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Title: Teachers' beliefs about teaching English as a second language (ESL) : two case studies of ESL instruction in Zimbabwe
Authors: Nyawaranda, V.
Date: 1998
Publisher: McGill University, Dept. of Second Language Education, Montréal, QC, CA
Abstract: This inquiry involves two case studies that examine the beliefs of two selected ESL teachers in Zimbabwe teaching at the secondary school level. The study looks at the various nested contexts of the two case studies at the international, national, provincial, school and classroom levels with respect to Zimbabwe before and after independence in 1980. The analysis of the nested contexts aims to show how the various factors at the different levels impinge on the ESL instruction of the two teachers. The study adopts a naturalistic, classroom-based approach that allows for the holistic investigation of teacher-learner interactions in socially-situated cognitive instruction. Specific research questions addressed are: (a) What are the classroom interaction patterns of each of the two teachers selected for the study? What do these patterns and the teachers! classroom artifacts reveal about their beliefs about the construction of social knowledge at secondary school level? (b) How does each teacher in the study construct academic knowledge in his/her ESL instruction? What do the patterns of construction and the teachers' classroom artifacts reveal about their beliefs about the instruction of ESL academic knowledge at the secondary school level? The study uses tools of data collection and analysis from constitutive ethnography and ethnomethodology. Data from interviews, classroom observations, field notes, artifacts and documents are analyzed to see what they reveal about each teacher's beliefs about ESL instruction. Four major themes emerge from the analysis of these data: (a) teachers' beliefs about curriculum documents; (b) teachers; beliefs about ESL models for instruction; (c) teachers' beliefs about interactional rights and obligations in the classroom and (d) teachers' beliefs about teaching linguistic and communicative competence. A major finding of this inquiry is that the two selected teachers, guided by their personal beliefs, respond in different ways to the many contextual factors that impinge on their teaching, giving rise to each teacher's unique teaching repertoires. In the fight of this major finding, it is recommended that ESL teacher education programmes in Zimbabwe begin with the student teachers' beliefs rather than the traditional "method" paradigm.
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