Considerations in designing and evaluating material aimed at meeting the training and development needs of prospective teachers undertaking intensive initial ELT teacher education programmes

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


There has been very little research on the effects of initial teacher education in English language teaching (ELT), especially in the context of short intensive pre-service courses. Even more scarce has been any published evaluation of material aimed at helping teachers in such contexts.

This essay aims to begin to fill that gap by drawing on the author’s experience to describe and analyse the processes that led to the design and subsequent evaluation of materials aimed at such a learning context. In so doing, it develops and applies a methodology for post-use evaluation of materials and sets out opportunities for further research. The teacher education materials referred to are submitted with the essay, along with a published evaluation of one of those books, and other related publications.

This essay contextualizes pre-publication evaluation procedures within the need to ensure that teacher education material is based on theoretically justifiable foundations. To that end, it briefly reviews trends in ELT teacher education and outlines the need for evidence based decisions on content before describing and commenting on pre-publication evaluation processes. The essay sets out the methodological decisions made when carrying out one published post-use evaluation before summarizing the findings and discussion of that study. It then sets out alternative post-use evaluation procedures and goes on to suggest principled criteria by which initial teacher education material can be effectively evaluated.

The essay concludes by setting out two types of contribution to knowledge made by the total submission. One contribution is based on substantive findings from research. This includes the insight that early-career teachers value and benefit from discussing teaching with teachers of a similar status. Also, prospective teachers use teacher education material selectively and they value instruction in core competencies. In addition, it was found that the emotional aspects of socializing into the profession are often over-looked in initial teacher education.

The second contribution to knowledge is procedural in nature. It seems axiomatic that, as part of a thorough quality control process, material should be evaluated after it has been used and this submission is based on a description, analysis and further development of a rigorous, post-use, public evaluation of teacher education material. As far as I know, this was the first systematic evaluation of teacher education material to be published that tried to gauge the impacts of specific material on users.
Date of Award2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorPaul Rastall (Supervisor)

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