DOES EXPERIENCE MATTER? A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF EFL TEACHERS’ CHALLENGES
Keywords:challenges, English as a foreign language, teaching, teacher, experience
Even-though teaching experience has been identified as one of the main variables affecting student academic gains, teacher cognition, and practices, research focusing on the influence of experience on language teacher challenges is still rare. Hence, the study aims to analyse comparatively the challenges encountered by EFL teachers with varying lengths of teaching experience. Quantitative data were collected utilising a questionnaire involving 208 language teachers. The respondents self-reported being especially challenged by teaching speaking, learner motivation, teaching writing and listening, learner engagement, differentiating instruction, and providing effective learning. The overall challenge rate was moderate. Notably, a statistically significant difference in the perceptions of challenges was established between groups of teachers with varying lengths of teaching experience. As expected, novice teachers reported being more challenged than their most experienced counterparts. Contrary to popular belief, challenge estimates of a group of experienced teachers (10-15 years) were higher than that of less experienced teachers (1-5 years). The principal implication of the current study is that experienced language teachers also need assistance in dealing with professional challenges arising from the complexities of language teaching. To serve well, teacher development courses should be sensitive to language teacher needs and challenges, aligned with transformations they undergo as they move along the career stages
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