In the research literature there has traditionally been a dearth of evidence-based accounts of English teacher education interaction (ELTE). Although we have moved some way forward, it is still true to say that although language teacher education is much done, it is little studied (Hammadou 1993, Freeman and Johnson 1998), and ‘for many reasons, there has tended to be very little substantial research in teacher education, both in education generally and in the field of language teaching’ (Freeman 2001:74). Even more compelling is the fact that the discourses and interactions of ELTE are studied by few, in a context where language is not only the product but also the processing tool through which teachers become educated. This is especially true of reflective practice activities (Mann and Walsh 2017). The research into interaction that has been conducted tends to be largely qualitative, with very little based on robust corpora. This paper makes the case for exploiting larger amounts of relevant data through computational techniques, to complement qualitative accounts which draw on methodologies such as linguistic ethnography, discourse analysis etc. It does so by reporting some specific evidence-based accounts of the spoken and written discourse of experienced language teacher educators and student teachers, using the Teacher Education Corpus (TEC, as reported in Farr et al. 2019). It will begin with an exploration of some statistically significant insights into the discourse through an examination of multi-word and n-gram keywords, along with some associated collocations. This provides an ariel view of the data at a macro-level before focusing more specifically on two exemplars in the form of insights into identity construction and reflection among the participants. Some of the limitations of corpus-based methodologies will also weave their way through this presentation. This research emanates from the firm belief that in ELTE scholarship is a ‘unity of theory and practice – praxis – in which theory guides practice while practice shapes theory’ (Golombek and Johnson, 2019: 25).
Farr, F., Farrell, A. and Riordan, E. (2019) Social Interaction in Language Teacher Education. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
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Golombek, P. R. and Johnson, K. E. (2019). Materialising a Vygotskyian-inspired language teacher education pedagogy. In: Walsh, S. and Mann, S. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teacher Education. New York and London: Routledge: 25-37.
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Mann, S. and Walsh, S. (2017) Reflective Practice in English Language Teaching. Research-Based Principles and Practices. New York and London: Routledge.