• Bringing languages to life: a longitudinal study of the development of creative practice in student teachers of modern languages

      Hulse, Bethan; University of Chester (SAGE, 2017-12-29)
      This article reports the findings of a longitudinal study exploring the process of learning to teach modern languages in the changing landscape of teacher education. It employs a postmodern critical ethnographic methodology to examine the experiences of a group of student teachers over the course of a one-year postgraduate teacher education programme in England. The focus is on how experiences in university and in school encourage or discourage the development of creativity. The schools inspectorate, Ofsted, is critical of lifeless teaching which fails to inspire young people to learn languages. However, the pressures of ‘performative’ requirements act as a discouragement to creativity. The data indicates that whilst student teachers express a desire to be more creative, they find it difficult to implement their ideas in school. A post-structuralist analysis of Marx’s theory of alienation is employed to argue that the early formation of professional identity is a process of acquiescence to oppressive external structures over which individuals have no control. The study concludes that it is possible to create spaces where the temporary suspension of alienation can allow individuals to put life back into language learning.
    • Exploring the material mediation of dialogic space – A qualitative analysis of professional learning in Initial teacher education based on reflective sketchbooks

      Moate, Josephine; Hulse, Bethan; Jahnke, Holger; Owens, Allan; Jyvaskyla University; University of Chester; Europa University, Flensburg (Elsevier, 2018-12-05)
      This study addresses the crucial relationship between theory and practice as a key feature of professional learning in initial teacher education. The context for the study is an EU-funded intensive programme drawing on different dimensions of insideness and outsideness and arts-based pedagogies in response to the diversity of education today. The data for the study comes from self-selected pages from preservice teacher participants’ reflective sketchbooks. As a methodological approach that unifies the sensuous and cognitive this study suggests that reflective sketchbooks document the dialogic encounters of students whilst also providing a material space that can itself become a form of dialogic space for critical reflection. The main findings of the study outline critical ways in which preservice teachers transform theoretical inputs into individual expressions as well as conceptualise theory in relation to lived experience.
    • Process Drama as a tool for teaching modern languages: supporting the development of creativity and innovation in early professional practice

      Hulse, Bethan; Owens, Allan; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2017-02-10)
      This paper reflects on issues arising from a research-informed learning and teaching project intended to enable student teachers of Modern Languages (MLs) to experiment with the use of unscripted ‘process drama’ in their classroom practice. The idea that process drama could become part of the language teacher’s repertoire has been in circulation for some time (Kao and O’Neill, 1998; Bräuer, 2002; Fleming, 2006; Stinson and Freebody, 2006; Giebert, 2014) yet there is little evidence to suggest that its use has become widespread in schools in England. The aim of the project was to enable student teachers to acquire drama teaching techniques which they could incorporate into their own practice in order to enrich the learning experiences their students through creative and imaginative use of the foreign language in the classroom. The research was undertaken over a period of three years by two teacher educators on a secondary initial teacher education programme in a university in England. The paper concludes that it is both possible and desirable for student teachers to encounter alternative approaches which challenge the norm and that with support they may develop innovative practices which can survive the ‘the ‘crucible of classroom experience’ (Stronach et al. 2002, p.124).
    • Understanding Creativity and Alienation in Language Teacher Education: a critical ethnographic study

      Hulse, Bethan (University of Chester, 2015-02)
      This research explores the processes of learning to teach Modern Languages (MLs) in the rapidly changing landscape of teacher education. It employs a postmodern critical ethnographic methodology (Lather, 1991) to examine the experiences of a group of student teachers and me, as their tutor, over the course of a one year PGCE programme. The focus is on how experiences in University and in School shape their emerging professional identities, in particular how these experiences encourage or discourage the development of a creative approach to the practice of language teaching. There is evidence which suggests that ML teaching is often mundane and does not inspire young people to study Languages (The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), 2011). However, the pressures of ‘performative’ requirements which privilege that which is measurable (Ball, 2003) act as a discouragement to creativity. This thesis finds that whilst student teachers express a desire to be more creative, they find it difficult to implement their ideas in School. I draw on postmodern interpretations of Marx and Freud to problematize the notion of ‘professional autonomy’ and to argue that the early formation of professional identity is a process of acquiescence to oppressive external structures over which individuals have no control, resulting in the alienation of the individual from the work they do. I also explore questions concerning the nature of subjectivity and the relationship between the individual and the external world through Romantic philosophy and poetry. As both subject and object of this ethnographic study, I employ a reflexive methodology to explore the evolution of my own professional identity. The critical narrative emerges from the data, which reveals how professional identities are simultaneously constructed and alienated.