Dr. Santoi Wagner, Associate Director of TESOL at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, received one of the National Communication Association’s micro grants in Fall 2012 in order to work with Dr. Eun Sung Park, Assistant Professor of TESOL/Applied Linguistics and Director of the General English Education Program at Sogang University, Korea. They share research and professional interests in issues surrounding second language teaching and learning. Through this international and intercultural collaboration, the project will contribute to a deeper understanding of the interactional competencies and expectations of appropriate communicative behaviors for the classroom that non-native English speaking teachers bring to their training, and take home with them. The collaboration will also help ensure that the question of how to best support international students will receive balanced consideration from the perspectives of training in TESOL programs in the United States and teaching in students’ home countries.
Project background: With the spread of English around the globe, and the growing use of English as a lingua franca, there is an increasing demand for English language teachers. A significant proportion of students in many TESOL graduate programs in the United States are non-native English speaking (NNES) international students. While the experience for these students is often a positive one, an under-examined aspect of their training is how well the programs prepare students to teach in their home countries. For researchers interested in the interface of language and social interaction in the classroom, an issue of concern is the potential diversity in culturally appropriate norms of classroom communicative behavior. Although the impact of teacher education on actual teaching practices is an established field of inquiry, there has been much less research with respect to NNES teachers. Much of the work relating to NNES teachers of English has only been completed in the past fifteen years, and is predominantly centered around teacher self-accounts through narratives, interviews, and surveys, rather than investigations of actual teaching practices. This project seeks to explore two related questions: (a) How are NNES teachers’ communicative behaviors in the classroom altered by undergoing a training program outside of their home country? (b) How is this communicative behavior affected when NNES teachers return home to classroom and educational contexts that may be significantly different? Because the focus is the interactional practices of NNES teachers as they engage in their teaching, the study will primarily employ a qualitative micro-analytic approach to analyze the data collected from classroom observations.