Maria Alba Barahona Durán

Malba Barahona

I have been a teacher of English and a teacher educator in Chile for over ten years.  My professional experience has driven me to research in the field of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher education.  As a teacher educator, I have seen how pre-service teachers engage in learning how to teach EFL and witnessed their learning through their actions. In this context the following questions have arisen:

  • What motivates pre-service teachers engage in learning how to teach?
  • How do curricula mediate their learning?
  • How do beliefs and personal experiences shape their engagement in the learning process?
  • What is expected to be the role of a pre-service teacher?
  • What are the roles of teacher educators and teacher mentors in the engagement of pre-service teachers in the activity of learning how to teach EFL?

To pursue this enquiry I applied for and was awarded an international  PhD scholarship from the Chilean government. I accepted the scholarship and enrolment at the Australian National University at the end of 2009. My PhD research project explores how pre-service teachers learn to teach, examining their engagement in this activity.

I became acquainted with Vygotsky´s ideas as part of my research journey to understand learning, and how teachers learn. Vygotsky´s seminal work led me to sociocultural perspectives. Activity theory provides a conceptual framework for my research “to understand the relationship between human mental functioning on the one hand, and cultural, historical, and institutional setting, on the other” (Wertsch, 1995, p. 56).

After studying Vygotsky´s  works for the last two years, I need a deeper understanding  of this revolutionary view of learning. This can best be achieved through face to face contact with like minded scholars in a summer school.

Participating in the ISCAR SU 2012 would be a great opportunity to consolidate and enhance my understanding and knowledge of Vygotsky´s postulates and socio-cultural historical theory from leading researchers and practitioners. ISCAR SU 2012 would allow me to present part of my research and discuss theoretical issues with other researchers. As a Chilean PhD student in Australia I rarely have opportunities to interact with scholars in the field of cultural historical theory.  I commend this application to you and welcome the opportunity to attend ISCAR SU 2012.

Presentation “English as a foreign language teacher education in Chile: a CHAT perspective”
Download presentation of the speech (PDF; 146KB)