The article is available to read online here, or a pdf here (scroll to page 28).
The two cultures in Australian ELICOS: Industry managers respond to English language school teachers
The paper is about what Phiona Stanley calls the ‘two cultures problem’, in which the ELICOS industry, she argues, is culturally divided between the ‘teachers’ and ‘higher ups’. The paper argues that this cultural ‘wall’ is talked into being, and that it divides the sector as follows:
“Teachers and some DOSes perceive that ‘the board’ and ‘the management’ and ‘the industry’ are all about profit and not students … [teachers cite] students’ keenness to learn as their motivation. This is very different from the talk of ‘profit’ that they perceive dominates the culture on the other side of the wall. Together, these distinct narratives construct an industry that is riven by a professional identity wall between ‘them’ and ‘us’. This is the two cultures problem”. (page 38)
A note on the methodology used in the study. Phiona interviewed 15 experienced management, marketing and sales people from colleges, both university and private. These 15 people held the following roles: school directors, managers, marketing managers, sales managers, business consultants, directors of studies, and a CELTA trainer.
You’ll see on page 32 that the following prompts were used in the interviews:
How do you feel about the following: Teachers’ salary step system and salaries more generally; casual teacher contracts and seasonality; agent discounting and the role of agents more generally; some teachers’ feeling that goodwill is being exploited; teacher attrition from ELICOS; teachers’ professional self-esteem and the image of the sector more generally.
Phiona analysed the interviews in three ways: analysing the content of what was said, assigning themes to the content, and also conducting a linguistic analysis of what was said. This was all aimed at uncovering how the group of ‘ELICOS higher ups’ that Phiona interviewed construct the identities of ELICOS teachers.
Perhaps we can start the discussion by considering our own responses to the prompts in the second box above, and how we each feel that the findings in the article align with our own feelings.
Image courtesy of http://kausarbilal.com/book-club-launch-at-south-asian-study-group/
The winning article (by one vote!) is “The two cultures in Australian ELICOS: Industry managers respond to English language school teachers” by Phiona Stanley, UNSW. The article is available to read online here, or download as a pdf here (scroll to page 28).
Some discussion questions will be made available later in the week. In the meantime, happy reading!
Welcome to the voting page of the Article Discussion Group. The idea is for us all to vote for our preferred article from the latest English Australia Journal, read it, and then join in a moderated discussion of the article. Authors will either join in on the discussion, or respond offline to points raised and questions asked, facilitated by the moderator. The discussion will take place on the #AusELT Facebook page and is scheduled as such: October 12-15 is reading time; October 16-22 is discussion time.
The articles are all relevant to many of the contexts in which AusELT folk practice. Two of the articles are primary research articles, that is, the authors have devised and conducted their own research study and reported their findings. A third one is a critical review. Each article has been peer-reviewed, meaning that the editor has invited leading TESOL scholars to review and offer suggestions for improving earlier drafts. We have some excellent reviewers who, together with the authors, have ensured you receive the best quality research reports upon which you can make some decisions about your own teaching.
In order to assist those who are new to reading research articles, the moderator will orient you by providing a summary of the research design and the overall purpose of the research. The discussion will not only focus on how the article can inform your own teaching, but also on opportunities for further research in any form. It will hopefully spark ideas for improving the quality of life in many classrooms! Each article has an abstract for you to read; after all, just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a research article by its title. The complete articles are all open access, freely available online and downloadable in pdf here. The chosen article will be made available as a pdf and available for download on this page.
The employability of non-native English speaking teachers:An investigation of hiring practices and beliefs in Australian adult ELT
Navitas English, Manly
Previous studies into the employability of non-native English teachers (NNESTs) show discriminatory attitudes and assumptions in recruitment processes. This article reports on a mixed methods investigation into the employability of NNESTs in the Australian English language teaching sector, namely, private language schools, university English language centres, and the Australian Migrant English Programme (AMEP). An online survey followed by participant interviews were conducted to ascertain which hiring criteria participant recruitment decision makers deem important when recruiting teachers. The results suggest there is evidence of movement away from notions of native speakerism in Australian ELT but that hiring managers’ beliefs and assumptions may negatively influence perceptions of NNEST ability and validity as competent teachers of English. Implications for different stakeholders are also discussed.
The two cultures in Australian ELICOS: Industry managers respond to English language school teachers
University of New South Wales
This article reports on a qualitative study that sought to understand managers’ perceptions of teachers’ professional identities in the Australian ELICOS sector. The study found that there is a powerful, socially imagined ‘wall’ that divides two cultures in the sector: the managers on the one hand, and the teachers on the other. While generally unproblematic in operational, marketing, and sales terms, the continued existence and ongoing strengthening of this wall is shown to be counter productive to the sector’s desire for improving quality. As a result, there is a need to address structural issues rather than simply continuing with a quality enhancement model that hopes to inspire teachers to undertake professional development.
A critical look at NLP in ELT
ELTU, University of Leicester
This article examines Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). It looks at claims made by practitioners and highlights criticisms of these. The spread of this approach through its inclusion in journal articles and books is also examined. I suggest that teacher trainers, experts and journals risk giving legitimacy to, and spreading questionable beliefs and practices throughout the ELT world.
So, without any more fanfare, please cast your vote! Closes Wednesday October 11, 2017 at 5 pm DST
Your moderator, Phil Chappell (@TESOLatMQ, Executive Editor of the English Australia Journal)
We are approaching March which means we need to start planning for our next Twitter chat. That’ll be on Sunday, March 5, at 8:30pm Sydney time.
We have a choice of three topics, based on topics which have generated some interest on the #AusELT Facebook group recently.
Please vote in the poll below and we’ll announce the winner on our Facebook page and on Twitter towards the end of next week. The chat will take place on Sunday 5th March at 8.30pm Sydney time (click here to see the time where you are).
For those new to Twitter chats, these posts should get you started:
In this post, Meredith MacAulay discusses how we can better help students transfer their knowledge from preparatory courses to the real world. (NB: The Twitter chat referred to has now taken place, but please check the pre-chat post and links below.)
Despite the increasingly high enrolments in EAP courses in Australia, particularly Direct Entry courses, there is still limited published research into what impacts these courses have on students’ success at university. It can be argued that the ultimate goal of an English for Academic Purposes course is for students to transfer the language, skills and strategies they learn to the tertiary context. However, to what extent does this occur? What affects whether our students use what they learn in their EAP courses? And are we teaching what they really need?
This Twitter Chat will focus on issues surrounding the teaching of EAP courses and learning transfer, that is the application of skills or knowledge learned in one context to a new context. The inspiration for the chat comes from my personal interest in learning transfer and research I carried out on the transfer of learning from a Direct Entry EAP program [DEP] to students’ university mainstream subjects. It focused specifically on speaking skills and the related assessments from the DEP course, and you can read more about it here.
In the Twitter Chat, I’d like to draw on three factors that have been suggested as possible influences on transfer of learning, and which also featured in my results.
students’ perceptions of task similarity – do tasks that students are required to do at uni seem similar to tasks they have done before?
students’ perceptions of transfer ‘climate’ (James, 2010) – do students feel supported by the context, including their peers, teachers and assignments?
instructional strategies – we can teach for transfer by making our courses similar to the target context and by making students aware of these similarities. We can also encourage students to reflect, plan and monitor their activities and to anticipate future applications (Green, 2015). These strategies are outlined in the ‘hugging and bridging’ model.
So bring your experience and ideas and let’s discuss the following:
What skills do you expect your students to take from your class to uni?
To what extent do your students transfer what they have learnt in their mainstream classes? How do you know?
How can we strike a balance between near transfer (learning for the test) and far transfer in a DEP course?
What can we do to familiarise our students with the target context?
What else do you (or your institute) do to facilitate transfer?
What information or research would help us to plan our courses and teach for transfer?
All are welcome to this chat, even if you don’t teach EAP! Transfer from our courses to a ‘real life,’ context is relevant to all teachers-General English, Business English, English for Migrants, Teacher Training, etc…Look forward to seeing you there!
This chat has now taken place.
Further Reading & References
Green, J. (2015). Teaching for transfer in EAP: Hugging and bridging revisited. English for Specific Purposes,37, 1-12.
James, M.A. (2006b). Teaching for transfer in ELT. ELT Journal, 60 (2), 151-159.
James, M. A. (2010). Transfer climate and EAP education: Students’ perceptions of challenges to learning transfer. English for Specific Purposes, 29(2), 133-147.
Meredith MacAulay (@MeredithMacAul1) is an active AusELTer and currently teaches a Direct Entry EAP course to international students pursuing tertiary study in Sydney as well as training pre-sessional and in-session teachers. She presented on this topic last year at the University of Sydney TESOL Research Colloquium and the English Australia Conference. This is her first time to moderate a Twitter chat!
We’re getting ready for our monthly Twitter chat, which is happening this Sunday 7th Aug at 8.30pm Sydney time (click here to see the time where you are).
To vote for a topic, pick your favourite from the poll below. Topics were proposed by group members and/or near misses in previous votes. The result will be announced on the #AusELT Facebook page and on Twitter and whatever they may be I look forward to hanging out with you lovely people for a chat!
If you are not sure about Twitter and need a hand to get started, do message me on Facebook or Twitter (@sophiakhan4) or by leaving a comment below.
(* Don’t forget, daylight saving finishes this Sunday – well, for those who live in states that save daylight that is)
If you would like some help getting started with Twitter, click here. You can also follow me Lesley Cioccarelli (@cioccas) and Nicki Blake (@Penultimate_K) and a number of other #AusELT members – tweet to us for help and we’ll look after you!
Blog posts are generally around 500-1000 words, and can be written as if you were speaking to a friend or colleague. You can include ideas for further reading if you like, and/or end by adding a question to readers.
Here are some examples of things #AusELT members have written about previously: