Job Shadowing as a Training Tool for Lecturers in Higher Education Bilingual Teaching

Job Shadowing as a Training Tool for Lecturers in Higher Education Bilingual Teaching

Maria Sagrario Salaberri Ramiro (University of Almeria, Spain) and Maria del Mar Sanchez Perez (University of Almeria, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2318-6.ch013


The current context of higher education institutions is guided by targets of internationalization and globalization which adopt different forms, one of them based on the essential role of language learning as an operational instrument that contributes to international activity. Different approaches have been devised to promote language learning—content and language integrated learning (CLIL) or English-medium instruction (EMI)—characterized by the use of a foreign language as a teaching device. In tertiary education, the implementation of bilingual programs demands the use of professional and academic language, communicative skills, and training in methodological abilities. The challenge for lecturers is considerable and they have reported the demanding overload of work, effort, and time, but training in dual-focused teaching is essential to achieve goals successfully. Job shadowing is suggested as a training tool focused on developing bilingual professional skills, knowledge, and competences through observation, action, and reflection while accompanying a professional.
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The demands of globalization in the knowledge society have generated new approaches to teaching and learning foreign languages in general and teaching integrated learning of content and language in particular in different educational stages, including higher education (HE) which is the target of this work. Widely implemented approaches have emerged with a focus both on language and content which have been given different coinages: Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education (ICLHE) and English-medium Instruction (EMI), among others (Costa, 2015), being the latter the most widespread model in Spanish HE institutions. The need for lecturer training and development for pre-service and in-service teaching, respectively (Ur, 1996), to face the new demands, has been recognized as a basic requirement to achieve success in both fields simultaneously and even more in HE, traditionally more centered on being prepared for research and content rather than methodology.

Different training needs have been reported in the last few years which demand effort and time on the part of the lecturers involved, however feedback from participants in different training models report lack of time, low opportunities to share experience and problem solutions, diversity in needs, etc. While still quite scant compared to the rapid spread of EMI programs in European universities (Lasagabaster, 2018), most of the existing teacher training and development courses currently available for English-medium teaching in HE are twofold: language training courses to improve foreign language skills like oral and written communication skills; and pedagogical training courses based on teaching approaches, methods and techniques (e.g. lesson planning, task design, classroom management, etc.) to be applied in EMI university lessons. The former are normally organized by the university language centers, whereas the latter may be offered by the different university schools or faculties. However feedback from participants in EMI programs at university still report some difficulties and challenges when facing lessons in tertiary education that should be considered when designing training and development programs for faculty members, such as L2 difficulties awareness (Klaassen & De Graaff, 2001) or concerns regarding oral communicative skill development, material design and specific teaching techniques related to each particular discipline (Sánchez-Pérez & Salaberri Ramiro, 2017).

The study proposed here is based on a different training modality which has been applied in other contexts –mainly business training- and consists in following a professional who experiments parallel challenges while performing everyday teaching and organizational tasks. Professional or job shadowing can be described as a work-training experience in which trainees or other specialists learn or improve their skills and knowledge by accompanying a competent worker temporarily in the workplace acting as a shadow (Holden and McGrath, 1992). In this approach, the person who shadows has the opportunity to witness the use of work-related skills in the work environment personally, to value training in context, to observe the use of occupational skills in an area of interest and discuss closely the benefits provided by the training experience.

Professional shadowing for training has a place within the framework of Continuing Vocational Education and Training (C-VET), one of initiatives supported by the European Commission as a key element of lifelong learning systems that equip people with knowledge, know-how, skills and/ or competences required in particular occupations. C-VET can take place after entry into working life and it aims to improve or upgrade knowledge, abilities and acquire new skills to continue personal and professional development. It is work-based with learning and training taking place in a workplace (European Commission, 2010). In this context, the Erasmus+ Program offers opportunities to HE teaching staff, among others, to benefit from mobility within European universities to experience a continuous professional development throughout their career.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Internationalisation: The action or process of making something international.

Bilingual Teaching: Teaching or training through the use of an additional language different from the mother tongue.

Higher Education: Post-secondary educational level.

Teacher Training: Providing instruction to teachers or instructors on different strategies, methods and techniques to teach their students appropriately.

Training Tool: Device or technique used to train learners.

Job Shadowing: Work-training experience in which trainees or other specialists learn or improve their skills and knowledge by accompanying a competent worker temporarily in the workplace acting as a shadow.

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