KOREAN PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS’ BELIEFS ABOUT SECOND LANGUAGE PEDAGOGY IN THE CONTEXT OF GOVERNMENT MANDATED EDUCATIONAL REFORMS: A MIXED-METHODS STUDY
Hwang, Suh Young
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Currently there is a lack of investigation into English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers’ beliefs in an educational reform context. This study aims to expand research on ESOL teachers’ beliefs by investigating Korean pre-service teachers’ beliefs about English language education in Korea in relation to their perceptions of and teaching practice of the Ministry of Education (MOE) initiated reforms of English language education. The study is a self-report based study, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative research instruments: a survey questionnaire and interviews. 194 preservice secondary school teachers responded to the survey questionnaire and ten were selected for interviews. The study reveals that a) the beliefs held by the participant teachers were largely more closely aligned with communication-oriented language education, which has been promoted by the MOE in its reform efforts, but some beliefs were based on Korean traditional English education primarily due to high-stakes English tests in Korea; b) major sources of the teachers’ beliefs were their experience as English learners, teacher education, practicum experience, and experience in English speaking countries; c) the teachers did not perceive the MOE reform policies and mandates very positively but with some reservation primarily due to constraints of educational realities; d) the teachers’ implementation of the MOE curricular reforms in practicum was rather limited primarily due to external impediments such as lack of training in communicative language teaching and test-driven English education; e) there were gaps and mismatches among three construct, the participant teachers’ beliefs, perceptions, and implementation. Based on these findings, the study draws the following inferences that the relations formed among the three constructs are highly complicated and contain inconsistent nature and such inconsistency can be explained at least in part by constraints of local educational conditions/realities. The study discusses implications of the results for four different areas: implications for a) future research, b) reform agents, c) teacher education programs and teacher educators/specialists, and d) EFL countries. The study ends with a summary of contributions that it makes.