Criteria for Establishing an Authentic EFL Learning Environment in Taiwan

| September 25, 2009
Title
Criteria for Establishing an Authentic EFL Learning Environment in Taiwan

Keywords: EFL, CLT, learning environment, physical environment, instructional arrangements, social situation, Taiwan

Authors
Wen-chi Vivian Wu
Providence University, Taiwan, China

Bio Data
Wen-chi Vivian Wu, who received her doctorate in Education from the University of South Dakota in 2006, is an assistant professor of the Department of English Language, Literature and Linguistics at Providence University in Taiwan. As an experienced English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) instructor, she teaches a variety of English-related courses including English grammar, pronunciation, conversation, listening and speaking, and debate and public speech. She has published ten peer-reviewed journals locally and abroad and given 12 international conference presentations. Her recent research areas include learner motivation for English as a global language, application of technology in instruction, computer-assisted language learning, and learner-centered instruction. Over the past two years, she has integrated international experiences into her conversation and writing courses linking her students with college students and university professors in America.

Abstract
This study explored the perceptions of faculty and students at a Taiwanese technical university regarding its English as a Foreign Language (EFL) environment using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The study survey was designed by the researcher and sampled 593 freshman EFL students. The qualitative data collection consisted of interviews with five student members of the quantitative sample and five of the university s EFL instructors to gather more information on their perceptions of the environment. The entire EFL environment, including its physical, instructional, and social aspects, was found to be an obstacle to students learning. Students found the lack of several traits particularly detrimental: native speakers, sufficient teachers, real-life learning materials, English-language speaking and listening practice, and multimedia teaching resources. Qualitative findings expanded on this, echoing as a whole the quantitative data and additionally revealing student passivity, a lack of learning goals, and teachers unfamiliarity with new teaching methodologies. A concentration on teacher-centered instruction, grammar, and students lack of free time reinforced the idea of the classroom being the only place for learning and using English, rather than including genuine experiences within the community.

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See pages 156-189

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 11 Issue 3