Best Practice in Teaching English as Foreign Language

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Chapter 2:An Approach For TEFL Online

The Design Phase of TEFL Online

Technology used for CMI should serve learning. Technology is a tool in distance learning, not the message in itself (De Villiers, 2007; Trindade et al 2000). The technological tools chosen should support the learning approach. An initial, crucial step for an online course is the selection of a sound pedagogical approach, which informs the development phase. A sound pedagogy determines the aims, outcomes, of the course. In addition, the methods and content designed should relate directly to the objectives. A comprehensive approach also assists course designers to handle problems that may arise from formative and summative evaluations. If course designers are aware of the aim of the course and the methods used to achieve the aim, they can improve the course (Lee & Owens, 2000). It follows that the theoretical approach of the TEFL Online pilot should be transparent and comprehensive. In this chapter the investigation of the theoretical approach is set against the background of prevailing trends in teacher education and CMI. Firstly, four significant models of teacher education are critically discussed. These models include the traditional craft, the applied science, the reflective practice, and the enriched reflection model. Secondly, the discussion is placed within two schools that feature both in online learning and teaching, namely, objectivism and constructivism. As a result of the critical discussion, key design guidelines are extrapolated for the TEFL Online pilot.

Models of Teacher Education

According to Wallace (2001), three models of teacher education have influenced TEFL training: the craft, the applied science and the reflective practice models. Recently, however, Ur’s (2004) enriched reflective model has added a new dimension to teachertraining pedagogy. Each of these models is informed by a particular learning tradition, which show marked parallels to different theories of language acquisition. An imitative relationship between language learner and expert is postulated in the craft model, which is represented in Figure 2.1 . The expertise resides in the experienced practitioner. The novice or trainee learns by observing the expert, imitating techniques, and following his/her instructions and advice. This process ensures that the craft passes on from generation to generation. An example of the craft model in teacher training is the practice of placing trainees with experienced cooperating teachers. The trainee observes and assists the expert teacher and learns by imitation. The trainee may also work on increments of certain tasks before moving onto bigger tasks (Bailey, 2006).Wallace (2001), Stones and Morris (1972), and Bailey (2006) criticise the craft model because it is conservative and limited to a static society where little or no change in teaching practices occurs. It is particularly inappropriate for the field of language learning where new methodologies based on recent research in the discipline of linguistics have emerged and are still emerging. As Bailey claims, the craft model may be useful in learning the technical skills of teaching, but it is unsuitable for contemporary methods of language teacher training since ‘ … over the years, language teaching has moved beyond being a collection of techniques. These days the profession is influenced by theories and research findings too’ (2006:151). Following this line, I would argue that observation and imitation, devoid of reflection and discussion. are insufficient for TEFL. Language is an unstable medium and learners do not behave predictably. Consequently, the importance of examining the thinking processes that underpin the expert’s behaviour and techniques should not be overlooked. Similarly, a wide range of individualised factors which affect learning play a key role in determining acquisition. A competent teacher needs to have a sound grounding in both the theory and the practice of language teaching and learning. As Wallace states,viewing teaching as a craft dismisses the need for, and exploration of, scientific knowledge.

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List of Figures
List of Tables
Chapter 1: Bridging the Gap in Distance Teacher Training
1.1 Best Practice in Teaching English as Foreign Language
1.2 Best Practice in Open and Distance Learning
1.3 A Case for an Online TEFL Course
1.4 Researching TEFL Online
1.4.1 Data Collection Methods
1.4.2 Subjects of Study
1.4.3 Limitations of Study
1.5 The Importance of Researching TEFL Online
Chapter 2: An Approach for TEFL Online
2.1 The Design Phase of TEFL Online
2.2 Models of Teacher Training
2.2.1 A Case for Enriched Reflection
2.2.2 Parallels Between TEFL and ODL
2.3 Approaches in Computer-Mediated Instruction
2.4 Implications for the Instructional Design of an Online TEFL
Chapter 3: Developing and Implementing the TEFL Online Pilot
3.1 The Development Phase of TEFL Online
3.2 Launching the Pilot on myUnisa
3.3 Actualising the Design Guidelines in TEFL Online
3.3.1 The Aims of TEFL Online
3.3.2 Motivating and Engaging Online Participants
3.3.3 Self-managed Learning
3.3.4 Interaction and Collaboration
3.3.5 Facilitated Online Learning
3.4 The Implementation Stage
Chapter 4: Evaluating TEFL Online 
4.1 The Evaluation Phase of TEFL Online
4.2 Evaluating the Design Guidelines 
4.2.1 Outcomes
4.2.2 Participation in TEFL Online
4.2.3 Interaction and Collaboration
4.2.4 Facilitated Learning
4.2.5 Technical issues
4.3 Key Findings
4.3.1 How can we effectively develop language practitioners who are  critically self-reflective through online learning and teaching?
4.3 .2 What constraints emerge when implementing an online TEFL  course through a Learning Management System?
Chapter 5: Blue-sky Thinking for TEFL Online
5.1 Conclusions from TEFL Online
5.1.1 A Paradigm Shift towards ODL
5.1 .2 Evolving from Second to Third Generation Learning Distance Systems and Beyond
5.2 Blue-sky Thinking for TEFLA Online
5.2.1 Options for Teaching Practice in TEFL Online
5.3 Conclusion
Appendix 1 
Appendix 2 
Appendix 3 


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