Critical reflections to understand EFL teachers perceptions and particularities that affect co-working

For 10 years, I have taught English with communicative purposes, and trying to favor students’ critical thinking development. I want to make of my classes a meaningful experience, so I consider learners’ backgrounds, individual characteristics, likes, dislikes, emotions, contexts, and needs. For doing so, I design authentic material for my lessons, based on students’ needs and characteristics, and share it with my colleagues with the intention of building a school’s contextualized material bank. I also try to lead activities that involve the whole community, particularly to my colleagues, because teachers’ teamwork can offer opportunities to build knowledge and improve teaching practices, allowing us to be better professionals working as a group (Richards & Farrell, 2005). Unfortunately, this idea of actively co-working to improve the English Language Teaching (ELT) in my institution seems to be a personal endeavor because I have found some resistance from the other teachers to innovate and improve our teaching practices as a team. I wonder to what extend this refusal to work together is a symptom of resistance. What other aspects will be behind this refusal? Perhaps it will be a resistance to change or innovation? Several failed attempts to work together have frustrated some of my plans. Some of my ideas have consolidated pedagogical plans that the director has accepted as official documents but in practical terms these are not taken into consideration by most of my colleagues. I wonder if the top down participation has influenced the negative atmosphere to work as a team. Indeed, from my power position, I take for granted that they are already professionals and that their background particularities should not affect their teaching practices. This could also explain why my proposals are not assimilated by my coworkers, because I have not considered each one’s views, needs, and objectives.

Then, I propose a case study that, throughout teachers’ narratives and critical reflections, allows me to recognize their particularities as humans and then, understand the perceptions and decisions that affect their teaching practices. I would like to problematize school culture to produce knowledge and teamwork beyond policies demands. I would like to revise teachers’ critical positioning towards school and English teaching and the way they conceive the purposes of education from the ELT. This research study emerges from my concern regarding the way an English language teacher perceives its practice, and how it is affected by its background and particularities. There must be a reason why some teachers resist to work cooperatively, to change or adjust their practices, to reflect from a critic perspective upon their teaching. Then, with this research study I want to understand throughout narratives and critical reflections, how teachers´ perceptions and particularities affect co-working, and why there is a refusal to change, to teamwork, and to interchange knowledge and experiences with other colleagues.

Richards, J. C., & Farrell, T. S. C. (2005). Professional development for language teachers:

Strategies for teacher learning. New York, US: Cambridge University