Local English Immersions: a teachers turning point

This research project aims at analyzing the impact an English Immersion program promoted by the Government (Ministry of Education) has on the regular English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teaching methodology of a group of teachers from various regions of Colombia. The main objective of this program was to strengthen the participants´ language proficiency, notwithstanding the results evidenced language improvement, there were aspects such as intercultural awareness, pedagogy, the use of technology, didactics, materials design and evaluation among others that were studied and implemented during this academic exercise that should be studied as influencing factors on these teachers´ pedagogical practice.

The purpose of this study is to unveil how much influence has the participation of a group of Non Native English teachers (NNET) in an English Immersion program on their pedagogical practice in their academic communities. Since, this exercise was conducted in a Spanish Speaking country and also considering that the main objective of these immersions was to improve the NNET communicative competence in English rather than their pedagogical skills. It is relevant to highlight that although the growing number of this type of academic strategies in the country is evident and has been led by governmental entities, there has not been any public evaluation of them.

Consequently, this research is a key aspect to find food for thought as to promote such evaluation, to improve their quality and increase their impacts. Besides, the final product of this research is a guideline to conduct local language immersions for NNET that guarantee both effective results related to language and improvement of their pedagogical practice in benefit of students´ language learning.

This study will consist of the analysis of the teachers´ journals on the English classes taught by a group of NNET in various regions in Colombia who participated in a local English Immersion in order to find out the influence that such participation could have had on their teaching practice. Also there will be the analysis of a semi-structured interview with those participants and one with their coordinator (supervisor, principal or the person in charge of coordinating those teachers´ performance) to unveil possible changes in that practice. These data collected and their analysis will provide enough insights as to reach the objective of this study.

The corpus of the study will be composed by the total of the interviews with the participants and their coordinators and the teachers´ journals with three entries each during the data gathering process. The interviews will be audio-recorded and transcribed in order to conduct a color coding data analysis to triangulate that information with the one gathered in the journals in order to increase the validity of the study.

Product of this research, one article will be published in order to let the academic community about the type of immersions conducted within our cultural context, so that replicates can be developed under similar conditions. And a guideline to evaluate these programs to inform the minimal requirements to achieve both linguistic and pedagogical objectives.