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ERIC Number: EJ1026352
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1354-0602
The Influence of Teachers' Interests, Personalities and Life Experiences in Intercultural Languages Teaching
Peiser, Gillian; Jones, Marion
Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, v20 n3 p375-390 2014
This paper reports on a study that investigated teachers' perceptions about the significance of intercultural understanding (IU) in the modern foreign languages (MFL) curriculum. The research was conducted in the wake of a National Curriculum revision in 2007 in England that for the first time listed "IU" as one of the four key concepts underpinning the study of languages in the Programme of Study. In contrast to other writers who frequently explain MFL teachers' attention to intercultural learning as a consequence of their (lack of) knowledge about intercultural languages theory or pedagogy, or as the result of contextual factors, our findings suggest that the significance attached to IU seems to be profoundly affected by the interests, personalities and life experiences of individuals. This finding emerged from a qualitative study involving semi-structured interviews conducted with 18 teachers in 13 secondary schools in the North-West of England between May 2008 and June 2009. We illustrate our point by mapping the narratives of four teachers, conveyed through pen-portraits, with an adapted version of Kelchtermans's personal interpretive framework, and thus draw on narrative inquiry as our research approach. We claim that our hitherto relatively unnoticed finding, i.e. the central influence of the teacher as an individual on intercultural language teaching, has important implications for MFL teacher education. We suggest that the stories of the four teachers could be used as a professional development tool to identify motivators and inhibitors in developing IU that may resonate with practitioners' own beliefs and practice, and that parallel to this, our adapted Kelchtermans's framework may be used as a blank template to scaffold self analysis. Whilst this article considers teacher development in intercultural languages education, it also seeks to make a contribution to the literature on the usefulness of teacher narrative as a professional development tool.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A