Early professional development and languages teaching in primary schools

Driscoll, P. and Griffiths, V. (2012) Early professional development and languages teaching in primary schools. In: At the Crossroads: New Directions in Teacher Education, 16th-18th July 2012, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, Kent, UK.

Full text not available from this repository.


This paper will present findings from a research project investigating the perspectives and experiences of beginning teachers, trained on employment-based routes, in teaching primary languages. There has been an entitlement to language learning in English primary schools since 2002 (DfES 2002, 2005). A major aim is to increase language diversity and intercultural awareness through focused language teaching in primary schools as well as integrated language approaches. There has been little previous research on language preparation on employment-based routes (Griffiths, 2007).
The main aims of the research are to:
• investigate the experiences of beginning primary teachers, trained on employment-based routes, in delivering primary
• identify what factors affect the successful delivery of primary languages, such as teacher education provider, training in
primary languages, school context and support
• highlight ways in which employment-based teacher education in primary languages can be enhanced, and how employing schools can best build on this in primary teachers’ early careers.

Previous research on primary language teaching found considerable variation in approaches to primary language teaching, with some good quality training but often limited opportunities to observe good teaching (Cable et al, 2009; Driscoll et al, 2004; Griffiths & Driscoll, 2010). In this study, an online survey about initial training and experiences of teaching primary languages was administered to beginning teachers from five university-led employment-based courses in England (N-210). 18 follow up interviews were carried out, and four in-depth case studies of beginning primary teachers’ language teaching in schools.Lave and Wenger’s (1991) model of legitimate peripheral participation is useful as the theoretical framework for analysing beginning primary teachers’ initial training and early career experiences. Lave and Wenger’s ideas focus on the process by which newcomers become part of a community of practice, as the new, less experienced learners develop proficiency and move towards full participation in the community.

Project findings include the importance of focussed preparation in primary languages during teacher education and opportunities to observe good languages teaching in schools. For beginning teachers, strong support by specialist language teachers or advisors is important, plus a good range of teaching resources and well planned schemes of work, whether the approach used is single language or integrated learning. Findings will help enhance primary language teacher education, teaching and professional development, and produce new training and teaching resources for primary languages.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1705 Education and training of teachers and administrators
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Education
Depositing User: Mrs Claire Choong
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2013 13:46
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 12:50
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/12405

Actions (login required)

Update Item (CReaTE staff only) Update Item (CReaTE staff only)


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics


Connect with us

Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00