About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 6372 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0452

Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain

TEACHING PRIMARY FOREIGN LANGUAGES IN ENGLAND: DOES THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AVAILABLE EFFECTIVELY SUPPORT CLASS TEACHERS WITH LOW LEVELS OF SUBJECT KNOWLEDGE?

A. Woodgate-Jones1, M. Seymour2

1University of Southampton (UNITED KINGDOM)
2University of Winchester (UNITED KINGDOM)
In 2013 the National Curriculum in England was revised and primary foreign languages (PFLs) became statutory. Before their statutory status, PFLs in England were due to become an entitlement for children aged 7-11years by 2010, as a result of the National Languages Strategy (DfES 2002). The research presented here explores the perceptions of head teachers, class teachers and PFL coordinators from six primary schools in the south of England in response to the expectation to teach PFLs at that time. After initial interviews and preliminary analysis of the data, two case study schools were chosen to provide the context for more extensive data gathering. The findings showed that the greatest concern for the class teachers was their own subject knowledge: the majority involved in this study claimed they were not sufficiently competent in their own subject knowledge of French to teach it confidently. Many teachers expressed serious concerns in this regard but unlike Cable et al. (2010), who found that the head teachers in their study acknowledged the issue of a lack of staff expertise in terms of language skills, the findings presented here found a lack of concern about this both from the head teachers and the PFL coordinators who down-played the level of specific knowledge of French needed so as to encourage the teachers to engage with teaching them. Although the level of specific subject knowledge required is contentious and depends largely on the specific aims of the PFL curriculum, a clear need for Professional Development (PD) for teachers introducing PFLs emerged from the data. There is general agreement in the international literature that although the traditional approaches to professional development, such as workshops or conference attendance, do raise awareness or interest in a particular initiative, they do not foster teacher learning to an extent that changes their practice (Boyle et al. 2005). Adey (2004) goes further and claims that in the research literature there is universal condemnation of the one-off in-service education and training day (unless it is for a very specific thing such as a new piece of software). Fullan & Stiegelbauer (1991) and Joyce & Weil (1986) also concur that more extensive PD is needed for real change to occur. The findings presented here use three individual teachers’ experiences in the two case study schools to explore the effectiveness of the PD teachers received. Ten years after the implementation of languages into primary schools in Scotland, Crichton & Templeton (2010) summarised the situation in order to provide advice for others. One of their key messages was the need to be aware of the training needs involved in introducing PFLs, but the data show that this warning was not heeded. The funding available as well as the amount and the nature of PD available in the case study schools themselves differed greatly. The research highlights ongoing issues with regards to the impact of different types of PD on individual teachers and calls for more detailed auditing of teachers’ needs and greater individualisation of provision.
@InProceedings{WOODGATEJONES2016TEA,
author = {Woodgate-Jones, A. and Seymour, M.},
title = {TEACHING PRIMARY FOREIGN LANGUAGES IN ENGLAND: DOES THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AVAILABLE EFFECTIVELY SUPPORT CLASS TEACHERS WITH LOW LEVELS OF SUBJECT KNOWLEDGE?},
series = {9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-5895-1},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2016.0452},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2016.0452},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {6372}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Woodgate-Jones AU - M. Seymour
TI - TEACHING PRIMARY FOREIGN LANGUAGES IN ENGLAND: DOES THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AVAILABLE EFFECTIVELY SUPPORT CLASS TEACHERS WITH LOW LEVELS OF SUBJECT KNOWLEDGE?
SN - 978-84-617-5895-1/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2016.0452
PY - 2016
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2016
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2016 Proceedings
SP - 6372
EP - 6372
ER -
A. Woodgate-Jones, M. Seymour (2016) TEACHING PRIMARY FOREIGN LANGUAGES IN ENGLAND: DOES THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AVAILABLE EFFECTIVELY SUPPORT CLASS TEACHERS WITH LOW LEVELS OF SUBJECT KNOWLEDGE?, ICERI2016 Proceedings, p. 6372.
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