Between two worlds the pedagogical influences and beliefs of this pre service french teacher
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Between Two Worlds: The Pedagogical Influences and Beliefs of this Pre-Service French Teacher. Elizabeth Hallinan December 11 th , 2008. Background : Context of the Problem. Language departments view of pedagogy and teacher education

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Between Two Worlds: The Pedagogical Influences and Beliefs of this Pre-Service French Teacher

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Between Two Worlds: The Pedagogical Influences and Beliefs of this Pre-Service French Teacher

Elizabeth Hallinan

December 11th, 2008

Background:Context of the Problem

  • Language departments view of pedagogy and teacher education

  • Low importance placed on the teaching and learning of language in language departments

  • Troubled relationship between language departments and COEs

Statement of the Problem

  • A case study of a pre-service K-12 French teacher also working as a teaching assistant in a language department

  • He is caught between two worlds

    • Traditional pedagogical practices of French department and more progressive pedagogical practices in the college of education

    • France and the United States

Purpose of Study

  • To show through this case study how views of pedagogy may differ within a university setting

  • This longitudinal case study will follow “Cyril” (pseudonym) as he goes through an M.A.T. program in Foreign Language Education

  • Investigation of pedagogical influences (past, present and future) and his evolving beliefs

  • Cyril may personify the clash of cultures between a liberal arts department and a COE

  • Systemic issues brought to light

Support from the Literature

  • Schrier (2001)

    • University-level FL departments should care more about the way in which they’re teaching their undergraduates

    • It is secondary FL teachers who represent the FL discipline more than the work of any university scholar

  • Labaree (2004)

    • Clash between subject knowledge and pedagogical knowledge

  • Byrnes (2001)

    • Culture of language department’s view of pedagogy must change at its core

    • Split between how language and content are taught in FL departments may be detrimental to the pedagogical development of TAs

Description of Participants

  • “Cyril”, a French citizen

    • A new M.A.T. student in Foreign Language Education at a major research university in the Midwest

    • Working as a TA in the French department

  • Those who have pedagogically influenced him

    • His supervisors

    • His current instructors in the College of Education

Data Collection

  • Interviews

    • Cyril

    • Supervisors

  • Observations

    • Cyril’s class and work with other TAs’ students

    • Cyril’s professor in the COE *

  • Document analysis *

    • Syllabi

    • Supervisory guidelines

    • Instructor’s manual of textbook

    • Cyril’s teaching philosophy

  • Validation *

    • Triangulation of data

    • Member checks

* Not as yet completed

Cyril is caught between two worlds

Interviews with Cyril

  • “There [are] two things I would like to include [in my teaching], and that’s probably hard for me still because of the way I was taught…feedback is one thing…I wasn’t used to receiving feedback when I was a student…and also the objectives…so I’m still…le cul entre deux chaises.”

  • “[The way language is taught in the French department is] more of a French tradition. I think they have all these [progressive] ideas, but I don’t think they’re actually doing that themselves.”

Observations of Cyril

  • Cyril may be a more traditional teacher than he believes he is

    • Cyril does not greet the students or say good-bye

    • He does not smile or laugh in class

    • Much time spent in English

    • Teacher-centered activities

      • At board and behind desk

    • The same three students answer all the questions

Interviews with Supervisors

  • Most French department professors do not believe they have any responsibility for the development of K-12 teachers

    • “In a sense, it’s like two different worlds…none of the faculty over here are interested in secondary education…and I’m not sure you could make them be.”

  • There is a vicious cycle at work in French education; there are fewer pre-service French teachers because there are fewer strong high school French programs

    • “Since there’s less French in the high schools, the kids have less in the way of role models. I mean, how can you want to be a French teacher if you’ve only seen one in your life?”

Questions for Further Research

  • Will Cyril’s experience uncover deeper, systemic problems?

  • Is the documented decline of the study of French the result of a cycle in which Cyril is caught?

  • How will his beliefs about teaching change as he goes through the teacher education program?

  • Who or what will ultimately pedagogically influence Cyril the most?

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