Exploring pre-service language teachers’ mindsets using a sorting activity
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInnovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1080/17501229.2021.1923721
Researching mindsets has become a topic of considerable interest in language learning. However, the majority of studies tend to focus on learners and their mindsets, with very little research examining the mindsets of teachers, either in-service or pre-service. Yet, teachers' mindset beliefs about their competences as educators are likely to be fundamental to their willingness to engage in professional development and how they cope with challenges. In this study, we addressed two research questions: 1. What are pre-service teachers' mindsets about diverse language teaching competences? 2. In what ways do pre-service teachers explain their mindset beliefs about language teaching? Data were collected from 12 pre-service language teachers in Austria and Norway using two semi-structured interviews, a short background questionnaire, and a sorting task prior to the second interview. During the sorting task, the teachers arranged statements along a continuum and were asked in the following interview to explain their sorting. The findings revealed a set of interrelated beliefs best thought of as a system including beliefs beyond malleability. There was no evidence of categorical mindset beliefs but more orientations towards a particular perspective. The study raises important questions for research methodologies using binary dichotomies and single-point data collection tools.