By Claudia Perdomo and Yuly Socadagui

“…The need for understanding the dichotomy between native speakers and non-native speakers in order to improve the English language teaching in Colombia” (Mariño, 2011)

In Colombia, the importance of learning a second language has generated a controversial competition. In this competition, the native English teachers have the favoritism of the learners; a non-native English teacher has to prove his abilities with academic backgrounds. Some authors like Claudia Mariño (2011) Cook (2002) affirm that maybe it is difficult to define what a native speaker is and who is better, defending the idea about the disadvantages of being a native English teacher. On other the hand, there are some theories that affirm the disadvantages of having non-native English teachers. This paper attempts to analyze one position and be critical in a positive manner understanding the concept of native or non-native English teachers, acknowledging their strengths teaching advantages. To develop this topic, first, we want to offer a definition of native English teacher and non-native English teacher. Secondly, identify the strength of each kind of teachers, and finally, how the abilities each kind of teacher has, can be beneficial in the language learning and teaching field.

First, it is important to understand de concept of being a native English teacher and non-native English teacher. A native English teacher, is usually a person who has spoken a certain language since early childhood and teach this language to other people . In this case we are enfacing the idea of the linguistic development, taking into account the management of the communication, the fluent and the creativity of the speech that the native English teacher use to teach the language. On other hand, we can say that the concept of being native not implies that the use of the language is correct, “Being born into a group does not mean that you automatically speak its language well” Ramptom (1990) and of course, that does not mean that you are able to teach this language efficiently, the pedagogical abilities are not related with the use of the speech. In this perspective maybe it is difficult define what a native speaker is, but it is easy to understand what a native English teacher is. That happen because there is a contextual aspect that defines the speaking development (family, friends, work etc), but there is an educational context that define the teaching skills.

The non-native teacher, is a person “who know and use a second language at any level” (cook 1999) and teach this language to other people. In this case, they usually adapt the language, to improve the communication with the students because “have a different command of the second and first languages” (Mariño 2011). Clearly, this concept can result easy to understand, but it is important to take into account that like the native English teacher, the use of the language and the respective adaptation that the non-native English use; do not define the pedagogical abilities.

Second, both teachers have strengths, which we should identify for good use of their abilities. Then, each kind of teacher has good or beneficial quality or attribute, which we can identify and take advantages and avoid being critical in a negative manner, according to Davies cited by Claudia Mariño a native English teacher have control speech to performance and communication, because they have a unique capacity to produce fluent spontaneous discourse (Davis, 2003, p.207) which allows that their students develop listening and get used to listening a real accent. (Perdomo & Socadagui, 2013, p.4). Also, according to Medgyes cited by Claudia Mariño, nonnative English teachers are able to: teach learning strategies more effectively, provide learners with more information about the second language, anticipate students’ needs and difficulties when learning the second language, be more concerned to the needs and problems of their students, Share the students’ mother tongue when necessary in order to achieve a greater experience and understanding when teaching learning the language. (Mariño, 2011, p.138)

Apparently, each kind of teacher show strengths and weaknesses but we should consider the advantages that both present. For example a non- native English teacher is known for be able to teach the grammar, according to Llurda “ NNS teachers have a more structure approach to teaching grammar and are better able to deal with grammatical difficulties” this happen because the non-native teacher has the contextual skills or the familiar environment. On other hand, native English teacher are able to teach levels of conversation, “they were also found to be more capable of getting their learners to speak”(Llurda, 2006). This happen because they use the creativity to make their lessons more friendly and confident.

Certainly, the pedagogical abilities can appear in each kind of teacher, the position of each author like Claudia Marino and the preferences of the learners can be respected but cannot be generalized. It is important to understand that the strengths and weaknesses, advantages and pedagogical skills that both teachers have; can be beneficial in the teaching field. For that reason our purpose is to be critical, with the myths that the society has with each kind of teacher. That why, we consider that we should avoid being critical in a negative manner, because we should remember that both teachers have the same objective: teaching a second language.


BRAINE. George. (1999). Non-native educator in English language teaching, university of Hong Kong.

CHRISTEN, Svenja. (2009). Native or Non-native speakers: Who are the better English teachers?. Seminar Denmark

MARIÑO, Claudia.  (2011). Reflecting on the dichotomy native-non native speakers in an EFL context.  Anagramas: Rumbos y sentidos de la comunicación, ISSN 1692-2522, Vol. 9, Nº. 19, 2011, pags. 129-142. Retrieved from

MEDGYES, P. (1992). Native or non-native: Who’s worth more?.  ELT Journal, 46, 4, 340-349.

LLURDA, Enrique. (2006) “Non-Native Language Teachers: Perceptions, Challenges and Contributions to the profesion”. Springer.

RAMPTON, M.B.H. (1990). Displacing the ‘native speaker’: expertise, affiliation, and inheritance. ELT Journal Volume 44/2. © Oxford University Press.









“Education is a person’s right,” says our Constitution in Article 67 and it clarifies that it is a State obligation to ensure education for all, specifically quality. However, as many other laws that appear in the National Constitution, this one has been remained on paper and taking a look over the reality, we find that its implementation is not adequate. Colombia is a country looking for development and progress, but this only may be achieved through the education of its people. If we want to keep up with the big countries, we should start by asking: do we have an educational system that truly meets the needs of the country? Whenever we talk about education, undoubtedly, we have to focus on quality this has, because it is to be the main objective in most of educational systems. Moreover, it cannot be otherwise, education is “a public service that has a social function” (Art 67) says our Constitution and as a service it must meet a certain level of quality. However, it is enough just with a quick look at different public academic spaces in the country to realize that the Government has not understood the real concept of quality. This one has being defined by different factors such as coverage, teachers’ preparation, relevance of content among others, which influence education guarantying, or not, its quality, which we are going to address in this essay. Taking into account that the main responsible for education is the State, it is relevant to look at how the system of education is applied in public schools where the greatest weakness of our education lays and how we as teacher can face the problems that our system has.

Currently, Government has confused quality with coverage, and it believes that having more than 100,000 seats it ensures better education and it is not. The coverage is nothing without quality; sometimes coverage is represented just by empty statistics which are not transcendental in education. Quality goes much further, and it is something that the more than 200,000 students who drop out demand. That is why, it is important to ensure the right to education that all Colombians have, but this one cannot be a superfluous education, it must be an agent of change in people, so that they have the same function in society (Vasco, 2006). An education without sufficient quality will not motivate students and their families to make an effort to stay in it. It’s not simply about filling seats or having high numbers of open quota. In this way, the desire by getting high coverage percents has been turned into a challenge for teachers who must face classrooms with more than 40 students, which implies forty different realities they have to deal with. (Martínez & Salazar, 2013) This, undeniably, is a principal issue that affects the right development of a teacher’s functions.

Students demand quality, they require an education that really influences their life; education as a Colombian’s right and service must give solution to the Colombian reality. In the last one, families with economical needs, low resources where a minimum wage is not enough to cover certain responsibilities different from the academic ones; those families are the ones that must be included in public education. In this context is where the education has to be found; this one should attend student´s necessities, it should give them tools in order to face the reality they are living. ¿What kind of profit may a high school student find by studying Pablo Neruda poems’ metric, when his mother has been discharged and they do not have anything to take breakfast? It is not about repelling Spanish studies, not reading Neruda´s poems, or deleting social sciences or chemistry classes, it is about understanding that we, as teachers, have the responsibility of adopting our knowledge to the student’s needs. It is not an easy duty, but that is our profession about, going beyond the relaxed way. Maybe, we would not achieve to become every single topic in a useful tool, but, at least, we must expect to offer the student a possibility to face his own reality, face it from the practical, theoretical, and critical.  In this way, the student will find a minimum motivation to study.

Lastly, we found that schools currently (and not only in Colombia) are submerged in a violence wave. The bullying is, definitely, a counterproductive element for the quality of education. Many public schools in Colombia are surrounded by violence, theft and insecurity; students live besieged by these acts and inevitably they affect their world’s perception, thus what they see on the streets they repeat within schools. The State is required to take charge of this situation, it cannot be extended anymore. Teachers, on their side, should be agents of mediation, it is not about stigmatizing the student, either to save him from blame, but we, as teachers, should understand him and show him an alternative. Students might find a solution in education; they have been shown that the world in which they live will not lead them to anything good, hence it is time to introduce students to education as the best choice for a better future.

All in all, we can say that Colombian education has a long way to go, we do not have an awful educational system, but there are many things to improve, it should attend to the student’s need and reality, instead of focusing just on statistics. Then, quality is not the same as coverage, it goes further. Quality is a set of elements that together may provide the best for those who study. Government must aim to that, to offer coverage, security, relevant contents; in this way, it will be giving the country an educational system with an excellent quality. We, as future teachers, also have a big commitment, whether for the government should not be enough statistics, we cannot settle for transmitting information. No, teachers are change agents for society; we are the ones who should encourage children and youth to a better country styling. Only then can we be satisfied with our vocation.



Jose Alejandro Salazar

Maritza Martínez 







The Utopian Model of Bilingualism in Colombia By:

The Utopian Model of Bilingualism in Colombia

By: Katherine Rivas

Lucía Benítez

Currently, the bilingual education has become an important tool in order to belong to the economic opening, scientific and technological development as a part of a globalization process; these aspects create the necessity to be in contact with other cultures, without losing our ownership sense. For these reasons the National Ministry of Education has created the National Law of Bilingualism to develop the communicative competence to have equal conditions in a global culture (MEN 2006). In accordance with the law, there are three basic competences to carry out: linguistic, pragmatic, and sociolinguistic being these (pragmatic and sociolinguistic competences) leaved aside during the process of acquisition of a second language. However, this paper deals with the analysis of the pragmatic competence in the documents presented by MEN (Ministry of National Education): Estandares Básicos de Competencias en lenguas extranjeras: Inglés. Formar en Lenguas Extranjeras: ¡el reto! Lo que necesitamos saber y saber hacer, from a critical standpoint about the factors related with the law`s proposals in Colombian public education. To approach our aims, we are going to show two important aspects that are closely attached with the topic, which are: awareness in learning and use of English and curricula in education plans.

As we have seen, the main effect that have brought the fact of leaving aside the pragmatic competence for Colombian students is that, they have not realized about  importance of  learning  a second language in order to improve their quality of life, in this context, Ordoñez (2011, p. 43) states: The main problem of learning a foreign language in Colombian context is how difficult is  to discuss about how important is for life and specifically, English language use,  because our sociolinguistic context is mainly monolingual (Spanish).  In other words, students believe that learn a foreign language is not useful for their lives, due to the fact that, in real life, actually, they cannot use it to communicate. In this respect Ordoñez (2010, p. 43) add that: as the children in a scholar age do not need to use English as  a communication way to express with each other in their daily routines, its learning becomes extremely difficult for them. Therefore, Colombian students do not have awareness about the importance that this subject has for their lives and it implies a lack of interest on the subject and the misconception about the English language as an important subject that actually; do not have relevance within lessons plan.

However, the main problem is not only about students, there is a bigger problem that is closely related with previous topic (awareness  and context): Even though, The National Ministry of Education has the power to regulate the curricula through standards, actually many schools are ruled by their own lesson’ s plans  and even they do not include English language within their curricula such as Miranda and Echeverri (2009 p. 35) state: “es pertinente considerar la resignificacion del Inglés en la institucion. Así, se le podra otorgar un papel relevante en la formación de los estudiantes, lo cual implica, entre otros, su inclusion en le PEI”. As it was mentioned before it implies that schools should analyze the necessities of their students in a real context to learn a second language according to create a curricula related to the standards stablished by MEN. To sum up, schools in Colombia actually require an improvement plan to include a real an efficient English program in their curricula, to overcome the challenge of teaching a second language in Colombia, taking into account the characteristics in our academic context and points for enhancing it.

Finally, as a consequence of the lack of awareness, English language is not taken in to account to be included in school`s curricula in the correct way, this subject is given in  schools without  the appropriate emphases. Students unknown the real context of a foreign language, (culture, costumes, traditions etc.)  children and  teenagers  specially those who study in public schools   have been seen it,  as an unnecessary competence in Colombian context. Because they can interact and communicate effectively in their own  language using Spanish without a global vision about the potential access to other countries in their early future.


Echeverri Norbella, Miranda  Angela (2009) La gestión Escolar en la implementación del programa nacional de bilingüismo en instituciones educativas privadas de Cali IKALA no. 29. Recovered

Guerrero Carmen Helena. (2008):   Bilingual Colombia: What does it mean to be bilingual within the framework of the national plan of bilingualism? PROFILE Vol 10, No 1 PROFILE

Ministerio De Educación Nacional (2006) Formar En Lenguas Extranjeras: Inglés ¡El Reto! Recovered

Ordonez Claudia Lucía ( 2011) Education for bilingualism: Connecting Spanish and English from the curriculum, into the classroom and beyond., Universidad Nacional. PROFILE Vol. 13, No. 2, October 2011. ISSN 1657-0790. Bogotá, Colombia

Sánchez Solarte Ana Clara & Obando Guerrero Gabriel (2008)Is Colombia ready for bilingualism?PROFILEVol 9, No 1 , PROFILE 9, No 1. Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development.



    Both education and society have the same objective, always be evolving and for this reason many tools have been created or improved. In the field of education, one of the issues that have evolved over time is the models of education used in schools. We can see a clear example with the change that the “new school” made in order to renew the ideas that “traditional school” had. This was because with the traditional model students were not acquiring knowledge they were just memorizing. “The teacher controls the instructional process, the content is delivered to the entire class and the teacher tends to emphasize factual knowledge. In other words, the teacher delivers the lecture content and the students listen to the lecture” (Damodharan. S.f. p.3).  So the idea was that students were able to build knowledge. On the other hand, technology has also created elements that support student´s learning process, as it gives them tools that allow easier access to any kind of information. In that way, in this essay we are going to emphasize in the duty teachers have to use those technologies and methods in a good way in order to let students build their own knowledge and reality.

     To begin, we will discuss the use of pedagogical models in the classroom. Many teachers choose a single method which they follow as rules; teachers don’t look if that method supports the learning process of their students. It is important that teachers learn to use a variety of teaching methodologies in order to supply the learning needs and requirements that are present within most class environments. It depends on each teacher to define how he or she will perform the important task of teaching, knowing that the intrapersonal relationship is the basis for communication with the student.

     The progression of education and education technology should follow the progression of time. The traditional teaching methods may have been successful in the past, but the minds of the current generation vary from those of the previous generation. This calls for new innovative teaching models that cater specially to the students of today. Of course it is not wise to throw away all of the models that the past teachers have painstakingly created. These commonly used models are popular for a reason and that reason is that they were once incredibly successful. This is why it is recommended to use these models as a basis for the new ones. If there is a way to transfer the advantages of these teaching methods to the new concepts then the teachers should do everything in their power to merge the past and the present into one innovative teaching method.

    Technology is around us, from our work, our community, our family, our home, so everything related to daily life. However, in the educational sector, we see that many schools today do not have the resources to integrate technology into the learning environment. With a proper use, the technology helps students to acquire the skills and to encourage knowledge. However, some teachers think that technology is just a distractor for the students and reject this element.

    High tech tools can also be used in the advancement of education technology. Using tools like software programs in the teaching methods of instructors can help instructors attract and keep the attention of their students. However, if the computers aren’t regulated then the students can get distracted by the very tools that were made to prevent them from being distracted. Using technology in teaching can be a double edged sword because of the tendency of modern technology to be inclined on leisure instead of work. “Emergent technologies provide students a voice in addressing economic, environmental, political, and social challenges of the time, as they learn academic and 21st Century Skills through authentic, interactive, participatory activities.” (Cheryl Lemke and Barbara Lesley, 2011, p. 5)

    Technology ushers in fundamental structural changes that can be integral to achieving significant improvements in productivity. Used to support both teaching and learning, technology infuses classrooms with digital learning tools, such as computers and hand held devices. The constructivist environment and activities involved in learning can be supported with computer technology based tools. Foremost among them, discussion lists and e-mail, because these tools allow exchange and assembling individual points of view, in the production of shared knowledge. It also facilitates sensory evaluation constructivist learning objectives for each of the participants and for the group (Jonassen, Peck, Wilson, 1999).

    When an institution has the benefits of the innovation in the methodology of its teaching, these benefits not only help students but also teachers. Because teachers will have the possibility to make their class more interesting and striking, so they do not waste time trying to catch student´s attention. According to Sharif (2010), language teachers have always been concerned about the inadequacy of conventional methods of language teaching in education systems. It means that professors are also conscious that the innovation is a tool that improves the education for everyone. “The work of the teacher consists in the integration of theoretical knowledge and a variety of dynamics that will be in constantly evolving,” (Mata, L. 2007. P. 513).

Carless (2012, p. 01) states that, the management of innovation is a critically important tool because the development of education, rests in the hands of government and schools administrators”. The principal statements in the innovation have to be developed in community and have to cover all the necessities students, teachers and others could have. All of the entities in charge of education want to make education more effective for students. In this way, innovations may help schools to keep up-to-date with the latest developments or research endings, and can also be a force to encourage educational equity and fairer opportunities for diverse sections of society.  There are projects that create a teacher’s guide covering theory, methods and curriculum materials, activities and worksheets.  Thus, innovation is a tool that needs to be developed in order to fulfill both theoretical and practice activities. It is the case of a program in Europe called Lifelong learning program, which manages different phases for creating a program, where the evolution and innovation are part of the learning process.

    The implementation of new methods and tools in the English teaching is a big concern for both teachers and students. However, the responsibility to solve this “problem” is in the hands of those who want to give quality education and likewise for those who want to receive it.  So teachers have the responsibility to choose the most useful and powerful way of teaching; using the new tools that society gives them to support the development of students´ skills.


Ingrid Poveda
Angie Sarmiento


·        Jonassen, D. H., Howland, J. L., Moore, J. L., & Marra, R. M. (2003). Learning to Solve Problems with Technology: A Constructivist Perspective. 

·        Mata, L. (2007) Key Factors of Curriculum Innovation in Language Teacher Education. Recuperated of:

·        Carless, D. (2012) Innovation in language teaching and learning. Recuperated of:

·        Dede, C., Honan, J.P., Peters, C. (2005). Scaling up success: Lessons learned from technology-based educational improvement. Jossey-bass: San Franscico.

Dr. Damodharan. (s.f.). Innovative methods of teaching. Recuperated from:











Are we still using the same?

Are we still using the same?

Written by: Diana Cárdenas and Daniela Fernández Antía.


 “No sólo los prisioneros son tratados como niños, sino que los niños son tratados como prisioneros. Los niños sufren una infantilización que no es la suya” (Deleuze as cited in Morey, 2005, p. 28).


If we take a look at the definition of the word education, one might find many. Those, most of the times are determined by the system of values, and the things that were considered correct in a certain period of time. For example, in the Middle Age a model of education appeared: the traditional. In this model, children were trained to be quiet and to obey commands that are imposed by the teacher. This paradigm proposed that students accumulated information about a topic without any critical process; they just memorized systematically (De Zubiría, 2006). Moreover, this model had some characteristics: the educator was the only person who owned the knowledge; the pupils should listen to him or her in order to learn. The student was treated as an “adult” because “el principal deseo del niño es el dejar de serlo, lo cual le confiere un gran impulso a su actuación y un inagotable deseo de superación” (Alain as cited in De Zubiria, 2006: p. 75), it granted teachers the authority to punish the pupils if they did not do their homework, or they did not follow the rules because they were considered grown – up individuals. However, nowadays the concept of education has been reevaluated by several authors, taking into account that students are no longer considered as empty beings in which educators insert information. Hence, the new perspective wants to cover all the features that make part of the individual, because the pupil is seen as someone that  not only, thinks, but also that loves and interacts (Wallon, as cited in De Zubiría; 2006). Accordingly, Vigotsky (as cited in De Zubiría, 2006) says that one of the purposes of education is to encourage the development of the students. Also, Flórez (2005) asserts that education must seek the formation of the pupils, so they are able to assume the direction of their lives, and they are capable of recognizing others as equals. So, current ideas plan to raise an integral being, dissimilar to the proposal that makes the traditional education. But, even though the traditional education appeared a long time ago, the majority of teachers still use it, making in that way that things like having control over the students and using antique techniques do not change.

There is a variety of resources to dynamize the learning process such as technology and different pedagogical models, but some teachers still employ old practices such as repetition and memorization. Technology has advanced at a rapid pace, providing in that way several features to be used within the classroom: the Internet, recordings, movies, music, and many more. Also, many pedagogical models are offered: one of them is the communicative approach that aims to “create the need for communication, interaction, and negotiation of meaning through the use of activities such as problem solving, information sharing and role play” (Richards, 2006, p. 23). However, educators do not seem to use those different instruments to make the learning process thrilling and effective; on the contrary, they employ repetition, for example, as a “powerful” mean of teaching. Those include “memorization of dialogs, question and answer practice, substitution drills and various forms of guided speaking and writing practice” (Op, cit, p. 6). These educators that feel identified with the traditional approach, especially with the repetitive practice, are pointed as having lower level of instruction (Ramirez, as cited in De Zubiría, 2006). Moreover, there is a lack of use of different gadgets such as video beams, computers, televisions, because either they do not know how to use them or  they do not know how to employ them, due to “using newest technologies (…) in ways that are instructionally effective requires specific knowledge of how technology can be used for pedagogical purposes” (Mishra, 2009, p. 49). Hence, educators lag behind with the use of technologies and newest pedagogical model replacing them for the repetition system and the use of the board.

Furthermore, there is another traditional focus employed by teachers: pupils that show high academic performance are praised, while the rest is ignored or forgotten. This is very similar to what Skinner stated with the behaviorist theory (…) “a behavior is more likely to reoccur if it has been reinforced or rewarded” (Green, 2002, p. 1). Then, scholars that are given reinforcement through congratulation and non – verbal language such us keeping eye contact, listening attentively, nodding when having an agreement, smiling, keeping a straight position, are more likely to succeed (Lumsden, 1997, p. 1). In contrast, when teachers show lack of interest through various ways (such as not keeping eye contact, praising less frequently for success (Op. cit, p. 2), providing fewer clues to low achievers, giving less time to respond and many more, are likely to fail. Consequently, they feel depressed and that they will not succeed. “Until some point the behaviorist approach works because it might encourage students to work. Besides, it can be appropriate for a class full of unruly teenagers, but a different approach might be needed if pupil is at risk of becoming excluded” (Shirley, 2009). Then, educators seem to apply the behaviorist approach by rewarding the good ones, and punishing the others through different ways. As a result, student performance in class is affected.

Moreover, educators still have power over students even though pupils are more autonomous nowadays. For example, students are able to do research in different data bases available on Internet, magazines, books, and many more. They can decide where to extract the information. Furthermore, scholars in some cases are given the chance to evaluate their own process; they are free to choose the grade for their performance. Nonetheless, it is seen at schools that teachers manage their autonomy, because they decide what students must investigate, how chairs, the classroom itself and groups of work should be organized. For that reason, educators have control over the students, what in the traditional focus is called teacher – centered education. So, students are given less freedom to think and to act by themselves; they are being raised to respond to immediate problems but not “develop higher – order thinking skills, also known as critical and creative thinking” (Richards, 2006, p. 6)

In conclusion, teachers show preferences for the use of different techniques that belong to the traditional approach. To exemplify, the repetition and memorization practices; the use of the board instead of different state-of the –art gadgets, the way in which students are treated (similar to the behaviorist theory) and so on. So, teachers must go further in order to find attractive ways to facilitate the learning process, in that way, they will not raise students that memorize and are dependent, the will form humans to solve different problems that are faced in life. To do that, educators must read, in that way, they can learn and apply different systems to make knowledge acquirable and significant for students.



De Zubiría, J. (2006). Los Modelos pedagógicos, Hacia una Pedagogía Dialogante. Ed, Magisterio: Bogotá.

Flórez, R. (2005). Pedagogía del Conocimiento. El Campo Científico de la Pedagogía. Ed. Mc Graw Hill: Bogotá.

Green, D. (2002, December). From Theory to Practice: Behaviorist Principles of Learning and Instructions. The Office for Teaching and Learning Newsletter. 7, 1-4.

Lumsden, L. (1997) Expectations for Students. Eric Digest. Number 116.

Mishra, D. Koehler, M.J. (2009, September/October) The Song Remains the Same: Looking Back to the Future of Educational Technology. TechTrends, 5, 48-53.

Morey, M. (2005). Un Diálogo sobre el Poder. Ed. Alianza: Madrid.

Richards, J.C. (2006). Communicative Language teaching Today.Cambridge University Press. United States of America.

Shirley, R. (2009, May). The Behaviourist Approach to Teaching Class.


Word File: Are we still using the same?

Link for the Video:



A Call for Teachers to do Research

Title: A Call for Teachers to do Research

Authors: David C. Contreras and  Zayra A. Cárdenas

Universidad Pedagógica Nacional

A Call for Teachers to do Research

“The teacher is like a gardener who treats different plants differently, and not like
a large scale farmer who administers standardized treatments to as near as possible
standardized plants”
Lawrence Stenhouse

The understanding of the educational process has been analyzed from different views through history, primarily based on the perception of enclosures (such as schools) as the place in which the process is developed. In order to see the process itself, research has approached to the school on internal and external views. The first based on the teacher’s reflection on classroom interactions, questioning why students behave and perform in a particular way. And the second, based on the analysis that research on teaching do as outsiders from the school and the process. The purpose of this essay is to show that teacher research not only differs from academic research because it shows situated results that have a meaningful contributions to scholar community, but also purpose the active participation of teacher’s work as an important part of the research process.

The two views are useful for the educational development, some authors as Lodico and Voegtle (2010) point out that this views belong to a type of “combined methods” in which teacher research act as part of the research on teaching showing deeper results or classroom experiences; unfortunately, the external view (research on teaching) is the most common way to analyze the educational process in schools, leaving several problems that teacher research could solve (if it were done more often).

First of all is necessary to define the term research on teaching. According to Shulman (1986), research on teaching is characterized as a process-product relation, in which effective teaching, is analyzed based on correlation of particular processes, or teacher behaviors with products associated with student achievement recognized trough standardized tests. In other words teacher behaviors are consider “causes” and student learning is regarded as “effects”. Taking this into account, Apple (1986) stated that research on teaching has been associated with the view of teacher-as-technician, this leads to think about a linear form in which teacher’s work ends up being simple instructions during the classroom interactions. Also, another important characteristic to noun is that this kind of research has a perspective that is “outside-in”; in other words it has been conducted almost exclusively by university-based researchers who are outside of the day-to-day practices of schooling.

Consequently, teachers are excluded of research process; those who have daily access, extensive expertise, and clear stake in improving classroom practice have no formal way to make their knowledge of classroom teaching and learning part of the literature on teaching[1].

On the other hand, teacher research was born as a perspective in which teachers have the opportunity to be the active participants, also this process encourages to see from an internal view the schools. Lawrance Stenhouse (as cited in Rudduck and Hopkins, 1985), defines research as “systematical, self-critical enquiry”, this perception gives the capacity to teachers to be self-aware about the classroom environment.

A very good approach to the teacher research was done by Anderson (2009), who states that teachers engage in research by working with students to facilitate learning, lesson plans development, student’s work evaluation, and sharing outcomes with students, parents, and administrators. Also she mentions that teachers design and implement a plan of action to observe and analyze outcomes, and modify plans to better meet the needs of students. That is research. From this perspective, most teachers could engage actively in research every day by improving good teaching that is planned and written down in a formal way along with action research tools applied to the classroom.

It is evident that approaching to this kind of research applied to the school as external and internal view does not only constitutes an argue between them, but also propose a meaningful change in how the teacher is capable to innovate and grow. According to Lawrence Stenhouse (1984), the teacher who uses teacher research does not need to be told what to do; this means that the teacher-researcher not only bases their classes on instructions from the top, instead of following a vertical organization of power.

To sum up, teaching at school does not only depend on the observation and interpretation made by research on teaching. As it was shown, this kind of research positions the teacher’s work under a lineal and traditional methodology which inhibits teacher’s creativity. But, teacher research encourages teachers to do the opposite, being fundamental part of the research process, and educational improvement.

For teachers in training, it is important to do research and not to conform to be analyzed by others. At the end of the process, the teaching practice based on our research could save the classroom problems in which are the biggest flaws of the educational systems.




Anderson, G. (2009). An introduction to teacher research

Retrieved from:

Apple, M. (1986).  Teachers and texts: a political economy of class and gender relations in education.

Lodico, M, Spaulding, D, Voegle, k (2010) Methods in Educational Research: From Theory to Practice.

Shulman, L.S. (1986). Those Who Understand: Knowledge Growth in Teaching. Educational Researcher, pp. 4-14 – Vol. 15, No.2.

Wilson, E. (2007) Introduction: Why should teachers do school-based research? School-based Research, 1-10.

[1] The term, literature on teaching is related to the final product (or the paper) result of research.


A Call to Teachers to Do Researc1


The basic standards inside the Colombian classrooms (By Francisco and Geraldine)

The basic standards inside the Colombian classrooms

     English has become the most spoken language because it is used, as an international “lingua franca”. The Ministry of Education (MEN) published in 2006 the document “Estándares básicos de competencias en lenguas extranjeras: Inglés”. It promotes the learning and the usage of English inside the Colombian schools. Having this in mind, we will discuss if this proposal has been effective. Taking into account aspects such as the student’s realities, socio-economic strata, and teachers’ methodologies. Giving a developed perspective about how it has been developed.

One ideal of the Standards is that English is a universal language, which offers benefits with its learning (MEN, 2006). Every year countries as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom put on scene programs in order to get Colombian youth for studying and working there. The professor Perez said something like the thing studying English is that today we can practice it around the world and it is easy to travel, to study and to work abroad just speaking English. Furthermore, speaking English develops many skills which not only are reflected in the Spanish language like being conscious about some structures of it but also that can be used in that language exclusively like  the use of certain expressions such as look and see. Consequently, the learning and the usage of English creates and develops skills that can be used in this age which offers the possibility of traveling and living in any part of the world. This sounds very well; but does it work in the practice?

Standards proposes a bilingual country with a higher level of proficiency in English but, it is difficult in Colombia where we have places where people cannot study not only English but Spanish. In Bogotá, there are neighborhoods where children are involved in violent situations and people who are in gangs and drugs (a hard environment). In those cases they are more interested on surviving and working than in learning English (Gil, 2013). Not only in Bogotá is the situation hard but also in the rest of the country. It is important to mention that there are students who are not interested in their study, people who do not have government’s coverage, and people who neither study English nor Spanish. As a conclusion, Standards does not take into account the different population of the country and the environment where they live, leaving its aim of helping Colombian education; in fact, it sounds like a program that idealizes.

There is a pit between teachers’ methodologies and what does Basic Standards propose. Reading the document we realize that it promotes a uniform English teaching method. When we go inside classrooms it differs. Because there is difficult that all the Colombian teachers follow the same class plan, and it is harder to make it effective in the entire national environment. For example, the current method that is necessary to improve the school problems could be solved by PPA (Giraldo, 2013) but, teachers have not realized it. Besides, teachers are not prepared for the scale that this system proposes (MEN, 2006). For instance, teachers do not separate children according to their level of English proficiency or the same teachers are promoted having a low level of the same category. Then, this proposal was not though taking into account the situation of English teaching in Colombia.

As a conclusion, we can state that Standards is not effective in order to solve the demands of English language in Colombia. Government’s proposal could work with a little group of students but it is not enough to accomplish with national needs. We do not need a proposal which promote a massive thought but a person who has the ability of build knowledge by his own, taking into account the environment, the resources of the country, and what do we really should learn.












Gil, Luis Alejandro. 2013. Personal communication. Institución Educativa Distrital Juana Escobar.

Giraldo, Olbers. 2013. El pedagogo de lenguas. Universidad Pedagógica Nacional.

Ministry of Education (MEN). 2006. Estándares básicos de competencias en lenguas extranjeras: Inglés. Ministerio de Educación Nacional, Colombia.

Ministry of Education (MEN). 2009. Lineamientos curriculares de lengua castellana. Ministerio de Educación Nacional.

Perez, Doraluz. 2011. Lengua y cultura anglófonas I. Universidad Pedagógica Nacional.

Bustamente Zamudio, Guillermo. 2006 Sobre los estándares para educar en Colombia In: Pedagogía y Saberes Magazine. Facultad de Educación. Universidad Pedagógica Nacional.