Models and the Knowledge Base of Second Language Teacher Education

Day, Richard
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Although teacher education programs have been in existence for a long time, second language teacher education is a relatively recent development. Traditionally, second or foreign language teachers were either native speakers of the target language or had some recognized expertise in the language. To the extent that instructors from either of these two sources had degree work or undertaken other educational programs, it was generally in the literature and culture of the target language. Indeed, simply being a native speaker was often the only criterion. However, in the last thirty year, there has been an explosion in the teaching and learning of second languages, both in the actual teaching and in the education of second language teachers. This has been particularly rapid in the field of English as a second/foreign language (ESL), which is the focus of this paper. In examining pre-service ESL teacher education programs, we can recognize two major aspects. The first is the knowledge base or the information that we believe our students must know. The second aspect is the way or ways in which that knowledge is delivered to our students. I refer to the possible ways as models or approaches. The purpose of this paper is to examine the intersection of the knowledge base with four models. It is necessary to understand how these two aspects of second language pre-service teacher education come together. Without this understanding, we face the danger of randomly offering courses and other instructional activities for accidental reasons. An unstructed approach could result in a haphazard educatio nexperience for our students.
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