Developing English Language Teachers' Knowledge about Language

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Core understandings and skills of second and foreign language teachers have been defined in various ways (e.g. Trappes-Lomax and Ferguson 2002, Kirkpatrick 2006). Language proficiency and knowledge about language, or language awareness, are commonly included in these, yet cannot be taken for granted. This paper reports on an investigation into the knowledge of postgraduate students in a master of TESOL program in Australia. Students ranged widely in their experience as language teachers and included both native and non-native speakers of English from a range of countries.

Students completed a test of their ability to correct and then to explain their corrections, of ungrammatical English sentences. Some were also asked in a questionnaire about their feelings of confidence in regard to their knowledge about language and about their beliefs in the importance of metalinguistic knowledge for second language teachers. Findings are presented in this paper and a comparison is made between results of native and non-native speakers of English. A range of suggestions is offered for developing the language awareness of teachers in this TESOL teacher education program.


Keywords: Teachers Knowledge about Language, Second Language Teacher Education, Native and Non-Native Speakers
Stream: Teacher Training and Professional Development
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Marie-Therese Jensen

Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Monash University
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A native speaker of Australian English, I have taught English as a foreign and second language in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia to children and to adults. In my work as a TESOL teacher educator I have worked mostly with local and international students at postgraduate level, teaching classes and supervising higher degree research. My research interests range broadly in second language learning and teaching.

Ref: L09P0254