Bolivian bilingual elementary teachers' beliefs about education, second language teaching, and theoretical orientations to reading

Date
2010-05
Authors
Rios, Armando
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Abstract

The purpose of this quantitative survey study was explore bilingual Bolivian elementary teachers' beliefs about education, their beliefs about second language teaching, and their theoretical orientations to reading instruction to assess the effectiveness of the Bolivian teachers' training in constructivist approaches.

The literature review of educational philosophies, second language teaching, and theoretical orientations to reading provided the theoretical context for this study. Data were collected using a demographic data gathering form and three survey instruments: The Philosophy of Education Inventory (PEI), the Foreign Language Attitude Survey (FLAS), and the Theoretical Orientation to Reading Profile (TORP). These instruments were translated from English to Spanish. A convenience Sample of 90 Bolivian bilingual teacher from the rural area of Cochabamba, Bolivia completed the instruments.

The information obtained from the PEI, the FLAS, and the TORP surveys was scored using each survey scoring systems. Then, the results were grouped by gender, age of the participants, years of experience, and level of participant's education. Next, the results were analyzed to determine the number of participants in each educational philosophy orientation (behaviorist, liberal, progressive, humanistic, and social change), each approach to second language teaching (grammar-translation, audiolingual, and communicative), and each theoretical orientation to reading (phonics, skills, and whole language). After that, a descriptive statistics was performed to get the frequencies, percents, means, and standard deviation of the data Finally, to determine if differences exist between different groups of participants (gender, age, years of experience, and level of education) a series of MANOVA, correlation, and Chi square with cross-tabulation procedures were performed.

The results of the PEI and the TORP surveys showed that the majority of the teachers had a behavioral philosophy of education and a skills theoretical orientation to reading. These two findings suggested that the mandated goal of the Bolivian government to implement the constructivist approach to learning and the whole language approach to reading was not adopted by the majority of teachers. However, the finding of the FLAS survey that most teachers had a communicative approach to second language teaching was consistent with the goal of the Bolivian government to implement a bilingual education program using constructivist methods.

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Keywords
Education, Elementary teachers, Second language teaching, Bilingual education, Literacy, Reading instruction, School effectiveness
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