Arab World English Journal
AWEJ Vol.2 No. 4 December 2011                                                                                                      pp. 5-36

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Teacher Development: Recognising Skill as a Basis for Ongoing Change

Richard Kiely
University College Plymouth St Mark & St John
United Kingdom

This paper reviews key themes in language teacher development over recent decades, and outlines a way forward. First and second generation approaches to teacher learning and developments are described, and a third generation, based on recognising what teachers do well is set out. This is based on data from a teacher development initiative carried out with teachers in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programme in the UK. Key features of this approach focussed on in this paper are the skills of teachers in managing interaction and learning opportunities, the complex cognitive activity which underpins effective classroom practice, and the need to conceptualise teaching as constantly changing. These features are related to the ongoing challenge to develop programmes for teacher development which are effective in terms of teacher experience, and of wider policy goals of curriculum improvement.

Keywords: Teacher learning in TESOL, language teacher development, continuous professional development (CPD) for teachers and classroom episode analysis


Richard Kiely is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Language Education and Head of the Centre for International Language Teacher Education (CILTE) at University College Plymouth St Mark & St John, UK. He has worked as a teacher educator – initial teacher training and continuing professional development – in a range of countries, and directs the CILTE MA in TESOL. He supervises PhDs in topic areas related to teacher learning, classroom interaction, and programme evaluation. He has published in a range of journals (for example, Language Teacher Research, Modern Languages Journal, ELT Journal, Language Awareness, Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching) and is the author (with Matt Davis and Eunice Wheeler ) of Investigating Critical Learning Episodes (2010) and (with Pauline Rea-Dickins) of Programme Evaluation in Language Education (2005).