Pre - Service Teachers' beliefs about teaching English to Primary school children by Annapoorni Balan SignUp
Pre - Service Teachers' beliefs about teaching
English to Primary school children
Prof. Annapoorni Balan Bookmark and Share


During the past thirty years or so, research has made significant contributions to the exploration of teachers’ beliefs, and the relationship between teachers’ beliefs and practices, which has produced important findings for both pre￾service and in-service teacher education. Tatto (1998) argues that we have a very little empirical evidence showing the influence of teacher education on teachers’ values and beliefs. So, it may commonly be accepted that teacher education can have little influence on altering teachers’ beliefs. Therefore, if trainees hold beliefs about language learning which might negatively affect their future students’ learning, it is very significant for the teacher educators to work on these beliefs and change them. If learners’ beliefs about language learning are considered important, the beliefs of their teachers should also be considered as equally important. The reason is that research has shown that, through their conscious or unconscious participation, individual teachers have the power to create or break the trends. They shape the curriculum according to their own beliefs, teach their personal values through the implicit curriculum, and operate their classrooms in accordance with their own particular definitions of teaching and learning. Teachers are unaware that they are doing this. They are also unable to put into words the beliefs, values, and definitions that form 
the base of their teaching.While some people believe that learning English (or any other Foreign Language) is an easy task and it can be learnt within short period of just three months, the others believe that acquiring another language is a special “gift” possessed by only a few people. Moreover, there has been controversy among people on the appropriate age to begin learning a new language; some believe younger the learner, better the results; while others say adults can learn any new language faster than the younger learners. There are still more disagreements on the influence of mother tongue on learning a foreign language, effectiveness of different teaching methodologies, and so on (e.g. Atkinson, 1993; Deller, 2003).If beliefs about foreign language learning can be so widespread in one culture, then it must be considered that learners bring these beliefs with them into the classroom. In case of English teachers, they are also learners of teaching English and, therefore, no exceptions for such beliefs which formulate their way 
of teaching. 
English has almost achieved the status of global language. Educational policies in many countries are intensifying teaching of English as an essential part of the school curriculum to meet the challenges of globalization and internationalization. English is taught as a Foreign Language (FL) or Second Language (SL) in many countries, including India.In India it has got the status of second language. Indeed, Primary education is the foundation on which the development of every citizen and the nation as a whole built on. In recent past,  India has made a huge progress in terms of increasing primary education, enrolment, retention, regular attendance rate and expanding literacy to  approximately two thirds of the population. India’s improved education system  is often cited as one of the main contributors to the economic development of India. At the same time, the quality of elementary education in India has also  been a major concern.Therefore, the Indian government has laid emphasis on  primary education up to the age of fourteen years.
Education has also been  made free for children from six to sixteen years of age under the Right of  
Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009. Around 80% of all recognized schools at the Elementary Stage are government  run or supported, making it the largest provider of education in the Country.  However, due to shortage of resources and lack of political will, this system  suffers from massive gaps including high pupil teacher ratios, shortage of  infrastructure and poor level of teacher training.The current scheme for  Universalization of Elementary education after,The District Primary Education Programme (DPEP-1994) is the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan which is one of the  largest education initiatives in the world.  
Many states in India have included English in school curriculum and have started English from as early as first grade. In Maharashtra, from where the researcher has collected the data for present study, English is being taught as a  first language in some English medium schools and as a second language in  many Marathi medium schools. English has been stared from first standard in Marathi medium schools also from June 2000. But unfortunately, even after a  decade, the desired goals have not been achieved to the full extent. Apart from  many other reasons, like social and family background of the students, size of classrooms, and availability of teaching aids, the basic reason is unavailability  of competent and well trained teachers. Primary student teachers (D.Ed.  (Diploma in Education) students) are also provided with inadequate exposure to face this challenge of teaching English to children more effectively.Teacher  beliefs are important considerations in conducting teacher education designed to  help pre-service and in-service teachers develop their thinking and practices. Therefore, the present research simply tries to determine these pre-service  teachers’ beliefs regarding teaching English to children and if they are consistent with accepted learning principles or reaching  approaches. 

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