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Theory–practice dichotomy: Prospective teachers' evaluations about teaching English to young learners

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Author(s): Süleyman Nihat ŞAD

Journal: Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies
ISSN 1305-578X

Volume: 6;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 22;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Preservice ELT teachers | reflective journals | practicum | young learners | curriculum evaluation

ABSTRACT
This study aims at examining the prospective teachers. evaluations about the implementation of the primary ELT curriculum. Also it is aimed to inquire the possible problems and difficulties in teaching English to children. The study is based on qualitative case study design. Qualitative data were collected using participant journaling method from 31 preservice teachers who kept reflective journals throughout their observations of five mentor teachers. The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis method by coding and creating categories/themes. Results showed that actual practices do not adequately meet the curricular and theoretical requirements in terms of objectives, content, learning-teaching experiences and evaluation. This theory-practice dichotomy about teaching English to children mainly includes the problems such as non-communicative objectives, failure to appeal students emotionally, overdominance of coursebooks and grammar content over communicative content, use of restricted methodology, ineffective use of technology and materials, insecure (coercive, aggressive, and discriminative) classroom atmosphere, lack of or inproper use of game activities, lack of group or pair work, failure to consider individual differences, lack or inappropriate integration of language skills, improper process evaluation, inadequate feedback, and traditional evaluation practices.
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