A situational survey into the skills and training needs of LSP teachers

Giulia Torresin

The CATAPULT Situational Survey aimed at offering a better understanding of language teachers’ qualifications and skills (and lack thereof), especially those teaching Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP) in Europe.

First of all, what is a situational survey ? It is the synthesis of various analyses that fruitfully combines several types of data (qualitative and quantitative data, as well as findings from literature review). A situational survey is therefore the most appropriate methodological approach for understanding a multi-faceted phenomenon and for allowing different perspectives to emerge!

These are some of the insights into the contemporary landscape of language teachers’ skills from the CATAPULT Situational Survey:

  1. Language and ICT skills are paramount in the adult education sector, however there is a mismatch in terms of supply and demand of ICT skills for teaching purposes. The study has shown how technology is not fully integrated by LSP teachers.
  2. A very small percentage (12%) of language teachers surveyed benefited from pre-service training during their university degree. Language teachers carry out mostly self-driven initiatives to acquire the necessary LSP skills, through lifelong learning opportunities and further studies. This situation reflects firstly the absence of appropriate training during university studies and initial teacher education but also the lack of standardisation in terms of qualifications, certifications and skills for LSP teachers in Europe.
  3. LSP teachers face a double difficulty in finding materials focused both on the right language and on the discipline taught. At the same time, the study has found that recruiters consider specialised domain knowledge important, which is something that in reality language teachers lack as they do not generally have domain specific qualifications.
  4. Teachers regret the general marginalisation that language teachers in particular have to endure and more specifically the pedagogical isolation of LSP teachers in specialised institutions, as well as the lack of collaboration with subject teachers.

If you want to get to know more, here is the link to the full study!


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