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The Chinese EFL Journal
January 2008 Volume 1, Issue 1
Editor: Paul Robertson
Chinese EFL Journal
Chinese EFL Journal. Vol. 1 Issue 1. January 2008
The Chinese EFL Journal January 2008 Volume 1, Number 1 Editor: Paul Robertson
The Chinese EFL Journal: Volume1, Number 1 Published by the Asian EFL Journal Press Asian EFJ Journal Press A Division of Time Taylor International Ltd TTI College Episode Building 68-2 Daen Dong Pusan Korea http://www.chinese-efl-journal.com © Asian EFL Journal Press 2007
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Editor: Dr. Paul Robertson Senior Production Editor: Shin Young
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Chinese EFL Journal
Chinese EFL Journal. Vol. 1 Issue 1. January 2008
Index. Foreword: - Dr. Paul Robertson 1. Hong Wang and Liying Cheng. The Impact of Curriculum Innovation on the Cultures of Teaching 2. Xiuqin Zhang. Raising Awareness of Cultural Differences in Language Classrooms 3. Yang Xueqian. The Influence of Discourse Organizational Patterns on Chinese EFL Learners’ Listening Comprehension 4. Li Hua. Reflection can change EFL Teachers beliefs and teaching practice 5. Liu Han and Hu Xiaoqiong. An Investigation into Listening Comprehension Difficulties of More Skilled and Less Skilled Listeners and the Concordant Strategies 6. Wenhua Hsu. An Integrated Approach to Teaching English Trade Letters 7. Guidelines for Submissions 8. Editorial Group 5-30
Chinese EFL Journal
outlining the pedagogical procedures on which the framework is based Paul Robertson Asian EFL Journal Chinese EFL Journal 4 . The journals above receive a vast amount of submissions from China which reflects the growing importance that English learning and the teaching of English is having across the PRC. We look forward to hearing from you if you would like to join this new venture. The fifth paper by Li Hua is a case study conducted with 24 EFL teachers from 6 different high schools in Guangdong to explore their beliefs and practices in their work place. We introduce 7 articles in our first edition. it is shown both in quantitative and qualitative study that more skilled listeners have less cognitive difficulties than less skilled listeners in terms of perception. genre awareness. and a very important area. The next paper by Yang Xueqian reports on an experiment designed to test whether Chinese EFL learners are affected by discourse organizations when listening in English. The final paper by Wenhua Hsu offers a conceptualized framework with content-based instruction. Vol. 1 Issue 1. discourse organizations when listening in English. This Journal is the sister Journal to the long established Asian EFL Journal. the subsequent challenges presented to the main stakeholders in the university. In a study by Liu Han and Hu Xiaoqiong.Dr. The next article by Chanmei Yan discusses problems that may occur in English teaching in China and explores strategies to deal with them. Paul Robertson Welcome to the winter 2008 edition of the Chinese EFL Journal.Chinese EFL Journal. The third paper by Xiuqin Zhang raises concerns about cultural differences between the East and West that often result in misunderstandings between Chinese students and Western teachers. The journal has begun to deal with an area that has been overlooked for too long. and the impact that this English language curriculum innovation has brought about to the then prevalent cultures of teaching. group work in continuous simulation and a courseware approach embedded. There is of course a great deal of work which requires a large team of Editors. namely the development of the English language across China. and how their reflection changed their beliefs and their practice in a Chinese context. proof readers. Linguistics Journal and Asian ESP Journal. Being a new journal we invite anyone interested in assisting the CEJ establish itself. The first article by Hong Wang and Liying Cheng describes the Rolling Project conducted in the College English Department at a major provincial university in China from 1998 to 2000. web helpers and so on to get every edition on line. parsing and utilization and use more strategies than less skilled listeners in listening comprehension. The purpose is to explore the change process. January 2008 Foreword: .
D.Chinese EFL Journal. and an M. in second/foreign language testing from the University of Hong Kong. in Linguistics and Applied Language Studies at Carleton University. Vol. Before joining Queen's University in 2000. teacher education and professional development. cultures of teaching.D. Canada. Liying Cheng (Ph. implementation Chinese EFL Journal 5 .) is an assistant professor in teaching English as a second/foreign language at Faculty of Education. Queen's University. in English Language and Literature at Xi'an Foreign Languages University. Canada. China.A. Key words: curriculum innovation and sustainability. Her research interests are teaching English as a second or foreign language.D. 1 Issue 1. Canada. curriculum implementation and evaluation. She has been a language teacher and language teacher educator for about 20 years at a university in China. She holds an M.A. she was a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow (1998-2000) within the Center for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation (CRAME) and the TESL program at the University of Alberta. She holds an M. Canada. candidate in curriculum studies of second/foreign language education at Faculty of Education. Her primary research interests are second/foreign language testing and assessment in relation to classroom teaching and learning. teachers as decision-makers. January 2008 Title The Impact of Curriculum Innovation on the Cultures of Teaching Authors Hong Wang and Liying Cheng Bios Hong Wang is a Ph. Queen's University. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the University of Reading in England and a Ph.A.
The Rolling Project described in this paper regards English language teaching at the tertiary level. 1982. The purpose is to explore the change process. but was aborted in June 2000. Teachers and students. and more often than not this change process is full of “problems” (Fullan. Vol. located in Xi’an. and the impact that this English language curriculum innovation has brought about to the then prevalent cultures of teaching. 1991). Critical reflections about the project point to the importance of understanding the complexity of educational change and the key role that teachers play in the process within the educational context. Fullan & Stiegelbauer. especially. It is further suggested that the significant role teachers should play in curriculum reform must not be overlooked if successful implementation and sustainability are to be achieved. The innovation was designed from April to June in 1998. It was anticipated that this curriculum innovation would encourage cooperation and collaboration among teachers through team teaching. Introduction Educational change for improvement occurs frequently in any institutionalized context. The purpose of the project was to solve the problems that the previous teaching model had caused to teachers and students such as lack of cooperation among teachers and students of uneven language proficiency being put in the same class. 1992. It was officially implemented in September of the same year. January 2008 Abstract This paper describes the Rolling Project conducted in the College English Department at a major provincial university in China from 1998 to 2000. It is argued that the failure to sustain the project is the consequence of the top-down approach to curriculum innovation during which the majority of the teachers. get discouraged because of unpredictable and insurmountable hurdles that they perceive difficult to overcome. This paper describes such a curriculum innovation1 undertaken in the College English Department2 at a major provincial university.Chinese EFL Journal. despite being the main stakeholders. Teachers could benefit from Chinese EFL Journal 6 . were excluded from full involvement in the decision-making process. Some of the educational changes produce desired results whereas others cause frustrations among the main stakeholders. 1 Issue 1. the subsequent challenges presented to the main stakeholders in the university. a medium-sized city in China. 1993.
A. classroom management. research on teacher isolation (Flinders. The final sections consider the implications of this study for curriculum innovation in other settings and address limitations. which A. 1992. Based on the theoretical framework of educational change and cultures of teaching (Fullan. its intended benefits. The factors that make teacher cultures diverse are discussed by Feiman-Nemser and Floden (1986) in their extensive review of North American literature on the cultures Chinese EFL Journal 7 . However. 1982. D. Sarason. As he put it. This is so pervasive that it could be considered a unique characteristic of the entire teaching profession. whether there is a multiplicity of separate and perhaps even competing teacher cultures. cited in A. A literature review on cultures of teaching and teachers’ roles provides a point of entry to the curriculum innovation. 1991.Chinese EFL Journal. still remain unresolved. Vol. Hargreaves (1992) raised. Hargreaves. 1989. Sarason. when Waller (1932. 1992) first pointed out the segmented and isolated nature of teachers’ work in a classroom setting. 1993. Hargreaves. the key question was “whether there is a single entity called the culture of teaching that characterizes the occupation as a whole. and pedagogy. The next section presents the national college English curriculum in contrast to the previous college English teaching model. Reflections about the discontinued project offer valuable information to administrators and others in leadership roles. 1980). 1 Issue 1. 1982) increased significantly in scope. 1980. original italics). 218. Hargreaves. Cultures of Teaching and Teachers’ Roles in Curriculum Reform The knowledge of teacher cultures can be traced back to the early 20th century. Fullan & Stiegelbauer. and the implementation reality. 1988. This is followed by a detailed description of the Rolling Project framework. Hargreaves. Hargreaves. January 2008 their peers’ respective expertise in subject content knowledge. Much later. Moreover. some important questions in the analysis of teacher cultures. or whether the two somehow coexist side by side” (p. 1982) contended that a prevailing cult of individualism exists among teachers. this paper reveals the need for global curriculum reform in general education and particularly in the context of teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in China. some researchers (D. A. identifying the main difficulties encountered during reform and implementation.
They described the differences in age. Teachers’ involvement as well as change in teachers are both indispensable to the success of curriculum reform. milieu. He deemed individualism and collaborative culture as the most common forms of teacher culture.” because it is the teacher who is responsible for delivering the curriculum at the classroom level. A. Within any culture of teaching.Chinese EFL Journal. Hargreaves. subject matter. the role of teachers as the main stakeholders in educational reform has been the focus of ongoing interest to curriculum researchers and discussed extensively in the literature both conceptually and empirically. January 2008 of teaching. He suggested that neglecting teachers and denying their participation in feasibility studies was the main reason national testing failed to be satisfactorily implemented in the classroom. 218) always present in the teaching environment. and teachers – to explore curriculum problems. experience. 1 Issue 1. Munn (1995) emphasized the significance of teachers’ involvement in curriculum development and decisionmaking in curriculum reform in Scotland. Vol. for the ways in which curriculum policy is translated into curriculum practice” (p. believing that they were the basis of understanding some of the limits and possibilities of educational change. arguing that the assumption of a uniform teaching culture is untenable. p. thus neglecting some “generic features” (A. Hargreaves (1992) acknowledged the presence of those diverse cultures but the absence of overall clarification and configuration of teacher cultures throughout the profession. “What the teacher thinks. However. A. They claimed that the most influential factor among the commonplaces is the teacher per se as in Stenhouse’s (1980) firm belief that curriculum development is ultimately about teacher development. gender. Clandinin and Connelly (1992) envisioned that “the teacher is an integral part of the curriculum constructed and enacted in classrooms” (p. While examining the teacher in relation to curriculum. To probe what is occurring in the implementation phase of any curriculum reform. 1992. teaching philosophy. 54). 363). and grade level among teachers. what the teacher assumes – all these things have powerful implications for the change process. what the teacher believes. Connelly and Clandinin (1988) used Schwab’s (1973) concept of “commonplaces” – subject matter. Richardson Chinese EFL Journal 8 . they seemed to overemphasize cultural and subcultural factors. learner. Hargreaves (1989) believed that “change in the curriculum is not effected without some concomitant change in the teacher.
January 2008 and Placier (2001) specifically claimed that teacher change is not entirely an individually determined phenomenon. Within any teaching culture. We first provide a description of the national college English curriculum in China and also introduce the context. including intended benefits and the implementation problems. More importantly. We then examine the previous teaching model as administered at a major provincial university from 1986 to 1998.Chinese EFL Journal. and in particular. Chinese EFL Journal 9 . The Rolling Project The following section critically discusses the implementation of the Rolling Project using the above theoretical framework of educational change. Rather. The framework of the Rolling Project is then discussed. Hargreaves (1992). Teachers’ understanding of the innovation is also indispensable in contributing to or impeding long-term success. He emphasized that teachers need to understand and value the theoretical underpinnings of the innovation. In an exploration of how a communicative teaching syllabus was introduced and adopted in Greek public secondary schools. identifying difficulties encountered under this teaching model. Implementation of any curriculum innovation is closely connected with “cultures of teaching” as defined by A. Their misconceptions resulted in negative perceptions of the curriculum innovation. teachers’ role in curriculum reform. teachers must realize how the innovation can be applied within their classrooms. Vol. it is always the teachers who play a deciding role in shaping the nature and extent of implementation. Carless (1998) pointed out the need for teachers to have a thorough understanding of the principles and practices of proposed changes in order to achieve successful implementation. Reflections about the discontinued project are linked to concepts and issues raised in the literature review. Karavas-Doukas (1995) discovered that teachers failed to gain a complete understanding of the EFL innovation there. cultures of teaching. The success of curriculum reform and its implementation depends on whether teachers willingly participate in and are valued and acknowledged in the process. 1 Issue 1. it is shaped by the social context in which they work.
law. These students pursue undergraduate degrees in a variety of disciplines such as arts.3 million students are enrolled in English instruction for non-English majors in colleges and universities after sitting in the competitive unified National University Entrance Examinations (Yang & Weir. management. engineering. after the first two years of English study. 1998). 1). one director from Group 3. p. students are assessed using a nationwide. 1986. The committee was comprised of the head of the department. 1 Issue 1. reading.. 1999). The national college English curriculum (NCEC) came into existence in 1986 and aimed to “develop in students a relatively high level of competence in reading. The mandated CET-4 focuses on testing students’ language proficiency in listening. 2000. an intermediate level of competence in listening. Vol. medical science. standardized English proficiency test called the College English Test Band 4 (CET-4). It was discussed by the seven key departmental committee members (see Han. and a basic competence in writing and speaking” (College English Syllabus Revision Team. For all university non-English majors. the College English Test Band 6 (CET-6) can be taken after three years of study.Chinese EFL Journal. and one from the computerassisted teaching group. The national college English curriculum College English in China refers to the English instruction for non-English majors who constitute the largest proportion of students studying at the tertiary levels. 1998 by the department heads at the College English Teaching and Administration Committee meeting. To examine the implementation of the curriculum and to evaluate classroom teaching and learning. January 2008 The need for the Rolling Project was initially proposed in April. and writing. This project was introduced and documented in the department meeting minutes and finally obtained official approval from the University administration in June 1998. Zhu et al. Chinese EFL Journal 10 . For those who pass the CET-4. a study of college English for two years is mandatory. approximately 2. Most of the test items are multiple-choice format. and so on. Each year. two associate heads. two directors from the College English Teaching and Research Group 1 and 2. Students take a total of 280 teaching hours of English – about 70 hours each term (5 to 6 hours each week) – in order to meet the basic requirements. sciences.
They taught two classes comprising 45 to 55 students each. The department had three Teaching and Research Groups with Group 1 and 2 each having 20 teachers engaged in instructing undergraduate students’ EFL learning. Most had minimal English proficiency. The most experienced teachers in the department were in their 40’s or 50’s and were usually “recycled” teachers of Russian. Chinese EFL Journal 11 . 1 Issue 1. Each year approximately 2.000. The vast majority of students at the university (95%) came from Shaanxi Province. Teachers tended to teach rather independently. but less experience in terms of pedagogical knowledge and research skills. This was especially the case in the College English Department at that time. The national college English curriculum was initiated at the university in 1986 and implemented for 12 years. This group of teachers had good training in linguistic knowledge and knowledge of English language and culture. Every EFL teacher was typically assigned 10 to 12 hours per week of college English teaching. As fewer than 5% could be accepted for post-secondary education in China.. when the innovation started. 2002). In 1998. January 2008 The context Founded in 1902 and situated in Xi’an city. with minimal communication and collaboration among colleagues.000 students entered English classes. The number of students in each class was pre-determined by administrators at departmental and university levels before the National University Entrance Examinations (NUEE) were administered. It is a medium-sized provincial university with a student population of 18. The young and less experienced teachers were those who graduated from foreign language institutes or foreign language departments of a local comprehensive university majoring in English language and literature located in Xi’an. Group 3 with 5 teachers had the task to instruct graduate students of non-English majors in their EFL learning. the major provincial university where the curriculum innovation took place is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in China. Vol. good performance on the NUEE was very important (Hu. the capital of Shaanxi Province. there were 48 faculty members and 9 administration staff in the College English Department. particularly in listening and speaking skills (Cowen et al.Chinese EFL Journal. 1979). NUEE was held once a year in June and all senior high school students were tested.
Focus Listening (FL): 2 hours a week with a focus on listening skills and testing strategies. The majority (85%) received symbolic monetary rewards in the amount of 300 to 500 RMB for successful student performance on the CET-4 (College English Teaching and Administration Committee. 2. vocabulary. Extensive Reading (ER)4: 2 hours a week with a focus on different reading skills and strategies. Although nobody was fined. 4. hopefully. However. achieve good results when assessed with the College English Test Band 4 (CET-4). January 2008 Following the guidelines of the national college English curriculum. 5. and taught through a written text. teachers felt a great deal of pressure. due to successful passing rates. Fast Reading (FR): 20 minutes practice a week included in ER with a focus on reading speed and testing strategies. and writing. This model had the most obvious advantage in that teachers’ sense of accountability was strong. 1992-98). which include: 1. English language teaching in the College English Department was conducted in five major prescribed skill areas. every single English teacher was responsible for teaching the five skill areas. Vol. reading. 2000). Monetary reward was part of the teaching model. In the College English Department from September 1986 up until June 1998. teachers whose students failed to meet the passing rate requirements of 50% to 60% as set by the College English Teaching and Administration Committee in the department could even be fined a certain amount. which will be explained next. 3. Grammar and Exercises (G/E): 20 to 30 minutes practice a week included in IR. Teachers worked diligently so that their students could. the positive achievements were sometimes overshadowed by the difficulties encountered during the instruction. 1 Issue 1. Problems identified with the “one-teacher-package-class” model Chinese EFL Journal 12 . Intensive Reading (IR)3: 2 hours a week with a focus on grammar.Chinese EFL Journal. The university was one of the many schools adopting this teaching model. under the “one-teacher-package-class” model (Han.
Chinese EFL Journal. One group was made up of advanced students with higher language proficiency. In classes of students at different levels in English. They complained that the class was still too tough for them. January 2008 During the operation of this teaching model. Particularly. teachers tended to be self-content after many years of this isolated teaching experience without acknowledging how their colleagues taught. let alone learning from them. Teachers also expressed their concerns. group work. upon entering the university all students started their English language learning from college English band 1 regardless of their language proficiency in reading. and that they found doing exercises dull and mechanical. the other group was students with poor language proficiency. presentations. writing. Vol. making it impossible to create an environment where teachers could learn from each other. their teaching styles were fossilized and they lost motivation to change. and that they were unable to follow what the teacher was lecturing about nor could they participate in any classroom activities such as discussions. they lost their motivation to learn English. This resulted in irregular class attendance by top students. listening. Thus. and pedagogy with their colleagues. and further prevented them from building cooperative and collaborative relationships with their peers in the teaching environment. year by year. 1 Issue 1. teachers had to adjust their teaching methodology and conducted classroom activities to meet the needs of the majority of the students. As time passed teachers started avoiding long-term planning and collaboration with their colleagues. Gradually. As discussed above. The teaching culture of “one-teacherpackage-class” made it more obvious that teachers taught alone and received little peer feedback on their teaching. classroom management. The reformed framework: The Rolling Project Chinese EFL Journal 13 . this teaching model prevented EFL teachers from communicating and exchanging ideas on subject content knowledge. Practically. Even worse. both teachers and students voiced their dissatisfaction and complaints. two groups of students demonstrated their discontent. In contrast. Consequently. and speaking. or pair work. students with higher English proficiency often commented that the class was too slow and not challenging.
Besides placement test scores. all entering students were required to take a placement test designed by the testing committee of a top university in Shanghai. January 2008 The Rolling Project was implemented in the fall of 1998 after two months of discussions. students were allowed to take this placement test only once and no make-up test was provided. those students scoring in the top 15% of the entering group entered Level A.300 students) into Level B. It was expected that the reformed teaching model would enhance teaching and learning and that the project would be welcomed and sustained in the department. At the University. Under the new model. Hargreaves’ (1992) identification of individualism to a collaborative culture. of 1. In September 1998. the bottom 15% entered Level C. 260 students were placed into Level A (highest proficiency). The test paper included multiple-choice items in listening.Chinese EFL Journal. In general. The use of the term “rolling” in the project name refers to this “movement” between the three levels. and the majority (approximately 1. Students at each level were thus capable of “moving” up (except Level A) or down between the levels. The main purpose of the Project was to solve the problems caused by the previous “one-teacher-package-class” which enabled teachers to teach a certain class for two years with a fixed teaching style. vocabulary. The rationale behind the reform was the advocacy of transforming the cultures of teaching in A. Vol. 240 to Level C (lowest proficiency). and the rest placed into Level B. An assessment was given at the end of each term. 1 Issue 1. and reading comprehension.800 new students. The following figure provides an illustration: Chinese EFL Journal 14 . as well as a writing section including a written composition of 100 words. So the majority (70%) were in Level B. each student’s English score on the National University Entrance Examinations was considered when making final placement decisions. China and already in use by many universities throughout China.
1999. 10). Extensive Reading to class 3. In so doing. Teacher A may teach Intensive Reading to class 1. In addition to their years of teaching. It was stipulated that teachers in a team should work closely by preparing lessons together every other week. and organizing extra-curricular activities. Vol. was based on the teaching guidelines “differentiating requirements. Teacher B may teach Intensive Reading to class 2. The innovation. and so on. 1 Issue 1. p. sharing teaching plans.Chinese EFL Journal. Based on past performance as evaluated by students (using an anonymous evaluation form filled out each year) and English proficiency as judged by their performance during teaching competitions (to award teaching excellence) held in the department and the university. January 2008 Figure 1: The Reformed Framework of the Rolling Project Level A (Class 1) Level A (Class 2) Level A (Class 3) Placement Test Level B(Class 1) Level B (Class 2) Level B (Class 3) Level C (Class 1) Level C (Class 2) Level C (Class 3) To foster teacher collaboration. and Focus Listening to class 1. and Focus Listening to class 3. this reformed model introduced the competition mechanism Chinese EFL Journal 15 . The intended benefits The Rolling Project emerged to meet the requirements of the social and economic development in the contemporary Chinese society. Extensive Reading to class 2. two to four teachers were grouped into a team. and differentiating instruction” (College English Syllabus Revision Team. the change was geared towards conducting the EFL class according to students’ different language proficiency coupled with respective language requirements. where students with high language proficiency were and still are in great demand in the job market. observing each other’s class. the Teaching and Administration Committee of the department decided the levels at which teachers were to teach. teachers with more fluent spoken English were assigned to teach Level A. designed to manifest the revised national college English curriculum. Take a team of 3 teachers teaching Level B for example. In addition. differentiating supervision.
Han (2000) gave an example of this collaboration in which a teacher in one of the B-level groups initiated a drama project to apply the communicative language teaching approach in her classroom teaching practice. all novice and veteran teachers teaching at different levels would have had the opportunity to discuss and consult with each other on issues about their teaching. What is most significant is the promotion of A. This challenge not only was beneficial to teachers’ progress but also strengthened students’ sense of competition skills (Cui et al. Fullan & Stiegelbauer. it is impossible to probe the underlying reasons why so many educational innovations and reforms fail. students benefited from three teachers with their unique teaching styles and expertise in subject content knowledge. 1999). The same was true with the Chinese EFL Journal 16 . team teaching restructured the former “one-teacher-package” with each teacher team teaching different classes. and Focus Listening. Hargreaves’ collaborative culture (1992). The reformed model encouraged team teaching when teachers had the opportunity to collaborate and to learn more about teaching methodology. Students had the chance to get more input of the target language by attending three different teachers’ classes of Intensive Reading.Chinese EFL Journal. through team teaching. Extensive Reading. Vol. 1991). 1992). and pedagogy from each other.. Ideally. and finally in performing the plays on campus. She cooperated with three novice teachers in her team and conducted the project in their ten classes. Problems emerged after implementation The implementation stage of a curriculum is considered a critical phase in educational reform (Fullan. More importantly. 1 Issue 1. 1998). In this way.. 1982. January 2008 into the teaching and learning environment and further enhanced the learning experience of students (Zhu et al. The fundamental difference in this reformed teaching model from the previous one resided with the strong belief that both students and teachers could benefit from the innovation. Also. This collaboration made other teachers in the team easily approachable and supportive. which eventually aims to shape the culture of teaching in the department. They helped their students in writing up the script. implementation can be viewed as problematic in that the main stakeholders in the process may be confronted with unpredicted challenges (Fullan. in rehearsing the play. classroom management. Without knowing what is happening during the implementation phase.
With the expansion of student enrolments each year. the reformed teaching model placed all the teachers into a “public” role in regard to their teaching. teachers had to bear more and more responsibility for instructing more students in a big class. However. Teachers who taught the A-level felt quite satisfied academically as they instructed the best students at the university. Vol. teachers with different language proficiency and experiences usually conducted their classes behind closed doors. under great pressure. and teaching methods. sometimes the class size was as big as 70 to 80 students. which did not necessarily require them to speak much English in the classroom. the revised curriculum was simply beyond their linguistic and professional capacity. Students compared. Second. As a result. These students were highly motivated to learn and quite active in class activities. teachers tended to feel secure with whatever teaching method they preferred to employ in their own classroom. Therefore. some middle-aged or senior instructors who received their language education during the 1950s or 1960s were less proficient in English. As mentioned above. especially those with low language proficiency. Collectively. and evaluated teachers’ work in terms of diligence. they received little or no in-service professional training after many years of teaching at the tertiary level and their English proficiency actually decreased. subject content knowledge. Besides.Chinese EFL Journal. Previously. compared with those young teachers who had more recent comprehensive English language training. classroom management. contrasted. and colleagues rarely had the chance to observe their performance. teachers as implementers of this curriculum innovation faced immense pressure and competition. and research. teachers felt exhausted with all the preparation. team teaching in the reformed model broke this practice and each teacher in the team was expected to demonstrate his or her teaching capacity in front of the same students as the other two team colleagues. And the excellent results from the national College Chinese EFL Journal 17 . Most of the middle-aged or senior teachers used the grammar-translation approach. January 2008 Rolling Project. First. 1 Issue 1. When the innovation came about. marking. especially in communication skills. both novice and veteran teachers considered the new curriculum reform to be demanding and challenging. In an Extensive Reading class. This competition for best performance put teachers.
A-level teachers therefore were under siege of gossip and jealousy. the complaints and resistance to the innovation were also heard from students at Level C. p. 2000. After the placement test. Li (2002). They were involved in considerable extra work organizing extra-curricular activities for their students such as speech contest. who were chosen and assigned by the head of the department.Chinese EFL Journal. Moreover. teachers who taught Level C felt embarrassed “since it is a kind of indication that they are not quite competent” (Han. a teacher instructing the Alevel students. 240 students who entered in 1998 were grouped into Level C and two teachers were assigned to co-teach this group. Although the planned curriculum redesigned the classroom teaching to meet the needs of C-level students so that they could have perceived the teaching materials and pace of instruction to be comprehensible and accessible. They were worried about not becoming the target of jealousy. Teachers from the B-level had an uneasy feeling about the placement. Even though they had the chance to move up to the upper level. commented. … some teachers in B and C-levels threw their hatred to the A-level teachers. 12). or language clubs. Vol. which is the lowest level about the placement. Since all the top students were placed into Level A. January 2008 English Test of their students further strengthened their pride with over 90% of their students passing the CET-4 in the third term and nearly 50% passing the CET-6 in the fourth term (Li. 1 Issue 1. There were hardly any communicative activities such as discussions or presentations conducted in the classroom. it was much harder for them to meet the required passing rate set by the department. But their pride was overshadowed by teachers from B and C levels. most of them felt “they lost face” in front of their peers who were at A or B levels. it turned out to pose new frustrations to many students. these teachers were not motivated to teach C-level class because students would most of the time sit quietly in the classroom and wait for the teacher to talk. Third. In addition. What was most intriguing was the following dilemma. the placement itself made them feel Chinese EFL Journal 18 . as if it was these teachers who dwarfed them. Since they had comparatively low language proficiency and were known to be in the C-level class. 104). This antagonism within the teacher group made A-level teachers feel discouraged as teaching A-level became a heavy burden physically and psychologically for them. 2002). and were isolated from the rest of the teaching staff (p.
Many of them came from rural areas where language education was not as good as in cities. when meeting their classmates who happened to be in the same dormitory and in the same courses every day. 1992. the Rolling Project actually came to an end and the implementation of this curriculum innovation discontinued. A. 1989. Hargreaves. As a result. in the third term. Right from the designing phase. The exclusion of a majority of teachers in the extensive discussion about the feasibility of the Rolling Project before its implementation resulted in the sad fact that most teachers simply did not “buy in. January 2008 embarrassed. No matter what the reform intends to achieve. 1995). if the cultures of teaching fail to provide the desirable context for teachers. Munn. As a result. At this point. the C-level groups were cancelled and all the students were “promoted” to the B-level. Teachers’ role in curriculum innovation It has been attested in a considerable number of studies in both general education and in second or foreign language education that the key factor to guarantee success of any educational reform resides with the teacher (Clandinin & Connelly. many teachers did not comprehend the necessity nor share the feasibility of the Chinese EFL Journal 19 . 1997. Karavas-Doukas. Fullan & Stiegelbauer. Level A continued till they completed two years of study. Vol. These students had low language proficiency and struggled in their language learning. They were neither invited to attend the committee meetings nor were they officially informed why such a change was considered necessary. Markee. we have come to realize the important role that teachers play in the whole change process and the implementation context where the cultures of teaching impact its success and sustainability. As well. 1995.Chinese EFL Journal. the majority of the teachers in both Teaching and Research Groups were excluded from participating in the discussions. some C-level students felt humiliated and others felt ashamed by the grouping. In reflection. 1 Issue 1. eventually it is no surprise to expect discontinuation or failure in the implementation phase. 1991.” This was seen from the operation of the project prior to the reform. Discussion The Rolling Project with its intention to meet students’ needs and encourage collaboration among teachers caused much more chaos than the previous “oneteacher-package-class” teaching model.
1992. Teachers had no idea about what the new teaching model would be nor shared understanding as to how and why it should be implemented. Unfortunately. Therefore. the same can be applied to the Chinese EFL setting as well. it is not surprising that the Rolling Project failed to gain support from the teachers. Flinders (1988). teachers should have been provided with adequate professional development sessions and emotional support in understanding what the curriculum innovation aimed to achieve (Brindley & Hood. Curtis & Cheng. The policymakers. the same as was seen in Karavas-Doukas’ study (1995). Hargreaves. the committee members failed to recognize that teachers not only should have been involved in the process of curriculum innovation but also should have been required to take the initiative in carrying out the innovation in order to make the project succeed. The fact that most teachers were unable to gain a thorough understanding of the curriculum innovation or receive prompt teacher in-service training resulted in the unsuccessful implementation of the Project. 1995). 1993. namely.Chinese EFL Journal. and it also implied the importance of teachers’ involvement in curriculum innovation discussed in the previous studies in the literature (Munn. 1 Issue 1. The resistance from some teachers teaching at B and C levels during the implementation phase was seen as a case in point. The outcome was that the project was very unlikely to be successfully enacted and further sustained. The resistance to the changes in fact signaled teachers’ frustration and dissatisfaction. Isolation as the generic culture of teaching The implementation context of the Rolling Project indicated another important factor of what has been discussed in the literature about the cultures of teaching (A. Vol. In relation to all this. Hargreaves et al. This resonated with what Karavas-Doukas (1995) and Carless (1998) discovered in their empirical studies in EFL settings in Greece and Hong Kong respectively. Although Hargreaves et al. Chinese EFL Journal 20 . Teacher isolation and individualism as the universal nature in the teaching occupation that Sarason (1982). 1992). the Rolling Project did not provide such kind of support to the teachers concerned. January 2008 curriculum change..’s (1992) delineation of the common forms of teacher culture such as individualism and collaborative culture is based on the Western ESL context. 2001) prior to and during the implementation. The failure of teachers’ thorough understanding of the Rolling Project was another reason. and A. 1990.
As well. teachers assumed that they did not need collaboration. Chinese EFL Journal 21 . With all these supplementary materials to assist teachers in their lesson preparations. material development. Consequently. especially the culture of organizations should be conducted and the innovation context should also be taken into consideration prior to implementation of an innovation. a detailed analysis of existing systems already in place. 2004). teachers had no understanding of what and how their peers conducted their language classes. Teachers are separated into a series of egg crate-like compartments. This is typical of primary and secondary teacher cultures but perhaps more so in the tertiary education context where there is less curriculum control over students and teachers. regarding the phenomenon of individualism as a generic heresy of educational change. More often the heads of the department would observe teachers’ classroom teaching for external evaluation purposes. Ever since the establishment of the foreign language department.” It was rare to see colleagues exchange ideas about subject content knowledge. However. to enhance teaching and learning. Hargreaves (1993) echoed the same position. and teachers’ guidebooks were provided. the national standardized syllabus and textbooks were introduced. It is so unique that it is present in the entire teaching profession everywhere (A. Studies have shown that in the research on the culture of individualism. In addition to the physical classroom isolation. This isolation not only restricts opportunities for professional growth but also represents a potential barrier to the implementation of reform initiatives (Flinders. The Rolling Project administered in the aforementioned Chinese university is one such scenario. and pedagogy. Hargreaves. all teachers developed the habit of working alone with their own students in their respective classrooms under the “one-teacherpackage.Chinese EFL Journal. claiming. Vol. In addition. January 2008 Hargreaves (1989) have mentioned exist among teachers in different settings. 1992). 1988). the most pervasive characteristic of teaching is that of classroom isolation. as pointed out by White (1988). and neither did they sit in each other’s classrooms and observe. teachers do need to have professional development opportunities to exchange instruction ideas and to learn from each other (Cheng & Wang. 1 Issue 1. teacher isolation also prevails in the teaching profession. 1975). isolated and insulated from one another’s work (Lortie. and China is no exception. A. One reason might be that after 1986.
Especially team teaching makes some teachers’ language inadequacies more noticeable in front of both students and their colleagues. 141). “The heart of the matter. teacher privatism – the qualities and characteristics that fall under these closely associated labels have come to be widely perceived as significant threats or barriers to professional development. 1992. In the case of the Rolling Project. A.Chinese EFL Journal. still less being evaluated. 227). p. it was still not a widely adopted practice in the teaching culture of the department Chinese EFL Journal 22 . The reason behind this might be that from novice to veteran teachers alike. 2000). and the development of shared educational goals (p. 6). simply because “… schools cannot improve without people working together” (Liebeman. 1 Issue 1. from individualism to collaborative culture. 54). it is important to bear in mind that the ultimate goal of curriculum innovation and further school improvement should be targeted at collaboration and collegiality. D. Indeed. Hargreaves. it is very difficult to achieve collaboration among teachers. even in one educational setting. However. there lies the sensitivity to or fear of being observed while teaching. p. … is the teacher’s fear of being judged and criticized. January 2008 Teacher individualism. Research suggests that the culture of collaboration is a paucity. and therefore incontrovertible” (p. From individualism to collaboration On the continuum of the teacher cultures. 1986. Vol. “They [teachers] do not like being observed. because they suffer competence anxiety and are fearful of the criticism that may accompany evaluation” (p. Hargreaves (1980) made a similar point by saying. Hargreaves (1993) stated. the implementation of change. Although there were some cooperation and collaboration endeavors among teachers in the Rolling Project such as the effort of some B-level instructors. and that this culture has been “difficult to create and even more difficult to sustain” (A. Any observation will be evaluative of the teacher’s competence. and the threat therein becomes the greater because such judgment may remain implicit and unspoken. 53). especially those teachers who entered the teaching profession in 1970s without adequate English language training in subject matter knowledge and methodology often felt threatened by working in a team (Han. it seems that some forms might co-exist side-by-side. yet they were not equipped to meet the new challenges in the revised curriculum. Such sensitivity to public performance and exposure is a major barrier to many innovations in teaching in China. They had more teaching experience. teacher isolation.
Such a top-down policy tended not to be implemented in the way intended by the administration. The fear of inadequacy and losing face put these veteran teachers back to the previous model of “one-teacher-package. the key stakeholder in any curriculum innovation. The underpinning behind this “not buying into the innovation” attitude suggests the hierarchical administration characteristics in the unique Chinese cultural context. First of all. nor did they discuss issues on teaching and pedagogy. any policy or innovation tends to be disseminated in a top-down instead of bottom-up manner. teachers fail to see benefits related with their own professional development. particularly for administrators and those in leadership roles in the context of higher learning institutions.” For this Chinese EFL Journal 23 . many experienced senior teachers felt threatened by teaching the same students as their young colleagues who had better communicative proficiency. 1 Issue 1.Chinese EFL Journal. teachers seldom observed each other’s teaching. Whereas policymakers extol the virtue of making certain innovations in accordance with institutional development. The sharp contrast “dwarfed” the senior teachers to a certain extent. Within such a highly centralized educational system in China. policymakers need to bear in mind that top-down policy should incorporate shared understanding about the potential benefits of any innovation among teachers themselves and their students. which in fact put them in a disadvantaged position regarding classroom teaching. As revealed from the Rolling Project. Vol. Another important emergent point is the urgency of enhancing in-service language teacher training at the Chinese tertiary level. teachers seemed to acknowledge the innovation without actually playing an active role in implementing it (Morris. teachers preferred to retain the former status quo. from being interested and involved in the departmental curricular endeavor. In such a context. Although team teaching was strongly encouraged at all three levels. Reflections and suggestions on the discontinued Rolling Project The short execution of the Rolling Project has left much to be contemplated. In this respect. January 2008 during the whole implementation phase. To remedy such a mismatch in bringing about any curriculum innovation. the absence of teachers’ ownership of the innovation evaded teachers. 1988). The innovation was beyond their linguistic capacity and further made their language inadequacies stand out in front of their students and peers.
The competition can terrify teachers and put them under immense pressure. As well. it is difficult to achieve collaboration. efforts should be made by institutional administrators to promote and nurture an environment where it is safe and unthreatening for teachers to observe each other without losing face or confidence. For example. where teachers compete for excellence and promotion. economical. In addition.Chinese EFL Journal. Therefore. Vol. 2003. and cultural factors embedded in the teaching and learning process (see Richard. upgrading the target language proficiency levels (Cheng. and in helping each other in research projects based on their own strength. but it does not necessarily mean that cooperation is impossible. in sharing instructional tips. teachers can be recommended to observe each other’s classroom teaching and then to write a reflection report on the observations and draft plans for their individual personal growth. They work together in preparing lesson plans. a climate of collaboration is expected to form within a teaching environment in which every teacher benefits. Gradually. 2001 for a situational analysis of curriculum development). & Wang. individual teachers’ strength in different aspects of teaching. (2001) and the context where teachers work often creates problems that hinder successful implementation of the changes. Ren. Phillips. particularly for this group of foreign language teachers is paramount before the curriculum innovation is put into effect. As discussed in the literature. The mismatch between the anticipated teacher cultures described in the studies of both Little (1982) and Williams et al.e. Conclusions Curriculum innovation is a complex social phenomenon because of the social. The cultural factors particularly can be seen in the cultures of teaching. Following up activities can be arranged by putting teachers into smaller teams of five or six where they feel more comfortable to express their views about teaching.. January 2008 reason. in discussing strategies in dealing with unpredicted classroom incidents. The administration also needs to recognize that teachers need to feel “safe” before they can be fully involved in any innovation. 1991). political. 1 Issue 1. Collaboration is a universal concern in terms of enhancement of teaching and learning in the school setting. It is true that the teaching and learning culture in China is highly competitive. i. success is Chinese EFL Journal 24 . the teaching culture in China does not fully recognize individuality.
and even students together with in-depth classroom observations will generate more insights on this innovative endeavor and will provide Chinese EFL Journal 25 . where individualism gives place to collaboration and collegiality. 1982.Chinese EFL Journal. The discontinuation of the Rolling Project lies partly in the assumptions of the policymakers who designed the project. teaching staff. 1 Issue 1. This means that the involvement of all the stakeholders in curriculum reforms is important. We also recognize that more extensive interviews with policymakers. We recognize that this scenario entails implications for other centralized educational systems in some Asian countries where teachers are bound under rigid curriculum requirements and have less autonomy in classroom teaching. because it requires the joint efforts of all who participate. 1993. This paper provides an in-depth discussion and understanding of a curriculum innovation endeavor in the Chinese EFL setting. the reflection on the project points to the essential role that teachers actually play in implementing a given innovation. it can be observed that to attain this goal is no easy job. Unfortunately. and that teachers’ commitment to change is unquestionable as long as they perceive the benefits. Based on the researchers’ experience and observations. January 2008 pre-conditioned by whether the educational decision-makers have the main stakeholders engaged in the reform or not. 18). which adds to the existing change literature in English language teaching. They also need to bear in mind that the cultures of teaching will determine whether a desired result can be realized in the working context. policymakers first of all should consider the complexity of the process of any curriculum reform before implementation. Finally. teachers as “change agentry” (Fullan. Vol. Johnson (1989) pointed out that any curriculum development would involve a tension about what is desirable and what is acceptable and possible (p. Their place in curriculum innovation and the context of their workplace cultures are usually overlooked by policymakers. Teachers’ active participation in and their collaborative work with colleagues turn out to be a deciding factor to ensure the success of the effort. It proved to be problematic to believe that good intention to improve both teaching and learning will result in desirable results. To remedy this. 1999) are often excluded in the decision-making process of the reform. We have chosen to focus our discussions on the role that teachers play in this curriculum innovation in this paper although a successful implementation must involve students as well.
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a much richer and more valuable source of data for further analysis on the impact of curriculum innovation on the cultures of teaching.
Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank Professor Hugh Munby at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University for his constructive feedback on the earlier version of this paper.
Endnotes 1. In this paper, the term “innovation” is used interchangeably with the terms “reform” and “change.” 2. This refers to a department which is involved in teaching English to non-English major students from a variety of disciplines such as arts, sciences, humanities, engineering, social sciences, law, and medicine. It is called College English Department in China to distinguish from English Department, which teaches English to those who specialize in English language and literature studies. 3. Intensive Reading (IR) in the college English curriculum is actually not “a reading course, but the core course in EFL in which everything that the teacher wants to teach (grammar, vocabulary, reading aloud, etc.) is taught through a written text” (Li, 1984, p. 13). Susser and Robb (1990) refer to IR as “close study of short passages, including syntactic, semantic, and lexical analyses and translation into the L1 to study meaning” (p. 161). In the Chinese EFL tertiary setting, IR integrates all language skills, for example, the reading, use of words, knowledge of grammar and structure, writing skills, and translation practice. All these skills are taught through a reading unit that includes two or three pages of a written text and several pages of exercises on linguistic and grammatical points and on writing topics (Wang & Han, 2002). 4. Extensive Reading (ER) in the college English curriculum refers to a reading class. However, students are required to read texts, out of class, from the ER textbooks including materials of different genres such as autobiographies, short stories, and popular science articles prior to the class. What EFL teachers do in such a class is to check students’ homework by asking comprehension questions, having students discuss what they have read, and doing corresponding exercises. The purpose of ER class in the college English curriculum is for general understanding of the texts, but not for pleasure reading with students choosing their own books, as discussed by
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Susser and Robb (1990). There are different viewpoints about what extensive reading is and how to teach this course (Field, 1985; Robb & Susser, 1989). However, the authors would not focus on this issue since it is outside the scope of this paper.
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January 2008 Title Raising Awareness of Cultural Differences in Language Classrooms Author Xiuqin Zhang College of Foreign Studies.Chinese EFL Journal. Approaches to raising awareness of the cultural differences in the classroom are provided at the end of the paper. She has published several textbooks and articles. and the importance of facesaving. Vol. Cultural differences frequently create obstacles and difficulties in both the teaching process for the English language instructors and learning process for Chinese students. Chinese students aiming to improve their speaking skills feel very fortunate to receive language instruction form Western Chinese EFL Journal 31 . Abstract: This paper raises concerns about cultural differences between the East and West that often result in misunderstandings between Chinese students and Western teachers. Her current research interests include English language teaching and inter-cultural communication. many Western teachers are coming to China to work as English teachers in colleges and universities. along with the Chinese culture of learning. Introduction At the present time. China. Yanshan University Bio Zhang Xiuqin. views of communication.R. Relevant Chinese and Western teaching methods are compared. 1 Issue 1. professor of English. now teaches EFL at Yanshan University in P.
January 2008 teachers. What is the most negative aspect in learning English for Chinese students? The first two questions were posed to 23 Chinese science-major students. and thus less actively involved in the activities. Many students learning English from Western teachers feel disappointed. Different cultures use different approaches to language learning. Their reticence and passivity appear to frustrate the Western teachers. The findings indicated that the subjects actually liked the native English speakers as summarized in the following statements: ‘They are very patient’. and they consider classroom activities a waste of their class time. Whereas. and ‘They know how to use English correctly in speaking. the way Chinese students learn language is quite different from the way they are being taught by Western teachers. reading and writing’. Therefore. stating that their speaking skills have not improved as much as they had expected. What is the most negative aspect of being taught by Western teachers of English? 3. The limited awareness of the cultural differences regarding learning and teaching may give rise to frustrations and a sense of failure on both sides. etc.Chinese EFL Journal. What is the most positive aspect in learning English for Chinese students? 4. Such activities focus on classroom interaction and student participation as formidable methods to learning and developing speaking skills. both the students and teachers may be unsuccessful in their efforts in language acquisition as well as language facilitation in the classroom. As a result. However. it seems that students are likely to succeed if they can make full use of these opportunities. this causes many misunderstandings between the students and teachers. oral presentations. 1 Issue 1. ‘I can get the correct use of English and correct pronunciation’. Chinese EFL Journal 32 . research findings from the interviews suggest that neither Chinese students nor Western teachers have experienced much success. Findings From the interviews 1. What is the most positive aspect of being taught by Western teachers of English? 2. role plays. Vol. These students had the experience of learning oral English from native speakers for at least one year. and without understanding these differences. Many Western teachers strive to improve the Chinese students’ speaking skills by implementing a series of classroom activities such as group discussions. Western teachers report that Chinese students are too quiet in the classrooms. In fact.
thus becoming a source of anxiety for them. it is common for many Chinese students to undertake great effort in memorizing the contents of their books. good at grammar and remembering grammatical rules.). lack originality in ideas. wisdom and truth’. It appears that discussion activities are less popular in Chinese language classrooms. teaching is mostly teacher-oriented. and U. p. experts. However.K. Teachers are considered authorities. books are treated with high reverence and value. The differences in expectations are likely to negatively influence Chinese students’ comfortableness. Chinese EFL Journal 33 . phrase by phrase basis. 1986. models. Students are expected to memorize new words and recite the texts they have learned. Comparison of Chinese and Western teaching methods A striking contrast appears to exist between the traditional Chinese teaching methods and those introduced from the West (specifically the U. which is carried out at all stages of English learning from middle school to the university level. 1986. p. and tend to follow others in discussion activities.A. syntax. Given this understanding.Chinese EFL Journal. He described the importance and usefulness of books in teaching and learning English. Findings from the teachers’ interviews suggest that their sense of ineffectiveness in the English language classrooms may be the result of different approaches to learning.A. In China. p.). Chinese students and teachers regard books ‘as an embodiment of knowledge. the subjects’ statements were noted as follows: ‘They seldom correct you when you are speaking’. style and content along the way” (Maley. and the lack of awareness of each other’s cultural differences. knowledge derived from books ‘…can be taken out and put inside the students’ heads’ (Maley. and 'parents'. they are generally very quiet in the classroom. and three from the U. explaining points of vocabulary. “It consists in taking students through a text on a word by word.K. Vol. According to most Chinese.103) reported on his experience of teaching English in China after having lived there for a year and a half.S. ‘Always feel nervous because of many oral activities’ and ‘Too many discussions in the classroom for the students’. They stated that Chinese students are very diligent workers.103-104). Hence. Maley (1986. The last two interview questions were provided to five Western English teachers (two from the U. 1 Issue 1. January 2008 With regard to the negative aspects of receiving instructions from Western teachers. Importance is also attached to intensive reading.S.103).
2006). On the other hand. As a result. Clearly.Chinese EFL Journal. Classroom environments are influenced by learner-centered methodology focused on task achievement and problem-solving approaches for both linguistic and cultural learning (Jin and Cortazzi. Books are regarded differently from the Chinese view. 1 Issue 1. Language is viewed as a subject to be understood rather than as a tool to be used. In other words. Group language practice should be carried out after class in order to make full use of class time (Zhang. Western teachers generally approach teaching in a more intimate and friendly manner with more attention paid to the learning contexts. January 2008 Speaking is mainly in the form of reading texts and practicing pattern drills. these differences may increase the feelings of uncomfortableness and anxiousness in the classroom because the students are expected to learn in a different way. opinions and ideas that are open to interpretation. to dispute and discussion (Maley. and they believe they risk picking up errors from their classmates. but poor at speaking and writing. They consider group discussion. The key differences appear to be unique conceptions of knowledge. language. 1996). What Western teachers consider important is viewed differently by Chinese students. They think the teacher should present knowledge and practice with the students. to be ‘fruitless’. Western education encourages the teacher to be a facilitator and the students to take on some responsibility for their own learning (Richards & Lockhart. which is positively valued by Western teachers. 1986). 1998). They contain facts. Chinese culture of learning Chinese EFL Journal 34 . appropriate expression. they appear to do well absorbing information but poor at developing skills related to language usage. As a result of this type of educational practice. and teaching. Vol. They are regarded as tools for learning. and readily change their learning habits that were previously formed in childhood. students are good at reading and grammar. Chinese students and Western teachers have different views regarding the nature of the teaching process as well as different criteria for adequate instruction. Western education focuses more on individual student creativity. Western teachers stress skills and language use while Chinese teachers stress knowledge. Chinese students often regard the less directive teaching methods of the foreign teacher as a waste of time. the students’ needs. and to creative.
p. probably not to volunteer comments unless asked. this passivity of students can be a major obstacle to improving speaking skills in the language classroom. The apparent passivity of the students in the classroom is not a lack of involvement in the lesson. 1 Issue 1. Often inductive patterns are used – background Chinese EFL Journal 35 . Vol. The Chinese culture of learning involves “… the need to listen. imitation. January 2008 Cortazzi and Jin (1996) relate Chinese students’ method of learning to the influence of early childhood education. This may explain why Chinese students are unwilling to be distracted by group work – they consider talking with their peers to be a waste of time that could be spent learning from the 'master'. Speakers say what is known rather than regarding saying as a way of knowing.Chinese EFL Journal. 1997.13) summarized as a Chinese culture of learning is the idea that “learning is apprenticeship”. Speakers defer to experts. Western teachers may not fully understand many of the Chinese students’ behaviors in the classroom. to respect and obey the teacher and.86). It involves “following a ‘master’ in word and deed”. Learning in these early years gives strong emphasis to memory. The early experience of learning their first language seems to share remarkable continuity with key aspects of how Chinese students will approach learning a foreign language at a later stage. including the teacher. p. Without recognizing these features. However. One of the features Jin and Cortazzi (1998. but respect for the teacher’s greater knowledge and wisdom. They assert that Chinese children are socialized into a particular long-standing culture of learning when they start to read and write Chinese in kindergarten and primary school. KEY FEATURES OF CHINESE CULTURE OF COMMUNICATION KEY FEATURE Communication produces harmony Communication depends on authority Communication depends on the known Communication COMMENT The chief aim of communication is to bring harmonious relationships rather than mainly to share information functionally. Communication follows tradition and authority rather than originality or spontaneity. in order not to interrupt the teacher” (Cortazzi and Jin. and repetitive practice. Chinese views of communication Jin and Cortazzi (1998) summarized eight key features of the Chinese culture of communication that Chinese students bring to the classroom. to think and reflect.
A person who avoids challenging others in group discussion is viewed positively by Chinese students. Proof can come from analogy. 1998). p. In other words. ‘face’ and respect. These differences may cause misunderstandings between Western teachers and Chinese students. Opposites may be part of a large truth. ‘Face’ threats occur when a person’s desired identity or public self-image is challenged in a particular interaction. seek harmony in their learning and in their communication with others. This is one of the reasons they are passive in classroom group discussions because they wish to show respect to others by avoiding arguments. shu yao pi (a person needs face like a tree needs bark) is an expression commonly used in Chinese EFL Journal 36 .114) is inductive Communication among Chinese students centers on hierarchical relations. They tend to look at their academic life in a collective way in which they care about their relationships.3) as “the conception of self that each person displays in particular interactions with others”. rather than vice versa. 1998. (Jin and Cortazzi.Chinese EFL Journal. The teaching methods employed by Western teachers focus on the development of communicative competence. January 2008 first. Vol. p. 1 Issue 1. Silence can show solidarity and avoid communication embarrassment. Both participants have responsibility for Communication understanding. Not everything needs to be explicit – is reciprocal hearers/readers can work out implications. Face-saving Chinese culture attaches great importance to ‘face’. examples or Communication indications rather than by explicit sequential links. while Western teachers may view it as showing a lack of independent thinking and personal opinion. which is defined by Cupach and Metts (1994. works by analogy Silence can be acceptable on ambiguous or Silence is sensitive topics. harmony. the use of English language may actually be a threat to loss of ‘face’ for many Chinese students. so there is a Communication tendency to think ‘both – and’ rather than ‘either – or’ as is holistic in binary thinking. main point later or reason then result. They are tolerant of different ideas held by their classmates and avoid situations that may cause anyone (both themselves and others) to lose ‘face’ (Jin and Cortazzi. agreement. Ren yao lian.
In English classrooms. Integrating both target language culture and Chinese culture in the textbook. Most textbook writers and compilers of foreign language teaching and learning pay special attention to the target language culture. customs and important Western festivals with little attention being paid to culture in academic field such as teaching methodologies employed by western teachers and how Western students learn in the school. “Communicative acts may be arrayed on a scale from lesser to greater risk of loss of face. Others are so grave that they may not be undertaken at all” (Scollon & Scollon.172). because of the high risk of making a mistake and appearing foolish. Integrating culture in academic field will help Chinese students to understand the Western teachers’ teaching and learning style at the very beginning and avoid the feeling of uneasiness and frustration. their opportunities to practice speaking the target language are significantly reduced thus resulting in their slower progress. 1981. As a result. Vol. Most Chinese People will not do anything that threatens their own ‘face’. and if they have to. Some acts are scarcely a risk and may be done with little further consideration. January 2008 Chinese discourse.17) points out that “few people of any background would be completely oblivious to the impressions they are making on other people”. and different expectations about the roles of teachers and students. p. 1 Issue 1. or to avoid speaking at all. Chinese students who feel they lack sufficient knowledge of English to enhance their ‘face’ might react by trying to speak as little as possible. But to students within the Chinese culture who attach great importance to ‘face’. This fear of losing ‘face’ and of being negatively evaluated by others may lead to their reticence and passivity. Brown (2004. they will try to minimize the threat. Awareness of these differences can be addressed in the following ways: 1. Raising awareness of cultural differences is essential for both students and teachers. this can become a particularly noticeable impediment to obtaining the necessary language practice in order to improve their speaking skills. p.Chinese EFL Journal. The target language culture is mainly on the social values. any act of oral communication is a threat to ‘face’. Approaches to raising awareness of cultural differences We have observed that the barriers to learning and teaching result from different cultural orientations to language learning. Chinese EFL Journal 37 .
January 2008 On the other hand. 1 Issue 1. While one member of the group is talking. both Chinese students and Western teachers can better communicate and discuss relevant differences in the classroom setting. sharing. Vol. However. Discussion activity This process will enable them to better understand each other’s culture and improve their rapport with each other. the other members can join in. and the teacher can then share about his/her own culture with the students. Step 3: The teacher then talks about his/her understanding of the differences in teaching and learning between the East and West. which means that transcending unconscious culture can not be accomplished without some degree of self-awareness…” The process of understanding.Chinese EFL Journal. 3. Chinese students themselves may also develop the ability to express their own culture in English and are willing to talk about it in class. Step 4: The students are asked to share about their own culture with the teacher. p. Make use of visual aids Both teachers and students should have access to English and Chinese visual aids such as films and videotapes on weekends in their spare time and talk about them in class as a cultural awareness raising experience. The rationale of the approaches mentioned above is based on Hall (1990. Step 2: The teacher then asks each group to present to the class the results of their discussion. Most people will exclude Chinese films and videotapes in English learning. Furthermore. discussing and exchanging ideas about each other’s culture can help both the teacher and the students to better understand the expectations that each has of one another and to adopt Chinese EFL Journal 38 . 2. It is proposed that the discussion can follow these steps: Step 1: The teacher asks the students to discuss in groups what differences they have noticed in Western and Chinese methods of teaching or/and learning and list their ideas on a sheet of paper. Chinese culture may help Western teachers learn Chinese students better and the roots of their behaviors. Equipped with Chinese culture. language learning should not only develop students’ four skills but also the intercultural communication skills.212) who claims that “self-awareness and cultural awareness are inseparable.
is to raise both the Chinese students and Western teachers’ awareness of cultural differences. this awareness raising is an essential component in the syllabus content. As a result. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1 Issue 1. It will help the students overcome their passivity and reticence in the classroom and feel more comfortable in asking questions. in some possibly significant way”. Harmer (2001. The Language Teacher. In Coleman. The key to developing students’ English speaking skills. Western teachers may better understand the behaviors of Chinese students in the classroom with the ability to respond more effectively to the needs of their students. January 2008 appropriate behaviours in the classroom. Cortazzi. students may take each opportunity to practice the language in the classroom and benefit fully from the Western teachers’ teaching methods. (1996). As a result. Cultural awareness enables the students to know what they are expected to do in the classroom and respond accordingly. cultural differences can accentuate Chinese students’ anxiousness and uncomfortableness in the classroom thus resulting in passiveness and reticent behaviors. this change will be gradual and the expectation of immediate change is not realistic. (Ed. A. Both can be encouraged to express their own ideas and gain a better understanding of each other’s culture. and responding better to the teacher. Conclusion In conclusion. Learning Consequences of Fear of Negative Evaluation and Modesty for Japanese EFL Students. both the students and teachers will increasingly enjoy the learning and teaching experience and achieve the desired outcomes of the language coursework. Society and the Language Classroom. Vol. Additionally. volunteering comments. (2004).65) asserts that “the success with which learners adapt to a new cultural milieu will affect their language acquisition success. 28(1): 15-17. Consequently.Chinese EFL Journal. with the help of Western teachers. and Jin Lixian. p. R.). Thus. H. and vice versa. However. M. both the teacher and students can make some movement towards mutual congruence. Communication for Learning across Cultures In Chinese EFL Journal 39 . and Jin Lixian. Cortazzi. References Brown. (1997). Cultures of Learning: Language Classrooms in China. M.
Richards. New Jersey: ABLEX Publish Corporation. Understanding cultural differences. (Eds. Jin Lixian and Cortazzi. M. Speaking Skills and Anxiety. Cupach. Facework. Language Learning in Intercultural Perspective: Approaches through Drama and Ethnography. Overseas students in Higher Education. Narrative. London: Routledge. A. The Culture the Learner Brings: a Bridge or a Barrier? In Byram.). K.). S. (1996). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (2006). ME: Intercultural Press. Literacy and Face in Interethnic Communication Norwood. (Ed. Culture Bound. Teaching English in China. E. and Scollon. R. Maley. London: Sage. M. C. and Metts. Zhang. and Harris. and Lockhart. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. XANADU-“ a miracle of rare device”: the teaching of English in China In Valdes. Hall. Vol. (1994). R. 1:34-39. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (1998). J. (1986). Scollon. & Fleming. S. Harmer. January 2008 McNamara.Chinese EFL Journal. D.T. (1990). W. Essex: Longman. C. B. M. (Eds. The Practice of English Language Teaching (Third Edition).). R. (2001). J. Yarmouth. J. (1981). Reflective teaching in second language classrooms. M. X. 1 Issue 1. Chinese EFL Journal 40 .
China Bio Yang Xueqian. Key words: discourse organization listening comprehension Information Units 1. January 2008 Title The Influence of Discourse Organizational Patterns on Chinese EFL Learners’ Listening Comprehension Author Yang Xueqian Hainan Normal University. Yu. Two listening texts. is a lecturer at Hainan Normal University.A. Results do not directly show that Chinese learners comprehend more information when they listen to a Chinese-style English text.. M. following upon Kaplan. 1992. 1996. Scollon (1991). Controversial suggestions have been made in literatures. are used as instruments on two parallel groups of subjects. revised to be identical in all aspects except discourse organizations. 1985. Kirkpatrick. Mohan & Lo. Abstract: This experiment is designed to test whether Chinese EFL learners are affected by discourse organizations when listening in English. many researchers (e. Vol.g. 1993) have tried to verify whether or not there are structural or rhetorical differences between English and Chinese. 1 Issue 1. Wong. Background Since Kaplan (1966) first hypothesized that people with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds organize discourse differently. and whether or not such differences affect English-as-foreign-language learning. But observations into the position of some Information Units reveal that Chinese learners tend to perform significantly better on comprehending Information Units which locate at the end of a paragraph than those at the beginning. claimed that modern Chinese in Taiwan were still following the Chinese EFL Journal 41 ..Chinese EFL Journal. Research fields: Applied linguistics and CALL.
they used to pay more attention to the ending remarks. Nevertheless. His claim was also echoed in many other researches (e. 1994. Chinese students perform better in comprehending it. On the contrary. rather than topic-comment. If this is the case. many researchers (Scollon and Scollon. Chinese EFL Journal 42 .g. two hypotheses can be put forward: Hypothesis One: When a listening text in English-style discourse pattern is revised into Chinese-style. Kirkpatrick (1993) found that modifyingmodified sequence. According to Kirkpatrick (1993).Chinese EFL Journal. 1 Issue 1. Chen. There is no basis for claims of rhetorical differences. Vol. 1986). we can assume that Chinese are accustomed to processing expository texts in such a way. 2. Kirkpatrick. 1997a) held that Chinese writers or speakers tend to place the “main point” (topic) at the end of an expository discourse. they also exposited in a recursive way. Contrary to the topiccomment pattern of English. Hypothesis Two: When a piece of information is moved from elsewhere to the end of a text. in this study. It follows the four parts of Kaiduan (beginning) —Fazhan (development) — Gaochao (climax) — Jieju (conclusion). Chinese students perform better in listening comprehension. is a fundamental unit of sequencing in modern Chinese. ** Ba Gu Wen: A discourse structure required in imperial examinations of Ming & Qing Dynasty in Old China. 1995. Hence. which makes the text inductive rather than deductive. Chinese prefer to place the topic at the end of a text. Mohan and Lo (1985) argued that both English and Chinese people are equally concerned with directness and conciseness of expression. When writing in English. Young. In his research. January 2008 traditional Ba Gu Wen**1structure of Chinese. Tai. Problem This study looks into whether the possible difference in discourse patterns between English and Chinese affects Chinese EFL learners’ listening comprehension in English. 1994. In listening comprehension. 1975. Chinese speakers attach to a “becausetherefore” sequence in extended expository spoken discourses. and that they may consequently perform better in listening comprehension when information is organized in a “because-therefore” sequence.
1 Issue 1. as mentioned above. 1986. the study might not be effective. knowledge of discourse patterns should be introduced in listening training. because modes of information processing reflected in different discourse patterns are also ways of thinking. this is an attempt to contribute to the field of cognitive science. Vol. we can not expect all the concerning questions to be answered in one study. Some others elements. the process of listening comprehension is complex. Chinese EFL Journal 43 . even though sometimes they have no lexical obstacles at all. it is deemed to be the crucial difference between English and Chinese discourse patterns. January 2008 Chinese discourse pattern and English discourse pattern may differ in many ways. 1991. Olsen and Huckin (1990) conducted a study with 14 postgraduate ESL students. If the difference of discourse patterns is proved to be one of the elements that influence EFL listening comprehension. Previous researches (see Chaudron & Richards. As mentioned. would be left to further researches. Since both discourse patterns and the process of listening comprehension is complex. 3. such as how it is influenced and how such influences change due to learners’ language proficiency. Flowerdew & Miller. such as discourse markers. 1992) have indicated that L2 listeners often have difficulties in following the structure of a text for a gist comprehension. In this study. First. it is understandable that he might have some difficulties in processing the discourse structure of L2. There are two reasons for that. If such elements are also left uncontrolled. When a person who is accustomed to the discourse organization pattern of his L1 learns a different L2. After analyzing the subjects’ summary notes of the lecture.Chinese EFL Journal. Second. Tudor & Tuffs. Theoretically. Literature Review Different languages bear different discourse organization patterns. Practically. Other questions. can also influence listening comprehension. we focus on the “because-therefore” sequence principle. The objective of probing into this problem is to find out whether or not the difference of discourse patterns between English and Chinese influences Chinese EFL learners’ listening comprehension. the result of this study can directly contribute to the area of EFL teaching/learning methodology. Using an engineering lecture as instrument. what the current study will do is to answer the question of whether or not listening comprehension is influenced.
which is what we are concerned about in this study. Scholars holding similar views include Rutherford (1983). Chinese and Korean share the same discourse organization pattern. students are accustomed to certain structural models of science lectures. Romance languages and Russian are similar to each other. science lecturers seldom stray away from the conventions of “problem-solution” model.Chinese EFL Journal. Some languages are in the same family and similar to each other. 1 Issue 1. That is. but some languages are distant. rather than the macro level of lecture structural models. But the way they organize their exposition of a problem or comment would be unavoidably determined by their ways of thinking and/or conventions of discourse organization. This might be the reason for comprehension difficulties. but this depends on how different the two languages are. Intuitively. According to Kaplan (1966). As we know. Vol. In explaining this phenomenon. In their study. Kirkpatrick (1993) concluded that the “because-therefore” Chinese EFL Journal 44 . they claimed that it was due to subjects’ familiarity of “disciplinary culture”. what caused comprehension problems might be on a micro level. Science students might not have much difficulty in following the lecture structural models. “problems-solutions”. January 2008 Olsen and Huckin concluded that some of the subjects could understand all the words but still have difficulties in gist comprehension. the structural models of such lectures can be no other than “problem-solution” or more complicated. Science lectures are all bound to solve problems with given conditions. as we can see in Figure 1. while English is FIGURE 1 Major Discourse Patterns with Different Languages totally different from East-Asian languages. Once the lecturer alters the way of exposition. we assume that difference of discourse patterns between learner’s native language and target language causes problems in his target language learning. In general. some students may get lost in comprehension. who took Chinese as topic-prominent and English as subjectprominent. In his study.
Two essays written by the Chinese EFL learner were assessed by American preservice teachers and a Taiwanese EFL instructor. González. This is totally different from English speakers’ convention of “topic-comment”. The difference of discourse organizational patterns between English and Chinese has been shown to be influencing Chinese EFL learners’ writing in English. followed by supporting arguments on different levels. Comprehension was measured and compared. Results showed a significant difference in comprehension between the texts. problem-solution and collection of description) with identical subject matter were read by 490 Hong Kong Chinese school children. Dunkel and Davis. For example. cause-effect. Chen and Sanchez (2001) conducted a case study on how cultural thinking and discourse organizational patterns influence writing skills of a Chinese EFL learner. there are some researchers who tried to approach this topic through investigating discourse markers (e. January 2008 sequence operates as an important sequencing principle in modern standard Chinese. few studies have been conducted to investigate the influence of discourse organization patterns upon Chinese EFL listening comprehension. while the problem-solution text is “topic-comment”. since writing is an output skill. 1986. With a close reading of his instruments. González. Chinese EFL Journal 45 . Comparison and analysis revealed that linguistic developmental problems presented by the Chinese EFL learner have connections with underlying cultural thinking and discourse organizational patterns. He conducted an experiment on reading comprehension affected by rhetorical patterns. the authors analyzed the Chinese cultural thinking patterns reflected in the discourse organization through a psycholinguistic coding of the essays. Chaudron and Richards. In contrast to the researches on writing and reading. four rhetorically different texts (comparison contrast. 1994. Vol.Chinese EFL Journal. 1 Issue 1. Sharp’s (2002) research from the input perspective may shed more light. we can find that the description text and the problemsolution one are similar to the two instruments used in this study: the description text follows a structure similar to “because-therefore”. In addition. Chen and Sanchez (2001)’s study might have less relation with this one. which declares its topic at the very beginning. Flowerdew and Tauroza. But for some other languages. while listening is an input one. Chinese people generally deploy conditions and reasons before they come to a conclusion at the end of the discourse. In his experiment. when justifying a claim.g.
helping listeners follow the structure of the discourse. 80 Korean EFL learners took part in the study. are similar to Chinese in thinking patterns. lexis. Jung’s (2003) study might throw some light on the current study. 1 Issue 1. The principal answered in Chinese and was immediately interpreted by a bilingual expert into English (see Appendix 1). One text followed Chinese discourse pattern and the other followed English discourse pattern. This text was taken as carrying typical features of Chinese discourse organization style: “because-therefore” information sequence (Kirkpatrick. in which a journalist asked him about military training of college freshmen students. and grammar etc. were kept under a strict control. 2003). another half listened to the lecture without.Chinese EFL Journal. Audio variables. The English-style text was technically revised from the Chinese one. discourse markers serve as signposts in a text. The “because-therefore” sequence was rearranged into the “topic-comment” sequence. 4. January 2008 1995. Subjects were required to take notes of what they had heard. The findings showed that signaled group performed significantly better than non-signaled group in both macro information and micro information comprehension.1 Instruments Two listening texts were made to be as identical as possible in every respect except for discourse organization. in order to focus on discourse patterns. The Chinese-style text was cited from a speech of the principal of Beijing University at press conference in 1990. as mentioned above. One half listened to the lecture with signaling cues. Jung. 4. on which comparison and analysis would be made. Data Collection To explore the influence of discourse organizational patterns on Chinese EFL learners’ listening comprehension. such as Chinese EFL Journal 46 . Jung’s study examined the effects of discourse signaling cues on L2 listening comprehension. Vol. the variable of discourse marker is cautiously kept under control. In this study. such as text length. sentence length. Macro-markers (Chaudron and Richards. As we know. 1993). 1986) are naturally elements that affect L2 listening comprehension. All the other variables that might affect parallelity. this study used two spoken texts as instruments on two parallel groups of subjects. Among them. All their notes were collected as data. since the Korean subjects used in his study.
Then they listened to the instrument text—the principle’s response. Vol. To avoid the situation that some subjects might have heard and understood but could not spell a word/phrase in English. Hence. subjects were all allowed to read about the context in which the listening text was produced. a post-test questionnaire was also given to investigate their knowledge of that. reading speed and pauses. a post-test questionnaire was held to investigate their knowledge of contrastive discourse patterns. by having the two texts read by the same speaker and at the same speed. They were required to identify which text was organized in Chinese/English style and explain the reason of their choice. They had been studying English for at least 8 years (5hour per week in their middle school and full-time in university). As to listening comprehension.2 Subjects 60 Subjects were chosen from the author’s English-major second-year students in Hainan Normal University. 4. After the experiment. subjects were assured to take the role of the questioner and take notes of what was heard. 21 of them could differentiate the texts and explain the difference of information sequence (“because-therefore” and “topic-supporting”) between Chinese-style and English-style texts. 4. Guess was discouraged.Chinese EFL Journal. Group one listened to the Chinese-style text and group two listened to the English-style one. were also kept under control. Subjects were given transcripts of both texts and a simple questionnaire sheet. and were deemed to be intermediate in English proficiency. but had never been taught the knowledge of contrastive discourse organizations. they were allowed to taking notes in Chinese. January 2008 accent. Transcripts of the two texts were given to 23 Chinese university English teachers (proficient in both Chinese and English) to read. While listening. and they were allowed to quit if they couldn’t explain the difference Chinese EFL Journal 47 . Before listening. After collecting subjects’ notes. they should be equally unaware of the difference between Chinese and English discourse styles. A pre-test was held to ensure that two instrument texts were indeed representative of Chinese and English discourse organization styles. 1 Issue 1.3 Procedure Subjects were divided randomly into two parallel groups according to the scores of their listening comprehension exams in the past 3 semesters. they were accustomed to listening to longer texts.
Firstly. Chinese EFL Journal 48 . the starting-point and the ending-point of a discourse). were compared by a paired sample t-test. As mentioned.g. As we know. Vol. as expected. Secondly. English native speakers used to put the topic at the beginning of an expository discourse. 5.Chinese EFL Journal. observation was made on certain IUs. usually carried in a clause. Then Group 1 should score comparatively higher then Group 2. The assumption was that Chinese students were accustomed to the Chinese discourse pattern and therefore could be affected by it while listening to an English text. If the first hypothesis is true. January 2008 of discourse patterns. the instrument texts carried the same meaning. only discourse organization was left as an independent variable. 7 answered the questionnaire but only 3 could identify the right texts. And only 1 among the 3 could correctly explain that the two styles were different in the sequence of “topic” and “supporting”. so they carried the same number of IUs (see Appendix 2). based on the above comparisons. Subjects should feel more comfortable listening to the Chinese-style text. Comparison of two groups’ comprehension results would reveal whether or not discourse organization patterns influenced subjects’ listening comprehension. An Information Unit (IU) is a basic meaningful unit. 53 quitted. will be 1600 students. If subjects score significantly higher on an IU when it locates in one place than in another (e. the following sentence is constituted by 2 IUs: “The enrollment for this year. the reason might be due to the influence of discourse patterns. To assess subjects’ listening comprehension. Among the 60 subjects. This was to find out the possible correlation between placement of an IU and listeners’ comprehension of it. two groups’ comprehension results—the numbers of IUs.” As mentioned above. This result testified subjects’ ignorance of contrastive discourse styles. (IU2)double that of last year’s. Subjects were assessed on the number of IU they had taken down in their notes (see Appendix 3 & 4). especially on those which changed places when discourse style changed. instrument texts were segmented into basic Information Units. Method of analysis The major method of analysis used in this study was comparison. (IU1)1990. 1 Issue 1. For example.
). subjects’ listening comprehension was assessed through the Information Units taken down in their notes (see Appendix 4). no matter where they locate. a number. IU6.05). its location change may leave less influence on listening comprehension. a conclusion. 6. etc.g. Paired sample t-test reveals that there is no significant difference between the two groups’ listening comprehension results: t(29)=. 1993). January 2008 while Chinese prefer the topic at the end (Kirkpatrick.Chinese EFL Journal.g.). Group 1 listened to the Chinese style text and took down altogether 108 IUs in their notes. The amount of IUs taken down by a group of subjects reflects the group’s listening comprehension performance. a name. a reason. IU4. while Group 2 scored 116 IUs with the English style text. Hypothesis One: When a listening text in English-style discourse pattern is revised into Chinese-style. some were of gist information (e. Some IUs were of less important status in the discourse. IU5. and their existences per se did not catch much notice. Chinese listeners might pay more attention to the ending-point. (Table 1) Chinese EFL Journal 49 . therefore their position changes would not influence listening comprehension either.g. E. The following findings respond to the two hypotheses. Findings and Discussion As mentioned. Comprehension of a Detail-IU depends less on discourse context.701 ａ=. IU7. Hypothesis One is not supported by this finding. Some IUs were of detail information (e. Vol. hence. Picked off those “low-value” IUs. p=. In observation. etc. We have reason to assume that English native speakers tend to pay special attention to the starting-point of a discourse when they are listening. Due to the same reason. identity of IUs and their “values” in the discourse had been taken into consideration. numbers can be easily heard. this study observed IU1.859.397 (M=. 1 Issue 1. Chinese students perform better in listening comprehension. IU10 and IU11 (see Appendix 2).267 with SD=1. a comment.
(2-tailed) But caution should be taken here not to jump to the conclusion that discourse organization does not affect listening comprehension at all. January 2008 TABLE 1 Comparison of Two Groups’ Comprehension Results Paired Differences Std. Vol.Chinese EFL Journal.310 -. some subjects might have omitted some information. the fact that their listening ability was relatively poorer than their reading and writing might have caused a misjudgment on their proficiency and the corresponding instrument difficulty. changes of discourse organization patterns would be meaningless to them. As shown in Appendix 4.902 Upper . It would be argued that subjects who could only catch one or two IUs would have not been able to pay attention to discourse level problems. Subjects were required to take notes while they were listening. The non-significant difference might be due to the following three factors: The first factor is that subjects’ language proficiency might be too low (or instrument’s difficulty is too high) to reveal possible influences from discourse patterns. 1 Issue 1. without paying attention to the general organization of the discourse. The second factor might come from the procedure of the experiment. Taking them into account might not reveal the possible influences.397 t df Sig.368 -. subjects’ performance in listening comprehension was generally poor. If those subjects had taken the instrument text as a collective of isolated information units rather than a coherent discourse. Moreover. While they were listening. In this study.701 . even though the author had cautiously chosen the subjects and the instrument. due to time pressure. word by word or clause by clause. This might have distracted some subjects from seeing the listening text “as a forest” to seeing “one tree after another”. some subjects might have just jotted down notes of whatever they heard. especially those which had appeared Chinese EFL Journal 50 . Nearly 1/3 of the subjects scored less than 4 IUs from the total of 11. Error 95% Confidence Interval Mean of the Difference Lower Pair 1 group1 group2 -.859 29 .267 1. Mean Deviation Std.
Hypothesis Two: When a piece of information is moved from elsewhere to the end of a text. to some extent. in the instrument texts. Only 2 subjects took down IU1 in their notes when it was placed at the starting point of a paragraph. 7 subjects included it in their notes. As mentioned. but when placed at the ending position.g. Nevertheless. but they equal to each other in number.. subjects performed differently on some key-point Information Units when their positions were changed. As shown in the following chart. In this case.Chinese EFL Journal. E. because it still has a limitation: judging subjects’ comprehension by the number of IUs does not taken into consideration the value of Information Units. Due to the factors discussed above. 1 Issue 1. Vol. IU11 is the conclusion of a holistic paragraph. For example. January 2008 in the background (given before listening) and which they thought unnecessary to report. The last factor is about the criteria of comprehension assessment. we still have reasons to believe that the first hypothesis is not fully rejected. we cautiously conclude that Chinese EFL learners in the same situations as the subjects of this study are generally not influenced by discourse patterns when listening to an English text at the difficulty level of the instrument. the quantified data might not have fully revealed the possible influence of discourse patterns on listening comprehension. This method of assessing comprehension might not be the best. the instruments were segmented into Information Units in order to determine subjects’ listening comprehension. the number of IUs does not fully reflect listening comprehension. Hypothesis Two is supported by the following observations. IU11 is more important than IU5 in listening comprehension. IUs are not always of the same importance in a discourse. As mentioned. Hence. Chinese students perform better in comprehending it. while IU5 is accessorial information added up to IU4. (see Table 2) Chinese EFL Journal 51 .
05. p＜. on IU11: x²(1. On IU1: x²(1.n=30)=2.23. IU5 and IU11 when they were placed at the ending position.n=30)=6. text 2 Middle Starting 13 16 IU 5 (enrolment) double that of last year Ending Middle 16 8 IU 6 complete their (military) courses and return (to university) Starting Middle 13 14 IU 7 four years of academic work Responding to 2 nd Middle Middle 17 18 question.n=30)=4. Chinese EFL Journal 52 . IU 10 (students) can go to any job they want without any probation IU 11 the time they take is the same as for the other students Topic sentence of 2nd para. on IU5: x²(1.05. Chi-Square Tests show that subjects performed significantly better on IU1. text 2 Ending Starting 13 4 Middle Ending 15 21 Notes: *“Scores yielded” refers to the number of subjects who has taken down notes of the respective IU. **“IU placement” refers to the placement of an IU in a paragraph Observations of comprehension scores yielded by certain IUs in different positions can lead us to the following two conclusions: (1). IU 1 IU Content (enrolment number) in accordance with the furtherance of educational reform IU Features IU Placement** Text 1 Starting Text 2 Ending Scores yielded Text 1 2 Text 2 7 IU 4 1990 (enrolment) will be 1600 students Responding to 1st question.5. January 2008 TABLE 2 Scores Yielded* by Certain IUs IU No. Only one exception is IU10. Vol. which did not yield significant higher score when placed at the end: x²(1.4. Topic sentence of 1st para. p＜. 1 Issue 1.05.Chinese EFL Journal. Chinese students performed better in listening comprehension of Information Units when they are placed at the ending position of a paragraph. p＜..n=30)=12.
It might be counter-argued that Information Units at the end of a paragraph/text are comparatively easier to be memorized. No scientific researches have been done by far to support that.05. 1 Issue 1. processing time (or prepare time) might not be the cause of comprehension results in this case. Chinese students do not perform better on Information Units when they are placed at the starting point of a paragraph.n=30)=. Conclusion This study aims to find out whether Chinese EFL learners are affected by discourse organizations when listening in English. As mentioned. They don’t know it as critical to catch the topic at the beginning of a paragraph/text in order to understand the gist of a discourse. the conclusion point (topic sentence) is usually put at the end of a paragraph/text in a Chinese discourse. Vol.Chinese EFL Journal. since the next pause allows more time for the listener to process. Two listening texts identical in all aspects except discourse organizations were used as instruments on two parallel groups of subjects. but the difference is not statistically significant: x²(1. Students who are used to the Chinese discourse organization would lay more attention stress on the ending point of a paragraph/text. Hence. But this might be due to the reason that IU10’s place in text 1 was also in the ending part. It would be more reasonable to suppose that subjects are not aware of the topicsupporting feature of English expositions. the starting point still has its superiority: listeners have the previous time to prepare.05.g. but experiment results did not support that. This shows that Chinese students generally do not pay special attention to Information Units at the starting point. but to subjects’ attention stress. This is obviously not due to “process pause”. e. This result may be due to the impact of Chinese discourse pattern. next to the ending IU11. IU6 in text 2. Just like the ending position. IU4 yielded a higher comprehension score when placed at the starting point. We have reasons to expect that students perform better on starting IUs. p＞. Compared with the ending position. IU1 and IU11 yielded significantly lower comprehension scores when placed at the starting point. some key-point IUs can yield a high comprehension score even when placed in the middle of a paragraph. Results do not support the hypothesis that Chinese learners Chinese EFL Journal 53 .69. 7. On the contrary. (2). January 2008 p＞. IU6 yielded even less scores when placed at the starting point than in the middle. which has a pause time for listeners to process.
in order to avoid the possible impact from subjects’ proficiency level. The knowledge of their discourse organizations is sometimes necessary for a better understanding. Students should be told why and be trained on how to stress and utilize the starting point (topic sentence) in listening comprehension. The way of subjects’ reporting and criteria of comprehension assessment can also be improved. since Chinese discourse organization does the opposite. so as to find out whether they significantly score more on the English-style text and/or Chinese EFL Journal 54 . Chinese discourse organization affects Chinese EFL learners’ listening comprehension of an English text. listening comprehension involves instant information processing. E. The topic-comment feature of English expository texts is of critical importance. they should be taught the discourse organization of English texts as well as the differences between Chinese and English discourse organizations. 1 Issue 1.g. That is. Since Chinese learners are influenced by Chinese discourse organization when writing in English (González. retrospective recall can be used instead of taking notes. we can cautiously conclude that Chinese learners comprehend better with a Chinese-style text. January 2008 comprehend more information when they listen to a Chinese style English text. Chen and Sanchez. Implication can also be drawn to communications with non-native English speakers. 1986) countries speak English with features of their own cultures. Implication can be drawn from the findings to Chinese EFL teaching: when students are proficient enough to look at a text on discourse level. and with the consideration of the fact that Chinese-style text tends to have the “topic sentence” placed at the end of a paragraph/text.Chinese EFL Journal. Listeners have less time to ponder about discourse problems. This result should not be too much out of expectation. future research on this topic is advised to be cautious on subjects and instrument choosing. Compared to writing.. People from the Outer Circle (Kachru. even though communication is through English. 2001). But observations into the position of some Information Units reveal that Chinese learners tend to perform significantly better on comprehending Information Units which locate at the end of a paragraph than those at the beginning. it is unreasonable to expect them to cast off such influences when listening. native speakers can be used as subjects. Combining the two findings. Vol. As mentioned in the discussion section. If possible.
González. (1966). 25(4).55-74). H. 113-127. 1 Issue 1. Proceedings of the First National Conference on tertiary literacy: Research and practice. Academic listening: Research perspectives (pp. Cultural thinking and discourse organizational patterns influencing writing skills in a Chinese English-as-aForeign-Language (EFL) learner. (1986). The Modern Language Journal. Bilingual Research Journal. 16 (2). & Miller. Jung. New York: Cambridge University Press. (1993). Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. Kachru. 17. J. N. Kirkpatrick.). (1994). Student perceptions. 23(2). C. B. Melbourne: Victoria University of Technology. (1986). (1992).Chinese EFL Journal. research can also be done with a comparison of subjects’ performance before and after the introduction of discourse organizations. E.. (1995). The effect of discourse markers on second language lecture comprehension. Cultural thought patterns in intercultural communication. B. C. The role of discourse signaling cues in second language listening comprehension. A. Language Learning. J. 27–60. Flowerdew (Ed. Writing expository essays in Chinese: Chinese or Western influences. & Richards. Borland (Eds. January 2008 perform better on the starting Information Units. E. & Sanchez. B. (1997a). 1–20. Information sequencing in modern standard Chinese. Flowerdew. Flowerdew. In J. & Tauroza. C. P. L. The effect of discourse markers on the comprehension of lectures. R. In Z. A. References Chaudron. RELC Journal. Moreover. V. Dunkel. Vol. M. Applied Linguistics. 417-442. A. & Davis. S. Y. Chinese EFL Journal 55 . J. problems and strategies in second language lecture comprehension. 562-577. 16. Studies in Second Language Acquisition. 7(2). The effects of rhetorical signaling cues on the recall of English lecture information be speakers of English as a native and second language. Chen. Kaplan.). 435-458. Kirkpatrick. (2003). Golebiowski & H. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. C. 87(4). The alchemy of English. 60-80. (2001). J.
S. 79-97. 14(2).edu/rfl/October2002/sharp/sharp. TESOL Quarterly. (1997b). Traditional Chinese text structures and their influence on the writing in Chinese and English of contemporary mainland Chinese students. Point-driven understanding in engineering lecture comprehension. R.. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. & Tuffs. Wong. Chinese L1 schoolchildren reading in English: The effects of rhetorical patterns. W. Reading in a Foreign Language. A. N. 223-244. MA: Newbury House. L. A. (1996). 53 (1). Journal of Intensive English Studies. (1994). from http://nflrc. (1992).). I. R. Young. 19 (3). D. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. W. Gass & L. Chinese EFL Journal 56 . W. Scollon.). Rowley. W. Selinker (Eds. T. Journal of Second Language Writing. 191–218. Ting-Toomey (Ed. Academic writing and Chinese students: Transfer and developmental factors. 1 Issue 1. Retrieved December 23. Albany: State University of New York Press. (1983).html Tudor. R. & Kirkpatrick. W. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Contrastive discourse in Chinese and English—A critical appraisal. A. (1990). (1991). International communication: A discourse approach. A. A. Mohan. Olsen. 6. (1994). Contrastive rhetoric: An exploration of proverbial references in Chinese student L1 and L2 writing. Crosstalk and culture in Sino-American communication. Scollon. 2005. 33-47. L. S. Inc. (1985).133-157). The role of L1 in the acquisition of motion verbs in English by Chinese and Japanese learners. The challenge of face work: Cross-cultural and interpersonal issues (pp. Face parameters in East-West discourse. The Canadian Modern Language Review. Rutherford.. Formal and content schemata activation in L2 viewing comprehension. & Scollon. & Lo. English for Specific Purposes. Scollon. Language Transfer in Language Learning. RELC Journal. Language typology and language transfer. January 2008 Kirkpatrick. (2002). R. S. Yu. Sharp. L. & Scollon. Vol. 6(3). 22(2). L. (1995). 515–534. Scollon. (1998). S. In S.Chinese EFL Journal. B. 71–90. In S. W. & Huckin. 9(1). A.hawaii.
/ However. / 1990. / Therefore the time they take is the same as for the other students. many university students in China have to take military training at the beginning of their college lives. / they can go to any job they want / without any probation. / But. / They will therefore graduate / one year after those last year students / who went to university at the same time they did. At a conference in early 1990 (the 1989-enroled students were still in Military Academy and the 1990 recruitment was under planning). / therefore the numbers we enrolled last year / were a little down. a Japanese journalist asked the president of Beijing University a question: “I understand that the number of the recruitments … of the Beijing University is much reduced which is about one third of the normal figure. “/”indicates a pause in reading) Chinese EFL Journal 57 . after this year’s group of freshmen complete their courses / and return to Beijing University. (140 words. and if this figure is resumed to the normal level which is about 2000 students. 1 Issue 1. / So. / after completing their military courses. 20 pauses) (Note: Both texts are read by the same speaker. are they going to complete their studies in Beijing University in 3 years or in another 4 years?” Transcripts of two listening texts Text 1 In accordance with the furtherance of educational reform at Beijing University. / they will have to undertake / four years of academic work. / to undertake four years of academic work. Reading: 72 seconds. Reading: 71 seconds. / The number we enrolled last year / were a little down. / because the enroll number should meet that / which the Military Academy can accept. will all those 2000 students be brought down to the Military Academy for military training. Vol. / will be 1600 students. January 2008 Appendix 1: Instruments (listening texts) Background (shown to subjects before listening) After 1989. / They will therefore graduate a year later / than their peers / who went to university at the same time they did. / double that of last year’s.Chinese EFL Journal. (143 words. and when the 1989 students return to Beijing University. / double that of last year. I want to ask whether in 1990 you will still cut down the number of recruitment of the students. Beijing University students have to take oneyear’s military courses before they come back to campus. / the enrolled number of students / will meet the number that the Military Academy can accept. / the enrollment for 1990 / will be 1600 students. / This group of freshmen will have to return to Beijing University. unlike other students. / The time taken for the 1989 group of Beijing University freshmen to get employment / is the same as that for other students. / after they graduate / they will not need to complete the required probationary period of one year / when they start employment. / This year. after those other students graduate / they have to do a year’s probation. 21 pauses) Text 2 The enrollment for this year. / after this group of Beijing University freshmen graduate. / This is in accordance with the furtherance of educational reform at Beijing University.
the enrollment for (IU4)1990 will be 1600 students. after this year’s group of freshmen (IU6)complete their courses and return to Beijing University. This is (IU1)in accordance with the furtherance of educational reform at Beijing University. Text 1 (IU1)In accordance with the furtherance of educational reform at Beijing University. after (IU9)those other students graduate they have to do a year’s probation. But. because the enroll number should (IU2)meet that which the Military Academy can accept.Chinese EFL Journal. Since the two texts carry the same meaning. Mainly functional clauses. the enrolled number of students will (IU2)meet the number that the Military Academy can accept. (IU9)unlike other students. will be 1600 students. So. after this group of Beijing University freshmen graduate. (IU3)The number we enrolled last year were a little down. However. Vol. (IU4)1990. They will therefore (IU8)graduate one year after those last year students who went to university at the same time they did. Chinese EFL Journal 58 . (IU11)The time taken for the 1989 group of Beijing University freshmen to get employment is the same as that for other students. (IU5)double that of last year’s. 1 Issue 1. This group of freshmen will have to (IU6)return to Beijing University after completing their military courses to undertake (IU7)four years of academic work. or major circumstances. January 2008 Appendix 2: Criteria for evaluating Comprehension subjects’ Listening Two listening texts are segmented into basic Information Units (Key points that compose the main idea. they will have to undertake (IU7)four years of academic work. but those already appeared in the Background not included). this year. therefore (IU3)the numbers we enrolled last year were a little down. underlined in the following. (IU10)they can go to any job they want without any probation. Text 2 The enrollment for this year. after they graduate they will (IU10)not need to complete the required probationary period of one year when they start employment. (IU5)double that of last year. Subjects are then assessed by the amount of IU they have taken notes. They will therefore (IU8)graduate a year later than their peers who went to university at the same time they did. therefore (IU11)the time they take is the same as for the other students. they carry the same IUs.
Vol. No.Chinese EFL Journal. 1 Chinese EFL Journal 59 . 8 Group 2. No. January 2008 Appendix 3: Samples of subjects’ notes Group 1. 1 Issue 1.
January 2008 Appendix 4: Comprehension results Group 1 (listen to Text 1. 1 Issue 1. Chinese EFL Journal 60 . Chinese discourse style) Grade* No. * “√”indicates that the subject has taken down notes of the IU. Grade* IU1 IU2 IU3 IU4 IU5 IU6 IU7 IU8 IU9 IU10 IU11 Total 1 7 85 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 2 5 83 √ √ √ √ √ 3 5 83 √ √ √ √ √ 4 4 83 √ √ √ √ 5 82 √ √ √ √ √ √ 6 6 3 79 √ √ √ 7 79 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 7 8 78 √ √ √ 3 9 76 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 7 10 73 √ √ √ 3 11 2 70 √ √ 12 2 70 √ √ 13 3 70 √ √ √ 14 70 √ √ 2 15 60 √ √ √ 3 16 4 69 √ √ √ √ 17 69 √ √ √ √ 4 18 69 √ √ √ √ √ √ 6 19 6 68 √ √ √ √ √ √ 20 3 68 √ √ √ 21 3 67 √ √ √ 22 2 67 √ √ 23 66 √ √ √ √ √ 5 24 1 64 √ 25 3 60 √ √ √ 26 1 58 √ 27 4 57 √ √ √ √ 28 2 53 √ √ 29 1 42 √ 30 1 40 √ 2 3 5 16 13 17 8 3 15 13 108 13 Note: *“Grade” refers to the mean of participant’s Listening Comprehension Exam scores in their past 3 semesters. Vol.Chinese EFL Journal.
Chinese EFL Journal. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Grade IU1 IU2 IU3 IU4 IU5 IU6 IU7 IU8 IU9 IU10 IU11 Total 7 85 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 7 83 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 3 83 √ √ √ 83 √ √ √ √ √ √ 6 8 80 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 8 79 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 7 78 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 78 √ √ √ √ 4 7 76 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ 5 74 √ √ √ √ √ 2 70 √ √ 4 70 √ √ √ √ 70 √ √ 2 3 70 √ √ √ 4 69 √ √ √ √ 3 69 √ √ √ 3 69 √ √ √ 69 √ √ √ √ √ 5 3 68 √ √ √ 3 68 √ √ √ 2 67 √ √ 4 67 √ √ √ √ 4 66 √ √ √ √ 4 64 √ √ √ √ 1 60 √ 1 59 √ 3 57 √ √ √ 1 54 √ 1 42 √ 1 41 √ 2 8 8 14 18 7 11 21 4 116 7 16 Chinese EFL Journal 61 . Vol. English discourse style) No. 1 Issue 1. January 2008 Group 2 (listen to Text 2.
EFL. 1 Issue 1. social factors mainly include economical treatment. The educational factors mainly include knowledge integration. The findings of this study revealed that reflection brought changes to the teachers and the teacher’s professional development was reflected in changes in their beliefs and teaching practice. Key words: reflection. ‘Teachers learn by doing. beliefs. Generally speaking. education and individuality etc. clinical practice and professional empowerment etc. reading. practice. one needs to realize what factors can influence the teaching practice. There are many factors which influence a teachers’ professional development such as society. Darling-Hammond. January 2008 Title Reflection can change EFL Teachers beliefs and teaching practice Author Li Hua Abstract: This is a case study conducted with 24 EFL teachers from 6 different high schools in Guangdong to explore their beliefs and practices in their work place. by collaborating with other teachers. teacher support organizations and qualification certificates etc. teacher development 1 Introduction To understand the professional development of teachers in an EFL context. and how their reflection changed their beliefs and their practice in a Chinese context. Individual factors mainly include reflecting experiences and lifelong learning opportunities etc. occupational prestige. and reflecting. Vol. by looking closely at students and their work. These factors play different roles in influencing teachers’ professional development. change.Chinese EFL Journal. and sharing what they see’ (p. 598)The Chinese government in 2001 introduced a New Curriculum Standard which suggested communication- Chinese EFL Journal 62 . and McLaughlin (1995) contend.
among which the most direct factor is teachers’ beliefs (Tsui. their pedagogical content knowledge. are central to improving English language teaching. How does the EFL teachers’ reflection change their beliefs and their practice? 2 Literature review This paper reviews how teachers acquire their beliefs. What is the relationship between EFL teachers’ beliefs and practices as they teach in Chinese high schools? 2). and involvement in research. reflective thinking.Chinese EFL Journal. can teachers improve their English teaching. The hypothesis of this research is that teaching teachers how to reflect can change and improve their beliefs and teaching practice. and reflection has seldom been studied. The term. Although the analysis of the data is on going. the relationship between teachers’ beliefs. apart from the methods and materials they may use. 1 Issue 1. and their teaching skills，teaching methods. However. Vol. According to Freeman. recognizing their own weakness in teaching. Much research has been done on teachers’ attitudes towards teaching. traditional methods of teaching still prevail in many classrooms. What affects teaching practice? English teaching in a classroom is influenced by many factors. A teacher’s practice is the external presentation of teachers’ personal qualities and the teacher’s level of professional development. and the materials they use etc. In order to become a mature educational professional. 2003). Freeman and Johnson (1998) argued Chinese EFL Journal 63 . Therefore. one needs continual learning. and being ready to change their action. and in turn how reflection can change teachers’ beliefs and practices A belief is a proposition consciously or unconsciously held as true by individuals. (1991) language teacher education has begun to recognize that teachers. Only by frequent reflection such as looking back on classroom events. However. and relationship between those beliefs and teaching practices. January 2008 oriented and task-based language teaching. this study aims to explore how reflection can change EFL teachers' beliefs and their teaching practice in Chinese high schools. ‘teachers’ beliefs’ refers to their teaching beliefs. the research is motivated by the following questions: 1). practice. Beliefs about teaching affect a teachers’ practice.
intend. but we Chinese EFL Journal 64 . Tidwell. Richardson (1996) described the relationship between beliefs and actions ‘Beliefs are thought to drive actions. p. p. the teacher who does it. January 2008 that the core of language teacher education must centre on the activity of the teaching itself. experiences and reflection on action may lead to changes in and/or additions to beliefs. and beliefs that inform their knowledge about teaching and shape what they do in their classrooms. The connection between beliefs and practices with school cultures remains largely unexamined. No matter whether change in beliefs comes before change in practice or the other way around. change in teachers’ beliefs is likely to take place only after changes in student learning outcomes.’ (Hu. 2004. In other words. teachers’ beliefs define a teacher’s implicit view of language and view of language learning. 401). 1998.Chinese EFL Journal. on the decisions they made and on their general classroom practices. while Guskey (1986). Anders. and how teachers behave in the classroom. a teachers' classroom practice is especially influenced by their beliefs Pajares (1992) stated that teachers’ beliefs had a greater influence than teachers’ knowledge on the way they planned their lessons. 104) Pajares (1992 )also claims that ‘beliefs cannot be directly observed or measured but must be inferred from what people say. Actually the relationship between beliefs and actions is interactive. 314) Beliefs are difficult to observe and evaluate. ‘Teachers are not empty vessels waiting to be filled with theoretical and pedagogical skills.’ (p. I think that beliefs and practice are connected and ongoing. Teachers’ beliefs in language teaching influence or shape what teachers do in EFL classroom. they are individuals who enter teacher education programs with prior experience. however. personal values. Richardson. and help them decide what kind of teaching will be most effective. and Lloyd (1991) found that changes in beliefs preceded change in practices.’ (Freeman and Johnson. ‘Beliefs are also found to be far more influential than knowledge in determining how individuals organize and define tasks and problems. and do—fundamental prerequisites that educational researchers have seldom followed. concluded that after examining some teachers who participated in teacher development programs.’ (p. Vol. 1 Issue 1. According to Zheng (2004). 104) Widespread evidence indicates that the teacher’s classroom practice and the teacher’s decision making in the classroom are highly affected by their beliefs. and the pedagogy by which it is done. the context in which it is done.
The 6 regions are classified according to their economic status: developed and developing regions. 3 Methods The subjects in the study are 24 EFL teachers from 6 different high schools in 6 3.1 Subjects different regions. we can understand the strength and weakness of a teacher’s teaching practice and encourage them to reflect on their teaching practice so as to improve their teaching. cited in Zhu. and senior teachers who are promoted from sub-senior teacher after at least five years of teaching with a good record of teaching and essays. The 24 participants of this study are full-time high school teachers of English with different teaching experiences and different professional titles in EFL teaching. Richards and Lockhart (1994) suggested that reflective teaching could be carried out by individuals working alone. p. 1 Issue 1. beliefs. examine their attitudes. 30）This version of reflective teaching could be practiced in isolation as it focuses on teachers’ action and thoughts before.’ (1981. They are usually formed early in life and not easy to change unless they benefit the person. January 2008 can infer them from classroom observations. sub-senior teachers who are promoted from junior teacher after at least five years of teaching with a good teaching record. and thinking about alternative means of achieving goals or aims. 4. Chinese EFL Journal 65 . who begin to teach after graduation from the university.（Richards and Lockhart，1998. assumptions. as cited in Bartlett. They are classified according to their professional titles such as novice teachers. 2004. and teaching practices. Vol. From the observation of teaching behavior in a classroom.Chinese EFL Journal. 2004. junior teachers who have taught English at least for 3 years with a good record of teaching. In reflective teaching ‘teachers and student teachers collect data about teaching. However. experiences and reflection on action may lead to changes in beliefs and Teachers’ beliefs and teaching practice depend on how well teachers reflect. 202) Schon (1983) suggested that a professionals’ “core of practice” is reflection-in-practice in terms of holding a reflective conversation with the situation. during or after class. Cruickshank and Applegate define reflective teaching as ‘the teacher’s thinking about what happens in classroom lessons. and use the information obtained as a basis for critical reflection about teaching.
Chinese EFL Journal. Vol. 1 Issue 1. January 2008
Appendix 1 details some background information of the 24 teachers. Code: TA1=teacher; A=school A; TA1= a teacher from school A; G1= grade 1 3.2 Procedures This study is part of a three year longitudinal research project employing multiple data sources using classroom observations, and interviews to examine high school teacher’ beliefs, practices and reflection in Chinese high schools. There were 24 participants who participated in 4 qualitative interviews, (one interview each half a semester) which were conducted after classroom observation, were tape-recorded, and transcribed for analysis. Field notes documented the settings, and acts of the community members. Audio tapes of the classroom supplemented field notes. Inductive approaches were used to analyze the qualitative data from interviews, observations and documents. Data collection began during the Chinese school year’s first semester. (September of 2005)
4 Results and discussion The results reported here are summarized according to the 2 research questions asked in this survey study—the relationship between EFL teachers’ beliefs and practices, and how their reflection change their beliefs and practice. 4.1 Their beliefs about language, language learning and language teaching Field notes of a classroom were gathered and the teachers were interviewed the same day based on the lesson they taught in order to further explore their beliefs on views of language, views of language learning and language teaching. The reason for conducting both interviews and observation is that teachers’ beliefs usually have to be measured from both what teachers say and how they behave in the classroom (Agyris and Schon 1974) The result (see appendix 2) showed that 9 out of 24 teachers held strong view that language was a set of skills, which required some listening, speaking, reading and writing. It also showed that 12 out of 24 teachers thought that Language was a linguistic system made up of various subsystems, such as vocabulary, and grammar, which indicated that most teachers believed that language consisted of language knowledge and skills. Therefore 9 out of 24 teachers thought they should teach language knowledge and skills, while 12 out of 24 thought they should only teach
Chinese EFL Journal
Chinese EFL Journal. Vol. 1 Issue 1. January 2008
language knowledge in class. Based on this view of language teaching, these 21 teachers mostly explained new words and grammar, and asked students to memorize them since EFL learning only takes place in the classroom. They also needed to do some exercises and practiced in writing to consolidate what they have learned. Few activities were designed to provide students opportunities to experience, participate, explore, cooperate, discover and construct language as these things were regarded as waste of time. In the interviews, nearly 80% of teachers showed the main reason for the focusing on language knowledge teaching was to prepare the students to pass examinations. The examinations, which have already greatly changed in China now, focus on comprehensive use of English. Some teachers still hold stronger beliefs on traditional ways of teaching because the traditional way of teaching is not as challenging as the new curriculum requires. The effectiveness of the English Curriculum Standard’s execution depends to some extent on the improvement of the qualities of a teacher of English. So, teachers’ qualifications and development should be a top priority, as education and teaching reforms go on. A few teachers had more advanced beliefs about in EFL teaching. They believed teachers should help students not only lay foundation of linguistic knowledge but also gain the ability to use English appropriately in any context. When they were asked where their ideas came from and how they learned to teach, they said they got ideas mostly from their own learning or teaching experience, from other teachers, reading about teaching, and visiting other classrooms. The results indicated that there was no relationship between age of teachers and different teaching methods and practice. It was found that among the 24 teachers in the survey (see appendix 2) and the interview data revealed that the teachers seemed to rely mainly on their English learning experiences, their own teaching experience and other teachers’ teaching experiences. Interestingly, their beliefs remained constant throughout a year regardless of age or number of years teaching experiences. However, since it is three year longitudinal study, it is expected that with three years of reflection training, they may change in their teaching as long as they reflect and take action.
Chinese EFL Journal
Chinese EFL Journal. Vol. 1 Issue 1. January 2008
4.2 Teachers’ practice The teachers’ practice was evaluated through classroom observation. (see field notes in appendix 3) Twenty four teachers’ lessons were observed and the teaching practices were classified according to the field notes of the classroom observer. Interviews followed after the classroom observation. The result indicated that a high percentage of the teachers’ purpose of teaching English was to build up language knowledge. The second purpose was to stimulate their interest of learning, and only about one fifth of the teachers had an objective to help students become independent learners and use English appropriately. Nearly half the teachers focused mostly on language knowledge, less on language skills and the least amount on understanding, discourse, and culture. A high percentage of the teachers followed the procedure of giving language input, then getting feedback from students usually through questions and answers, explanations of language forms. Structures were then done by teachers and finally, students were assigned written exercises to consolidate what they had learned. As for the teachers’ role, most teachers dominated the classroom as explainers, only small part of percentage of teachers played the role of helper or participant etc and created student-centered classroom learning atmosphere. With respect to resources they used, 60% of them used slide shows, videos, and computers to give presentations in class but very few teachers looked for related materials on the internet to increase students’ language input. The result indicated that there were all three kinds of teachers that Scrivener observed (2002): First, explainers who know their subject matter very well, but has limited knowledge of teaching methodology. They rely mainly on explaining or lecturing as a way of conveying information to their students. Second, involvers know both the subject matter and teaching methodology. They can use appropriate teaching techniques to help their students learn subject matter and actively involve students in designing activities but still retain clear control over what happens in the classroom. Third, enablers not only know subject matter and teaching methodology but also have an awareness of how individuals and groups within their classes are thinking and feeling. They actively practice this teaching plan in building effective working relationships and setting a good classroom atmosphere.
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interviews after classroom observation. The teachers reflected immediately after. behavior or achievement’ (Lee. At the third level. interprets the situation with rationale. 2005. and is able to see the influence of their cooperating teachers on their students’ values. searches for “why it was. participants were usually required to focus on the purpose of their teaching. had dialogues and cooperated with each other. They were also asked whether they succeeded in achieving their goal. The criteria to assess the depth of reflective thinking was measured in three levels.Chinese EFL Journal. and why they did it to achieve a goal. (see appendix 4) Individual interviews were conducted with each of the participants after the classroom observation. analyzes their experiences from various perspectives. Most teachers complained that they were busy preparing lessons and had a lot of meetings at schools. which indicated that changes in their reflective thinking can change their teaching. 703) It indicated (see appendix 4) that not many teachers joined the workshop to reflect on their teaching and write reflective reports after finishing teaching each unit. They were under a lot of pressure because of examinations evaluated by the school or government. one describes what they experienced. p. ‘Recall level (R1). January 2008 4. which usually lasted about half an hour and focused on general reflection on the field experience and the reflective report they submitted. that is what they did and how they did it. it is possible Chinese EFL Journal 69 . one looks for relationships between pieces of their experiences. Vol. rationalization Level (R2). Based on the data sources of their reflection. reflection level (R3). interprets the situation based on recalling their experiences without looking for alternative explanations. workshops and reflective journals. and attempts to imitate ways that they have observed or were taught. at the first level.” and generalizes their experiences or comes up with guiding principles. For the content of reflection. one approaches their experiences with the intention of changing/improving in the future. Triangulation data was used to examine the participants’ reflective thinking. and the procedure of their teaching. where the teachers reflected. or why they did not achieve it and how they could improve it. Then the teachers and university teachers worked together and had discussion on them in the workshops. The teachers talked about their problems in their teaching and how they solved some problems and why they could not solve some problems. At the second level.3 Reflection Three main sources of data which focus on reflection-on-action were used in the study. Workshops were usually held on the day before classroom observation. 1 Issue 1.
4. unlike TC4. What makes such a big difference between the two teachers? I think there are two main factors: First. awareness of reflection is important. The level of their reflective thinking in their reflective journals reached higher level than that in the workshop or interview. January 2008 to discuss the content they usually covered and how deeply they reflected on their teaching. Vol. to some extent. Some teachers reached level R2 and some of them even extended to level R3. find the problems in teaching and explain with rationale. Tom almost remains the same although he has made some changes in his beliefs. teachers can learn a lot by working together. only a few top teachers in his district can get the opportunity for teacher education in universities. 1 Issue 1. constant cooperation may increase the amount of interaction among teachers. and take some changes in classroom. However. Instead. which greatly improved their teaching by the time of the next classroom observation. It shows that TC4 has changed a lot through reflection as what she says “I benefit a lot from reflection. we found out that teachers’ level of reflective thinking did not depend on years of teaching experiences. Second. as mentioned above. In the part of the 3-year longitudinal program. However.4 Changes in beliefs and practice as result of reflective thinking In the part of the program “An empirical study on sustainable professional development of senior English teachers in Guangdong province”. The professional development of the teachers in developing areas is strongly affected by the surroundings and teaching context. in which she tries to recall. those who continually look back over their teaching. and take action in the classroom. By interacting with colleagues. TE4 is not so informative in developing area. For example. improve a lot in their beliefs and practice.Chinese EFL Journal. Chinese EFL Journal 70 . find problems and carry out analysis. Those who kept thinking and reflecting improved to a greater extent than those who did not.” She reflects and takes action. interviews and writing reflective journals. whether teachers reflect and take action determines whether there will be a change in their beliefs and practices. TC4 is aware of the importance of reflection and she keeps reflecting in workshops. while most teachers just get lifelong learning from the top teachers in the area or from reading books. TC4’s school has good atmosphere to cooperate each other. It details two cases of changes (see appendix 5).
(2) instructional in-class teamwork. which can provide good opportunities for them to learn from each other. Vol.. 181) Third. she considers the curriculum. Curtis. even for veteran teachers. ‘Her own personality and attitude are active encouragement to learn. 1 Issue 1. ‘team teaching really consists of three phases: (1) pre-instructional planning. M.Chinese EFL Journal. He sometimes wonders whether it is good way to teach English. ‘Such planning can entail the macro levels of an entire curriculum or the syllabus for a course. M.. In many cases. Therefore. teachers can have a lot of discussion on the effectiveness of lesson plan after class. he has to take every chance to focus on language points in teaching and practice to meet the needs of examinations without being aware whether students all involved and challenged. 2004. practice and reflection through observing what they said and did. she takes her lead from her students. K.. seeing herself as someone whose job is to create the conditions that enable the student to learn for themselves. 2004.. 2002.’ (Scrivener. teachers can work together to plan the lesson. teachers make decision by reflecting on what they will discuss after the lesson. Before a lesson. January 2008 However...’ (Bailey. as a teacher does not have to prepare each lesson. D. 6) 5 Implication and conclusion This study has explored the teachers’ beliefs. K. TE4 is not working in an atmosphere of cooperation and teachers do not tend to cooperate. 181) That is the pre-active decision making.” (TE4 in interview after class) Therefore. methods.’ ((Bailey. teaching materials. TC4 holds strong belief that teaching is for the development of students. it is teachers’ beliefs that affect teachers’ reflective thinking. A & Nunan. and (3) post-instructional follow-up work. Although they share lesson plans together the main purpose for doing this is to lighten the work load. during a lesson. Working together usually occurs before. A & Nunan. He holds strong belief that teaching is to pass examinations in China. She is confident in sharing control with students. The analysis of the data reveals a relationship Chinese EFL Journal 71 . or it can be the preparation for a specific lesson plan. Therefore. So they share without any changes for their different students. learning strategies etc according to the needs and development of students. TE4 does not think reflection is useful for improving teaching. D. p. However. “because our teaching is assessed according to the result of examinations which relates to a teacher’s income and promotion. Likewise. Curtis. during and after lessons.
Besides. teachers need to set themselves free to communicate with their colleagues. They need to think about what. Teacher learning can occur anytime and anywhere. reform of examinations. especially the teachers in developing regions. In China. 1 Issue 1. Teachers’ beliefs and practice are closely related to each other. It was of great interest that their beliefs remained constant regardless of age or number of years teaching experience. Chinese EFL Journal 72 . 311). There are several factors which could help promote the change such as reform of top-down curriculum.Chinese EFL Journal. and how to teach. In examining what influenced teachers’ beliefs about language teaching. Dialogue and cooperation can help the teachers get over their troubles. expectation of school leaders and parents. (1992) states that ‘Having knowledge about student teachers will help teacher educators in developing effective tasks and activities aimed at cultivating reflective teachers. Professional development is a never-ending process. They need to understand what a teacher role is before they go into the teaching field. it was found that generally EFL teachers seemed to rely on their own foreign language learning and teaching experiences. The study showed that beliefs could be changed through reflection although it is slow. can be an excellent practitioner. the use of new teaching materials. gain access to effective solutions. Teachers’ different beliefs will affect teachers practice and decision making in class both consciously and subconsciously. The relationship is beliefs drive actions and reflection can change beliefs and action. EFL teachers should be responsible for their personal or professional development.’ (p. They should be life-long learners It is good beginning for a teacher to begin to reflect. The next step is to take action to improve their teaching. Vol. and cooperation with other teachers etc. discover their problems. who can be a classroom researcher and regard his own classroom as a research site. why. and reflection. Any teacher. and so on. students. Learning to critically reflect is a necessary condition for their on-going growth and life-long development. as Holt-Reynolds. process. who lack opportunities to attend in-service teacher education in universities. Constant review and analysis can lead them to be more reflective and reflection can change their beliefs and practice so as to be better teachers. An awareness and understanding of a teacher’s background and teaching context is very important in order to help them to reflect. practice. January 2008 among beliefs.
(2004). In practice this study will give an enlightening inspiration to EFL teachers and for EFL teacher development in China. L. D. 1 Issue 1. Understanding and assessing pre-service teachers’ reflective thinking. Curtis. 597-604 Freeman. 397-417 Guskey. & D. 32 (3). TESOL Quarterly. D. K.Teacher Beliefs: A case study of teaching English in China. 307-332. Theory in practice.. Teaching and Teacher Education.E. (1994). & McLaughlin M. C. K. & Schon. this study will help EFL teachers to understand how to put the theory into application so as to improve teachers’ teaching ability.. 15 (5). and Johnson. CELEA Journal. 202214). Phi Delta Kappan. American Educational Research Journal. The research could provide us with a wealth of information about how EFL teachers’ reflections change their beliefs and their teaching. (2004). Reflective teaching in second language Chinese EFL Journal 73 . Educational Researcher. A & Nunan. 76. (1992).Chinese EFL Journal. 62 (3). M. J. W. 181 Bartlett. H. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and research Press. D. as well as increase our understanding and awareness of EFL teacher development. Personal history-based beliefs as relevant prior knowledge in course work. (1995) Policies that support professional development in an era of reform. Teachers’ beliefs and educational research: Cleaning up a messy construct. 1992. Pursing Professional Development. how reflection changes teachers’ beliefs and their teaching practice. (2004). 699-715. Review of Educational Research. which is associated with the teachers’ reflection and possible change of the teachers’ beliefs and teaching practice. Richards. San Francisco: Josey Bass. January 2008 This study revealed the importance of examining the relationship between EFL teachers’ beliefs and practices. 325-347 Hu Y. C. T. As to the application of this study. Holt-Reynolds. Second language teacher education (pp. C. F. D. J. J. Teacher development through reflective teaching. (2005). Darling-Hammond. 21. References Argyris. In J. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. (1974).). Reconceptualizing the knowledge-base of language teacher education. & Lockhart. Richards. Pajares. C. Vol. A. (1986). M. Nunan (Eds. 29 (2). Staff development and the process of teacher change. 27 (2 ) 104-108 Lee. Bailey. 5-12. (1998).
559-586. C. Handbook of research on teacher education. (2003 )Understanding Expertise in Teaching: Case studies of Second Language Teachers Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Zheng. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press. (2nd ed. X. V.) (pp. Tidwell. Richardson. 1 Issue 1. 28 (3). 6-10.. Nanjing: Nanjing Normal University Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Y. (1991). D. The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. Richardson. J. V. London: Temple. Journal of Foreign Language Teaching in Middle Schools. X. January 2008 classrooms.Chinese EFL Journal. Learning teaching: A guidebook for English language teachers. (2004). A. American Educational Research Journal. [Beijing: Beijing Normal University Press] (5). & Lloyd.).. (1987). P. Sikula (Ed. Appendix: Appendix 1: background of teachers Na me TA 1 TA 2 TA 3 TA 4 TB1 Se x M F F F M ag e 41 33 29 46 23 26 Years teachi ng 12 8 5 16 1 4 Teachin g grade Senior G 1 Senior G 2 Senior G 1 Senior G 2 Senior G 1 Senior G 2 School location Develop ed Develop ed Develop ed Develop ed Develop ed Develop ed Lifelong learning status Professio nal title occasional lectures in local area occasional lectures in local area occasional lectures in local area 1 year courses in Beijing Lectures in local area Subsenior Subsenior Subsenior Senior novice TB2 F Take MA degree study junior now Chinese EFL Journal 74 . San Francisco: Josey-Bass Scrivener. A. (2002). New York: Simon Schuster Macmillan. In J. D. D. Educating the reflective practitioner. English teachers’ beliefs influence classroom teaching. The relationship between teachers’ beliefs and practices in reading comprehension instruction. (1996). (2004) The Development of Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Novice Secondary School Teachers of English.The role of attitudes and beliefs in learning to teach. M. (1983). Vol. 102119). Beijing Zhu. Tsui B. Anders. Schon. Schon.
Chinese EFL Journal. speaking. TD3. Language is a communicative tool. TF2. such as vocabulary. TF4 (2 teachers) TB2. TC1. TB4. Vol. TB3. Language is a linguistic system but also as a means for doing things. TC4 NONE 75 . needs amount of language of listening. 33 9 Take MA degree study in 2002 3-month courses in Canada Lectures in Guangzhou Lectures in Guangzhou Lectures in Guangzhou 3-month courses in UK Lectures in local area Lectures in local area Lectures in local area Lectures in local area Lectures in local areas Lectures in local areas Lectures in local areas Lectures in local areas Lectures in local area Lectures in local area Lectures in local area Lectures in local area Subsenior Senior novice junior Subsenior Senior novice junior Subsenior Senior novice junior Subsenior Senior novice junior Subsenior Senior Appendix 2: Field notes on views of language. language learning and teaching description Views Language is a set of skills. TE1. 1 Issue 1. TD4. TA4. TC3. January 2008 TB3 F Senior G Develop 2 ed TB4 F 38 16 Senior G Develop 1 ed TC1 F 24 1 Senior G Develop 1 ed TC2 F 28 5 Senior G Develop 3 ed TC3 M 31 8 Senior G Develop 2 ed TC4 F 38 16 Senior G Develop 1 ed TD F 23 1 Senior G developi 1 1 ng TD F 27 5 Senior G developi 2 2 ng TD F 35 11 Senior G developi 3 3 ng TD F 37 15 Senior G developi 4 3 ng TE1 F 26 3 Senior G developi 2 ng TE2 F 31 7 Senior G developi 1 ng TE3 F 35 11 Senior G developi 2 ng TE4 M 39 15 Senior G developi 1 ng TF1 F 23 1 Senior G developi 1 ng TF2 F 28 5 Senior G developi 2 ng TF3 M 32 9 Senior G developi 1 ng TF4 M 44 22 Senior G developi 3 ng All the teachers’ names are pseudonyms.TB1. TD1. TD2. reading and writing. TE3. whose main use is to build up and maintain Chinese EFL Journal No of participants (9 teachers) TA2. grammar. Language is a linguistic system made up of various subsystems. TC2. TF1. TE2. TA3. TE4 (12 teachers) TA1. TF3.
TF2. TC4. TB2. TB1.(3 teachers) TC4. TC1. Teachers’ explanation.3% language points. TE1. Views on language learning Appendix 3: field notes on teachers’ practice field notes of teachers’ practice Purpose A To foster students language knowledge such as 46. TD1. (3) TC4. TE4. discourse. January 2008 social relations between people. 1 Issue 1. Views TE2. TF3. helper. discussion Teacher’s A T-centered. comprehension. TA4 .7% voc.7% students interest C To stimulate students interests and help students 20. Slide show. TD4.TC3. 4 skills practice. TE1level R1 . A few are (before lesson) 4. pronunciation. TF1. TD3. TE3. explainer 33. TD4. 46. Slide show. TE4.TB4. TF1. chalk. students practice on language points. explore. TC3. TE1. TC3. TF4 Teachers explain language points and (10 teachers) TA2. explaining 33. video.6% become independent learners and use English appropriately. chalk / B Text books. controller. TE2. structure B To develop students learning ability and arouse 32. experience. language 50. question and answer. TF1-4) level R2 Most of them are Interview 22 teachers level R1 . exercises TC4. organizer.TA2. TB4. authority. TF4 on (12 teachers)TA1. participant 19. TB1. chalk. discover and construct language knowledge Language knowledge (9) TC3.8% Resources A Text books.5% role B Organizer.3% B Language points . TF3. written exercises C Vocabulary learning. skills and non. Content A Vocabulary and grammar 36. learning strategies and culture awareness.4% C Textual.Chinese EFL Journal. 16. Participate. Language knowledge. A few are (immediately after at at at at Chinese EFL Journal 76 . teaching TD3. recitation and (11 teachers)TA1. TF2.4% language practice. culture 13. 40% C Text books.7% C SS-centered. TD2 cooperate.3% points. TB2. TD1. TA3. TA3. textual analysis. Vol. language Language knowledge and skills TA4. TE3. TD2 linguistic knowledge such as affective attitudes. computer 60% Appendix 4: Status of participate in and evaluation of teachers’ reflective thinking Participants in reflective program Reflective program Teachers’ participation Evaluation Most of them are Workshop 12 teachers in 3 schools (TB1-4. input.3% procedure A Reading/ listening. do exercises B Language input. 50. TC1.
·It is important to provide ·Teacher-centered ·discussion chances for students to classroom. most of them are at level R1.TF2(3p). helper and partner excellent’ but they like in class.Chinese EFL Journal. TC3. ·How to deal with ·It is useless to just check does a lot of explanation. negotiated. A few are at level R2 P=pieces of reflective report Appendix 5: Changes in beliefs and action name Problems reflection TC4 of Changes in beliefs (data Changes in action （data from reflection ) from classroom observation） ·Weak in theory.TB4.TF1 (5p). the teacher activities. TC1.TE3.TB3. the because of examinations. ·I read some books in ·decision making in her ·effective theory to improve my class is shared and assessment teaching. guider.TC4.TC2. speak through activities. relationship between He gives us good students and the teacher. 1 Issue 1. TE4 Chinese EFL Journal 77 . TB1. examples.TF4(1p) level R2 TC4. TE2. language points in class · In most of class. more specific comments or ·Why do you think he has assessment from their made a good peers or their teacher.TB2 are occasionally at level R3. students’ exercise. Because he speaks which strengthen the good fluently.TB2. the answers in dealing with ·Still check the answers ·grammar with students about their students’ exercises. ·We should most focus on exercises. His speech is informative. teacher does a lot of explanation in language points then some practice on them. Vol. She is a ·Students like ‘good. speech?(elicit answer from Students are very happy students) about such assessment. January 2008 class) Reflective report (later after class) TE1(6p).
Her main research interests are applied linguistics. after which. China Three Gorges University. China. second Language acquisition and cross-cultural communication. 443002. Vol. Hu Xiaoqiong is a professor at the Foreign Languages College. both a quantitative and a qualitative study are conducted. Bios. 1 Issue 1. To uncover these differences. China Three Gorges University. She completed her M. Liu Han is a second-year postgraduate student majoring in Linguistics and English teaching at the Foreign Languages College. China. They were required to listen to two short passages. 46 students majored in Computer Science took part in the quantitative study. January 2008 Title An Investigation into Listening Comprehension Difficulties of More Skilled and Less Skilled Listeners and the Concordant Strategies Authors: Liu Han and Hu Xiaoqiong Address: Foreign Languages College.A in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at Guangzhou Foreign Language Institute. Yichang. the students should finish the multiple choices of 10 questions and then write down all the difficulties they have met in the listening. Thinking aloud method is also adopted alongside.Chinese EFL Journal. The first passage is the authentic material. Different listening groups also adopt different cognitive. The second Chinese EFL Journal 78 . China Three Gorges University. Hubei. Abstract: There are differences in listening comprehension difficulties between more skilled listeners and less skilled listeners. metacognitive and social affective strategies to overcome these difficulties.
the students should finish the multiple choices of 10 questions and then write down all the difficulties they have met in the listening. This time spelling mistakes are not included since the aim is to test their listening ability. Abstract: There are differences in listening comprehension difficulties between more skilled listeners and less skilled listeners. parsing and utilization and use more strategies than less skilled listeners in listening comprehension. Results are accounted. Afterwards. 46 students majored in Computer Science took part in the quantitative study. and students are also needed to write down their difficulties. two students are selected from each group to think aloud while listening to the third short passage. less skilled. a national English test for all the college students). Different listening groups also adopt different cognitive. and students are also needed to write down their difficulties. The second passage is dictation. strategies. metacognitive and social affective strategies to overcome these difficulties. Thinking aloud method is also adopted alongside. The first passage is the authentic material. parsing and utilization. more skilled. more skilled group and less skilled group. They were required to listen to two short passages. To uncover these differences. Difficulties and strategies they adopt are transcribed by the author.e. a national English test for all the college students). Difficulties and strategies they adopt are transcribed by the author. parsing and utilization. Difficulties as well as strategies are analyzed according to Anderson’s three-phase model. all the participants are divided into two groups i. Afterwards. perception.Chinese EFL Journal. Another finding of the study is that more skilled listeners tend to try harder than less skilled listeners in listening. both in quantitative and qualitative study that more skilled listeners have less cognitive difficulties than less skilled listeners in terms of perception. Combined with their CET4 (College English Test 4. It is shown in the study. both a quantitative and a qualitative study are conducted. two students are selected from each group to think aloud while listening to the third short passage. combined with their CET4 (College English Test 4. January 2008 passage is dictation. Vol. after which. Results are accounted. This time spelling mistakes are not included since the aim is to test their listening ability.e. Keywords: listening difficulties. perception. 1 Issue 1. Difficulties as well as strategies are analyzed according to Anderson’s three-phase model. more skilled group and less skilled group. all the participants are divided into two groups i. It is Chinese EFL Journal 79 .
Another finding of the study is that more skilled listeners tend to try harder than less skilled listeners in listening. more skilled.g. All these factors contribute to the difficulties of listening comprehension. e. reading. Introduction Listening comprehension is one of the five basic skills (i. listeners cannot do alike since they have little control over the speed of speakers. too. It is an active process in which people construct meaning from listening materials according to their personal experience. listening. Some may have more prior knowledge than Chinese EFL Journal 80 . Moreover. less skilled. and it is also the most important one. 1 Issue 1. 1999). parsing and utilization and use more strategies than less skilled listeners in listening comprehension. listening is especially paramount. not every listener has the same listening problem. the familiarity of the topic is one aspect that cannot be neglected in order to have a good comprehension of the passage.e. Keywords: listening difficulties. reading compression in many aspects. January 2008 shown in the study that more skilled listeners have less cognitive difficulties than less skilled listeners in terms of perception. It involves listeners’ receiving of sound. According to Krashen’s i+1 principle. and the prior knowledge. Most information they acquire is obtained through listening. Listeners’ cognitive and metacognitive strategies and affective factors also greatly influence listening comprehension. and has its own characteristics. Everything they meet links tightly to listening. Although so many difficulties exist in listening comprehension.Chinese EFL Journal. What they can only do is to try their best to catch up with the speakers. Different accent of speakers is another factor that affects listening comprehension. 1987). processing information in brain. strategies. 1. Listening comprehension is different form the other basic skills of language learning. L2 learners learn L2 through comprehensible input (Ellis. speaking. Vocabulary is important. since it is the main channel through which L2 learners distill linguistic nutrition from their L2 (Robert. Unlike reading comprehension in which readers can go back and forward to check the information they are not clear. For L2 learners. Vol. writing and translating) that a L2 learner should acquire.
effective for both L1 and L2. The 1970s witnesses the turning point of listening comprehension.” “When listening. 2. Listeners were like tape recorders that memorized everything they had heard mechanically. Literature Review Because of the importance of listening comprehension. For the qualitative study. intonation. Finally come out the results of the experiments. the listeners are active searchers for meaning. and the strategies they adopt in dealing with these difficulties. After the advent of Swiss psycholinguist Jean Piaget’s (Elliot. To explore the differences between less skilled listeners and more skilled listeners’ listening difficulties.). He lists out all the possible difficulties that listeners’ encounter during real-life listening. The theory highlights the natural and relaxed listening environment. some may have larger vocabulary. Literature review will be first introduced in the paper. think-aloud method is used. 1 Issue 1. age. After that. noise. details of the two studies will be elaborated. etc. stress. Before that.Chinese EFL Journal. January 2008 the others. and the others have better psychological state in listening. listening is considered as an active constructive process in which listeners combine their prior knowledge with listening materials. In the end. both quantitative study and qualitative study are conducted. the time. there are an increasingly growing number of linguists showing their interests in the area. such as redundancy. Chinese EFL Journal 81 . Penny Ur (1984:7-20) focuses on teaching listening comprehension.” Asher (1982) invents the “Total-body-response” teaching method to teach language through listening. listening was taken as a passive process in which listeners only receive the information provided by aural materials. 1981) cognitive constructivism theory. “Listeners are not simply passive processors who undertake automatic signal recognition exercise when acoustic signals are fed into them and so construct meaning. Brown (1990) explains. the place. and knowledge of topic. opinions). knowledge of speaker (gender. results of the two experiments are related to each other. Vol. and construct the meaning. The active listeners will use all relevant background knowledge---knowledge of the physical context of the utterance (the immediate surroundings.
Goh (1997. Vanderdrift (2003) reports on an investigation into listening strategy applications by French learners. some effective teaching methods have been put forward. In the study.e. C. M. using retrospective method. Listening is a complicated cognitive process and listeners are the processors of the input information. Listeners are like puppets dancing according to what speakers are speaking (Kelly. she examines the types of strategies used and the differences in strategy use by more skilled and less skilled listeners when they are exposed to authentic texts in French. i. especially from the cognitive point of view. 1982:101) summarizes that “Listening can be affected by several factors”. It is easy to see that. 3. Tomatis (Asher. Vol.Chinese EFL Journal. 1991). 1998. In an attempt to find what listeners actually do while listening to aural materials. And the opposite is also true. metacognitive and social affective strategies adopted by more skilled and less skilled EFL listeners. Study 3. The clues that indicate they have not understood the listening materials are their blank facial expressions. a mass of research has been carried out in cognitive and metacognitive area. O’ Malley and Chamot (1990) investigate cognitive strategies. shaking heads or anxiety. She finds the different cognitive strategies of two groups in the three phase’s model that is perception. 2001) has done a series of research on different cognitive strategies of more skilled and less skilled listeners. and categorizes all factors into three groups. physical factors and psychological factors. January 2008 fatigue of the listeners etc. it is difficult to perceive what is really going on inside the human brains when listening is going on. After that. listening comprehension is highlighted in the past few years. Nevertheless.1 Theoretical Background Chinese EFL Journal 82 . prenatal life. parsing and utilization. Kelly is the vanguard in research into the importance of vocabulary in listening comprehension. To have a clear understanding of the information processing. 1 Issue 1. Listeners can also show their understanding of the materials by showing their body language and facial expressions.
” Many researchers hold that. attention has been drawn to the aural text. 1 Issue 1. The acoustic signals are retained in the short-term memory. in ibid: 34) differentiates listening comprehension into three interrelated cognitive processes: perceptual processing. these strategies can be learned though practice. According to Richards (1983. Main content of each strategy will be mentioned in the following parts. and utilization. ibid). Because human brain consists of short-term memory and long-term memory. in ibid: 17) hold that. learning strategies refer to “behaviors and thoughts that a learner engages in during learning what are intended to influence the learner’s encoding process. in perceptual processing. information is stored in two distinctive ways. There may be some overlapping between the adjacent two. metacognitive. Weinstein and Mayer (1986:315. Since in listening comprehension the speed of speakers is beyond the control of the listeners. which may be represented as isolated element or more likely as interconnected networks (ibid:17). or long-term memory. There has been little research that clarifies what listeners actually do while listening to oral texts. there is continuous stream of speech flowing into the listeners’ ears. Vol. either in shot-term memory. and social affective (ibid: 45). which means that only through listening comprehension that input becomes intake. The primary assumption underlying these theories is that language acquisition is an implicit process in which linguistic rules are internalized by extensive exposure to authentic texts (ibid). learning strategies can be categorized into three groups. the sustained storage of information. Anderson (1985. the active memory that holds modest amounts of information only for a brief period. January 2008 Listening comprehension has become the foundation of a number of theories of second language acquisition that focus on the beginning levels of second language proficiency (O’ Malley and Chamot. The new Chinese EFL Journal 83 . 1990:129). Generally.Chinese EFL Journal. parsing. Of the three cognitive models. cognitive. there are several reasons for doing research into listening comprehension: The significance of listening skills in a number of instructional approaches.
rather. segmentation takes place. the intended meaning of the whole text will be summarized. due to so much unimportant information or redundancy.Chinese EFL Journal. January 2008 information will replace the old one.” Once the sentence enters the listeners’ ears. grammatical rules and discourse pattern) (ibid: 36). However. the listener will decode the sentence as “She has experienced sufferings in recent years. 1985. how does the interplay begin? There are two kinds of necessary knowledge. vocabulary. i. the tense and voice. having received too much new information.g.e. in ibid: 36). These mental representation of words and expressions are different from the original sequences of words. words or phrases with specific order will be prevented from flowing into listeners’ ears. information is encoded according to sounds of words. a meaning unit made up of by a few words is formed. because short-term memory has limited capacity and cannot accommodate all information. Listeners first decode the individual word or phrase by matching the aural and visual mental representation in the long-term memory (Gagne. Vol. There rises another question. The following example will illustrate it clearly. They can be used to re-create the intended meaning of the original according to the grammatical rules. the world knowledge (the personal experience and prior knowledge on the topic) and linguistic knowledge (sound. In parsing. e.” In utilizing. 1990:34). they are abstraction of those representation.. it will be stored in the short-term memory. many unhappy things have happened to her. listeners are likely to select important information that can help them memorize the content. 1 Issue 1. The original sentence is “Over the past few years. words and phrases are used to constructed meaningful representations of the aural text (O’Malley and Chamot. In this first stage of listening. in ibid: 34). 1985. after a while. As a result. while starting from linguistic knowledge is called bottom-up process (Howard. The process can activate nodes in long-term memory to have meaningful connection with the ongoing new information. In listening. “Utilization is the key to comprehension and the basic determinant that facilitates it” (ibid). In listening Chinese EFL Journal 84 . there is the interplay between the information we have already known and the information entirely new (ibid: 35). This can be also called “chunk”. In almost any message. Processing new information from world knowledge is called top-down process. At this stage.
or evaluating language production after it has taken place Chinese EFL Journal 85 . monitoring and evaluation (Anderson. according to Howard (ibid). Table 2 will show the main content of the metacognitive strategies (ibid: 46). concordant cognitive strategies will be adopted. predict outcomes. as in planning to listen attention for key words or phrases Monitoring Reviewing attention to a task. Table 2.Chinese EFL Journal. or “cognition about cognition”. or concepts according to their semantic or syntactic attributes Using information in text to guess meanings of new linguistic items. The main cognitive strategies can be seen from the following Table 1 (ibid: 46). or integrating new ideas with known information Metacognitive is “thinking about thinking”. the listener can choose either top-down or bottom-up process in order to understand the passage. ibid: 45). Metacognitive strategies involve planning. According to Anderson. selective attention. or production while it is occurring Evaluation Checking comprehension after completion of a receptive language activity. Main content of cognitive strategies Repeating the names of items or objects to be remembered Grouping and classifying words. 1 Issue 1. January 2008 comprehension. Vol. or complete missing parts Intermittently synthesizing what one has heard to ensure the information has been retained Applying rules to the understanding of language Using visual images (either generated or actual) to understand and remember new information Using known linguistic information to facilitate a new learning task Linking ideas contained in new information.” The three cognitive models of listening compression provide information on how aural texts are processed and comprehended in human brains. planning is for the organization of the aural text. comprehension of information that should be remembered. Rehearsal Organization Inferencing Summarizing Deducing Imagery Transfer Elaboration Table 1. 1985. When listeners have difficulties in these aspects. terminology. “the effective processing of text requires the use of both top-down and bottom-up processing. Main content of Metacognitive strategies Planning Planning for the organization of either written or spoken discourse Selective Focus on special aspects of learning tasks. It means a conscious control of one’s own cognitive strategies.
Listeners are asked to transcribe every word they have heard. January 2008 Social affective strategies are also important in listening comprehension. too. Table 3 will show the main information on this (ibid: 46).2 Methodology In the present study. and different strategies in terms of cognitive and metacognitive ones are categorized. 42 test papers are available for data analysis. clarification or examples Self-talk Using mental redirection of thinking to assure oneself that a learning activity will be succeed or to reduce anxiety about a task 3. check notes. 3. or get feedback on a learning activity Questions for Eliciting from a teacher or peer additional explanation. Table 3. The post text is for qualitative study.3 Participants 46 students in Three Gorges University have participated in the quantitative study. the next thing to do is to apply them to check what is really going on inside different listeners. The second passage is dictation. by recording words of both the more skilled and the less skilled listener first. After that. Vol. Their ages range from 20 to 22 Chinese EFL Journal 86 . The qualitative study is think-aloud method. What are the differences between listening difficulties of more skilled and less skilled listeners? Are there any differences in using the strategies to overcome these difficulties? 3.2 Research Questions After introduction of all those strategies. two methodologies are involving. the quantitative one and the qualitative one. a pretest and a post test. Main Content of social affective strategies Cooperation Working with peers to solve a problem. rephrasing. pool information. the words are transcribed. those who are armed with these strategies have less listening problems than those who do not have. 1 Issue 1. Differences of the difficulties are categorized.Chinese EFL Journal. The quantitative study is made up of two tests. The pretest includes two parts: the first part is a short passage.
Chinese EFL Journal 87 .Chinese EFL Journal. majoring computer science. 2) After finishing the first passage. 1 Issue 1. ten questions together for the first passage. sex. they were instructed that the results had nothing to do with their final evaluation. in order to check the extent to which was comprehended by listeners. there were two questions for all the participants. the aural material was not authentic and it was dictation. for the convenience of data analysis. Participants were required to write their names. age and English levels on the test paper. There were two short passages taken out of Intermediate Listening Comprehension (He et al. Their English levels are different. Students should list them out in Chinese.4. there were four multiple choices as well as six true or false questions to be finished.4 Procedure 3. Students were asked to transcribe every word they had heard. Total points were ten. This time. 3. 3) Participants would listen to the second short passage. January 2008 years old and they are the third year students.1 Quantitative Study 1) Pretext The pretext was conducted first. That is to say. See Appendix 1. so they could concentrate themselves on the listening task and would not feel nervous when listening. Before the pretext. and one point for each question. One was about the difficulties they had met in real time listening. After the passage. The first one was an authentic material on visiting dentist. Both difficulties and strategies were categorized from cognitive and metacognitive perspective. The tape would be played three times. 2002). Vol. The other was the strategies they had adopted to overcome these difficulties.
Chinese EFL Journal 88 . It shows that those who got higher marks of listening comprehension could also do much better in dictation. The results of the first passage are demonstrated as Table 4. 1 Issue 1. therefore only those who wrote down the main ideas were counted.52% 4. Misspelling was neglected.76% 2.4. 6) The participants were divided into two groups: those who had passed CET-4 and simultaneously got higher marks in the first two passages were taken as the more skilled group. 5) All these papers were collected and judged.38% 2. Results of the first passage Points 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Number of 1 1 5 13 5 10 4 2 1 0 students Percentage 2. Both two participants were girls.Chinese EFL Journal. since the test was for listening comprehension. Another 10 minutes were given to them to write down the difficulties as well as strategies. Vol.90% 23. 2006).95% 11. The topic was totally new to both of them. Table 4. A new passage was chosen and it was from the model test of CET-41 paper (Wang.38% 0% The result of dictation was really bad.90% 30. 3. a period of time was given to them to write down the words.38% 11. Two participants were selected from each group and think-aloud method was used to read their minds when they were listening. January 2008 4) After listening the second short passage for three times. There were 172 words for the passage and it lasts for one minute. Nobody could write the full text down. making sure that both of the two do not have the relevant prior knowledge.2 Qualitative study 7) The qualitative study was carried out three days later. while those who had not passed CET-4 and got lower marks were taken as the less skilled group.80% 9.
they still needed to speak out their feelings and their difficulties. The two were listening to a short passage on English education in the USA. Chinese EFL Journal 89 . For the first part of the sentence. Vol. think-aloud protocol collection and analysis can be a remarkably illuminating research methodology.. After each sentence. She almost misses the latter part. students who want to learn English in the US have a wide choice of courses and institutions to choose from. I don’t know. Today. trying to listen to every word. some words would give them hints.Chinese EFL Journal. every word was transcribed. students studying English in the US.” (Hyland. The following transcriptions of think protocols illustrate the different approaches used by Wu (a less skilled listener) and Yuan (a more skilled listener). is to…. the tape would be stopped. And. January 2008 Think-aloud method was used here to uncover what was really going on when listeners were processing information. “When researchers are attentive to the potential problems caused by the procedure and take steps to control and account for them. The whole think-aloud method last 10 minutes. In case they did not know what they say. Yuan: Today. Wu: Today… It should be most students want to learn English in the US (in Chinese). and often it is used on information-processing. 1 Issue 1. Wu only hears one English world “today” and translates it into Chinese. and each participant would speak aloud what they had heard. such as “What have you heard just now?” “Can you describe what happened in your brain when you heard the sentence?” After the think-aloud was finished. Have a variety of …what to choose or tuitions? I can’t hear the words between the two parts. It can provide some insights into the difference of information processing between more skilled and less skilled listeners. Two recorders were used: one was for playing the tape and the other was for recording the think-aloud words. Even if they heard nothing. Yuan hears the first part of the sentence and can repeat clearly! She uses bottom-up process. 2005:185).
Wu continues to misunderstand the words. Wu: This is the sentence she (refers to Yuan) has just mentioned. where she can alternate flexibly between top-down and bottom-up process. Yuan: Because. and know the meaning but cannot repeat. but I hear the word “tradition”.Chinese EFL Journal. she can retell it according to the key word of “locations”. It is the bottom-up process. It is too long. so her utilization is also good. though she knows that she misses the adjective word. and throughout out history. Can you speak out the main idea? Yuan: There are many places to study. the country has welcomed immigrants from all over the world. the country has welcomed a lot of foreign students because there is the phrase of “all over the world”. She can link the key word to the main idea of the sentence. Wu: …is to and the US What? Country? The main idea is that many people are concerning their English study. and I can’t memorize it. using top-down process. Wu totally misunderstands the sentence. Her attention stops at the previous sentence and speaks its meaning. Yuan can do better than Wu at the parsing stage. Yuan: I am not sure of the first few words. she can grasp the structure of the sentence. January 2008 And. 1 Issue 1. and her short-term memory is stilled occupied by the old information. but still she knows that the missing word is an adjective. Moreover. Yuan. though she cannot listen to every Chinese EFL Journal 90 . That means the new information has not flowed into her brain yet. The words in the middle of the sentences I have remembered just now. When required to speak the main idea of the sentence. They also have a…more or less. She can also plan in listening. because the US is such a big country they also have a huge variety of locations in which to study. Vol. but now forget. The US has a long tradition of teaching English because. because the word “locations” I have heard. can hear the main frame of the sentence and neglects the unclear word. I can hear the sentence clearly. It means that more opportunists are needed to learn English. because US is a …country. throughout its history. That is to say. The adjective before country I haven’t heard clearly. Yuan can almost understand the sentence by hearing some key words and have better perception and parson ability.
while Yuan can repeat the whole sentence. When asked to guess the meaning. such as “all over the world”. And the teachers should have rich experience. Wu misses the first part of the sentence. What about you? Yuan: It is supposed that the education develops fast. Wu cannot retell any word of the sentence. the US’s English language teaching sector is well-developed and its teachers are highly qualified and experienced.Chinese EFL Journal. therefore she can first listen to it and then repeat it. Wu only translates the original sentence word by word. Can you guess? Wu: Sorry. Wu: Most of them have to learn English. while Yuan can hear the whole sentence and then repeat it. From the linguistic elements. Yuan: American universities and colleges welcome many thousands of overseas students each year. 1 Issue 1. Even for the easiest sentence. American universities and colleges welcome many thousands of overseas students each year. she only guesses the meaning. she adopts metacognitive strategy of selective listening. she can selectively listen to some important words. Yuan: Most of who have needed to learn English. thus have more cognitive capacity to processing other information. using bottom-up process. Wu does not understand the sentence totally. and just infer the main idea according to what she heard. she does not know where she can start from. Most of whom have needed to learn English. I can’t remember. The latter part says the teachers should have rich experience. Today. I can’t. Wu: A lot of foreign students are enrolled in America (in Chinese). And the first part of the sentence is through bottom-up process. January 2008 word clearly. This shows that the more skilled listener has a better control of her cognitive capacity than the less skilled one. because I hear the word “Welldeveloped” (in Chinese). Yuan can repeat the sentence and form meaning units or “chunks”. unfortunately it is not absolutely right. Vol. Chinese EFL Journal 91 . Yuan understands the meaning of the whole sentence. Wu: Today…education. Also.
repeating the names of items or objects to be remembered. Yuan: and there are common …taken by overseas students (repeating). “prove English” seems to mean nothing in the context. Wu: I can’t hear what it is. elaboration (linking the new information to the old one). it is Intensive English Programs. and it refers to those who want to learn English on campuses. Also. also. and before…their English Yuan: I can’t hear it clearly either.e. These courses are called Intensive English Programs and … Wu: Intensive …English… I am not sure. and before they start their English study.Chinese EFL Journal. which means that those are chosen by overseas students (in Chinese). by self-talking. January 2008 …who enroll on degree or post-graduate courses. by inferencing. but there is the phrase “prove English”. anyway. and deducing i. Wu: I have only heard two words “program courses”. maybe Intensive English Programs. and pays too much attention to the grammatical elements. gets the right meaning of “improve their English”. she rehearses. on the contrary. i. Most of these institutions provide preparation courses for students who need to improve their English before they study English. she adopts social affective strategies. using information in text to guess meanings of new linguistic items to complete missing parts. Wu only hears two words with one of them wrong. 1 Issue 1. Yuan uses cognitive strategy i. Yuan: This sentence should be an attributive clause modifying the previous sentence. but the phrase is “improve their English”. Moreover. can organize the sentence according to its structure by recognizing that it is an attributive sentence. Wu dose not using any cognitive strategy at all. yeah. Yuan. Yuan. …they are the most common type of courses taken by overseas students… Wu: I cannot hear it clearly by what…”by students”. Chinese EFL Journal 92 . using the grammatical rules to the understanding of the language.e. though has not understood the whole sentence.e. Vol. Wu misunderstands the meaning again. (In Chinese) Yuan: There is a phrase. while Yuan uses monitoring to check the information.
3. i. both of them have not prepared for listening. “gives” should be “give”. so both of them select their attention.3 Discussion From the results of the quantitative study. Those who got higher points and also passed CET-4 belong to more skilled group and those who were less than six points and had not passed CET-4 formed the less skilled group. Wu hears some important words “students” and “chance”. Wu: It seems that students are given what sort of chance. There are sharp a difference between their listening difficulties. It means to let those students get to know their life in America. Chinese EFL Journal 93 . This time. using top-down method. only the phrases. she can ignore it and selectively listen to the other important information. using mental redirection to assure herself that she gets the right meaning. Yuan: Language dictation. Table 5 shows them.4. The difference is that Yuan tries her best to listen to the text though she fails. though she does not know every word in the sentence. but neither the two listeners gets the meaning. 1 Issue 1. no.e. then uses social affective strategies to have self-talk. right? I don’t know the last word. Yuan first monitors herself by correcting “gives”. Vol. all the participants are divided into two groups. In addition to language tuition … Wu: I get no idea. “Be familiar to” is “shouxi” in Chinese. January 2008 Wu knows fewer words than Yuan.Chinese EFL Journal. The rest escapes from me (in Chinese). since programs is the plural form. It means that. and they are waiting for the next sentence or phrase. Intensive Language Programs give students the chance to know their school and the American academic environment. Yuan: Intensive language programs gives students chance to learn school (in English). For Yuan.
only with some detail information unclear. 1. there are many similarities of both groups. for perception. Difference of listening difficulties of more skilled and less skilled listeners From Table 5.Hear the words clearly.Too many new words.It is too fast.Cannot connect new information with the old one.Chinese EFL Journal. 2. 5.Cannot hear clearly.Different from the previous aural materials. Table 6 shows the differences. Table 6. Cannot recognize the Linking sound of words. 3. Vol. 5. but not every Cannot get the gist. the striking difference between the two groups is that the less skilled group cannot get the main idea of the whole passage while the more skilled group can. Comparison of strategies adopted by different listeners Group Strategies Less skilled listener More skilled listener Group Difficulties Perception Less skilled Group More skilled Group 1. but do not know the meaning.Different from the previous aural materials.Cannot be costumed to the intonation. The first four items are the same. 2. By analyzing the passage sentence by sentence in think-aloud method. Parsing Some words that have been already learnt. who have learned many words but forget them. 6. January 2008 Table 5. 3. more skilled listeners have fewer problems than the less skilled group. Utilization Chinese EFL Journal get the gist.Cannot hear clearly.Do not know the meaning of some phrases. 2. The capacity of short-term memory of the less skilled listeners is smaller than that of the more skilled listeners. 1 Issue 1. Can detail 94 . but the meaning with the sounds cannot be linked. At first stage.Too long and easily to forget. At the parson stage. 3.Too many new words. At the third stage. It is too fast. 1. it is easy to see that there are some cognitive differences and some similarities between the less skilled listeners and the more skilled listeners. 4. 4. the differences of adopting strategies by the less skilled listener and more skilled listener are also striking.
Metacognitive Planning. References Asher.Chinese EFL Journal. G. These strategies include cognitive. From Table 5. Cambridge University Press. it is easy to see that the more skilled listener uses far more strategies than the less skilled one. Shanghai: Shanghai Chinese EFL Journal 95 . Rehearsal. January 2008 Cognitive Only bottom-up method. The less skilled one does not want to try hard to listen to the passage.). Brown.W. Elliot. more skilled listeners try harder than less skilled listeners. R. and she gives up easily. Planning. Both bottom-up and top-down methods. Elaboration. A. Beijing: Beijing Linguistics College Press. (1982). Sky oaks productions Ink. (1987). The Study of Second Language Acquisition. (1990). 5. Selective listening. The second difference is that more skilled listener can alternatively change between top-down and bottom-up method. There are also different strategies adopted by different listeners. Listening to Spoken English (2nd Ed. metacognitive and social affective strategies. Monitoring. Organization. Inferencing. Learning another language through actions. J. Inferencing. (Translated by Xuyi). J. the more skilled one can try her best to listen to the passage though she cannot understand it totally. 4. in the process of listening comprehension. 1 Issue 1. A quantitative and a qualitative study were carried out to uncover these differences. Landon: Longman.J. The results show that more skilled listeners use more strategies in listening comprehension than less skilled listeners. Blair. (1981). New methodology for foreign language teaching. Social affective None There are two another differences between the two listeners. Using self-talk to assure herself to get the right meaning. Ellis. and think-aloud method was adopted in the study. Conclusion There are huge cognitive differences of difficulties in listening comprehension between less skilled listeners and more skilled listeners. Child Language. R. (1999). Selective listening. Vol. Translate.
L. The importance of listening---a personally illustrated view. P. 6-18. Second Language Listening: Listening Ability or Language Proficiency? The Modern Language Journal. K.U. Changxi. C. pp. Wang. 53(3). Vandergrift.M.Chinese EFL Journal. A. Beijing: Foreign Language and Research Press. 12. (1998b). (2006). O’Malley. Model Tests of Forecast for 2006 CET-4. Zielspraele English. Metacognitive awareness and second language listeners. 28. pp. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. (2003). Vol. (1984). It contains CET-4 and CET-6 which are both held twice a year. Cambridge University Press. Orchestrating Strategy Use: Toward a Model of the Skilled Language Listener. (2000). C. (1997). Note CET is the short form for College English Test which is promoted by the Chinese Education Department. L. 55-75. J.M. (2002). Listening to learn or learning to listen? Annual Review of Applied Linguistics. Ur. and CET-6 has a higher requirement of the participants than CET-4.55-75. & Chamot. Language Learning.M.M. Goh. 1 Appendix: Pretest: Name Age Sex English level Tel: This is a very simple listening test for you. Qixin at al. (2004). Beijing: Xueyuan press. 90(6). pp. ELT Journal 51. Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition. He. Kelly. 1999. C. 24(4). 361-369. pp. Goh. and they are only for me to finish my paper. January 2008 Foreign Language Education Press. Vandergrift. Language Teaching Research 2. (1995). A cognitive perspective on language learners’ listening comprehension problems. C. Intermediate Listening Comprehension. Cambridge University Press. Goh. 3-25. 1 Issue 1. Hyland. A cognitive perspective on language learners’ listening comprehension problems. System 28. Teaching Listening Comprehension. System. P. 463-496. Vandergrift. How ESL learners with different listening abilities use comprehension strategies and tactics. (1990). 12-19.M. The results are not important. (2005). 124-147. Teaching and Researching Writing. Goh. (2006). I will keep all the personal information about Chinese EFL Journal 96 . L.
To make the patient relax. 1). C).He gives him same painkillers. B). Why does the dentist want to give the patient an injection? A). Listening comprehension A) Choose the best answer (A. B). 3). C). so please do not worry about anything you have written on the paper. 1 Issue 1. Write a T in front of a statement if it is true according to the recording and write an F if it is false. ( ) The patient doesn’t want to watch in the mirror in front of him because he‘ll faint. B). 2). ( ) The patient has come to see the dentist because his tooth has been aching for a week. Vol.True or False Questions. He gives him an injection.Why doesn’t the patient open his mouth? A). B). 2). To give him a general check-up. B). ( ) The injection will only freeze the area around the tooth rather than let the patient go to sleep. 5). 4). 3). He hates to have injections.Why does the dentist asks the man to open his mouth wide? A). ( ) According to the dentist.Chinese EFL Journal. B or C) for each of the following questions. ( ) The patient will probably have his tooth pulled out next week. ( ) The dentist is angry with the patient because he is wasting her precious time. His tooth aches. What difficulties do you have when you listen to the passage? Chinese EFL Journal 97 . Thank you for your cooperation! ^_^ 1. 6). To reduce the pain while the tooth is being pulled out. To make him be quiet. He is afraid of the dentist. To pull out one of his teeth. What does the dentist finally do? A). To give him an injection C). He pulls the tooth out. January 2008 you. 1). 4). C). the patient will make up the blood that he will lose in a night.
Your difficulties in listening: Your strategies: Chinese EFL Journal 98 . Please write what you have heard just now. January 2008 How have you dealt with them? 2. Dictation. Vol.Chinese EFL Journal. 1 Issue 1.
Chinese EFL Journal. Group work was organized and assigned in a number of principled ways. which aims to make learners recognize the communicative purpose. U. The researcher sought to reply to the genre theory set out in the literature to support a genre awareness. Vol. Kaohsiung. degree in the field of ESP in the University of Essex. she has taught English courses for Business Purposes.K.A. Over the past thirteen years. Content knowledge and language components were phased into the course syllabus to progress in a systematic order.D. structure and linguistic features of a trade letter. group work in continuous simulation and a courseware approach embedded. Abstract The present study results from a reflection on the researcher’s teaching procedure in her Trade Letter Writing course for undergraduate English majors in an EFL context. January 2008 Title An Integrated Approach to Teaching English Trade Letters Author Wenhua Hsu Bio Wenhua Hsu is an associate professor of the Center for General Education in the IShou University. genre awareness. U. in southern Taiwan. Her current research interest is students’ vocabulary size and the selection of English textbooks with specific reference to readability calculation. 1 Issue 1. a quasi-natural environment in the classroom was created. She obtained her MBA degree in Kansas State University. The paper offers a conceptualized framework with contentbased instruction. by modelling business 99 Chinese EFL Journal .S. and a Ph. In addition. outlining the pedagogical procedures on which the framework is based.
There was no consideration of how the learner might apply content area knowledge in language use and no development of the skills of interaction. In the 1970s EBP was oriented toward English used in international trade. 1. From this premise. Furthermore. 1 Issue 1. Vol. Business English was therefore largely a matter of knowing and using business-related words on the assumption that the students already knew the transactions. It is generally accepted that the development of ESP originated in the 1960s because of the growth of science and technology. Ellis and Johnson (1994) reported that in this period the approach underlying the earlier business English course books was to present business-related terminology. Introduction English for business purposes (EBP) is one of the subdivisions of English for specific purposes (ESP). Pickett (1989) found that EBP teaching in fact long predated English for general purposes (EGP) teaching. Key words: genre awareness. John. January 2008 correspondence through continuous simulation. EBP course materials were mainly concerned with written language (Dudley-Evans & St. In the late Chinese EFL Journal 100 . Open-ended questionnaires concerning the trade letter writing course were given at the end of the semester. Meanwhile specialist vocabulary was emphasized. The results provided some evidence of the effectiveness of genre structure knowledge in organizing and developing content. The courseware reduced students’ class tension and consolidated genre knowledge introduced in class. content-based instruction. Consequently another important goal of this study was to evaluate the proposed teaching framework and students’ attitude about the course. In the 1960s and 1970s. which is called an e-course. the researcher used a campus web-based learning platform to build up her teaching materials. The questionnaire findings reflected the need of most students for business writing skills as well as knowledge of commercial documents and trade terms. 1998). continuous simulation.Chinese EFL Journal. The commercial correspondence courses taught model letter writing mainly relating to import and export trades such as inquires and replies. the role of English and the various market demands for English language. a few comprehension questions on the text and exercises of randomly selected structures. business course books did not take the subject matter knowledge into account either. More specifically the earliest English language teaching was for commercial purposes with specific reference to trade.
and target different contexts for use of BE. 1. In the context of academic study. These terms not only show that EBP practitioners brand their offerings by developing niches through a proliferation of terms. Open universities and night schools also offer EBP courses. In the context of occupational area. BE learners remain in their own subject while language teachers are attached to. but also reveal that various EBP programs are designed to meet learners’ needs.2 The Course Background The school researched is one of the leading colleges of foreign languages in southern Taiwan.Chinese EFL Journal. there is a further proliferation of terms with BE as in all ESP: BE for MBA executives. Various EBP programs at tertiary level in Taiwan may be summarized into two formats: (1. etc. because the BE market has been seen as a growth area since the 1990s (Dudley-Evans & St. running from just a few days to several years. The EBP courses with the former format are mainly provided for English majors. in contrast with instruction in a language department or a language school.1 EBP Teaching in Taiwan A glance at EBP teaching in Taiwan reveals that EBP programs differ widely. McDonough (1984) has defined this as “on-site learning” (p. 1 Issue 1. within ESP more and more EBP course books have been published. The EBP program in this school is split into several dominant domains such as Introduction to Business Systems. 1998). From the 1990s to date. Most of their students are people currently employed. 1. John. Since the early 1980s. running from one term to three years. language classes may even be arranged within the company or in a learner’s spare time. BE for international trade and business management English and BE for secretaries. 104). January 2008 1970s and 1980s the growth of EBP coincided with the growth in the economies of countries in South East Asia and the Pacific Rim. In addition to this dichotomy. According to St John’s (1996) dichotomy. The latter format is designed for nonEnglish majors in school and in work. business English (BE) itself is an umbrella term encompassing English for general business purposes (EGBP) and English for specific business purposes (ESBP). Vol.) English for business purposes with more language focus. the study of English for business purposes has attracted growing interest. or integrated into the learner’s subject department.) content-based instruction (CBI) with more content focus and (2. International Chinese EFL Journal 101 .
) preparation for future study in business for their MA degree. The class lectures and activities were given mainly in a networked classroom. January 2008 Trade. Finance and so on. entitled “English Trade Letter Writing” was a 2-credit hour elective subject at the undergraduate level for the 2nd year students. 1 Issue 1. the course. Consequently the nature of the EBP courses in the current context is different from that of a ‘classic’ EBP class. and (2. It can be seen as an amalgam of English for general purposes (EGP) and deep EBP. English for general business purposes (EGBP) and English for specific business purposes (ESBP)). specialized content is taken into account more in syllabus design. an international trade theme with topics of price quotation and documentary credit cycle. John’s (1996) dichotomy for EBP (i.) job-oriented preparation. These language students regard elective EBP courses as a launch pad for their career plan.Chinese EFL Journal. Vol. The instructional format is a discipline-based model in the field of CBI. especially in English-speaking countries. In other words. Principles of Marketing. The organizing principle of the discipline-based model is a major theme with related topics. They are loosely equivalent to EGBP in terms of the context of language students. Two textbooks were used: Longman Commercial Communication (Stanton & Wood. The English majors in this school take elective EBP courses mainly for two purposes: (1. The latter adopts an interactive task-and discussionbased approach. the BE curricula can more strictly be called content-based instruction (CBI) programs for business purposes. the emphasis on what items of language for specific purposes are to be learnt in an EBP class turns out to be a focus on what specialized content is to be learnt in such a ‘semi”-EBP class. 2005) and Company to Company (Littlejohn. and provides opportunities for students to practice writing letters to each other (as the book title suggested. The former contains a systematic coverage of the main types of business letter as well as information about the modern world of international commerce. company to company). In the present study. Differing from St. etc. for example.e. For example. The participants were a class of 48 students at the intermediate level of proficiency. The overall instructional objectives were threefold: Chinese EFL Journal 102 . 2005). The ‘semi’-EBP is characterized by the redirection of attention from ‘content in favor of language’ to ‘language in favor of content’.
) articulated language and content instruction. (2.) languagesensitive content instruction and (3. The four teaching approaches are phased into the course one at a time: contentbased instruction class. (3. the researcher sought to rely on the theories set out in the literature to support the present integrated framework and found that each approach itself can stand alone to account for its pedagogical rationale. Vol. genre awareness of routine correspondence group work and continuous simulation writing with the aide of e-course outside of the 2. From this premise. (2. the teaching methodology in the present EBP context has thus been developed by the teacher-researcher herself. 2 The Pedagogical Framework for English Trade Letter Writing Due to lack of specificity of EBP methodology. Meanwhile two aspects of knowledge are imparted: specialist knowledge with a content focus and specialized knowledge with a language orientation.1 Content-based Instruction In the literature. 3.) content-based language instruction. This paper offers an integrated framework for English Trade Letters teaching and outlines four approaches on which the framework is based. 1 Issue 1. To familiarize the students with style and structure requirements in the major types of trade letter. The three distinctions respectively refer to cases (1) where topical content is used in the language classroom. To equip the students with sufficient export/ import documentation knowledge to deal effectively with commercial correspondence in the field of international trade.) where attempts are made to coordinate Chinese EFL Journal 103 .Chinese EFL Journal. January 2008 1.) where language instruction is conducted in the content classroom. Spanos (1989) distinguished three fundamental types of integrated language and content instruction: (1. The rationale of each approach and its application to the class are as follows. 2. the various content-based instruction (CBI) program types are characterized by the balance of language and content instruction. To enable the students to write complete and good trade-related business letters.
The third type means an effort to integrate language instruction into all other curricula—an approach where language and content teachers are teamed together and language teachers derive their materials from the content course.) sheltered subject matter teaching and (3.) content-based language instruction. At one end of the continuum is the content-driven model (i.e. 2000. 1989. Chinese EFL Journal 104 . Snow and Wesche (1989) identified three models for content-based instruction: theme-based. Wesche. The content is normally disciplinary materials. She used the term ‘sustained contentbased instruction’ (SCBI) to emphasize that not all content-based curricula feature sustained content. sheltered and adjunct formats according to their relative focus on language and content. content type and thinking/ study skills” (p.. 1993).Chinese EFL Journal. the sustained notion advocated by Pally et al (2000) is an important addition to the existing CBI models. Crandall (1993) also classified the notion of integrating language and content instruction into three types: (1. 1997. Extended from the content-driven model to the extreme is discipline-based language instruction (Krueger & Ryan. 1 Issue 1. The second type refers to an approach in which content area teachers adapt the language of their texts to make their instruction accessible to students with lower proficiency levels. meaningful content learning and improved language abilities. there are several features which distinguished the aforementioned models from each other (Brinton et al. In line with discipline-based model. 1993).. These three models can be put on a continuum. She defined the first type of CBI as a general approach. January 2008 both content and second/ foreign language curricula.e. At the tertiary level. In sum. Pally et al. This embraces instruction in non-language courses that makes extensive use of informational resources in a foreign language or in content courses taught in a foreign language. tasks and techniques as a vehicle for developing language. She defined SCBI as studying one content area over time and proposed sustaining a particular content instruction over a semester to lead to deeper engagement with content sources. Snow & Brinton. the sheltered CBI) and at the other end is the language-driven format (i. Brinton. theme-based CBI). The language teacher emphasizes language skills while the content teacher focuses on academic concepts. Vol. (2.14). in which “ESL or EFL teachers use academic texts.) language across the curriculum.
language teachers also teach content material. this review tries to capture the great variety of CBI formats and the contexts in which CBI is used. In the sustained model. in sheltered and discipline-based courses. The literature review concerning CBI types has two purposes: (1. the discipline-based model has been used in the school studied. academic disciplines are the content organizing principle. Proficiency levels required: Theme-based. in sheltered courses.) A reference to previous CBI models would clarify which part of CBI the present pedagogical framework fits conceptually. a single content are is emphasized in depth. each teacher is responsible for his/her subject domain as well as coordination with the other. Responsibility assumed by instructors: In theme-based and sustained courses. in adjunct model. The rationale of adopting CBI in this English Trading Letter Writing class is that these language students perceived that their primary task was not only the display of content in their writing with precision. Focus of evaluation: More attention to language objectives might be paid in theme-based courses. but also the acquisition of content. Learning focus: In the theme-based model. subject teachers are responsible for presenting material in the target language in a way that will support language learning. They saw the need for conveying Chinese EFL Journal 105 . 1 Issue 1.Chinese EFL Journal. more focus on subject matter learning in sheltered and disciplinebased. 4.) To characterize CBI as a methodology with many facets. and more concentration on both content and language in adjunct programs. Vol. In discipline-based courses. As aforementioned. conciseness and clarity. 3. sheltered and adjunct courses can be offered at all proficiency levels whereas discipline-based and sustained courses require that students have from intermediate to advanced listening and reading skills. The 1980s were dynamic years for those interested in content-based instruction. 2. both language and content learning are given prominence. January 2008 1. in adjunct courses. it is mastery of content materials. the focus is EFL/ESL learning. (2.
Bhatia (1993) used a genre approach to analyze sales promotion letters and job application letters. Incorporating content-based instruction in an EBP curriculum was a natural result of considering such a need.2 Genre awareness of routine correspondence Swales established genre as an independent concept in applied linguistics.g.) proposed that by identifying recurring discourse structures such as moves and steps and discourse markers in genre-specific texts. Mustafa. Genre-based pedagogies have particularly emphasized raising the awareness of non-expert members of a genre community of conventional structures. According to Swales (1990. etc. Genre analysis is the study of the structural and linguistic regularities of particular text-types and the role they play within a discourse community. January 2008 their business knowledge and L/C concepts in trade-related correspondence. Awareness and knowledge of genre structure play an important role in formal writing. For example.). benefiting learners in their professional roles. which tends to produce distinctive structural patterns.). a genre can be briefly defined as a class of texts characterized by a sequence of segments or ‘moves’ with each move accomplishing some part of the overall communicative purpose of the text. Appendix 1 illustrates a part of class lectures. the question of how Chinese EFL Journal 106 . Hyland. through which indispensable background knowledge dealing with export and import is delivered. Johns. Considering the importance of the concept of genre. especially in ESP. which [gives] the segment a uniform orientation and signals the content of discourse in it” (114). Each move is taken to embody a number of ‘constituent elements’ which combine to constitute information in the move. It has been claimed that genre awareness has several advantages such as enhancing learners’ performance in discourse communication skills. such a language analysis enables students to raise their genre awareness and “facilitates their participation in their disciplinary discourse communities” (213). 1995. Vol. and found that both have similar communicative purposes in the ‘moves’ within the written texts. Swales (Ibid. 2. 2001).g.Chinese EFL Journal. 1 Issue 1. and promoting a higher level of intellectual quality in lines of logical thinking (e. 2000. lexical meanings and illocutionary forces. Nwogu (1991) further specified the definition of “move” as “a text segment made up of a bundle of linguistic features (e.
2. which normally embody the following constituent elements. Invite the enquirer to Chinese EFL Journal 107 . conciseness. From the genre-awareness premise. they were given several sample letters for each type of business letter based on a variety of textbooks. 3. Table 1: The moves in trade-related business letters Sales letter Inquiries/ Requests 1.) 4. correctness. sample letters in the corpus were analyzed into moves. Give general information about your business. Identify your product’s features in a positive way. students eventually managed to identify twelve types of trade-related business letter. the second aim of the course was to raise the students’ awareness of the generic and structural features of routine correspondence and to empower them with the strategies necessary to replicate these features in their own production. 6. The 48 students were then asked to identify some of the structural characteristics. (a. the economy of language and writing to the point) and the successful establishment or maintenance of social relationship. by working on the mini-corpus of sample letters in small group. As mentioned. Replies to inquiries 1. Suggest ways in which you could help the enquirer to make a decision (to buy). State where you learned about the company/ product. corresponding to the development of messages in the body of the letter. courtesy and consideration. Answer any specific questions the enquirer asked. 3. (Focus attention on important information. State your interest.) Explain (b. To accomplish this. 4. 1.Chinese EFL Journal. 3. 1 Issue 1. 2. the students were firstly directed to keep uppermost in their mind the 7 Cs’ principles: completeness.) Itemize the benefits. Begin with a strong opening statement that attracts the readers’ attention. concreteness. Request action. Close the letter and the appropriate ending.e. 5. End confidently and encourage the reader to respond. 5. clearness. In line with Swales. 2. January 2008 genre awareness can be realized in classroom activities follows. Vol. The teacher-researcher found that regular and formal correspondence derived from textbooks often follows a standard format and hence easier for EBP learners to imitate. The 7 Cs’ can be applied to all genres of business letter to ensure the effective exchange of information (i. Acknowledge the letter of inquiry. Although the moves may be variously labelled. State what action you are taking.
1. be sent. 1. Sympathize with the action). State what action you Conclude by will take if this indicating your faith request is ignored. state action taken by your company. 3. Positive adjustment Rejecting a complaint Acknowledge the 6. 3. account. for which payment is 2. arrival date. Suggest an alternative.) problem (remedy 8. reason for the refusal Reassure the tactfully. invoice. Give a final due. 4. Replies to orders 1. Explain the prevent the problem transaction from your happening again viewpoint. Place the order (a. State action(s) you require the other company to take (Recommend the 4. Say what you are going to do next about the order. January 2008 Order letter 1. 3. Refer to the order. Say what you have done about the order. Acknowledge receipt of the order. Assure the delivery. 6. action that will best solve the problem. Re-application for payment Refer to the product 1. Suggest possible causes of the problem. 2.Chinese EFL Journal. etc. 3. Review earlier efforts to collect payment.) 5. Refer to the order. etc.g. Confirm terms of payment. reader and show another expression of thanks. Collection letter Chinese EFL Journal 108 . State the current status opportunity to pay by of the overdue fixing a deadline. vessel name. 1. 4. Complaint/ Claim 1. Say why you cannot meet the order. (b. problem. 4. Shipping advice 1. Thank you for the patronage and look forward to the safe arrival of the goods. Thank the reader for writing and express letter of complaint. shipping documents: B/L. State that you wish to Ask for a payment to be fair and reasonable. 2. packing list. Give shipping details. 2. (State the (Prevention action). 2. E. 3.) Indicate how the product must be shipped. Regret the necessity for the letter. explain why the State action taken to complaint is solve the immediate unjustified. Say that you cannot meet the order. your regret about the Explain the cause of the problem. 1 Issue 1. Vol. 4. 5. 4.) 3. 3. (State your reactions to the prices. in the customer’s 5. Set deadline for delivery. 2. / Politely customer. 5. 4.) Give the detailed info. 5. Close the letter and the appropriate ending. continued business. 2. Refusing order Thank the customer for the order. Confirm the supply. Acknowledge the previous correspondence. 2. 3. ask for further information. State action taken to 7. State reason for complaint. discounts.
Following the notion of genre awareness. The following is an excerpt from the class handouts. Collocations. January 2008 It was stressed in the class that the above moves were simply to provide students with an easy way into writing business letters. which were complied based on the BBI Dictionary of English Word Combinations (Benson et al.. 3.Chinese EFL Journal. Vol. As some routine business correspondence is a highly conventionalized genre. 3. Collocations enhance fluency and speed up communication. the better they will use them. The more collocations learners are exposed to. 2. 1997). Collocations are combinations of words whose meanings can be understood based on the literal meanings of their components. Collocations are combinations of words which tend to be more or less lexically fixed permitting substitution in at least one of their components. Collocations are often produced as formulaic units that are stored like other lexical expressions and can be retrieved efficiently as chunks. 1997). Lewis (2000) proposed the teaching of collocations is crucial in the following ways: 1. 2. The predictability of collocations will make learning easier. The rationale of raising students’ consciousness of collocations is that collocations are somewhat formulaic in nature (Bolinger. learners have to be familiarized with the conventions governing message structuring and appropriate use of this particular genre in order to master it (Jordan. 1 Issue 1. the students were guided to pay attention to collocations. The definition of collocations involves several characteristics: 1. 4. which make up nearly seventy percent of every day language. 4. Collocations are combinations of words which are closely adjacent and which more or less frequently co-occur. Collocations are combinations of words which are grammatically structured and which are more or less grammatically fixed in forms allowing changes in their part of speech or word order. Chinese EFL Journal 109 . are fundamental to language use. Recognizing formulaic chunks is crucial for acquisition. 1976). 5.
January 2008 Collocations are of two types: lexical collocations and grammatical collocations. “bulk order”. Grammatical collocations refer to words identified by their grammatical categories rather than lexical meaning association. Lexical collocations mainly include word-associations where one component recurrently co-occurs with one or more other components as the only or one of the few possible lexical choices. 1 Issue 1. Examples include “quantity discount”.g. They consist of a content word and a function word or certain structural pattern (e. Vol. to + infinitive or gerund). etc. “look forward to + v-ing” and “would like to + infinitive” are all grammatical collocations. Table 2: Lexical Collocations: Pattern Example Pattern Example Pattern Example Verb meet deadline Adjective immediate Noun volume discount + meet 1+ + dispatch bulk order noun requirement noun competitive price Noun quantity discount make payment repeated 2 trade discount purchase make trade terms concession safe arrival worth $ reserve the right regular supplies a trial order great issue/ open a discount L/C appreciation concession most favorable arrange market penetration shipment terms invoice price make mutual advantage shipping advice no commercial arrangement product value place an order specifications receive perfect condition firm order shipment take a legal unavoidable occurrence action maintain supplies Table 3: Grammatical Collocations: Pattern Examples Preposition in one’s favor + at one’s expense/ risk Pattern Noun + Examples delivery by date deadline of date Chinese EFL Journal 110 . a thatclause. “it is essential that + noun clause”. For example.Chinese EFL Journal. “reserve the right” and “make payment”. “volume discount”.
Verb/ phrasal verb + preposition + gerund or noun the letter of date the demand for a discount of ~ % an order for a breach of replacement for apology for lack of inconvenience caused by attention to/ a focus on interest in/inquiry about a shortage of a range of Verb offer to + wish to infinitive would like to feel free to do not hesitate to be glad to be pleased to There seems to There seems to have been It appears to Content payable at ~ days word + sight prep. Vol. Thank you for + v-ing/ n. have pleasure in + v-ing appreciate + v-ing/ n. of + n. They succeeded in detecting a number of formulaic chunks which most frequently occur in some moves of a business letter. which seem to correlate with the generic structures of a certain type of business letters listed in Table 1. 1 Issue 1. Here are some formulaic units found by the students: We would appreciate it if…/Could you please send us…/We thank you Chinese EFL Journal 111 . specialize in + v-ing/ n. apologize for + v-ing/ n. January 2008 noun be of interest combinations subject to change without notice up to sample/ expectations of good/ superior quality at ~ days sight with effect from below the standard in good order out of stock in strict rotation under considerable pressure ~ that noun clause Please note that We trust that It is essential that I can only assume that We regret that We expect that You can be assured that Please ensure that We suggest that ~should ~ It is very likely that look forward to + v-ing inform sb. acceptable on the combinations condition~ meet with one’s approval signed with effect from date~ renewable from date~ preposition In the next step.Chinese EFL Journal. the students were asked to check whether they could identify any lexical expressions.
1 Issue 1. as well as what materials or machine parts they consider buying to manufacture their goods or to enhance their service. etc. the students were told to find their own group members and the four members in the same group were required to sit close together for one academic year. doing business with one another on an on-going basis). decided what their business would be. adjustment. January 2008 for…/We have pleasure in…/ We are pleased to…/We look forward to…/~ will be highly appreciated.). traditional simulations are usually disconnected episodes in the teaching/ learning process. the researcher offered a quasi-natural business environment in the classroom by modeling the process of doing business through the notion of continuous simulation (Tarnopolsky.3 The classroom application of group work Due to most often a large class of 45 students or more. as per the classroom convention) was common in the school studied. Vol. The groups of four for the present EBP class were formed based on the students’ choice. case studies or a seminar usually take the form of simulation./We regret to inform you that…/We would be grateful if…/We have seen your advertisement…/For the attention of …/We are writing to…/Delivery by…is essential. 2000).. and assigned the positions/ jobs. When each group’s firm was thus organized. In the continuous simulations. students were Chinese EFL Journal 112 . students were placed in various business situations in relation to foreign trade (such as complaint. which can bring the realities of the business world into the classroom through the active involvement of the students in practice-oriented learning activities.Chinese EFL Journal. Students themselves invented the companies (including logo and trademark. In the second meeting.). In this way. To ensure students’ active participation in teamwork. etc. students were required to present their company about their business. The driving principle was hence to connect all the simulations throughout the whole year by a single plot with the same companies (created by each group) being involved from situation to situation. where each group represented its own company. etc. its day-to-day functioning started throughout the whole academic year (i. 2. However. and to show the design of the company’s letterhead. group work (usually 4 students in a group. inquiry and replies. At the beginning of the first semester. In the business field.e. etc.
they again delivered it to the appropriate group before moving on to the next trade-related letter. any mistakes they noticed in grammar. Meanwhile they would also receive a letter from one of the other groups. Pattaya. As the activity progressed. Vol. Each letter that one group (i. U. Toulouse. The feedback stage took place in a separate lesson from the writing activity itself. Next the students were told Chinese EFL Journal 113 . Supplies Holland 2 Dreamer PC Taipei. the students had to think not only about the correctness of the language they used but also of what had happened and what might happen as a result of their letters. expression or any comment they might have on the tone of the letter. Each group of students was required to look through the letter they received from the other group and to mark on the letters any problems they had in understanding. 8 The One Textiles Home Taiwan 3 Rain Electronics Seoul. U. Table 4 is a list of the companies invented by the students. 9 Miracle Kitchen Korea 4 TBG Computers Singapore 10 A-go-go Drink Machines 5 F4 Gentlemen’s Yokohama. Satellite Dishes Place California. they had to deliver the letter to the ‘appropriate’ company (depending on being a buyer or a seller). Table 4: Twelve companies created and simulated by twelve groups of four students in a continuous way throughout the whole academic year Group Company Name Place Group Company Name 7 Momo LV Ladies 1 Kuso Office Amsterdam.Chinese EFL Journal. France Murcia.S. When the students finished writing. 11 Rainbow Food Outfitters Japan Processor 6 La New Shoes Hong Kong 12 Even Ovens Ltd. and they would have to take it into account when they wrote their next letter. Thailand Liverpool. When this was completed.e. one company) sent to another would be read for the message it contained. Australia The main aim of such a design was to provide students with a purpose and context for writing.K. Each company could either be a buyer/ importer for raw material purchase or a seller/ exporter for its end product. Spain Melbourne. January 2008 encouraged to plan their company’s letters for each business communication situation. 1 Issue 1.
2. The feedback session was a vital part of the activity in the sense that students were generally much slower in recognizing their own mistakes than in seeing others’ errors. the teacher-researcher also used a campus web-based learning platform to build up her teaching materials for students to study outside of the class in their free time. It allowed teachers to enhance and expand their curriculum within and beyond the physical classroom. this pedagogical framework comprised group work and continuous simulations. After peer feedback. As a result. which provided ample information resources and served as the information hub for the course. Each group then checked through its own letter and tried to correct any errors. 2003). For instance. meanwhile content-bases instruction and genre awareness were phased into the course syllabus to progress in a systematic order. hyperlinks in the e-course allowed teachers to incorporate numerous websites. Photo Impact and Power Director. By this stage. the teacher-researcher collected the revised letters for correction and marking. if twelve types of business letter are predetermined to be covered for the whole academic year. Useful websites in Chinese EFL Journal 114 . Vol. the e-course contained a hyperlink system in which all teachers had to do was to type a web page address. (Lin & Lee. this teaching procedure leads to a multi-cycle subject to the letter types. the multi-cycles means that there will be twelve cycles progressing as follows: content-based instruction awareness group continuous simulations in letter-writing genre feedback session.Chinese EFL Journal. With the aid of software such as PowerPoint. Such technology with formulated templates provided teachers with a teaching material authoring system that was easier than establishing a websites. The cycle of the teaching procedure is displayed graphically in Appendix 2.4 The e-course platform Parallel to classroom activities. etc. The e-course platform was set up in 2002 and was originally designed as a course management system for distant learning courses. 1 Issue 1. Namely. January 2008 to pass each letter back to the group that wrote it. which they would like their students to navigate through. In addition. teachers could put their lecturing materials and students’ work in multimedia formats into the e-course.
http://www.htm. the problem for the learners is to know where to start. January 2008 relation to Business Writing provided in the e-course are. http://englishplus.com/biz/bizhome. As a consequence. Do content-based instruction.com/templategallery. http://officeupdate. a genre-awareness approach.better-english. Other relevant websites for students’ reference are business glossaries and jargons. a complete guide to letter writing and a splendid collection of model business letters.htm As each web address above has hinted.com/grammar/00000140. http://www. Although nowadays Google.com/corres. The main purpose of this research thus sought to have a better understanding of how a BE teacher can help students to undertake writing on an easy systematic basis.com/letters/. http://eleaston. the most powerful search engine.4hb.com/athens/sparta/9487/.html. http://www. What problematic areas do EBP novice learners encounter while writing a business letter and how are they solved? To obtain the students’ reaction about the course and to evaluate their Chinese EFL Journal 115 . for instance: http://www.com/exerciselist. and e-course application help students to improve their business letter writing? 3.htm.com/ps/polite. Research methodology The approaches associated with the teaching procedure used in the researcher’s EBP context require no radical new approach but rather the integration of existing approaches in an order where they complement each other. 1 Issue 1. these sites offer letter templates for application. http://www.Chinese EFL Journal.linguarama.microsoft. group continuous simulation.business-english-training. 3. Vol. The specific questions under investigation were: 1.000 hits for ‘business English’. can find more than 200.html. a user-friendly courseware system not only reduces the burden of teachers in preparing extra-curricular materials but also affords students increased opportunities for autonomous learning.geocities. What are the EBP novice learners’ general attitudes toward an integrated approach to learning English for commercial correspondence purposes? 2. which were also put in the e-course platform.
and in total consisted of 12 groups of 4 for each letter. content-based instruction. The total errors were tallied and rechecked by a colleague of the researcher’s. trade letters. Since some lexical collocations and grammatical collocations in a business letter are predicable and formulaic in nature as specified in Section 2. The measure for writing performance was operationalized as the number of errors. group simulation and e-course) was distributed at the end of the academic year. The treatment involved letter writing before (without) and after (with) genre and collocation instruction. The target of the coding reliability checks was set at 80% (0. This colleague read the students’ written work independently.2. The prediction is addressed as in the hypothesis. The researcher speculated that there would be a genre–awareness effect on better writing performance due to the instruction of moves and collocations. The better writing performance in this research was associated with fewer linguistic errors in a letter.80). Meanwhile a quantitative analysis of the data focused on the effectiveness of the genre approach. 1 Issue 1.Chinese EFL Journal. who also taught Business English. An anonymous questionnaire of thirteen open-ended questions (see Appendix 3) about the students’ perception toward an integrated teaching approach to business letter writing (i. genre awareness. January 2008 writing performance. Vol. two methods were adopted to collect the data: a questionnaire and the students’ written work. To find out how the students benefit from the learning of business genre. Chinese EFL Journal 116 .e. repeated measures t tests on pre.and posttreatments across the first three types of business letter were used (i. a student with this genre and collocation knowledge was expected to make fewer errors as a whole in a letter of trade type. The percentage of agreement between the two ratters was calculated as the formula below to establish the coding reliability.e. The responses were classified into several categories based on the gist of their statements together with any given number referring to the accurate count. % agreement= total number of agreements on the errors * 100 % / (total agreements + total disagreements) The comparison was therefore straightforward. inquiries and replies). sales.
048* 0. It was possible that other factors like sample size and the difficulty of letter types. Vol. 6<9.Chinese EFL Journal.1 -2.02* Measure: the number of errors in a letter. Finally. “*”=statistically significant difference. 8<12. and other grammatical errors could explain a writing discrepancy.) 0.304 -2. the questionnaires were analyzed based on the gist of the students’ statements. All p-values <.05 indicate a significant difference between before and after the instruction of moves and collocations in the mean value of errors.034* 0.382 p (sig. the results should be interpreted with caution. Table 5 summarizes the statistical results concerning the genre-awareness approach. Although the expectation of the impact of genre and collocation knowledge on fewer errors in letter writing was supported. 4. 6<11). The determination of the significance level was set at p<. As a result. The statistics reveal that the genre approach demonstrated a beneficial effect on the writing performance across three letter types (as an average of fewer errors produced in the post-treatment across three types of letter has shown. Students’ perception toward a genre-awareness approach Positive Response Useful formulaic units and collocations Count Negative Response Count 19 Little time spent on sentence 3 structure Chinese EFL Journal 117 . January 2008 Hypothesis: There would be fewer errors in letter writing after the instruction of genre than before the instruction of genre. Table 5: Repeated measures t tests with a genre approach across three types of letter Letter type Sales letter Inquiry letter Reply letter Pre-treatment Post-treatment Mean Mean 12 8 9 6 11 6 t -2. the analyses were meant to check whether on some points there was convergence of results from the quantitative and qualitative data.05. 1 Issue 1. to confirm and pursue the helpfulness of the genre approach. Data results and discussion Two raters agreement coefficients for the number of language errors in a trade letter met the target level of 80% (96%>80%).
To some extent. I wrote a letter well. They (3) thought that too little time had been spent on grammar. The move structures are deeply rooted in my head. is like signposts. it was very encouraging for the teacher-researcher to see that quite a few students (13) mentioned their needs for the teacher’s push from behind. though it is helpful. Additionally. “Genre function.” Negative comments about this section implied “insufficient syntax explanation”. has helped them to enhance writing abilities. as they found. The total counts are not equal to the class size because the students’ responses to each question were classified into several categories based on the gist of their statements. Among the skills and language features emphasized in the class.Chinese EFL Journal. 9 16 13 Note: The class size = 48. nine students remarked that in some cases it would have been more concrete to be told why some wording and tone was considered offensive Chinese EFL Journal 118 . especially ‘move’ recognition. Their responses often resembled these: “I remember Ms. which quite a few students (19 out of 48) felt to be the most helpful component. Vol. For fear of point deduction. as several students pointed out on the questionnaire. twenty-seven students liked the moves and sub-move lecture and activities because. Hsu’s lecture about the moves/sub-moves in a letter. Prefer move/sub-move activities in view of a systematic thinking process For fear of point deduction. containing its required structure and complete messages 32 27 Insufficient explanation why some wording and tone was impolite The structure lecture for each type of trade letter is more boring. 1 Issue 1. I think I wrote each type of letter well. Mention was made repeatedly of the formulaic phase and collocation section. One-third of the students indicated that awareness and knowledge of genre structure. They admitted that genre knowledge achieved an immediate effect in light of the thinking process. the steps involved in a letter were organized and easily followed (32+27 mentions).” Furthermore. there was an analogy with driving. It will be easier for a driver to follow directions and judge distances when a road is well signposted. containing complete messages. despite being more boring than other activities at first impression. January 2008 The structure of each type of trade letter is clearly listed and easily followed.
Question 2 in the questionnaire. This also reveals that how the syllabus in this regard may be modified for the next course. Such content knowledge needs might have dictated their preferences for CBI. the CBI effect on content learning stays longer. “What did you like or dislike about the course content?” did not directly address the issue of the effects of the different teaching approaches. The content learning needs also helped to explain why the content of the class lecture remained in their mind beyond one semester.Chinese EFL Journal. They gave reasons for their preferences: -“Business content knowledge acquired has made me feel that I am a double major: English major and business minor. Students’ perception toward content-based instruction When the students were asked which approach they liked most.” -“Learning a new content area makes me feel a sense of achievement. the bulk of students’ preferences (40 out of 48) tended to center around business content instruction. This can be partly ascribed to the fact that the members of the target group researched were language majors in an EFL context.” -“Business concepts are easily kept in mind once understood. 1 Issue 1. Vol. Though collocation exercises have achieved an immediate effect on writing performance.” The value of CBI was highlighted by students’ conception that they were more knowledgeable being a double major than being a language single major. The topics taught were completely new to them so that CBI seemed more effective in terms of memory than genre-awareness exercises. very surprisingly most students were impressed with the content lecture delivered at the beginning of this course in the first semester. I have a short memory. However. Chinese EFL Journal 119 . I dislike form-function exercises. The EBP class provided them with the opportunities of learning something new and different from the language courses. The following is a selection of their responses. Perhaps the teacher-researcher should take the blame because of her failure to acknowledge the students’ specific needs for the explanation of sentence structure and some grammatical points. genre structure or content-based instruction. Their needs for knowledge of another content area became prominent when chances were given. January 2008 or inappropriate.
He indicated that such teamwork experience was different from that in other courses. such as competing with global competitors and sustaining growth in a corporation. January 2008 -“I remember Ms. which are helpful in job-oriented settings. Students’ perception toward group continuous simulation Most students felt that group work has reduced their class tension and panic. Chinese EFL Journal 120 .” -“I enjoyed owing a company running on an ever-lasting basis.” -“Good game-very realistic and fun. they were aware that team spirit (the feeling of being in the same boat) promoted their thinking skills and mastery of content through collaborative learning.” Ten students who intended to pursue an export/ import career have expressed enthusiasm and excitement about the direct usefulness of trade knowledge learnt in this course.” -“We acquired some basic export/ import concepts. Vol. and would welcome this kind of “two-heads-are-better-thanone” participation in the future.Chinese EFL Journal. Hsu’s content lecture was price quotation concerning shipping terms at the beginning of the last semester. The concepts are deeply rooted in my head.” The continuous simulation of an invented company created an atmosphere of bringing the office to the classroom. -“Continuously role playing for the same company enabled us to learn how to function in a firm and learn to resolve any conflicts and accomplish group goals. Nevertheless. Their comments often resembled these: -“I felt I was a boss.” One student even changed his confidence in his ability to accomplish more by working alone than with others. They fully understood that their attention span was short. 1 Issue 1. He enjoyed working with “partners” in their partnership.
January 2008 -“We imagined we would make money by quoting a price with a big profit margin and getting as many orders as we could. Some bluntly showed their happiness in finding fault with others’ letters. No one complained about embarrassing peer correcting. Hsu The peer feedback session received considerable support (32).Chinese EFL Journal. Chinese EFL Journal 121 . Despite this. The sociocultural factor of saving face was eased out by group writing. More intensive collaboration than usual 28 Sense of achievement-speaking like a boss 5 Negative Response Count Novelty effects of continuous company simulation wore off in the 1 second semester Students’ perception toward peer feedback Overwhelmingly positive comments count A less embarrassing atmosphere to encourage writing peer feedback 32 freely The peer feedback helped me to know my letter writing and thus to 40 produce fewer errors in the 2 nd draft to be submitted to Ms. Vol. 1 Issue 1. which were put in the adjustment letter. came to fruition. We avoided losing money by making adjustment of a customer complaint at a minimum expenses and negotiating a favorable compensation. They were excited to see that other groups ended up with rewriting due to many errors spotted. They did not feel that they were not qualified to comment on the peer letters. there were fewer 31 chances to go off task to engage in small talk which is not closely related to the writing theme.” Another even mentioned her pride in being able to see her problem-solving ideas. The overall students’ impression of group continuous simulation is summarized as below: Positive Response Count Playful learning in company simulation 43 Due to sense of competition of ‘doing business’. none of the students mentioned that they should have been alert to language processing and keen on language accuracy during the write-up phase. Such results were not consonant with some students’ belief about the helpfulness of formulaic collocations in enhancing writing ability.
they still needed to learn more (like social skills and job experience) for non-routine situations as well. Those students who voted for computer-free classes explained that they preferred the collaborative atmosphere of learning in a group. the peer writings were easier for them to emulate. One concern alluded to in the students’ responses could not be ignored in spite of only two responses. Because of part-time jobs. several students (8) mentioned that negative adjustment letters were most challenging in terms of maintenance of social relationship. They gave their reason that due to equal proficiency level. or for ironing out individual weaknesses. the whole class strongly agreed that the glossary and related business writing websites were useful. Online materials were not really appreciated. Vol. as relevant websites have been selected and put together in the e-course. Hsu’s e-course. January 2008 Students’ perception toward e-course application Eight students highlighted the ease of the e-course with which they could find information from a variety of sources. they would surf Ms. A few students felt that the e-course gave them the opportunity to digest and learn class materials at their own pace and hence reduced class tension and panic. Among many types of business letters. Nine students added that the computer should only ever play a supplementary role. Sales letters and negative adjustment letters were the genres they referred to most frequently. These two students pointed to the importance of good peer work as a model on the e-course. they voiced their concern that although many letters might focus on routine matters that could be efficiently handled by copying a model letter. Despite this.Chinese EFL Journal. Chinese EFL Journal 122 . two thirds of the students expressed little wish to have studied more on the e-course after class. 1 Issue 1. all of the students suggested that computers should be used at home for consolidating language and knowledge areas introduced in class. Somewhat surprisingly. They pointed out that if they needed to look it up. When asked whether they would welcome the integration of the e-course into class activities as opposed to out-of-class activities. It is worth noticing that those students who kept high online learning records stated their needs in finding more sample business letters. campus clubs and other reasons.
most students apparently liked the course. Vol. reader sensibility in the light of 7 Cs’ principles and language control should be given in equal prominence. They are simply the same drills in high tech format.” Answers to research questions In their responses. when the content instruction was a new experience to them and matched what they believed they would need in the near future. January 2008 “I would rather do genre-related exercises in class with Ms. Hsu’s lecture. A simple answer “like or dislike” may suffice. which simply look fancy. although the lectures of business background knowledge were a popular session (40/48). While an ESP course is highly expected to address learners’ particular needs and to individualize the learning process. The issue of whether their interest could be sustained over time is worth investigating but beyond the current research aim. Forty students expressed general appreciation of the recycled teaching method of each writing theme.Chinese EFL Journal. 1 Issue 1. skype. the researcher wishes to contend that intrinsic interest should neither be ignored nor be sacrificed at the requirement of specific needs. MSN and voice mail. their curiosity was aroused. “What are the EBP novice learners’ general attitudes toward an integrated approach to learning English for Commercial Correspondence?” and to conclude that generally speaking. and thus led to interest. Before the course. Hsu’s presence than the expanding drills on the e-course website.” “I like Ms. As is evident from these students’ responses. the pedagogical framework appeared to be acceptable to the students. with some (17) recommending that even more be included. Hsu to working on the e-course alone. The 48 students’ overwhelmingly positive comments on the course led the researcher to answer Research Question 1.” “I prefer practicing with classmates under the guidance of Ms. Later they found that subject-matter expertise. The questionnaire results gave an affirmative answer to Research Question Chinese EFL Journal 123 . Exploring genre on the e-course websites on my own makes me lose a sense of direction. some students thought that business letters were becoming obsolete because of advances in communication technology such as e-mail. which was predictable to them.
January 2008 2. syntax and grammar) should not be ignored. Research Question 3). their reactions included: (1. and (3. the most frequentlyoccurring problems were: (1.) some lexico-grammatical problems due to the influence of the native language. (3. (2. This reaction may be interpreted as “the genre awareness effect has been acknowledged by the students”. students might make the same linguistic errors thousands of times while practicing.. The rule-governed aspect of language (e. Poor linguistic ability may impede content Chinese EFL Journal 124 . conciseness. 1 Issue 1. Otherwise.) lengthy run-on sentences.e. correctness. It echoes one of the class lectures about business genre---The guiding principles for commercial correspondence. in which thoughts were formulated in the native language and then translated into English. In other words. courtesy and consideration) contribute to make fluent sentences that crystallize the writing purpose by speaking directly to the letter reader.) word choice. As some students indicated. Vol. business background knowledge and the move-structure awareness of each letter genre helped them to fill the space with content.g. (2.) voice. clearness/ clarity. Different from other English writing courses. including the use of articles.) modals. contentbased instruction and e-course application help students to improve their business letter writing?” The whole class was very sure that when it came to assessing whether they had actually learnt anything new. Based on the teacher-researcher’s observation of students’ letter writing (see Appendix 4). content domain writing (business writing) is not necessarily full of specialist terms and jargon.Chinese EFL Journal. namely Mandarin Chinese. and tense. one hundred per cent thought they had. This implies that the conceptualization behind their letter composing involves common linguistic knowledge outside the boundaries of genre knowledge as well as specialist content knowledge. group continuous simulation. while formulaic phrases and collocations made them ready to shift from the ideas to smooth expression in writing. etc. 7 Cs (completeness. subject-verb agreement. concreteness. students felt that business letter writing seems to be much easier and more straightforward in terms of literal rather than implied purposes.) occasionally ‘translationese’ in the letter writing. They admitted that genre-structure knowledge achieved an immediate effect in the light of the thinking and composing process. “Do a genre-awareness approach. Concerning students’ perception toward problem areas in writing a business letter (i.
without content area knowledge or genre knowledge. Vol. The class in this research was kept intact and was not run in experimental controlled conditions. 1 Issue 1. students might have written more irrelevantly. Teachers may benefit from group work and peer feedback.) Last but not least. although the teaching framework has addressed the common goal on a whole class basis. Perhaps the best solution will be self-and peer. Further research could perhaps investigate whether the provision of grammar. and less concisely and precisely. The current research failed to study the individual learning profile of the students. as well as a concrete illustration of how to help students to compose a business letter in an easier way. They have to compete for and win students’ attention. Conclusion and pedagogical implications Though this research focus is not on EBP teacher education concerning specialist knowledge. January 2008 from being conveyed properly.Chinese EFL Journal.assessment of class participation. specialist content knowledge and genre awareness would benefit students most.evaluation sheets in the same group put together would show who did the most jobs in a group.and peer. The questionnaire findings reflected a need of most English-majoring students for knowledge of commercial documents. The issues of group dynamics are worthwhile to explore but they are beyond this research focus. (Note: The researcher-teacher gave the students self-and peer-evaluation sheets at the end of each semester to assess each student’s participation. 5. Today teachers do not seem to have many choices under the pressure of large class size and limited instruction hours. The results of the data obtained from a real EFL classroom may provide a more accurate picture in illustrating the role of specialist content Chinese EFL Journal 125 . who was capable but lazy and who played what role. the proposed framework in which each phase progresses in a systematic order is certainly not a panacea. which can partially erase repetitive linguistic errors. It may offer an alternative way to teaching English for commercial correspondence for non-business EFL students as opposed to business professionals. Likewise. especially when the attention span of most students in a class is short. the present pedagogical framework implies that mastery of the business concepts is indispensable if trade-related letters are to be effectively written. etc. The self.
Lexington. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. J. & Wesche. (1997). References Benson.. R. E. K. Company to company. London: Longman. Meaning and memory. (1989). A. Forum Linguistics. Benson. Z. Disciplinary discourse: Social interaction in academic writing. A. Littlejohn. (1984). M. A. January 2008 knowledge. London: Longman. Dudley-Evans. D. Bolinger. Bhatia. Taiwan: English Teachers’ Association.and content-based approaches to language study. & Ilson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. M. Amsterdam: John Benjamin.. (1997). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.). McDonough. (2005). J. (2000).. Content-based second language instruction.Chinese EFL Journal. John. 1 (1). Jordan. English for academic purposes: A guide and resource book for teachers.. N. Snow... Health. Mass: D. F. Teaching collocation: Further developments in the lexical approach..: Lawrence Erlbaum. Brinton. in and for the practice of this course. & St. Krueger. T. Chinese EFL Journal 126 . genre knowledge and group continuous simulation in enhancing participation and writing performance under normal classroom conditions. M. M.J. In Selected papers from the twelfth international symposium on English teaching (pp. & Lee. Practical instructional technology development for teachers. H. Certainly students’ feedback is essential to the ongoing reflections on. Mahwah. C. (Eds. Language and content: Discipline. M. (1998). (1976). 1 Issue 1. (2003). Hyland. Developments in English for specific purposes: A multi-disciplinary approach. Johns. K. Genre in the classroom: Multiple perspectives. (2000). (1993). R. London: Language Teaching Publications. V. D. & Ryan. Taipei. M. London: Collins ELT. ESP in perspective: A practical guide. The BBI dictionary of English word combinations.459-466). Lin. M. B. (1993). Analysing genre: Language use in professional settings. R. Vol. New York: Newbury House. (2001). Lewis. M. 1-14.
M. Pickett. Essex. L. M. MA: Houghton Mifflin. White Plains. O. (1990). R. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The content-based classroom: Perspectives on integrating language and content.. J. Heath. John.: Longman. (1989).J. (1996). English for Specific Purposes. J. In M. N. 1 Issue 1. A. Snow. Language International. Structure of science popularizations: A genre-analysis approach to the schema of popularized medical texts. N. (1989). English for Specific Purposes. K. Tarnopolsky. M. J. Spanos. Pally.). On the integration of language and content instruction.57-82). Bailey. Z.M. The sleeping giant: Investigations in business English. W. Business Issues: The publication of the Business English Special Interest Group. England: Longman. 1. 5-11. B. 2.: D. & Brinton. (1995). 247-256. G. & Carson. D. Wesche. (1991). M. Disciplined-based approaches to language study: Research issues and outcomes. (1993). Longman commercial communication.. 14(3). (2000).. P. 15 (1). 3-18. 227-240. (2005). (1997). Annual Review of Applied Linguistics.C. Stanton. Sustained content teaching in academic ESL/ EFL: A practical approach. Lexington. N. Camhi. Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. Nwogu.). Business is booming: Business English in the 1990s. Chinese EFL Journal 127 . M.A. English for Specific Purposes. Boston. Swales. Bernard. January 2008 Mustafa. Language and content: Discipline-and content-based approaches to language study (pp. & Wood.Y. 12-14. J. 10.R. St. Vol. Krueger & F.. G. Business English teaching: Imaginative continuous simulations and critical analysis tasks. Ryan (Eds.. The effect of genre awareness on linguistic transfer. (2000). (Eds. 10 (2).A.Chinese EFL Journal. 111-123. D.
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Appendix 1: How a Documentary Credit works
1. The importer and the exporter must negotiate and agree a sales contract. 2. The importer begins the Documentary Credit process by asking his bank to open a Documentary Credit in favor of the exporter. The importer supplies his bank with details of the transaction on an application form. By agreeing to open the credit, the importer’s bank guarantees to pay the exporter if the importer cannot or will not pay. 3. The importer’s bank (the issuing bank) sends details of the Documentary Credit to the exporter’s bank (or to its agent bank in the exporter’s country). At this stage, the exporter’s bank may either simply pass on the details of the Document Credit to the exporter, in which case it is an advising bank, or add its own guarantee to the credit, in which case it is a confirming bank. 4. The advising bank then informs the exporter of the Documentary Credit. 5. When the exporter receives the Documentary Credit from his bank, he checks them very carefully. These details tell him which documents he must prepare before he can be paid, for example, Bill of Lading, Bill of Exchange, Commercial Invoice, Certificate of Insurance, Packing List and Export Permit, etc. Then the exporter dispatches the goods. The B/L is signed by the captain to confirm the goods are on board ship. 6. After this, the exporter takes the documents to his bank, which checks them. If they are in order, the confirming bank pays the exporter or accepts a Bill of Exchange. At this point, the exporter has his money or a Bill of Exchange, the goods are on board ship, and the confirming bank has the documents. 7. The confirming bank then sends the documents to the importer’s bank, the issuing bank, which checks them and send the money to the confirming bank. (If the exporter’s bank has not confirmed the Documentary Credit, but only advised him of it, the exporter will not be paid until the issuing bank has checked the documents and transferred the money, or accepted a Bill of Exchange.) 8. The next stage is for the importer’s bank to debit the importer’s account.
Chinese EFL Journal
Chinese EFL Journal. Vol. 1 Issue 1. January 2008
The importer must pay his bank in order to get the documents. Without the documents, and in particular without the Bill of Lading, the importer cannot collect the goods. 9. At this point, the importer’s bank has been paid, the importer has the documents and the goods are on board ship. 10. The final stage is for the importer to use the documents, which prove his ownership of the goods, to collect the goods when they arrive in port. (Stanton & Wood, 2005, pp. 67-69).
Appendix 2: Sequence in the pedagogical framework for English for commercial correspondence
Appendix 3: Post-course anonymous open-ended questionnaire 1. What stage/ part did you like or dislike about the teaching methods? (business content knowledge instruction, group simulation/ writing, genreawareness language function exercises, writing feedback session or e-course extra-curricular materials) 2. What did you like or dislike about the course content? 3. Could you tell me more about your feeling or reaction about the course? (Is there something else that you would like me to me know about, now that we have finished the course?) 4. Did something unusual or interesting happen while in the group discussion? Could you describe it? Could you make some comments on it? 5. How did your group complete a business letter? (E.g. Did someone take the decision? Or did someone disagree? Or did you have conflicts in composing the message?) 6. What did you feel about the quality of your group writing? Why? 7. In business writing, what knowledge or skills do you think you need? 8. What part of a business letter did you find was harder in writing? 9. What type of business letter did you find was harder in writing? 10. What perception of business writing did you hold before this course?
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Chinese EFL Journal. Vol. 1 Issue 1. January 2008
11. How did you view your participation in doing business in English through continuous simulation? 12. Do you agree this course has helped you to enhance your business writing ability? 13. Would you like your teacher to continue teaching this way? Why? Or why not?
Appendix 4: Transcript of students’ business letter Dear Mr. Deely Your order No. 33421 for scanners December 4th
We thank you for your letter of December 4 th , in which you informed us that case number 9 contained the wrong goods. We have looked into this matter and discovered that there appears to have been some confusion in the numbering of two different orders which were collected by our forwarding agent for dispatch to Canada. We have reviewed our coding system and can assure you that similar mistakes will not happen again. We have already dispatched replacements for the contents of case number 9 and have arranged for the collection of the wrongly-delivered goods. Finally, we would like to apologize to you for the inconvenience you were caused and to thank you for your patience in this matter. We look forward to hearing of the safe arrival of case number 9 and to doing further business with you. Yours sincerely Peggy Huang Sales Manager
Chinese EFL Journal
While major revisions may be requested. Very well documented discussions that make an original contribution to the profession will also be accepted for review. providing detailed. Every effort will be made to accept different rhetorical styles of writing. * Non-research papers. In the latter case. the Chinese EFL Journal does not define competence in terms of native ability. Each submission is initially screened by the Senior Associate Editor. but we are a strictly reviewed journal and all our reviewers expect a high level of academic and written competence in whatever variety of English is used by the author. When submitting please specify if your paper is a full research paper or a nonresearch paper. The Chinese EFL Journal welcomes submissions written in different varieties of world Englishes. The Chinese EFL Journal also makes every effort to support authors who are submitting to an international journal for the first time. Try to ensure that you point out in your discussion section how your findings have broad relevance internationally and contribute something new to our knowledge of EFL. As a basic principle. Vol. There are two basic categories of paper: * Full research papers. The reviewers and Associate Editors come from a wide variety of cultural and academic backgrounds and no distinction is made between native and non-native authors. reviewed by a team of experts in EFL from all over the world. please write a paragraph explaining the relevance of your paper to our Chinese EFL Journal readership. before being sent to an Associate Editor who supervises the review. every effort is made to explain to authors how to make the necessary revisions. contextualized reports of aspects of EFL such as curriculum planning. but every effort will be made to respect original personal and cultural voices and different Chinese EFL Journal 131 . which report interesting and relevant research. unless these are "state of the art" papers that are both comprehensive and expertly drafted by an experienced specialist. January 2008 Guidelines for Submissions Submissions for the Quarterly Issue Brief submission guidelines: The Chinese EFL Journal Quarterly is a fully peer-reviewed section of the journal.Chinese EFL Journal. We cannot accept literature reviews as papers. Authors are encouraged to conform with international standards of drafting. 1 Issue 1. There is no word minimum or maximum.
Double space between paragraphs. Use the superscript font option when inserting a note rather than the automatic footnote or endnote option. Vol. iv) Citations . chart or table.Chinese EFL Journal. for headings. Extra care should be taken for citing the Internet and must include the date the site was accessed. Format for all submissions (Please read this before submitting your work) All submissions should be submitted to: cejournals@gmail. figure.purdue. vii) Paragraphs. 1 Issue 1. Section Headings: Times New Roman (Size 12. example. Chinese EFL Journal 132 . bold font).liu. Spacing: 1. Due to the increasing number of submissions to the Chinese EFL Journal. (See our website PDF guide) Use the APA format as found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). In certain cases.either in the body of the document or at the end. quotation.5 between lines. Referencing: Please refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed. About APA Style/format: http://www. January 2008 rhetorical styles. reference lists and in text referencing. citations.) – Contributors are also invited to view the sample PDF guide available on our website and to refer to referencing samples from articles published from 2006. List 4-6 keywords to facilitate locating the article through keyword searches in the future.english. Some pieces submitted to the quarterly issue may be reclassified during the initial screening process.com i) The document must be in MS Word format.edu/workshops/hypertext/apa/index. 5th Edition. iv) Footnotes must not 'pop up' in the document.edu/cwis/CWP/library/workshop/citapa.apastyle.html APA Citation Style: http://www. Authors who wish to submit directly to the Teaching Articles section should read the separate guidelines and make this clear in the submission email.org/aboutstyle. They must appear at the end of the article. authors not conforming to APA system will have their manuscripts sent back immediately for revision. Indent the beginning of each paragraph with three strikes of the space bar except those immediately following a heading. ii) Font must be Times New Roman size 12. Do not use the tab key.html v) Keywords: All articles must include Keywords at the beginning of the article.APA style. Papers should still be fully-referenced and should use the APA (5th edition) format. a graphic may not appear in the text of the web version of the Chinese EFL Journal but a link to the graphic will be provided. Do not include references that are not referred to in the manuscript. iii) 'Smart tags' should be removed. This delays publication and taxes our editorial process.htm APA Style Workshop: http://owl. vi) Graphs and Charts .
2. subject information. title. etc. the article’s purpose. or more detailed inquiries about less common citation styles. main findings. If you would like to be considered as a solicited reviewer.5 spacing between lines. and e-mail address should be included at the top of the first page.com All reviewers. methodology. Please include the following with your submission: Name School affiliation Address E-mail Phone number Brief Bio Data noting history of professional expertise Qualifications An undertaking the work has not been published elsewhere Abstract Any questions regarding submission guidelines. x) Graphs – to fit within A4 size margins (not wider) Thank you for your cooperation. please forward your CV with a list of publications to the Book Review Editor at: cejournals@gmail. Reviews should be prepared using MS Word and the format should conform to 12 pica New Times Roman font. Unsolicited reviewers select their own materials to review. are encouraged to provide submissions about materials that they would like to suggest to colleagues in the field by choosing materials that they feel have more positive features than negative ones. including. italics. Chinese EFL Journal 133 . The abstract should reflect the focus of the article. school affiliation.. theoretical framework. January 2008 viii) Keep text formatting (e. ix) Abstract The abstract should contain an informative summary of the main points of the article.Chinese EFL Journal. and conclusions. Solicited reviewers are contacted and asked to review materials from its current list of availability. The reviewer(s)' full names including middle initial(s). may be addressed to the Editorial Board or our Journal Book Reviews: The Chinese EFL Journal currently encourages two kinds of submissions. 1. types of data analysed. school address. bold.) to the absolute minimum necessary. Use full justification. Length and Format: 1. unsolicited and solicited.g. Vol. where relevant. unsolicited and solicited. and 1 inch margins. All lines to be against Left Hand Side Margin (except quotes to be indented per APA style). phone number. 1 Issue 1. Both teachers and graduate students are encouraged to submit reviews.
4.apa.udel. Style: 1. like other types of articles. 2. his/her him/her and adhere to the APA's Guidelines for Non-Sexist Use of Language.edu/apa/publications/texts/nonsexist. 5. publisher's address (city & state). publisher. which can be found at: http://www. Vol. and date of publication should be included after the reviewer(s)' identifying information. While creativity and a variety of writing styles are encouraged.Chinese EFL Journal.html. January 2008 3. The complete title of the text. 6. reviews. edition number. A statement that the submission has not been previously published or is not being considered for publication elsewhere should be included at the bottom of the page. 1 Issue 1. and a comment about the material's significance to the field. Authors should use plural nouns rather than gendered pronouns such as he/she. Organization: Reviewers are encouraged to peruse reviews recently published in the quarterly PDF version of the Journal for content and style before writing their own. A brief biography of the author(s) should be included after the review. Reviews should be between 500-700 words. All reviews should conform to the Journal's APA guideline requirements and references should be used sparingly. an academically worded evaluative summary which includes a discussion of its positive features and one or two shortcomings if applicable (no materials are perfect). should be concisely written and contain certain information that follows a predictable order: a statement about the work's intended audience. a non-evaluative description of the material's contents. complete name(s) of author(s). Chinese EFL Journal 134 .
Mingsheng Li Massey University New Zealand Chinese EFL Journal 135 . Ahmet Acar Dokuz Eylül University Turkey Mr. Scott Grigas Youngsan University Korea Senior Advisors Dr. Darren Lingley Kochi University Japan Dr.N. January 2008 Publisher Paul Robertson Korea International Business Management Mr. India Dr. Vol. John Adamson Shinshu Honan College Japan Professor Dr.Chinese EFL Journal. Roger Nunn The Petroleum Institute Abu Dhabi UAE Dr. Z. Patil Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages Hyderabad. 1 Issue 1.
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