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Senior High School Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices in English Electives: A Case Study
Liu, Chia Hui
Yu, Ming Chung
Liu, Chia Hui
senior high school English
|Issue Date:||2016-03-01 10:55:57 (UTC+8)|
The actual implementation of switch-classroom, student-chosen English electives had been a challenging task in most of the senior high schools in Taiwan. Although the existing literature has pointed out both contextual and personal barriers to such practices, there has been lack of teachers’ participation and related studies devoted to understanding these practitioners’ views which many educational experts believe can contribute to further and deeper understanding of the various aspects of curriculum design. Therefore, this research aims to explore English teachers’ views and practices in the implementation of English electives by focusing on a senior high school English teacher’s first-time experience of teaching an elective, News English, throughout a semester. The methods employed in this qualitative research include three periodical periodical interviews, post-class interviews, teacher’s reflective journals, class observation, and document collection. The main study spanned from September 2011 to January 2012. By coding, triangulation, description, and interpretation, the research had the following findings: (1) the teacher participant overall viewed English electives as a positive teaching and learning experience as well as a feasible practice in senior high school, (2) with adaptation strategies regarding English teaching and class management in place, most of the contextual and inside-classroom challenges could be smoothly tackled and new teaching possibilities be experimented with, and (3) the existing difficulties included students’ low motivation in choosing electives and other operational problems such as confusion in administrative work, assessment and grading, class interaction, and the impact of entrance examination. These findings generate more discussions on issues regarding teaching English in an elective, including how the teacher participant’s approval of the values of the elective and her need for professional enhanced her adaption to this new teaching scenario while she simultaneously faced dilemmas such as the impacts of changing circumstances in the implementation of electives and the balance between desire for change/growth and fear for increased workload. Other issues also deserving attention include whether the novel experience of teaching English in an elective rather than a required course can have longer and deeper impact, the possibility of an English elective in senior high school heading for content-driven instruction, and how teachers can deal with the ever-present influence of entrance examinations in an elective aimed to widen the scopes of teaching and learning English. The research then brings forward two suggestions: teachers expanding upon the alternative experience to explore more possibilities of teaching English and school administrations strengthening and incorporating all resources to help make the implementation of electives run more smoothly. It is also expected that more research can be devoted to further explore the impact of entrance examinations on implementing English electives in senior high school, and understand the learning needs of elective takers from students’ point of view.
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