When people embark upon the journey to become a language teacher, they begin to face challenges to the beliefs they already have about language learning and teaching, beliefs that have to a large extent been formed by their own experience as language learners. During the language teacher education programme, there is an expectation that change and development will occur.
This talk draws on my work in language teacher education. It focuses on pre-service teachers and discusses four challenges they may face. These relate to changing beliefs, developing awareness of approaches to teaching, understanding and responding to context, and learning the target language. It then considers the role that teacher educators and experienced language teachers can play in facilitating pre-service teachers’ development. Three key aspects of this role are creating dissonance as a means of promoting reflection, promoting an ethical approach to classroom decision-making, and providing opportunities for development through careful programme design. By attending to these aspects teacher education programmes are more likely to fulfil their potential as change programmes for the participants than would otherwise be the case.