Use of the case-based method in getting prepared for young learners’ EFL classes
Use of the case-based method
This paper is based on an observation related to the difficulty in linking theory and practice in one of the field courses in a language teacher education program in Turkey. Focusing on this difficulty, the study investigates the use of case-based method in the ‘teaching English to young learners’ (TEYL) course. For the study, case reports collected from different young learner classroom contexts are analyzed in the practice hours of the TEYL course to see if prospective language teachers can generate theory-informed resolutions for the situations presented in the cases. The cases are analyzed by the prospective teachers in three main aspects: the context, resolution, and thoughts. Prospective teachers’ analyses of the cases reveal that their resolutions are based on three main issues: theories/principles of child learning and language teaching, their language learning histories, and their beliefs. Studying cases from real teaching contexts reinforced prospective teachers’ thoughts in various ways, such as interpreting L1 influence better, how to treat young and very young children learning a foreign language, and understanding developmental sequences better. Further, views of the prospective teachers about the use of cases in the TEYL course show that they mostly benefit from those cases in various ways such as raising their awareness about the real situations in teaching contexts, guiding them when they experience similar situations, and providing different perspectives. Finally, implications of using case-based method in field courses for language teacher education are discussed.
Keywords: Case-based method, teaching English to young learners, prospective language teachers
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