curriculum development and teacher education ppt and importance of teacher education ppt and preservice and inservice teacher education ppt
Innovation in English Language
Edited by George Pickering
and Professor Paul Gunashekar
Selected papers from the fourth
International Teacher Educator Conference
21–23 February 2014Teacher research for
Simon Borg, ELT Consultant
Conventional notions of teacher development are based on training models which
very often take teachers away from the classroom. This paper examines teacher
research as a strategy for professional development which teachers can apply in
their working contexts. Key questions I address are:
1. What is teacher research?
2. What does doing teacher research involve?
3. Why is teacher research a valuable activity for English language teachers?
My aim here is to demonstrate that teacher research is a feasible and valuable
professional development strategy that English language teachers can engage
in and which can contribute to improvements in the quality of the educational
experience they provide for their learners.
Teachers spend the bulk of their time in the classroom, yet professional
development typically involves activities that occur away from the classroom,
such as workshops, lectures, courses and conferences. There is of course value
in all such activities; however, exclusive reliance on external opportunities for
professional development has several drawbacks, summarized in Table 1:
Table 1: External teacher development
Infrequent Teachers cannot attend external events on a regular basis
Costly Teachers or their schools must pay to attend
Disruptive Teachers are taken out of school and lessons must be rearranged
Generic External training may not address individual teacher needs
Decontextualized Learning is not situated in teachers’ classrooms
Receptive Teachers receive knowledge from more ‘expert’ trainers
Not ‘owned’ Teachers have minimal say in decisions about the training
Teacher research provides an alternative to external training and in the rest of this
paper I will explain what it is and what doing it involves.
Teachers often react negatively to the suggestion that they can use teacher
research to support their professional development. These reactions are caused
Innovation in English Language Teacher Education 23by misconceptions of what research is and Figure 1 shows six common ideas about
research that teachers often have. Research very often does have one or more of
these characteristics; however, none of them are defining features of research. For
example, although teachers often see research as an activity that is academic (i.e.
done to obtain a degree or by someone working in academia), research can also
be done by teachers to support their professional development. And, to take two
further examples, while research may be large-scale and statistical, it can also be
small-scale and qualitative. In introducing teacher research, then, it is important to
ensure that research is not being conceived of by teachers in ways which make it
appear to be an unfeasible and irrelevant activity. Research should not be defined
with reference to its scale, its methodology or the status of the researcher; rather, I
find it useful to see it more generally as planned, systematic, purposeful, empirical
inquiry which is made public. This definition of research is an appropriate way into
a more specific definition of teacher research, which can be distinguished from
other forms of research in three particular ways:
1. It is done by teachers – i.e. teachers are the researchers.
2. It takes place in teachers’ working contexts – the site for teacher research is
the school or classroom.
3. Its purpose is to enhance teachers’ work – teacher research allows
teachers to understand themselves, their teaching and their students; such
understandings can also contribute to the growth of the organization teachers
Figure 1: Six misconceptions about the defining features of research
24 Innovation in English Language Teacher EducationIt is important to stress that teacher research is not simply research done by
teachers; a teacher doing research for their MA degree who studies other teachers
(e.g. through a questionnaire) is not doing teacher research because the focus
is not on themselves; similarly, not all research done in the classroom is teacher
research – e.g. an academic who visits a school to collect classroom data is not
investigating their own teaching but studying others in the way that research
conventionally does – this is not teacher research.
Doing teacher research
The process of teacher research is typically visualized as a cycle of some kind
(this is especially true in the case of action research, which is one particular type
of teacher research). Figure 2 highlights key elements in the teacher research
Figure 2: Components in teacher research
The starting point for teacher research is a question of some kind – an issue
that the teacher wants to learn more about or understand better. Although this
initial question is often driven by a problem, teacher research is not simply a
strategy for solving problems. For example, teachers may want to develop a better
understanding of something that works well. The questions that drive teacher
research will also be very practical, stemming from teachers’ experiences in the
classrooms. How can I integrate pair work activities into my lectures? What kind of
feedback on writing do my students prefer? How do my learners react to the use
of self-assessment? These are examples of questions teachers have investigated
using teacher research (see http://www.cambridge.org/elt/blog/2014/02/teacher-
Innovation in English Language Teacher Education 25research-practical-relevant-classroom-inquiry/ for more examples of the kinds of
questions teacher research can explore).
Returning to Figure 2, once teachers have a question the next step is to act –
to collect some information (or data) relevant to it. This is a central part of the
process – teacher research is empirical (i.e. it relies on the collection and analysis
of data). The information that is collected needs to be analysed and evaluated,
and teachers then use the insights emerging from these processes to make
pedagogical decisions. The cyclical nature of the diagram implies that the process
is an ongoing one; this does not mean that teachers will be doing teacher research
all the time, but more generally the idea is that it is not a linear process through
which definitive solutions or answers will be discovered after one cycle of inquiry.
Figure 2 also highlights four additional processes which can enhance teacher
• reflection, because teacher researchers are by definition being systematically
thoughtful about their work in an ongoing manner;
• reading, because it can be useful to know about what others have already
written about the issues teachers are interested in (there is no suggestion
here, though, that teacher research should involve the kind of reading that
would be required for an academic degree);
• communicating, because by talking to colleagues about their inquiries
teachers can receive useful feedback and advice and also motivate others to
engage in inquiries of their own;
• and finally, collaborating, because teacher research will be enhanced when
teachers work together on a shared project rather than alone.
As noted above, teachers need to collect data to help them examine the questions
they are pursuing. Various strategies for data collection are available to teachers
– e.g. journal writing, surveys, drawings and photos, video, observation, interviews,
class discussions, student work, and lesson plans. One key consideration which
should influence which options teachers employ is feasibility – teacher research
must be feasible, as it is an activity which teachers do as part of their normal
teaching duties; data collection, then, should be integrated as far as possible into
teachers’ regular work (as opposed to creating large amounts of extra work for
The further reading listed at the end of this paper includes many examples of
published teacher research projects.
Benefits of teacher research
Numerous benefits of teacher research have been identified in the literature.
For example, teachers engaged in teacher research have said they feel more
confident, motivated and autonomous; they also feel they are more knowledgeable
and have a better understanding of their students. Where teacher research is
collaborative, teachers have also reported improvements in their relationships
with colleagues. Teacher research allows teachers to be more optimistic; as one
26 Innovation in English Language Teacher Educationteacher I worked with said, “I look upon problems as challenges to be overcome
through research not hurdles to cry about”. Renewed enthusiasm is another
benefit that teachers derive from teacher research, as illustrated in this comment:
“We have been teaching the same way we taught ten years ago but now we have
an urge to experiment with new ideas in our teaching”.
It is clear then that teacher research offers many potential benefits to teachers;
their students also benefit from more informed pedagogical decisions while
organizations can benefit too where a culture of teacher research exists across a
school. As evidence of these many benefits grows, teacher research is becoming
increasingly visible as a professional development strategy for teachers. For
example, Cambridge English and English Australia run a teacher research scheme
for ELT professionals in Australia; Cambridge English and English UK run a similar
scheme for teachers of English in the UK; while Cambridge University Press has
also recently launched its own teacher research scheme. The British Council is
also supporting teacher research, as for example in the project I facilitated with
teachers of English in Pakistan in 2012-13 and which resulted in a publication
containing the reports of teachers’ work (see further reading below).
I started this paper by arguing that exclusive reliance on external forms of
professional development has several drawbacks. In contrast, teacher research
provides an option which allows professional development to be ongoing,
inexpensive, integrated into teachers’ routine work, personalized and practical.
Teacher research also gives teachers a strong sense of ownership in shaping the
direction their professional development takes. I am not of course suggesting that
teacher research is the right or only option for all teachers – teachers in different
contexts and at different stages of their career will benefit in varying ways from
different approaches to professional development; however, where the conditions
are appropriate and teachers have suitable skills, knowledge and dispositions,
teacher research has significant transformative potential.
Allwright, D. and Hanks, J. (2009) The developing language learner: An introduction
to exploratory practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Altrichter, H., Feldman, A., Posch, P. and Somekh, B. (2008) Teachers investigate
their work: An introduction to action research across the professions (Second
edition). London: Routledge.
Borg, S. (2006) ‘Conditions for teacher research’. English Teaching Forum 44(4):
22–27. Available at: http://americanenglish.state.gov/files/ae/resource_files/06-
Borg, S. (2010) ‘Language teacher research engagement’. Language Teaching,
Borg, S. (2013) Teacher research in language teaching: A critical analysis.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Innovation in English Language Teacher Education 27Borg, S. and Liu, Y. (2013) ‘Chinese college English teachers’ research
engagement’. TESOL Quarterly 47(2): 270-299.
Borg, S. (Ed.) (2014) Teacher research in Pakistan: Enhancing the teaching and
learning of English. Lahore: British Council.
Brindley, G. (1991) ‘Becoming a researcher: Teacher-conducted research and
professional growth’ in E. Sadtono (Ed.), Issues in language teacher education.
Burns, A. (2010) Doing action research in English language teaching. A guide for
practitioners. New York: Routledge.
Burns, A. (2011) ‘Embedding teacher research into a national language programme:
Lessons from a pilot project’. Research Notes 44: 3-6.
Carter, K. and Halsall, R. (1998) ‘Teacher research for school improvement’ in R.
Halsall (Ed.), Teacher research and school improvement: Opening doors from the
inside. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Davies, P., Hamilton, M. and James, K. (2007) Practitioners leading research.
London: NRDC. Available at: http://tinyurl.com/n35jutv
Ebbutt, D. (2002) ‘The development of a research culture in secondary schools’.
Educational Action Research 10(1): 123–142.
Halai, N. (2011) ‘How teachers become action researchers in Pakistan: Emerging
patterns from a qualitative metasynthesis’. Educational Action Research 19(2): 201-
Oolbekkink-Marchand, H. W., van der Steen, J. and Nijveldt, M. (2014) ‘A study of
the quality of practitioner research in secondary education: Impact on teacher and
school development’. Educational Action Research 22(1): 122-139.
Rickinson, M., Clark, A., McLeod, S., Poulton, P. and Sargent, J. (2004) ‘What on
earth has research got to do with me?’ Teacher Development 8(2/3): 201-220.
Rust, F. and Clark, C. M. (2007) How to do action research in your classroom. New
York: Teachers Network. Available at: http://teachersnetwork.org/tnli/Action_
Sharp, C. (2007) Making research make a difference. Teacher research: a small-scale
study to look at impact. Chelmsford: Flare.
Wyatt, M. (2010) ‘Teachers researching their own practice’. ELT Journal, 65(4): 417-
Zeichner, K. M. and Noffke, S. E. (2001) ‘Practitioner research’ in V. Richardson (Ed.),
Handbook of research on teaching (Fourth edition). Washington, D.C.: American
Educational Research Association.
Visit http://simon-borg.co.uk/free-sources-of-language-teaching-research/ for a
list of free sources of language teaching research, including several volumes of
28 Innovation in English Language Teacher EducationTeacher development as the
future of teacher education
Rama Mathew, Professor, Department of Education, Delhi
Available evidence about teachers’ professional development generally paints a
rather gloomy picture, especially in India. While some pockets can be identified
where good teacher development practices are in operation, reports from
schools and school boards indicate a contrary view: hardly any provision for
teacher development, either in terms of time given to the teacher for his/her own
development or any acknowledgement of how some teachers are making efforts to
develop on their own.
In this paper, I would like to first examine whether and to what extent education
policies provide for teachers’ continuing professional development vis-à-vis its
actual realisation in school contexts. Then I would like to look at some models of
teacher development that are in use outside India. With this as the backdrop, I
would like to revisit some of the CPD work I have been involved in to understand the
nuances of this construct. The examples I discuss indicate what kind of CPD work
is meaningful to teachers and more importantly what is sustainable. I would like to
suggest that an approach that creates opportunities for reflection and theorising
from practice while continuing to learn about language teaching/learning and about
teacher development is satisfying and sustaining.
Teacher Training (TT), Teacher Education (TE) and Teacher Development
It is necessary to understand key terms such as TT, TE and TD before we go
on to discuss Teacher Development. Training, according to Widdowson (1983)
and Richards and Nunan (1990), deals with familiarising student teachers with
techniques and skills to apply in the classroom whereas education involves
teachers in ‘developing theories of teaching, understanding the nature of teacher
decision making and strategies for self-awareness and self-evaluation...’ (Richards
and Nunan ibid: xi). TT is one-off, usually short-term and compulsory for getting a
job. On the other hand, TD is seen to be a voluntary process, ongoing, bottom-up,
since the starting point is the teachers’ own experience where new information is
sought, shared, reflected on, tried out, processed in terms of personal experience
and finally ‘owned’ by the teachers (Ur 1997). For the purpose of this paper, TT
is an officially mandated programme that may or may not have elements that
promote TD. When development is not required on a TT programme, it becomes
a goal which a teacher engages in of his/her own volition; and understandably
not many teachers will want to take on anything ‘extra’. Regardless of low
salaries, inadequate resources and lack of incentives, some teachers set up a
Innovation in English Language Teacher Education 29developmental agenda and engage in activities because they see personal value in
it (see Head and Taylor 1997 for a discussion of this point).
Teacher development: a policy perspective
This section attempts to provide a brief summary and a critique of what various
committees and commissions have recommended especially for CPD of teachers.
This is done in order to understand the policy perspective that informs school
education vis-à-vis CPD in India.
Beginning with the University Education Commission (1948-49) which emphasised
the need to supplement experience with experiment, the different advisory bodies
have continually stressed the importance of different aspects of in-service teacher
education (Secondary Education Commission 1952-53, Education Commission
1964-66, Yashpal Committee 1993, National Commission on Teachers 1983-85,
National Curriculum Framework for School Education 2000).
Experts seem to agree that teacher education is a continuous process and that
its pre-service and in-service components are inseparable. However, there seems
to be some confusion/contradiction in the way TE has been conceptualised: on
the one hand, terms such as CPD, sharing of practice, need-based programmes,
self-learning and independent thinking, and on the other, notions such as training,
reorientation of teachers, equipping which implies a skill-based approach, are
interchangeably used. The more recent policy frameworks, e.g. the National
Curriculum Framework (2005) and the National Knowledge Commission (2006-
2009) see CPD as the most important measure to bridge the gap between
pre-service and in-service TE. The Commission also recommends peer feedback,
especially in rural areas, as a support system for TD.
The National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE), a statutory body of the
Government of India, has made specific recommendations about in-service
TE (1998, 2009). One of the aims of CPD programmes according to the 2009
document is for teachers to ‘break out of intellectual isolation and share
experiences and insights with others in the field, both teachers and academics
….’ (p. 65). For this, the need to create ‘spaces for sharing of experiences of
communities of teachers’ (p. 66) is emphasised.
In sum, the terms training and development have been interchangeably used, as
a result of which even short, expert oriented, one-off in-service programmes are
seen as TD activities. The earlier recommendations saw a need for CPD but did
not articulate its ramifications clearly enough for implementation. The more recent
ones seem to spell out more details that render CPD achievable in more concrete
terms in school as well as in TEIs (Teacher Education Institutions), but do not
have a corresponding provision in school-practice. There are several unanswered
questions: How is the space to be created in the teacher’s busy schedule for
teacher reflection, sharing, mentoring and learning from one another? Who should
create it? What is the role of a TEI in CPD? Is there a provision for acknowledging
30 Innovation in English Language Teacher Educationteacher’s own efforts at engaging in CPD activities? Can NCTE, school boards and
TEIs work collaboratively to make this policy a reality?
CPD in schools: what do teachers say?
A small questionnaire-based study of some thirty teachers in Delhi, with school-
teaching experience of 2 to 20 years, was carried out to find out their perceptions
of what their job entailed and of possibilities that exist for their professional
development. For a few it was a profession of their choice; for the rest it was by
accident or the last option as a career. However, if they were to make a choice
now, almost all of them felt that they would choose this profession; one of them, in
fact, said, ‘I wish I had become a teacher sooner’.
The study revealed that most teachers had settled into the profession even though
it may not have been their first choice. They do not like non-academic activities,
but derive a lot of satisfaction when students show interest in learning. They would
like to be up to date in their subject, but in-service programmes don’t seem to help
them with this, nor with how to become better teachers; they have to themselves
find ways of doing this. Clearly they have not heard of TD and long for a forum
and an outlet where they can express and share their experience with each other.
Thus, while in policy there is a strong suggestion for creating space for teachers
to share experience with peers, from what obtains in schools, it seems clear that
except for short, discrete programmes which are mandatory, there is nothing that
helps teachers to keep themselves alive or motivated in their busy schedule. Many
of them have learnt to ‘survive’ in their own ways, since there is no system-support
for ongoing professional development.
Some success stories around the world
There are quite a few initiatives elsewhere that not only visualise comprehensive
models for developing education professionals but also ensure that these models
are implemented in actual practice. The TE model for the 21st century (TE²¹)
suggested by the National Institute of Education in Singapore comprises various
components unified by the overarching purpose of equipping teachers with
competencies that will enable them to respond proactively to the responsibilities
of the classroom and the school. The TE²¹ model takes into account the entire
spectrum of TE from the stage of initial teacher preparation through to the
continuing journey of teacher professional development (see National Institute of
Education 2009 for details).
The Professional Standards for Teachers (2007) designed by Ofsted (Office
for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) in the UK is a basic
framework within which all teachers should operate from the point of initial
The five stages identified are:
• Qualified Teacher Status
Innovation in English Language Teacher Education 31• Post Threshold
• Excellent Teacher
• Advanced Skills Teacher
Appropriate self-evaluation, reflection and professional development activity
are critical to improving teachers’ practice at all career stages. The standards
demonstrate clearly the key areas in which a teacher should be able to assess
his or her own practice, and receive feedback from colleagues. As their careers
progress, teachers are expected to extend the depth and breadth of knowledge,
skill and understanding that they demonstrate in meeting the standards
appropriate to the role they are fulfilling and the context in which they are working.
Stages in Professional Development conceptualised by the British Council’s new
CPD framework focus on the level of understanding and ability that teachers have
in different areas of their professional practice. These stages are articulated as:
These are only a few examples that offer a roadmap for teacher development. We
do not have in India a roadmap that delineates the different stages of development
let alone provides accreditation and acknowledgement to a teacher who traverses
the path of development. The next section discusses briefly examples of work
done in India and tries to understand what lessons we can learn from them.
Some examples from India
Here I would like to draw on work that I have been part of in the last twenty years
to highlight as well as critique some of the key features in in-service TE and CPD
The CBSE-ELT Curriculum Implementation Study (1993-1998)
This aimed to monitor and evaluate how the Interact in English books at Grade 9
and 10 levels within a communicative curriculum were used in actual classroom
contexts across the country and to provide ongoing support with a view to
strengthening the curriculum. This phase involved many teachers in studying their
own and colleagues’ classrooms in a research-based way and conducted need-
based workshops whenever the ongoing feedback indicated it. Teachers took on
different roles: i.e. that of researcher, resource person, materials writer, assessor
and mentor. This phase, that lasted five years, clearly indicated that an insider-
oriented monitoring and evaluation phase supported by ‘outside experts’ was
indeed meaningful to teachers and sustainable. By the end of the project, it was
clear that a top-down as well as a bottom-up approach to curriculum renewal is
important to bring about change in schools. However, the project had a finite time-
line and funds and therefore had to end.
32 Innovation in English Language Teacher EducationThe tracer study
I undertook this to evaluate the project’s impact after three years and addressed
the following questions:
1. the nature and extent to which the communicative curriculum introduced in
1993 continued to be communicative and learner-centred, taking into account
the kind of support available in school;
2. the nature and extent to which the teacher-research approach to ongoing
curriculum renewal and professional development had been sustained.
The findings from the tracer study revealed the following: the role of teachers-as-
researchers during the monitoring and evaluation phase gave teachers a broader
perspective on the curriculum in different contexts. Before the project, they
merely taught the ‘lesson’, did the exercises, and conducted tests and were happy.
Now their work did not end with a class. They could observe colleagues’ classes
in a non-judgemental way and it ‘worked wonders’ (in a teacher’s own words) with
colleagues. Many of these teachers managed these ongoing professional activities
in spite of the school’s (unwritten) rules and conventions. There were ‘silent
innovators’, albeit very few, who did things that they felt needed to be done, in
spite of school constraints. This study underlined the need for building on existing
school/Board structures to support the teacher in her ongoing professional
development (see Mathew 2006 for details).
Case study (six teachers)
I undertook a case study of six such ‘silent innovators’ (2003). The study explored
the following questions:
• How does the pedagogical understanding of teachers develop and change
• What personal and professional influences impact teachers’ pedagogical
• What kind(s) of inputs are self-sustaining and generative?
• How do teachers build on these inputs to become ongoing learners?
Four important themes that shape teacher development emerged from the case
study (see Mathew 2005 for details):
1. Certain personality traits that enable the teacher to see teaching as a vocation
2. A propensity for reflective thinking
3. The need for ongoing professional development activities, and
4. The importance of school support.
Mentoring in Delhi schools (2008–2010)
This project in in-service education aimed to arrive at a model of mentoring and to
create a community of teachers who support each other, keep growing and help
bridge the gap between teacher education institutions and schools (Mentoring in
Delhi Schools 2010).
Innovation in English Language Teacher Education 33We supported the teachers by developing a self-instructional handbook on
mentoring, giving them a hands-on orientation to how they could observe each
other’s classes and discuss them, and enabling them to read and discuss some
articles/papers in the area. Of the 80 teachers in 11 schools that participated in
this CPD project, we found the following:
• About 25-30 managed to do most of the things and saw value in it. There were
mainly two kinds: where, because of school managements and leadership,
a model of CPD already existed; and where, in spite of a not-so-supportive
environment, teachers engaged in the work because they saw meaning in it.
• About 25 of them gave it a try with different degrees of success.
• The rest were non-starters: not volunteers, inadequate school support, not
The project revealed that a framework for CPD was clearly necessary for teachers
to first of all take on work beyond their regular schedule and then to continue with
it. Self-motivation alone was not sufficient to pursue CPD.
Diary study with teachers
Ten volunteer teachers in Delhi took up a diary study that involved writing diaries,
looking at each other’s diaries and commenting on them in a non-judgemental
but a critical way. This three-month study resulted in the presentation of a paper
based on it at TEC12 and a subsequent publication in the British Council’s CPD
book (Mathew 2013). The diaries indicated that although quite a few of them began
at the descriptive reflection level, over the three months of diary writing they had
reached the dialogic level; there were also instances of critical reflection (see
Hatton and Smith’s (1995) stages of reflection in the Appendix).
These teachers wanted to do diary writing and contribute chapters to a book on
teachers’ voices and professional development. Now we are working on a project
involving young learners as researchers (in collaboration with Warwick University)
and hope to write a book on our work.
The work during the last twenty years shows that some things about CPD
have indeed changed: while the policy on TE appears to have become more
sophisticated, schools make heavier demands on teachers’ time, thus neutralising
the implementation of the policy. For example, the work on CCE (Continuous
Comprehensive Evaluation) has increased tremendously reducing the teacher to
the status of an assembly-line worker. Clearly school boards and policy makers
need to collaboratively arrive at a workable model for CPD. If not, while a few
teachers will struggle to stay growing and motivated, the large majority who do not
have the will and/or the energy to struggle give up and settle down to a ‘normal’
34 Innovation in English Language Teacher EducationWhere do we go from here?
I recommend the following:
• We need to encourage teachers to theorise from their practice and articulate
their understanding in their own words and not pursue a theory-first-and-
then-practice approach. The school’s agenda and TE policy provisions seem
to by and large contradict. While good initial TT programmes can well initiate
teachers to take on the path of CPD, unless (i) drastic changes are made to
the existing TT programmes with corresponding improvement in teacher
educators’ competence resulting in more learner-centred approaches to TE,
and (ii) schools put in place a strong CPD model and make it work, this will
remain a distant dream.
• On our part, we need to accord the status to teachers as knowers, as
producers of legitimate knowledge, and as capable of constructing and
sustaining their own professional development over time.
For this to happen, we need to have a support system in schools which means that
they are given time and space to reflect, observe each other’s classes, engage in
a professional dialogue, read and write about education, share their experience
in seminars/workshops and carry out a host of other professional activities. The
stages of professional development, as envisioned by Ofsted, NIE’s TE²¹ or the
British Council, will need to chart the pathways for professional development and
lay out clear benchmarks to achieve and appropriately reward those teachers
who achieve those targets. Such a scheme will alleviate the problem of teachers
attending in-service programmes because their Principals asked them to or
because they will get a show-cause notice. It will encourage teachers to take
charge of their professional growth and will help them to plan and organise
their learning in a way they can manage what is meaningful to them. After all,
development is a highly personal experience and each of us derives benefit from
opportunities that we encounter/create for ourselves in ways that are meaningful
to us. And intriguingly, we should have the choice not to develop if we don’t wish
to; the only question is, what is the proportion of developing and not-developing
teachers that a school system can afford? Clearly it is imperative that we put in
place a workable model that helps teachers to keep growing. We need to create a
workable CPD model that makes teaching a profession of choice.
The following observation provides a befitting endnote to what I have tried to say
In order for change to become self-sustaining, teachers must begin to
engage in practices that have built-in support for the changes they have
made; otherwise, the changes are likely to erode over time…for change
to become generative, teachers must engage in practices that serve as a
basis for their continued learning
(Franke, Carpenter, Fennema, Ansell and Behrend 1998: 67).
Innovation in English Language Teacher Education 35References
CBSE-ELT Curriculum Implementation Study (1993-97) Final Report 1997.
Unpublished. Hyderabad: Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages.
Education Commission (1964-66) Govt. of India, New Delhi, beta.metastudio.org/
Franke, M.L., Carpenter, T., Fennema, E., Ansell, E. and Behrend, J. (1998)
‘Understanding teachers’ self-sustaining, generative change in the context of
professional development’. Teaching and Teacher Education 14/1: 67-80.
Hatton, N. and Smith, D. (1995) ‘Reflection in teacher education: Towards definition
and implementation’. Teaching and Teacher Education 11/1: 33-49.
Head, K. and Taylor, P. (1997) Readings in Teacher Development. Oxford:
Mathew, R. (2005) ‘How do teachers continue to learn and grow? Understanding
teacher development’ in A. Pulverness (Ed.), IATEFL 2004, Liverpool Conference
Mathew, R. (2006) ‘Tracing the after-life of teacher development programmes:
Reopening closed chapters’. English Language Teacher Education and Development
9, Winter 2006: 21-38.
Mathew, R. (2013) ‘Diary writing as a tool for reflective practice’ in R. Bolitho and
A. Padwad (Eds.), Continuing Professional Development: Lessons from India. British
Mentoring in Delhi Schools (2010) A UKIERI In-service Project, Central Institute of
Education, University of Delhi, Delhi.
National Commission on Teachers (1983-85) Govt. of India, New Delhi. Available at:
National Curriculum Framework (2005) NCERT, New Delhi. Available at: www.ncert.
National Curriculum Framework for School Education (2000) NCERT, New Delhi.
Available at: www.eledu.net/rrcusrn_data/NCF-2000.pdf
National Institute of Education (2009) TE21: A teacher education model for the 21st
Century. Singapore: National Institute of Education. Available at: http://www.nie.edu.
National Knowledge Commission (2006-2009) Govt. of India, New Delhi. Available
NCTE (1998) Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education. New Delhi. Available at:
36 Innovation in English Language Teacher EducationNCTE (2009) National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education: Towards
Preparing Professional and Humane Teacher. New Delhi. Available at: http://www.
Richards, J.C. and Nunan, D. (Eds.) (1990) Second Language Teacher Education.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Secondary Education Commission (1952-53) Govt. of India, New Delhi. Available at:
University Education Commission (1948-49) Govt. of India, New Delhi. Available at:
Ur, P. (1997) ‘The English teacher as professional’. English Teaching Professional
Widdowson, H.G. (1983) Learning Purpose and Language Use. Oxford: Oxford
Yashpal Committee (1993) ‘Learning without Burden’. Govt. of India, New Delhi.
Available at: http://www.teindia.nic.in/Files/Reports/CCR/Yash%20Pal_committe_
Stages of Reflection (Hatton and Smith 1995)
• Descriptive, factual writing: Not reflective.
• Descriptive reflection: Reflective, not only a description of events but some
attempt to provide reason/justification for events but in a reportive way.
• Dialogic reflection: Demonstrates a ‘stepping back’ from the events/actions
leading to a different level of mulling about, discourse with self and exploring
the experience, events and actions using qualities of judgement and possible
alternatives for explaining and hypothesising.
• Critical reflection: Demonstrates an awareness that actions and events are not
only located in, and explicable by, reference to multiple perspectives but are
located in, and influenced by, multiple historical and socio-political contexts.
Innovation in English Language Teacher Education 37Innovation in the provision
of pre-service education and
training for English language
teachers: issues and concerns
Julian Edge, University of Manchester, UK
Steve Mann, University of Warwick, UK
Innovation: some issues from Steve
The British Council has invested some serious energy in the last decade in
promoting innovation. Taken as a whole, most of these efforts have been
worthwhile. Some might think that the ELTON awards (awards for innovation in ELT)
are a pale imitation of the Oscars but they are the closest that teachers, publishers
and those involved in teacher education will ever get to a red carpet and some
kind of recognition The ELTONs are the only international awards that recognise
and celebrate innovation in the field of English language teaching. What is good
about the ELTONs is that they promote ideas that are new and above all ideas that
are practical and usable. This is the kind of philosophy that Julian and I adopted
for our Innovations book (Edge and Mann 2013). We wanted accounts of practice
which foregrounded practical steps and procedures. This is also the rationale for
other contributions in the Innovations series (British Council 2013).
How successful have innovations been in ELT?
I now want to focus on innovation. The first question to consider is how successful
innovations have been in ELT. Obviously in an article of this length we have not
time for an exhaustive survey but, although innovation in ELT has grown apace
in recent years, much of it has been unsuccessful (see, for example, Waters
2009). Wedell (2009) argues that this is because of a failure to take into account
lessons from innovation theory. He is referring to thinking about who will use the
innovation, how they will use it and what barriers there might be in successful
adoption of an innovation. In simple terms, he is talking about who is likely
to be using these innovations and under what conditions. This consideration
of innovation and its relation to context is ‘situated’ and therefore should be
concerned with the development of an appropriate methodology (Holliday 1994).
Innovation in PreSETT
At this point in the article, it might be useful to tell you more about the British
Council publication we have been involved in. Edge and Mann (2013) includes
14 different articles that feature an innovation in a PreSETT context. Initially
there were over 150 proposals (showing a huge level of interest in the project),
confirming the British Council view that there were plenty of practitioners who
would like to share practice in this area. When we sent guidelines to the authors
38 Innovation in English Language Teacher Educationwe asked for specific detail of the innovation. In other words, we wanted clarity in
description of the procedures and process. It was also important that we heard
from those on the receiving end of the innovation: What were their views? How
had it gone for them? In addition, we wanted practitioners to be reflexive about
the process; that is: What had they learned? How had they changed? What is
important in the accounts we chose was that they provide the detail of innovation
and evaluation in a context of reflective practice (RP). This is important because
it gives a detailed, situated view and it also makes possible replication, or at least
informed action, on the part of other practitioners.
The importance of context
Innovations are not easily generalisable, because each context has its own
constraints, affordances and dynamic. This is why an in-depth appraisal of the
innovation context is vital before introducing an innovation. The ‘hybrid model’
(Henrichsen 1989) provides a thorough system for identifying contextual factors
likely to facilitate or hinder the change process and this gives us a good start in
responding to Holliday’s (1994) call for the recognition of the importance of a
detailed, ethnomethodological understanding of the innovation situation in making
judgements of appropriacy. The idea of being ‘appropriate’ chimes with ideas of
‘situated learning’. If we embrace the ideas of appropriate methodology both in
what we are aiming to get our teacher-trainers to achieve and in what we aim for
it, this moves us away from ideas of generalised ‘best practice’ towards ‘praxis’.
This is essentially where we currently ‘live’ in a period of ‘post-method condition’
(Kumaravadivelu 2001). This is a time when there needs to be a renewed and
corresponding recognition of the importance of situated learning and appropriate
Developing situated or appropriate tools
In order for appropriate and situated methodology and learning to happen, tools
need to be sufficiently flexible that they can be tailored to specific contexts and
facilitate the kind of up-close professional understanding that RP was originally
designed to foster. This is why some of the accounts in Edge and Mann (2013) are
important. For example, Kurtoglu-Hooton (2013) shows that RP can and should
be taught on pre- and in-sessional teacher education programmes but in a more
systematic way. Her tools enable close-up and data-led attention to teaching.
New in context
One of the key ideas of Mann and Edge (2013) is that a new idea is not the same
as an innovation. Innovation demands that the practitioner concentrates on
process; it demands ongoing self-evaluation and reflection; it asks that we pay
as much attention to how we teach or train as to which topics get covered along
the way, or the tools that we employ. This is why we asked contributors to make
clear the steps and detail of introduction, implementation and evaluation of their
efforts, because it is the realisation of an ‘idea in action’ that constitutes ‘genuine
innovation’. Mawa Samb’s (2013) article on formative assessment would not be
seen as a new idea in most contexts. However, it is an innovation in Senegal.
Innovation in English Language Teacher Education 39Likewise Lesley Dick’s (2013) work in Sri Lanka may not immediately sound like
a headline-grabbing innovation. We have all used ‘top tips’ haven’t we, with our
teacher-trainees? However, the innovative aspect of Dick’s work is that these top
tips are an outcome of a bottom-up process of discussion. They are renewed and
revisited with each new group. We get a sense from Lesley that the reflective
process (stepping back) has established the nature of the task itself:
I have used Top Tips in input sessions and in teaching practice feedback
sessions for years but have never really taken a step back and queried why
it worked and what it did. (Dick 2013: 143)
There is a Japanese concept that is used in management and business called
‘kaizen’ and I think it is useful as a metaphor for the kind of innovation that we are
promoting in this chapter. ‘Kaizen’ can be translated as kai (“change”) and zen
(“good”) and, taken together has the meaning of something like “improvement”.
Its intended effect on the ‘workforce’ is to engage all workers in the continuous
improvement of design. The ‘workers’ are not only encouraged to engage in
a process of continuous evaluation and potential improvement but they are
empowered to feel that they have both a voice and input. lf we apply the same
concept to teaching and teacher training we can focus on the following:
• The practice of continuous quality improvement within one’s teaching;
• Innovation is based on many small changes rather than radical changes;
• Ideas for change and improvement come from teachers and students
• Teachers take ownership for their work and related improvements.
For me this is a potentially powerful way of looking at innovation. For most of us
it will not be eureka moments that make a difference to quality. Rather it will be a
series of much smaller-scale modifications and small changes. I remember Jane
Willis once talking about the importance of small tweaks in task-based learning
and teaching. These kinds of tweaks are very much what the concept of kaizen
Icarus and Narcissus
Having explained that I think kaizen can help us characterise innovation as a
reflexive process of small actions, I want to pause and share with you the central
comparative metaphor in Julian’s most recent book. It is called The Reflexive
Teacher Educator in TESOL (2011). You probably know the individual stories of
Icarus and Narcissus. Icarus had wings and flew higher than he should. Narcissus
stayed too long observing himself and put down roots. They are both seen as
failures. However, Julian argues that they represent a dynamic and inevitable
tension that propels us forward in our professional practice, where ‘the mutually-
shaping interactions between our roots and our wings, our self-knowledge and our
environmental knowledge’ provide awareness so that we can ‘commit ourselves
40 Innovation in English Language Teacher Educationto future action based on that combined awareness’ (Edge 2011:17). We need to
know our context and ourselves (where we currently are) in order to make the kind
of small-scale innovation that is appropriate future action. Of course, the tension
between Narcissus and Icarus is not the only one we have to negotiate as teacher
trainers. For example, we need to negotiate a balance between direction and
reflection (see Farr 2011). At this point, I will hand over to Julian.
Innovation: some concerns from Julian
Shortly after my last visit to India, I remember being greatly encouraged by the
publication of Naidu et al (1992). The authors reported in depth on a piece of
collaborative teacher research in which they emphasised the importance of
articulating to each other the thinking behind what they actually did in class:
By naming what we do we have recovered our practice, which otherwise
might have been lost irretrievably (a fate we believe that many teachers
have suffered). Further, we can now identify for ourselves what aspects of
our practice we are confident of and what we need to strengthen. (p.261)
I find those words, ‘a fate we believe that many teachers have suffered,’ to be
among the most hauntingly resonant ever written in the field, and as relevant now
as they were then as teachers are still encouraged to believe that their job is to
somehow ‘apply’ other people’s so-called ‘theories’. As Kumaravadivelu (2006) puts
Since the audiolingualism of the 1940s, TESOL has seen one method after
another roll out of western universities and through western publishing
houses to spread out all over the world. On each occasion, teachers in
other countries and other cultures have been assured that this one is
the correct one, and that their role is to adapt it to their learners, or their
learners to it. (p.20)
Politics, Neo-Colonialism and Globalism
We know well enough (Kumaravadivelu 2006) how the historical British/USA
succession in terms of massive economic, military and cultural influence on world
affairs has resulted in the current importance of the English language. We know
well enough that the driving purpose of globalism is to allow money to move freely
around the world to where it can find its biggest margins of profit, and then move
on when the time is right, leaving behind what it can no longer use. We know full
well that such dominance and such care-free profits depend on the teaching of
English. And that is how we earn our livings.
Another perspective responds that we teach English because that is what our
people, and especially our young people, need if they are to get a good education,
if they are to get good jobs, if they are to attain positions of influence. This is the
discourse of empowerment, and empowerment through English. So, which is it?
English for continuing domination or English for empowerment?
Innovation in English Language Teacher Education 41