Teacher-Student Relationship and the Conceptualization of the Good Language Teacher: Does Culture Matter?

| June 25, 2009
Teacher-Student Relationship and the Conceptualization of the Good Language Teacher : Does Culture Matter?

Keywords: teacher-student relationship, language teaching/learning, teacher characteristics, culture, Asian educational context, Malaysia

Larisa Nikitina and Fumitaka Furuoka
Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia

Bio Data
Larisa Nikitina is a lecturer at the Centre for the Promotion of Knowledge and Language Learning, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, where she teaches the Russian language. Her current research interest focuses on the affective aspects of language learning and teacher-student interaction.

Fumitaka Furuoka (Ph.D.) is an Associate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Universiti Malaysia Sabah where he teaches economics. His research interests include the quantitative analysis and the measurement of psychometric qualities of instruments employed in research on language teaching/learning.

This study examines the dimensions in teacher-student relationship in the language classroom. It also explores the most and the least desirable qualities of the language teacher as perceived by a cohort of Malaysian university students, and the hierarchy of these qualities. It has been proposed that cultural mores predominant within a particular society would determine the patterns of teacher-student interpersonal communication and influence the learners perceptions of their teachers. The present study adopts some relevant frameworks developed in other academic disciplines to examine these issues. Participants in this study were one hundred students learning the Russian language at Universiti Malaysia Sabah. This study employed Gardner s (1985) instrument as a research tool; two open-ended questions about language teacher s most and least desirable qualities were added to the instrument. Results of the quantitative analysis of the data showed that teacher-student relationship is built along clearly identifiable dimensions. Qualitative analysis of the open-ended questions revealed that the students perceptions of a good teacher are less culturally bound than it has been reported in some previous studies; three most desirable for the teacher qualities (i.e., caring/empathetic, patient, friendly) are all relationship-oriented.

See pages 163 ­-187

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 11 Issue 2