A Novice Scholar in English as a Lingua Franca (ELF)

โจโฉ ณ ลาดปลาเค้า
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งานเขียนทุกชิ้นใน Blog นี้ได้รับความคุ้มครองตามพรบ.ลิขสิทธิ์ พ.ศ. 2537 ห้ามคัดลอก แก้ไข ดัดแปลง หรือกระทำการอื่นใดในลักษณะเดียวกันโดยไม่ได้รับอนุญาต

A brief introduction about myself

Hi, everyone! My name is Joe, and I’ve created this blog in order to share my academic interests as well as personal life activities with whoever that comes across.

Strange as it may seem, my life is based on staying current with continuing education to keep my passion alive. Consequently, after earning my BA in English and MA in Translation and Interpretation, I decided to pursue my second master’s degree in Applied Linguistics (English Language Teaching). Upon the completion of my second MA studies, I intended to continue my education towards obtaining a PhD in the same field; afterwards, which would allow me to further refine my language teaching and research skills.

To become a better researcher in language studies, I’ve been actively concentrating on literature review related to my research interests. My main areas of interest include translation pedagogy, academic discourse analysis, and phonetics & pragmatics in second language acquisition. I’m also particularly interested in/ in love with English as a Lingua Franca, World Englishes, and English language teaching (ELT).

please don’t hesitate to contact me via e-mail: joechou007@hotmail.com should you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions.
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A response to a research article on teaching listening comprehension



Woottipong,K. (2014). Effect of using video materials in the teaching of listening skillsfor university students. International Journal of Linguistics, 6(4),2014.

The researcher emphasized the importance of promoting teaching the listening skill, which does not receive much attention in the English classroom in Thailand despite its prerequisite for the target language’s acquisition and the development of other language skills. In consequence, she highlighted the value of video as authentic materials in EFL classrooms to provide students with a wide variety of rich, motivating resources for improving their listening comprehension. With the focus on interactive processing of both bottom-up and top-down approaches, the success of teaching listening comprehension with the materials could be assured. For these reasons,the objectives of this study was 1) to investigate the development of the listening skills of university students through using video materials, and 2)to evaluate their attitudes towards using video materials in teaching listening skills. For research methodology, the simple random sample of 41 students was drawn from the 118 population, all of whom were first-year English major students at Thaksin University. The instruments were 10 units of lesson plans with 10 short English language documentaries, the pre-test and post-test to assess the students’ language development, and a questionnaire to examine their attitudes. The study was conducted over 20 teaching sessions, two of which were used for the pre-test and post-test, while the rest is used for the experiment.The results showed that 1) the students’ ability in English listening comprehension increased significantly after learning with the videos, and 2)they had positive attitudes towards using the videos in teaching listening skills. According to the research findings, not only can video materials productively contribute to enhancing students’ listening comprehension ability, but theyalso lead to other aspects of language learning such as learning vocabulary,developing productive skills, or promoting learner autonomy.

From the above research paper summary, this once again makes me realize the importance of selecting some useful materials ready on hands to foster students’ language learning process,especially when these materials are easily accessible thanks to the information technology and the Internet today. However, this study, in my opinion, still has a number of flaws or weaknesses to be discussed.

To begin with, this study fails to illustrate the actual methodology which is actually the empirical evidence going hand in hand with using the video materials. That is to say, since methodology referring to classroom techniques and procedures (Nunan, 2003, p.4) is necessary for yielding satisfactory learning outcomes, the claim that using the video materials with a few steps of teaching as the researcher stated on page 206 is not convincing enough to justify the effective result of using the video materials in improving the students’ listening comprehension. As a result, the researcher should have attached the whole lesson plan and some content of the materials with the research paper.

Second, there are some threats to internal validity of the study, creating doubts whether this research was designed in such a way that the claims made by the researcher can actually be upheld. That is, the fact that the researcher did not show the pre- and post-tests can cause a threat to internal validity because how the reader can be assured that the content of the test items (before and after) can affirm the students’ improvement as claimed. Besides, in the data collection, the semi-structured interviews should have been utilized in order to better consolidate the results. This can broaden and deepen the participants’ attitudes that could not be effectively examined through only using closed questions in the questionnaire. The researcher should thus have allowed the participants to expand the meaning and logic behind their attitudes by making use of the interview.

Last but not least, even though the video materials of this study are readily accessible and easy to use as authentic materials, I was wondering that “are they actually claimed to be used to measure students’ overall listening competency in the English speaking world today?” The researcher emphasized that her finding corresponds to the previous study to Maneekul (2002) which students were asked to watch native speakers’ video programs and finally improved their English listening ability after the end of the course. Yet, that was 12 years ago before the researcher had produced this research paper. From my perspective, the results are neither surprisingly informative nor interesting. What I mean is a study of this kind in the traditional world of EFL paradigm can no longer provide a sufficient answer and rather obsolete to point out the overall development of students’ listening comprehension in the globalized world where English is clearly aninternational language (EIL). As Kubota (2001) and Smith (1981, 1983, cited in Matsuda, 2003) indicated that the inner-circle orientation to ELT may be appropriate for ESL programs that prepare students to communicate in the inner circle countries, but it is,in fact, inadequate for teaching students to perform successfully communicative tasks in international settings in most parts of the world today. This is on account of some significant differences in the ways in which non-native English speakers use English among themselves when compared with the ways in which native speakers use English. It is the case for non-native learners of English since they are most likely to be exposed to outer- and expanding circle Englishes rather than those of inner-circle countries. The aim to uphold particular varieties spoken by native speakers of English in the classroom may then lead to confusion, bias, or even resistance when students face with different types of English users outside of class (Matsuda, 2003). Therefore, I think teaching and carrying on doing research based merely on inner-circle English in Thai educational context in this era is probably the promotion of ideology (Boriboom2011) that neglects the real linguistic needs of the learners, overshadowing their education about the politics of English, and failing to empower them with identity construction of potential non-native users of English.

All in all, I am not totally against teaching and researching English based on native speakers’ English varieties. However, since the teaching of the English language should be reconsidered based on its real use of socio-culturally diverse communicative situations where one-size-fit-all English is no longer applicable, I suggest that more innovative educational practices should be widely acknowledged and done in accordance with the reality of sociolinguistic aspects of the English language use today. More varieties of Englishes should be included in the classroom and in research areas of ELT, so that our Thai students will have a better chance to learn the real world of communication comprising of both native and non-native speakers alike. In conducting further research on ELT methodologies,apart from the native speaker orientation, we might pay more attention to othe raspects of communicative exchanges between non-native speakers and non-native speakers in the context of international English, which could provide other insightful aspects of modern research findings in ELT.

References

Boriboon,P. (2011). Language ideology and domination: Problems of English language teaching inThailand and solutions. Songklanakarin Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 6, 23-59.


Matsuda, A. (2003). Incorporatingworld Englishes in teaching English as an international
language. Tesol Quarterly, 37(4),719-729

Nunan,D. (2003). Practical Englishlanguage teaching. In Nunan, D. (ed.) New York: McGraw Hill.




 

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