The forgotten faces: Moving language teacher educators in from the shadows

Sarah Mercer

Typically, discussions about language teacher education focus on what we know about student teachers and how they are taught. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, we know comparatively little about language teacher educators (LTEs) themselves. Yet, their influence is vast. These are the people who often select not only what is taught but also how it is taught. They model the behaviours, attitudes, and values they aim to foster in their students. They filter the content, experiences, and processes of language teacher education. They are the conduit for the whole process. Yet, what do we know about their psychologies, career paths, or motivations for taking on this role?

In this talk, we begin by considering the different types of LTEs. We examine the relatively narrow body of research on LTEs comparing this to parallel developments in respect to language teacher research. We reveal just how vitally important LTEs are for what happens in class, how their student teachers experience their education, and subsequently, what they take into their professional practice. The talk concludes by setting out an agenda for future research and calling for a greater understanding of this specific population who are so critically important to the whole ecology of language teaching.

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