Last week I was reading on foreign language teacher education and these are some reflections on this topic. I have enjoyed reading, thinking and writing. I feel excited and challenged by the experience of being a doctoral student, everyday is a new discovery.
In Chile, students become EFL teachers after a four-five year program with a curriculum which typically includes a knowledge base about the target language: applied linguistics, phonology, grammar, literature, culture & civilization; a practical component related to how to teach English (methodology, assessment, teaching practice), a theoretical component regarding some basis of education: philosophy, psychology, anthropology and a component which aims at the proficient command of the target language. All these elements dispute its prevailing role in the curriculum. However, there is a tendency for making language proficiency as the core of the EFL teacher education in Chile. .
In EFL contexts, it seems that there is an emphasis on language proficiency rather than on pedagogy issues (Kamhi-Stein 2009). This might be based on the fact that “language proficiency may contribute to enhancing or undermining the teacher’s confidence, affecting the teacher’s instructional practices” (p. 95)
The literature regarding second language teacher education (working on it) suggests that EFL teachers require not only being language proficient but skilful in teaching a language. Even further, Freeman (1996) advocates that the central goal of teacher education is “fostering independent teachers who know what they are doing and why”.
How can we educate EFL teachers who can be independent, proficient in the target language, skillful in teaching and reflective about their own practice?