University of Leicester
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How Untrained Teachers Develop Their Teaching Skills and Perceive Themselves as Second Language Teachers – A Case Study in Malaysia

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posted on 2012-11-02, 12:22 authored by Rosaline Eu
This thesis investigates how teachers who are non-native English speakers and who do not have the necessary qualifications for the Teaching of English as a Second Language manage with their work at a private language centre in Malaysia. The three research questions that helped guide the study are: (1) What strategies do such teachers adopt when planning their lessons? (2) How do institutional support mechanisms, both formal and informal, enable their work, and (3) How do they construct their professional identity? As the aim was to explore how the teachers learn to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in the absence of a traditional teaching qualification, the study focused on an alternative pathway through a socio-cultural approach to enable teachers to gain pedagogical knowledge as they build their professional identity in the process. The aims of the study and the research questions meant that its design necessitated a qualitative approach within an interpretivist paradigm. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews, classroom observations and documentary analysis with seventeen teachers at the language centre. In this case study approach, the teachers were the individual cases. The data were analysed using inductive analysis to form themes. The findings concluded that the nurturing school environment and culture supported teachers’ learning and knowledge construction which stemmed from the leadership and management policies that were grounded in educational research and values. The study offers a set of facilitative conditions for the development of untrained teachers which emanated from the teachers’ perspectives about their experiences and their decision-making as they progressed from the novice stage to being competent teachers in adopting lesson planning strategies. The critical role of the institutional culture and continuing professional support system is highlighted in enabling them to develop their teaching skills and thus, the development of their sense of teacher identity.



Comber, Christopher; Dimmock, Clive

Date of award


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • EdD



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