Research focus


I have enrolled as a full time Phd student  a week ago at ANU. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions since I started.I’m thrilled to do my research, but I’m kind of anxious and a bit insecure about my skills  & knowledge to face this challenge. I have started this blog as a way to record my reflections and thoughts about my doctoral experience and second as a way to open debate on different issues regarding education. I highly appreciate comments and suggestions.

I wrote my research proposal to submit my application almost a year ago. It focused on the design of a blended model to teach English to prospective teachers of English as a foreign language in Chile. This proposal was set in a context where the blended model would be an effective mode of teaching considering the potentialities of web 2.o t0ols, students acclimatation to technology and of course the  opportunities that this model would provide regarding tasks and the use of the target language.

After a week being here reading and discussing my research, its scope and focus. I reflected on the motives which drove me here: I decided to do doctoral studies to be able to do research in education so as to improve EFL teacher education in my country, Chile. My main concern deals with how pedagogy in EFL teacher education considers the imposed changes of the 21st century (globalization, innovative technologies, explosion of information, knowledge base society) to educate EFL teachers for change.

Pillay & Elliot (2001) consider the dilemmas of this new information era to discuss about a new curriculum and pedagogy for the 21 century. These authors propose a “pedagogical model which promote attributes that assist individuals in dealing with paradoxes which have a multitude of variables necessary to consider when making decisions and judgements” (p16). This model would enable students to adopt a critical thinking approach to their own learning and to each position they hold. As student teachers, critical thinking is not only a powerful skill to learn a foreign language but a way to become reflective teachers.

I  think that one possible way to develop an enabling pedagogy on critical thinking skills for EFL student teachers  is the integration of collaborative activities through web 2.0 tools. A blended model which could blend a critical- reflective approach and an effective command of the target language.

I intend to study the effectiveness of a blended learning model in EFL teacher education to promote critical thinking skills in the learning of English as a foreign language.

Is a blended learning model the best way to promote critical thinking skills  in EFL teacher education?


About Malba Barahona

Educational researcher, language educator. PhD from Australian National University. Passionate bushwalker and mountain lover. I procrastinate reading fiction, hiking, doing yoga, riding, having a beer and more recently decolonizing my existence. I write in English and Spanish in different blogs especially with the purpose of encouraging my students to write.

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