Teachers‘ Professional Development. How university language teachers approach their own professional development.

Whereas most of the studies on teacher development are concerned with the question of what/whether teachers learn from development programmes and what the features are that have a positive impact on teachers’ development, this empirical study proposes to look at university language teachers as autonomous learning professionals and investigates how they approach their own professional development. The data identifies the different forms professional development can take and what kind of competences the development task requires.

Elena Gallo

(Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Angela Hahn)

Professional development (PD) for language teachers has become an increasingly important political and educational issue. Despite the exponential growth of research, most of the studies in Second/Foreign

Language Teaching relate to school teachers, leaving the professional development of university language teachers largely unexplored. Furthermore, some aspects have been neglected, such as the impact of teachers’ active role on their own professional learning when participating in the workshops.

Questionnaires and follow-up interviews drawn from a teacher development project at the University LMU Munich were evaluated to understand which factors support professional development. The findings contribute to the current discussion about language teachers' professional development in many ways: first, by highlighting that the competence teachers need to develop as autonomous professionals is not evident enough to all teachers as well as to the teaching community; secondly, by suggesting the necessity to foster methods and initiatives
that sensitise teachers to their contribution; and finally, by raising our awareness of the fact that just as autonomy in language learning cannot be taken for granted, neither can we assume that the task of professional development is a foregone conclusion.