Engaging Teacher Candidates: Utilizing Authentic Practice With Games to Promote Vocabulary Building in Language Teaching

Engaging Teacher Candidates: Utilizing Authentic Practice With Games to Promote Vocabulary Building in Language Teaching

Chesla Ann Lenkaitis (Binghamton University, USA) and Shannon M. Hilliker (Binghamton University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8543-5.ch001

Abstract

Situated cognition is a theory where engagement in a social activity is essential to learning. Applied to teacher education, this theory is important as teacher candidates need clinical experiences throughout their curriculum. This chapter uses games as a context for teacher candidates to develop a vocabulary curriculum to support native and foreign language learning. Twenty-nine teacher candidates participated in the study. Pre- and post-surveys with both Likert-scale and open-ended questions comprise the data set for the study. Results show that groups created vocabulary lists with different amounts of words for games played during each session. Quantitative results reveal how helpful teacher candidates rated the game for language teaching while from qualitative data, three themes emerged: 1) vocabulary needed, 2) communicative aspect of the game, and 3) unsure of helpfulness. This study provides insight into the ways games can provide teacher candidates a way to explore ideas about using them for vocabulary in language teaching.
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Introduction

There is a plethora of research that points to the fact that teachers need more than the theory presented in their teacher education classes (Derry, 2008; Schlager & Fusco, 2003). When teacher candidates participate in authentic practices, their teaching practices are impacted (Flores, 2015). Although the most common ways for teacher candidates to practice the concepts they are learning in their teacher education is to visit classes and student teach, teachers need more opportunities to engage in activities that provide them with authentic ways to work with curriculum. To this end, this study aims to show how teacher candidates’ build a curriculum to be implemented during student teaching. Framed in situated cognition (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989), this study also provides participants the opportunities to explore their ideas about using games for vocabulary building in language teaching.

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