Teaching linguistically diverse classes: The impact of teachers' prior educational experiences

Vicky Kantzou, Christina Maligkoudi

Abstract

One of the main aims of pre-service or in-service teacher education is to develop educators who are aware of their own educational backgrounds and critically reflect on those experiences for future practice. The present qualitative study attempts to explore how the educational and linguistic biographies of ten educators of linguistically diverse classes in Greece impact their beliefs and educational practices. The focal educators were postgraduate students attending a module on multilingualism and language education, in the context of which they wrote a reflective essay on their own second language learning experiences. Subsequently, semi-structured interviews were conducted, aiming to explore their reflections on their own educational backgrounds and their perception on how this background had defined their teaching philosophies and practices. The essays and the interviews were analyzed through the content analysis method. The results revealed that teachers mainly held negative experiences while positive models were rare. They acknowledged having been influenced by what they had experienced as students, especially at the beginning of their careers. However, the reflective process helped them redefine the appropriateness of their teaching methods and their attitudes towards their bilingual students, as their plurilingual educational experiences were examined under a new light. The article concludes with the implications of the study with regard to teacher preparation programs. 

Keywords

Apprenticeship of observation, Greek as L2, teachers’ beliefs, L2 learning experiences.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.26220/aca.4012

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