TESOL Instructors' Perceptions and Praxis Teaching Adult Emergent Readers
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This qualitative layered case study examined the perceptions and practices of teachers of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) providing English instruction to adult emergent readers in community-based programs in Central Texas. Study participants were four experienced TESOL instructors teaching in a face-to-face modality in three community-based programs. They had not been trained specifically for working with adult English speakers of other languages (ESOL) who were also emergent readers.
The dissertation research questions included:
- What are the experiences of TESOL instructors teaching adult emergent readers?
- What do they perceive as the needs of adult emergent readers learning ESOL?
- How do these perceptions impact their teaching practices?
- How do they approach teaching when the learners are adult emergent readers?
Data were collected through a Q-sort exercise, conversational interviews, classroom observations, documents, artifacts, and a research journal. Data analysis followed the steps suggested by Yin (2016) and used critical pedagogy and democratic education as a lens to interpret study findings.
The instructors’ teaching displayed varying degrees of democratic education, such as a real-life focus, dialogism, reciprocal learning, and praxis. However, the data showed little to no connection to critical consciousness or learner autonomy. Thus, the need of further training focusing on adult education theory and critical pedagogy became evident. In addition, teaching strategies beneficial for adult emergent readers were identified (e.g., creating associations, using technology, employing repetition, peer/group work, instructor support, and use of the native language). A conceptual map of findings, as well as implications, relevance, and contributions of the study are provided.