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EFL teacher preparation

In this blog, we would like to start a conversation on the preparation of EFL teachers. We would like to depart from our first posting on the research that we are currently completing in El Salvador. We suggest using the following questions as ice breakers and as a point of departure. Later on, we provide a brief description of our study. We will welcome questions or comments on it.

·       Are we preparing teachers effectively for EFL contexts?
·       What content knowledge help prepare EFL teachers?
·       What experiences contribuye to enhance EFL teacher preparation?
A team of experienced teacher educators share the lessons learned from their research on EFL teacher preparation in an EFL context. Through postings and responses to questions, they will share the lessons learned for preparing teachers to work in EFL contexts.
Their research is a survey of EFL teacher preparation in El Salvador. They analyzed the curriculum of various EFL teacher preparation programs at Salvadoran universities, interviewed pre-service and inservice teachers, and directors of teacher preparation programs.

A variety of qualitative research methodologies and instruments were used to analyze the data collected.  Research subjects were selected from a cohort of current TEFL students and graduates of TEFL programs at Salvadoran universities.  Focus groups were organized with program directors, pre.-service teachers, inservice teachers, and  practicing teachers who have not attended a teacher preparation program.

Data collected through interviews and surveys were triangulated with TESOL standards for teacher preparation and with relevant literature and research reports of related research.  Some of the insights gained from this research are:

·       The data gathered has helped to understand how practicing teachers and pre-service teachers perceive the competencies they have developed. For instance, 71% of preservice teachers surveyed stated that their training as teachers has been very good. 55% of these participants assured that the teacher education courses enhanced their understanding of teaching per se.

·       The data gathered through the methodologies and instruments used provided insights that can inform those programs that prepare teachers for EFL contexts. For example, about 80% of research participants stated that the teacher education courses and the practicum courses greatly enhanced their understanding of classroom practices.  Interestingly, not a very high percentage of participants indicated that the second language teaching methods courses and related courses as essential components for their preparation as teachers.

·       Most research participants agree that the weakest aspect in their preparation is the language proficiency.  They do recognize, though, that they are well prepared pedagogically and methodologically.

The data described above is a sample of the amount of data collected and analyzed so far. There is still more data that needs to be entered into the databases and an analyzed in an aggregated manner.  This means that some of the findings so far might vary slightly.

What are your own stories from the EFL world? What are challenges that you have encountered as EFL teachers?
Let´s share our stories!

Blog discussion leaders:

Silvio Avendaño
Dr. Silvio Avendanois Dean of Academics at Instituto Especializado de Nivel Superior Centro Cultural Salvadoreño Americano in El Salvador. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Language, Literacy and Culture.
Guillermo Mineros is an academic advisor and professor at Instituto Especializado De Nivel Superior Centro Cultural Salvadoreño Americano.  He also coordinates the research department at his institution.

Manuel Laureano is assistant to the Dean of Academics and member of the research team at Instituto Especializado de Nivel Superior Centro Cultural Salvadoreño Americano and supervisor for the English Access Micro scholarship program in San Salvador.