Dies kann wiederum nur geschehen, indem empirische Untersuchungen, wie das hier vorgeschlagene Projekt, die von Pädagog*innen empfundenen Hürden in der Realisierung eines effektiven Fremdsprachenunterrichts konkretisieren und zukünftige Curricula der Pädagog*innenbildung für die Primarstufe dementsprechend optimiert werden.
This study seeks to understand the self-perception of both trainee and in-service non specialist teachers of English in the Austrian primary EFL classroom. In more detail, the purpose of this research is to explore non-specialist teachers’ subjective perceptions, e.g., of how the way they have been taught has influenced their confidence in their English language teaching abilities and how this affects their own teaching.
Its findings aim to inform future curriculum design at the University College of Teacher Training Carinthia in order to improve student preparedness of teaching English as a foreign language at primary school level.
Despite the looming political changes on the European stage caused by the United Kingdom’s exit of the European Union and the possibility of certain knock-on effects on the English language’s status in the remaining 27 member states, it can be stated that English, for now, still upholds its position as the unchallenged lingua franca not only in Europe, but worldwide.
Unsurprisingly, English remains a core subject in Austrian secondary schools and, according to current governmental plans, primary schools are due to follow suit by 2025 and are required to reclassify English as compulsory to replace the status quo of a subject that, while offered in the vast majority of Austrian primary schools, remains ungraded. With the change to English becoming a compulsory part of the national curriculum, grades would be awarded, and the subject’s status further enhanced.
Under the above-mentioned aspects especially, it is unlikely that the native speaker (NS) ideal is going to be weakened anytime soon, but the question of how this affects teachers remains. Research on the topic tends to focus on specialist language teachers in secondary or tertiary educational settings, but the field of English language teaching in the primary sector under the aspect of the prominent NS ideal remains under researched, therefore there is a need to conduct this study as proposed.
The skillset of teachers in primary school settings tends to be undervalued as it is and the “Jack of all trades” stereotype is a hard one to shake off, so to add the, for most non-native English-speaking teachers (NNESTs), unattainable ideal of the NEST to the mix, must put immense pressure on the already very demanding professional circumstances primary school teachers find themselves in. It is critical to come to a better understanding of how primary school teachers feel when faced with the pressures of English becoming not only a compulsory, but at Key Stage 2, graded, subject, but also to in what way both initial training as well as continuous professional development can be tailored to improve the status quo.