Parameters of Language Teaching in the Context of High Schools of Iran: A Data-First Approach

| June 24, 2010
Title
Parameters of Language Teaching in the Context of High Schools of Iran: A Data-First Approach

Keywords: conceptual constraints; contextual constraints; teachers’ action; grounded theory; deskilling

Authors
Seyyed Ali Ostovar Namaghi
Shahrood University of Technology, Iran

Bio Data
Seyyed Ali Ostovar Namaghi is an assistant professor at the Department of General Courses at Shahrood University of Technology, Iran, where he runs courses in general English and EAP. His chief research interest is language teaching knowledge. He has published in the Reading Matrix and Teacher Education Quarterly.

Abstract
Theory-first approaches to language teaching research assume that teaching is directed by factors internal to the teachers, i.e., teacher cognition. Along these lines, second language teacher education programs immerse language teachers in general concepts and principles of language teaching to remove their cognitive constraints. Contextual constraints, however, are weeded out as irrelevant since it is assumed that once developed, these general principles can be applied universally. As such, teachers enter the profession with little or no knowledge of the culturally valued modes of thought and action. To uncover contextual constraints or context-sensitive parameters, the study collected and analysed interview data through grounded theory procedures. The results show that rather than being directed by generally accepted principles of language teaching, teachers’ action is directed by teachers’ awareness of parameters, “a set of culturally permissible, though theoretically unjustified acts specified through local exams and teacher evaluation and promotion schemes”. To improve practice, teacher education programs should not only develop teachers’ conceptual knowledge but also equip them with a critical awareness of contextual constraints, i.e., the parameters of teaching which account for the situated nature of teaching knowledge.

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See pages: 213-234

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 12 Issue 2