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The provision and experience of an accredited online programme for English language teacher training: an activity systems analysis

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Reza Eshtehardi
Publication date2024
Number of pages415
Awarding Institution
Award date9/04/2024
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis contributes to the literature on English language teacher training. Recent discussion in that literature has emphasised the need to move from a narrow focus on skills development towards understanding whole training programmes and how their provision prepares teachers for contemporary challenges. It has also specifically highlighted the need to understand how better to integrate technology use into training programmes.
This thesis presents a case study of an online English language teacher training programme. The ‘Cambridge CELTA’ programme is a globally recognised English teacher training qualification which has only recently started to offer an online version. I use Activity Theory to analyse the activity systems of the programme and their contradictions, with a specific focus on identifying challenges in the integration of technology into language teacher training. Analysis draws on lesson observations, document analysis, and interviews with course candidates, tutors and managers.
My findings highlight that the provision and experience of this programme are dependent on three closely related activity systems, whose objects are credentialised learning, pedagogical support and administrative support. My findings map these activity systems and the contradictions within and between them. A fourth activity system of executive support, external to the organisation providing the programme, also plays a role but can be sketched only briefly due to the boundaries of the case. My analysis highlights several core contradictions, such as a commodification of learning and equal policy resourcing. The analysis highlights how these contradictions are generated from within and between the four activity systems.
My thesis contributes to the literature by introducing a new insight of an integrative model pedagogy to understand how language teacher training programmes intertwine theoretical and practical concerns and also proposing a technology in pedagogy proposition which is missing in the literature. In response to debates about challenges of integrating technology into language teacher training, my thesis concludes by contributing an online language teacher training programme framework which has been designed based on an analysis of the findings.