Toward a practice-based initial English teacher education in Chile: Identifying Core Practices for teaching English effectively

Year: 2018

Author: Barahona, Malba

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Internationally, the field of initial teacher education has experienced a strong practicum turn in recent decades. This has driven teacher education programs to provide significantly more opportunities in which preservice teachers can engage in purposeful, situated practice (Hlas & Hlas, 2012). The international trend for a practice-based curriculum in initial teacher education has also influenced the design of Chilean teacher education programs. As a result, most Chilean initial teacher education programs now typically integrate sequential school-based learning experiences with progressively escalating pedagogical demands of the preservice teacher. However, despite this development, there remains considerable ambiguity as to the type of knowledge and skills pre-service teachers should develop as they undertake the different stages of these practicum experiences (Barahona, 2015; Montecinos et al., 2011).
One framework that has emerged in response to this call for a practice based teacher education, is the one based on core practices also called high leverage practices (HLPs). This model, which was designed to understand the situated practices of effective teaching, proposes a set of fundamental capabilities characterised as HLPs. They include “tasks and activities that are essential for skillful beginning teachers to understand, take responsibility for, and be prepared to carry out in order to enact their core instructional responsibilities” (Ball & Forzani, 2009, p. 504).
This presentation reports and discusses the findings from a Delphi panel survey of a group of expert Chilean English language educators—teachers, teacher educators, and educational researchers—focused on building consensus around a set of core teaching practices for teaching English.  The results shed light on the relevance of three specific  core practices for teaching English to be integrated in teacher education programs and specifically as an essential component of the methods course and practicum expereinces. These outcomes can contribute to expand the discussion of the design of practice-based approaches and potentially more effective strategies to prepare pre-service teachers of English to address the situated needs of a specific context.