Teaching EFL Online: An e-moderators report

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According to the NCTE , the teacher's skills and expertise fall in the areas of pedagogical content knowledge, planning instruction, and skills and strategies to engage students. These skills are developed through time and are usually called experience. NCTE's definition illustrates how TQ amalgamates the features quality teachers have or must have skills, knowledge, expertise, and the like , the qualities of what they do or should do e.

A step ahead in the comprehension of TQ is given by Kunter et al. In general, TQ refers to the various teacher-related characteristics associated with positive educational results. Figure 1 summarizes the diverse perspectives of TQ. Nonetheless, it is necessary to keep in mind Kennedy's assertion about this complex matter of TQ:. In this study, TQ components were summarized in four categories: qualifications, knowledge, practices methodology , and image personal traits and professional attitudes, values, and beliefs. TQ components were analyzed in depth in order to support a sound characterization of the teachers to whom the PDP was addressed.

The bottom line was that professional development is a good means to assure TQ. According to Villegas-Reimers, the notion of PD is linked to two similar but narrower concepts: career development , as the maturity teachers attain through their professional career, and staff development , as the in-service programs aimed at promoting the growth of teachers. For Richards and Farrell , PD is one of the two views derived from two general objectives in teacher education: training and development. Training encompasses the initial or pre-teaching teacher education, in a BA program, for instance; development refers to the in-service and long-term development of teachers.

For the authors, teacher training usually establishes short-term goals linked to the teachers' present or immediate needs. Teacher training typically involves comprehending theory, and then applying it to teaching until skills in demonstrating the principles and practice are developed and observed.

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In turn, teacher development is designed for long-term periods whose goal is to facilitate teachers' self-understanding and to include a reflective component as a basis of the program. PD improves the performance of teachers, students, and the school itself which Richards and Farrell consider a bottom-up process. Wallace discusses two previous models of professional education: craft and applied science , and proposes his own, reflective. The craft model is based on experiential PD; in it, expertise is demonstrated by a master practitioner and imitated or practiced by the young trainee.

This imitative practice is supposed to lead to professional competence. Wallace criticized this model as simple, static, imitative, and disregarding the growth of relevant scientific knowledge. Wallace disapproved this model because it separates theory research and practice. Figure 2 summarizes this model. The former aims at fixing teaching practice deemed outdated or somehow defective; it is focused on the academic knowledge to be transmitted by the teachers and its methodology seeks that the teachers apply in their settings the knowledge learned in the training courses.

The cooperative-process perspective pursues the relationship between theory and practice, giving importance to reflection and building teachers' analytical and critical awareness. Recent trends in PD are based on constructivism rather than on transmission-oriented models Villegas-Reimers, It means that, in PDPs, teachers are active learners. Likewise, for Darling-Hammond a PDP is related to the daily activities of teachers and learners and it should be based on schools.

teaching English online (update)

To summarize, we consider that professional development of language teachers should involve permanent reflection, theory and practice, knowledge and skill, learning and re-learning, science and craft in any combination as proposed in the various abovementioned perspectives. In the diagnostic stage, a quantitative survey research Creswell, led to an in-depth description of the English teachers in Cali in order to analyze and understand their background and present status. Free association exercise, literature review, focus group, and documentary analysis contributed to get the profile and professional needs of the subjects.

Thus, the following cycle was pursued:. This cycle was repeated throughout the intervention. Figure 3 recapitulates the research design process. Diagnostic stage: 63 out of public sector English teachers in Cali, 57 students from eighth and eleventh grades, five parents, and nine school administrators belonging to a total of 40 out of 92 public schools in Cali. Action stage: 12 out of 30 public sector English teachers attended the PD pilot program.

Table 1 shows the instruments used to collect data in diagnostic, action, and evaluation stages. The diagnostic stage addressed the first three categories, while the action and evaluation stages yielded the impact of the PDP. Figure 4 shows the triangulation at the diagnostic stage. The outer hexagon shows the participants while the inner one presents the six instruments and their findings. The commonalities are included in the circle. A data base, paper and online surveys, a focus group, and documentary analysis yielded the information.

Most English teachers in the public schools in Cali are a mature population with long experience teaching English in high school; they abide by traditional approaches; research is either absent or is not central in their curriculum; they are not fully acquainted with the use of information and communication technologies ICT , and they resort to traditional resources.

Table 2 shows features regarding teachers' methodology, evaluation, and resources. A lack of graduate studies in the city related to English teaching has made teachers resort to PDPs, methodology, and language courses. On the other hand, the predominant teachers' language level according to their answers, B1 Council of Europe, , was confirmed with the results of the language tests administered by the Ministry of Education. This fact reflects the teachers' awareness about their level. This level corresponds to the reality of a monolingual Spanish speaking society.

Another interesting finding was related to the teachers' vocation; they permanently pursue the improvement of their students. This second category was divided into five elements: knowledge , practice , image , awareness , and situational constraints. The components emerged from the surveys, focus group see Table 3 , and needs analysis survey see Table 4. They included current methods, ICTs, and rapport with students. It was surprising to learn about the teachers' low curiosity on classroom research and standards. Nevertheless, classroom research, in the form of reflection and needs analysis, was incorporated as a cross component of the PDP, while standards were integrated in lesson planning and evaluation.

The PDP contents and objectives were negotiated with the teachers; the eclectic approach followed a practice-reflection-theory cycle that allowed the teachers to learn, apply, and reflect on the contents and the theory. The materials and resources were up-to-date, affordable, available, and handy; finally, the instructors and teachers' attitudes contributed to a good learning environment.

The PDP design responded to the teachers' needs and interests opposing the common parameters of previous PDPs taken by the teachers, not separating theory from practice and proceeding in a non-linear sequence. This section includes the fourth category subdivided into knowledge , practice , image , and awareness. The action and evaluation stages also let us identify the successful features and dif-ficulties of the PDP piloting.

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Its most fruitful components were the needs analysis, contents, objectives, methodology, materials, evaluation, the instructors, and the participants' attitudes. These findings were drawn from the work-shops evaluation formats, focus group, and documentary analysis.

The format consisted of two sections. Section 1 evaluated five aspects of the PDP with a 1 low to 5 high scale: fulfillment of objectives, teaching awareness, theoretical bases, practical knowledge, and impact of the workshops on the teachers' practices. In Section 2, open indirect questions detected the particular views of teachers regarding their learning, the positive aspects, and the aspects to improve upon in the program.

A section of comments let them express other opinions. Figures 6 to 10 show the percentages of the teachers' answers to each of the five aspects evaluated in Section 1. The fact that most teachers gave a score of 5 and 4 showed that the PDP braced the teachers' needs and expectations. The teachers reported in Section 2 what they learned:. Three random samples of each document, except for the class recordings, were taken to follow up on the teachers' implementation of the new learning. Table 6 shows this implementation as seen in the documentary analysis.

Table 7 presents the aspects to improve from the evaluation formats, focus group, and researchers' journal. This study allowed the researchers to understand that a PDP should impact the teachers' teaching practices and views, raise their personal and professional awareness, increase their motivation and attitudes toward their own learning and teaching processes, and improve their language proficiency. To do so, the PDP should be constructed from the teachers' needs, interests, learning styles, and learning pace combining the experts' guidance, the sharing among participant teachers, and autonomous exploration.

Conditions of time, group size and availability of resources are crucial for the effectiveness of PDPs. A key result of this study is that practical and theoretical usefulness applicability is a powerful motivational source for teachers since their chief wish is to learn strategies and tools they can try in their classrooms. In-depth knowledge on current trends instead of historical overviews of methods is well received by the teachers.

Rhymes, stories, games and tongue twisters result to be motivational and effective teaching strategies that represent a different view to teach vocabulary, structures, pronunciation, and fluency. The integration of topics, resources, and methodology in every session is a good alternative to the linear sequence of separate courses for language, methodology, culture, and research that usual PDPs adopt.

Furthermore, practical applicability is directly related to the impact of PDP. If theoretical or practical knowledge is considered useful by the teachers, it will probably be incorporated by them in their teaching. The practice-reflection-theory cycle means an inductive approach to theory allowing teachers to infer the principles behind practice. Starting sessions with practical demonstrations followed by reflection and ending with theory prove to be effective in promoting teachers' critical analysis and comprehension of their practices and in allowing them to connect them with underlying principles.

This sequence is more coherent with the TBL communicative approach adopted. Modern PDPs should aim at catering the 21st century challenges for teachers. Moreover, the teachers' digital literacy should be tested first since most of them are challenged by the advanced technology changes. Then, an introductory basic workshop on computer management is required. Additionally, a PDP requires enough time to let instructors and teachers fulfill their expectations and let both participants work on a number of practical demonstrations and microteachings.

Furthermore, the key to success of a PDP lies not only in its contents and methodology, but also in the participants' attitudes and factors such as motivation, commitment, punctuality, attendance, willingness to change, and open-mindedness to try new things. In a nutshell, the effectiveness and impact of a PDP should be reflected on, first, the instructors' and teachers' achievement of goals; second, the impact of this new learning on students' performance, and third, the support by parents and school administrators.

All in all, the close connections between teacher quality and professional development programs were proved and it was established that they are complex and depend on internal and external factors. More research on these topics is needed in Colombia; it is necessary to open the discussion not only about the significance and development of TQ, PD, PDP, but also about teacher hiring in the public sector for establishing a coherent PD policy for language teachers and finding the best teachers based on their merits.

Also, the Colombian bilingualism policies require adequate theoretical support about TQ and PD and proper conditions for securing the quality of teachers. It should be noted, however, that the findings, implications, and recommendations in this research refer to a particular setting, that of a small group of teachers who were especially motivated towards their professional growth.

Further studies about PDP in other settings like bigger groups of teachers, or teachers in only the public or only the private sector, or teachers with a different proficiency level, or with a different level of literacy might reach different outcomes. Likewise, longer PDPs, or ones with less resources, or taught by a single instructor or by teams of instructors can obtain other results. Generalizations are hardly to be extracted from these findings, although some of them are of great value like the eclectic and inductive theoretical and methodological approach to PDP.

Instructors' direct observations are also required to follow the teachers' implementation in order to support them. Bastidas, J. A diagnosis of English language teaching in public elementary schools in Pasto, Colombia. HOW, 18 1 , Elementary English language instruction: Colombian teachers' classroom practices. Carr, W. Becoming critical: Education, knowledge and action research.

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Cely, R. Clotfelter, C. Teacher-student matching and the assessment of teacher effectiveness. The Journal of Human Resources, 41 4 , Cochran-Smith, M. Handbook of research on teacher education: Enduring questions in changing contexts. Philadelphia, PA: Taylor and Francis. Coggshall, J. Communication framework for measuring teacher quality and effectiveness: Bringing coherence to the conversation. Cohen, L. Research methods in education. London, UK: Routledge Falmer. Council of Europe. Common European Framework for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment.

Creswell, J. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches.

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Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Darling-Hammond, L.


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