A Formative Intervention in Second Language Teacher Educators’ Pedagogical Practices: In Search of Evidence of Expansive Learning
A case study by Osmith Vides Contreras
This case study investigates transformations in pedagogical practices of four teacher-educators (TEs) who worked collaboratively to align the theory of learning to teach with their teaching in the classroom. They teach preservice teachers of English as a foreign language programme in a rural Colombian University. The transformation of teachers’ practice to improve teaching quality has been a relevant research topic for decades (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999; Fang, 1996; Korthagen, Loughran & Russell, 2006; Lieberman, 1995). Wright (2010) points out that a divorce between theory and practice has often been noted in second language teachers’ practices. Today, while current publications highlight the problem, they often fail to present the voice of teachers looking for possible solutions. This study aims to remedy this dissonance through a blended methodological approach of Developmental Work Research (DWR) and descriptive-explanatory case study. DWR is an interventionist research methodology derived from the theory of Cultural Historical Activity (CHAT), put forward by Engeström in the mid 1980´s. For Ellis, Gower, Frederick, and Childs (2015) this is “a methodology of formative intervention” that allows participants to work consciously on an aspect of their practice to improve it. DWR is also a bridge to the theory of expansive learning by Engeström (2009). Preliminary findings show that the ongoing process of learning in TEs requires of opportunities for explicitly talking about their practices. The value and significance of the community of practice cannot be overlooked and ought to be in place.