A comparative study of curricular models in English teacher training in international contexts

Wu, Shinian and Booth, Paul (2019) A comparative study of curricular models in English teacher training in international contexts. In: The European Conference on Language Learning; 19 - 21 Jul 2019, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Educational systems around the world differ in their scope and focus as they are designed to meet country-specific educational challenges for their learners. Second language education programs that train language teachers are no exception. The study reported here compares three postgraduate applied linguistics programs that each train ESL/EFL teachers in the UK, the US, and China in their unique curricular setups: the UK’s one-year integrated module-based curriculum, the US’s two-year theory-driven pedagogy type curriculum, and China’s three-year comprehensive knowledge-based curriculum. The intellectually curious question then becomes “Are they equally effective in training English teachers for the kinds of English learning populations they serve?” This question is addressed in a survey comprised of questionnaires for teacher educators, postgraduate students, and follow-up interviews with both teacher educators and students. Three perspectives are discussed: 1) teacher educators’ perspective on the effectiveness of their curriculum, 2) students’ perspective on the rigor and usefulness of their program, and 3) students’ self-perception of their readiness to enter the “real world” as ESL/EFL teachers. The preliminary survey data suggest that while there is a common thread of what an effective curriculum should entail in terms of the important knowledge and skills it should impart, programs can also learn from each other the best practices in teacher training in this increasingly interconnected world in which learning objectives and learner needs may very well overlap.

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