THE PROCESS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING AND LEARNING AS by mvr5

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									 THE PROCESS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING AND
LEARNING AS EXPERIENCED BY TEACHERS AND STUDENTS
    IN TWO CONTEXTS: CHINA AND NEW ZEALAND




                 XIUFANG WANG




   A THESIS SUBMITTED TO UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO

                IN FULFILMENT OF

      THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

                      2009
                                                   i
                                 ABSTRACT




This study investigated the process of tertiary English language teaching and
learning as experienced by teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) and
English as a second language (ESL) and their Chinese EFL and ESL students in
the two contexts: China and New Zealand. Specifically, it explored classroom
practice in terms of six key perspectives: instructional approaches, language
pedagogy, use of textbooks, student modalities, error correction and classroom
tasks by means of questionnaires, the Adapted Communicative Orientation of
Language Teaching (COLT) Observation Scheme, stimulated recall interviews
(SRIs) and interviews.


Data for this study were collected from six regular scheduled lessons randomly
selected and videotaped in the two tertiary contexts, as well as from the
perspectives of 120 Chinese students (104 EFL and 16 ESL) and their 6 teachers
(3 in each context) who experienced and/or viewed these videotaped lessons.


This thesis uses three theoretical strands: (1) English language teaching (ELT)
contexts – definitions and distinguishing EFL and ESL; (2) ELT approaches – the
Grammar-Translation method (GTM), Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)
and the Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT); and (3) ELT classroom practice
– instructional approaches, language pedagogy, use of textbooks, student modality,
error correction and classroom tasks. It revisits the background of Chinese
traditional educational culture and its influences on Chinese English education,
discusses the GTM and CLT in the Chinese EFL context, and covers the literature
on ELT classroom practice in both contexts. These strands are used in theorizing
the current research.


This research aims to enable the views of Chinese EFL and ESL tertiary students
and their EFL and ESL teachers on ELT in these two contexts to be heard or
studied. It is an attempt to better comprehend the various factors which might aid

                                                                                ii
or hinder the development of Chinese EFL and ESL students’ English
communicative competence in these English language classes. This includes
addressing how EFL and ESL teachers might best help their Chinese students to
achieve communicative competence in the classroom setting and which teaching
approaches are the most effective in doing so.


The findings showed that a conventional teacher-centred instructional approach
continues to have considerable purchase for Chinese EFL and ESL students in
both contexts. The findings suggest that it is important and also necessary, to
some extent, to have teacher-centred instruction and grammar teaching according
to students’ needs and students’ language levels. Nonetheless, it also revealed that
the Chinese ESL students who shared the same Chinese culture and English
education background as the Chinese EFL students had different perspectives on
classroom tasks conducted in the Chinese EFL context after they experienced the
Western English education for a short time in New Zealand. Another finding of
this study was that age-appropriateness should be taken into consideration by ESL
teachers when they design their classroom tasks for Chinese ESL tertiary students.




                                                                                 iii
                            DEDICATION




         To my kind and considerate husband, Owen Quin Casey


                                   And


To my dear and lovely daughter: Yanzi, who accompanied me and looked

after me in the time of hardship and whose love and patience supported me

      in the process of my research and the writing up of this thesis.




                                                                         iv
                        ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


Firstly, my special thanks go to my supervisors, Professor Stephen May, Professor
Terry Locke and Dr. Nicola Daly for their invaluable guidance, encouragement,
patience, inspiration, insights into this research that provided me with an excellent
academic platform to go forward. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the
importance of Stephen’s guidance and insightful comments on many aspects of
the thesis. I would like to acknowledge that Nicola bore all the arduous tasks for
all this time and provided valuable clues as to what was involved in writing a not-
so easy thesis. In particular, I would also like to acknowledge Terry’s kind
encouragement and effective supervising and important assistance with the thesis,
without whom this research would not have been possible. My gratitude to him is
far beyond words.

I would like to acknowledge the intellectual input of Dr. Roger Barnard,
particularly, in the early stages of this research. His invaluable brainstorming,
challenging, suggestions and assistance are greatly appreciated.

I would like to express my thanks to Faculty of Foreign Languages, Baotou
Normal University in China and University of Waikato Language Institute who
kindly provided help during the data collection of the thesis. I would like to
express my sincere appreciation for all those participants who generously took
part in my research.

I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all my church brothers and
sisters, especially Pastor Li and his wife, Yimin, Huazhuo, Dawei, Guojie, Qianli,
Kathy, Xiaojun, Harry, Anna, Ji Mama and Yanfang, whose constant support and
prayers along the way has been essential to my academic success.

Finally, I also owe a debt of gratitude to all my friends for giving me invaluable
friendship, encouragement and support. Aihsin, Emma, Xiaoli, Hefang, Xiaoying,
Chongmin, Frank are definitely worth remembering for their friendship.




                                                                                   v
                                     TABLE OF CONTENTS




ABSTRACT............................................................................................................ ii 

DEDICATION ....................................................................................................... iv 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .................................................................................... v 

TABLE OF CONTENTS....................................................................................... vi 

LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................... xiv 

LIST OF FIGURES ............................................................................................. xvi 

LIST OF ACRONYMS ..................................................................................... xviii 

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION ..................................................................... 1 

          1.1 Introduction ........................................................................................... 1 

          1.2 Personal research background............................................................... 2 

          1.3 The Chinese EFL context...................................................................... 4 

          1.4 The New Zealand ESL context for mainland Chinese students............ 8 

          1.5 Thesis outline ...................................................................................... 10 

CHAPTER TWO: ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING AND LEARNING ... 12 

          2.1 Introduction ......................................................................................... 12 

          2.2 ELT contexts ....................................................................................... 13 

                     2.2.1 Definitions of EFL and ESL ................................................ 15 

                     2.2.2 Distinguishing EFL and ESL ............................................... 16 

          2.3 ELT approaches .................................................................................. 17 

                     2.3.1 The Grammar-Translation method (GTM) .......................... 18 

                                                                                                                     vi
              2.3.2 Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) ........................ 21 

              2.3.3 Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT)............................. 28 

    2.4 Six perspectives relating to ELT ......................................................... 35 

              2.4.1 Instructional approaches....................................................... 36 

              2.4.2 Language pedagogy ............................................................. 40 

              2.4.3 Use of textbooks................................................................... 45 

              2.4.4 Student modality .................................................................. 46 

              2.4.5 Error correction .................................................................... 47 

              2.4.6 Classroom tasks.................................................................... 48 

    2.5 Conclusion .......................................................................................... 49 

CHAPTER THREE: CULTURAL INFLUENCE AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE
    TEACHING .............................................................................................. 50 

    3.1 Introduction ......................................................................................... 50 

    3.2 ELT research in China ........................................................................ 51 

    3.3 The Chinese culture of learning .......................................................... 51 

              3.3.1 Importance of education and English classroom tasks ........ 52 

              3.3.2 Knowledge and textbooks .................................................... 53 

              3.3.3 The teacher-student relationship .......................................... 54 

              3.3.4 Teacher roles ........................................................................ 54 

              3.3.6 Four R’s................................................................................ 56 

    3.4 ELT in China....................................................................................... 58 

              3.4.1 GTM in China ...................................................................... 58 

              3.4.2 Effects of GTM .................................................................... 59 

                                                                                                             vii
                  3.4.3 CLT in China ....................................................................... 62 

                  3.4.4 Research concerning CLT.................................................... 63 

                  3.4.5 TBLT in China ..................................................................... 69 

        3.5 Classroom practice in the Chinese EFL context ................................. 70 

                  3.5.1 Instructional approaches....................................................... 70 

                  3.5.2 Language pedagogy ............................................................. 72 

                  3.5.3 Use of textbooks................................................................... 73 

                  3.5.4 Student modalities................................................................ 75 

                  3.5.5 Error correction .................................................................... 76 

                  3.5.6 Classroom tasks.................................................................... 76 

        3.6 Classroom practice in the New Zealand ESL context......................... 78 

                  3.6.1 Instructional approaches....................................................... 80 

                  3.6.2 Language pedagogy ............................................................. 80 

                  3.6.3 Use of textbooks................................................................... 81 

                  3.6.4 Student modalities................................................................ 81 

                  3.6.5 Error correction .................................................................... 82 

                  3.6.6 Classroom tasks.................................................................... 82 

        3.7 Conclusion .......................................................................................... 83 

CHAPTER FOUR: METHODOLOGY................................................................ 86 

        4.1 Introduction ......................................................................................... 86 

        4.2 Research design................................................................................... 86 

                  4.2.1 Research paradigm ............................................................... 87 

                  4.2.2 Comparative case study as a qualitative method.................. 89 
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                4.2.3 Validity................................................................................. 91 

                4.2.4 Triangulation ........................................................................ 92 

      4.3 Data collection techniques and procedures ......................................... 93 

                4.3.1 Group and individual interview ........................................... 94 

                4.3.2 Stimulated recall interview .................................................. 96 

                4.3.3 Audio-visual recording ........................................................ 98 

                4.3.4 The Adapted COLT Observation Scheme ........................... 99 

                4.3.5 Questionnaire ..................................................................... 102 

                4.3.6 Overview of data collection procedure .............................. 103 

      4.4 Data collection schedule ................................................................... 105 

                4.4.1 Pilot study .......................................................................... 106 

                4.4.2 The fieldwork in the present research ................................ 107 

      4.5 Contexts and participants .................................................................. 108 

                4.5.1 The participating institutes and classes .............................. 108 

                4.5.2 The participating teachers .................................................. 111 

                4.5.3 The participating students .................................................. 112 

      4.6 Data analysis ..................................................................................... 115 

      4.7 Ethical considerations for this research............................................. 117 

      4.8 Conclusion ........................................................................................ 118 

CHAPTER FIVE: FINDINGS IN THE CHINESE EFL CONTEXT ................ 120 

      5.1 Introduction ....................................................................................... 120 

      5.2 Instructional approaches.................................................................... 121 

                5.2.1 Data from questionnaires ................................................... 122 
                                                                                                               ix
               5.2.2 Data from the Adapted COLT Observation Scheme ......... 123 

               5.2.3 Data from SRIs and interviews .......................................... 125 

     5.3 Language pedagogy .......................................................................... 131 

               5.3.1 Data from questionnaires ................................................... 131 

               5.3.2 Data from the Adapted COLT Observation Scheme ......... 132 

               5.3.3 Data from SRIs and interviews .......................................... 133 

     5.4 Use of textbooks................................................................................ 140 

               5.4.1 Data from the Adapted COLT Observation Scheme ......... 140 

               5.4.2 Data from SRIs and interviews .......................................... 141 

     5.5 Student modality ............................................................................... 145 

     5.6 Error correction ................................................................................. 147 

               5.6.1 Importance of error correction ........................................... 147 

               5.6.2 Timing of error correction.................................................. 150 

               5.6.3 Manner of error correction ................................................. 153 

               5.6.4 Accuracy or fluency ........................................................... 156 

     5.7 Classroom tasks................................................................................. 158 

               5.7.1 Note-taking......................................................................... 159 

               5.7.2 Reading a text aloud........................................................... 162 

               5.7.3 Student lecture.................................................................... 165 

     5.8 Conclusion ........................................................................................ 172 

CHAPTER SIX: FINDINGS IN THE NEW ZEALAND ESL CONTEXT....... 175 

     6.1 Introduction ....................................................................................... 175 

     6.2 Instructional approaches.................................................................... 176 
                                                                                                               x
          6.2.1 Data from questionnaires ................................................... 177 

          6.2.2 Data from the Adapted COLT Observation Scheme ......... 178 

          6.2.3 Data from SRIs and interviews .......................................... 180 

6.3 Language pedagogy .......................................................................... 184 

          6.3.1 Data from questionnaires ................................................... 184 

          6.3.2 Data from the Adapted COLT Observation Scheme ......... 185 

          6.3.3 Data from SRIs and interviews .......................................... 186 

6.4 Use of textbooks................................................................................ 192 

          6.4.1 Data from the Adapted COLT Observation Scheme ......... 193 

          6.4.2 Data from SRIs and interviews .......................................... 194 

6.5 Student modalities............................................................................. 197 

          6.5.1 Data from questionnaires ................................................... 198 

          6.5.2 Data from the Adapted COLT Observation Scheme ......... 198 

          6.5.3 Data from SRIs and interviews .......................................... 199 

6.6 Error correction ................................................................................. 200 

          6.6.1 Importance of error correction ........................................... 200 

          6.6.2 Timing of error correction.................................................. 202 

          6.6.3 Manner of error correction ................................................. 203 

          6.6.4 Focus on accuracy or fluency............................................. 205 

6.7 Classroom tasks................................................................................. 206 

          6.7.1 Task of standing on one leg ............................................... 207 

          6.7.2 Describing an imaginary picture of Fiji ............................. 209 

          6.7.3. Role play (intonation) ....................................................... 211 
                                                                                                       xi
                    6.7.4 Drawing a palm tree ........................................................... 214 

          6.8 Conclusion ........................................................................................ 218 

CHAPTER SEVEN: DISCUSSION, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION......... 221 

          7.1 Introduction ....................................................................................... 221 

          7.2 The similarities and differences in tertiary English classroom practice
                in the two contexts ........................................................................... 222 

                    7.2.1 ELT in the two contexts ..................................................... 222 

                    7.2.2 Instructional approaches in the two contexts ..................... 225 

                    7.2.3 Language pedagogies in the two contexts.......................... 232 

                    7.2.4 Use of textbooks in the two contexts ................................. 235 

                    7.2.5 Student modalities in the two contexts .............................. 238 

                    7.2.6 Classroom tasks in the two contexts .................................. 240 

                    7.2.7 Summary of English classroom practice in the two contexts
                     ..................................................................................................... 247 

          7.3 Discussion of language contexts ....................................................... 249 

          7.4 Implications of findings .................................................................... 251 

                    7.4.1 Theoretical implications..................................................... 251 

                    7.4.2 Pedagogical implications ................................................... 260 

          7.5 Limitations of this study ................................................................... 263 

          7.6 Further research recommendations ................................................... 264 

          7.7 Conclusion ........................................................................................ 265 

REFERENCES.................................................................................................... 269 

APPENDICES .................................................................................................... 287 


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Appendix I Invitation Letter (Ts)............................................................ 287 

Appendix II Invitation Letter (Sts).......................................................... 290 

Appendix III Research Permit (1) ........................................................... 293 

Appendix IV Research Permit (2)........................................................... 294 

Appendix V Consent Form ..................................................................... 295 

Appendix VI Consent Form (Sts, Chinese Version)............................... 296 

Appendix VII Questionnaire (Sts) .......................................................... 296 

Appendix VIII Questionnaire (Sts, Chinese Version)............................. 299 

Appendix IX Questionnaire (Ts)............................................................. 302 

Appendix X Prompts for the Stimulated Recall Interview (Sts)............. 307 

Appendix XI Prompts for the Stimulated Recall Interview (Sts) ........... 309 

Appendix XII Prompts for the Stimulated Recall Interview (Teachers). 311 

Appendix XIII The Adapted COLT Observation Scheme...................... 313 

Appendix XIV UWLI Curriculum Outcomes Descriptors for Levels 1-8
................................................................................................................. 314 




                                                                                                                xiii
                                           LIST OF TABLES




Table 1: Some basic pedagogical options ............................................................. 43 

Table 2: Responses to CLT in China .................................................................... 68 

Table 3: Alternative strategies of inquiry.............................................................. 87 

Table 4: All participants involved in the questionnaire of the fieldwork ........... 103 

Table 5: Participating classes in the two contexts............................................... 109 

Table 6: Participating teachers’ relevant qualifications and experience............. 111 

Table 7: The biographical information of the Chinese student participants in the
           two contexts at the beginning of the study............................................ 113 

Table 8: Structures of student group SRIs and group interviews in both contexts
           ............................................................................................................... 115 

Table 9: The findings from questionnaires on instructional approach in a Chinese
           EFL classroom ...................................................................................... 123 

Table 10: Instructional approaches of three videotaped lessons (120 minutes) in
             the Chinese EFL context..................................................................... 124 

Table 11: The videotaped lessons, teaching contents and its textbook use in the
             Chinese EFL context .......................................................................... 141 

Table 12: The findings from questionnaires on instructional approaches in the
             New Zealand ESL classroom ............................................................. 178 

Table 13: Instructional approaches of the three videotaped lessons (180 minutes)
             in the New Zealand ESL context........................................................ 179 

Table 14: The videotaped lessons, teaching contents and its textbook use in the
             New Zealand ESL context.................................................................. 193 



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Table 15: Summary of the main classroom practice in the Chinese EFL and New
          Zealand ESL contexts......................................................................... 223 

Table 16: The distinctions of former and new terms of teacher-centred and
          student-centred instructions................................................................ 255 




                                                                                                        xv
                                               LIST OF FIGURES




Figure 1: Two instructional approaches (Groundwater-Smith et al., 2003, p. 87) 38 

Figure 2: Some basic pedagogical options (Ellis et al., 1999, p. 2) ...................... 41 

Figure 3: The relationship of some basic pedagogical options and their teaching
             approaches ............................................................................................ 42 

Figure 4: Language pedagogies in a formulaic way ............................................. 43 

Figure 5: The procedure of data collection ........................................................ 104 

Figure 6: The structure of research data.............................................................. 105 

Figure 7: From research questions to empirical findings (Bassey, 1999, p. 85). 116 

Figure 8: Convergence of multiple sources of evidence in the present study..... 117 

Figure 9: Instructional approach: Total percentage of time spent on instructional
             approach features by class .................................................................. 125 

Figure 10: Total percentage of time spent on a primary focus of language
               pedagogy on code-related features by class ..................................... 132 

Figure 11: Total percentage of time spent on student modality by class ............ 146 

Figure 12: Total percentage of time spent on instructional approach features by
               class in the New Zealand ESL context............................................. 180 

Figure 13: Total percentage of time spent on a primary focus of language
               pedagogy on code-related features by class in the New Zealand ESL
               context .............................................................................................. 185 

Figure 14: Total percentage of time (180 minutes) spent on student modality by
               class .................................................................................................. 199 

Figure 15: Some basic pedagogical options (Ellis et al., 1999, p. 2) .................. 256 

Figure 16: Some basic pedagogical options and their teaching approaches ...... 257 
                                                                                xvi
Figure 17: Some basic pedagogical options and their teaching approaches found
           in the New Zealand ESL context ..................................................... 258 

Figure 18: Some basic pedagogical options and their teaching approaches found
           in the New Zealand ESL context ..................................................... 258 

Figure 19: Some basic pedagogical options and their teaching approaches found
           in the Chinese EFL context .............................................................. 258 

Figure 20: New relationship of some basic pedagogical options and their teaching
           approaches found in the present study ............................................. 259 

Figure 21: The main trends of the development of English language teaching and
           learning in the Chinese EFL and New Zealand ESL contexts ......... 260 




                                                                                                   xvii
                         LIST OF ACRONYMS




L2 --- second language

ESL --- English as a second language

EFL --- English as a foreign language

ELT --- English language teaching

GTM --- grammar-translation method

CLT --- communicative language teaching

TBLT --- task-Based Language Teaching

FonFS --- Focus-on-FormS

FonM --- Focus-on-Meaning

FonF --- Focus-on-Form

IRC --- Intensive reading course

SRI --- the stimulated recall interview

Int --- the interview

COLT --- communicative orientation of language teaching

CNT --- the Chinese EFL key teacher participant

CNS --- Chinese EFL student participants

NZT --- the New Zealand ESL key teacher participant

NZS --- New Zealand ESL student participants

NZL1, 2, 3 --- Videotaped Lesson 1, 2, 3 in the New Zealand ESL context

CNL1, 2, 3 --- Videotaped Lesson 1, 2, 3 in the Chinese EFL context


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