Subject Teacher Training and Teaching in English

    Research output: ThesisMaster's thesisTheses

    Abstract

    The purpose of this Master's thesis is on one hand to find out how CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) teachers and English teachers perceive English and its use in teaching, and on the other hand, what they consider important in subject teacher education in English that is being planned and piloted in STEP Project at the University of Helsinki Department of Teacher Education. One research question is also what kind of language requirements teachers think CLIL teachers should have. The research results are viewed in light of previous research and literature on CLIL education.

    Six teachers participate in this study. Two of them are English teachers in the comprehensive school, two are class teachers in bilingual elementary education, and two are subject teachers in bilingual education, one of whom teaches in a lower secondary school and the other in an upper secondary school. One English teacher and one bilingual class teacher have graduated from a pilot class teacher program in English that started at the University of Helsinki in the middle of the 1990 s. The bilingual subject teachers are not trained in English but they have learned English elsewhere, which is a particular focus of interest in this study because it is expected that a great number of CLIL teachers in Finland do not have actual studies in English philology. The research method is interview and this is a qualitative case study. The interviews are recorded and transcribed for the ease of analysis.

    The English teachers do not always use English in their lessons and they would not feel confident in teaching another subject completely in English. All of the CLIL teachers trust their English skills in teaching, but the bilingual class teachers also use Finnish during lessons either because some teaching material is in Finnish, or they feel that rules and instructions are understood better in mother tongue or students English skills are not strong enough. One of the bilingual subject teachers is the only one who consciously uses only English in teaching and in discussions with students. Although teachers good English skills are generally considered important, only the teachers who have graduated from the class teacher education in English consider it important that CLIL teachers would have studies in English philology. Regarding the subject teacher education program in English, the respondents hope that its teachers will have strong enough English skills and that it will deliver what it promises. Having student teachers of different subjects studying together is considered beneficial.

    The results of the study show that acquiring teaching material in English continues to be the teachers own responsibility and a huge burden for the teachers, and there has, in fact, not been much progress in the matter since the beginning of CLIL education. The bilingual subject teachers think, however, that using one's own material can give new inspiration to teaching and enable the use of various pedagogical methods. Although it is questionable if the language competence requirements set for CLIL teachers by the Finnish Ministry of Education are not adhered to, it becomes apparent in the study that studies in English philology do not necessarily guarantee strong enough language skills for CLIL teaching, but teachers own personality and self-confidence have significance.

    Keywords: CLIL, bilingual education, English, subject teacher training, subject teacher education in English, STEP
    Original languageEnglish
    Publisher
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2010
    MoE publication typeG2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis

    Fields of Science

    • 6121 Languages
    • 516 Educational sciences

    Cite this