DISSERTATION DEFENSE ANNOUNCEMENT Ed.D. Program: Megan Ehrenfeld “Real Talk: Exploring World Language Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices Related to Authentic Texts”

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Language is connected to a people, culture, history, and communicative purpose. One way world language teachers help students explore the intersections of culture and language is through the use of authentic texts, such as films, newspapers, podcasts, videos, music or short stories (see: Pinzón, 2020). While the research points to the success of using authentic texts in the world language classroom, there are fewer studies from teachers’ perspectives about their beliefs and practices related to authentic texts. Drawing on Borg’s (2009) theory of language teacher cognition and raciolinguistic ideologies (Flores & Rosa, 2015) this qualitative interview study sought to examine the following questions: 1) What are middle and high school world language teachers’ beliefs related to authentic texts? 2) What are middle and high school world language teachers’ practices related to authentic texts? 3) What do teachers’ reported beliefs and practices about authentic texts suggest for future PD initiatives?

To better understand teachers’ beliefs and practices related to authentic texts, 14 middle and high school world language teachers were interviewed over three months. Teaching materials were also collected from each participant to uncover connections between how teachers define and use authentic texts. Data were analyzed by transcribing and coding the interviews and reviewing notes related to the teaching materials. Charts and notes helped illuminate patterns in the codes, and I used memoing as well as my theoretical framework and research questions to identify patterns between codes which led to larger themes in the data set.

This study found that teachers’ beliefs related to authentic texts had less impact on their teaching practice than did their overall pedagogical beliefs. Teachers were found to use a wide variety of texts in their classes, but how they used them reflected their instructional goals. While the majority of teachers used authentic texts to help their students make connections between language and culture, only one teacher used a critical approach to language pedagogy in his classes. These findings suggest that the term “authentic texts” might be irrelevant and that what’s more important is the types of texts teachers use and how they use them. These findings also suggest that in-service world language teachers would benefit from professional development to support them in using authentic texts through a critical lens which foregrounds not one language but the linguistic diversity of the target-language communities.

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