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Pre-Service Teaching Practice

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AUTHORESS: Beatriz María Chang Peña.

TUTORESS: Lena Álvarez Monterrey.

English Language Major


The English Language Major, as all university majors in Cuba, comprises three main components: academic, pre-professional practice and research. Students generally respond in a more positive way to the academic component than to the pre-professional practice and research components. This happens because the time table for the lessons is followed rigorously, evaluation is almost always present, among other important factors that impact the students’ viewpoints regarding the teaching-learning process. Also, professors don’t attribute the same importance they give to the academic component to the research and professional pre-practice components. Moreover, students consider this latter to be the less welcomed, since most of them do not bear in mind that the teaching of foreign languages is one of their professional profiles. Most of the English Language students are only interested in the profiles of Translators, Interpreters and Communicators; then they are not motivated towards the pedagogical side of their major.
The Discipline Didactics of Foreign Languages Teaching includes a pre-professional practice in which students are meant to prepare and teach a language course under the supervision of a professor. This Teaching Practice is intended for students to be able to put into practice the knowledge acquired in the discipline Didactics of Foreign Languages and apply adequately the teaching strategies according to the characteristics of the content and level of the course. It is also addressed for having the students involved in the ethic and esthetic content of the pedagogical profession and consolidating their individual responsibility.
This Research Design intends to analyze the latent deficiencies that affect the Pre-service teaching practice, and provide an accurate solution containing possible ways to decrease these obstacles and improve students’ learning and abilities acquired through this practice. It will also try to diminish the deficiencies and imperfections that influence negatively the performance of the student-teachers and their tutors.
By means of conversations, surveys and interviews held with fourth and fifth year students, tutors, graduates of the major, administrators and, even with the students to whom the student-teachers taught during their practice, plus the revision of documents and data related to the topic, the following difficulties arose:
- The lack of interest towards the pedagogical profile of the major.
- The preparation of the student-teachers.
- The performance of tutors.

This Research Design seeks for the elaboration of a proposal, in the form of a guide, that will contribute to the improvement of the organization and assessment, which will lead to an enhancement of the development of the Pre-service Teaching Practice of the students in syllabus D of the English Language Major at the University of Holguín, because it will intend to rearrange the way student-teachers are assessed, taking into account the performance of tutors while preparing them, as well as their own abilities learnt on Didactics of Foreign Languages.

Problem: How to favor the organization and assessment of the Pre-service Teaching Practice of the students in Syllabus D of the English Language Major at the University of Holguín?
Object: Didactics of Foreign Languages.
Objective: To improve the development of the Pre-service Teaching Practice in Syllabus D of the English Language Major at the University of Holguín.
Field of the study: Pre-service Teaching Practice.
Scientific Tasks: * To revise the historical development of the English Language Major at the University of Holguín. * To analyze the Discipline Didactics of the Foreign Languages through the different syllabuses of the English Language Major at the University of Holguín. * To analyze the organization and assessment of the Pre-service Teaching Practice. * To propose a new way of organization and assessment of the Pre-service Teaching Practice in Syllabus D of the English Language Major at the University of Holguín.

* -Historic-logic method: It allows analyzing the different periods, moments, syllabuses and the changes the major has gone through in the last 20 years. Also, by means of it, it is possible to know the evolution and development of the Pre-service Teaching Practice at the University of Holguin. * -Analysis-synthesis: It deepens in the theoretical foundations of the pre-service teaching practice, as well as in its methodological basis providing more comprehensible information in order to sustain the changes to propose.

Empirical: * -Interviewing students and teachers in order to gather the needed information; in the case of the students who already performed as student-teachers, to ask about their likes and dislikes, their opinions related to the teaching practice, how much help they received and needed while teaching, etc. and in the case of teachers about their roles as tutors, how they have taken care of students’ methodological preparation, as well as the difficulties they found during the Pre-service Teaching Practice. * -Appling surveys to both groups, students and teachers, as well as to administrators, in order to evaluate the proposal.

Practical Contribution:
It proposes a guide containing a new way of organizing and assessing the Pre-service Teaching Practice in Syllabus D of the English Language Major at the University of Holguín in order to enhance a better development of the Pre-Service Teaching Practice as such.

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