10 SES 03 E, Professional Knowledge and Teacher Qualification
The relevance of teacher qualification for ensuring teaching quality can be regarded as widely accepted among educationalist. However, in many countries out-of-field teaching is an issue under debate especially since both qualitative (e.g., du Plessis, 2013) and quantitative studies suggest that teachers without subject-specific training may not be as effective as in-field teachers (e.g., Clotfelter et al., 2012). The competence-oriented perspective focussing on teachers’ knowledge, competencies, beliefs and characteristics such as motivational aspects necessary for effective teaching appears to currently be the dominant approach to the notion of the ‘professional teacher’ (Baumert & Kunter, 2013). According to this, not only teachers’ knowledge but also other characteristics are vital for high-quality teaching. Quantitative research on the phenomenon of out-of-field teaching has mainly focused on the impact on students’ proficiency explained by the teachers’ subject qualification. However, in order to fully understand these effects, other teacher variables should be taken into account. In particular, we consider teacher enthusiasm highly relevant. Researchers differentiate between experienced and displayed enthusiasms (Keller et al., 2016, p. 745). Based upon the idea of “teacher commitment” (Hobbs, 2013, p. 290), the “passion” (ibid.), or “energy” (Rosenshine, 1970, p. 499), which teachers invest in their teaching, displayed enthusiasm refers to “the degree of enjoyment, excitement, and pleasure that teachers typically experience in their professional activities” (Kunter et al., 2008, p. 470). In addition, Kunter and colleagues (2011) “theoretically and empirically differentiate two forms of experienced enthusiasm, namely topic-related enthusiasm in which teachers can be excited about the subject that they teach and activity-related enthusiasm in which teachers are excited about teaching itself” (Keller et al., 2016, p. 748). With regard to the effects, studies have shown that teacher enthusiasm has positive relations to students’ interest, motivation, and level of enjoyment (Keller et al., 2016, p. 761). Moreover, teachers’ experienced enthusiasm is positively related to instructional quality, namely learning support and classroom management (Kunter et al., 2013).
Based on the previous considerations, the main question is whether teachers differ in their level of enthusiasm based on their subject qualification. If teachers are only “filling in” (Hobbs, 2013, p. 291) when asked to teach subjects out-of-field in contrast to those who “pursue an interest” (ibid.), teachers enthusiasm might be lower. Teaching a subject out of interest can be particularly expected from those who have obtained a major in this subject. We further differentiate between topic-related or subject enthusiasm and teaching enthusiasm. The study to be presented looked at EFL primary teachers teaching in year 4, as there are no studies known that researched teacher enthusiasm in the context of foreign language teaching. Fourth-grade teachers are of special interest since the phenomenon of out-of-field teaching is common in German primary education due to the so-called class teacher principle. According to this, the same teacher will teach almost all subjects in a given class – the class teacher (Porsch & Wilden, 2017, p. 64). We examine two hypotheses: H1) There are no significant differences in teaching enthusiasm between groups of English teachers that differ in their subject qualification. H2) There are significant differences in subject enthusiasm between groups of English teachers that differ in their subject qualification. Thus, we expect that teachers with a subject qualification score higher on the subject enthusiasm scale than participants that obtained no or no extensive training in teaching English as a foreign language (EFL).
The analysis is based on a computer-based survey conducted in 2017 among German primary teachers who teach English in grade 4. The 844 primary schools teachers differ as follows in their subject qualification: 40.2 % obtained English as a major, 47.9 % participated in a post-qualification course in EFL, and 12 % had obtained no professional training for teaching EFL. Enthusiasm was measured with two four-point Likert scales for teaching enthusiasm (6 items, α = .88) and subject enthusiasm (5 items, α = .90). The items were taken from Kunter et al. (2016, p. 103-107). Only the wording of items for measuring subject enthusiasm was changed for the context. For example, the item “My subjects are important to me” was changed to “The subject English is important to me”. There is no missing data for the variables considered. A MANOVA was conducted to compare multiple group means for the two scales followed by multiple comparisons (t-tests with Bonferroni correction).
The results from the MANOVA show that teacher qualification can explain the variance of both teaching enthusiasm (R² = .01) as well as subject enthusiasm (R² = .17) although the proportion of the explained variance of the teacher variable ‘teaching enthusiasm’ by teacher qualification is negligible. Comparisons between the groups show a significant (p < 05) difference between the means for the teacher enthusiasm scale for the post-qualification group and the teachers with a major in EFL with a small difference of .11 on the four-point Likert scale. In comparison, the level of subject enthusiasm differs clearly between the majors and the non-EFL teachers (p < .001) as well between the post-qualification group and the majors (p < .001), each with a difference of .51 and .60. Hypothesis 1 assuming that there is no difference between the groups for teaching enthusiasm is confirmed. The differences and the amount of the explained variance is small and only significant for one comparison. Hypothesis 2 assuming that teachers with an EFL major report higher subject-specific enthusiasm can be confirmed as well. These relationships will be further explored by including other teacher variables into the model. In addition, structural equation models (SEM) will be applied in order to confirm the two-dimensionality of teacher enthusiasm. Consequences for further research on out-of-field teaching as well as implications for policy and practice in EFL in Europe will be discussed.
Baumert, J., & Kunter, M. (2013). The COACTIV Model of Teachers’ Professional Competence. In M. Kunter, J. Baumert, W. Blum, U. Klusmann, S. Krauss & M. Neubrand (Eds.), Cognitive Activation in the Mathematics Classroom and Professional Competence of Teachers. Results from the COACTIV Project (pp. 25–48). NY: Springer. Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2012). Teacher credentials and student achievement in high school. Journal of Human Resources, 45(3), 655–681. du Plessis, A. E. (2013). Understanding the out-of-field teaching experience. A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Queensland. Online: http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:330372/s4245616_phd_submission.pdf Hobbs, L. (2013). Teaching ‘out-of-field‘ as a boundary-crossing event: Factors shaping teacher identity. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 11, 271–297. Keller, M. M., Woolfolk Hoy, A., Goetz, T., & Frenzel, A. C. (2016). Teacher enthusiasm: reviewing and redefining a complex construct. Educational Psychology Review, 28, 743–769 Kunter et al. (2016). Bildungswissenschaftliches Wissen und der Erwerb professioneller Kompetenz in der Lehramtsausbildung. Dokumentation der Erhebungsinstrumente für den ersten und zweiten Messzeitpunkt. Frankfurt: Goethe Universität. Kunter, M., Frenzel, A. C., Nagy, G., Baumert, J., & Pekrun, R. (2011). Teacher enthusiasm: dimensionality and context specificity. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36, 289–301. Kunter, M., Klusmann, U., Baumert, J., Richter, D., Voss, T., & Hachfeld, A. (2013). Professional competence of teachers: effects on instructional quality and student development. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 805–820. Kunter, M., Tsai, Y.-M., Klusmann, U., Brunner, M., Krauss, S., & Baumert, J. (2008). Students’ and mathematics teachers’ perceptions of teacher enthusiasm and instruction. Learning and Instruction, 18(5), 468–482. Porsch, R., & Wilden, E. (2017). The introduction of EFL in primary education in Germany. A view from implementation research. In E. Wilden & R. Porsch (Eds.), The Professional Development of Primary EFL Teachers. National and International Research (pp. 59–75). Münster: Waxmann. Rosenshine, B. (1970). Enthusiastic teaching: a research review. School Review, 78(4), 499–514.
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