Mentor Development in the Education of Modern Language Teachers (Modern Language in Practice)

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Asking questions as a key strategy in guiding a novice teacher: A selfstudy. Rava, S. Minding our business. ADFL Bulletin , 22 3 , 51— Ritter, J. Developing a vision of teacher education: How my classroom teacher understandings evolved in the university environment. Russo, G. Training for TAs. Improving College and University Teaching , 30 4 , — Samaras, A. Self-study teacher research: Improving your practice through collaborative inquiry. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Samaras A. Looking back and looking forward: An historical overview of the self-study school.

Lassonde, S. Kosnik Eds. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers. The shark in the vitrine: Experiencing our practice from the inside out with transdisciplinary lenses. Journal of Transformative Education, 12 4 , — Schuck, S.

UCC Research Profiles: Jacinta C McKeon, Education

Self-study, critical friendship, and the complexities of teacher education. Silva, G. Peer TA mentoring in a foreign language program. Siskin, H. It will take only 2 minutes to fill in. Skip to main content. UK uses cookies to make the site simpler.

Accept cookies. Cookie settings. News story New centre for excellence to boost modern foreign language skills. Published 10 January School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: It is important to equip all young people, regardless of their backgrounds, with the language skills this country needs as an outward looking global nation.

Ian Bauckham said: Improving the teaching and take up of modern foreign languages in our schools is a central priority. It will start work with the hub schools immediately. Share this page Share on Facebook Share on Twitter. Related content Languages boost to deliver skilled workforce for UK's businesses Overwhelming support for foreign languages plan New guidance to help parents avoid unsafe out-of-school settings 7 aspects of engagement pilot: qualitative evaluation Evaluation of the maths teacher exchange: China and England. Explore the topic School curriculum.

Is this page useful? Their stock in trade in the early years was audio recorders to which were added video recorders, satellite television and then later computers Jones It is worth noting that many distinguished directors of language centres began their careers as managers or heads of language laboratories.


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This was a period of considerable growth and confidence in language learning, a period when it was believed that:. Mitchell 7. Many significant events in language teaching date from this period. Some of these include the emergence of the communicative approach to language teaching Munby , the publication in of the Threshold Level Van Ek , the development of Languages for Special Purposes Dudley-Evans and St John , Hutchinson and Waters , and the early stages of computer assisted language learning.


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  6. The concept of the language centre began to emerge, slowly at first and then with increasing momentum. In the early stages however, language centres were small, uncertain of their role and they played a very limited role in the life of the university. For example, A. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the ensuing political shifts had many impacts.

    Greater European integration was an increasing force. The role of technology — from computer assisted language learning to the internet — had opened up undreamt of possibilities in communication and learning. As the forces of globalisation took root, language learning needs grew — particularly in English Crystal , Graddol But increased demand for language learning brought many problems in its wake.

    Large numbers of students had to be taught in at times very unsatisfactory conditions. There were increasing questions about effectiveness and quality of delivery. It was becoming clear that the development of effective models for second and foreign language learning was a more complex and challenging task than it may have seemed during an earlier period.

    Disenchantment with approaches to second language teaching at the time are evident in the following statement by Alastair Pennycook:.


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    One of the problems with applied linguistics […] has been its divorce from educational theory and the tendency to deal with language teaching as a predominantly psycholinguistic phenomenon isolated from its social cultural and educational contexts. Pennycook As well as a raft of socio-political changes, there were reduced levels of university funding, growing numbers of students and a changing context in second language pedagogy.

    Against this background, language centres were expected to implement large-scale programme development, syllabus design, language for special purposes, testing and technology research. Whilst the demand for large-scale language training still grows, the context is changing. Many European universities are experiencing shifting patterns in student enrolments and resource constraints have begun to bite. The research and teaching functions are frequently now in competition for funding allocations. In the field of language learning, third-level institutions are casting round for more cost-effective solutions to problems of provision.

    As the push and pull of the market place continues, alternative suppliers of language teaching services are emerging. These include private sector provision, public and private partnerships, outsourcing, more widespread self-access, on-line teaching and others, to provide cheaper and more effective solutions. Language centres have clearly a role to play in shaping this evolving situation for the benefit of language learning.

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    Mentoring language teaching professionals in/through Exploratory Practice

    And what can language centres today learn from the efforts of their antecedents? In her keynote address to the CercleS international conference in Bergamo in , Edith Esch summed up the strengths and capacities of the early pioneers in language centres:. To do this, they had to focus on a wide range of issues that were not alone pedagogic, but also strategic and managerial. In the following section, we review a number of these including governance, staffing, use of technology and collaborative networks. The task of putting in place structures to deal with changing needs was rarely done in a planned and systematic way.

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    As stated above, language centres developed organically in response to emerging needs. In shaping their response, they had to operate within wider, institutional environments that exercised strong control over their activities. On the one hand, they had to interact with broader faculty structures, needs and aims, and were subject to careful control of central administration. On the other hand, they had usually grown out of and were linked in some cases subordinate to language and linguistics disciplines. Navigating a pathway between these two positions was not always easy.

    They succeeded in devising structures that were quite different to those in traditional departments of languages or other humanities subjects and which met the needs of a different type of student. Through a dynamic interplay of events, people, ideas, structures and problem-solving, they succeeded in motivating staff to co-operate in new ways, overcome problems and achieve shared goals. Notwithstanding the growing importance of technology, it is generally recognised that language learning remains a labour-intensive field and that successful management of the human capital dimension is critical for success.

    It is through effective human resources that all other functions in language centres — finance, programmes, materials, planning — are handled.

    New centre for excellence to boost modern foreign language skills

    One of the biggest changes to occur was with respect to the role of the teacher. The training and development of these different staff-groups, and their organisation into effective multi-tasking and multi-disciplinary teams were major factors in the successful development of language centres. The interpersonal, educational, administrative and technical skills of these staff are considerable.

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