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Title: Language teacher education for TEYL : what do Trentino-South Tyrol LETs' perceptions of their professional learning reveal about best practice professional development?
Author: Bamber, Valentina
ISNI:       0000 0004 9356 0583
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2020
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In the Trentino-South Tyrol multilingual region (Northern Italy), teaching English to young learners (TEYL) in primary school is viewed as important. Anecdotal evidence suggests, however, that in the region not all local English teachers (LETs) may have the appropriate training, qualifications and experience to enable them to teach young learners successfully. Despite growing research interest in the continuing professional development (CPD) experiences and needs of English language teachers, there remains a lack of research in the specific multilingual region. Furthermore, in-depth knowledge of LETs' CPD experiences and needs is almost non-existent. The aim of this study, therefore, is to address this gap by exploring such teachers' perceptions and experiences of CPD in order to develop new practical and theoretical insights into our understanding of this area. The study is qualitative and located within the constructionist paradigm, moreover drawing on complexity theory as a metaphorical lens. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 16 LETs with at least 2 years of teaching experience. These data were analysed using thematic analysis, drawing on an analytical framework based on three inter-related concepts of sociocultural theory, scaffolding and CPD. The study found that the interviewed LETs in Trentino-South Tyrol had highly heterogeneous experiences of CPD and specific developmental needs. These findings suggest that the current approaches to professional development for LETs in the region may need adjusting. The thesis proposes an integration of the current CPD models with a more linguistically focused, mediated and interactive style of teacher development which facilitates mediated professional discourse between teachers and language teacher educators in local teacher education institutions as well as in school contexts, in order to build shared understandings by analysing, comparing and experiencing approaches, and actively encouraging teachers' personal investment in their multifaceted learning processes. It is argued that such a shift would prove beneficial for TEYL stakeholders in the region.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral