Volume 17 (2010)
"Context" - The Magic of Foreign Language Teaching
This paper examines the issue of "context" in foreign language teaching. It focuses on nine teachers at the secondary school level in Trinidad and Tobago who were students in a one-year in-service professional development programme. The teachers are all graduates with a B.A. in either Spanish or French, or both, and have varied degrees of experience as teachers. Teachers entered the programme with limited understandings of context and its role in teaching, and with little or no experience of using it in their foreign language lesssons. During their encounter with the context issue during the year-long professional development programme, they were able to make a link between the theories of effective teaching and learning andÂ the use of context in lessons. They were also able to overcome the challenges of lack of creativity, finding suitable support material, and motivating their students. By the end of the programme, teachers were not yet using context spontaneously but found that planning lessons with appropriate contexts was time-consuming. The findings of this study are especially relevant for teacher educators who promote communicative language teaching.
Keywords: Secondary School Teachers; Foreign Language Education; Student Teachers; Teaching Methods; Diploma in Education Programme; School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine; Trinidad and Tobago