Observing change in teaching behavior through reflection
Sungurtekin Eröz, Nilgün
Peker, Bena Gül
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This study investigated how teacher trainers and trainees observed changes in the teaching behavior of the trainees who attended a three-week pre-service training course. Determining the results of teacher training in terms of changes in teaching behavior has been a research theme of continuing importance and interest in the field of English Language Teaching. Since often such changes can not be observed directly, perceptions of trained teachers and teacher trainers are sometimes used as research probes. Past studies have shown that teachers perceive change as a result of attending teacher training programs. For example, Ozgirin's study (1996) examined to what extent participation in the DTEFLA training program changed teachers in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, awareness and performance. This study differs from Ozgirin's study in that it does not aim to observe changes in predetermined areas but tries to find out if change in teaching behavior of teachers who attended a pre-service course can be observed through reflection (by using the word "to observe" the intent throughout this study is to mean "to perceive"). This study was carried out in the following way. Three teacher trainers and five newly hired experienced and inexperienced teachers at the Middle East Technical University (METU), at the Department of Basic English (DBE) participated in this study. All of these teachers participated in a DBE pre-service training course taught prior to beginning their teaching at METU. Throughout this study, pre-service training and pre-service orientation are used interchangeably. This pre-service training course was presented according to a detailed written syllabus prepared before training began. The subjects were asked to review and reflect on the pre-service syllabus prepared by the trainers working at the department. The subjects were asked to reflect on the components of the syllabus and discuss them. Thus, data for this study was obtained primarily via think-aloud protocols (TAPs) based on syllabus reflection. How the trainers and the trainees observed change in the teaching behavior of the trainees based on the training items was determined from what they reported. Interviews were employed immediately after the TAPs to investigate further the issues which were not mentioned in the TAPs concerning how the trainees and the trainers observed change. Data obtained from the TAPs and the interviews were analyzed first by transcribing the TAPs and the interviews and then coding the transcriptions. The transcriptions were also coded by a second coder to achieve intercoder reliability. The results of the study show that change in the teaching behavior of the trainees can be observed through trainees' and trainers' reflecting on the pre-service syllabus. How they perceive change seems to be a way to observe changes in teachers as observing change directly is difficult. The results of the study indicate that in the following components of the syllabus change can be observed the most: Demo (of a lesson), Lesson Planning Preparing the Context (in presenting a new topic), Reflect Back Instructions, Vocabulary, Written Homework.