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Javad Gholami and Isa Qurbanzada

Abstract

Recently, teacher training courses have attracted the researchers’ special attention, while teacher education programs have not received as much attention. The present study investigated the attitudes key stakeholders in a teacher education program (i.e., student teachers, in-service teachers, and teacher educators) hold toward the appropriateness of TEFL teacher education programs at an Iranian teacher education university and their relevance to and sustainable impact in the real teaching context. To this end, 62 pre-service teachers, 48 in-service teachers, and 28 teacher educators filled out the Foreign Language Teacher Education Program Evaluation questionnaire adapted from Peacock (2009). The results of ANOVA tests indicated that the pre-service teachers and teacher educators found courses with literary strands less relevant to English language teaching and believed that those courses should be modified or replaced by teaching more knowledge-building or knowledge-applying subjects. In addition, the in-service teachers harboured a negative perspective towards the courses which were not practical in the real classroom setting and considered them less empowering. All three groups found teaching-related courses, such as teaching methodology, of more sustainable nature and useful in the real teaching context. Besides, the participants believed that it is essential for the universities to incorporate several practical courses including practicum and classroom observations within the curriculum. This study suggests that accommodating key stakeholders’ preferences in a teacher education programs could lead to crafting more accountable and empowering teacher education programs.

Open access

Samrand Amini and Javad Gholami

Abstract

Supervision in Iranian private language schools is carried out by one experienced teacher supervisor with too much authority. This paper reports a novel model of supervision, namely rotatory peer-supervision, in which supervision is delegated to English as foreign language (EFL) teachers themselves. In rotatory supervision, experienced teachers take turns observing each other’s classes and those of their less experienced colleagues and providing constructive feedback. In this study, we investigated the possibility of employing teachers as supervisors and analyzed what they focused and what type of supervisory feedback they provided. While observing their peers’ classes on a rotatory basis for 16 sessions, four experienced teachers evaluated their peer’s teaching performance using a researcher-made classroom observation checklist after receiving a sandwich course on providing constructive supervisory feedback. Their evaluative comments were categorized in terms of compliments, criticisms, and suggestions. The findings revealed that the teacher-supervisors offered compliments much more than criticisms and suggestions. Moreover, critical comments were offered using non-accusatory, mitigated, and face-saving language. This study calls for further recognition of rotatory peer supervision as a viable alternative to the practiced models and further research on this under-researched topic.

Open access

Javad Gholami, Mehdi Sarkhosh and Heidar Abdi

Abstract

This study investigates the practices of public (high) school, private language institute, and public-private teachers. In particular, it aims at addressing the role of contextual factors, the variations teachers introduce to cope with them, and the degree of sustainable behaviour among these three groups of teachers. High school teachers consisted of those who taught only in high schools and the ones teaching both in high schools and private language institutes. For this purpose, classroom practices of 60 EFL teachers (N=20 per group) with 3 to 6 years of teaching experience and BA degree in TEF) were compared in terms of group/pair work, teacher talking time, L1 use, questioning, corrective feedback, and coverage of language skills. The findings of the study indicate that a significant difference exists among these three groups of teachers in terms of their practices. It is noteworthy that in the same teaching context of high school, the practices of teachers with and without private language teaching experience are significantly dissimilar except in the duration of pair/group work activities and the rates of repetition and explicit correction. This study suggests that high school EFL teachers with teaching experience in private language institutes subscribe more closely to the tenets of communicative language teaching and thus can act as powerful agents of sustainable language teaching in Iranian public schools.

Open access

Farzaneh Emadian, Javad Gholami and Mehdi Sarkhosh

Abstract

The first and most crucial step towards developing a sustainable curriculum for instructors teaching English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP) is a needs analysis. Therefore, the main aim of conducting this study was to investigate the in-service needs of language instructors and content specialists teaching ESAP and to spot the differences between the needs of these two groups in order to provide them with systematic treatments in ESAP teacher training programs. This mixed method study was designed on a qualitative-quantitative survey basis using a questionnaire, a semi-structured interview, and an observation checklist. The analysis of the data collected from 50 content specialists and 50 language instructors completing the questionnaires reveals that there is a significant difference between the in-service needs of these two groups, that is, language instructors desire more to be trained in an in-service ESAP teaching training program in terms of professional, procedural and personal needs. Furthermore, the results of the data obtained from the semi-structured interview and the observation of 20 of the above-mentioned instructors (i.e., 10 content specialists and 10 language instructors) indicate that language instructors have more difficulty selecting suitable materials, suffer more from low income, attitudinal difficulties and backwash effect compared to their counterparts teaching ESAP courses. It can be inferred that the results of the present study can sufficiently help the researchers to embark on an in-service teacher training program both for ESAP content specialists and language instructors based on their specific needs in the ESAP context.