Rodríguez, Migdalia Elizabeth (2016). Effective pedagogical practices in online English language teacher education. Doctoral dissertation (Second Language Acquisition and Teaching), University of Arizona. (Accessible: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304496993)

Abstract: Internet technology has made possible for students to be able to have access to continuous learning. Currently, online education has gained credibility and academic leaders’ belief about its value has increased in the US (2014 Survey of Online Learning). Studies are no longer solely focused on comparing face-to-face to online learning, but on learning about how to improve the online experience. In the Language Teacher Education field, online learning options are growing and Language Teaching post-secondary programs, certificates, and professional development courses are readily available. Consequently, it is essential for providers to demonstrate quality of instruction and for students to reflect on their needs as online learners to receive a quality educational experience. Challenges now are related to the new affordances allowed by the online environment in relation to the teaching and learning process and how these technology advances might enhance it.

This study explores students and instructors’ perceptions of effective pedagogical practices in Online English Language Teaching Education (OLTE) courses. Instructors (N=18) and former students (N=125) from non-credit certificate, professional development and post-secondary credit OLTE courses were asked to complete an online survey that included items related to their perceptions regarding current pedagogical practices. Additionally, semi-structured interviews of 20 OLTE students, eight instructors, and two program coordinators were conducted to expand and support survey findings. The Community of Inquiry survey (Arbaugh et al., 2008) was the main tool used to evaluate students’ satisfaction and its weight as validated instrument served to measure pedagogical practices considered effective for OLTE courses in particular. These OLTE practices labeled as Language Teacher Educator presence were first ranked by experts and subsequently included in the longer survey. A main component of these practices is the consideration of context as recommended by language teacher educators’ authors Freeman, (2009), Graves (2009), Johnson (2009) and Murray (2013). Results of this study indicate positive perceptions about current pedagogical practices. However, the sense of collaboration between the groups surveyed presents a statistically significant difference. Analysis of surveys and interviews showed that instructional strategies can be improved. Issues for further research are related to collaborative tasks, the inclusion of oral participation, the perception of low instructors’ presence in discussions, and a lack of variety of instructional activities.

Migdalia Elizabeth Rodríguez is in the Department of Foreign Languages, University of Sonora, Sonora, MX.

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