University of Tasmania
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Language education and teacher education: The pre-service education of teachers of languages at the Centre for Education, University of Tasmania

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posted on 2023-05-27, 06:59 authored by de Salis, SC
Recent developments and changes in language education have been described,and their implications explored by many theorists and practitioners with regard to their effects on language syllabuses, materials and assessment. There has been less discussion about how these changes should affect the initial preparation of those who are to teach languages in the schools. Changes discernible at present in language education include more overt support for such education and related changes in its aims and approaches which,by now,are sufficiently well-established to be summed up by the label of the 'communicative approach'. Despite this 'improvement' in the approach to language education, an examination of the student teachers' experiences as language learners during their secondary and tertiary years shows some deficiencies which have to be remedied during the Dip.Ed. year if they are to become competent and informed language teachers. The Dip.Ed. course at the Tasmanian Centre for Education is examined with particular reference to those components which introduce students to the specific areas of knowledge and skill required of language teachers. The Tasmanian course is compared with equivalent courses in other Australian states, in Britain and in the West German state of Bremen. An examination of the ways in which students are assessed suggests that there is a lack of coherence in the course which imposes an unnecessary burden on students in this area. The perennial question of the relationship between theory and practice is addressed, with reference to both language education and teacher education. Both are interlocking parts of one educational process, and several inadequacies of the Dip.Ed. course result from a destructive distinction between the two areas. There is also a failure to conceptualise the Dip.Ed. course as one part of an on-going developmental process which begins when students first become language learners, and which must continue after they have become language teachers. The concluding chapter describes ways in which the Dip.Ed. course could perform its role more effectively.


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