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Ecologies of language learning and teaching: a teacher cognition of language learning environments beyond the classroom
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 22:56 authored by Mayumi Kashiwa
How language teachers conceptualise their students' language learning environments, the teacher's roles within these environments, and the relationship between in-class and out-of-class learning in particular may significantly influence what teachers do in the classroom. This research explores language teacher cognition of language learning and teaching beyond the classroom and provides insights into teacher learning processes as a consequence of an inquiry into students' language learning practices and environments. Teacher attitudes towards the inquiry process, the development of teacher beliefs about their students' learning environments, their subsequent actions in teaching, and their reconceptualisation of their roles are examined. This is achieved through a multiple case study design involving narrative and thematic analysis of multiple qualitative data sources using visual data, semi-structured face-to-face interviews, and reflective journals entries by the researcher. Teacher participants drew mind maps to represent their conceptualisation of a good language learning environment. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with the teachers prior to and following their engagement with student survey responses and a mind map drawn by their students each pertaining to their language learning practices. In that way, teachers were encouraged to adopt a holistic view of international students' language learning practices and their language learning environments beyond the classroom from ecological perspectives. This research method also promoted a deeper understanding of student learning ecologies. Four key findings emerged from this research investigation. First, teachers varied in their conceptualisations of ideal student language learning practices and the necessary elements of a good language learning environment beyond the classroom. Second, the teacher inquiry with an ecological perspective prompted teachers to better understand students' language learning practices beyond the classroom using emerging issues from student data. Third, teachers' ecological views increased their awareness of the relationship between student out-of-class language learning and teaching through extensive reflective practice in the course of the inquiry. It also further guided teachers to develop their beliefs and teaching ideas on how to link in-class and out-of-class language learning experiences, and then to reconceptualise their role in student learning. As such, this study demonstrated that teacher learning occurred throughout the inquiry process while working collaboratively with the researcher. Fourth, the openness of the teacher towards learning from new information, the degree of teacher agency in practice, and the teacher's emotions appeared to shape differences in the development of beliefs and teaching actions as outcomes of teacher learning. Overall, this study suggests that teacher reflection on daily practices is effective for promoting their ecological perspectives of student language learning. Moreover, it is also effective in teacher inquiries into student learning to prompt reconsideration of student learning needs and their role in supporting student learning beyond the classroom. Based on its findings, this study contributes to an academic understanding of ecologies of language learning and teaching, particularly the role of teacher ecological practices. This is supported by an inquiry into student learning in relation to student learning ecologies. In addition, the empirical evidence showing the development of teacher cognition towards the reconceptualisation of the teacher's role in their situated contexts demonstrates the effective use of an ecological framework in teacher cognition research.