In her dissertation, Fenna Swart investigated teacher educators' perspectives of language-oriented learning and teaching through a three-year professional development project. The defence will take place on Wednesday 16 May.
The objectives of the project were aimed at having the experienced teacher educators successively explore, conceptualise, operationalise and evaluate the research topic (language-oriented learning and teaching) through conceptual and empirical explorations in their content-based teaching practice.
Language-oriented professional development
The conceptual and empirical explorations were combined to advance the field of research on language-oriented professional development and to contribute to the improvement of teacher educators’ language-oriented teaching. For this purpose, a total of consecutively 35, 29, 11 and 3 experienced teacher educators and 32 students volunteered to participate in the project.
Results show that the teacher educators who indicated to understand and propagate their subject-specific content in a language-sensitive and language-focused manner were better able to understand and support their students. The key focus area used here was active listening to encourage students to articulate and share their thoughts and knowledge. According to these teacher educators, their students were better able to present and position themselves as future teachers, as a result.
Interpersonal and pedagogically-oriented language
Based on these results, Swart argues that through the convergence of interpersonal and pedagogically-oriented language in content-based teaching, teacher educators enrich and deepen their pedagogical content knowledge with practical knowledge of language in order to support and facilitate classroom interaction in an understanding and knowledgeable manner.