Teaching English to Young Learners The Case for Considering by umsymums31

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									Teaching English to Young Learners:
The Influence of Global and Local Factors
Yuko Goto Butler University of Pennsylvania
January 6, 2008 Bangalore, India

Why examining different cases?

Points of today’s talk
Both global and local factors influence the implementation of English language education at primary schools (ELPS), and they do so in complicated ways.


Examples of three different types of challenges can be seen in the East Asian region.

Introduction

Language in education policies are embedded in global contexts

Language in education policies

Introduction

Embedded in global contexts
Global contexts

Commonalities Language in education policies

Diversities

Diverse needs

Language choices, ELT methods, etc.

Technologies

Changes in communication, access, etc.

Introduction

…but they are also embedded in local contexts
Global contexts Local contexts
Commonalities Language in education policies

Diversities

Diverse needs

Language choice, ELT methods, etc.

Technologies

Changes in communication, access, etc.

Introduction

Direct and indirect procedures at the local level
Indirect Procedures Direct Procedures in Educational Systems English at secondary schools and beyond English at primary schools

Cooper (1988)

Introduction

Layers of global and local factors lead to complicated influences on ELPS
Challenges seen in East Asia  Accounting for diversity while providing equal access  Hiring Native English speaking teachers versus training local teachers  Adopting popular ELT methods and adapting them to local contexts

Challenge 1: Accounting for diversity while providing equal access

Challenge 1

The role of English for students in East Asia

Taipei, 2004

Challenge 1

The two roles of learning English in East Asia
Local

English as a barometer of academic achievement English as a communication tool

Securing equal access to English education Growing diversity and dealing with diverse needs
Global

Challenge 1

Different approaches for granting local autonomy within each region

South Korea

Taiwan

Japan

Lesser autonomy
Highly uniform implementation

Greater autonomy
School or local governmental choice

Challenge 1

ELPS in Korea, Taiwan, and Japan
Korea Government oversight Taiwan Japan Based on local choice 2002 Strong central General gov. initiative guidelines 2001

Date of 1997 implementation

Teachers

Primarily Various types homeroom of teachers teachers, local teachers of Eng.
Uniformed approved textbooks Multiple approved textbooks

Primarily homeroom teachers

Material

No textbooks provided

Challenge 1

Increasing expectations from parents
The private sector English-only and bilingual kindergartens

Gaps in access by parental SES and by region

Achievement gaps

Challenge 1

Attempts to minimize differences in access
English villages in South Korea

“Creating Global Koreans!”

Challenge 1

The two roles of learning English in East Asia
Local

Private sector

English as a barometer of academic achievement

Securing equal access to English education
ELPS Policies

English as a communication tool
Global

Growing diversity and dealing with diverse needs

Challenge 2: Hiring native English speaking (NS) teachers and training local teachers

Personnel policies

Challenge 2

Global and local issues related to Personnel Policy
Global •Oral communicative skills are highly valued
•Belief that NSs are the ideal language teachers

Local
•Many teachers are not language teaching specialists  Low confidence

Belief in the notion that NSs are the ideal English teachers at primary schools
0% Korean teachers (N=204) Taiwanese teachers (N=206) 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

Japanese teachers (N=112) Korean parents (N=292) Taiwanese parents (N=231)

Strongly disagree Moderately disagree Slightly disagree Neutral Slightly agree Moderately agree Strongly agree No response

Groups

(Butler, 2005)

Perceptions related to this belief among Japanese teachers
Variable Perceived current proficiency Desired proficiency Admiration towards the English language and English speakers B -.46 -.11 -.06 SE B .13 .18 .14 β -.33** -.06 -.04

Support for the early introduction of English
Merit of learning English for Japanese students Pride in their own language and culture Concerns regarding the spread of English

-.21
-.09 .50 -.03

.16
.17 .18 .11

-.13
-.06 .25** -.03

Negative attitudes towards non-standard English
Support for instruction through the medium of English only Short-term goals

.53
.12 -.13

.13
.09 .14

.36**
.11 -.09

Long-term goals
Note: * p < .05, ** p < .01, N = 112

.01

.15

.01
(Butler, 2007)

Teachers’ low confidence in their English proficiencies
Based on FLOSEM Korea (N = 204)
6

Challenge 2

Japan (N = 112)
6
Self-assessed current level
6
Self-assessed current level

Taiwan (N = 206)

Self-assessed current level

5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 Desired level 6

5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 Desired level 6

5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 Desired level 5 6

91.1%
Homeroom teachers

85.3%
English special teachers

80.1%
Source: Butler (2004)

Large perceptional gaps in productive skills (oral grammar in particular)
Korea (N = 204)
Listening 6 Writing

Based on FLOSEM Japan (N = 112) Taiwan (N = 206)

4 2 0

Oral fluency

Writing
Oral vocabulary

Reading Oral Grammar

Listening 6 4 2 0

Oral fluency
Writing

Listening 6 4 2 0 Reading

Oral fluency

Reading
Pronunciation

Oral vocabulary Pronunciation
Oral grammar

Oral grammar

Oral vocabulary Pronunciation

Current level

Desired level

Source: Butler (2004)

Challenge 2

Global and local issues related to Personnel Policy
Global •Oral communicative skills are highly valued
•Belief that NSs are the ideal language teachers Recruiting NSs

Local
•Many teachers are not language teaching specialists  Low confidence

Training local teachers

Different approaches towards personnel policies
Korea Form of ELPS Mandatory academic subject Minimum of 120 hours offered by the government Taiwan Mandatory academic subject Various types of training offered by local governments and private institutions Gradually increasing but still limited, some are sent to rural areas English Educational Military Substitutes (EEMSs) Japan

Challenge 2

Part of “international understanding” Some training offered by local governments and private institutions, but not mandatory Aggressively recruited locally

Training local teachers

Recruiting NSs

Gradually increasing but still limited

Others involved in ELPS

Community members and parents co-teach at some schools

Challenge 2

Global and local issues related to personnel Policy
Global
Recruiting NSs • Limited number of potential NSs are available  English divide among nations • Do qualifications vary?
Role of NEs?

Local
Training local teachers •Limited time and resources for training •Regional gaps in teacher quality
Who teaches?

Financial availability

What qualifications are necessary in order to sufficiently teach English at primary schools?

Goals of ELPS?

Challenge 3: Adopting popular ELT methods and adapting them to local contexts

Challenge 3

ELT methods and local adaptations
Global •What is considered as “good communication”?
•Certain types of ELT methods have gained in popularity (CLT, taskbased instruction, etc.) •Related concepts have been promoted among teachers (student-centered teaching, authentic materials, activities, etc.)

Local

•Structural factors •Conceptual factors •Linguistic factors

Reinterpretations and adaptations are necessary

Challenge 3

Student-centered teaching

in crowded classrooms

“Good” classroom management

Challenge 3

Authentic materials?

Authentic for whom?

Challenge 3

Oral focused activities in English classes

In societies where literacy is heavily valued

What are teachers’ concerns towards implementing communicative activities?
Multivocal ethnography (Clifford, 1983; Tobin, Wu, & Davidson, 1989)
 

Challenge 3



Observer (the researcher) Insiders (e.g., teachers who participated in the activities) Outsiders (e.g., teachers who observed the activities) Obtain perspectives about the activities Obtain perspectives from different cultures





Challenge 3

Method: Butler (2005)
24 activity clips drawn from the three countries being studied (20 minutes for each country) 22 Korean teachers, 44 Taiwanese teachers, and 46 Japanese teachers (Outsiders) watched these video clips and discussed various issues regarding pedagogy in small groups Approximately 2 hours Visual texts (video-taped activities)
 

An object to be interpreted A tool to elicit teachers’ perspectives

Challenge 3

Theoretical framework (Butler, 2005): Activity theory
Activities: Goal-directed actions in a collective activity system that are motivated by one’s biological and/or cultural needs and which are realized under certain conditions through mediated means such as language (Lantolf, 2000: 8) Activity theory predicts that even if teachers introduce the same activity and the students appear to exhibit the same observable behaviors, students may be engaging in different “activities” depending upon the motives and goals that their teachers establish for such activities.

Challenge 3

Results (Butler, 2005)
Major concerns among teachers included: 1. Defining the motives and goals that drive communicative activities 2. Identifying developmentally appropriate mediational means 3. Situating activities in a specific local context

Challenge 3

Results (Butler, 2005)
Major concerns among teachers included: 1. Defining the motives and goals that drive communicative activities 2. Identifying developmentally appropriate mediational means 3. Situating activities in a specific local context  There is substantial diversity in the ways that teachers set the goals for their activities

Challenge 3

Role playing activities in two classrooms
Case 1: Mr. Suzuki in Japan
Case 2: Ms. Wong in Taiwan

Challenge 3

Role playing case 1: Modeling by teachers, prescriptive
Mr. Suzuki: Mr. Jones: Mr. Suzuki: Mr. Jones: Mr. Suzuki Mr. Jones: Mr. Suzuki: Mr. Jones: Mr. Suzuki: Mr. Jones: Mr. Suzuki: Mr. Jones: Hello! (Waving his hand lightly at Mr. Jones) Hello! Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. (They shake hands) Where are you from? I am from… (Pointing at the flag that was hanging from his neck) Argentina. Oh, Argentina? Where is Argentina? (Pointing to Argentina on a map) Here is Argentina. Where are you from? I am from Germany. Oh, Germany? Where is Germany? (Pointing to Germany on the same map) Germany is here. I see. Thank you. See you. See you.

Challenge 3

Role playing case 1: Modeling by teachers, prescriptive
Positive comments  Team-teaching with NSs  Modeling if the focus of the modeling is language

Negative comments  Inflexibility and unauthentic nature of the activity

But which aspects of English should be the focus of modeling? (expressions, attitudes, experiences in communicating in a foreign language, international understanding?)

Role playing case 2: Open ended
Girl 1: Wow! Look! New store! It’s so cool. Let’s look! (Walking toward the center of the classroom) Girl 1: It’s a hat. It’s so cool… I like the red one. Girl 1: Excuse me. (Approaching the shop owner) Can I try? Girl 1: (Picking up a red hat) Wow, it’s so cool. How much is it? Shop owner: Two hundred dollars. Girl 1: Thank you

Role playing case 2: Open ended
Positive comments  Authenticity (e.g., using real clothes)  Focus is placed on “having the experience of communication”
To what extent did socially constructed learning actually occur?

Negative comments  Need more teacher control (e.g., concern about fossilization)  The students who receive private lessons tend to dominate activities  Fear of not being able to provide the students with “accurate input”

“I hesitate to create an openended situation. I don’t know how to say things correctly in English when I am asked by my students!”

Challenge 3

Conclusions from Butler (2005)
The teachers in the study commonly addressed the difficulty employing “communicative activities” as suggested by their governments.
The teachers were not sure why they employed “communicative activities,” and wondered to what extent such activities were effective. There is substantial diversity in the ways that teachers set the goals for their activities  Students engage in different “activities”.


Depends in part on what is considered to be the central focus of “teaching for communication” in a given contexts.

Challenge 3

ELT methods and local adaptations
Global •What is considered as “good communication”?
•Certain types of ELT methods have gained popularity (CLT, taskbased instruction, etc.) •Related concepts have been promoted to teachers (student-centered teaching, activities, authentic materials, etc.)

Local

•Structural factors •Conceptual factors •Linguistic factors

Reinterpretations and adaptations are necessary
Considerations at multilayered, local levels

Conclusions of today’s talk
Global and local factors both influence the implementation of English language education at primary schools (ELPS) in complicated ways.


Examples of three challenges seen in East Asia demonstrate the ways in which these interact

Thank you for listening!

References
Butler, Y. G. (2004). What level of English proficiency do elementary school teachers need to attain in order to teach EFL?: Case studies from Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. TESOL Quarterly, 38(2), 245-278. Butler, Y. G. (2005). Comparative perspectives towards communicative activities among elementary school teachers in South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Language Teaching Research, 9(4), 423-446. Butler, Y. G. (2005). English in elementary schools: Current English language education policies in South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. The Journal of Teaching for Young Learners of English, 1, 49-73. Butler, Y. G. (2007). Factors associated with the notion that native speakers are the ideal language teachers: An examination of elementary school teachers in Japan. JALT Journal, 29(1), 7-40. Butler, Y. G. (2007). Foreign language education at elementary schools in Japan: Searching for solutions amidst growing diversification. Current Issues in Language Planning, 8(2), 129-147. Butler, Y. G. (in press). How are non-native English speaking teachers perceived by young learners? Manuscript appearing in TESOL Quarterly. Butler, Y. G., & Iino, M. (2005). Current Japanese reforms in English language education: The 2003 “Action Plan.” Language Policy, 4(1), 25-45. Butler, Y. G., & Lee, J. (2006). On-task versus off-task self-assessment among Korean elementary school students studying English. The Modern Language Journal, 90(4), 506-518.


								
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