Presentation Title

Teachers’ oral proficiency: What happens after they graduate?

Project Type

Faculty Scholarship

Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Discovery

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Presentation Location: Warming House, Olivet Nazarene University

Abstract

It is widely agreed that a high level of speaking proficiency in the language of instruction is desirable, if not essential, for language teachers. Previous research has looked at the development of teacher candidates’ speaking proficiency prior to certification, but very little research has addressed the question of how teachers’ proficiency does or does not change once they begin teaching.

The current study aims to address this gap in the research. Ten current Spanish teachers who graduated from Olivet’s Spanish education program participated in a semi-structured interview to explore their perceptions of their speaking proficiency level and possible factors influencing that level. They also completed an official Oral Proficiency Interview (OPIc), allowing for a comparison of their perceptions with a more objective evaluation of their current proficiency level.

OPIc results show that six participants maintained the Advanced Low proficiency level that they achieved prior to certification, while three increased to Advanced Mid and one decreased to Intermediate High. Preliminary findings from the interviews suggest that participants are engaged in a number of activities to maintain or improve their Spanish, but the amount of time they dedicate to these activities varies widely. Their jobs, relationships and personal sense of satisfaction in speaking a second language motivate them to maintain and improve their proficiency; however, some participants feel hindered by limited time and lack of access to native speakers. Implications of these findings for teacher preparation and professional development will also be discussed.

Permission type

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Apr 13th, 3:55 PM Apr 13th, 4:25 PM

Teachers’ oral proficiency: What happens after they graduate?

Other

Presentation Location: Warming House, Olivet Nazarene University

Abstract

It is widely agreed that a high level of speaking proficiency in the language of instruction is desirable, if not essential, for language teachers. Previous research has looked at the development of teacher candidates’ speaking proficiency prior to certification, but very little research has addressed the question of how teachers’ proficiency does or does not change once they begin teaching.

The current study aims to address this gap in the research. Ten current Spanish teachers who graduated from Olivet’s Spanish education program participated in a semi-structured interview to explore their perceptions of their speaking proficiency level and possible factors influencing that level. They also completed an official Oral Proficiency Interview (OPIc), allowing for a comparison of their perceptions with a more objective evaluation of their current proficiency level.

OPIc results show that six participants maintained the Advanced Low proficiency level that they achieved prior to certification, while three increased to Advanced Mid and one decreased to Intermediate High. Preliminary findings from the interviews suggest that participants are engaged in a number of activities to maintain or improve their Spanish, but the amount of time they dedicate to these activities varies widely. Their jobs, relationships and personal sense of satisfaction in speaking a second language motivate them to maintain and improve their proficiency; however, some participants feel hindered by limited time and lack of access to native speakers. Implications of these findings for teacher preparation and professional development will also be discussed.