Dissertation Defense: Lara Bryfonski
Candidate Name: Lara Bryfonski
Advisor: Alison Mackey, Ph.D.
Title: Task-Based Teacher Training: Implementation And Evaluation In Central American Bilingual Schools
Much of what we know about the role of teachers in task-based classrooms comes from a body of research that has examined the various issues teachers face when attempting to implement TBLT for the first time (e.g. Carless, 2004; McDonough & Chaikitmongkol, 2007). Less empirical research has examined the connections between teacher education programs and subsequent successful TBLT implementation. Despite some previous studies on training teachers to implement TBLT (e.g. Ogilve & Dunn, 2010), few have adequately described the training teachers received and then connected training practices to successful TBLT implementation.
The present study utilized a mixed-methods design with a cohort of preservice teachers preparing to teach English at three different bilingual schools in Honduras. Pre- and post-training surveys and follow-up interviews measured changes in teachers’ beliefs about TBLT after training. Data were triangulated with daily teacher reflections on their experiences during training and follow-up surveys after two months of in-service teaching. Observations of teachers in their classrooms during training were used in stimulated-recall interviews and to assess implementation of task-based pedagogy. Implementation was also evaluated by interviewing family members of students enrolled in the bilingual school.
Results uncovered variations in the impact of the task-based teacher training program on novice language teachers’ TBLT beliefs and subsequent implementation patterns. Findings indicated that factors such as prior teaching experience, prior education and native language influenced teachers’ beliefs and implementation of TBLT. Teachers success levels were high for aspects important to L2 learning such as elaborating input and encouraging inductive learning through repetition. However, less success was seen at providing negative feedback, respecting learner syllabi and developmental processes, and individualizing instruction. Stimulated recall findings uncovered that the majority of teachers focused on promoting a cooperative and collaborative learning environment. Implications of the study are discussed in terms of their impact for TBLT research, the methods used to investigate task-based teacher education programs, and the pedagogical implications for the participating bilingual schools and for other language programs in similar contexts worldwide.
Thursday, March 14 at 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Poulton Hall, 230
1421 37th St., N.W., Washington
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