How Foreign Language Teachers in Georgia Evaluate their Professional Preparation: A Call for Action


  • Thomas C. Cooper PhD

    1. University of Georgia
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    • Thomas C. Cooper (PhD, Florida State University) is Associate Professor of Foreign Language Education at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.


Abstract: The purpose of this article is to report on a collaborative project among members of colleges of education, colleges of arts and sciences, and high school foreign language departments. The project involved conducting an online survey of 341 current foreign language teachers in Georgia in order to determine how these K-12 teachers perceived and evaluated the effectiveness of their professional preparation. Close to 60% of the teachers in the sample were graduates of colleges and universities in Georgia. Most of the others had received their training from various other colleges and universities in the United States, and 51 individuals reported that they had graduated from foreign institutions. The survey consisted of 42 questions asking teachers to evaluate their preparation in language skills, knowledge of foreign language standards, planningfor instruction, methodology, using technology in instruction, meeting the needs of socially and economically diverse students, classroom management skills, and professional growth. The survey results strongly suggest that foreign language teacher development programs should include (1) more time spent in carefully supervised and monitored prestudent-teaching field experiences; (2) more careful mentoring of student teachers during the student-teaching internship; (3) more time spent in language learning experiences in countries where the target language is spoken; (4) more emphasis on developing foreign language proficiency in the requisite university classes; and (5) more effort spent on teaching effective classroom management.