Welcome to the Third Issue of The Warwick ELT!
We are delighted to present the third issue of The Warwick ELT e-zine.
Following the same pattern of the previous issues, the February 2017 issue of ‘The Warwick ELT’ presents articles from contributors from the Applied Linguistics centre, including MA and PhD students, representing realities from the most varied backgrounds for the informed discussion related to ELT.
In this issue, we have the great contribution from Takumi Aoyama and Sal Consoli on ‘Introducing FOLLM: the Forum on Language Learning Motivation’, emphasising on the need of the international FOLLM. Betelhem Taye Tsehayu, in her article ‘Current Controversies on the Use of L1 in ELT Classrooms: Focus on the Ethiopian Context’ talks about the context of teaching foreign languages in Ethiopia. Then, Tran Phan brings to the discussion the context of learning foreign languages in Vietnam through her article ‘English Language as a Boom in Vietnam – From Colonized to Domesticated’. Whilst, Chris Zhang, through the article ‘English in China Today and the Influence of Education Reform’, informs us about the education reform in contemporary China.
For ease of access, each of the articles can be found hyperlinked below:
- Introducing FOLLM: the Forum on Language Learning Motivation by Takumi Aoyama & Sal Consoli
- Current Controversies on the Use of L1 in ELT Classrooms: Focus on the Ethiopian Context by Betelhem Taye Tsehayu
- English Language as a Boom in Vietnam – From Colonized to Domesticated by Tran Phan
- English in China Today and the Influence of Education Reform by Chris Zhang
We expect that the articles shared can provide the readers with a general knowledge about what is going on in the area of teaching and learning of languages around the world and really motivate reflection on the teaching and learning of languages as learners of languages and teachers and inspire teacher development as well. Besides encouraging more authors to give their contribution to our Ezine in the following editions.
Finally, we would like to thank all of those whose effort has gone into the creation of this edition of the e-zine.
Frazer Smith, Komila Tangirova and Mirian Fuhr.
Introducing FOLLM: the Forum on Language Learning Motivation
Takumi Aoyama & Sal Consoli
In this commentary, we first map out the reasons which make language learning (LL) motivation a crucial research field within the domain of Second Language Acquisition (SLA). However, while we recognise that researchers have made considerable progress in the attempt to theorise LL motivation, it is clear that the construct is difficult to define and investigate in its wholeness. Despite these challenges, influential work has been produced, and we offer a brief overview of the seminal publications which give LL motivation inquiry a sense of achievement and orientation. We conclude with a brief outline of the recent international academic events which have successfully gathered researchers and practitioners to discuss the new dimensions of LL motivation research, its application in teaching practice and new lines of inquiry. Finally, we introduce the international Forum on Language Learning Motivation (FOLLM) which has been set up with a view to building an international network of researchers and practitioners who have an active interest in LL motivation.
Keywords: motivation, research, language, learning, conference.
Language learning motivation is one of the most prolific research areas in the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Nonetheless, whereas a lot of research discussions have centred upon the notion of motivation within language learning, it has become apparent that no conceptualisation of motivation, to-date, has been able to theorise the fullness of such a construct (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2011, p. 4). Ellis and Shintani (2014), for instance, offer a definition which incorporates many of the definitional components attached by researchers to motivation: ‘motivation is a complex construct that involves the reasons or goals learners have for learning an L2, the effort they put into learning and the attributes they form as a result of their attempts to learn (p. 287).’ However, although researchers have inevitably been selective in their conceptualisations of motivation and therefore unable to ‘capture the whole picture’ (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2011, p. 4), we recognise, in line with Dörnyei and Ushioda, that motivation is concerned with ‘the direction and magnitude of human behaviour (…) in other words, motivation is responsible for why people decide to do something, how long they are willing to sustain the activity, how hard they are going to pursue it’ (p. 4).
Current controversies on the use of L1 in ELT classrooms: focus on the Ethiopian context
Betelhem Taye Tsehayu
In Today’s multilingual world, teaching English or any other second language especially as a school subject, may or may not need the help of students’ first language. Different experts in English Language Teaching have been promulgating their claims on whether to use students’ L1 in ELT classes or not. The assertions made so far are of three types. The first ‘direct method’ type, bans students’ first language from interfering the learning of English while the second one opposes this approach, proposing translation as the best way of teaching a new language. The third, and the one, mostly accepted by many theorists these days, is the judicial use of students’ L1 by providing more space to the use of the target language being taught. These arguments mentioned are context-sensitive and can be applied effectively if they are good fit to the education environment of respective teachers. The writer does not intend to provide one precise response to the controversy of whether to use L1 in English classes or not but rather entertains the current varying viewpoints on the issue displaying no favour to any side of the argument. Thus, the paper aims at showcasing the current L1 use debate in language classrooms and allows readers to identify their stance on whether to use or not to use L1, or to be somewhere in between the two extremes depending on their specific contexts. In doing so, the writer referred to Ethiopian context as a relative real life instance to further elaborate on the perspectives presented.
Key Words: L1, first language, monolingual, English
Teaching English as a second or foreign language raises the issue of first language use in the classroom. The use of students’ first language in an ELT class is a debatable issue in English Language Teaching and probably continues to stay so for some time until reliable researches are conducted to explicitly state the pros and cons of using L1 in a language classroom (Debreli & Oyman 2016). When the use of L1 is considered in any English language Teaching (ELT) classroom, it is not only about how teachers use their students’ first language to teach English but it is also how students use their L1 to learn the new language (Harbord 1992; Debreli & Oyman 2016; Burden 2000).
On my very first day of public school teaching experience after graduation from college, I was strongly challenged by one of my students who insisted on the use of the first language in my English class. I was never taught to use any L1 while teaching English but was rather trained to teach the language using the language itself. I was taught to teach English in English so that I can help my students improve their fluency as well as their accuracy throughout the learning process. What I knew was, English Teaching should totally be monolingual and the interference of L1 was considered a failure from the teacher’s side and a taboo from the students’ side. Continue reading
English Language As A Boom In Vietnam – From Colonized To Domesticated
This paper is concerned with the invasion of English language to Vietnam, from the old days when it was once a colonized language to its current status as a domesticated and the most popular foreign language in Vietnam. As a start, I will focus on describing how English language in Vietnam has been so wide-spread in three particular fields: business, education, and daily life. In each field, I will analyze people’s perspective towards English language. The last part of this paper will also discuss the status and influence of the other foreign languages (French, Japanese, and Chinese), which are spoken beside English language, to provide broader view of foreign languages in use in Vietnam.
I still remember in an interview for my undergraduate study back in Vietnam 5 years ago, I had a question that asked people at multiple ages and levels why they chose English to learn as a foreign language. Their answers, although, were barely spoken with intelligible English yet totally a jumble eager; and the phrase “international language” just came out very clearly and naturally from their mouths. I found it very interesting that their responses, whether they deeply understood it or not, somehow in certain aspects, reflect their attitudes and their awareness for choosing to learn a new language to learn beside their mother tongueietnamese. Therefore, within this paper, I will focus on describing the status and roles of English language in Vietnam in three particular fields: business, education, and daily life, and at each field I will analyze people’s perspective towards this language. The last part of this paper will discuss the status and influence of the other foreign languages (French, Japanese, and Chinese), which are spoken beside English language, to provide a broader view of foreign languages in use in Vietnam. Continue reading
English in China Today and the influence of Education Reform
Chong Zhang (Chris)
This article provides a contemporary overview of English language policy in China with reference to the language’s global position and rising influence of Mandarin Chinese. In addition, the article provides a historical overview of this topic with reference to Chinese government policy. This reviews how English has become more prominent overtime in relation other languages and how its potential for the future. The English education market is currently of a considerable scale owing much to the current trend for many students seeking higher education in English speaking countries around the whole world. In many international organisations, English has become prerequisite for advanced positions; this has contributed to the growing popularity of the study of the language. Although the influence of English is particularly prevalent at this time, the question for the future is will this continue to be the case? This article attempts to answer this to some extent.
Key words: China, English, Gaokao, NMET, Language Policy
After the launch of China’s reform and opening-up policies during the late 1970s, China began to attach more importance to English as a lingua franca to contact with the outside world (China Daily, 2010). Recently, globalisation has given English an unprecedented dominant position in foreign language teaching in China and this increasing trend is likely to continue. However, the Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE) adopted a reform policy on National Matriculation English Test (NMET), the English test of the National University Entrance Qualifying Exam (Gaokao) in 2013. According to this policy, English would be of less importance in Gaokao. Since this exam is an indicator for most Chinese students, this reform was assumed to seriously influence the status of English in China. This paper will focus on the status and roles of English in China, Chinese attitudes toward English, and the influence of the NMET reform. Continue reading