viernes, 10 de marzo de 2017

An impulsive reply.

I know I should not be blogging, and less so, because I keep doing it impulsively, but as I read discussions on pronunciation teaching and teacher training, I think I need to say things.

Not so long ago, I heard someone from the States say that people in my context were "poorly trained" , because they did classroom studies in their schools and did not include basic statistics in their papers, or they retold tips and tricks they had used in a sort of "narrative" form. I have seen presentations by teachers in my country, I have seen many teachers in action who may not know about regression models or control groups (I don't know about those so deeply myself) but who make "scientific" decisions all day: they test activities with their students, they change things if the don't work out, they try again. They are scientists in their context, they do research even if they don't notice.

To be honest, I think these teachers do a far better job in their EFL context than I would do in a controlled experiment at Uni with students who need to use English outside the classroom for their everyday life. Experiments can tell us a lot about the way people react and work and think in controlled and less controlled environments, but I am not too sure I want to *only* inform my practices by looking at these experiments, because my teaching reality is different, and because many of these studies are not always honest about the scope to which they can be generalised.

I find talking to other teachers as informative as a research paper. I honestly think none of the two actually give a complete and generalised picture of what really happens when people learn to pronounce a foreign language.

I think that my so-called Third World country teachers get fabulous initial training for what they need to do, and encounter everyday classroom realities that I have not seen reported in any paper; realities that force them to continue self-training at times. I think that calling them "poorly trained" is just a poor appreciation.

As a researcher in training, I see the value of research in moving science forward, but as a teacher, I feel the injustice of many teachers not being given a "voice"  if they don't join an academic community. I don't know how to solve this issue, and as a teacher trainer I have tried to instill some interest in research in my trainees so that they find a way to make their experiences heard, but what I do know is that the only "poor training" I can attest to is that of those people who enjoy belittling and undermining others whose reality they don't know, or understand.

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