Step by Step

After two weeks of wandering about how to go on with the readings without being out of focus, and get my PhD done, I have talked to other students, other professors and my supervisor and after that I arrived to these conclusions:

  • I acknowledge the fact that this is a big challenge that has changed and will change my whole life.
  • I am constructing my new identity as an international PhD student in Australia and adjusting myself to this.
  • My topic of study is interesting and worth doing it.
  • I am competent to do the PhD successfully and I’m working to do it well and within the time frame planned.
  • I was feeling frustrated about not knowing how to go deeper into my topic without getting out of focus. I get anxious about that because I don’t want  the study to get out of my hands. I guess I will not get a biblical inspiration which could illuminate me and show me the path so I’d better do something about it: I have decided that I’ll work with the mind map and I’ll answer one question at a time, step by step.
  • My plan includes writing for an hour every day. This hour will be the first hour every morning in which I’ll write about reflections, conclusions, thoughts I have come about through the readings and discussions.

I’ve been reading about teachers’ beliefs and these are some reflections drawn so far in this field:

Pre-service teachers of English enrol in initial teacher programs having their own beliefs and assumptions about the profession and what they understand by learning and teaching a foreign language in Chile. These beliefs are not necessarily beneficial for their own learning and future teaching, in fact they can actually detriment their own learning.

Student teachers’ beliefs are shaped through a number of sources: prior learning experiences, personality and context. Pre-service teachers usually have preconceived ideas about the learning process in general and the learning of a foreign language specifically. These beliefs usually include ideas about language aptitudes, length of time of language acquisition, learning strategies among others. Studies suggest that it is absolutely necessary to deal with student teachers beliefs from the very beginning of the training programmes so that these students can notice their own beliefs, deconstruct their beliefs’ system and construct a new one based on updated theory and knowledge.

There is evidence which supports the fact that beliefs can influence on their own attitudes towards language learning on their motivation and performance towards their own experience in the classroom. This would suggest that it is crucial that the experience of learning of these pre-service teachers have to be meaningful and enriching so that they can actually change their beliefs in positive way.

My assumption : if the learning experience is satisfying & meaningful for the student teachers, then pre-service teachers can develop positive attitudes, higher motivation and  there would be a transformational process which would lead in the formation of beliefs which would enhance their own learning and probably would influence their future teaching as well.


About Malba Barahona

Educational researcher, language educator. PhD from Australian National University. Passionate bushwalker and mountain lover. I procrastinate reading fiction, hiking, doing yoga, riding, having a beer and more recently decolonizing my existence. I write in English and Spanish in different blogs especially with the purpose of encouraging my students to write.

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