Tabitha Kidwell, a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland College of Education, received two grant awards to support her dissertation research on teaching English in Indonesia. In Indonesia, education policy explicitly requires teachers to transmit and sustain Indonesian cultural values; Kidwell is investigating how novice Indonesian teachers of English balance this demand with introducing students to the intercultural aspects of language learning.
The TESOL international association awarded her a TESOL Research Mini-Grant, providing support of up to $2,500 for research. She will present her preliminary findings at the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo, held in Chicago in March 2018. Kidwell also received a 2017 Doctoral Dissertation Grant of $3,250 from The International Research Foundation for English Language Education.
“This study will inform research in language teacher education by deepening the field’s understanding of how language teachers learn to teach about culture, what they believe about the teaching of culture, and what practices they use to teach about culture during their early years of teaching,” Kidwell said.
Kidwell, a doctoral candidate in the Applied Linguistics and Language Education program in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership, arrived in Indonesia in August 2017 to begin her work with English language teachers. This is not her first experience in the country, however. As an English Language Fellow, a program of the U.S. Department of State, she spent two years teaching English and training English teachers at the same institution where she is now conducting her research.
As part of her dissertation research on English language learning in Indonesia, Kidwell is engaging students and teachers in a variety of ways, ranging from explaining introductory phrases to elementary students to facilitating a Professional Learning Community program for local teachers.
“Implications from this study will generate insights regarding models of ongoing professional development and the impact of English as a global language on teacher education policy and practices, particularly in settings where English teachers are expected to uphold local cultural values while also developing students’ intercultural awareness,” Kidwell said.