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Initial Language Teacher Education in Chubut. Where we are, where to go.

Dario Luis Banegas Student number: 0835065

Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MA in English Language Teaching

Centre for Applied Linguistics University of Warwick June 2009

Abstract List of acronyms Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Introduction Literature review 2.1 Theory and Practice in LTE 2.1.1 The developmental position 2.2 Theory-Practice-Praxis 2.3 Types of knowledge in LTE 2.3.1 Content knowledge Defining content knowledge Sources of content knowledge Language as subject-matter development 2.3.2 General pedagogical knowledge Defining general pedagogical knowledge Incorporating other sources General pedagogical knowledge in pre-service education 2.3.3 Pedagogical content knowledge Defining pedagogical content knowledge Broadening the scope and sources of pedagogical content knowledge Pedagogical content knowledge in programmes 2.4 Models of teaching 2.4.1 The craft model 2.4.2 The applied-science model 2.4.3 The reflective model 2.5 ILTE programmes in Chubut 2.5.1 New directions in ILTE programmes 2.6 In retrospection Chapter 3 Method 3.1 Participants 3.2 Instruments i ii 1 3 3 5 6 7 8 8 9 10 11 11 12 13 14 14 16 17 19 19 20 20 21 23 25 27 27 27

3.3 Procedures Chapter 4 Data analysis and discussion 4.1 ILTE overall view 4.1.1 Positive aspects 4.1.2 Negative aspects 4.2 Further explorations on programme impact 4.2.1 Content knowledge 4.2.2 Pedagogical content knowledge 4.2.3 General pedagogical knowledge 4.2.4 General methodological aspects 4.3 Balance between theory and practice 4.3.1 On theory 4.3.2 On practice 4.3.3 Results under the light of models and conceptions of teaching 4.4 Balance in the knowledge base 4.4.1 Content knowledge 4.4.2 ELT pedagogical knowledge 4.4.3 General pedagogical knowledge 4.5 Participants and the future of ILTE 4.6 Summary of findings Chapter 5 Conclusions and implications 5.1 Conclusions 5.2 Implications Bibliography Appendix 1 Questionnaire Appendix 2 Follow-up questionnaire. Sample.

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Initial language teacher education programmes continually change. However, these changes seldom reflect graduates opinions since programme design is generally a topdown process. The purpose of this study is to understand what foundations ILTE programmes in Chubut, Argentina, should feature by investigating the perceptions a group of teachers had as regards the programmes they completed, their impact in their professional life, and how they perceived programmes could be structured in terms of the balance between theory and practice and the knowledge base. Fifteen participants were administered a questionnaire and two of them also received a follow-up questionnaire for further explorations. Results showed that participants favoured practice over theory, and that content knowledge was a key component in their teacher education. Following participants perceptions, ILTE programmes could be improved if coherence among all the components and actors in the programmes were more context-based and exercised thoroughly. This implies that institutions and programme designers need to create spaces for a more active participation of trainees and trainers in programme design in order to improve coherence.



Action Research Communicative Language Teaching English as a Foreign Language English Language Teaching English for Specific Purposes Initial Language Teacher Education In-service training Language Teacher Education Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Non-Native Speaker Pre-service training Second Language Acquisition

Chapter 1


One fundamental aspect to investigate teachers and their practices is to begin by understanding their initial language teacher education programmes, that is, the balance between theory and practice programmes feature, the knowledge base, the models of teaching those programmes favour and to what extent they respond to trainees/teachers expectations. The purpose of this study is to understand what foundations ILTE programmes in Chubut should feature by investigating the perceptions a group of teachers from this part of Argentina had as regards the programmes they completed, their impact in their professional life, and how they perceived programmes could be structured in terms of the knowledge base. Therefore, the literature review of this dissertation will first focus on the balance between theory and practice in ILTE and then discuss how this balance permeates through the knowledge base found in teacher education. Regarding the knowledge base, particular attention will be given to three types of knowledge: content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge. Following the knowledge base, models of teaching will be analysed under the light of theory and practice in order to fully understand ILTE programmes in Chubut, the context of this dissertation. The method chapter will describe the participants, the instruments and how data will be analysed together with limitations found in the process of this dissertation. In the section devoted to data analysis and discussion, I will analyse the impact ILTE programmes had on my participants and explore their perceptions as regards the structural components of programmes so as to improve them in the province of Chubut, which is my motivation for conducting such a piece of research. I firmly believe that in order to introduce meaningful changes in ILTE in my context, we need to be more open to receiving feedback from trainees and teachers and profit from their perceptions so as to enhance the programmes offered. Last, the conclusion and implications chapter will offer some avenues which could be explored so as to improve ILTE programmes in Chubut considering participants responses in this study.

Chapter 2


In this chapter, I will establish a theoretical framework to understand the features of ILTE programmes in Chubut and what should be done to improve them. First, I will discuss the issue of the balance between theory and practice in programme design as it is one of the major concerns trainees usually refer to. Its purpose is to offer a framework which will help us understand the constructs behind this debate and how these permeate through the knowledge base found in ILTE programmes. Second, taking Shulman (1986, 1987) as our initial step, I will explore three particular types of knowledge found in the knowledge base: content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge. The aim of this section is to centre our attention on the types of knowledge Chubut has based its ILTE programmes on, and how their balance is connected with the theory-practice debate and models of teacher education found. Last, I will specifically describe ILTE programmes in Chubut in terms of their features and what needs to be considered for their improvement. Overall, the aim of this chapter is to move from general aspects of initial language teacher education to elements which are directly connected with programme design.

2.1 Theory and practice in LTE An initial word in this divide. Theory here means research-driven theories, scholarly disciplines, and formal educational scholarship (Shulman, 1987:8-12). Theory is seen as external, as knowledge which has been codified in terms of seminars in ILTE programmes. To put it more simply, it comprises the foundations treated in seminars such as Linguistics, Discourse Analysis, Second Language Acquisition, Philosophy, Pedagogy, Methodology, Literature, and Psychology among others (Lawes, 2002:2-3).

On the other hand, practice refers to the what-I-can-do aspect of theories of teaching and learning. This part may be found in teacher education in the shape of seminars such as Professional Practice, Methodology and the Practicum or in seminars which use technology to bridge the gap (Gomez et al., 2008; Htter et al., 2009). It has been said that it is teachers who have fuelled the theory-practice divide as their own craft knowledge is what determines what makes a good teacher. Because of the way that the profession has been institutionalised, teachers feel context-bound and, because of the pressure within a certain context, theory seems detached from the real world. Trainees might see practice as context-bound, limited, and the best way of acquiring rapid survival techniques. However, it is this very view which limits their development towards a deeper language teacher education. On the other hand, trainers regard theory as a living body which facilitates longer term effects, generalisations and professional development since theory can be seen as context-free and therefore applicable to more than one situation. This is what Grenfell (1998:10-11) sees as the theory-practice divide. How can these two views be reconciled? To what extent can theories of teaching and second language learning (Mitchell and Myles, 2004), be shaped and made to establish a dialogue with trainees beliefs? These are questions worth asking when designing ILTE programmes as they will shape the model of teacher education to be adopted. It follows then that, when it comes to ILTE programmes, the theory-practice divide plays a significant role as it shapes trainees teaching to some extent. If programmes adopt a particular conception, does it mean that such a view of teaching is stronger than others making it more valid to be followed by trainees and therefore adopt a noncompatibility position? If programmes, on the other hand, embark on an eclectic position where all conceptions are equally valid, do they run the risk of creating confusion in trainees as they might see the programme as lacking cohesion since several views coexist simultaneously? Another question could be asked in terms of chronological development, can programmes go from prescription (science-research, and theoryphilosophy) to creativity? Such a position assumes that trainees views of teaching develop in a linear fashion over time. As we can see, these conceptions produce a dramatic impact on trainees as programmes may adopt one of these conceptions emphasising the theoretical or practical side of the profession. Though Freeman and Richards (1993) do not claim to have found a solution to this issue, they find that from the non-compatibility position, the eclectic position and the chronological development

position in ILTE programmes, this latter is the most intriguing to explore (ibid: 212) as it adopts a conception of teaching linked to a framework of a professional life-span.

2.1.1 The developmental position In this section, I will briefly discuss two studies which adopt a developmental position as regards conceptions of teaching. In a study carried out by investigating the construction of knowledge of teaching by pre-service students at an elementary teacher education programme, Kroll (2004) positions herself within the developmental view. She concludes by saying that to become effective teachers, student-teachers need to have an understanding of theories of teaching and learning. However, this understanding needs to be carried out in such a way that student-teachers progressively connect these theories with their own towards a constructivist view of knowledge. What is emphasised by Kroll (ibid: 217) is that in order to fight back this myth of theory as being complicated and inapplicable, trainers should develop a method of teaching which helps trainees integrate scholarly theory with their own thinking towards a critical development of their knowledge as regards teaching. Another study which seems to lean towards a developmental view, thus placing more emphasis on the theoretical side of the issue, is reported by Cheng et al. (2009). Pre-service students, though with some mixed and weak positions, seem to move from nave beliefs at the beginning of their education to more sophisticated beliefs which constructively integrate discipline-driven theory with their own schema and experience from the practicum. This shift in thinking may support the idea that programmes should adopt a developmental view as long as they take into account trainees initial beliefs. This could be reflected in the fact that student-teachers might initially stay in a zone marked by theory present in different seminars within the programme, and, as they move along they are able to relate this theoretical or philosophical view of teaching with their own field experience enabling them to create their own theories. Initially, it could be concluded that the theory-practice debate may be understood as a continuum developed over time in which student-teachers move from a conception of teaching heavily influenced by theory to a conception in which theory and practice

inform each other. However, another construct such as praxis, may be included in ILTE. The theory-practice-praxis relationship is the focus of the next section.

2.2 Theory-Practice-Praxis The theory versus practice debate in ILTE is taken further by Johnson (2006:239241) who asserts that this division might be better understood if we see it as theory/practice versus praxis since this latter construct captures how theory and practice inform each other. Praxis, then, is the sum total of experiences lived in the field, in the practicum, when student-teachers teach a number of lessons. Praxis realises the ongoing dialogue in trainees minds between expert knowledge and experiential knowledge in order to achieve a better understanding of themselves as teachers and their classroom practices. Thus, the task for ILTE programmes is to create public spaces which legitimise these processes so that future teachers might recognise as equally valid their praxis understanding under the light of theory in its philosophical-scientific sense. However, this creation of new spaces should not undermine the presence of SLA, applied linguistics or language learning as subject-matter in ILTE programmes, for the creation of a zone which might be termed as the anti-research approach where anything might go (Bartels, 2004:128-129; Tarone and Allwright, 2005:8-10). As we can see, the balance between theory and practice towards praxis could be ethereal in teacher education. We must be aware that a noticeable disparity of strands (Tarone and Allwright, 2005:12-13) will respond to a particular conception of teaching and consequently to a specific model of language teacher education from a whole array of possibilities. This poses interesting questions: How do ILTE programme designers see the field? Is it training and therefore practice/praxis supported by what efficient teachers do the core of the curriculum? Or is it seen as development and education, and therefore programmes will be based on a deeper understanding of issues which transcend a particular context (Lawes, 2002:42)? These questions entail a balance in the knowledge base in terms of content and pedagogical knowledge. This is the concern of the following section. 2.3 Types of knowledge in LTE

This section will discuss the features of three main aspects of knowledge in LTE: content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge. The aim will be to situate our discussion within a matrix which moves from contemplating the knowledge base to how this is actually crystallised in the context of this dissertation. In two seminal articles, Shulman (1986, 1987) presents his position about the knowledge base in teacher education after observing how knowledge of pedagogy and content evolve in the minds of novice teachers. Shulman argues that the knowledge base cannot be founded only on research on effective teaching (Freeman and Johnson, 1998:399) or on a view of teaching which sees the teacher as able to understand what needs to be taught and how it is to be taught (Shulman, 1987: 7). Therefore he proposes a set of categories which might illuminate what underlies teachers understanding of how to promote and enhance learners intellectual capacity. His categories are:
content knowledge; general pedagogical knowledge, with special reference to those broad principles and strategies of classroom management and organization that appear to transcend subject matter; curriculum knowledge, with particular grasp of the materials and programs that serve as tools of the trade for teachers; pedagogical content knowledge, that special amalgam of content and pedagogy that is uniquely the province of teachers, their own special form of professional understanding; knowledge of learners and their characteristics; knowledge of educational contexts, ranging from the workings of the group or classroom, the governance and financing of school districts, to the character of communities and cultures; and knowledge of educational ends, purposes, and values, and their philosophical and historical grounds.

(Shulman, 1987: 8, my bold type)

As stated at the beginning of this section, I will only focus on content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge. It could be argued that curriculum knowledge might be a source of pedagogical knowledge whether it is general or content specific. Moreover, knowledge of learners, educational contexts together with educational ends could also be interpreted as part of pedagogical knowledge since the how we teach will be deeply rooted in our understanding of our learners, who they are and how they behave in the general educational matrix.

2.3.1 Content knowledge In this section, I will define this type of knowledge and the sources which play a crucial role in its constitution. In addition, I will focus on the issue of subject matter and how this could be further divided into three vital aspects: improvement of the target language, and cultural knowledge. knowledge of the language, Defining content knowledge Content knowledge refers to the amount and organisation of knowledge per se in the mind of the teacher and which makes the distinct subject matter of the profession (James, 2001:5; Shulman, 1986:9; 1987:9). As regards teachers of EFL, Roberts (1998: 105) points out that having content knowledge means that teachers show knowledge of the systems of the target language and competence in it. This means that teachers should have declarative knowledge of the language (Bailey et al., 2001: 23; Day 1990:43), i.e. knowledge about English grammar and phonetics, for instance, and be simultaneously proficient and confident users of it as they will become language models for their learners (Barnes, 2002:199). Although it is asserted that well founded content knowledge provides ground for authority and supports the fact that teaching is a profession (Ball, 2008:404), it is essential that we acknowledge that, in ELT, English may be a foreign language taught as a subject (Widdowson, 2002:67-68). This means that teachers will present a pedagogical construct of the language as a real entity, which should not be equated to the language as experienced by its native speakers. Thus, we might suggest that teachers in Argentina, for example, should not be expected to know English as if it were their L1. Such an expectation would fail to recognise the numerous contextual features which might go against this goal in language teacher education. The following sections will look at the issue of sources of content knowledge with special attention to subject matter and its improvement since such an aspect is crucial in contexts such as Argentina where English holds a foreign language status. Sources of content knowledge The sources for this type of knowledge will come from, as Shulman (1987, 8-9) describes, scholarship content disciplines related to English as a system. However, when we refer to content knowledge, we mean not only knowledge about the language but also the development of the different components of communicative competence. Needless to say, some of the sources, such as Linguistics, Phonetics, and Grammar, will enhance the linguistic competence of prospective teachers. With reference to Linguistics, Bartels (1999:46-56) adopts a cautious stance. He believes that linguistic knowledge will become meaningful to student-teachers provided it shows them how this knowledge can be used for language teaching. Linguistics teaching, Bartels continues, should be for developing knowledge of interlanguage analysis, and developing skills in analysing second language learning in specific students. I believe this may be a rather functional view of Linguistics as it is expected to be applied to teaching only. In my view, Linguistics needs to be explored both for its own sake and for language teaching purposes since teachers, as in my experience, may become involved in projects which deal with language studies without direct educational implications. On the other hand, it is also claimed that communicative competence will be best achieved if intercultural understanding is included in programmes (Byram, 1999:73; Woodgate-Jones, 2008:2-3). Also, Davies (2002:63) states that a social component in the shape of sociolinguistics offers ILTE both knowledge about the complexities of speech communities found in the English language, and skills which will inform curriculum choices among varieties of English. This sociolinguistic source within content knowledge applies to both subject matter knowledge, the language as a system, and cultural awareness. To speak about communities of practice in this matrix is to include information about World Englishes as another source for knowledge-base whose origin is not American or European (Brown, 2002:446).

Therefore, this interest in the social aspect of content knowledge can be seen under what we might call general cultural knowledge whose sources could be History, Geography and Literature among others which see language in society. Thus, we can make a distinction between subject-matter knowledge, i.e., knowledge of the language connected with linguistic competence, and general cultural knowledge, which aims at

expanding student-teachers cultural capital in their ILTE. Such a distinction should be remembered throughout this dissertation as these two aspects will be seen as vital components in ILTE programmes. Language as subject matter development Initially, we might consider the fact that once a certain level of proficiency has been achieved, it is necessary to improve that level. For instance, Berry (1990:97-98) asserts that this language improvement can be achieved if two components are solidly shaped in LTE programmes: content knowledge and language improvement. Both Berry (1990) and Cullen (1994: 164-165) stress that this emphasis in language improvement is mostly felt in EFL contexts where teachers do not have many opportunities of interaction with speakers whose English is their L1. Berry (1990), for instance, conducted a study in Poland where teachers were asked to rank Methodology, Theory (theories of language and teaching) and Language Improvement in order of importance according to their needs. Language Improvement was ranked first followed by Methodology. Theory did poorly in participants ranking as they felt they had had enough of it. Another example of the impact of language improvement comes from a study in which supervisors from MATESOL programmes in the US and Canada were interviewed about the connections between being a good teacher and having a proficient level of English. Llurda (2006) concludes that there is a strong belief that NNS teachers with a high language proficiency level will be better prepared to teach at more contexts and all levels as language proficiency is thought to be closely linked with self confidence in a teaching situation. This expected degree of knowledge depends on the type of ELT model advocated since some might focus on linguistic competence while others will emphasise language awareness (Woodgate-Jones, 2008:2). All in all, this study suggests that language improvement as one aspect of content knowledge should be reinforced in programmes. When ILTE programmes need to enhance the content knowledge of prospective teachers, there are some suggestions to follow. First, language can be improved if most components of a programme are taught through the medium of English. Second, both

language and methodology components can be integrated if the concept of loop input (DelliCarpini, 2009) is explored as it will combine content with communicative strategies at the same time. In a nutshell, loop input refers to the combination of content of what is to be learnt with the process on how to learn about it, i.e., an alignment of content and process (Woodward, 2003:301). For instance, if trainers need to introduce the concept of dictogloss, they can use the very same technique to present its procedures and benefits so that trainees enhance their professional vocabulary and use the language in new situations. Before moving on, one crucial aspect should be remembered from this section. Knowledge about the language is vital in ILTE programmes in Argentina (Zappa-Hollman, 2007) since it will provide prospect teachers with more professional opportunities.

2.3.2 General pedagogical knowledge This section will define general pedagogical knowledge and will outline its sources considering their influence in the knowledge base of teacher education. Defining general pedagogical knowledge By general pedagogical knowledge, Shulman (1987:8) means aspects about pedagogy in general regardless of the content knowledge teachers are to be specialised in. The sources of this type of knowledge come from philosophy, pedagogy, psychology and research interested in capturing a general framework of teaching and learning. Following Richards and Farrell (2005:9-10), general pedagogical knowledge empowers prospective teachers with self-awareness of the educational system as a whole together with an understanding of learners supported by studies in psychology and pedagogy. In addition, this type of knowledge paves the way to build in pedagogical expertise as well as an understanding of curriculum and materials which do not necessarily come from the realm of ELT. I particularly favour this concept of teacher empowerment through general pedagogical knowledge as it allows teachers to have a better understanding of their educational context which transcends the ELT classroom. In

other words, teachers of English are teachers who have specialised in ELT and therefore they need to be aware of the dynamics of the educational system as a whole. Incorporating other sources In the development of general pedagogy, there has been an expansion as regards the sources which feed in this field. Though at the beginning, as it was outlined above, philosophy, pedagogy and history of education together with research-driven knowledge were the bases for a context-free view of education, it has been pointed out that during the 1980s a new body of research emerged: teacher cognition (Crandall, 2000:38; Freeman and Johnson, 1998:400). Broadly speaking, by teacher cognition we mean general pedagogy taking into account teachers beliefs together with their experiences as teachers and students. Based on this view of pedagogical construction, Wilson and Cameron (1996:182) indicate that student-teachers also start education programmes with established perceptions of what teaching is based on their experiences as learners at previous stages. Johnson (2006:236) states that teacher cognition research has been able to present a more complex picture of who they are, what they believe in, and how they understand the processes of teaching and learning guided by their own experience. This new conceptualisation of teacher cognition has opened up the exploration of a sociocultural turn in teacher education. Here then, the social activities student-teachers engage in become crucial as this learning with others will impact tremendously on their development (Johnson, 2006:237-238). This impact will validly generate teachers as users and creators of knowledge derived from their own social activities in their history. General education research informs us that once the notion of teachers as theorisers in their own right has been acknowledged, this recognition has to permeate through the different components of a teacher training programme in such a way that teachers knowledge, as it were, can be articulated with scholarly sources present in general pedagogical knowledge (ibid:241-242). General pedagogical knowledge in pre-service education Within the realm of beliefs in the development of general pedagogical knowledge we can look at studies carried out in general pre-service education. The following studies discuss how general pedagogical knowledge impacts on trainees.

One study which could shed some light regarding general pedagogical knowledge in pre-service education is Cheng et. al. (2009). Bachelor of Education students were administered a questionnaire followed by a semi-structured interview so as to explore to what extent knowledge derived from research and other sources could change studentteachers beliefs on teaching and learning. Results show that participants possess mixed beliefs and inconsistencies between epistemological beliefs, i.e., beliefs regarding how knowledge can be acquired, and conceptions of teaching. These views underpin their tendencies to favour teacher-centred or student-centred approaches. The study concludes by highlighting that conceptions of teaching are belief-driven and therefore a relational pedagogy and holistic approaches (Korthagen, 2004) should be included in preservice programmes so as to create a new dialogic space among trainers and prospective teachers. This suggestion seems to confirm what Gutirrez Almarza (1996:73-74) asserts. He stresses that teacher education programmes should allow student-teachers to examine their own beliefs and pre-training experiences to understand how these can relate to education knowledge. It is believed that teachers beliefs do not try to undermine ILTE; on the contrary, they can contribute to make it more meaningful. In other words, these beliefs will not clash with content coming from scholarly sources since trainees will not find theories of learning and teaching as distant from them but rather as a powerful source which will help them reach a better understanding of their own conceptions of teaching and learning. Another study which looks at the way student-teachers construct their knowledge of pedagogy is reported by Cheng (2005). In a longitudinal study, Bachelor of Education students at Hong Kong Institute of Education were interviewed so as to understand their construction of knowledge during the field experience component of the programme. Findings show that participants construction of pedagogical knowledge is enhanced by working in interaction with peers and supporting teachers. The study concludes that by adopting a view of learning and knowledge of teaching as socially shared to support student-teachers, their initial development will be characterised by an integral vision of their learning and field experience. Learning with others will lead to deeper individual learning. This study may also be compared to another study conducted by Van Zoest and Stockero (2008). They report that a systematic use of reflection helps student-teachers revisit their conceptions of teaching and support their exploration of self-as-teacher. Needless to say, this self-as-teacher will feed in both general pedagogical knowledge as well as pedagogical content knowledge.

As a preliminary framework, we might see that this type of knowledge is crucial in ILTE, in any teacher education in fact, as it provides student-teachers with a view which integrates scholarly theories with their own beliefs and experiences. General pedagogical knowledge also needs to infuse other aspects of a programme. When content knowledge, i.e. subject-matter knowledge and situated cultural knowledge, intersects with general pedagogical knowledge, a new element for the knowledge-base becomes essential. This new type of knowledge will make all the difference between teachers of English and other areas. We are referring to pedagogical content knowledge.

2.3.3 Pedagogical content knowledge

To provide a picture of pedagogical content knowledge together with its source is a risky enterprise. To put it simply, it is to outline English Language Teaching, since pedagogical content knowledge for us means how to teach English as a foreign language. Here, I will particularly focus on the macroaspects and the sources which inform this strand in a curriculum since they will determine how pedagogical content knowledge is realised in ILTE programmes. Defining pedagogical content knowledge First, let us consider what Shulman understands by pedagogical content knowledge:
A second kind of content knowledge is pedagogical knowledge, which goes beyond knowledge of the subject matter per se to the dimension of subject matter knowledge for teaching. () the particular form of content knowledge that embodies aspects of content most germane to its teachability.

(Shulman, 1986:9)

His conceptualisation of this particular type of knowledge is central to teacher education as it will establish the difference between a teacher who teaches English because this is his first language, and university student who studies English from another who studies how to teach English. For Shulman (1987:9), pedagogical content knowledge is core as
() it identifies the distinctive bodies of knowledge for teaching. It represents the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems, or issues are organized, represented, and adapted to the diverse interests and abilities of learners, and presented for instruction. Pedagogical content knowledge is the category most likely to distinguish the understanding of the content specialist from that of the pedagogue.

From this quote we can detect a converging zone where general pedagogy, subject-matter and the teaching of a particular content interact to distinguish one teacher from another in terms of specialisation. This aspect of teacher education will provide trainees with examples, illustrations, explanations, demonstrations, and essential topics to deal with the content their learners are supposed to learn at school. The sources which will contribute to this portion of the knowledge-base will come from scholarship in content disciplines, education material and structures, and action research as understood by Widdowson (1990) and Smith (2004), all under the scrutiny of what Shulman (1987:11) calls wisdom of practice, that is, procedural knowledge informed by experience. Pedagogical content knowledge assumes that student-teachers understand that they will teach English as a subject and therefore they need to initially explore what has been called pedagogic valency (Widdowson, 2002:79-80). This could be interpreted as the ability to deconstruct our knowledge of the language in such a way that we make it accessible for learners to approach. However, a word of caution can be found in Richards (1987:3) as regards how trainees are taught English in their programmes. He calls for an approach which truly connects subject-matter knowledge and practice in terms of procedural knowledge as preparation for language teachers. This means that trainers who are in charge of teaching the language should use those methods being taught in Professional Practice, for instance. Basically, the point he is advancing here is the apparent lack of internal coherence inside ILTE programmes since a possible contradiction in the approaches being advocated can also be found within the strand

which represents pedagogical content knowledge. One of the main challenges or expectations that pedagogical content knowledge faces when realised in seminars is this practise what you preach idea or congruence between what teacher educators claim and what they actually do in their classes (Swennen et al., 2008). Especially in this strand, trainers are expected to reflect the methodologies taken on board and claimed to be in favour of (Wallace, 1991), a fact which seems to be neglected in Chubut. Broadening the scope and sources of pedagogical content knowledge As this type of knowledge also deals with the restructuring of content knowledge for the purposes of pedagogy to our learners benefit, we could also include here knowledge of our learners. Their needs, characteristics and expectations will very much influence the decision-making processes teachers engage in when in practice. Due to these factors, Ball et al. (2008) distinguish two subdomains within pedagogical content knowledge: knowledge of content and students, and knowledge of content and teaching. This awareness as regards subdomains needs to be systematically introduced at an initial stage of teacher education since this understanding will illuminate the relationship between teacher-learners or peers. Pedagogical content knowledge should inform trainees that their actions transcend the classroom dimension influencing more than their learners lives inside the classroom. Thus, this influence needs to be seen within a social matrix that is crystallised in a context-responsive curriculum. If general pedagogical knowledge needs to take care of trainees expectations, so does pedagogical content knowledge. It is not enough to know who trainees are. It is also vital to recognise the context for which these trainees are being educated. Pedagogical content knowledge needs to be rooted in the context futureteachers will deal with in their immediate experiences. To begin with, ILTE programmes should always have in mind that, as in the case of Argentina, they need to be responsive in terms of the status of English as a foreign language (Carrier, 2003; Liyanage and Bartlett: 2008). Second, programmes need to be aware of the following fact: to what extent the methodologies, approaches, techniques being offered as tools are feasible in the trainees contexts. All in all, the sources explored above will inform ILTE programmes in the form of seminars or modules student-teachers are supposed to follow throughout their education.

The next section will look at how pedagogical content knowledge permeates through components such as Methodology and the Practicum. Pedagogical content knowledge in programmes In this section I will emphasise how pedagogical content knowledge is first reflected in the practicum with special reference to collaborative work and teacher cognition during this period in pre-service teacher education. Pedagogical content knowledge can be channelled by means of subjects such as Applied Linguistics, Professional Practice, and Methodology among other labels to teach the how of the profession. One vital component in most programmes is the practicum or field experience, that is, the teaching of a number of classes at a school or different schools depending on the goals and programmes student-teachers are taking. Crookes (2003:12) views the practicum as an opportunity to develop self-directed behaviour towards independence, which does not have to be confused with individuality. Either in PRESET or INSET courses, teachers are encouraged to work collaboratively to explore peer coaching and peer observation, mentoring, or team teaching like in ILTE programmes in Argentina. Collaboration, as Knezevic and Scholl (1996:79) and Richard and Farrell (2005) put it, is a powerful vehicle for developing knowledge of teaching. So far we can see how the concept of teacher cognition inevitably permeates through pedagogical content knowledge as another source which informs this base. Together with a general belief on pedagogy, student-teachers also enter ILTE programmes with preconceived ideas about foreign language pedagogical knowledge. The goal of a programme will be to develop a richer theoretical framework for future teachers to resort to (Watzke, 2007). Nonetheless, there is still some suspicion concerning the real extent of the impact of teacher cognition and sociocultural theory in the construction and enactment of ILTE programmes. As Freeman and Johnson (1998:402) put it, there is still the conviction that trainees need to be filled qua empty vessels with content knowledge and theories of teaching and exposed to a range of different practices in the belief that those experiences

will be automatically transferred to real classroom situations once trainees obtain their first teaching post. They also suspect that even though programmes may offer three different strands, there is little cohesion since what is reflected in one strand seems virtually nonexistent in another (Berry, 1990:102). These suspicions have raised another issue, the balance of sources of pedagogical content knowledge. Yates and Muchisky (2002, in Freeman and Johnson, 2004:119-120) fear that the whole interest in teacher cognition and focus on trainees might be detrimental to Second Language Acquisition as a vital source of information in this knowledge type. In other words, it is thought that theories of learning and teaching languages might be discarded and replaced by what prospective teachers believe as regards how languages are learnt and therefore should be taught. In addition, there has been an interest in the inclusion of a third language in ILTE programmes as another informing source. According to Flowerdew (1998), the incorporation of a third language into the curriculum makes trainees aware of the experience of foreign language learning as they learn a new language. This experience seeks to help trainees reflect on the complexities underlying language learning as they become students again, a situation which they need to be familiarised with as their students will undergo the same process. Inevitably, such an experience produces a remarkable impact on trainees as they see pedagogical content knowledge in action through the learning of another language. How this module is carried out in terms of lesson procedures may have a greater impact than a vast amount of time devoted to Applied Linguistics as a separate module within the curriculum. As regards pedagogical content knowledge as a whole, it may be agreed that its presence in curricula should be greater as compared to general pedagogical knowledge as the latter will inform the former about pedagogy applied to a specific subject matter. Also, it may be agreed that the practicum should be a vital component within this type of knowledge as it will allow student-teachers to build bridges between their education as teachers and classroom practices provided context-responsive methodologies are encouraged (Hayes, 2009; Richards and Lockhart, 1994). We may say that, regardless of knowledge type, the knowledge base has common sources for planners to exploit: scholarly disciplines connected with research, action research, professional practice and teacher cognition. These mayor sources interact with each other and inform each other making the base develop towards a deeper understanding of the field as a profession in its own right. Furthermore, we may say that

these strands of knowledge also show the tension between what could be seen as the everlasting division between theory and practice and models of teaching. In our next section, we will briefly look at this issue within ILTE programmes.

2.4 Models of teaching In this section, I will show how the balance of theory and practice together with the knowledge base are realised in the models of teacher education curriculum designers may favour. Wallace (1991) explains that professional expertise in language teacher education can be reached through three models: The craft model The applied science model The reflective model

Let us begin our discussion by looking at the features and assumptions behind the craft model.

2.4.1 The craft model This model, according to Wallace (1991), leans towards practice and praxis and the concept of learning by demonstration. In other words, this model represents the concept of apprenticeship of observation (Grenfell, 1998:7-8; Randall and Thornton, 2001:35) by which a novice or trainee learns from observation and talking with a more experienced teacher who is assumed to be of the effective kind, whatever that means. Thus, the emphasis of this model is on the practical aspects of teaching supporting that this observation will lead to explore the underlying reasoning for the actions observed.

In addition, this model includes some knowledge of the context, and learners and material, but then this knowledge is absolutely context-bound as what the novice learns is effective only in the context of observation. There is no room for generalisations or trainees beliefs, and if these are imbued, the danger is that trainees may trial the very same techniques they observe with other classes obtaining unexpected results, let alone other surprises.

2.4.2 The applied science model The applied science model, which can be found in ILTE in Chubut, is heavily based on the transmission of knowledge from language educators to student-teachers. The kind of knowledge to be imparted comes from research findings. These findings are used to develop theories of learning, general pedagogical knowledge, which are then applied to practice of a particular field, pedagogical content knowledge. Once again, in this model, teaching is perceived as training and therefore studentteachers are provided with prescribed exercises and know-how technicalities to enable learners to practise. This view, though in contrast with the craft model as it is context-free, also falls short in the sense that it tends to overgeneralise principles of teaching and the foundational research behind them. It is a top-down model by which trainees are transmitted expertise from western wisdom (Bax, 1997:233; Hayes, 2009).

2.4.3 The reflective model The reflective practitioner model with the central role of reflection (Crandall, 2000:39) has had a major influence since the 1980s. In a nutshell, Grenfell (1998:14) explains that in this model problems encountered in the praxis are framed for reflection and understanding of action. Grenfell (1998:14-15) feels that this stress on reflection is very much dependent on personal experience, something which trainees may lack and therefore find it difficult

to draw connections between reflection and theory either derived from research or disciplines which make up the body of pedagogical knowledge. Other limitations of this conception can be found in Roberts (1998:51). In his view, this capacity for creative problem-solving appropriate to the context the teacher is in falls short as it neither applies to expertise as a whole, nor does it offer empirical evidence which supports the processes which are supposed to be found in reflection in action. One example of this concern can be exemplified through a study carried out in Taiwan (Liou, 2001). Observation reports and practice teaching reports of prospective teachers at an EFL teacher education programme were analysed to see the development of critical reflection over a six-week period. Though they showed a progress from description to reflection, their contributions were not as substantial as expected. Therefore, the study concludes that more reflection should be encouraged so as to trigger a deeper critical reflective development. Again, we might feel that this implication is purely top-down rather than bottom-up as it only sees the issue from the trainers viewpoint. As regards the reflective model as a whole, it might be concluded that, though this model assigns great importance to teacher cognition and seeks to establish solid connections between ILTE with classroom practices, it is feared that it may discourage prospective teachers from becoming more involved in knowledge coming from scholarly sources. It may be due to this fear that the model of teacher education adopted in Chubut is closer to the applied-science model than the reflective model.

2.5 ILTE programmes in Chubut This last section will discuss how the issues presented so far are evidenced in the programme the participants of this study completed. First, let us consider how this ILTE programme is structured in terms of strands, i.e., the knowledge base:





of hours allocated to the strand in the programme

General Formation

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1

Specialised Formation

Subject Oriented Formation (all in English except L3)

Professional Practice I Research in Education I Professional Practice II Research in Education II Professional Practice III (in English) Research in Education III Professional Practice IV (in English) Learner, Learning and Context I Learner, Learning and Context II Learner, Learning and Context III Sociocultural Issues and Diversity English I Morphology and Syntax I Phonetics I English Culture English II Morphology and Syntax II Phonetics II Introduction to English Literature English III Phonetics III English Literature I Second Language Acquisition English IV English Literature II American Literature Discourse Analysis Pragmatics L3: Portuguese

27.9 %

7.2 %

64.9 %

Figure 1: New curriculum for English teacher education programmes (Ministerial Resolution 323/03, my translation)

What may be found particularly confusing here is the weak correlation between the names of each strand and the subjects which constitute them. What the Ministry of Education of the province of Chubut (2003:28-30) has termed General Formation covers those seminars and subjects which are related to pedagogical content knowledge and the practicum together with action research in education. Consequently, there seems to be confusion between general pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. The Ministerial Resolution (RES M 323/03) emphasises that the contents to be covered in this strand are closely linked to research in ELT and the practice in the profession towards the practicum experience. Second, the specialised formation strand groups those aspects of general pedagogical knowledge which are common to all initial teacher education programmes. This strand is also interested in creating a reflective dimension in the programme.

Therefore it seems that there is a movement from a pure applied science model of teaching to a model which also takes into consideration the reflective model. Third, the last strand is the only one which seems to be closely related to what is understood as content knowledge. However, compared to past programmes, the content within each subject remains virtually untouched and ways of delivering, that is, the methodology adopted by trainers rather unchallenged or framed. Even though the programme is welcomed, there is still certain dissatisfaction with to what extent these changes are trainee-responsive in the sense that the official documents do not acknowledge any participation of trainees, teachers or trainers actively involved in the realisation of these programmes in the province.

2.5.1 New directions in ILTE programmes Since each province voiced the dissatisfaction of graduates and teacher trainers, the Ministry of Education of Argentina released in 2007 a document called Lineamientos Curriculares Nacionales (National Curricular Guidelines) in order to unify criteria and curricula as each province had interpreted past releases in very different ways. These new guidelines for initial teacher education in general are based on the conception of strands from a very different standpoint. They give more attention to the pedagogy behind each strand and reinforce the idea of loop input, and collaborative work both intrainstitution as well as inter-institution with universities and schools where student-teachers will eventually carry out their practica. Strands have been redefined and this time, percentages of hours allocated to each strand have been suggested. Each province, then, is expected to reflect these guidelines in each programme designed. So far, there are no new programmes for ELT in Chubut, that is, what is missing is the adaptation of current programmes to these new guidelines. The strand which is given between 50-60 % of total hours is Specific Formation and encompasses both subject-matter knowledge and specific didactics for that knowledge field. The document strongly advises designers and trainers to reflect on their teaching

the content being taught by making use of not only lectures, but seminars, and modes of learning that consider learners and what they bring into the classroom. The second strand as regards percentages, 25-35%, is General Formation. It is thought as a solid theoretical framework for the humanities and general principles in Education. It is recommended that subjects such as History, History of Education, Philosophy, Intercultural Communication, Pedagogy and New Educational Technologies be taken into account when designing the curriculum for a particular programme. The document emphasises that these subjects should be mainly theoretical and offer moments of reflection after student-teachers have acquired sound theoretical knowledge of the field. It may seem clear that the Ministry of Education is trying to infuse more theory rather than reflection in this particular strand. Last, the Professional Practice Formation strand is allocated between 15-25% of contact hours. This strand is thought as oriented towards the learning of specific skills for the teaching profession at educational institutions through the progressive participation and involvement in different socioeducational contexts in the city where the teacher training institution which runs different initial teacher education programmes is located. Furthermore, teacher education institutions should establish solid relationships with schools and school-based mentors for student-teachers to carry out observations, tutorials and micro teaching sessions as a process which will culminate in the extended practicum. Under the light of our discussion, it may be perceived that the new official guidelines attempt to organise ILTE programmes following the knowledge base discussed in this dissertation. In addition, the guidelines suggest a more concrete dialogue between theory and practice and attempt to achieve a more balanced approach in terms of theorypractice since it is felt that previous programmes tended to favour practice and reflection at the expense of scholarly sources in programmes. However, what this new proposal seems to disregard is prospective-teachers needs and assess the impact that ILTE programmes have in graduate teachers as they leave the institutions which run those programmes to obtain their first teaching positions (Zappa-Hollman, 2007).

2.6 In retrospection

In an attempt to summarise some key issues, we may look back at what we have discussed so far. We started by establishing the importance of theory and practice together with the knowledge base stemming from Shulman (1986, 1987). First, we offered an overview of content knowledge which we divided into subject matter knowledge and cultural knowledge. Second, an outline of general pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge was presented with their sources and development in time. In connection to sources, Crandall (2000) acknowledges the cornerstone place that applied linguistics, education theory, languages and literature have in the knowledge base of teacher education. However, she also is aware of the greater focus on practical experience, classroom-centred research and teacher cognition. These changes have resulted in a move to process oriented theories of learning, teaching, and teacher learning as teachers prior learning experiences have been accepted to play a role in the picture. Underlying these changes, there exists the concern that teaching be viewed as a profession which has a defined knowledge base at the start but which can be further developed by sustained in-service programmes. Here we can see how all elements come to a dialogue with each other and how one conception of teaching, of education in general in fact, impinges on other aspects. One conception of teaching will activate certain types of knowledge more than others, impacting on the way theory and practice are perceived. Likewise, this conception together with a particular framework of knowledge base will dictate the model of teaching to be implemented in ILTE programmes. Yet, some questions remain. To what extent do these programmes and endeavours truly reflect what teachers expect or believe to be the most effective ways of initial teacher education? If we claim to be trainee-centred, are their interests considered to a degree where programmes change their macrostructures to suit the trainees needs or their perceptions after graduating? Overall, how can we improve our ILTE programmes in Chubut following teachers perceptions in terms of the balance in theory-practice and the knowledge base so that they really respond to the particular context of situation where English language teaching and learning takes place in Chubut? This is the research question which guided the present investigation.

Chapter 3


This chapter will present a description of the participants who took part in this study and the instruments used to collect and analyse the data obtained.

3.1 Participants The participants in this study were 15 teachers graduated from ILTE programmes in Chubut. Initially, seventy teachers of English were sent electronic mails asking them to participate in this study. Thirty-four teachers responded positively and consequently they received a questionnaire (Appendix 1). However, only less than half of this initial population sent the questionnaire completed, a fact which may be considered a limitation when data collection is exclusively done electronically due to geographical constraints of the researcher. The programmes the fifteen participants attended were four years long and run by teacher training institutions in different cities of Chubut. Most participants obtained their EFL teacher training degree 10 years ago and started their teacher career afterwards.

3.2 Instruments As regards instruments, participants were sent a questionnaire in March 2009 concerned with their views and experiences with reference to the programmes they had taken. Since the research question of this study was how ILTE programmes in Chubut could be improved following graduated teachers perceptions in terms of the knowledge base, this questionnaire attempted to measure teachers attitudes, opinions and beliefs about their ILTE programmes. The scope of this dissertation will only allow reporting on the data collected through questions 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8. Following Drnyei (2003:25-47) and Nunan (1992), the questionnaire combined closed-ended question items which had to be rated in terms of intensity of agreement, and open-ended questions which took the form of sentence completion so as to guide participants responses. Questions 1 and 2 asked participants about their years of teaching experience and how long their programmes had been. Question 4 sought to analyse further ILTE programmes in terms of impact according to the knowledge base they featured.

As regards the knowledge base teacher education programmes should feature, question 6 asked participants to divide 100% into four areas according to the balance they believed ILTE programmes could offer. The areas given responded to the divisions studied in this dissertation: content knowledge was in fact divided into two areas, subjectmatter knowledge related to knowledge of/about the language and, general cultural knowledge in the sense that components such as Literature and History introduce cultural knowledge as well promote language improvement since they are expected to be taught in English. Content knowledge was divided as such so as to facilitate participants understanding of the components that represent this type of knowledge in the programmes they followed. Therefore, the percentages given to these two areas will be added and appear in our discussion under content knowledge. The next area was general pedagogical knowledge and the remaining area was pedagogical content knowledge which was termed ELT (English Language Teaching) pedagogical knowledge in order to help participants notice the difference between these two types of pedagogical knowledge. In order to explore further the answers directly linked to the role of trainers and general pedagogical knowledge, two participants, who will be quoted using numbers 12 and 15, were sent a follow-up questionnaire (Appendix 2) based on their answers to questions 3 and 4. Both participants were singled out for this set of open-ended questions since their answers in general offered a negative perception of programmes. I only focused on the negative perceptions so as to centre my attention on the aspects that need to be addressed first by the institutions running the ILTE programmes. This method of triangulation (Cohen and Manion, 1980) helps combine two instruments so as to obtain more insightful perceptions from participants. On the one hand, the closed-ended questions in the questionnaire presented a tendency which lacked depth in terms of quality of the data collected. On the other hand, the open-ended questions in the follow-up questionnaire two participants agreed to answer, allowed me and the participants to reflect and understand more deeply some of the issues under analysis. This improvement in quality of data impacts on the validity of the study by enriching the research findings. (Cohen and Manion, 1980; Grix, 2004).

3.3 Procedures

The data collected through the questionnaire will be presented in the next chapter following the same order as it appeared in the instrument afore mentioned. In addition, the data gathered by means of two follow-up questionnaires will be used to support the data analysis and interpretation of the questions and answers which motivated such further explorations. As regards how data will be analysed and presented to facilitate their interpretation, different approaches are to be adopted. Categorisation has been chosen for the analysis and discussion of the items in question 4, and the reasons suggested by participants for questions 6 and 8. Answers grouped under the categories proposed have been treated by means of scores. These scores represent the number of answers found in each category. Only question 6 has received a slightly different treatment. In the first place, results obtained by mean calculation are shown using a pie chart (Figure 5). In addition, modes, i.e., the score that occurs most frequently in a set (Brown, 1988:67), are given together with the highest and lowest scores which some participants provided so as to show the range of answers some items obtained. All in all, results have been categorised when answers were open and treated, in some cases, to show the central tendency of responses.

Chapter 4


In this chapter I will present the results obtained from each question and discuss these findings under the light of the literature review in this dissertation.

4.1 ILTE overall view The fifteen participants of this study, according to their answers in questions 1 and 2 had an average of ten years working as teachers and their ILTE programmes were four years long. Since the purpose of this study is to find out what aspects need to be improved in ILTE programmes in Chubut, participants were asked to mention at least three positive and three negative aspects of their experience. This was the aim of question 3 in the main instrument of this study. 4.1.1 Positive aspects

Participants were asked to list at least two positive aspects. Their forty responses on positive aspects may be grouped under four categories: Methodological aspects Pedagogical content knowledge Content knowledge Trainers

Figure 2 below shows that most answers (Y=number of answers) reflected an interest in highlighting content knowledge (subject-matter and cultural knowledge), followed by trainers, methodological aspects and pedagogical content knowledge.
16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Content knowledge Trainers Pedagogical content knowledge Methodological aspects
Figure 2: Positive aspects in ILTE


The programmes interest in offering a solid base for content knowledge was acknowledged by most participants. In their responses, it is clear the distinction between subject matter concerning knowledge of the language, and cultural knowledge as a means to language improvement (Berry, 1990). Most participants expressed views which could be represented through these quotes:
Learning Grammar and Phonetics (P1)1 Learning Linguistics (P3) Intensive syllabi in English Language and Grammar (P6) Learning about English culture (P10) Learning about other countries through Literature and History (P11) Improving my language skills through Literature (P12) Learning about other cultures through Portuguese (P13)

It is clear from these quotes that participants valued their exposure to different aspects of and about the target language. It was their view that mastering English was paramount in their professional education, a position which is similar to Berrys study (1990). This mastery was not only associated with the language itself but also with the cultural aspects that entail learning a language that is to be taught as a subject in the educational system in Chubut. One particular aspect to observe is that some participants also valued the presence of an L3 in the programme, in this case Portuguese. One participant who expanded on this positive aspect asserted that
It was very enriching to our training since we had the opportunity to experience how learning a new language feels on the side of the student. (P13)

The study of another language may have helped participants reflect and experience again how a language may be learnt (Flowerdew, 1998) and, to some extent, share what their own learners may undergo in the process of learning a foreign language. The next category to be interpreted is trainers. Participants mostly valued their attitudes. However, trainers knowledge of content was considered within the following responses:
Inspiring and dedicated trainers (P6) Demanding trainers (P11)

These views seem to encompass all the positions that are derived from the conceptions of teaching present in Freeman and Richards (1993:209).

However in

The P and number in brackets represent participants in the study.

participants responses concerned with negative aspects, it is trainers who received most of their attention. As regards pedagogical content knowledge in its varied components, participants viewed the practicum, classroom observation, and learning ELT methodology as positive aspects:
Observing classes and imitating older teachers (P11) Creating your own way of teaching instead of following books (P12)

These contributions seem to emphasise teachers interest in practice and experience rather than in theories which inform this type of knowledge. This tendency may show that the participants of this study possessed and art-craft conception of teaching which could fuel the dichotomy between theory and practice. As for methodological aspects, this category covers all those responses which were related to overall features of the programmes. Most participants commented in positive terms about the following features: Cooperative work Written and oral final exams Writing assignments and papers Making presentations Reading input Since the most acknowledged aspect was cooperative work, we might assume that participants valued learning with their peers. This fact supports the belief of learning as a social activity (Johnson, 2006) which can be encountered and explored at all levels of education. All in all, this initial exploration of positive aspects in ILTE programmes shows that what participants valued the most as trainees was the learning of the English language, and their trainers. It is interesting to notice that even though this was a programme to obtain a teaching degree, participants answers did not place this aspect over others. To them, it appears, the key is subject-matter knowledge. This assumption could reflect the belief that good models of the language entail good teachers of the language, that is, teachers effectiveness, whatever that means, is derived from their language proficiency.


Negative aspects Participants were also asked to list at least two negative aspects. Their thirty

responses on negative aspects have been grouped under the following categories: General pedagogical knowledge Pedagogical content knowledge (including the practicum) Subject-matter knowledge Theory-Practice Trainers The figure below shows (Y=number of answers) that most participants were concerned with trainers, followed by general and pedagogical content knowledge, the theory-practice balance, and last, subject matter knowledge.
Serie1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 General pedagogical knowledge Pedagogical content knowledge Subject matter knowledge Trainers TheoryPractice

Figure 3: Negative aspects in ILTE

Regarding the category trainers, participants greatest concern was with the seemingly lack of pedagogical preparation of trainers to carry out the programme. This negative aspect was also supported by the fact that, according to the participants, some trainers tended to focus solely on their subject-matter and showed certain disparity between content and methodology. This might suggest that they expected loop input from their trainers, that is, a closer relationship between content and methodology to introduce that content (DelliCarpini 2009; Woodward, 2003:301). Participants expected to find in their trainers a model of teacher for their own professional education. This expectation could be exemplified by one response:

I thought trainers would be models on teaching and all the theories. They taught us about CLT and student-centred things but we never saw that in them. (P15)

This belief in a model may be connected with the certainty that there is one method better than others, i.e., the non-compatibility position. In addition, participants might be thought to accept the craft model of teaching since they expected to find in their trainers a model to observe, imitate and learn from qua apprenticeship of observation (Randall and Thornton, 2001:35; Roberts, 1998: 12-17; Wallace, 1991). However, this view becomes more complex as we continue our analysis. General pedagogical knowledge as a category is based on participants discontent expressed through some of the following answers:
Too many pedagogical subjects (P2) Too theoretical pedagogy in general (P3) Overlapping of content in general pedagogical subjects (P10) No coherence with the real world (P12) Pedagogical subjects taught in Spanish (P15)

From these answers it could be seen that participants seemed to find that general pedagogical knowledge should have been defined more clearly within each subject representing this type of knowledge. In addition, these subjects were expected to be more anchored in reality, perhaps participants would have preferred to build more bridges with the contexts they were expected to work in. These perceptions could be linked to the developmental position as regards conceptions of teaching. It could be argued, then, that what was missing was a continuum from scholarly input to a progressive construction of knowledge which integrated input with participants own views and experiences (Cheng et al. 2009; Kroll, 2004). One participant who was asked to expand on her too much pedagogy answer bearing in mind that it was a teacher education programme commented:
() some teachers were more interested in giving us quite a lot of theory but they did not show us how that worked in the real classroom. I know that there are no recipes, but I guess that we should have been taught the how to hand in hand with Pedagogy. I consider that our teachers were more interested in filling us with information () than making us think, experiment and live the teaching!!!! (P12)

If that was the case, then, the model actually exercised by the institutions offering these programmes was one example of the applied-science model heavily rooted in theory-philosophy conceptions intended to be applied regardless the content (Grenfell,

1998), a position which may clash with trainees own theories (Wilson and Cameron, 1996:182). Another aspect that appeared recurrently was the fact that this type of knowledge was mainly taught in Spanish, the participants L1. This could be interpreted as a shortcoming in the programmes since participants seemed to favour that all subjects were taught in English as a way of improving their English proficiency (Berry, 1990). One participant expanded on this issue by expressing that
I had very little time to study and improve my English. I ended up dedicating 70 % to the Spanish subjects and 30% to the subjects in English. Spanish teachers were much more interested in how many pages the assignments had than on how good our assignments were. (P12)

Even though this quote also shows some methodological concerns which will be explored below, this participant felt that subjects in Spanish acted in detriment of those taught in English, implying that if these had been in English, her attitude towards them might have been more positive as the target language was the medium of instruction. All in all, it could be said that due to the fact that Spanish was the language used, participants did not benefit from general pedagogical knowledge as much as they would have desired if English had been used. It could be argued, then, that language choice acted as a barrier which prevented them from benefiting from subjects such as Psychology or Philosophy. With reference to negative aspects which can be grouped under pedagogical content knowledge, the practicum is the most problematic. Those participants who mentioned this aspect expressed that on the one hand, the practicum period was rather short and only at the end of their programme and that they were expected to produce several lesson plans and follow them closely. This concern seems to be related to the next category, theory-practice. However, if we consider both positive and negative aspects of this category, not all participants viewed the practicum, for instance, similarly. What can be concluded is that while they found the experience fruitful, it could have been extended over a longer period of time. As stated above, the theory-practice debate over balance covers the three types of knowledge present in figure 3. First, some of the negative comments belonging to general pedagogical knowledge bear an intimate relation to this category. The

participants felt that not only there was more emphasis on scholarly disciplines, but also lack of relationship between input and opportunities to experience content or feeding back the theoretical stance of a course into their own explorations. Regarding the last category of negative aspects, subject-matter knowledge was thought to be threatened by the fact that, according to some responses, there was not enough feedback on language improvement from trainers, and Grammar and Phonetics were only present as separate subjects in two years of the programme.
No feedback for language improvement (P7) I had Grammar and Phonetics in years 1 and 2 only (P8)

It follows that participants would have liked to receive more L2 input not only through general pedagogical subjects taught in English but also by increasing their exposure to studies about the English language. So far we may say that participants stressed the importance of subject-matter knowledge in their initial teacher education. This could be understood if we bear in mind that opportunities to use the target language are scarce and teachers usually believe their level is not good enough to be teachers of English in a foreign language context. Although the programmes the participants attended did have content knowledge as a priority in terms of hours allocated, there is a need to have this strand increased together with a more extended use of English as medium of instruction. Initially, it may be argued that the most positive aspect of ILTE programmes in Chubut stems from the content knowledge strand. This attitude reveals participants adherence to a conception of teaching where knowledge of the subject is paramount in their education. On the other hand, trainers and pedagogical knowledge appear to be more controversial than other aspects. First, participants responses revealed that trainers were thought to be responsible for the success of a programme and that they were expected to show the connections that there exist between theory and practice in teaching. When trainees cannot see such links in theory-practice, the former may be discarded, and reliance on the latter appears to increase.

4.2 Further explorations on programme impact

The positive impact of the programmes was further explored in question 4 of the questionnaire which asked them to rate a set of items (Figure 4) according to positive influence in their teacher education. The items participants had to refer to could be categorised as follows: Content knowledge: a, b, c, d, k. Pedagogical content knowledge: f, g, h, j, m, n, o, q, u, x. General pedagogical knowledge: s, t. General methodological aspects: e, i, l, p, r, v, w.

The following figure (Figure 4) shows the number of responses under each item and intensity in the scale. The order of the items reproduces the table participants had to complete.



Learning English Grammar and Phonetics. Learning Literature. Feedback from trainers. The way trainers taught Methodology and Professional Practice.

b- Learning Linguistics. d- The way trainers taught me a b c above.

14 9 12 4 4 4 2 4 7 6 5 8 7 8 7 7 8 8 5 2 8 8 10 10

0 3 3 5 3 0 3 4 3 4 6 4 5 3 4 6 5 6 7 7 2 4 3 3

0 1 0 4 7 5 5 4 2 4 2 2 3 3 2 2 1 0 1 4 3 2 1 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1

1 2 0 0 0 5 4 0 3 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0




Partly agree


0 0 0 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 0 1 1

g- The way the practicum was organised. h- The theoretical aspect of Methodology. ijTaking final exams (written and oral). The practical aspect of Methodology.

k- Learning Culture, History and Geography of English speaking countries. l- Working on my own. m- Observing classes. n- The practicum. o- Learning Methodology. p- Feedback from other student-teachers. q- Studying Second Language Acquisition. rstWorking collaboratively. Learning general pedagogy and psychology. Learning theories of education in general.

u- Reading about how to teach skills, grammar, pronunciation v- Writing assignments, papers. w- Making presentations. x- Evaluating and designing material.

Figure 4: Impact of ILTE programmes in participants

4.2.1 Content knowledge Let us begin our analysis by focusing on the content knowledge category. This category encompasses knowledge of the system and competence in it (Roberts, 1998:105), cultural knowledge (Woodgate-Jones, 2008: 2-3) and how this knowledge was effectively explored by the trainers in charge of this strand and the impact it caused on participants.

Regarding knowledge of language, this can be recovered from items a and b. Almost all participants strongly agreed that learning English grammar and phonetics in the first place and Linguistics in the second place had a positive influence in their teacher education. These results support what participants expressed as one of the most positive aspects of programmes as a whole. Therefore, the stress on subject-matter knowledge stands unchallenged by other components in the programme. Within content knowledge, cultural knowledge was also acknowledged as positive. Learning Literature, and, to a lesser extent, learning Culture, History and Geography were seen as having a positive impact on teacher education. However, this positive attitude seemed to disperse along the intensity scale when it came to evaluating the methodologies trainers adopted to teach content. Even though all answers were located within the positive side, participants tended to consider this item differently. It follows that, one the one hand, participants reflected positively towards content but were able to draw a distinction between content and methodology. This distinction, in my opinion, seems to be connected with some of the negative aspects highlighted above, mainly those concerning trainers ability to teach in this strand. In one of the follow-up questionnaires, participant 12 was asked to expand on her dissatisfaction with item c. She said that
Some teachers did not teach us how to analyze a book. On Linguistics we were only given books, we analyzed but we never compared that with the real classes, with vivid examples. (P12)

From this perception, it could be argued that while knowledge proved to be meaningful, the way classes were taught did not. Again, it might be felt that the issue is that there is a need to find strategies so as to apply the contents learnt in the educational system teachers are educated for, that is, how Linguistics and Literature, for example, could be transferred to participants regular teaching practices, a claim pointed out by Bartels (1999:46-56). In other words, what participants claimed was, as Richards (1990: 3) observes, the use of approaches taught and explored in the Professional Practice or Methodology modules in content knowledge subjects.

4.2.2 Pedagogical content knowledge If participants perception on methodology was dissimilar regarding subject matter knowledge, this tendency was more evident in those items grouped under pedagogical content knowledge. First, when the participants were asked to rate the impact of learning Methodology, SLA, and reading about how to teach skills, grammar and pronunciation, all aspects of theoretical pedagogical content knowledge (Lawes, 2002: 2-3), most answers were located under the most positive side of the table. Once again, content was acknowledged as important in their education. Nonetheless, when they were asked about the way trainers dealt with subjects such as Methodology and Professional practice, their answers cast some doubt as regards impact. Most respondents partly agreed or partly disagreed with this item in particular. These findings are coherent with they way trainers were seen within the negative aspects of programmes. This might be interpreted as one fracture within this strand or type of knowledge. Second, another fracture may be found within the subject called Methodology. On the one hand, the respondents admitted that learning Methodology was important, but, on the other hand, their perception on the theoretical aspects of Methodology as compared to its practical aspects did not show the same correlation. From this tendency, we might argue that participants could neither completely explore the relevance of the theoretical base which informs this strand, nor see how such a framework can be adapted to the classroom. This attitude towards Methodology as a subject in programmes stresses the apparent disconnection which there seems to exist between theory and practice. This could be so; we might venture to say, because participants beliefs and personal theories of teaching and learning languages might not be included in the framework offered (Watzke, 2007). Third, items g, m, n, and x bear a relationship since they are interconnected as they function with the same aim, professional practice. Participants could be said to have further stressed the belief of teaching as a craft which is learnt through observation by their positive responses concerning the impact of classroom observation in their education. In addition this positive impact was also found in evaluation and material design as a preparation towards the practicum.

Conversely, while the practicum as a whole had a major positive impact according to respondents, its organisation received a colder response. This could be connected to the fact that some participants felt that this stage in their education could have been extended over a longer period of time. In general terms, it could be advanced that while participants recognised that pedagogical content knowledge as a whole played a significant role in their education, more detailed aspects of it revealed that a lack of coherence between sources and balance with practice was considered a shortcoming in the programmes under evaluation.

4.2.3 General pedagogical knowledge The next category to be explored is general pedagogical knowledge through the analysis of items s and t. It should be remembered that this type of knowledge received most of participants concerns in question 3. If we compare items belonging to the categories discussed above with items s and t, we will find that learning content about general pedagogy, pedagogy, and theories of education, received less support in terms of strong agreement to their impact. In a follow-up questionnaire, participant 15 said:
Regarding to Learning theories of education in general, I can say we were only given assignments; the teachers did not work as they should, they just sat at their desks and we worked. I consider that these skills should have been taught throughout the career in all the subjects, the teachers who gave us Language, Literature, Phonetics, Grammar should have been a model to follow, but the 70 % werent, unfortunately (P15)

It should not come as a surprise at this stage that trainers are under consideration once more. However, this participant referred to both trainers teaching general pedagogical knowledge as well as subject-matter knowledge. What might be inferred from this perception is that some participants expected trainers to be the centre of the class; they needed to be told the whys and hows of the profession following an appliedscience model of education in which trainees are instructed on how to teach one particular method and the reasons behind those decisions (Bax, 1997). For these participants, it seems, the shortcomings of both general pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge came from lack of loop input on the one hand. On the other hand, there seemed to be no room to examine trainees beliefs, i.e.,

teacher cognition was not a source incorporated in the curriculum. Therefore, trainees perceived input rooted in scholarly disciplines as distant and difficult to acquire.

4.2.4 General methodological aspects As for methodological aspects or strategies regardless of strands, participants showed different views. On the issue of feedback, respondents believed that feedback from peers was more influential than from trainers. The reason could be that trainers perhaps stressed the negative aspects of classes taught by trainees, for instance:
I did not like was the way they gave us their feedback on our classes, they only mentioned the negative things, I guess that we must have done something good, even 10 seconds of our classes might have been good enough. (P15)

Some trainees believed that there was something worth praising in their professional practice and practicum and they needed to be encouraged by their trainers as a way of reassuring them that their teaching and learning processes were valuable. On the topic of assessment within general aspects, item w was the most favoured. In addition, items u and v showed no significant differences as regards impact. Perhaps, writing assignments was considered to be richer than final exams as the process was different. However, there is no evidence from the data collected to explain this aspect further, though we might say that making presentations and assignments involved collaborative work according to the new curricular guidelines set by the Ministry of Education. This possible explanation for the positive impact of presentations and assignments could be supported by respondents tendency to favour collaborative work, item r, over individual work, item l. Even tough both items show positive acceptance, this is stronger in item r. This finding reflects Chengs (2005) and Johnsons (2006) views on sociocultural theory in teacher education since the social nature of learning is believed to play a significant role in trainees development. In other words, collaboration helps develop knowledge of teaching (Richards and Farrell, 2005).

In general, it could be claimed that in terms of impact derived from sources of the knowledge base, subject-matter knowledge seemed to shape participants teacher education. Content was crucial. Trainers as models were not. Secondly, pedagogical content knowledge was also acknowledged as influential though fractures were perceived between content and methodologies explored by trainers, and trainers input and trainees beliefs or expectations. Furthermore, participants views of teaching shift from the applied-science model to the art-craft view. It seems that they expect trainers to be examples of the former, but they see themselves under the latter. In other words, their expectations towards trainers are higher than their expectations towards their own effectiveness as teachers.

4.3 Balance between theory and practice The data analysed so far has allowed us to state that programmes favoured theory over practice, and that the former did not inform the latter as suggested in this dissertation, In addition, question 5 in the questionnaire asked participants to express their opinion about how they should be balanced by dividing a 100% between theory and practice.

4.3.1 On theory According to the scores obtained, the modes as regards theory were 40 (N=6) and 50 (N=6). However, the lowest score was 15 (N=1) and the highest was 70 (N=1). In sum, the mean for this answer was 45.6 %, that is, theory is slightly less central than practice in ILTE. Most respondents justified their answers, scores in brackets, by expressing that:
Teachers are intellectual workers and theory improves trainees language skills (score: 70) (P8) Its necessary to read, do research and analyse before practising (score: 50) (P10) Reading nurtures teachers (score: 50) (P14) You need background knowledge so as to know what youre doing (score: 45) (P1) The need of background before entering a topic (score: 40) (P3) It gives us the bases (score: 40) (P5) To get answers about what trainees are interested in (score: 15) (P15)

These answers show that teachers regarded as important the role of scholarly disciplines and research in teacher education as a step before the practice of the profession. These quotes also show that participants acknowledged positions which are related to the applied science model and the art-craft view. This could be explained in terms of the developmental position or in Grenfells Triangular Model which combines aspects of both models (Grenfell, 1998). Nonetheless, we can also claim that while one model is expected during ILTE programmes, that model is replaced by the craft view when trainees start to work at schools. Participant 13 commented on this theory-practice divide as follows:
Id say 50-50, if thats possible. Nowadays young people tend to feel so self-sufficient that they think their own ideas and strategies are enough. I think theory is useless if its not put into practice, and practice is limited without a sound grounding in theory. The history of English teaching and its theories are so rich, so many people have taken such great pains to develop and test theories, that itd be unwise not to profit from that; itd be like always starting all over again, having to come up with ones own ideas and strategies and test them... Of course we do come up with our own ideas and strategies as we teach, but we always need a starting point...

This view shows that over the years there seems to have been a stress on teacher cognition (Johnson, 2006: 236) and reflection, a source which participant 13 acknowledged but took some distance from when it is encouraged in detriment of research-driven disciplines (Bartels, 2004:128-129; Grenfell, 1998; Tarone and Allwright, 2005:8-10; Yates and Muchisky, 2002, in Freeman and Johnson, 2004:119-120). On the other hand, the participant tried to narrow the apparent gap between theory and practice by saying that both aspects need to inform each other so as to construct a solid conception of education. However, at the very end of his reflection, he situated theory before practice as if imagined in a linear process.

4.3.2 On practice As for practice, the modes were two, 50 (N=6) and 60 (N=6). The highest score suggested was 85, while the lowest was 30. All in all, the mean was 54.4 % for practice concerning the theory-practice balance. Most respondents justified their scores, in brackets, with some of the following reasons:

Since noticing and reflecting are a first priority for me (score: 85) (P15) The more practice, the more comfortable youll feel in the classroom (score: 60) (P5) We learn more from teaching than studying (score: 60) (P11) `To check theoretical ideas (score: 50) (P10) To prove that theory is reliable (score: 50) (P14) As feedback for the theory (score. 30) (P8)

First, only one participant suggested 85% with the justification that with that amount of practice, noticing and reflection may be further explored to become valid sources in teacher education. This participant was the only teacher who mentioned the role of reflection in the questionnaire. It could be argued, then, that, even if it was encouraged in trainees, its impact was not important for respondents to mention. Second, practice, for some teachers, was seen under the light of theory, a view which agrees with participant 13s comment above. Some participants suggested that practice was more important than theory, but the former actually plays the role of confirming or rejecting what the latter asserts. Only one participant stressed that practice may act as feedback, that is, as one source to be incorporated in theory, that is, scholarly as well as research-driven disciplines. Last, one participant connected the reason behind the relevance of practice over theory with the craft model, a model which permeates through several aspects of the data collected. For this teacher, effectiveness comes from teaching mainly. This observation, according to Grenfell (1998) is what prevents teachers from developing as their views are extremely context-bound and only concerned with strategies for the classes they teach on a regular basis. In general, it could be claimed that the presence of practice, which in fact, according to the quotes above, we might suggest that the construct under interpretation is praxis, should be placed over theory. Nonetheless, the reasons behind the figures provided were interestingly dissimilar.

4.3.3 Results under the light of models and conceptions of teaching In general, teachers believed that practice should play a more important role in ILTE programmes. For current programmes in Chubut, this would mean the extension of the practicum and the incorporation of more teaching opportunities, micro-teaching for

example, during the four years of the course. It is clear that though teachers noticed a fracture between theory and practice, they saw theory as only external; they did not view their own beliefs and conceptions of teaching and learning as theories which interact and clash with the input provided in different subjects. Furthermore, participants views seem to support the theory/practice vs. praxis division as Johnson (2006) puts it. In other words, participants viewed theory as one body of disciplines derived from sciencephilosophy circles, and practice as a set of strategies and positions on how teachers teach or should teach. On the other hand, what they showed interest in was the praxis, since their main concerns centred on the ongoing dialogue of theory and practice throughout their entire field experiences, and the practicum among other opportunities found in a course. Furthermore, when it comes to interpreting the views above following the models of teaching proposed by Wallace (1991), we may find that participants, once more, shifted, or rather combined, being this one aspect of eclecticism, features of the craft model and the applied science model. The reflective model does not seem to be acknowledged explicitly, though, it could be argued that reflection is found underneath the craft model of teaching.

4.4 Balance in the knowledge base Question 6 of the questionnaire asked participants to distribute 100% in four types of knowledge according to their balance in the knowledge base in ILTE programmes. The participants viewed that the balance should be as follows (Figure 5).
General pedagogical knowledge 17% ELT pedagogical knowledge 27%

Subject matter knowledge 35%

General cultural knowledge 21%

Figure 5: Balance in the knowledge base

Needless to say, content knowledge, both in the form of language study and cultural knowledge for language improvement is thought to be foundational in the base. This type of knowledge is followed by ELT pedagogical knowledge, i.e., pedagogical content knowledge, and last, general pedagogical knowledge, that is, pedagogical knowledge regardless of any specific subject-matter. Let us analyse and discuss each component of this knowledge base in detail.

4.4.1 Content knowledge Following the integration of both subject-matter knowledge (Shulman, 1986, 1987) as study of the language, and cultural knowledge as an opportunity for language improvement as well as cultural knowledge of English speaking countries (Brown, 2002: 446), results show that the percentage allocated to this strand in the knowledge base is 56%. More than half of ILTE programmes should be devoted to the study of language, language improvement and cultural studies of the target language. This seems to confirm what the National Curricular Guidelines (2007) suggest, since they allocate between 5060% to this type of knowledge in programmes. With specific reference to subject-matter as encompassing English Language, language skills, Linguistics and other subjects devoted to the study of language, the participants believed it essential due to some of the reasons quoted below:
To learn how to use the language correctly (P1) You have to know what youre teaching (P12) Mastery of the language is absolutely necessary to be a model (P10) Basis of our teaching (P3) This is what we actually teach: English (P13) Teachers should have a good command of the language because its our specialisation (P6) Very important to know and handle what we teach (P14)

These quotes reflect, following Roberts (1998), that teachers must have knowledge of the system of the English language and be competent users of it since they will be models for their learners (Barnes, 2002: 199). Some participants remarked knowledge of the language, aspect which shows their concern for professionalization, as Ball (2008: 404) and Widdowson (2002: 79-80) suggest, while others stressed language proficiency. It is interesting to note, however, that none of the participants referred to both aspects as equally important. This interpretation could be the starting point for further

explorations which go beyond this paper: do the teachers who emphasised knowledge of the language tend to centre their teaching on language usage, that is, grammar? And, do the teachers who stressed language proficiency favour a more communicative approach of language teaching where language use is in focus?

On the other hand, we also find cultural knowledge which was realised in the programmes respondents completed, through subjects such as English Literature and English History among others. Most respondents justifications for the percentage allocated to this sub-strand or source of knowledge could be grouped under two categories: cultural knowledge, and language improvement. Those participants who emphasised the first category expressed:
Theres more than grammar and phonetics (P1) We teach English AND its culture (P10) To be critical thinkers and appreciate art (P11) Language as a whole includes culture (P13)

It is interesting to discover that some participants added a cultural understanding in the picture, that is, they saw the need to integrate communicative competence with cultural competence or awareness since through the teaching of English they also transmit values and cultural knowledge of the people whose L1 is English.

Those who adopted views related to the second category said:

To improve our vocabulary (P2) To use new topics to put language in use (P9) To enrich the knowledge of the language (P14)

In the cases above, participants opted for stressing the importance of subjects which worked towards language improvement despite the fact that their main aim was content related to Literature or History. In other words, although cultural knowledge was appreciated by some respondents, it was seen as functional in terms of proficiency in language competence. In general, the stress on content knowledge, that is, knowledge of English and culture, is vital in a context where English is a foreign language (Berry, 1990; Curry,

1994) and where the teacher could be the only source available to experience the language. Because of these limitations or context features, teachers feel they must be a good model of the language since they are, to some extent, the representatives of English and the best possible example of communicative competence in a context where English is a foreign language in terms of status (Carrier, 2003). This concern could add extra pressure on teachers and make them disregard other aspects equally important in their role as teachers. Because of this need to receive more language input, it is that participants expressed the necessity to have more subjects which use English as medium of instruction. In other words, not only do they consider content knowledge as the most salient component of the knowledge base, but they also insist on more language exposure. The considerations posited above could also be interpreted as follows. Participants may believe that, under the light of what Llurda (2006) suggests, language proficiency might allow them to succeed in their career advancement, such as, teaching at higher levels or more prestigious institutions in their contexts. Also, knowledge of the language may be seen as directly proportional to higher self confidence in a teaching situation or when interacting with colleagues. Therefore, participants felt that content knowledge was a determining factor in teacher education and professional development.

4.4.2 ELT pedagogical knowledge Regarding pedagogical content knowledge as second in importance in the knowledge base, most participants reasons for the percentage suggested for this component could be categorised as follows: applied linguistics non compatibility position teacher cognition craft model With reference to the first category, some respondents stressed the idea that this strand was the most suitable space to see Linguistics applied to ELT (Bartels, 1999: 4656). They also suggested that in the practicum and field experience, trainees could understand teaching and learning processes better while applying concepts and views explored with their trainers.

Secondly, other answers highlighted the need to learn and practise a model of teaching as well as keeping updated with the latest methods in the field. These opinions could be linked to the non-compatibility position outlined in the literature review (Freeman and Richards, 1993). In other words, some participants may believe that there is one effective method they should be exposed to and practise and if other methods, whatever these are in their view, appear, they need to know how they work so as to replace their current approach for the new one. In addition, these views could be linked to the appliedscience model, on the one hand, as they do not mention the need to adapt approaches to their needs. On the other hand, reflection is not regarded as necessary since all it appears to matter is the adherence to new methods in the field. Thirdly, some other teachers considered that this strand was important since it was the best possible space to establish a dialogue between external sources and their personal beliefs and theories of teaching and learning (Cheng et al. 2009; Gutirrez Almarza, 1996: 73-74; Korthagen, 2004). These findings suggest that teacher cognition was considered only in the pedagogical content knowledge (Freeman and Johnson, 1998: 400; Watzke, 2007) rather than in the general pedagogical knowledge strand; however they also indicate a contradiction with responses discussed in section 4.2.3 of this chapter. It could be inferred, then, that participants perceptions on the same issue did not converge. Last, a few responses from participants who allotted this component a low percentage asserted that experience was all and that what they only needed were some techniques to develop their own strategies for their own classes. These views crystallise the conceptions which undermine the craft model: field experience, context-bound strategies with a high interest in the language lesson (Richards and Lockhart, 1994) and a disregard for philosophy-research stances. All in all, it may be stated that participants considered this strand or component of the knowledge base second in importance mainly for reasons connected to praxis, since even those who mentioned theoretical sources viewed them as functional in the field experience.

4.4.3 General pedagogical knowledge This component received less attention that the other strands discussed above. One of the reasons could be found in a respondent who said that it could be useful if it were concentrated in one or two subjects only. Another participant, whose score for this type of knowledge was 0, suggested that it could actually be dealt with through case studies during the practicum or in INSET courses. These reasons could explain why the mean was 17%, a figure which is almost half the percentage suggested by the Ministry of Education (2007). However, those who showed a more positive attitude towards general pedagogical knowledge, expressed that its role would be to provide student-teachers with an understanding of learners, how they learn, but, above all, with knowledge of learners developmental stages according to age (Ball et al. 2008). It seems, then, that psychology as a source in ILTE programmes should be more emphasised for trainees benefit (Richards and Farrell, 2005:10). In order to conclude this section, we may assert that the teachers who took part in this study believed that the most salient aspects of the knowledge base in teacher education were content knowledge for language proficiency, provided trainers in charge of it adopt methodologies advocated in the ELT pedagogical knowledge strand, and an ongoing dialogue between theory and practice to be reflected in the practicum.

4.5 Participants and the future of ILTE

Question 8 asked participants to suggest programme designers aspects which cannot be overlooked in ILTE in Chubut. Most suggestions could be grouped into four categories listed below according to the number of responses (Figure 6).

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Coherence Praxis Context Technology Serie1

Figure 6: Most important suggestions for ILTE programmes

First, programme designers should strengthen the dialogue, between strands within programmes. In other words, programmes should offer more coherence and cohesion between strands. Simultaneously, that stronger connection will bridge the gap participants experienced between theory and practice so that what is taught in the pedagogical content knowledge strand is observed in all components of a programme. This view could lead to think that participants do not consider that eclecticism should be featured but rather a more unified model of teaching. This possible interpretation reveals that teachers beliefs on eclectic approaches in teaching seem inconsistent. Second, participants demanded more time devoted to the practicum together with more opportunities for observation, microteaching, team teaching and other strategies to encourage social learning towards independence development (Crookes, 2003: 12) and more extended periods of field experiences over the four years of the programme. They believed that such opportunities may help trainees acquire more skills for a successful class as well as become more aware of the learning context they will be working in. Third, some respondents, in connection with the suggestions above, believed that programmes should consider the learning and teaching scenario, trainees social background, their motivations to become teachers, social/historical/cultural awareness as regards both trainees and learners. This concern with context also shows their tendency to favour teacher training over teacher education which aims at a wider range of contexts (Widdowson, 1990:62-63). In addition, they also suggested that programmes should be more context-responsive in terms of the status of English (Carrier, 2003), and offer a better preparation regarding education policies, together with the administrative part of

the profession in the province of Chubut. Therefore, programmes need to be more consistent with explaining how the system works so that novice teachers, as some participants added, do not feel unable to act after graduation since they do not know how to apply for a teaching position or what documentations are required by the Ministry of Education to keep records of teachers. Last, two participants suggested that programmes should contemplate the introduction of a subject or module which deals with the use of new technologies for educational purposes. Only one respondent admitted that such a module would be useful if institutions had the equipment required, otherwise it could be regarded as counterproductive or demoralising to learn something which cannot be applied later for structural reasons present in the educational system in Chubut. In general, participants suggestions recover their previous concerns and impact of their own experiences as trainees. In other words, the most salient aspect that trainers and programme designers need to contemplate is coherence inside the programme so that the body of sources which inform the knowledge base is seen in action among all the actors involved in teacher education. Fortunately, new directions stemming from the National Curricular Guidelines (2007) state quite strongly the need to assure that all parts of a programme should work organically and in constant dialogue.

4.6 Summary of findings Findings could be summarised in this section following the order topics were presented in the literature review. First, participants perceptions of their own initial teacher education could be linked to both teacher education and teacher training following Crandall (2000) and Richards and Farrell (2005:3-5). Teacher education may be perceived as important when participants highlighted the impact that knowledge of the language, language improvement and some aspects of language learning had in them since these are more universal and deeply rooted.

With reference to the theory-practice debate, participants felt that efforts to devote equal time to theory and practice may be necessary. In addition, they emphasised that both practice and praxis could be more context-responsive (Hayes, 2009; ZappaHollman, 2007). However, it was agreed that theory may precede practice and both may be combined in a deeper exposure to contextualised praxis. In addition, the gap between theory and practice could be bridged if the teaching of technology were introduced and if procedures which enhance the social nature of learning were explored further. As regards the knowledge base as realised in strands and how these could be balanced as well as improved in order to enhance the positive impact ILTE may have in prospective teachers, it could be said that participants stressed the following views: Subject-matter knowledge should be a first priority. The pedagogical content knowledge strand needs to devote more time and effort to field experiences and the practicum. Pedagogical components should provide a better understanding of developmental psychology and motivation. All strands which represent the three major types of knowledge need to increase loop input exploration since though participants valued content, they found procedures deficient. Most participants agreed that though positive impact in their education came from content knowledge across strands in different levels, procedures adopted did not produce the same influence as trainers were not considered good models of teaching. On the one hand, they expected trainers to be good models by showing in their own practices the approaches and theories they sympathised with (Swennen et al. 2008; Wallace, 1991). To some extent, they believed trainers should follow aspects of the applied-science model or their perceptions could be interpreted as a demand for more coherence among components of each strand of knowledge. On the other hand, when they emphasised the role of practice, they appeared to believe that a craft model of teaching would be more appropriate in their context if based on their own experiences.

All in all, it could be said that the positive impact in participants ILTE programmes came from content knowledge and that, as Richards (1990:3) and Zappa-Hollman (2007) point out, improvements need to be made in the area of coherence among strands and trainers.

Chapter 5


In this last chapter, I will recover the main aspects of the literature review and the data analysis and discussion chapters under the light of my research question. The research question which guided this study was: How can we improve our ILTE programmes in Chubut following teachers perceptions in terms of the balance in theory-practice and the knowledge base so that they really respond to the particular context of situation where English language teaching and learning takes place in Chubut?

5.1 Conclusions This study tried to collect feedback from teachers so as to improve the structure of ILTE in Chubut. In general, most participants agreed that though the positive impact in their education came from content knowledge across strands in different levels, procedures adopted did not produce the same influence as trainers were not considered good models of teaching. However, it should be remembered that participants tended to adhere to the craft model as well as the applied-science model of teaching. All in all, it may be concluded that ILTE programmes in Chubut, following the participants perceptions recovered in this study, could be improved if coherence among all the components and actors in the programmes were more context-based and exercised throughout the course of studies together with more congruent teaching from trainers.

5.2 Implications Coherence is a simple word, but its implications are complex and cannot be achieved without the commitment and constant participation of trainers. First, due to the top-down approach followed to design ILTE programmes in Chubut, I believe that trainers need to have a more active role in their design and development since they are responsible for the actual implementation of them. This could be achieved by organising a workshop in each city where these programmes are carried out. In each workshop, trainers may be asked to evaluate the programme according to their beliefs, experiences, previously collected feedback from trainees which could be based on the instruments of this study, and to what extent the programme is successful in terms of aims achievement. In addition, based on their evaluation, they could suggest changes in the programmes within the framework suggested by the Ministry of Education. If trainers contributions are considered and implemented, it follows that they may feel more responsible as agents of change since improvements will have them as sources and therefore they will feel more involved in the process. The Ministry of Education could even organise a meeting with trainers from different cities and programme designers in order to promote a richer dialogue so as to enhance current as well as future projects in the province. This meeting could be based on the present dissertation so as to explore reflections on the findings and theoretical framework. Second, trainers need to work more collaboratively and maintain the agreements they usually make at the beginning of each academic year. The institutions which run the programmes together with the Ministry of Education need to facilitate this collaborative work by allowing more working hours to be devoted to this essential aspect. I believe that trainers need to agree on bibliography, so as to emphasise the idea of a community within the programmes, and also build stronger bridges with other areas or strands. Coherence may be achieved if trainers know what trainees are doing in other components. Furthermore, trainers may agree on some procedures or strategies which will be implemented by all trainers regardless of the content they teach so as to offer a strong model. The procedures or teaching strategies need to reflect what trainers advocate, that is, loop input should be a feature to be exploited by all trainers so that trainees do not feel a gap between theory and practice. Thus, I believe that an investigation about trainers practices could shed some light upon this issue.

Last, I think this is the most appropriate time to introduce changes since the 2007 Guidelines have not been addressed in the programmes and the Ministry of Education must adapt their current ILTE programmes to these guidelines. Due to my links with the Ministry of Education and the EFL Coordination, in particular, this dissertation could contribute to the design and development of new programmes in the province as this was the driving force which motivated me to carry out this study.


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Appendix 1: Questionnaire


Title of Project: Investigator: Daro Luis Banegas Dear colleague, Thanks for your participation in the current research by completing the following questionnaire. This survey study aims to explore your expectations and general ideas about English Language teaching training programmes. Please follow the instruction and answer honestly according to your learning experiences, likes and other perceptions that you have. There is no right or wrong answer. Should you have any questions concerning the questionnaire, feel free to contact me through my e-mail address. The questionnaire will take you between 25-30 minutes. Please, return it completed within ten days after receiving it. The data on this questionnaire will be stored confidentially and anonymity will be ensured. The results will be used for research purposes, and will not affect your post. Please be aware that you are free to decide not to participate in or to withdraw from the research at any time. If you are willing to participate in this survey study, please sign this consent form. You are signing it with full knowledge mentioned above. Please remember to tear off this cover letter and keep it as your own after you complete the questionnaire. I sincerely appreciate your cooperation and assistance. At the completion of the study, you will be most welcome to consult my dissertation. If you have any additional questions concerning the project, I will be happy to discuss these with you. Your signature indicates that, having read the information provided above, you have decided to participate.
Signature of Research Participant .. Name of Research Participant (please PRINT)


.. Signature of Investigator

Questionnaire for teachers YOU CAN EITHER ANSWER IN ENGLISH OR SPANISH 1. How many years have you been working as a teacher?

2. How long was your teacher training programme?

3. What was positive and/or negative in your programme as a whole? List 3 at least. Feel free to add others and/or explain. Positive Negative

4. Thinking about your teacher training programme. Did these items make a positive influence in your education as a teacher? Tick according to level of agreement.
disagreeStrongly agreeStrongly disagreePartly Agree Partly agree Disagree


Learning English Grammar and Phonetics. Learning Linguistics. Learning Literature. The way trainers taught me a b c above. Feedback from trainers. The way trainers taught Methodology and Professional Practice.

ee- The way the practicum (la residencia o prctica) was organised. ff- The theoretical aspect of Methodology. gg- Taking final exams (written and oral). hh- The practical aspect of Methodology. ii- Learning History and Geography of English speaking countries. jj- Working on my own. kk- Observing classes. ll- The practicum. mmLearning Methodology. nn- Feedback from other student-teachers. oo- Studying Second Language Acquisition. pp- Working collaboratively. qq- Learning general pedagogy and psychology. rr- Learning theories of education in general. ss- Reading about how to teach skills, grammar, pronunciation tt- Writing assignments, papers. uu- Making presentations. vv- Evaluating and designing material. y- Others (please specify)

5. What balance between theory and practice do you think is best in a training programme? Explain. Theory: __________% because Practice: __________% because

6. You have 100% to divide among these areas. How would you divide it? What would you take out and/or include? Subject-matter knowledge (e.g. English and Linguistics): _________% because General pedagogical knowledge (e.g. Psychology, Philosophy): __________% because ELT pedagogical knowledge (e.g. Methodology, Practicum): _________% because General cultural knowledge (e.g. Literature, History): __________% because 7. Were any of these procedures used in your own teacher training? How useful were they? Indicate. USED? Very useful a- Working in groups. b- Working alone. c- Listening to a lecture. d- Reading in class. e- Discussing. f- Solving problems or scenarios. g- Imitating a model. h- Doing or experiencing. i- Others (please specify) 8. What most important suggestion would you give to programme designers who have been asked to develop a new teacher training programme for ELT? My most important suggestion would be that 9. List 3 or more features of the teacher you would like to be. 1 2 3 4 5
Useful Not very useful Not at all useful

Id like to


Appendix 2: Follow-up questionnaire. Sample.

Follow-up questionnaire. Participant 15. 1. When you mention some of the negative aspects of your experience, you say too much pedagogy. What do you mean? 2. Based on the same negative aspect: Why, in your view, did it not improve your way of teaching? 3. What differences would there have been if those subjects had been taught in English? 4. Why do you think subjects in Spanish are seen as a shortcoming in programmes? 5. You also say that Some teachers were a model of what a teacher should not be!!! what particular situations do you remember? 6. In your own view, what teacher trainers should be like? 7. In Question 4, you strongly disagree with items d, e, f; why do you disagree in EACH CASE? 8. Why do you disagree with items s-t-u. How was your experience in each of them? You can answer by narrating a particular situation for each. 9. In your last question, you seem to focus on the role of trainers in carrying out ILTE programmes by emphasising their attitudes. What situations do you remember that make you stress this aspect? THANKS INDEED.