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Tutor and Student Perceptions of What Makes an Effective Distance Language Teacher

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Distance Education Volume 32, Number 3, ISSN 0158-7919


This collaborative research project sought to determine the attributes, skills and expertise/knowledge needed by distance language teachers. The first phase of the project explored tutor perspectives using discussion groups, questionnaires, interviews and a yoked-subject technique. Statements and categories of expertise were identified, elaborated on and refined to produce a taxonomy of teaching expertise. The second phase explored how distance language students viewed the domains of teaching expertise put forward by tutors, and attempted to identify any gaps, differences and points of convergence. Tutor and student views were generally aligned, but differed in emphasis. Issues related to articulation of non-verbal communication, differentiation and empathy with the learner were highlighted. This article argues for the value of enquiring into student and tutor perspectives on teaching expertise, and concludes with implications for linking research and practice and for teacher professional development. (Contains 1 table.)


Murphy, L.M., Shelley, M.A., White, C.J. & Baumann, U. (2011). Tutor and Student Perceptions of What Makes an Effective Distance Language Teacher. Distance Education, 32(3), 397-419. Retrieved September 25, 2021 from .

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