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Volume 13 Number 4, Winter 2016, Pages 247-396 PDF Download

Using a Skills Development Course to Foster Teacher Professional Growth

    Linda Mary Hanington & Anitha Devi Pillai

In many countries concerns have been raised about the proficiency levels of teachers of English and various proposals have been made to address them. This study explores one possible solution to this problem by integrating language skills development with an awareness of pedagogical approaches. The participants in this study, pre-service teachers who were preparing to teach in Singapore primary schools, attended a short intensive course that helped develop and support their own English language skills while modelling approaches they would be expected to use in their own classrooms. Data were collected using a pre-course survey, reflective tasks during and after the course, and a post-course task based on practical school experience. The findings demonstrate how the participants became more aware of their own language skills and noted improvements. At the same time experiencing and reflecting on the pedagogical approaches used in the course helped shape their perceptions and beliefs, and had potential and real impacts on their subsequent teaching. Clarke and Hollingsworth's (2002) Interconnected Model of Teacher Professional Growth (IMTPG) was used to analyze the data and highlighted the individuality of the process of teacher professional growth, while at the same time revealing some common patterns.

Keywords: process writing, oral communication, technology, reflection, IMTPG, teacher professional growth