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postgraduate thesis: Communicativeness of activities in EFL primary school classrooms in Nanhai Guangdong, China: teachers'interpretations of task-based language teaching

TitleCommunicativeness of activities in EFL primary school classrooms in Nanhai Guangdong, China: teachers'interpretations of task-based language teaching
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2011
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Deng, C. [邓春娆]. (2011). Communicativeness of activities in EFL primary school classrooms in Nanhai Guangdong, China : teachers' interpretations of task-based language teaching. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4723201
AbstractTask-based language teaching has a high profile within contemporary ELT. There are, however, few empirical studies of how teachers actually implement tasks in Chinese primary school contexts. This study aims to fill this gap by exploring how four teachers in two primary schools in Nanhai, Guangdong implement communicative activities in a top-down national innovation. This study involves three areas of investigation. The first area describes classroom practice. A particular focus is on activity types and the degree of communicativeness of activities. The second area analyzes how the practice reflects the general understanding of task-based pedagogy: the extent to which classroom activities are congruent with features of task? The third area concerns factors influencing communicativeness of lessons. Extensive data are drawn over a period of an academic year with four selected teachers (Betty, Rose, Paul and Jane). A total of 55 observations were conducted. Methods of documenting classroom data include a quantitative instrument based on COLT observation scheme (Communicative Orientation of Language Teaching) and qualitative field notes. The tool used to analyze the degree of communicativeness is derived from a well-recognized framework proposed by Littlewood. 64 semi-structured interviews were conducted to gauge participants’ perception of task-based teaching. Teachers, school principals and focused-group students were interviewed. The main findings are as follows. It is found that Betty and Rose use mainly focus-on-forms activities, Paul uses meaning-form-focused and Jane meaning-focused activities, suggesting, respectively, a low, medium and medium-high degree of communicativeness. Further analysis of activity features indicates that Betty and Rose’s teaching are teacher-centered, decontextualized and without a clear communicative goal and outcome, and thus not congruent with task features. Paul’s activities share features of non-communicative teaching and TBLT. Paul tried to integrate some communicative elements in his approach, although the majority of Paul’s activities still focus on the practice of language form. Jane’s activities, message-focused, student-centered and contextualized, reflect general features of tasks. Three sets of contextual and participant factors are found to influence TBLT implementation in the two case schools: 1) contextual, 2) teacher factors and 3) those related to pedagogical practice, including planning and instructional factors. The significance of this study is threefold. Firstly, I propose an adapted version of Littlewood’s communicative framework. This version contributes to the existing literature as it is a useful tool to analyze communicativeness of classroom activities in school context. Secondly, this study extends our knowledge of the kind of factors that influence TBLT implementation. Lastly, this study adds insights into character teachers cope with changes in the new English curriculum and the kind of classroom activities in Nanhai primary schools. It is hoped that these findings carry some resonances in other EFL contexts in East Asian Region.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectEnglish language - Study and teaching (Primary) - China - Nanhai Shi.
Language and languages - Study and teaching (Primary) - China - Nanhai Shi.
Second language acquisition - China - Nanhai Shi.
Task analysis in education - China - Nanhai Shi.
Dept/ProgramEducation

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorCarless, DR-
dc.contributor.advisorAndrews, SJ-
dc.contributor.authorDeng, Chunrao.-
dc.contributor.author邓春娆.-
dc.date.issued2011-
dc.identifier.citationDeng, C. [邓春娆]. (2011). Communicativeness of activities in EFL primary school classrooms in Nanhai Guangdong, China : teachers' interpretations of task-based language teaching. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4723201-
dc.description.abstractTask-based language teaching has a high profile within contemporary ELT. There are, however, few empirical studies of how teachers actually implement tasks in Chinese primary school contexts. This study aims to fill this gap by exploring how four teachers in two primary schools in Nanhai, Guangdong implement communicative activities in a top-down national innovation. This study involves three areas of investigation. The first area describes classroom practice. A particular focus is on activity types and the degree of communicativeness of activities. The second area analyzes how the practice reflects the general understanding of task-based pedagogy: the extent to which classroom activities are congruent with features of task? The third area concerns factors influencing communicativeness of lessons. Extensive data are drawn over a period of an academic year with four selected teachers (Betty, Rose, Paul and Jane). A total of 55 observations were conducted. Methods of documenting classroom data include a quantitative instrument based on COLT observation scheme (Communicative Orientation of Language Teaching) and qualitative field notes. The tool used to analyze the degree of communicativeness is derived from a well-recognized framework proposed by Littlewood. 64 semi-structured interviews were conducted to gauge participants’ perception of task-based teaching. Teachers, school principals and focused-group students were interviewed. The main findings are as follows. It is found that Betty and Rose use mainly focus-on-forms activities, Paul uses meaning-form-focused and Jane meaning-focused activities, suggesting, respectively, a low, medium and medium-high degree of communicativeness. Further analysis of activity features indicates that Betty and Rose’s teaching are teacher-centered, decontextualized and without a clear communicative goal and outcome, and thus not congruent with task features. Paul’s activities share features of non-communicative teaching and TBLT. Paul tried to integrate some communicative elements in his approach, although the majority of Paul’s activities still focus on the practice of language form. Jane’s activities, message-focused, student-centered and contextualized, reflect general features of tasks. Three sets of contextual and participant factors are found to influence TBLT implementation in the two case schools: 1) contextual, 2) teacher factors and 3) those related to pedagogical practice, including planning and instructional factors. The significance of this study is threefold. Firstly, I propose an adapted version of Littlewood’s communicative framework. This version contributes to the existing literature as it is a useful tool to analyze communicativeness of classroom activities in school context. Secondly, this study extends our knowledge of the kind of factors that influence TBLT implementation. Lastly, this study adds insights into character teachers cope with changes in the new English curriculum and the kind of classroom activities in Nanhai primary schools. It is hoped that these findings carry some resonances in other EFL contexts in East Asian Region.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B47232018-
dc.subject.lcshEnglish language - Study and teaching (Primary) - China - Nanhai Shi.-
dc.subject.lcshLanguage and languages - Study and teaching (Primary) - China - Nanhai Shi.-
dc.subject.lcshSecond language acquisition - China - Nanhai Shi.-
dc.subject.lcshTask analysis in education - China - Nanhai Shi.-
dc.titleCommunicativeness of activities in EFL primary school classrooms in Nanhai Guangdong, China: teachers'interpretations of task-based language teaching-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb4723201-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b4723201-
dc.date.hkucongregation2011-

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