English foreign language (EFL) literacy achievement is a major challenge for EFL pupils in Israel. To better understand this challenge, this study used a quantitative approach to examine differences between experienced and preservice EFL teachers’ content knowledge of the English orthography and the impact of a semester course on this knowledge. A qualitative analysis examined perceptions of the English orthography, effective teaching methods for word recognition and spelling as well as effectiveness of the course. Results supported English first language teacher knowledge research showing relatively weak English orthographic knowledge for all participants with experienced teachers demonstrating a slight advantage. Post course scores showed significant improvements for preservice EFL teachers but these scores were still far from ceiling. Participants were unanimous in stating that they felt that they benefited and gained significant knowledge as a result of participation in the course. They acknowledged the challenges of EFL spelling but were divided regarding whether and how it should be taught. Poor scores on the overall Teacher Knowledge Survey suggest that participants did not have the orthographic related knowledge necessary to guide their decisions as to how to teach EFL literacy. Orthographic related instruction for EFL preservice and practicing teachers should continue to be examined as a facilitating factor for effective teaching of EFL word recognition and spelling.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 8, 2015
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