File Download
  Links for fulltext
     (May Require Subscription)
Supplementary

Article: Class size and language learning in Hong Kong: the students' perspective

TitleClass size and language learning in Hong Kong: the students' perspective
Authors
KeywordsClass size reduction
Language learning anxiety
Pedagogy
Student voice
Issue Date2012
PublisherRoutledge. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/routledge/00131881.asp
Citation
Educational Research, 2012, v. 54 n. 3, p. 331-342 How to Cite?
AbstractBackground: There is currently ongoing debate in Hong Kong between the teachers' union and the Government on the reduction of large class size (typically more than 40 students) in secondary schools and whether smaller class sizes might facilitate improvements in teaching and learning. In fact, many Hong Kong secondary schools have already started to experiment with class size reduction. This study seeks to investigate from the students' perspective how class size reduction might alleviate one key psychological aspect of learning in Hong Kong and Asia, namely language learning anxiety. Research has shown that language learning anxiety can have a debilitating effect on students' classroom behaviour, and this study seeks to examine whether exposure to learning in a smaller class informs such findings.Purpose: This small-scale exploratory study aims to examine whether, and how, class size reduction might help to alleviate language learning anxiety, which has long been seen as an obstacle to second language acquisition.Method: This study employed multiple case studies in four Hong Kong secondary schools. Each case constituted one teacher teaching English language to first language Chinese students in a reduced-size class (where class size was between 21 and 25 students) and a large class (where class size was between 38 and 41 students) of the same year grade, and of similar academic ability. Multiple interviews were conducted with the four teachers, and data stemmed from group and individual interviews with 231 students. Student interview questions focused on their perspectives and experiences of studying in large and reduced-size classes. A total of 78 lessons were also observed across the four case studies. The data were analysed to identify any emergent patterns and themes.Findings: The research findings indicate that students reflect on their experiences of studying in reduced-size classes in a mature and confident way. Students reported that smaller classes promoted a strong sense of security within their classroom community and seemed to weaken students' fears of negative evaluation from their peers and teachers. Students also reported that they felt more confident about participating in English lessons and these perspectives were supported by evidence from classroom observations.Conclusions: This small-scale exploratory research study suggests that the student voice can provide insights into language learning classrooms. Data from the case studies reveal that students' sense of anxiety can be reduced in smaller classes and that class size reduction may assist in breaking down cultural barriers. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/152922
ISSN
2015 Impact Factor: 0.589
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 0.490
ISI Accession Number ID
References

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorHarfitt, GJen_HK
dc.date.accessioned2012-07-16T09:51:36Z-
dc.date.available2012-07-16T09:51:36Z-
dc.date.issued2012en_HK
dc.identifier.citationEducational Research, 2012, v. 54 n. 3, p. 331-342en_HK
dc.identifier.issn0013-1881en_HK
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/152922-
dc.description.abstractBackground: There is currently ongoing debate in Hong Kong between the teachers' union and the Government on the reduction of large class size (typically more than 40 students) in secondary schools and whether smaller class sizes might facilitate improvements in teaching and learning. In fact, many Hong Kong secondary schools have already started to experiment with class size reduction. This study seeks to investigate from the students' perspective how class size reduction might alleviate one key psychological aspect of learning in Hong Kong and Asia, namely language learning anxiety. Research has shown that language learning anxiety can have a debilitating effect on students' classroom behaviour, and this study seeks to examine whether exposure to learning in a smaller class informs such findings.Purpose: This small-scale exploratory study aims to examine whether, and how, class size reduction might help to alleviate language learning anxiety, which has long been seen as an obstacle to second language acquisition.Method: This study employed multiple case studies in four Hong Kong secondary schools. Each case constituted one teacher teaching English language to first language Chinese students in a reduced-size class (where class size was between 21 and 25 students) and a large class (where class size was between 38 and 41 students) of the same year grade, and of similar academic ability. Multiple interviews were conducted with the four teachers, and data stemmed from group and individual interviews with 231 students. Student interview questions focused on their perspectives and experiences of studying in large and reduced-size classes. A total of 78 lessons were also observed across the four case studies. The data were analysed to identify any emergent patterns and themes.Findings: The research findings indicate that students reflect on their experiences of studying in reduced-size classes in a mature and confident way. Students reported that smaller classes promoted a strong sense of security within their classroom community and seemed to weaken students' fears of negative evaluation from their peers and teachers. Students also reported that they felt more confident about participating in English lessons and these perspectives were supported by evidence from classroom observations.Conclusions: This small-scale exploratory research study suggests that the student voice can provide insights into language learning classrooms. Data from the case studies reveal that students' sense of anxiety can be reduced in smaller classes and that class size reduction may assist in breaking down cultural barriers. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.en_HK
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisherRoutledge. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/routledge/00131881.aspen_HK
dc.relation.ispartofEducational Researchen_HK
dc.rightsThis is an electronic version of an article published in Educational Research, 2012, v. 54 n. 3, p. 331-342. The journal article is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00131881.2012.710091-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subjectClass size reductionen_HK
dc.subjectLanguage learning anxietyen_HK
dc.subjectPedagogyen_HK
dc.subjectStudent voiceen_HK
dc.titleClass size and language learning in Hong Kong: the students' perspectiveen_HK
dc.typeArticleen_HK
dc.identifier.emailHarfitt, GJ: gharfitt@hkucc.hku.hken_HK
dc.identifier.authorityHarfitt, GJ=rp00901en_HK
dc.description.naturepostprint-
dc.identifier.doi10.1080/00131881.2012.710091en_HK
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-84864595788en_HK
dc.identifier.hkuros201883en_US
dc.relation.referenceshttp://www.scopus.com/mlt/select.url?eid=2-s2.0-84864595788&selection=ref&src=s&origin=recordpageen_HK
dc.identifier.volume54en_HK
dc.identifier.issue3en_HK
dc.identifier.spage331en_HK
dc.identifier.epage342en_HK
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000306932500006-
dc.publisher.placeUnited Kingdomen_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridHarfitt, GJ=8951973400en_HK

Export via OAI-PMH Interface in XML Formats


OR


Export to Other Non-XML Formats