Promoting Teacher Professional Development through Online Task-Based Instruction

Promoting Teacher Professional Development through Online Task-Based Instruction

María Elena Solares-Altamirano (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Centro de Enseñanza de Lenguas Extranjeras, Departamento de Lingüística Aplicada, México)
DOI: 10.4018/jvple.2010100104
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Abstract

The importance of teachers in the success of Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) is unquestionable. However, designing a teacher course on TBLT raises many questions concerning ‘what’ and ‘how’ it can be implemented. Can teachers’ professional development be promoted through Task-Based Instruction (TBI)? This paper explores this question by examining the design and implementation of an online course for teacher development on TBLT at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. This paper proposes a task definition for teacher education and develops a framework for TBI in online teacher education. The tasks, suggested framework for professional development, and potential of online education resulting from the interaction tools used in this course also provide insights into the development of online TBI for teacher education.
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Models Of Teacher Development

Wallace (1991) suggests three major models of professional education: 1) the craft model, in which the knowledge of the profession lies in a skilled practitioner, the apprentice learns by imitating that practitioner’s performance; 2) the applied science model, a one-way model in which discoveries in the scientific area are transmitted to the apprentice by specialists in the subject. Adjustments in the practice component are restricted to specialists, who usually disregard the value of teachers’ classroom experience; 3) the reflective model, a model that distinguishes between received and experiential knowledge. Received Knowledge is the academic content of the profession – facts, data, theories – that teachers need to be familiar with. Trainee-teachers accept rather than experience this knowledge. Experiential Knowledge is the tacit knowledge gained by a teacher from his day-to-day practice. This knowledge allows him to identify signs, problems, etc., though he is unable to give precise descriptions. The reflective model suggests a reciprocal relationship between the received and experiential knowledge, “so that the trainee can reflect on the received knowledge in the light of classroom experience, and so that the classroom experience can feed back into the received knowledge sessions” (p. 55).

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