“I Don’t Know Why I’m Learning This”: Preservice English Teachers’ Engagement in a Language Development Course

Selena Ramanayake
University of Cincinnati

Cheri Williams
University of Cincinnati

Despite the increase of English learners in the U.S. and of standards for linguistically responsive teaching practices, teacher education programs often fall short of preparing preservice teachers to teach diverse learners. In this case study, specifically designed to improve a pedagogical course on English language development, the researchers used qualitative methods to examine preservice English teachers’ perceptions of, and engagement in, instructional pedagogies that were designed to support their learning and apply to their current practicum experiences and teaching careers. Data were collected using observation, survey, and interview methods and were analyzed inductively. Findings indicate that preservice teachers were most engaged when course content was explicitly linked to their teaching experiences and least engaged when those connections were not made evident. The researchers argue that a lack of explicit connections between teacher preparation course content and K-12 classroom pedagogy influences preservice teachers’ perceptions of the value of course content to pedagogy and hinders their linguistically responsive preparedness to teach diverse learners. Implications for teacher preparation course design are proffered.

Copyright © 2018, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education