An Investigation of the Perspectives of NCCU English Majors on Alternative Course Designs for Language Skills Courses Seminar on Research Methodology and Design, , , , July 30, 2008
Introduction The Changing Role of English Language EducationThe global role of English language education is changing in the 21st century.The role of English language education in Taiwan is changing due to education reform.How should the NCCU Department of English react to these changes?Is it time to reevaluate the English language teaching curriculum to better suit the needs of our students?
OverviewThe changing role of English in the 21st centuryEnglish language education reforms in Asia and TaiwanEnglish language training at comparable Departments of EnglishContent-based vs. Skills-based English language trainingSummarize the factors that make this a complex issueResearch QuestionsMethodologyDiscussion of our FindingsConclusion and Suggestions
The Role of English in the 21st Century (Graddol, 2006 ; Kierath, 2006 )Increasing GlobalizationEnglish is the language for international communicationEnglish competence is a factor in national powerEnglish is becoming less of an advantage for getting aheadEnglish ability is an expected necessity to keep from being left behindThe age for the commencement of English language education is shifting downwards
The Role of English in the 21st Century (Graddol, 2006)Fewer and fewer adult English language learnersEnglish language ability is becoming an entrance requirement for doing university level academic work instead of an exit skill developed before leaving the university Advantages: Having skills other than English, being Multi-lingual
Regional Trends in English Language EducationThe need for increased English language competence has led to education reforms across AsiaJapanHong Kong
Regional Trends in English Language Education (Mantero and Iwai, 2005)JapanMEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology Japan) began outlining new education goals in 1998Hoped for children to catch up with globalizationEssential for children to acquire communication abilities in English to live in the twenty-first century
Regional Trends in English Language Education JapanHoped to develop students basic practical communication abilities such as listening and speaking, understanding of language and culture, and fostering a positive attitude toward communication through foreign languages (MEXT, 2003)
Regional Trends in English Language Education JapanMany innovative curriculums developed in private universities (Hadley, 1999)Keio UniversityLanguage immersion program. Learners work on group projects, discussions, and debates or group projects on topics that interest them.Focus is on cooperative learning and fluency rather than accuracy. Wants to instill self-confidence and fluency in spoken English to promote the further internationalization of Japanese society.
Regional Trends in English Language Education JapanAsia UniversityEnglish lounges where only English is spokenIntensive English classes requiredStudent exchange program, foreign roommatesTokyo Christian UniversityMany classes taught in English with modified shelter approach. Main objective is to master content material. Language learning is incidental.Miyazaki International CollegeIntegrated classrooms - content courses in English.Aim is to develop language and critical thinking skills interactively.
Regional Trends in English Language Education Hong KongMoving from 3-year universities to 4-year universitiesOne less year of high schoolLooking at ways to embed English language skills instruction into the new curriculum. It is hoped that this will help nurture capable people to drive the development of a knowledge-based economy and to meet society's rapidly changing needs.
Regional Trends in English Language Education OthersNational University of Singapore De La Salle University in ManilaCreating language programmes that implicitly focus on English as an International Language (EIL). (Hadley, 2003)
Taiwan Trends in English Language Education Desire for globalizationPressure to develop EFL proficiency in the hope of gaining more access in the global arena of international trade and commerce (Carey, 1998; Thompson, 2003) English ability provides social and economic mobility
The Role of Universities in GlobalizationTertiary educational system in Taiwan partly carries the burden in internationalizing the potential of its human resources (Tiangco, 2004). Provide relevant language training and education to promising Taiwanese in preparing them for global competitiveness. Responsible for preparing undergraduate students for future careers by providing them with the necessary skills to become productive members of both industry and government. Provide continuing education programs such as courses in English
MOE Expectations for UniversitiesMOEs The International Competitiveness Enhancement of the UniversitiesTo be incorporated into the academic mainstream of the international community in order to enhance the research level of the overall academia of Taiwan and the quality of education and uplift the academic status and visibility of our country; internationalize our universities (by interacting with foreign universities). [MOE website, 2008]
The Changing Education Environment at NCCUIn 2000 ETP started the trend toward internationalization and a promotion of classes that were taught in English Fewer hours needed to attain majorMore opportunity to take elective classes in other departmentsReduced teaching hoursMore research responsibilities
Consequence for NCCU English DepartmentNeed to cut hoursCourses offered reduced by 200 hours in 2009-2010 academic yearMajor curriculum reform necessaryOpportune time to examine the language training programDetermine how to best meet the needs of future students
Other Comparable English Departments in Taiwan English Programs. docRequired Language Training Hours
Training HoursCreditsTamkang4634 NTNU3838Cheng Kung3636NTU3228Fu Jen3030Tsing Hua2828Chengchi2727Chiao Tung2121
Other Comparable English Departments in TaiwanRequired Courses
Other Comparable English Departments in TaiwanYears of Language Training
NTNUFreshmen SeniorFu JenFreshmen SeniorCheng KungFreshmen JuniorNTUFreshmen JuniorTsing HuaFreshmen JuniorTamkangFreshmen JuniorChengchiFreshmen, Sophomore, SeniorChiao TungFreshmen, Sophomore, & before graduation (for English Competence Workshop )
Other Comparable English Departments in TaiwanCommentsWhile NCCU is not markedly out of the norm, it does tend to fall on the low end of the scale in terms of hours of classes required
The English department at Chengchi university provides fewer credits of the language training courses, compared to the other schools. (Chengchi: 27; NTNU: 38; Tamkang: 34; Cheng Kung: 36)
Content-based vs. Skills-based Most of these curriculums are arguably characterized as being either content-based or skills-based instruction.Mostly content-based; less entirely skills-based.
The whole is equal to the sum of its parts.Language learning is no more than the formation of habits by means of stimulus-response conditioning.Absolute emphasis on skills and mechanics, e.g., grammar, fluency, pronunciation, etc.Content is only decorative. Students comprehension and knowledge of content is of little concern or not tested at all. Definition of Skills-based (El-Koumy, 2000)
Advantage: Discrete subskills are clear and easy for learners to manage.Disadvantage: The teaching of language as isolated skills divorces it from its real and functional use in society (Norris and Hoffman, 1993; Reutzel and Hollingsworth, 1988).
Definition of Content-based (Stoller, 2004)Dual commitment to language- and content-learning objectives.Attention to learners growth of academic skills.
Models of Content-based InstructionParkinson (2000): Science and literacies.Carson (2000): Psychology and integrated-skills English for Academic Purposes (EAP).Janzen (2001): Special effects in movies and reading skills.Mendelsohn (2001): Canadian language and culture and language-learning strategies.
Models of Content-based Instruction
The continuum (Met, 1998): 1. It showcases the shifting emphasis on content and language. 2. At one end of the continuum are content-driven approaches with strong commitments to content-learning. 3. At the other end of the continuum are language-driven approaches with strong commitments to language learning objectives.
Models of Content-based Instruction
Content-based InstructionAdvantage: Provides a means for students to continue their academic development while also improving their language proficiency (Snow, 1998; Short, 1997).Disadvantage: Less effective in developing students academic English, reduced to incidental learning (Langman, 2003).
NCCU English Departments Two Proposed Course DesignsDesign 1: With all the language-skills courses eliminated, to teach skills in content courses as an additional requirement.Design 2: Language-skills courses to be taught with specific subject matters or themes, such as linguistics, literature, or TESOL.
NCCU English Departments Two Proposed Course DesignsBoth content-based, with varied emphasis on content and language.
NCCU English Departments Two Possible Course DesignsHowever, little or no research has been done to investigate what stud