An analysis of the training needs of Italian secondary school teachers of English as a foreign language
This thesis is concerned with the training of Italian secondary school teachers of English as a Foreign Language. It identifies the training needs and requirements of these teachers and subsequently analyses in-service training courses offered both in Italy and the UK. The, aim is to see if these courses meet the requirements and expectations of Italian trainees and, if not, to develop recommendations on how these courses could be improved. The starting point of this research is the increased recognition of the effectiveness of the non-native speaking teacher. While in the past native English speakers were perceived as the 'ideal'. teachers of the language, it has recently been recognised that non-native English speaking teachers have an equal chance of becoming successful teachers. However, there has been very little research focusing on the requirements of non-native English speaker trainees and similarly there has been minimal feedback on what works and does not work in teacher education programmes. This thesis aims to contribute to the ongoing teacher related research in order to gain a deeper understanding of the specific training requirements of Italian teachers of E.F.L., so that their full potential may be realised. The thesis illustrates in detail the Italian school system, the Modem Foreign Language undergraduate curricula and the recruitment system for teachers in Italy, three elements which play a crucial role in determining the in-service training needs of Italian teachers of E.F.L. The thesis also provides a detailed description of the Italian State Special Project for Foreign Languages (P.S.L.S.), a national training project aimed at in-service teachers of Foreign Languages. The thesis analyses data coming from surveys aimed at Italian teachers of English. One survey devised by the author was carried out among teachers attending training events at the British Council in Milan. A second survey analysed was based on data provided by the I.R.R.S.A.E. (Regional Institute for Research and In-service Training) Lombardy, resulting from a questionnaire completed by a large number of lower and higher secondary school teachers of English working in the region. The results of the analysis of these surveys provide important information about the requirements of these teachers and identify where these needs have not been satisfied in the training courses they have attended in the past. The thesis subsequently examines the training courses currently available to Italian teachers of E.F.L., both in Italy and the UK. Data coming from a survey conducted among P.S.L.S. trainers supply information about the general structure and content of these courses. The thesis also analyses material obtained from UK institutions and illustrates, and comments on, the variety of programmes of study currently available to Italian teachers of English. Suggestions are put forward on how both P.S.L.S. and UK based courses could be improved in an effort to overcome trainees' difficulties and meet their requirements and needs. The thesis concludes with recommendations for further work which include those areas where the analysis of teachers' requirements would benefit from expansion and where the evaluation proccss of existing training courses could be refined.