An interesting paper by Kurihara and Samimy (2007) provides some answers to the question posed in this latest blog posting. The purpose of the study was to examine the effects a training program offered in the United States had on the beliefs and practices of eight Japanese teachers of English (JTE). The findings show that the training program was viewed as being beneficial in terms fostering awareness of communicative teaching, building confidence in teaching practices and improving English ability. However, institutional constraints, such as the washback effect of university entrance exams, were generally seen as obstacles inhibiting the application of new knowledge gained overseas. Consequently, the JTEs perceived themselves as being mediators and agents of change positioned in their social and institutional contexts in Japan. Reflecting on these findings and on my own experience with training non-native English-speaking teachers (NNEST), I feel that teacher educators and programs could generally do a better job at training NNESTs. What aspects should training programs incorporate to meet the needs of NNESTs? Should perhaps more emphasis be placed on training NNESTs in their home countries rather than in Western contexts? What teaching techniques should training programs focus on for NNESTs to be useful and relevant? How can language proficiency be addressed effectively? How can challenging contextualized aspects, such as university entrance exams, be included in training programs? My thesis should provide some answers to these questions, but it would be interesting to hear some of your thoughts, experiences, and/or suggestions.
Kurihara, Y., & Samimy, K. (2007). The impact of a U.S. teacher training program on teaching beliefs and practices: A case study of secondary school level Japanese teachers of English. JALT Journal, 29(1), 99-122.
I am a Lecturer in TESOL at the University of Wollongong in Australia. I blog about L2 learning, L2 teaching, L2 teacher education, and research.