Mexican EFL teachers narrating their professional development during their sojourn in the UK

UoM administered thesis: Phd

Abstract

Every academic year since 1993 a group of Mexican English Foreign Language teachers participate in the “Foreign Language Assistant Programme” (FLAP) promoted by the Ministry of Education in Mexico and the British Council. These in-service teachers sojourn in the UK for a period of eight to nine months in order to work as foreign language assistants of Spanish. By 2016, the FLAP sojourn had been running for over twenty years but had not been yet the focus of any empirical research. This study looks into the experiences of five EFL teachers who sojourned in England during the academic year of 2016-2017 with the purpose of exploring the understandings of professional development they make through reflection and narration of their lived experiences during their FLAP sojourn. Using narrative inquiry as a way of studying and understanding experience, the data for this study was generated through four narrative interviews spread over the course of eight months. The interpretation of the data was informed by existing literature on the impact of professional sojourns on teachers' professional development, human experience and reflection and narration, both of them as meaning-making processes. The findings suggest that during their FLAP sojourn: a) some teachers discovered new and different teaching approaches and teaching strategies, b) some teachers developed new and different ways of working with tutors, c) some teachers developed new theories of language teaching and learning as well as new ways of working with students, d) some teachers developed an increased awareness of their understandings of language teaching and learning, and therefore, of their teaching practices; and e) some teachers increased their understandings of themselves as teachers. This study brings to the fore the significance of encouraging teachers to make meanings through narration, as this process can show the development of new knowledge as well as the reaffirmation and reshaping of previously made knowledge. This study has implications for how reflection, in conjunction with narration, offers an understanding of how teachers make meaning of their FLAP experiences over time. It also has implications for teachers’ professional development during their FLAP sojourn as it illustrates the development of their underlying understandings and theories about language teaching and learning. This study also offers a series of suggestions to the FLAP organisers so that the contribution of the programme to the professional development of its participants can be more visible and explicit.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date31 Dec 2019