Cabin Crew ESP Teachers’ Pedagogical Decisions and Reasoning in Reading Instruction

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 Department of English Language Teaching, Faculty of Humanities, West Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of English Language Teaching, Faculty of Humanities, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

Although decades of research have documented teachers’ interactive pedagogical decisions and reasoning in education, decisions and their underlying reasoning by English for specific purposes (ESP) teachers have remained under-explored. This qualitative multiple case study sought to explore cabin crew ESP teachers’ decisions and their underlying pedagogical reasoning in reading instruction. Four ESP teachers, including two language teachers and two content teachers, were selected through purposive sampling from different aviation training centers. The videotaped recordings of eight sessions of ESP reading instruction and the related field notes were analyzed deductively based on areas of teachers’ decision-making, and the transcriptions of audiotaped stimulated recall interviews were analyzed inductively based on teachers’ underlying pedagogical reasoning for each category of decisions. The findings revealed a distinctive difference between the two groups of ESP teachers’ decision-making and pedagogical reasoning. The focus of language teachers’ decisions and reasoning was on helping learners to improve their language achievement. On the other hand, content teachers put more weight on teaching required concepts based on learners’ needs in order to improve their occupational performance. These findings have implications for the collaboration of language teachers and content teachers to bridge the instructional gaps in ESP instruction.

Keywords


Article Title [Persian]

Cabin Crew ESP Teachers’ Pedagogical Decisions and Reasoning in Reading Instruction

Authors [Persian]

  • سیمین صادقی 1
  • مینو عالمی 1
1 دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی، شعبه تهران غرب
Abstract [Persian]

Although decades of research have documented teachers’ interactive pedagogical decisions and reasoning in education, decisions and their underlying reasoning by English for specific purposes (ESP) teachers have remained under-explored. This qualitative multiple case study sought to explore cabin crew ESP teachers’ decisions and their underlying pedagogical reasoning in reading instruction. Four ESP teachers, including two language teachers and two content teachers, were selected through purposive sampling from different aviation training centers. The videotaped recordings of eight sessions of ESP reading instruction and the related field notes were analyzed deductively based on areas of teachers’ decision-making, and the transcriptions of audiotaped stimulated recall interviews were analyzed inductively based on teachers’ underlying pedagogical reasoning for each category of decisions. The findings revealed a distinctive difference between the two groups of ESP teachers’ decision-making and pedagogical reasoning. The focus of language teachers’ decisions and reasoning was on helping learners to improve their language achievement. On the other hand, content teachers put more weight on teaching required concepts based on learners’ needs in order to improve their occupational performance. These findings have implications for the collaboration of language teachers and content teachers to bridge the instructional gaps in ESP instruction.

Keywords [Persian]

  • Cabin Crew
  • Decision-Making
  • ESP
  • Pedagogical Reasoning
  • Reading Instruction

Cabin Crew ESP Teachers’ Pedagogical Decisions and Reasoning in Reading Instruction

[1]Simin Sadeghi

[2]Zia Tajeddin *

[3]Minoo Alemi

 Research Paper                                            IJEAP- -2203-1850

 Received: 2022-03-11                           Accepted: 2022-04-13                         Published: 2022-09-25

Abstract

Although decades of research have documented teachers’ interactive pedagogical decisions and reasoning in education, decisions and their underlying reasoning by English for specific purposes (ESP) teachers have remained under-explored. This qualitative multiple case study sought to explore cabin crew ESP teachers’ decisions and their underlying pedagogical reasoning in reading instruction. Four ESP teachers, including two language teachers and two content teachers, were selected through purposive sampling from different aviation training centers. The videotaped recordings of eight sessions of ESP reading instruction and the related field notes were analyzed deductively based on areas of teachers’ decision-making, and the transcriptions of audiotaped stimulated recall interviews were analyzed inductively based on teachers’ underlying pedagogical reasoning for each category of decisions. The findings revealed a distinctive difference between the two groups of ESP teachers’ decision-making and pedagogical reasoning. The focus of language teachers’ decisions and reasoning was on helping learners to improve their language achievement. On the other hand, content teachers put more weight on teaching required concepts based on learners’ needs in order to improve their occupational performance. These findings have implications for the collaboration of language teachers and content teachers to bridge the instructional gaps in ESP instruction.

Keywords: Cabin Crew, Decision-Making, ESP, Pedagogical Reasoning, Reading Instruction

  1. Introduction

The teaching process can be perceived as a thinking process. What teachers think and believe shapes the way they discern effective teaching and identify their own teaching priorities (Blackley, Redmond, & Peel, 2021; Hughes, Hong-Cheah, Shi, & Hsiao, 2020; Loughran, 2019; Mansfield & Loughran, 2018; Oslund, Elleman, & Wallac, 2020; Pang, 2016). People make decisions according to their personal values, goals, and beliefs in choosing actions for a specific situation. In the educational field, teacher decision-making is connected to different factors, involving curriculum, instructional method, classroom management, and evaluation (Smart, Finger, & Sim, 2016). Decision-making in language teaching has been known as a framework for the teachers’ mental world, as a cognitive map and as a tool to implement in their teaching practices (Zhang, 2017). Intertwined with decision making, pedagogical reasoning, as proposed by Schulman (1987), refers to the complex thinking underpinning teachers’ practices. It includes knowledge, skills, and abilities for active exchange between knowing and doing that emphasizes deep comprehension and reflection instead of teaching just for simple transmission of information (Alonso-Belmonte & Fernández-Agüero, 2018; Kavanagh, Conrad, & Dagogo-Jack, 2020; Mansfield, 2019).

Due to the significance of effective teaching, the teaching profession has experienced a substantial increase in the number of studies and research focused on portraying teachers’ pedagogical decisions and reasoning. Teachers’ decision-making and pedagogical thinking have been an important area in education for many decades and are regarded to be interrelated to teachers’ professional development, including their beliefs, self-efficacy, and actions (Prachagool, Nuangchalerm, Subramaniam, & Dostál, 2016). The related literature has aimed to find out why and how teachers make particular pedagogical decisions during teaching, how they support their strategies in developing their own reasoning, and how teacher educators can cognitively help teachers be better prepared for the decisions they are to make in their classes (Atai, Babaii, & Taherkhani, 2017; Harell, 2019; Loughran, Keast, & Cooper, 2016). Despite the body of research conducted on teachers’ pedagogical decision-making and its reasoning, the understanding gained so far seems insufficient in the field of ESP. Furthermore, it should be noted that the research base for language instruction in the aviation industry is still in its infancy, and scant attention has been assigned to cabin crew ESP teachers’ pedagogical decisions and reasoning. Therefore, the present study aims to provide insights into ESP teachers’ decision-making and underlying pedagogical reasoning in their reading instruction as an important job requirement skill for cabin crew.         

  1. Literature Review

2.1. Teachers’ Decision-making and Pedagogical Reasoning

Shavelson (1983) argues that decision-making is integrated into teaching in a way that it is conceived as the most central action in teachers’ teaching. Similarly, Freeman (1989) believes that teaching is an interactive decision-making procedure in which instructional decisions repeatedly operate before, during, and after teaching, respectively termed pre-active, interactive, and post-active decisions. Decision-making is known as an intellectual procedure of opting for the best choice among many alternative ones (Verma, 2014). Before starting the class, teachers make decisions about purposes, materials, and exercises. In class, teachers make decisions about numerous issues such as time management, tasks to be performed by students, scaffolding students, and materials adaptation. After class, they evaluate the lesson in order to make the next lesson more efficient. As stated by Jiang (2017), teachers’ decision-making is considered as some kind of professional autonomy, and self-specific performance and the aims of teachers’ instructional decisions are basically to reach the goal of education and promote the improvement of students and teacher professional development.

Teachers’ decisions are underpinned by pedagogical reasoning. Shulman (1987) defined teaching as a “contextual, local, and situated act demanding subtle judgments and agonizing decisions” (p. 28). He proposed the concept of “pedagogical reasoning” to highlight the knowledge base of teaching and the significance of a better understanding of the practice. He described the nature of pedagogical reasoning as a process of transformation in which the teacher transforms the subject matter of instruction into “forms that are pedagogically powerful and yet adaptive to the variation in ability and background presented by the students” (Shulman, 1987, p. 15). Pang (2016) defined pedagogical reasoning as the ability to scaffold teachers’ pedagogical practices as a monitoring tool to improve their teaching. Focusing on pedagogical reasoning and some tenets of the notion of reflection, Ong’ondo (2017) stated that in the teaching process, the teacher is also enabled to rationalize their own practices, thereby possibly developing a deeper understanding of language teaching. Similarly, Mansfield (2019) stated that the complexity of teachers’ decision-making and hence their pedagogical reasoning that underpins their action and practice affect their professional knowledge.

As the relevant literature demonstrates (Griffith, 2017; Harell, 2019; Hughes et al., 2020; Macalister, 2012; Maringer Duran, 2014; Nguyen & Newton, 2020), some aspects of teachers’ decision-making and pedagogical reasoning have been studied in different contexts. For instance, Macalister (2012) examined the decisions and underlying beliefs of Malaysian teachers related to their vocabulary teaching. Moreover, Nguyen and Newton (2020) focused on teachers’ decisions in pronunciation teaching. They collected the data through observation and semi-structured interviews with English language teachers in New Zealand. Additionally, Maringer Duran (2014) used an interpretative phenomenological analysis method to investigate physics teachers’ decisions based on their beliefs and underlying pedagogical reasoning to show how these content teachers perceive and express themselves during pre-, while- and post-teaching. Recently, Mansfield (2019) studied the complexity of teachers’ decision-making and pedagogical reasoning by bringing teachers' knowledge to the surface and creating a deeper understanding of what they know and do as a mechanism for teacher growth and professional development. As a result, she concluded that teachers, by reflecting on their own practices and reasons, become knowledge producers as opposed to knowledge consumers as most teachers are.

2.2. ESP instruction for cabin crew

ESP is “an approach to language teaching which aims to meet the needs of particular learners” (Hutchinson & Waters, 1987, p. 21). Ruiz de Guerrero and Arias Rodríguez (2010) claimed that English learning depends on students᾽ needs. In ESP courses, the learners acquire English as a second or foreign language to use it in a specific field (Paltridge & Starfield, 2013). Similarly, Mede, Koparan, and Atay (2018) indicated that the nature of ESP is context-specific and specifically situated in a wide range of specialist or disciplinary discourse communities. The reason for ESP development includes “internationalization in academia, international publications, student exchange programs, international internship programs, international scholarships for further studies, joint research partnership programs, international conference presentation, the mobility of workplaces, and globalization as the mobility of a gold economy” (Widodo, 2016, p. 13). ESP encompasses the two areas of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) (Dudley-Evans & St. John, 1998). Alternatively, Bastukerman (2010) categorized ESP into three different branches. The first branch is EAP, such as English for academic writing. The second one is English for Professional Purposes (EPP), including English for the health care sector. The third is English for Occupational Purposes (EOP), an example of which is English for hotel receptionists. In the present study, ESP for cabin crew in the aviation industry belongs to the EOP branch. The overarching aim of EOP teaching is to support learners to act properly in their workplace or a job-related educational setting using English as a means of communication (Liu, Chang, Yang, & Sun, 2011). Widodo (2016) stated that ESP instruction should be aligned with learners’ communication needs in professional and educational settings.

The aviation industry is expanding rapidly by applying cutting-edge technologies to achieve safety in aircraft operations (Er & Kırkgöz, 2018). Based on Said’s (2011) study, while enormous efforts have been made to improve the industry, it still suffers from some problems due to miscommunication. According to Mede et al. (2018), cabin crew as the face of airlines have to take some courses to fulfill their jobs perfectly. The civil aviation cabin crew program is composed of different courses. According to International Civil Aviation Organization, in the first phase, students take a general English course, then they are taught ESP communication skills as compulsory courses for the next four weeks to get familiar with technical terminologies in their future jobs. After ESP, they have to take basic safety rules, basic airplane instruction, medical issues and first aid, basic service codes in the cabin, emergency safety rules, elocution and announcement, communication, and passenger affairs. Similar to most ESP contexts, cabin crew ESP teachers generally fall into two types: one is language teachers with an educational background predominantly in TEFL, and the other is content teachers employed as cabin crew in the aviation industry and with a variety of educational backgrounds.

Despite the need for research on decision-making in ESP, there are few studies on ESP teachers’ pedagogical decision-making and their underlying reasoning in language skill instructions in the aviation industry. To bridge this gap, the present study sought to discover both types of cabin crew ESP teachers’ interactive decisions and the underlying pedagogical reasoning in their reading instruction. To this aim, the following research questions were formulated:

Research Question One: What instructional decisions do language teachers make in their reading instruction in a cabin crew ESP course, and what pedagogical reasoning underlies their instructional decisions?

Research Question Two: What instructional decisions do content teachers make in their reading instruction in a cabin crew ESP course? And what pedagogical reasoning underlies their instructional decisions?

  1. Methodology

3.1. Participants

The participants of the current study included two groups of ESP teachers: two language teachers and two content teachers whose participation was based on convenience sampling. The number of ESP teachers in the study was adequate according to Duff (2006), who suggested four to six participants for an ideal multiple case study. She also pinpointed that this number is safe if attrition occurs. They consisted of both males and females, ranging in age from 36 to 56 and holding either B.A. or M.A. degrees in different majors. They were selected from different aviation training centers in the context of Iran. All four participating ESP teachers had more than 10 years of ESP teaching experience in different aviation training centers, including Homa, Meraj, and Mahan aviation training centers. The cabin crew ESP textbook taught in the aviation training centers was English for Cabin Crew (Ellis & Lansford, 2015). It is worth noting that an informed consent form was obtained from all four ESP teachers. For anonymity and confidentiality, pseudonyms were used. The participants’ profiles are presented in Table 1 below.

Table 1: ESP Teachers’ Demographic Characteristics

Name

Occupation

Gender

Age

Major

Education level

Teaching experience

Mina

Language teacher

female

38

ELT

M.A.

11 years

Amir

Language teacher

male

56

English literature

B.A.

24 years

Milad

Cabin crew & Content teacher

male

36

Management

B.A.

10 years

Behzad

Cabin crew & Content teacher

male

46

Mechanical engineering

M.A.

12 years

3.2. Instruments

The present inquiry was a qualitative descriptive multiple case study to inspect cabin crew ESP teachers’ decision-making and its underlying pedagogical reasoning in their reading instruction. The data sources included observation and stimulated-recall interviews.

3.2.1. Classroom Observation

The first method employed to collect the data was observation. It was used to investigate the teachers’ interactive classroom decision-making through unstructured nonparticipation observation by taking field notes as well as videotaping participants’ ESP reading instructions watched by the first researchers on the research site without taking part in any of the activities of the participants. Despite being obtrusive, video recording of the research site can provide very rich and subtle details about the participants and their activities (Dörnyei, 2007). Moreover, the researchers were able to watch the videos several times to obtain a closer perspective on activities on the research site. Another possibility is to use sections of the video recordings for stimulated-recall interviews if needed. Observation included eight sessions, twice a week for four weeks. To observe the codes of ethics, permission was taken from the directors of the targeted aviation training centers to video record the classes.

3.2.2. Stimulated-recall Interview

The second method was used to ask teachers to verbalize their underlying pedagogical reasoning for their decisions during their ESP reading instruction. Before the stimulated-recall interviews, the videos of each session, along with the matching field notes, were subject to review by the researchers to highlight teachers’ practices and decisions during that session. Subsequently, the stimulated-recall interviews were conducted to illuminate the teachers’ reasons for their different decisions. The stimulated-recall interviews were conducted only one day after each observation session because it was recommended by Mackey and Gass (2005) to conduct the stimulated-recall interviews as soon as possible after the event to maximize the credibility and reliability of teachers’ accounts of their pedagogical reasoning. The interviews were audio-recorded for consequent analysis.

3.3. Procedure

Initially, four ESP teachers were selected from different aviation training centers in the context of the study. The next step was the observation of these teachers’ reading classes, taking field notes, and recording videos. It included eight sessions, twice a week for four weeks. Then, stimulated-recall interviews were conducted with teachers at their own offices a day after each observation session. All interviews were audio-recorded for the subsequent analysis. Prior to the analysis, all of the interviews were fully transcribed. Each transcription was double-checked by the researchers against the interview audio for accuracy. The analysis of qualitative data is one of the main concerns of qualitative researchers (Riazi, 2016). This is because the credibility of the inferences made in qualitative research depends basically on legitimate data and data analysis. Due to the interpretive nature of this study, the data were analyzed manually. This decision corresponds to Richard’s (2009) view on taking advantage of engaging physically with data, particularly because the participants’ number was relatively small, and managing the data would provide the opportunity to see connections and relations between different elements in data related to main topics. Moreover, manual analysis increases the level of familiarity with data through reading transcripts repeatedly and reflecting on them.

To investigate the teachers’ decisions during their reading instruction, a detailed analysis of the classroom videos and field notes was carried out. The coding was done through a top-down deductive approach (Riazi, 2016), drawing on Stronge’s (2007) teacher skills checklist consisting of (1) the teachers as a person, (2) classroom management and discipline, (3) planning and organizing instructions, (4) implementing instructions, and (5) monitoring learner progress and potential. The focus of this was on the fourth domain of Stronge’s checklist, namely “implementing instructions,” which was classified into five different sub-categories: instructional strategies, content and expectations, complexity, questioning, and learner engagement. On the other hand, to reveal the pedagogical reasoning underlying the teachers’ decisions, the transcribed data extracted from stimulated-recall interviews were analyzed profoundly through the bottom-up inductive approach, which includes three levels of open coding, axial coding, and selective coding (Riazi, 2016). At the first level, after transcription, the data were read by the researchers iteratively to be engrossed in the data. After getting acquainted with the data, its content was analyzed to find the meaningful utterances from the transcripts to label them. Then, the identified labels were analyzed to categorize them into broader groups. Finally, all categories concerning teachers’ reasonings were grouped into distinctive themes to identify teachers’ pedagogical reasoning for their interactive decisions during their reading instruction.

The quality of the study was attempted to be improved through the prolonged field engagement. The first researcher as an experienced ESP teacher in aviation and as an insider in this field, was essentially familiar with the cabin crew ESP context, teachers, learners, syllabus, and textbooks, which possibly had a positive effect on the analysis of the collected data in this qualitative study. Additionally, individual teachers’ transcribed data and analysis were shared with them for member checking as a technique to give credibility to the study (Riazi, 2016). Finally, due to the importance of inter-coder reliability, one-fourth of data, including two observation and two stimulated-recall interview sessions, were selected randomly and coded by a well-informed intercoder, a TEFL expert, with about 85% cases of agreement. A meeting was arranged with the inter-coder to discuss the divergences to make some adaptations. They resolved disagreements, which were mainly about the teachers’ decisions concerning content and expectations as well as complexity.

  1. Results

4.1. Language Teachers’ Decisions and Reasoning

The first question aimed to depict the instructional decisions and pedagogical reasoning presented by two language teachers as cabin crew ESP teachers in their reading instruction. Mina’s and Amir’s decisions and their underlying pedagogical reasoning regarding implementing their reading instruction are presented in two distinct tables. Their decisions and reasoning are displayed in five sub-categories, embracing instructional strategies, content and expectation, complexity, questioning, and learner engagement. Table 2 presents Mina’s pedagogical decisions and underlying reasoning in her cabin crew reading instruction.

 

Table 2: Mina’s Decision-making and Pedagogical Reasoning

Themes

Categories

 Mina (Language Teacher)

Decision

Pedagogical Reasoning

 Implementing instruction

Instructional Strategies

·         Teaching different reading strategies directly such as scanning, skimming, guessing, finding keywords

·         Proposed in TTC

·         Using scaffolding techniques such as think-aloud and activation of learners’ background knowledge

·         Promoting learning

·         Modeling the correct way of reading by playing the authentic audio of texts

·         Promoting learning

·         Combining some interactional instructional techniques like small groups and whole-class instruction based on learners’ levels

·         Developing collaborative learning

Content

and

Expectations

·         Setting high expectations for learners as a key part of their success in this course

·         Clarifying learners’ expectations

·         Promoting learning

·         Giving a clear explanation of the objectives and concepts at the beginning of the course

·         Clarifying the course objective

·         Assigning complex post-reading activities

·         Promoting learning

 

·         Pursuing learners completed and correct homework

·         Assessing learners’ production,

 

·         Providing closure at the end of each session

·         Reviewing the taught text, Checking learners’ understanding

Complexity

·         Using English as the medium of instruction

·         Promoting learning

·         Using learners’ prior knowledge to guide the lesson

·         Facile learning

·         Focusing on Form-based teaching

·         Giving priority to language knowledge over the subject matter

·         Not skipping or trivializing any section of the coursebook

·         Proposed in TTC

Questioning

·         Asking some questions just for checking learners’ concentration

·         Reducing distraction

·         Asking some fixed and pre-made questions from the whole class in each phase of reading

·         Proposed in TTC

·         Giving long wait time to her learners during the questioning procedure

·         Decreasing stress

Learner Engagement

·         Using learners’ ideas and life experiences to elicit their comments

·         Increasing learner engagement

·         Encouraging interaction in the class both between teacher & learner and learner & learner

·         Increasing learner engagement

·         Encouraging learners to transfer their vocabulary or content knowledge to the whole class as a co-teacher in some cases

·         Developing more self-confidence, Bringing diversity to the class

·         Assigning learners to talk about the concept with one another

·         Developing collaborative learning

By focusing on her decisions about content and expectations, Mina clarified the object of the course and her expectations at the very beginning of the course by explaining the difference between general English and ESP courses.

Mina: “If you are going to be a cabin crew in the near future, you need to be very active in this course which is your main course … you need to study very hard and well and spend much more time than the general English course.”

The underlying reasoning for her decisions related to this category was mostly based on clarifying the course objective to prevent any confusion or misunderstanding, assessing learners’ production, and enhancing their learning. Her decisions about complexity showed that she mostly enacted form-focused teaching by encouraging learners to move from the known to the unknown by giving priority to grammar without paying much attention to content. She asserted that she does not possess an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter:

Learner: “I don’t understand ‘Hypoxia’ very well, can you explain again? “Mina: “This is a very technical term; I agree that it is a little vague. You can ask your other technical instructors in future courses.”

Her main pedagogical reason indicates that she manifested a willingness to teach about language more than content to improve learners’ language use. Table 3 depicts Amir’s decisions and underlying pedagogical reasoning in his cabin crew reading instruction.

Table 3: Amir’s Decision-making and Pedagogical Reasoning

Themes

Categories

 

  Amir (Language Teacher)

 

Decision

Pedagogical Reasoning

 Implementing instruction

Instructional Strategies

·          

·         Teaching just scanning and skimming directly as the main reading strategies

·         Proposed in TTC

·          

·         Reading the texts himself as a model

·         Promoting learning

·          

·         Integrating different language skills as a post-reading activity

·         Promoting learning

·          

·         Linking the new topics and words to what learners have learned in previous sessions

·         Facile learning

Content

And

Expectations

·          

·         Focusing on the importance of learners’ own accountability

·         Fostering more responsible readers

·          

·         Expect all learners to do their assignments on time

·         Promoting learning

·          

·         Allocating the beginning of class time to review previous concepts

·         Assessing learners, Preparing learners for new reading text

Complexity

·          

·         Frequently using English as a medium of instruction

·         Giving priority to correct language use

·          

·         Analysis of text structure

·         Promoting correct language use

·          

·         Insisting on form instead of meaning and concept

·         Giving priority to correct language use

Questioning

·          

·         Calling volunteering learners to answer his questions

·         Decreasing stress, Considering learners in all levels

·          

·         Proposing some questions as a warm-up

·         Promoting learners’ curiosity

·          

·         Asking various types of questions with different difficulty levels

·         Considering all learners’ levels

·          

·         Providing learners with reasonable waiting time

·         Decreasing stress

Learner Engagement

·          

·         Constantly supporting and encouraging learners’ participation by reinforcing and praising them

·         Promoting learning

·          

·         Increasing students’ talk time through group work

·         Motivating learners, Increasing learners’ self-confidence

·          

·         Explaining all assigned homework and the related directions

·         Promoting learning

The analysis of Amir’s decisions regarding complexity revealed that he prioritized teaching grammar over meaning. Also, his decisions echoed the high priority given to English as the main medium of his reading instruction except in minor cases. Also, exactly like Mina, he told his learners that he did not have enough subject matter knowledge in some cases:

 Amir: “I just explained what you can see in the textbook, but you as future cabin crew need to know more, but I do not know more than this.”

As it is clear, all reasons underlying his decisions showed that he just insisted on form-focused instruction to promote learners’ language development. Concerning learner engagement, Amir constantly supported and encouraged learners’ participation by using praising words to motivate them to be engaged more in different reading phases. For instance, he encouraged learners’ participation, like summary-making in post-reading:

Learner: “Is it possible to say my summary next session?”

Amir: “No, don’t worry. Start please I will help you to continue….”

The reasons for his decisions about this category generally were for supporting and motivating learners to help them use language correctly.

4.2. Content Teachers’ Decisions and Reasoning

The second question examined instructional decisions and pedagogical reasoning presented by two content teachers. Milad’s and Behzad’s decisions and their underlying pedagogical reasoning in reading instruction are presented in Tables 4 and 5. Similar to language teachers, their decisions and underlying pedagogical reasoning during reading instruction are displayed in five sub-categories comprising instructional strategies, content and expectation, complexity, questioning, and learner engagement. Table 4 portrays Milad’s decisions and underlying pedagogical reasoning in his classes.

 

Table 4: Milad’s Decision-making and Pedagogical Reasoning

Themes

Categories

Milad (Content Teacher)

Decision

Pedagogical Reasoning

 Implementing instruction

Instructional Strategies

·         Using fixed teaching methods in teaching different reading texts

·         Spending his time on teaching subject matter instead of presenting the diversity

·         Lecturing and Providing learners with a model of the summary presentation prepared by himself

·         Being a role model for learners

·         Elaborating on the subject matter through talking about his occupational experiences

·         Promoting meaningful learning

Content

And

Expectations

·         Setting high expectations for learning cabin crew terminologies properly

·         Promoting learners’ occupational performance

·         Giving priority to subject matter knowledge than language knowledge

·         Promoting learners’ occupational performance

·         Not clarifying course objectives and his expectations from learners

·         Lack of time

Complexity

·         Frequently using L1 as the medium of instruction

·         Facile learning in a short time

·         Encouraging learners to learn the subject matter  meaningfully, not through memorization

·         Promoting learners’ occupational performance

·         Trivializing writing activities

·         Meeting learners’ occupational needs

Questioning

·         Asking concept checking questions

·         Promoting meaningful learning

·         Asking questions related to their job interviews

·         Meeting learners’ occupational needs

·         Most of his questions were proposed in the post-reading phase

·         Increasing teacher’s talk time in other phases

·         Providing learners with a short waiting time

·         lack of time

Learner Engagement

·         Decreasing students’ talk time

·         Not having enough time to take into account everyone in the class

·         Not expressing much praise for learners’ participation during the class

·         Not giving priority to this issue

·         Not waiting for all learners to complete the activities

·         Lack of time

Table 4 demonstrates Milad’s decisions and his pedagogical reasoning in his reading instruction. By analyzing his reading instructional strategies, it was divulged that he predominantly overlooked teaching methods and techniques in teaching different reading texts; instead, he mostly taught them through describing his own occupational experiences or his colleagues’ experiences:

Milad: “Everyone, if you want to learn deeply about turbulence, let’s listen to my experience in the last turbulence I experienced two years ago….

Additionally, top students were asked to play role models by reading aloud. On the other hand, he himself played a role model in summary-making by writing the main sentences on the board. His underlying reasons for most of his decisions in this category were mainly related to his preference to support learners’ meaningful learning based on real life. As Milad’s decisions about complexity showed, he gave priority to improving speaking via reading by encouraging learners to constantly apply the new concepts during the course. In addition, he spotlighted his good subject matter knowledge and encouraged learners not to memorize concepts but to try to learn them in a meaningful way:

 Milad: “You should try to use the experience and knowledge I have in this occupation. You know that probably your English teachers speak better than me, but they never know about the technical terms of this job as well as I know.”

As it is clear, the reasons underlying his decisions indicate that he mainly sustained meaningful concept learning without giving much weight to correct language use and by considering learners’ occupational needs. As to learner engagement, it is crystal clear that Milad did not arrange learners in any group during the course. He did not encourage all learners to be engaged in different activities; for instance, he ignored some learners’ ability to guess the meaning of new words and did not express much praise for their participation:

Learner: “Can I say my summary?”

Milad: “No, just one was enough. We don’t have enough time; I am going to start to talk about an important concept in this occupation.”

The main reasons for his decisions in this category included Milad’s preference for a teacher-centered ESP course. Table 5 presents Behzad’s decisions and underlying pedagogical reasoning in reading instruction.

Table 5: Behzad’s Decision-making and Pedagogical Reasoning

Themes

Categories

Behzad (Content Teacher)

Decision

Pedagogical Reasoning

 Implementing instruction

Instructional Strategies

·          Using fixed teaching methods and techniques in all sessions

·         Giving priority to the subject matter rather than the way of teaching

·         Elaborating on the main topics himself without eliciting learners’ comments

·         Considering himself as the only valid knowledge source

·         Providing learners with synonyms and antonyms of new vocabularies

·          Promoting meaningful learning

Content

And

Expectations

·         Setting high expectations for correct pronunciation

·         Meeting learners’ occupational needs

·         Providing learners with examples of his occupational experience

·         Simulating real-life situations

·         Not admonishing learners’ incomplete or incorrect homework

·         Believing in democracy in class

·         Not putting a great burden of responsibility on learners

·         Considering his role as the main cause of learners’ success

Complexity

·         Assigning learners to re-tell each text with their own words for the next session

·         Checking learners’ production

·         Focusing mostly on content without any focus on language

·         Meeting learners’ occupational needs

·         Making subject matter relevant to learners

·         Promoting meaningful learning

·         Trivializing general vocabulary instruction

·         Meeting learners’ occupational needs

Questioning

·         Asking learners to generate their own questions about the concept

·         Promoting deeper comprehension

·         Asking most of the questions from the whole class, not individuals

·         Causing more concentration

·         Not providing adequate wait time

·         Lack of time

Learner Engagement

·         Encouraging learners to engage in authentic activities related to the subject matter

·         Promoting meaningful learning

·         Limiting learners’ engagement just to do post-reading activities

·         Increasing teacher talk time in other phases

·          Interacting very little with learners during instruction

·         Lack of time

·         Providing little time for learners to interact with each other

·         Lack of time

Table 5 exhibits Behzad’s decisions and his pedagogical reasoning in his reading instruction. Concerning Behzad’s decisions related to content and expectation, he set high expectations for learners’ pronunciation improvement. He provided learners with his occupational experiences to teach new concepts in each reading text. Consistent with his teacher-centered approach, Behzad was an expert in charge of imparting knowledge to his learners via lectures or direct instruction. He did not generally put any burden on learners. His reasoning for most of his decisions includes learners’ occupational needs and meaningful learning in order to promote their occupational performance. As to complexity, similar to Milad, he put weight on content without any focus on language by using his mother tongue while he skipped some general vocabulary items which were not directly related to learners’ future jobs:

Learner: “Sorry teacher, what about page 44? We didn’t cover it?”

Behzad: “Ok, I know, it is not related to the main issues in aviation so we will skip it.”

Behzad’s decisions indicate that his focus was on concept teaching to meet learners’ occupational needs without giving much attention to correct language use. With regard to his decisions about engagement, he limited learners’ engagement only to post-reading activities. Besides, he provided little time for learners to interact with each other. However, he encouraged learners to engage in authentic activities related to the subject matter at home:

Behzad: “We don’t have much time to speak about other responsibilities of cabin crew before the flight, but you can search “Youtube” to watch related videos to learn more.”

The reasons underlying his decisions in this category mainly emanated from his preference to have more talk time than learner engagement in the class due to lack of time. Also, he believed that the teacher should be the main source of information in ESP courses in contrast to general English class, which needs more learner engagement.

  1. Discussion

This study sought to shed light on different decisions and pedagogical reasoning made by language teachers and content teachers in their reading instruction in a cabin crew ESP course. The findings indicate that language teachers and content teachers made dissimilar decisions with different pedagogical reasoning. Language teachers mainly focused on applying different instructional strategies and methods proposed in teacher training courses and emphasized developing language knowledge without putting much weight on the subject matter to improve learners’ language achievement. Also, their reading instruction was based on controlled learning. This was manifested in requiring learners to study restricted sets of vocabulary and grammatical rules that followed specific sequences of simple to more complex patterns. On the other hand, the content teachers were preoccupied with the learners’ deep understanding of cabin crew concepts based on the ongoing monitoring of students’ learning needs and the conceptual complexities of the topics without paying great attention to correct language use. Furthermore, they favored teaching ESP reading texts through learner- and learning-centered approaches, communicative tasks, and content-based approaches according to learners’ realistic objectives and authentic needs. They did not aim to cover the whole textbook; rather, they gave priority to covering the texts related to the most important subject matter topics which could be needed by learners in their job interviews and future job-related activities. In spite of language teachers’ inclination to apply different instructional strategies and methods in their reading instruction, content teachers preferred to use conventional methods to minimize student talk and maintain discipline.

The findings concur with previous studies presenting findings of language teachers’ pedagogical decisions and their underlying reasoning in which they experienced difficulty in teaching main concepts in specialized texts by trivializing or skipping them due to their insufficient subject matter knowledge (e.g., Atai et al.,2017; Martin, Keast, & Anders, 2017; Paltridge & Starfield, 2013; Wu & Badger, 2009). Besides, it is worth pointing out that the result of the study directed by Ghaedrahmat, Mohammadnia, and Gholami (2019) is in line with the present study. Similarly, they concluded that ESP teachers predominately focused on linguistic features than content in Aviation English classes. Also, like many previous studies, this study divulged that different teachers made various instructional decisions based on their distinctive ways of thinking (e.g., Dwyer & Schachter, 2019; Hughes et al., 2020; Salokangas, Wermke, & Harvey, 2019). In spite of the few studies about cabin crew ESP teachers’ decision-making and pedagogical reasoning, the findings from studies in other ESP fields show no notable contradiction with the results of the current study. It should be noted that slight differences between cabin crew and other academic or occupational ESP teachers’ decisions and reasoning may reflect various requirements of different contexts (Vosoughi, Ghahremani Ghajar, & Navarchi, 2019; Zhang, 2017).

One of the striking features of the data was the similarity between teachers in each group in their instructional decisions and underlying reasoning. The data provided evidence that the two language teachers predominantly did not strive to learn as much content knowledge as possible but found their own unique status in teaching with their linguistic knowledge. They played the role of language consultant and guide, accepting an equal or even a lower status with learners who had their own expertise in the subject matter (Blackley et al., 2021; Zand-Moghadam & Khanlarzadeh, 2020). Most of their decisions were interconnected as they aimed to help learners use language correctly, such as reading the text fluently and accurately and preparing a good summary of the text without any grammatical mistakes. They attended to learners’ stress for promoting their language achievement without foregrounding the subject matter. Conversely, in the second group, the two content teachers, who regarded themselves as the main knowledge providers, greatly endeavored to elaborate on the concepts by providing learners with numerous examples from real-life situations without giving any appropriate instruction about grammar, general vocabulary, and reading strategies. Consistent with our findings, Thongwichit and Buripakdi (2021) revealed that content teachers frequently limited learners’ engagement and participation without any consideration for their emotions due to lack of time. They played the role of a lecturer in their ESP reading instruction. They believed that due to the very nature of the ESP course and its requirements, they should teach in a way that will improve learners’ future job performance.

As it is clear from the findings, neither language teachers nor content teachers accomplished ESP reading instruction efficiently. Learners’ occupational needs were insufficiently met by language teachers, and learners were unlikely to acquire appropriate language knowledge and skills from content teachers. To compensate for these gaps, numerous studies recommend collaboration between both groups of teachers to improve ESP instruction. Through this teamwork, language teachers become more acquainted with specific teaching contexts to detect the learners’ particular linguistic needs. Additionally, content teachers can get familiar with different teaching methods and strategies. Accordingly, a close rapport between them can lead to significant improvement in both content and language instruction (Harding, 2007; Vosoughi et al., 2019).

 

  1. Conclusion and Implications

This study aimed to afford an understanding of cabin crew ESP teachers’ decision-making and their underlying pedagogical reasoning in their reading instruction. The results of this study demonstrate that both language teachers and content teachers make numerous decisions in various phases of their ESP reading instruction for varied underlying reasons. In spite of subtle nuances between the two teachers in each group, their decisions and underlying reasoning were greatly identical. For instance, both language teachers commonly highlighted the correct language use rather than content for promoting learners’ learning in their ESP course, whereas content teachers encouraged learners to focus on content without paying great attention to correct language use and their engagement. From the findings, it can be concluded that most of language teachers’ decisions were based on using L2 as the medium of instruction, focused on form-based instruction by engaging learners in pair and group work by applying a diversity of instructional strategies and techniques. These decisions were made to promote learners’ achievements, assess their production, and increase learner engagement while decreasing their stress. Unlike them, content teachers’ decisions incorporated using translation and real job experience examples, decreasing learners’ talk time, considering learners’ needs, and playing a role model in order to prepare them for job interviews and better job performance in the future.

The findings of the present study yield some implications for ESP teachers to have reasonable and resourceful decision-making. This study unveiled important practical information for cabin crew teachers in ESP reading instruction. Thus, it is of great value for ESP teachers who would like to reflect on their decisions and their underlying reasoning to enact more effective teaching. Furthermore, teacher educators could devise some teacher education courses and workshops to heighten teachers’ awareness of their decisions and pedagogical reasoning. In addition, this study has demonstrated the ways in which language teachers’ decisions and pedagogical reasoning differ from content teachers. As such, it has implications for policymakers of aviation training centers to facilitate collaboration between language teachers and content teachers to bridge the stated gaps in each group of teachers to improve ESP courses.

This study had its own limitations. As it provides insight into only cabin crew teachers in ESP classes, it is tenable to examine decision-making and pedagogical reasoning for other aviation fields. Further research could delve into investigating teachers’ decision-making and pedagogical reasoning in other areas of ESP. Finally, in future studies, the role of gender and teaching experience of ESP teachers in their decision-making and pedagogical reasoning can be examined.

  1. Acknowledgement

We would like to thank the reviewers and the participants who helped us conduct this research.

  1. Declaration of Conflicting Interests

We declare that we do not have any conflicts of interest.

  1. Funding Details

This research did not receive any funding from any agency or organization.

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Dudley-Evans, T., & St. John, M. (1998). Developments in English for Specific Purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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[1] PhD Student of TEFL, siminsadeghi1361@yahoo.com; Department of English Language Teaching, Faculty of Humanities, West Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

[2] Professor of Applied Linguistics (Corresponding Author), tajeddinz@modares.ac.ir; Department of English Language Teaching, Faculty of Humanities, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

[3] Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics, minooalemi2000@yahoo.com; Department of English Language Teaching, Faculty of Humanities, West Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

Alonso-Belmonte, I., & Fernández-Agüero, M. (2018). The c of cognition in CLIL teacher education: Some insights from classroom-based research. In Y. Kırkgöz & K. Dikilitaş (Eds.), Key issues in English for specific purposes in higher education, English language education (pp. 305-321). Cham: Springer.
Atai, M. R., Babaii, E., & Taherkhani, R. (2017). Exploring Iranian EAP teachers' pedagogical content knowledge and teaching practices, and students' beliefs about EAP teachers' methodology. Issues in Language Teaching, 6(1), 1-27. https://doi.org/10.22054/ilt.2017.8417
Basturkmen, H. (2010). Developing courses in English for specific purposes. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Basturkmen, H., & Bocanegra-Valle, A. (2018). Materials design processes, beliefs and practices of experienced ESP teachers in university settings in Spain. In Y. Kırkgöz & K. Dikilitaş (Eds.), Key issues in English for specific purposes in higher education, English language education (pp. 13-27). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
Blackley, C., Redmond, P., & Peel, K. (2021). Teacher decision-making in the classroom: The influence of cognitive load and teacher affect. Journal of Education for Teaching, 47(4), 548-561. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/02607476.2021.1902748
Dörnyei, Z. (2007). Research methods in applied linguistics. Oxford: Oxford   University Press.
Dudley-Evans, T., & St. John, M. (1998). Developments in English for Specific Purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Duff, P. (2006). Beyond generalizability: Context, credibility and complexity in applied linguistics research. In M. Chalhoub-Deville, C. Chapelle, & P. Duff (Eds.), Inference and generalizability in applied linguistics: Multiple research perspectives (pp. 65–95). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Dwyer, J., & Schachter, R. (2019). Going beyond defining: Preschool educators' use of knowledge in their pedagogical reasoning about vocabulary instruction. Dyslexia, 26(4), 1-27. https://doi.org/10.1002/dys.1637 
Ellis, S., & Lansford, L. (2015). English for cabin crew. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Er, C. M., & Kırkgöz, Y. (2018). Introducing innovation into an ESP program: Aviation English. In Y. Kırkgöz & K. Dikilitaş (Eds.), Key issues in English for specific purposes in higher education, English language education (pp. 179-199). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
Freeman, D. (1989). Teacher training, development and decision-making: A model of teaching and related strategies for language teacher education. TESOL Quarterly, 23(1), 5-167.
Ghaedrahmat, M., Mohammadnia, Z., & Gholami, J. (2019). Preemptive focus on form in linguistic features of aviation English classes: Uptakes following teacher-initiated vs. learner-initiated focus on form episodes. Iranian Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 8(3), 34-47.
Griffith, R. (2017). Preservice teachers’ in-the-moment teaching decisions in reading. Literacy, 51(1), 3-10. https://doi.org/10.1111/lit.12097 
Harding, K. (2007). English for specific purposes. New York, NY: Oxford University Prss.
Harell, K. F. (2019). Deliberative decision-making in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 77(1), 299-308. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2018.10.015 
Hughes, J. E., Hong-Cheah, Y., Shi, Y., & Hsiao, K. H. (2020). Preservice and in-service teachers' pedagogical reasoning underlying their most‐valued technology‐supported instructional activities. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 36(4), 549-568. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcal.12425 
Hutchinson, T, & Waters, W. (1987). English for Specific Purposes-A learning-centered approach. Cambridge: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jiang, Y. (2017). A study of professional development of teachers of English as a foreign language in institutes of higher education in western China. Berlin: Springer.
Kavanagh, S. S., Conrad, J., & Dagogo-Jack, S. (2020). From rote to reasoned: Examining the role of pedagogical reasoning in practice-based teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 89. 102991. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2019.102991
Liu, J. Y., Chang, Y. J., Yang, F. Y., & Sun, Y. C. (2011). Is what I need what I want? Reconceptualizing college students’ needs in English courses for general and specific academic purposes. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 10(4), 271-280. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2011.09.002 
Loughran, J. (2019). Pedagogical reasoning: the foundation of the professional knowledge of teaching. Teachers and Teaching, 25(5), 523-535. https://doi.org/10.1080/13540602.2019.1633294 
Loughran, J., Keast, S., & Cooper, R. (2016). Pedagogical reasoning in teacher education. In J. Loughran, & M. L. Hamilton (Eds.), International Handbook of Teacher Education (pp. 387-421). Singapore: Springer.
Macalister, J. (2012). Pre-service teacher cognition and vocabulary teaching. RELC Journal, 43(1), 99-111. https://doi.org/10.1177/0033688212439312 
Mackey, A., & Gass, S. M. (2005). Second language research methodology and design. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Mansfield, J. (2019). Pedagogical equilibrium: The development of teachers’ professional knowledge. London: Routledge.
Mansfield, J., & Loughran, J. (2018). Pedagogical equilibrium as a lens for understanding teaching about teaching. Studying Teacher Education, 14(3), 346-257. https://doi.org/10.1080/17425964.2018.1541274 
Maringer Duran, D. A. (2014). Exploring the pedagogical reasoning of a physics teacher educator (Master’s thesis). Monash University, Australia.
Martin, J., Keast, S., & Anders, L. (2017). Becoming professionally agentic: Researching pedagogical reasoning in initial teacher education. In J. Nuttall, A. Kostogriz, M. Jones, & J. Martin (Eds.), Teacher education policy and practice: Evidence of impact, impact of evidence (pp. 67-81). Singapore: Springer.
Mede, E., Koparan, N., & Atay, D. (2018). Perceptions of students, teachers and graduates about civil aviation cabin services ESP program: An exploratory study in Turkey. In Y. Kırkgöz & K. Dikilitaş (Eds.), Key issues in English for Specific Purposes in higher education (pp. 157-175). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
Nguyen, L. T., & Newton, J. (2020). Pronunciation teaching in tertiary EFL classes: Vietnamese teachers' beliefs and practices. TESL-EJ, 24(1), 1-20. http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/issues/volume24/ej93/ej93a2/
Ong’ondo, C. H. (2017). The knowledge base for language teacher education revisited: A review. International Journal of English Language Teaching 4(2), 27-38. https://doi.org/10.5430/ijelt.v4n2p27 
Oslund, E. L., Elleman, A. M., & Wallac, K. (2020). Factors related to data-Based decision-making: examining experience, professional development, and the mediating effect of confidence on teacher graph literacy. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 54(4), 243-255. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022219420972187
Paltridge, B., & Starfield, S. (2013). The handbook of English for specific purposes. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Pang, M., (2016). Pedagogical reasoning in EFL/ESL teaching: Revisiting the importance of teaching lesson planning in second language teacher education. TESOL Quarterly, 50(1), 246-263. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.283 
Prachagool, V., Nuangchalerm, P., Subramaniam, G., & Dostál, J. (2016). Pedagogical decision-making through the lens of teacher preparation program. Journal for the Education of Gifted Young Scientists, 4(1), 41-52. https://doi.org/10.17478/jegys.2016116351 
Riazi, A. M. (2016). The Routledge encyclopedia of research methods in applied linguistics: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research. London: Routledge.
Richard, K. (2009). Trends in qualitative research in language teaching since 2000. Language Teaching, 42(2), 147-180. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444808005612
Ruiz de Guerrero, N. Y., & Arias Rodríguez, G. L. (2010). Reading under the ESP approach. Hallazgos, 8(15), 199-211. https://doi.org/10.15332/s1794-3841.2011.0015.10 
Said, H. (2011). Phraseology: Pilots and air traffic controllers’ phraseology study. Montreal: International Air Transport Association.
Salokangas, M., Wermke, W., & Harvey, G. (2019). Teachers’ autonomy deconstructed: Irish and Finnish teachers’ perceptions of decision-making and control. European Educational Research Journal, 19(4), 329-350. https://doi.org/10.1177/1474904119868378
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Volume 11, Issue 3 - Serial Number 11
September 2022
Pages 18-33
  • Receive Date: 11 March 2022
  • Revise Date: 12 April 2022
  • Accept Date: 13 April 2022
  • First Publish Date: 07 July 2022