The Hidden Curriculum and Learner Autonomy: Fostering Pedagogical and Professional Development in Pre- and In-service Teachers of English
Schontal Moore and Yewande Lewis-Fokum
A majority of tertiary-level language education students are not confident in their abilities to deliver an English language/writing curriculum at the secondary level, because of their tenuous content knowledge of the English language/writing curriculum; shaky grammatical competence; and, lack of confidence. Faced with this dilemma, an intervention to strengthen the content and pedagogical knowledge, as well as the philosophy of the 'ideal' English language teacher was implemented in a final-year writing course at the School of Education, The University of the West Indies, Mona, between 2012 and 2015. The objective was to boost learner autonomy within the course as well as within the real-life classrooms in which the students would eventually teach upon certification. This intervention encouraged reflection on class assignments, integrated incremental grammar into class seminars, and afforded students the opportunity to work collaboratively with peers to implement genre-specific writing workshops and e-portfolios as part of their confidence building towards personal and professional autonomy. At the end of the course, many of the student teachers self-reported that they felt a greater sense of confidence about teaching in the real world setting. Such an intervention has implications for institutional programmes seeking to foster learner autonomy within pre-service and in-service teachers of English preparing for the challenges of local and/or regional secondary school classrooms.
Keywords: English language; writing; Professional development; Technology; Teacher Leadership; Reflexive practitioner; Learner autonomy