This project began in 2020 and will continue to involve additional programs through at least 2025. It was designed to be incorporated into a course that I teach twice a year, FLT 817 Program Development and Administration.
It focuses on the ongoing professional development of in-service language educators in context, including how they develop expertise and collaborate with their colleagues in language programs. Specifically, we are exploring how the beliefs and practices of in-service language teachers continue to develop beyond formal teacher education programs, how they work together with peers who teach the same or other foreign languages in their local contexts, and the relationships between personal growth and peer collaboration. We are talking to foreign language teachers in many different locations and settings, and we will compare our findings and look for common themes and patterns. From this study, we hope to gain insights that will help us to make better decisions about ongoing professional development that supports both novice and expert teachers in a lifelong trajectory toward excellence in foreign language teaching.
The data from this project come from interviews that teachers in our graduate program conduct with their own colleagues as well as a survey and supporting documents such as curriculum guides, syllabi, rubrics, peer observation templates, etc. We ask teachers about their preparation to teach, their beliefs and practices about language teaching, and how they work together with other teachers to maintain their program and address challenges.
In the course, graduate students collect this data, analyze it, and report on it as part of a project that we call the Program Evaluation Project (though it is more of a case study research project). Through this project, the students learn about the procedures and ethics of program evaluation as well as research ethics and qualitative data analysis methods.
Language Program Evaluation Project | DESCRIPTION
Effective leadership in language teaching programs depends on the ability to identify important features of the program, compare it with the needs of students and other stakeholders, and respond to those needs appropriately. This assignment will involve collaborating with peers to describe a program, identify strengths as well as areas for growth, and propose steps and strategies for promoting that growth. The content of this course presents the process of program evaluation as a necessary endeavor that can serve well to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of language programs. In this case, we will use the term program evaluation, but we will not assume that we have a mandate or the resources to carry out a full program evaluation. Instead, we will identify areas of focus, particularly in regard to teacher supervision and curriculum development, and center our analysis and recommendations on those areas.