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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.


  1. N. Ashcraft-University of Missouri1 November 2011 at 20:40

    I used to work in an English Pedagogy program at a university in Chile. There was a strong emphasis in the teacher-training curriculum (3 semester-long courses) on studying British and North American literature as a way to understand BANA culture. However, there was very little discussion of the role of English as an International Language. Therefore, I didn't feel that the preservice teachers were being adequately prepared (nor would their future students be adequately prepared) for the realities of using English in today's world.

  2. In Hong Kong, language proficiency is definitely NOT a focus in teacher preparation programs. While many teachers may think that methodology courses can enhance their understanding of ELT, it is not surprising to hear that the ideas introduced in teacher education are too idealistic and not practical enough, since teachers often find it difficult to implement the new ideas in real classroom contexts. So I believe it is important for teacher educators in EFL contexts to help teacher trainees balance idealism with realism. Ways have to be found to bridge the theory-practice divide so that teachers can be helped to examine theory critically and develop personal theory that has a real impact on teaching and learning.

    Icy Lee
    The Chinese University of Hong Kong

  3. Interesting...Besides my job on weekdays, I also teach in a teacher preparation program on the weekends. So far, I can tell that one of the areas for improvement is language proficiency. The trainees need more language development courses so they can succeed in the pedagogical /methodological courses. Juan M. Rostrán, Nicaragua

  4. Thanks for the comments. Our research is giving us very vital data to re-direct the English teacher preparation programs in our country.We are now analyzing the data and are heading for conclusions and recommendations.We hope to share our findings with all of you. Greetings

  5. Hello everyone,
    It is valuable to find out there are many teachers everywhere interested in making preservice teachars´ preparation succeed. In fact, I´m currently looking for informatiom to check and apdate the language curriculum for the university I work for. Thus, I would advice you to consider including subjects preparing future language teachers to work with disabled students, multilinguism, intercultural education, among other issues concerning to the teaching of EFL.

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