Pseudo-compliance or Convergence? Content teachers work together to learn about language.
conference contributionposted on 12.09.2021, 20:55 by Margaret GleesonMargaret Gleeson
Pseudo-compliance or Convergence? Content teachers work together to learn about language. Many secondary teachers in New Zealand have undertaken professional learning and development (PLD) during their teaching career as educational leaders recognise that English language learners (ELLs) require specific academic support if they are to achieve academic success. This paper reports cases from a small-scale PLD project conducted over one year at an urban senior secondary school in New Zealand. This school prepared international ELLs for entry to a New Zealand university. The subject teacher participants volunteered to participate in the PLD which focussed on working with a colleague to identify the linguistic demands of their subjects, and develop pedagogies that fitted research evidence about teaching ELLs and their existing pedagogical subject knowledge. This paper reviews three contrasting cases where the subject-specific teacher partnerships responded differently to the PLD and working with their PLD partner/s. The PLD sessions with language facilitators were conducted remotely through audio-recorded Zoom meetings. Data also included co-constructed lesson plans and notes from participants’ observations of one another’s lessons. A thematic analysis suggests that this PLD was considered successful by the participants when the facilitators acknowledged the teachers’ pedagogical subject expertise, and when the teachers were willing to position themselves as learners. However, some teachers were unable to adapt their existing professional identity. This paper reinterprets the findings by adapting Davison’s (2006) conceptual framework for mapping collaboration between content and ESL teachers. Two layers of collaboration emerged. The first mapped collaboration between the facilitator and the participants which revealed evidence of creative co-construction. The second layer of collaboration between the teacher-participants suggested that even pairs accustomed to teaching together remained at a pseudo-compliance level during the language PLD. The study suggests that these teachers’ professional learning relationships were complicated by engaging with a discipline outside their subject epistemology. This has implications for PLD requiring teacher collaboration. This paper reports findings from a PLD project where facilitators supported content teachers to explore the language of their discipline, and incorporate pedagogies supporting ELLs. Davison’s (2006) conceptual framework revealed partnerships ranging from creative co-construction to pseudo-compliance. Teachers’ PLD relationships were complicated by engaging with a discipline outside their subject.