Teacher Cognition and Decision-Making on English as a Foreign Language Pronunciation Teaching

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)

Abstract

This study explored English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers’ decision-making in terms of pronunciation teaching in Tokyo. A sequential exploratory mixed method involving two phases was employed: a questionnaire survey and a focus group interview. The purpose of the first phase was to determine how the teachers’ educational and professional background, their self-confidence, interests, and beliefs about pronunciation teaching were related to their teaching of pronunciation. In this phase, 102 university-level EFL teachers participated in the survey, results of which were further analyzed with the structural equation modeling to construct teachers’ decision-making models in the teaching of pronunciation. In the second phase, 12 teachers selected from the first phase listened to three sets of Japanese learners’ recordings and made decisions about their own pronunciation teaching based on their assessment. Four focus groups of three teachers were interviewed regarding their decisions about pronunciation teaching and the rationale for their decisions. The results in the first phase showed that the teachers’ self-confidence in their ability to teach pronunciation was a predictor of their decisions about strategies for pronunciation teaching, and that their self-confidence in knowing effective teaching methods and familiarity with key terms in pronunciation pedagogy were the predictors of self-confidence in teaching ability. Their language learning experience with an emphasis on pronunciation, interest in recent research findings in pronunciation pedagogy, and beliefs regarding the needs of teachers’ explicit knowledge about pronunciation also influenced their self-confidence about pronunciation teaching. In the second phase, teachers’ decisions about what pronunciation features to teach varied. Their rationale for their decisions revealed that teachers’ decisions were based on the intelligibility of the learners’ English and on the teachability of the pronunciation features. It was also found that their decisions were often based on personal practical knowledge gained through their experience rather than on pedagogical knowledge through education and training. Finally, the teachers made different decisions about pronunciation teaching; hence, it can be concluded that more research-based guidance may help teachers make informed decisions about pronunciation teaching.
Date of Award21 Jan 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorGuoxing Yu (Supervisor) & Talia Isaacs (Supervisor)

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