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Appraisal of language teaching through teachers' perceptions

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Title:
Appraisal of language teaching through teachers' perceptions examination of field-specific needs
Creator:
Takase, Noriko
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
x, 47 leaves : illustrations ; 29 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Language teachers -- Attitudes ( lcsh )
Language and languages -- Study and teaching ( lcsh )
Language and languages -- Study and teaching ( fast )
Language teachers -- Attitudes ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 45-47).
Thesis:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, School of Education and Human Development, Administration, Supervision, and Curriculum Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Noriko Takase.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
30839210 ( OCLC )
ocm30839210
Classification:
LD1190.E3 1993m .T35 ( lcc )

Full Text
APPRAISAL OF LANGUAGE TEACHING THROUGH TEACHERS'
PERCEPTIONS : EXAMINATION OF FIELD-SPECIFIC NEEDS
by
Noriko Takase
B.A., Ochanomizu University, 1978
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Administration, Supervision, and Curriculum Development
1993


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Noriko Takase
has been approved for the
School of Education
by
Sharon M. Ford
Maurice J. Holt

Date


Takase, Noriko (M.A., Administration, Supervision, and Curriculum
Development)
Appraisal of Language Teaching through Teachers' Perceptions: Examination
of Field-Specific Needs
Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Sharon M. Ford
ABSTRACT
It is said that the view of language teaching, the basic assumption of
language teacher education, has recently changed from linguistic-orientation
toward more involvement in educational research of broader aspects. This
study examines the inner views of language teaching: how practitioners see
their teaching field under current conditions.
In this study, a group of language teachers and a group of subject-
matter teachers were asked to reply to a questionnaire designed to investigate
their perceptions about various factors surrounding their teaching. The
questionnaire involved students' backgrounds, learning styles, teaching
effectiveness, teaching aims, etc., which were derived from five educational
themes. In the analysis, language teachers' perceptions were compared with
those of subject-matter teachers. Comparisons were made in terms of: (1)
factors for which the two teacher groups had different perceptions, (2) factors
for which teachers had field-specific consciousness, and (3) common features
of language teachers' perceptions, and how they are different from those of
subject-matter teachers.
The results suggest that language teachers had lower trust in theory-
oriented teaching, lower confidence in students' outcome predictions, and the
field-specific consciousness that their field is direct usefulness-driven and
skill-based.
Based on the findings, field-specific needs to be explored are proposed,
and the implications for language teacher education are also discussed.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I
recommend its publication.
m


Signed
Sharon M. Ford

IV


Dedicated to Dr. G. Mike Charleston
who passed away in March 1993.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I appreciate the advice of Dr. Sharon M. Ford who encouraged me through
the process of this thesis, and Kappa Delta Pi members and Colorado TESOL
members for their cooperation. Kozo Takase is also acknowledged. He gave
most generously of his time, teaching me how to analyze the data.


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION 1
"2. THE STUDY 5
Purpose and Approach 5
Beliefs, Knowledge, Perceptions and Perceptual Styles 6
Theme and Factors 8
Theme 1 Factors Intervening the Process
between Teaching and Learning 9
Theme 2 Link between Teaching and Learning 11
Theme 3 Relevance 12
Theme 4 Conceptions about Professional Teaching 13
Theme 5 Needs of Knowledge 14
Structure of the Questionnaire 17
Theme-Factors-Statements-Dimensions 17
3. METHOD 20
Subjects and Data Collection 20
Data Analysis 21
4. RESULTS 23
Comparison of Teachers' Perceptions and Conceptions 23
Differences in Perceptions of Theme 1 23
Differences in Perceptions of Theme 2 25


Differences in Perceptions of Theme 3 26
Differences in Conceptions of Theme 4 26
Examination of Field Specific Consciousness 27
Knowledge Needs Analysis 27
Comparison of Teachers' Perceptual Styles 28
Perceptual Styles of Theme 1 29
Perceptual Styles of Theme 2 32
Perceptual Styles of Theme 3 34
Summary of Findings 37
5. DISCUSSION 38
Limitations of the Study 38
Conclusion and Implications 39
APPENDIX
Section <1> Question list of Theme 1,2,3, and 4 43
Section <2> Questions of Theme 5 44
REFERENCES 45
viii


FIGURES
Figure
1. Perceptual Styles of Theme 1 30
2. Perceptual Styles of Theme 2 33
3. Perceptual Styles of Theme 3 36
ix


TABLES
Table
1. Structure of the Questionnaire 19
2. Significant Differences in the Responses to Theme 1 23
3. Significant Differences in the Responses to Theme 2 25
4. Significant Differences in the Responses to Theme 4 26
5. Rank of Knowledge Needs Preferences 28
x


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Language teaching is one of the disciplinary fields of education.
This assumption can receive logical agreements from educators and
educational researchers. However, in the modern history of language
teaching, it has been specialized, and was apt to be excluded from the main
stream of teaching. Studies have not deeply explored analyzing how and
why the field was specialized, thus, remained in low status.
In recent years, the view of teaching has gradually changed in the
language teaching field. Since the late 80's, "teacher development" has
become an increasing concern among scholars, teachers and practitioners
in the field of language teaching. The construct of "development"
presents the transition of emphasis in this field, from skill-based teacher
training and specific methods drawn from linguistics and language
learning theories to various concepts in the larger field of education
(Freeman, 1989; Richards, 1990).
This new movement and challenge is clearly described in the
preface of the currently published "Second Language Teacher Education"
(Richards & Nunan, 1990), in which editors find common themes
recurring throughout the collection of works for the book.
- a movement away from a "training" perspective to an "education"
perspective and recognition that effective teaching involves higher-
level cognitive process, which cannot be taught directly
- the need for teachers and student teachers to adopt a research
orientation to their own classrooms and their own teaching
- less dependence on linguistics and language theory as a source
1


discipline for second language teacher education, and more of an
attempt to integrate sound, educationally based approaches (p. xii).
Several themes and frameworks have been proposed through the
new movement, attempts to rethink language teaching itself, and
language teacher role in accordance with the current trends in education:
reflective teaching, teacher as a researcher, beyond training and
professionalization (Applebee, 1987; Fanselow, 1987; Nunan, 1989;
Richards, 1987,1990). To date, Freeman and Richards (1993) present us
how a number of methods and approaches of language teaching are
intrarelated within themselves and interrelated with general educational
concepts by applying Zahoriks (1986) classification of general conceptions
of teaching to the subset of language teaching. This work illuminates the
common feature of teaching which every disciplinary field has at any level
of education, and the possible direction for further exploring our
discussions in second language teacher education. In sum, it became a
growing impreventable trend to see language teaching as one disciplinary
field situated in the broad field of teaching, which is fully involved in the
trends and streams of general education.
This new movement is not only caused by the external pressure and
stimuli from the general movement in education as the Carnegie and
Holmes reports (Lange, 1990), but also by the inner dissatisfaction with the
status and difficult situations of second language teaching. Grosse (1991)
claims for the curriculum of language teacher education, "An absence of
readings from (and training within) the broader field of education tends to
marginalize our profession and narrow our viewpoint" (p. 43).
Freeman(1989) argues that language teacher education is fragmented
because of
2


...the historical accident of a profession (language teaching) principally
derived from an academic discipline (applied linguistics); the
transparency of content (language), which often discourages the
development of coherent professional preparation, since "anyone who
speaks it can teach it"; ...(p. 27).
It is obvious that the consciousness of low and marginalized status and the
difficulties in defining the content of language teaching itself and language
teacher education have been motives for the new movement in this field.
Despite the efforts made in the current movement, it still remains
vague how this field can be characterized in general education. In other
words, the direction for dissolving difficulties specific to this field and low
status has not been presented.
It goes without saying that language teaching is circumscribed by
several complicated factors specific to its disciplinary field. Language
teaching encompasses various fields of learning which are characterized by.
learners' purpose, age, target content, and background. And language
teachers definitely have a greater possibility of being confronted with
cross-cultural situations. As the analysis by Ashworth (1983) shows the
complex forces influencing ESL in English Canada: social forces, national
forces, political forces, economic forces, professional forces, institutional
forces including teacher training sector, schools and governmental sector,
and pedagogical forces, language teaching shoulders complicated
situations which sometimes make practitioners feel helpless.
It is very questionable whether under the actual conditions of
language teaching, language programs are corresponded to the new
movement, and whether or not practitioners have changed their views of
teaching.
This study will reexamine the nature of language teaching on the
assumptions that the condition of language teaching should be
3


reconsidered from broader educational aspects and that language teachers
have field specific needs for improving their teaching in addition to the
general needs common through all disciplinary fields.
4


CHAPTER 2
THE STUDY
This study is a questionnaire survey which is designed to
investigate inner views on the nature of language teaching by applying the
attitudinal aspects derived from broader educational themes. In this
study, the term "language teaching" is used as representing the condition
of "second language teaching."
Purpose and Approach
The purpose of this study is to examine practitioner's views of the
language teaching field and to uncover the field-specific needs for its
exploration, which, under current conditions, are becoming more
complicated.
The following approaches are taken in this study;
1. In order to clarify the commonality and the diversity through various
teaching disciplinary fields, language teachers' views are compared with
those of subject-matter teachers. This procedure illuminates the
language teachers' different perceptions about their teaching and their
own field from those of subject-matter teachers working in so-called ;
regular first language instructions.
2. In addition to the comparison of teachers' perceptions and conceptions,
"field specific consciousness" is examined. In this study, "field specific-
consciousness" is defined and measured as the degree to which teachers
feel certain conditions as particular to their own teaching field. i
3. In order for further deliberation on what factors and what kind of
5


teachers' dispositional tendency characterize language teachers'
perceptions, common features in language teachers' perceptions about
certain educational themes are investigated. Those common features in
teachers' perceptions are called "perceptual styles" in this study. The
questionnaire of the study is designed to illustrate teachers' perceptual
styles. The perceptual styles of language teachers are also contrasted
with those of subject-matter teachers.
Beliefs. Knowledge. Perceptions and Perceptual Styles
Teachers' beliefs have become an important concern in educational
research. Increasing attentions have been paid to teachers' beliefs and
belief systems, primarily involving the general psychological assumption
that human perceptions are restricted, sometimes distorted by individual's
beliefs; and that perception of the event is a first step of the decision
making process, consequently influence individual's behavior (Abelson,
1979; Bandura, 1986; Soltis, 1966). Beliefs are supposed to not be
vulnerable, and in most cases, are culturally transmitted. In addition to
this assumption, special attentions are paid to teachers' beliefs in the field
of teacher development on the assumption that, investigation of teachers'
beliefs should be a key to exploring teacher candidates' preparation for the
teaching profession, as well to clarifying what ideas teacher candidates
brought to their teacher education programs, and how they can be changed
(Ashton,1990; Clark, 1988; Goodman, 1988; Wilson, 1990).
Pajares (1992), in his review of educational research on beliefs,
points out that there has been consensus about the dichotomy of beliefs
and knowledge, but definitions and functions are varied among scholars.
The most common definition is "Belief is based on evaluation and
6


judgment; Knowledge is based on objective fact" (p. 313). It can be
assumed that theoretical and philosophical knowledge gained through
graduate teacher education programs are screened by belief systems or
incorporated into belief systems by teachers' sense of balance between
practical difficulty and knowledge-oriented thinking.
In this study, perceptions are investigated in terms of the two
different directions of the perceptual process. For example, it can be
assumed that in the perceptual process, a teacher sees one factor that seems
to be the obstacle in students' learning, with overwhelmed feelings; but at
the same time, s/he knows that identifying and removing, or in some
cases, accommodating the factor, is a key to overcome that difficulty.
Teachers' thoughts are often divided by their ambivalent feelings and
concerns, and are deeply related with their personal histories, beliefs,
reflection of knowledge, and judgments of reality. Lampert (1985)
describes teacher's practice as the process of coping with dilemma, caused
by equally weighted alternatives and concerns.
Common features of perceptions are to be examined in terms of the
tension between knowledge and beliefs which include specific beliefs of
"attribution" and "sense of control," or the tension between the practical
difficulty and knowledge-base oriented thinking, and the inner conflicts
that teachers hold in their attitudes towards educational themes. The
common features of perceptions in a group are called "perceptual styles"
in this study, by which common tendency of group members' judgments
can be examined: which direction their judgments are oriented, and in
which direction they put confidence and trust. As Lampert (1985) also
points out, teaching is very complicated process, and teachers' decisions
and managements are required not on educational themes themselves but
7


on classroom phenomena and interpersonal relations; thus "perceptual
styles" are not direct indexes to teachers' decisions and behaviors.
However, teachers' dispositional tendency can be figured out through the
examination of "perceptual styles," which gives us important
implications.
Theme and Factors
Several educational themes are supposed to be incorporated into
teachers' knowledge base and belief systems, in the way of being inputted
as received knowledge or unconsciously being there as common sense and
empirical knowledge. Themes of socio-political concerns, themes of
research interests and themes of teachers' reality are interrelated in terms
of the relationship question; which one caused which one and which one
is reinforced by which one.
The following five "Themes" are employed in this study;
Theme 1 Factors intervening the process between teaching and
learning
Theme 2 Link between teaching and learning
Theme 3 Relevance
Theme 4 Conceptions about professional teaching
Theme 5 Needs of knowledge
Each "Theme" is divided into several specialized "factors."
It is not clear which themes dominantly influence teachers'
perceptions, when teachers are faced with classroom phenomena and
difficulties in their teaching. However, in this study, Theme 4 and 5 are
employed in order to make the analysis of teachers' responses to Theme 1,
2, and 3, much more stronger.
8


Factors derived from each theme are prepared considering the
balance of factors, which seem to illuminate the condition of language
teaching and those which seem to be the case across various teaching
fields.
Theme 1 Factors Intervening the Process between Teaching and
Learning
It has not been explored how teachers see the process between their
teaching and students' learning. Daresh (1991) describes the desperate
feelings teachers generally hold, "Teaching is much like 'shooting an
arrow into the air, never knowing where it may fall"' (p. 185). However,
most teachers can not quit watching their "arrow," or try to find out the
cause of problems in the classroom and the reason for students' learning
difficulties. In some cases, teachers successfully identify key factors to
smooth out the process between teaching and learning, while in other
cases, teachers identify some factors intervening their teaching but only
have the overwhelmed feeling that those factors are not controllable.
In current years, research perspectives are broadening, including
social mediation, cognition process and classroom ethnography, which
provide practitioners increasingly broad information (Shulman, 1985).
Since the flourishing period of process-product research, teachers have
been involved in the influx of information about teaching and its
effectiveness. However, it is assumable that teachers have kept their
beliefs and individual "sense of plausibility" concerning teaching, even in
the process of receiving knowledge and information. It can be asserted
that teachers who have more information and broader knowledge of
teaching, can come up with more factors which seem to be concerned with
9


their classroom phenomena. However, it is in the other dimension how
they utilize their knowledge and whether they successfully resolve
problems.
In this study, four factors are picked out. Two of them, "Time" and
"student's aptitude," were introduced in last two decades as "Models" of
teaching and learning: the Carroll Model and Aptitude-Treatment
Interaction Model. The other two factors, "socio-cultural factors" and
"student's needs and interests" were recommended in rather
philosophical approaches: "Multi-culturalism" and "Learner-centered
instruction."
"Models" are rather theory-oriented, and built on the assumption
that if key factors in the "Model" are guaranteed, any students will be able
to achieve in the classrooms. On the other hand, philosophical
approaches such as "Multi-culturalism" and "Learner centered," as of its
nature, can be interpreted into various ways, when applied into
classrooms. For example, "Multi-cultural education" has several streams
distinguished by the relational aspects and by its arena (Sleeter & Grant,
1988). Referring to "Learner-centered" instruction in language teaching,
language teachers are often confronted with tough choices: to what degree,
in which respects and under what teachers' control, teachers should take
students needs and interests into account and how to activate them.
In sum, four factors are derived primarily by the interest of whether
teachers respond to the "Model" and "philosophical approach" differently,
secondarily, by the familiarity of the factors; which seem to be incorporated
into our beliefs, as often observed, even people outside education have
ideas on them.
10


Theme 2 Link between Teaching and Learning
It is certainly assumed that teachers, through their practices, do not
believe that their slight behavioral changes automatically bring about
students' visible outcomes.
It is also obvious that teachers have the empirical consensus that
certain teachers, in their certain ways, obtain better results in their
teaching, which are visible as students outcomes even in short-term. In
this study, this relation between teaching and learning is defined as
"Definite line."
On the other hand, teachers hope that schooling can develop
students both academically and socially in long-term process, in which
teachers are involved. The relation is defined as "Indefinite and general
link."
No matter which link, teachers may support, teachers are
unavoidably frustrated with the unsolved problem, how their teaching is
actually acting on students learning, which Lortie (1975) calls "endemic
uncertainty."
In this study, four factors from two aspects are derived to be
examined. One aspect is "prediction of outcome" (students' short-term
outcome and cognitive development) which is to be examined on the
assumption that the degree of teachers' "uncertainty" depends on how
teachers can predict students' outcomes. The other aspect is "teaching
effectiveness" which is to be investigated by asking teachers which
evaluation they support, long-term or short-term, in evaluating their own
teaching effectiveness. Teachers are also asked about the idea concerning
how they evaluate teaching in "classroom settings," compared with the
effects of human learning outside schooling. Teachers who prefer short-
11


term over long-term and evaluate pedagogical effects in the classrooms
higher than those effects outside classrooms are supposed to support
"Definite link" in this study (see question 9 to 18 in Appendix).
Theme 3 Relevance
"Relevance" is a very vague and sometimes overexpandedly-used
concept. Barrow and Milbum states, "It is frequently asserted that
schooling, curriculum, etc., should be relevant. Nobody would seriously
suggest that they should be irrelevant. The question is, to what should
they be relevant? For relevance is not a straightforward property of
things, as a particular shape or color may be" (1990, p. 266). Barrow and
Milbum (1990) also point out the overuse and misuse of the term,
"Relevance."
'Relevance' is often used as if it were synonymous with
'contemporary", or "in fashion". (Thus relevant' subjects include
computer studies but not classics.) It is also sometimes used as a
synonym for having vocational or professional advantages. (In this
sense, engineering is a 'relevant' subject.) Another of the many
misuses of the word equates 'relevance' with 'what seems relevant to
an individual", so that a relevant curriculum becomes a curriculum
that students perceive as being 'up to date', 'of professional value', etc.
The relevance that school curriculum should have is relevance to some
one or more of the functions of schooling and the aims of education. ...
(The logic and abuse of such terms as 'useful', 'practical', 'realistic', and
'variable' is essentially the same.) (p. 266).
On the one hand, their claims propose an inevitable task to
reexamine the construct of "Relevance" apart from hideous abused
concepts. On the other hand, their claims show that the misuse and abuse
of "Relevance" is prevailing among all of us in considering education.
Regarding second language teaching, it is generally considered as
"the field of relevance," when it is compared with the other "classic"
12


teaching fields. For any ESL students, regardless of their status, age and
socio-economic condition, the aim is to survive in the lingually and
culturally new situations.
Focusing on the modern history of language teaching, "Relevance"
is becoming a more and more feasible criterion in evaluating language
programs. "Authenticity" is often used as the same meaning as
"Relevance," especially referring to the content and materials of language
lessons. Currently, as the negative reflection on the certain kind of
language lesson which was not "communicative" nor "meaningful,"
language teachers have been increasingly required to be more authentic
and relevant when teaching lessons. Nunan (1985) aptly states,
"'authentic' materials are usually defined as those which have been
produced for the purposes other than to teach language" (p. 38). Nunan
(1988) also claims "learner authenticity" which should be the integration
of students' needs, background and their sense of legitimacy.
All in all, in this study, two factors, "direct and practical usefulness"
and "content related to students' real lives" are derived from the theme of
"Relevance," not by their proper interpretation, but by their "prevalence."
(See the questionnaire in Appendix, questions 17-20.)
Theme 4 Conceptions about Professional Teaching
In this theme, only five factors which are assumed to work in
characterizing "perceptional styles" are picked out, as this part is primarily
prepared to complement the analysis in Theme 1, 2 and 3. Many
important factors which should be derived from "Teacher as a
professional" such as professional knowledge, professional skill,
accountability and reflective self-evaluation are not referred to in this
13


questionnaire.
The five factors are as follows;
(1) Sensitivity to multi-cultural dimensions.
(2) Refusal of cultural transmission of "being a teacher."
(3) High literacy-aimed teaching (detailed in the next section "Needs of
knowledge").
(4) Trust in theory-oriented teaching.
(5) Trust in personalized experience-oriented teaching.
The factors except for (1) are prepared in order for better
understanding of "perceptional styles"; which teacher group is more
theory-oriented and risk-taking, etc. The factor of sensitivity to multi-
cultural dimensions is chosen from the concern of whether language
teachers have more ethical consciousness, due to their cross-cultural
teaching situations, than subject-matter teachers.
Theme 5 Needs of Knowledge
The knowledge base of teachers, by which teachers are certified and,
with which teachers manage their classroom instruction, has been an
important research issue and a critical point of arguments. The aspects for
categorization and identification of teachers' knowledge are varied
depending on researchers' interested domains. A view of teaching and its
orientation differentiate the knowledge base which teachers, in general or,
in certain disciplinary field, are supposed to have (Carter, 1990; Zeichner,
1983).
In this study, the theme of "Needs of knowledge" are divided into
five factors below, which teachers were asked to rank in order of their
needs preference.
14


(1) Pedagogical content knowledge
(2) Academic content knowledge
(3) Structure of knowledge in the discipline
(4) Educational theoretical knowledge
(5) Practical classroom knowledge
As for the statements interpreted from the factors, see Appendix.
These five factors are neither exhaustive nor from one consistent
paradigm. They are picked out in order to illuminate the common needs
teachers generally have, and the field specific needs which might make
teachers' responses controversial. The assumption before framing this
part of the questionnaire is that teachers will congruently support (1) and
(5) as crucial knowledge, and that teachers' responses to (2), (3) and (4) will
be inconsistent depending on the conditions of their teaching fields.
Pedagogical content knowledge has been highlighted in the research
on teachers' knowledge in the last decade (Shulman, 1987). Practical
classroom knowledge is, on the other hand, difficult to define, but as
common sense, is something desirable for teachers, especially for those
who are in their initial teaching period* Researchers are also concerned
with attempts to generate pedagogical content knowledge.
As for "Academic content knowledge," the questions of what is
academic content knowledge for practitioners in language teaching? and
what is a good proportion of academic content knowledge in language
teacher education programs?, are very complicated. Teachers might have
various concepts when they think about the term, "Academic content
knowledge." Is it related with the content of topics or materials, if the
instruction is content-based ? Or does it mean grammatical structure of
the target language or broad linguistic knowledge ? It is also a hard task to
15


define the academic content knowledge for students in TESOL programs
under the current conditions .
"Educational theoretical knowledge" was, as Shulman (1986) points
out, in certain periods overemphasized and is still now functioning to
influence teachers' mindsets.
"Structure of knowledge in the discipline" is the concept Anderson
(1989) proposes. He basically asserts Wilson, Shulman and Richer! (1987)
model of the transformation of disciplinary knowledge, and adds the
concept of "Structure of knowledge" to the knowledge base teachers need
to explore.
Anderson draws on Bereiter and Scardamalia's (1987) work which
presents the contrast between "high literacy" and "low literacy."
According to Andersons review, "high literacy" is a phase of ability
needed for analytical and productive work, and in contrast, "low literacy",
means the skills and knowledge necessary for basic function in the society.
For instance, in reading and writing programs, "low literacy" means the
function of "obtaining information from text, or personal entertainment"
and "filling out forms, and personal letters"; "high literacy" means the
function of "development of functional, productive knowledge, literacy
appreciation" and "development and communication of personally
significant knowledge and beliefs (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1987; Florio-
Ruane & Dunn, 1985).
If schooling aims at "high literacy," teachers will be required of
having "high literacy" in their knowledge base as a matter of course.
Anderson (1989) argues that such teachers are required to have substantial
amount of disciplinary knowledge, and more crucially, should have a
good understanding of how their disciplinary knowledge is related with
16


each other as well as how it functions.
Thus, this "structure of knowledge in the discipline" is employed to
this study, based on Anderson's assumption as an index of teachers' idea
on the nature and aims of their teaching. In addition, the preferences to
this knowledge factor are supposed to represent teachers' consciousness
for restructuring the fragmented contents of instruction, as well as the
needs consciousness for integrating their disciplinary knowledge.
Structure of the Questionnaire
The largest portion of the questionnaire (including Theme 1, 2, 3, 4)
is in the style of statements, to which teachers are required to respond;
l
Strongly agree, Agree somewhat, Neutral, Disagree somewhat or Strongly
disagree on a Likert-type scale. Responses to each statement were valued
1-5, with 5 corresponding to "Strongly agree." The rest of the portion in
the questionnaire is for "Knowledge needs analysis" (Theme 5), in which
teachers are required to rank five factors in order of their needs
preferences.
Theme-Factors-Statements-Dimensions
\
; As described in the previous part of this chapter, each theme is
divided into several factors. In the Theme 1, 2, and 3 portions, each factor
is interpreted into two paired statements: positive statement and negative
statement.
As for the statements in Theme 1, positive statements indicate
positive attribution (seeing the factor as a key to improvement) and sense
of control. These perceptions are rather knowledge-oriented. Negative
statements, on the other hand, imply negative attribution (seeing the
17


factor as giving negative impact on their teaching), and sense of uncontrol.
Agreement with the negative statements rather illustrate the feeling
yielding to practical difficulties.
In Theme 2, "Link," positive statements describe the perceptions
based on the certainty about "Definite and concrete link" and "trust in
prediction of outcome," while negative statements show the support for
"Indefinite and general link" and "Non-trust in prediction of outcome."
The portion of Theme 3 deals with the attitudes toward
"Relevance," asking if teachers being pro or con. Positive statements
indicate pro, and negative statements indicate con.
Questions in Theme 4 are not paired, forwardly asking about
teachers' conceptions. In the portion of Theme 5, five knowledge factors(l
to 5) are presented to be ranked.
Statements from Theme 1 through 4, which appeared with question
number 1 to 25, are to be examined in two dimensions, asking teachers
their perceptions both "in your field" and "in general," like the example
below.
Example
Teachers have to apply group work activities in classrooms.
Strongly Agree Agree Somewhat Neutral Disagree Somewhat Strongly Disagree
In your field (x) 0 0 () 0
In general 0 0 (x) () 0
The whole structure and framework of the questionnaire is presented in
Table 1.
18


Table 1. Structure of the Questionnaire
Theme/ Statement Question Dimension
Factors No. in
(Positive/Negative) (a: your field) (b: general)
1. Factors intervening the process between teaching and learning
1) Socio-cultural factors Positive 1* ** a/b
Negative 2 a/b
2) Student's aptitude Positive 3 a/b
Negative 4. a/b
3) Time Positive 5 a/b
Negative 6 a/b
4) Student's needs and interests Positive 7 a/b
Negative 8 a/b
2. Link between teaching and learning
1) Prediction of student's cognitive development Positive 9 a/b
Negative 10 a/b
2) Prediction of student's short-term outcomes Positive 11 a/b
Negative 12 a/b
3) Teaching effectiveness in classroom settings Positive 13 a/b
Negative 14 a/b
4) Evaluation of teaching effectiveness in short-term Positive 15 a/b
Negative 16 a/b
3. Relevance
1) Direct practical usefulness Positive 17 a/b
Negative 18 a/b
2) Content related to student's real life Positive 19 a/b
Negative 20 a/b
4. Conceptions about professional teaching
1) Sensitivity to multi-cultural dimensions 21 a/b
2) Refusal of cultural transmission of "being a teacher" 22 a/b
3) High literacy-aimed teaching 23 a/b
4) Trust in theory-oriented teaching 24 a/b
5) Trust in personalized experience-based teaching 25 a/b
5. Needs of knowledge
1) Pedagogical content knowledge 2) Academic content knowledge 3) Structure of knowledge in the discipline 4) Educational theoretical knowledge 5) Practical classroom knowledge Ranking* Ranking Ranking Ranking Ranking V
* indicating the question number in section <1> in APPENDIX.
** shown in section <2> in APPENDIX.
19


CHAPTER 3
METHOD
Subjects and Data Collection
In this study, subjects were limited to the teachers who possessed
Master degrees or those who were in the latter half of their Master's
programs, which was based on the assumption that they had a certain
degree of knowledge base including educational theoretical concepts
concerning teaching and learning, as well as certain levels of
understanding about what educational research is to be and how to
conduct classroom research. This guideline was defined primarily
because of the focus of this study, which examines teachers' perceptions
deeply concerned with the tension between knowledge, beliefs and their
practical difficulties; and secondarily by the desire of contributing to
exploration of Master-TESOL programs.
Second language teachers who belong to the Public education
special interest group of Colorado TESOL, and subject-matter teachers who
belong to the Sigma Phi chapter (Colorado chapter) of Kappa Delta Pi were
asked to reply to the questionnaire by mail. The total mailing of 217
yielded 76 responses. Language teachers of 4 institutions in post secondary
and higher education sectors and teachers of one middle school which
offers large-scale ESL program were directly asked for cooperation.
Twenty-nine teachers responded. From the total 105 responses, 4
responses which were extremely incomplete and 5 responses of teachers
who had not been enrolled in graduate programs were eliminated. Thus,
20


the final subjects which data was employed into analysis were 96: subject-
matter teachers: 49 and language teachers: 47 (public education: 26; adult,
higher, post secondary education: 21).
The questionnaire actually mailed to the subjects was of the
framework in Table 1; but the questions of this version were shuffled, so
as not to make the subjects nervous about the paring of questions.
Data Analysis
The data was analyzed following the four steps:
1. Comparison of teachers' perceptions and conceptions.
Comparisons were made in order to know how each group of teachers
responded differently to the question 1 to 25 (of Theme 1, 2, 3 and 4).
Only the responses regarding "in your field" were examined by two-
tailed t Test and additional F Test.
2. Examination of field specific consciousness.
Two-tailed t Test was employed in order to identify on which factor
language teachers rate "in your field" differently from "in general"
themselves.
3. Knowledge needs analysis.
Friedman Test (chi-square test) was applied to assure the basic
assumption that teachers of both groups have the certain tendency in
their ranking (not randomly ranking). After that, by Wilcoxon Rank
Sum Test, differences between two groups of teachers in knowledge
needs preference were illuminated.
4. Comparison of teachers' perceptional styles.
As a final analysis, a matrix was made with the attempt to illuminate
subjects' "perceptional styles" for each paired questions (question 1 to
21


20). Score distribution was presented in the two dimensional graph:
odd number question as horizontal, even number question as vertical.
Then, this distribution was interpreted in the matrix of four patterns
which were supposed to present four "perceptional styles" with the
indication of the number of the subjects located in each pattern. The
four patterns were distinguished with the average scores from the
whole of the two groups.
22


CHAPTER 4
RESULTS
Comparison of Teachers' Perceptions and Conceptions
This part reports, in what factors, two teacher groups have different
perceptions and conceptions.
Differences in Perceptions of Theme 1 Factors Intervening the Process
between Teaching and Learning
Table 2 summarizes the differences between two groups regarding
how teachers perceive the factors of Theme 1.
Table 2. Significant Differences in the Responses to Theme 1
Q2. Even if teachers make every effort to facilitate students' learning, students' socio-economic
difficulties and their cultural differences are likely to intervene in the learning process.
Subject-matter teachers Language teachers______
M=3.22 SD=1.33 M=3.72* SD=1.38 (* p < 0.1 in t-test)
Q3. If students' personality traits and learning styles fit well with their teachers' teaching styles,
students' academic success can be guaranteed.
Subject-matter teachers Language teachers______
M=2.80 SD=1.37 M=2.34* SD=1.37 (* p < 0.1 in t-test)
Q5. Every student can achieve, but only if given an amount of time appropriate for his/her needs.
Subject-matter teachers Language teachers_____
M=4.31 SD=0.87 M=3.91* SD=1.00 (* p < 0.1 in t-test)
Q6. Classroom instruction time is not enough to assure all the students achieve to their potential.
Subject-matter teachers Language teachers_______
M=4.54 SD=0.77 M=4.26 SD=1.09* (** p< 0.01 in F-test)
23


Scores from question 2 reveal that language teachers were more
assertive in attributing their difficulties in teaching to socio- cultural
factors, on the other hand, there was no significant difference in the degree
of agreement with the positive attribution (question 1) which sees socio-
cultural factors as a key to successful instruction. In other words, language
teachers perceived sodo-cultural factors as less controllable and
functioning more against their teaching effectiveness compared with
subject-matter teachers.
By the responses to the question 3, language teachers appeared to be
less supportive to the "Aptitude-Treatment Interaction model," while
both groups presented the almost same positiveness in availability of
adjusting their teaching styles to students' aptitudes. This indicates that
language teachers were negative in thinking of the factor of "student's
aptitude" as important in smoothing the process between teaching and
learning.
Responses to question 5 and 6 show the different perceptions
between two groups concerning "Time". Language teachers did not have
so a strong assumption that students can achieve in the classroom, as long
as they are given appropriate time; nor had so strong consciousness, that
classroom instruction time was not enough for assuring every student's
success as subject- matter teachers. In other words, language teachers were
less optimistic about the students' achievement guaranteed by appropriate
"time" of instruction and learning.
24


Differences in Perceptions of Theme 2 Link between Teaching and
Learning
Significant differences were found between perceptions of the two
groups concerning "Link." Table 3 reports the differences.
Table 3. Significant Differences in the Responses to Theme 2
09. It is important to plan and assess students' cognitive development process in each small unit
of classroom instruction.
Subject-matter teachers Language teachers_______
M=3.82 SD=1.07 M=3.41* SD=1.13 (* p < 0.1 in t-test)
Q11. In the most successful instruction, teachers can define students' learning outcomes before
beginning a certain unit of teaching.
Subject-matter teachers Language teachers_______
M=4.04 SD=1.10 M=3.21* SD=1.19 (* p < 0.001 in t-test)
Scores from question 9 indicate that language teachers had more
sense of ambiguity to the students' cognitive development process
through instruction. The most significant difference in this study was
found in the responses to question 11, asking their prediction of students'
outcome. Language teachers apparently had low expectation of
themselves in terms of predicting students' visible achievement, post
certain unit of their instruction; while far more subject-matter teachers
worked on the assumption that they could predict students' outcomes
before starting to teach planned unit, if the instruction was successful.
25


Differences in Perceptions of Theme 3 Relevance
Surprisingly, there was no significant difference in teachers'
perceptions about "Relevance," although, second language teaching
programs were generally supposed to deal with "relevant" content for the
purpose of "Relevance," compared with subject-matter instruction.
Teachers of both groups were slightly in favor of the dimension of
direct usefulness in teaching, and supported the idea that if content is
relevant to the real world, it will facilitate students' learning.
Differences in Conceptions of Theme 4 -- Conceptions about Professional
Teaching
As table 4 illustrates, language teachers had the stronger conception
that teachers should be sensitive to multi-cultural dimensions
circumscribing their classroom, than subject teacher had (question 21).
Table 4. Significant Differences in the Responses to Theme 4
Q21. Teachers primarily should be sensitive to multi-cultural dimensions such as race, ethnicity,
and gender in the classrooms.
Subject-matter teachers Language teachers______
M=4.41 SD=1.02 M=4.72* SD=1.13 (* p < 0.1 in t-test)
Q24. As professionals, teachers should utilize new theories and methods which current
research findings support.
Subject-matter teachers Language teachers______
M=4.31 SD=0.74 M=4.04 SD=0.89** (** p < 0.03 in F-test)
Scores of the additionally examined F Test suggest that language
teachers were more suspicious about utilizing new theory and method in
their instruction, while subject-matter teachers are congruently in favor of
26


it (question 24).
Some comments added to the responses to question 24 such as "Yes,
if it is effective !" and "Depends on students." show the language teachers'
hesitation towards "new theory" and "method."
Examination'of Field Specific Consciousness
In the subject-matter teachers' responses, there was no significant
difference between the scores for "In your field" and those for "In general."
Significant differences were found in language teachers' responses
to question 17 and 23 (p< .05). Language teachers gave the stronger
support for the direct practical usefulness in their teaching field than in
general education (question 17).
Language teachers assumed that teaching in general is more
analytical, abstract and productive ability-oriented. Therefore, using
Bereiter and Scardamalia's (1987) term, more "high literacy" oriented,
than their field, second language teaching (question 23).
In sum, language teachers had field specific consciousness that
second language teaching should be evaluated for its direct practical
usefulness and that the nature of language teaching be more skill based.
Knowledge Needs Analysis
Friedman's test supported the assumption that both groups had a
certain ranking tendency: Subject-matter teachers, p< .01; Language
teachers, .05 Table 5 shows the ranking of knowledge needs preference.
27


Table 5. Rank of Knowledge Needs Preferences
Knowledge factors
Subject-matter teachers Language teachers
1) Pedagogical content knowledge
2) Academic content knowledge
3) Structure of knowledge in the discipline
4) Educational theoretical knowledge
5) Practical classroom knowledge
2
5
3
4
1
2
4
5* *
3
1
Numbers indicate the orders of rank-sum in each group.
* p = 0.16 in Wilcoxon Rank Sum Test.
Regarding the actual description of each factor, see Appendix.
As for the concern about how the two groups ranked each
"knowledge" differently, the question of if there was a difference in their
"knowledge" preference, the difference worth paying attention to was
found only in the ranking for knowledge 3 (Rank-sum Test p= .16). As it
was anticipated, practical classroom knowledge and pedagogical content
knowledge were given first and second preferences by both groups.
Language teachers, as their ranking of giving last preference to knowledge
3, shows, did not feel the needs consciousness for the inquiry of the
structure of knowledge regarding what they taught. It can be contrasted
with subject-matter teachers who preferred the structure of the content
they taught to "theory of learning" and "deep academic content
"knowledge.
Matrices in this part show the comparison of perceptual styles
between subject-matter teachers' group and language teachers' group. A
matrix with classification of four perceptual styles in each theme will be
shown preceding the sets of matrices in comparison. As discussed in the
previous chapter, the naming of perceptual styles such as "Proactive,"
Comparison of Teachers' Perceptual Styles
28


"Overwhelmed" and "Mess" does not directly mean that the teachers in
such classified styles actually behave in "Proactive," "Overwhelmed," and
"Mess" ways. However, it is clear that these perceptual styles underlie
their ways of planning, teaching, and self-evaluation, and that
accumulation of teachers' decision-making characterized by their
perceptual styles, will formulate the general consensus on the nature of
teaching and their teaching field: understandings of what they are to teach
and how they are to teach.
Circled scores (number of teachers in that classified style) show the
dominant style in the group, while scores in triangles show the significant
point to compare two groups.
Perceptual Styles of Theme 1 --Factors Intervening the Process between
Teaching and Learning
Four sets of matrices in Figures IB, 1C, ID and IE indicate that
neither teacher group had group-specific perceptual style throughout the
factors in Theme 1. Their pattern of perceptual styles depended on the
factors intervening the process between teaching and learning. There was
not a pattern in which teachers were clearly split into "Overwhelmed" and
"Proactive."
29


Figure 1. Perceptual Style of Theme 1
Theme 1 (Factors intervening the process between
teaching and learning)
A
Negative attribution
Sense of uncontrot
Internal practical difficulty-oriented
A
Overwhelmed Dilemma managing
TJnconsciuos
or Proactive
Neglecting
Positive attribution
Sense of control
External knowledge base-oriented
B
Socio-cultural
factors
Subject-matter teachers
Language teachers
Q2
ii
3.47
^ O -
VI s
<32
A
3.-4V
- <31
h e
n &
" t!1
3.23
3.23
Student's
aptitude
<34
A
1 .33
<34
A
4 .33
1 O
-t> <33
5

1 3 .
S
> <33
2.3V
:.sv
D
Time
<3S
ii
Q -4.-40
/A
1 V
-4.-40
<33
A s -*** 4 &}
5
Q5
-4. 4 i
-4. 4 n
Students needs
and interests
Q8
n
2.V2
1 2.
Q8
A
n 3.
2. V 2
o v
<37
4 O
2 T*'
" <37
-4. 5-4
-4.5-4
30


It is interesting that the two teachers' groups have opposite patterns
of perceptual styles in those of "Socio-cultural factors" and "Time."
"Dilemma managing" was a dominant style in both groups in both factors.
Secondarily dominant styles indicate the characteristics of each group's
perceptual styles; language teachers viewed "Socio-cultural factors" from
the aspect of "practical difficulty-oriented. Language teachers had vague
concepts towards "Time" and subject -matter teachers, in turn, did not
present clear idea towards "Socio-cultural factors."
As for the factor of student's "Aptitude," subject-matter teachers did
not appear to have any dominant idea about the effectiveness and
accommodation of the "Aptitude-Treatment Interaction model."
Language teachers also did not show dominant perceptual styles in this
factor, but showed a difference from the counterpart by presenting less
number of teachers classified in the "Proactive" style.
In the factor of students' needs and interests, there was no
significant difference in the degree of positive attribution, but far more
Language teachers had a sense of control in accommodating students'
needs and interests into their classroom instruction.
Viewing the four sets of perceptual styles, two criteria of teachers'
judgment which characterized language teachers' perceptual styles were
assumed:
1. Language teachers' perceptual styles were distinguished from their
counterparts' styles by their "less supportive" and "less knowledge-
oriented" thinking in viewing "Models" of teaching and learning, such
as Carroll model and Aptitude-Treatment Interaction model.
2. Language teachers' perceptual styles were also distinguished from the
counterparts' styles by their practical difficulty and practical availability-
31


oriented judgment in dealing with relatively philosophical approaches
such as multi-culturalism and learner-centered curriculums.
Perceptual Styles of Theme 2 -Link between Teaching and Learning
In the perceptual styles considering "Link" between teaching and
learning, common features through teaching were found in the two
factors, and the differences in the two factors drew attention to the
diversity in teachers' perceptions (see Figures 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D and 2E).
32


:igure 2. Perceptual Styles of Theme 2
Theme 2 (Link between teaching and learning)
\

Certainty about indefinite and general link
Non-trust in prediction of outcome
i >
Assumption on indefinite link Assumption on both link
Total uncertainty about link Not confident Assumption on definite link
Certainty about definite and concrete link
Trust in prediction of outcome
Subject-matter teachers
Language teachers
QIO
QIO
Prediction of student's i 1 .98 i 9 ; 20
cognitive development process 5 % \ \ 0 \ | -* fe-
3 G2
Q12
Prediction of i 2.9 5 i T J T
student's outcome 4 : : \
1 9 S
QS>

(is 1 g)
5 A

d9
3.62
Q12
2.9 5
QH
'.13
9
1 5.
/.s
- Qll
3.6-4
3,64
Q14
Q14
Learning promotion in
classroom setting
vs
outside classroom
3.1 S
n
20 5
U s
*i..t
3.15
Q13
k /'\
: 21; 3
u 5

Q13
2.03
2.03
v, duation of teaching effectiveness
qhort-term, concrete evaluation
vs
1 >ng-term, integrated evaluation
Q16
a
2.65
1 1
i y
Q16
n
1 2
2.65
> QlS
1 3
1 6
> Qis
3.02
3.02
33


As for teaching effectiveness, Figures illuminated uncertainty and
not-confident condition both teacher group had. Teachers commonly had
uncertain ideas when talking about their own teaching effectiveness,
regardless of their teaching disciplinary fields (see Figures 2D and 2E).
In contrast, there was quite a difference between the two groups
when they were talking about how they could predict students' cognitive
development and outcome. Most subject-matter teachers were certain
about "Definite and Concrete Link" between successful teaching and
students' learning. Language teachers perceived their teaching differently.
They taught mostly on the assumption that teachers could not be sure of
how their students would achieve in a short-term (see Figures 2B and 2C).
Summarizing, teachers in general were uncertain about the "Link"
when they thought of their teaching effectiveness from relative aspects or,
compared the effectiveness of their classroom instruction with that of
general human learning. This uncertainty was the case in both teachers'
groups. On the other hand, language teachers were distinguished from
their counterparts by their tendency for supporting "Indefinite Link,"
when they were asked if teachers could predict students' short-term
outcomes. Consequently, it appeared clear that language teachers'
perceptual styles regarding "Link" were characterized by their extremely
low trust in their prediction of outcome.
Perceptual Styles of Theme 3 --Relevance
In terms of their supportive perceptions about Relevance, there was
no significant difference between the two groups. The reason why many
teachers were classified in "Moratorium" (in Figure 13 )seems to represent


their trusts both in pedagogical skills and relevant contents.
35


Figure 3. Perceptual Styles of Theme 3
Theme 3 (Relevance)
A
Certainty about relevance-con Trust in pedagogical skills
i L
Consciously rclcvancc-con Moratorium
M css Co nscio usly rclcvancc-pro
Certainty about relevance-pro
Trust in relevant content
B
Criteria of
direct usefulness
Subject-matter teachers
Language teachers
QX8
n


1 1

Q18
A

1 8
Q17
3.51
3.51
c
Relevance of
teaching content
O^o
3.53
n
& :^e)
-4 1 3
Q1S>
4.78
Q20
L
2 3i

-4 1 2
4.78
Q19
36


Summary of Findings
1. The language teachers' group presented differences from subject-matter
teachers in their perceptions regarding "Socio-cultural factors" due to
their negative attributions; "Time" due to their lack of positive
attribution and their incongruent sense of uncontrol; and "Student's
aptitude" due to their lack of positive attribution, respectively.
2. Language teachers valued the sensitivity to multi-cultural dimensions
higher, and evaluated teachers' attitude for utilizing new theory and
research-based method less congruently, than subject-matter teachers
did.
3. Language teachers had the field-specific consciousness that language
teaching should be evaluated more from the aspect of practical
usefulness than other teaching fields, and that language teaching is to be
more skill-based and knowledge-transmissionary than other teaching
fields.
4. Language teachers thought it of less importance to know the structure
and interrelationship of what they taught.
5. Perceptual styles of language teachers were characterized by their less
knowledge-oriented, less supportive and skeptical attitudes towards
theoretical model of teaching, as well as by their tendency of evaluating
philosophical approaches in terms of their practical availability and
difficulties.
6. Language teachers had extremely little assumption and trust in their
predictions of students' outcome, which consequently affected their
perceptual styles.
7. Teachers congruently supported "Relevance" in teaching, and it was not
a specific tendency for language teachers.
37


CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION
Limitations of the Study
The approach employed in this study is to investigate teachers'
perceptions from the pre-set framework of the limited themes out of the
broader range of educational themes. Because teaching is a complicated
process, and "being a teacher" is socially, culturally and a personally
restricted existence, it is easily assumed that the findings of this study
might shed light on very limited teachers mindsets. The concern of
whether and, to what degree, language teachers' "perceptional styles"
illustrated in this study, are dominant in their whole mindsets and
decision-making process cannot be examined. In order to gain broader and
deeper insights into teachers' thoughts, another means in qualitative
research can be recommended so as to complement the weakness of this
kind of study.
The statements in the questionnaire need to be more sophisticated
and more consistent in order to interpret Theme and factors more
accurately.
Some teachers gave feed back that they felt it "tricky" when they
became conscious of paired statements described in positive and negative
ways. It is not certain that the attempt to know teachers' dilemmas and
tensions caused by two directed thinking, was foiled by such subjects'
caution.
In this study, language teachers were identified as belonging to one
38


group. However, it is quite reasonable that language teachers in post
secondary education, teachers involved in adult education and teachers in
public education have differentiated needs and consciousness. In this
point, the construct of "field specific needs" might not be fully applied into
the study.
Conclusion and Implications
The study revealed that language teachers' perceptions and
perceptional styles were deeply restricted by their lack of confidence and
lack of trust. The teaching profession, has been threatened both internally
and socially for its "Ambiguity and Insecurity" (Duke, 1984). This study
shows that language teachers are an especially depressed group in the
teaching profession. As for the advantage of language teaching, language
teachers acknowledged that only the accommodation of students' needs
and interests is easier to control.
The findings of low trust in theory-oriented teaching, low
confidence in students' outcome predictions, and their field specific
consciousness seem to be interrelated in how "teacher role" has been
considered in the field of language teaching. In the age of "specific
method," drawn from specific learning theory and second language
acquisition (SLA) theory, teacher role was only an interpretation of theory
as well as the teaching materials used and classroom tasks. In some SLA
theories, teachers were out of the scope or only given the role of facilitator
for students' language "acquisition."
Even after the age of specific method was over, new concepts of the
"teacher role" have not been established enough to give teachers new
directions and new responsibilities. The findings of this study show the
39


frustrated feelings of the language teachers (Something might facilitate
students' second language acquisition, but it is very vague, so I cannot
predict how they will improve). Applying Daresh's (1991) analogy,
language teachers in this study thought of "shooting an arrow seriously"
as a teaching obligation, but gave up watching the direction of the arrow,
because it would not help them in their next shooting. In this way,
language teachers have been given very fragmented and limited
responsibility of students' learning, consequently their consciousness
concerning the process of students learning, nature of language teaching
and needs of knowledge is not directed towards integration.
In addition, the unexamined assumption that language teaching is
skill-based and direct usefulness-driven, which teachers in this study also
acknowledge by themselves, seems to make language teaching unstable.
The crucial point is not whether real conditions of current language
programs are actually low literacy-oriented or not, but how such an
assumption influences teachers perceptions and their consciousness for
development. This point should be further explored by researches and
discussions between researchers and practitioners. The findings of this
study support Anderson's (1989) assumption by presenting teachers' field
specific consciousness (emphasis on direct usefulness and skill based
teaching), corresponded with their low needs consciousness for the
structure of knowledge and integration of teaching contents.
It can be assumed that language teachers who give themselves a
fragmented responsibility of students' learning, with fragmented
knowledge, have the fragmented senses of control towards educational
theory and philosophy.
Returning to the initial concern of "field-specific needs, the
40


"establishment of teacher role as an educator" is, above all, to be
recommended. The teacher as an educator is responsible for whole
process of students' learning. This does not mean the manipulation of
learning or the demands of students' standard outcomes, but recommends
teachers to work on a continuous basis, by setting future teaching
objectives by using a prediction of outcomes, which is based on the
accumulated evaluation of outcomes. If language teachers gain self respect
in their own role as well as social respect from the consciousness of being
responsible for students' learning, their attitudes towards "theory" will
likely change.
Second, the assumptions about the nature of language teaching:
aims, and content and methods, should be examined as the most
important assumptions of language teacher education. As described
above, language teachers' perceptions about unexamined issues yield
vague consciousness for their exploration. In the field of language
teaching, there has never been an argument which covers "aims, content
and methods" from a heuristic view. The findings of this study suggests
that: language teachers have a field specific consciousness that their field
should be skill-based and direct usefulness-driven, but actually there was
no significant difference between two teacher groups, concerning their
idea on "Relevance."
If actual conditions of current language programs are low literacy-
aimed, how will these conditions affect the curriculums of language
teacher education ? Is there any way to avoid fragmenting teacher
education and teacher's knowledge under the condition that language
teaching is not expected to be integrated ? Or does the lack of integration
in teacher education programs reinforce the teachers' perceptions and field
41


specific consciousness ?
Third, the issue of "what is theory in language teaching" now seems
appropriate to argue. Recently, theory-practice building and the
mutualism between researcher and practitioner have been advocated, but
this study reports language teachers' apathetic attitudes. It is
recommended that theory is introduced in a way of not depriving the
teacher's role or guaranteeing teacher's subjectivity.
The study illustrated the common feature of teachers' mindsets and
language teachers' field-specific perceptions. The findings seem to
reinforce the field-specific needs which must be explored in the field as
well as language teachers' frustrations. Practitioners' views have been
neglected, not only as a means for recognizing what is now needed, but
also neglected as a resource for expanding research perspectives in the
field. It is expected that further studies both into the nature of language
teaching and its perceptual interpretations by practitioners, will examine
the question: How language teachers' perceptions and perceptual styles
influence their instruction itself.
42


Appendix
Section <1> Question list of Theme 1, 2, 3, and 4
1. In order for successful teaching to occur, it is crucial to know each student's socio-cultural
background and socio-economic situation.
2. Even if teachers make every effort to facilitate students' learning, students' socio-economic
difficulties and their cultural differences are likely to intervene in the learning process.
3. If students' personality traits and learning styles fit well with their teachers' teaching styles,
students' academic success can be guaranteed.
4. It is impossible for teachers to adjust their teaching styles to students' individual differences
of aptitude.
5. Every student can achieve, but only if given an amount of time appropriate for his/her
needs.
6. Classroom instruction time is not enough to assure all the students achieve to their
potential.
7. Assuring that teachers take students' needs and interests into account when planning is a
key factor in facilitating students' learning.
8. Teachers actually CANNOT manage to meet students' individualized needs and interests in
the real settings of classroom instruction.
9. It is important to plan and assess students' cognitive development process in each small
unit of classroom instruction.
10. Teachers cannot know how students are cognitively developing, because the process is
occurring in a black box.
11. In the most successful instruction, teachers can define students' learning outcomes
before beginning a certain unit of teaching.
12. Even in talking about a small portion of an instruction unit, teachers cannot predict
students' achievement.
13. The most successful learning takes place under the sophisticated and well-planned
teaching condition in the classroom settings rather than outside classroom.
14. The classroom is NOT the ideal condition for meaningful learning.
15. Teaching effectiveness can be evaluated within certain units of instruction in one
disciplinary field (ex. one subject matter in one semester).
16. Teaching effectiveness can be argued only in terms of long-term or integrated success
(ex. students' total academic achievement or success in vocational lives).
17. The most important index in evaluating the "content" being taught is whether it is useful
and practical in real life.
18. Teaching and learning CANNOT be assessed in terms of direct usefulness out of
classroom.
43


19. The more content is related to the real world, the more effective it is in facilitating students'
learning.
20. By pedagogical techniques, teachers can get students motivated to learn content, even if
it seems to have no concern with the students' real lives.
21. Teachers primarily should be sensitive to multi-cultural dimensions such as race, ethnicity,
and gender in the classrooms.
22. Teachers should do away with the images and ways of teaching they have observed when
they were students (not including teacher education).
23. The final goal of teaching is NOT to impart basic skills and knowledge BUT to develop
students' analytical, abstract and productive ability.
24. As professionals, teachers should utilize new theories and methods which current
research findings support.
25. As professionals, teachers should be engaged in forming their own personalized
teaching styles based on their practical experience.
Section <2> Questions of Theme 5
In order to improve your teaching, what kind of knowledge and information do you think is
of value and necessary ?
Please number the categories below in the order of your needs preference.
(1) The information about what kind of presentation, instructional materials and classroom
activities are useful for what kind of content and instructional unit and level.
(2) Deep academic disciplinary knowledge concerning the content you teach.
(3) The knowledge presenting you the whole map by which you can know how your
teaching contents are related with each other.
(4) The theoretical knowledge and research findings about teaching and learning (ex.
cognitive psychology, language acquisition theory).
(5) Classroom management knowledge and information derived from experienced teachers'
wisdom.
44


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