Year

2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Education

Abstract

With the rapid spread of English used as an international language, second language (L2) teacher education has gained in prominence. A substantial number of studies have been carried out in pre- and in-service teacher contexts; yet, evidence about the efficacy of language teacher preparation remains inconclusive. Parallel to the question about the effectiveness of teacher preparation, research on the preparation of pronunciation teachers is much needed. That is, even though comprehensible pronunciation is of utmost importance in communication between interlocutors, it tends to be addressed inconsistently in the L2 classroom due to instructors’ lack of training and confidence. The aim of the present study is, therefore, to contribute to the understanding of what constitutes effective pronunciation teacher preparation from a teacher cognition perspective. The development of student teachers’ cognition (knowledge, beliefs, thoughts, attitudes and perceptions) about pronunciation instruction was examined from four different perspectives in the form of four journal articles to gain insights into student teachers’ learning to teach English pronunciation. A postgraduate subject on pronunciation pedagogy taught at an Australian tertiary institution served as the research site. Two questionnaires, four focus groups, classroom observations, semi-structured interviews, a subject-based assessment task and the researcher’s journal were triangulated as data sources to explore participants’ cognition development and to identify factors that contributed to and/or restricted this process. Overall, the findings demonstrated that student teachers’ cognition developed considerably during the subject. Several factors (e.g., group work, participants’ own pronunciation and language awareness, observations, complexity of phonology etc.) exerted a powerful influence on participants’ learning to teach pronunciation. Findings also showed that, while learning to teach English pronunciation is a complex, multifaceted and individual process, it may take some time beyond a pronunciation subject for L2 instructors to acquire the pedagogical competence necessary to teach pronunciation effectively in their L2 classrooms.

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