist, process-orientated perspective where trainee teachers are active participants in learning to teach. This thesis explores the rationale behind shaping and contextualizing curriculum and delivery of a teacher education reading methodology course in a government college system in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a location that is currently underrepresented in the research literature. Employing a qualitative case study methodology, and drawing upon a range of influences including Vygotskian teacher education constructivist pedagogy, data is drawn from course evaluations, focus group interviews, online discussions and observational analysis. The analysis explores the perceived impact of constructivist teacher education pedagogy on the formation of reading teaching styles during teaching practice at three levels: the perceived impact of curricular changes; the perceived and observed impact of constructivist delivery innovations (systematic microteaching, performance modelling and problem-based learning) and the perceived impact of teacher education pedagogy upon an evolving system of knowledge and beliefs. The findings suggest that by attending to a Vygotskian constructivist-based contextualized EFL model of second language teacher education pedagogy, the potential to enhance the capacity of Emirati student teachers to teach reading successfully and enact pedagogic change in local government schools is increased. However, while all participants aspired to become agents of change by making a clear distinction between themselves and their past teachers, differences in reading teaching styles were noted for varying ability groups, moving from eclectic to behaviourist styles. While investigating the unique features of the case itself, these findings may have resonance for teacher education programmes in the other Middle Eastern contexts.