Towards guidelines for curriculum design and development in English language teacher education in Cambodian higher education institutions

  • Somalux Ek

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    In the current Cambodian higher education sector, there is little regulation of standards in curriculum design of undergraduate degrees in English language teacher education. The researcher, in the course of his professional work in the Curriculum and Policy Office at the Department of Higher Education, has seen evidence that most universities tend to copy their curriculum from one source, the curriculum of the Institute of Foreign Languages, the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Their programs fail to impose any entry standards, accepting students who pass the high school exam without any entrance examination. It is possible for a student to enter university with satisfactory scores in all subjects but English. Therefore, not many graduates are able to fulfil the professional requirements of the roles they are supposed to take. Neau (2010) claims that many Cambodian EFL teachers do not reach a high performance standard due to their low English language proficiency and poor background in teacher education. The main purpose of this study is to establish key guidelines for developing curricula for English language teacher education for all the universities across the country. It examines the content of the Bachelor‘s degree of Education in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (B Ed in TEFL) and Bachelor‘s degree of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (BA in TESOL) curricula adopted in Cambodian universities on the basis of criteria proposed in current curriculum research. It also investigates the perspectives of Cambodian EFL teachers on the areas of knowledge and skill they need in order to perform their English teaching duties in Cambodia today. The areas of knowledge and skill offered in the current curricula at Cambodian higher education institutions (HEIs),the framework of the knowledge base for EFL teacher education and general higher education, and the areas of knowledge and skill Cambodian EFL teachers perceive to be important, are compared so as to identify any gaps in the current English language teacher education curricula in the Cambodian HEIs. The existence of gaps show what domains of knowledge and skill need to be included in the English language teacher education curricula at Cambodian HEIs. These domains are those identified by previous curriculum researchers in both general and English language teacher education at tertiary level. Therefore, the present study provides useful insights into the importance of including appropriate content in English language teacher education curricula. Mixed methods are employed in this study. The course syllabi and the descriptions within the curricula in five Cambodian HEIs are analysed qualitatively based on the framework of knowledge and skills for EFL teachers, which is formed by looking at the knowledge base for second language teachers suggested by the methodologists and curriculum specialists whose work is elaborated on the review of literature. A quantitative method is applied to analyse the perspectives of 120 Cambodian EFL teachers on areas of knowledge and skills they should possess. The fieldwork was conducted between June and August,2014. The analysis reveals that the following areas are included in the curricula at the five universities: communication skills, general knowledge, knowledge of teaching theories, teaching skills, pedagogical reasoning and decision making skills, subject matter knowledge, contextual knowledge, cognitive abilities, and knowledge of social issues. Additionally, research skills are included in three curricula while society and community involvement is in only one. Further, information and communication technology, which is outlined in the Education Strategies Plan (2006-2010),forms part of four curricula while leadership skills form part of two. This study demonstrates ultimately that most domains that are directly and indirectly related to language teaching competence are not sufficiently represented in the current curricula. On the basis of its findings, the study concludes with a set of guidelines that should inform the design and development of TESOL and TEFL curricula in Cambodia.
    Date of Award2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJeremy Jones (Supervisor), Misty Adoniou (Supervisor) & Ting Wang (Supervisor)

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