Thesis Chapter 1 & 3: Teaching English as a Second Language: The Asian Case in Primary US Schools
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PROBLEM AND ITS BACKGROUND
The courses in English as Second Language (ESL) have a long history in the United States. For a long time, though, ESL instruction was offered primarily as a tool for Americanization and citizenship education in other countries. The terminology around English language instruction can be unclear. English as an Additional Language (EAL), English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) all bear some similarities to ESL instruction. EAL and ESOL instructors use essentially the same instructional techniques as ESL instructors. The greatest difference in the terminology comes from both political correctness and the preference of certain funding agencies and policymakers.
Second language acquisition is the phrase used to describe the process that people go through when confronted by a need to use a language other than their native one for communication. People acquire their first and second languages differently. Some of the issues and processes involved in language acquisition include the idea of innateness, the relevance of the language input the language learner receives, and the nature of early developmental grammars (O'Grady, 299). In addition, the linguistic development of children depends upon the linguistic experiences of childhood and the language and language structures that children encounter. Therefore, the burden of language exposure falls upon children's parents and caretakers. A common approach among the caretakers of children is to "dumb-down" the language used or to speak "baby-talk" with the language learners. Some research suggests that this altering of normal speech leaves learners with an "impoverished stimulus" and may actually interfere with or delay the learners' language acquisition.
Moreover, much of the literature on ESL instruction suggests that natural environment or "language immersion" courses will provide students with the most opportunities for learning and greatest success. (O'Grady, 301) To some extent, though, a traditional English classroom may prove equally as beneficial for some students, particularly when the objective is learning structured (versus non-structured) communication tasks that are predictable. An advantage of a natural environment or language immersion classroom, in which tasks and conversations center on real language use and the learning of needed terms and concepts is that teachers are less inclined to "dumb down" their talk and speak "teacher-ese" or "foreigner-talk." The richer the stimulus and the more real the language, the better chance learners of a second language have to become fluent speakers of that language.
Furthermore, there are differences between language learning and language acquisition. It is generally believed that the younger the person, the easier natural language acquisition is for him/ her; this idea includes the Critical Period Hypothesis, which suggests that there is a chronological cut-off point in adolescence after which a language learner cannot attain fluency. Language acquisition ability, however, does not disappear in adulthood; it instead combines with a conscious learning function, against which natural language use is verified. For this verification, adults usually require a certain amount of time, the reduction of excessive stress (in order to be able to think about correctness), and sufficient understanding of the rules of the language being studied.
Background of the Study
The escalation of Asians migrating to the United States and acquiring their education on US educational institutions brings about the prospect of teaching English as a second language to Asian primary students. The scope of teachers’ responsibilities in teaching the English language is expanded to include devising professional techniques in order to resolve language barriers. Thus, Asians have continued to look at the English language as the primary medium of communication ascending its significance to that, which is not only necessary but also needed.
Learning English as second language is not a recent phenomenon; it has been the concern of teachers since teaching has been a discipline of study. Language problems do not just occur unexpectedly; they are precipitated. Home and other out-of-school environments can exert a major influence upon children that, in turn, affects their readiness to learn the language when they come to school.
The information gateway allows the conceptualization of an increasingly interconnected world. Information technology is allowing individuals, organizations, businesses, and governments to communicate instantaneously across vast distances, and at the same time, immigration is making American society itself more ethnically and culturally diverse.
Both of these trends are putting pressure on schools. Educators need to find new ways to communicate with parents of students who speak only limited English, and they must learn how to offer all students opportunities to collaborate with their peers from other cultures. Fortunately, those tasks are made easier by a variety of multilingual web and computer-based technologies. These free services can translate online, search foreign-language web sites, and help forge partnerships between U.S. schools and their counterparts around the world. Clearly, schools will have a responsibility to communicate to large groups of linguistically diverse parents and students as well as to other members of their communities.
This proposed study will outline the underlying idea that learning English as a second language for Asian primary students is a potent force in achieving high quality academic distinction. Moreover, the advantages and disadvantages of learning the English language will be examined and evaluated in the context of a globalized world where a dominant language must be spoken for communication purposes. Finally, this paper will argue upon the success of teachers and schools in managing Asian primary students in fostering the viability of learning English.
Statement of the Problem
The study basically intends to present the case of migrant Asians acquiring the English language through ESL courses. Specifically, the study seeks to answer the following questions:
1. What are the strategies employed by teachers in educating Asian primary school students on the English language?
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of adopting English as a second language for Asians?
3. How does the Asian primary students adopt to English as a second language?
4. How effective is the adoption of English as second language in the development of the Asian primary students in terms of academic performance and English language adeptness?
Significance of the Study
This proposed study seeks to contribute on the literature on the topic of English as a second language among Asians by exploring and analyzing the different professional techniques employed by teachers in teaching English to Asian primary students. This paper shall use the framework espoused by Dreikurs- the Social Discipline Model. Moreover, this proposed paper shall evaluate the necessity and the effectivity of universities and school administrators in developing Asian primary students in learning English. From these findings, this proposal shall develop suggestions in further improving the present training by universities and school administrators involved in teaching English as a second language.
Objectives of the Study
This proposed research attempts to achieve the following objectives:
1. To determine the factors, requirements and principles of English as a second language for Asians studying in the united States in the primary level
2. To determine the advantages and disadvantages of learning English among Asians in the primary level
3. To analyze the impact of learning the English language on the academic and cognitive development of Asian primary students
4. To evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of
teaching English as a second language for Asians in the primary level
This proposed paper shall use the Social Discipline Model of Dreikurs in examining and evaluating the problems encountered in the teaching English among Asians particularly in the primary level. This model, which reflects the optimistic approach, espouses that people are capable of changing and that human problems are interpersonal and socially embedded. Dreikurs espouses the values underlying Adler's Individual Psychology -- an emphasis on equality, respect, cooperation, and self-discipline.
Definition of Terms
These are broad categories of behaviors that students can demonstrate when they have met a standard.
These are brief explanations of teacher and student actions in each of the vignettes, linking vignettes to standards and progress indicators.
This term shall be used to define the course taken by the migrant Asian in order to acquire the English language.
These are defined as overarching intentions for English language use; they are tied to social and academic language and appropriate use.
ADLER'S INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGY
This is a psychological model which places emphasis on equality, respect, cooperation, and self-discipline.
These are defines as assessable, observable activities that students may perform to show progress toward meeting the standard; they are organized by grade-level clusters.
SOCIAL DISCIPLINE MODEL
This model reflects the optimistic approach, espouses that people are capable of changing and that human problems are interpersonal and socially embedded.
These are what students should know and be able to do as a result of instruction.
These are defined as brief instructional sequences that show the standards in action, organized by grade-level clusters.
METHODS AND PROCEDURE
This chapter shall discuss the research methods available for the study and what is applicable for it to use. Likewise, the chapter shall present how the research will be implemented and how to come up with pertinent findings.
Method of Research to be Used
There are three kinds of research methods, correlational, experimental and descriptive. (Walliman and Baiche, 2001) The descriptive research method uses observation and surveys. In this method, it is possible that the study would be cheap and quick. It could also suggest unanticipated hypotheses. Nonetheless, it would be very hard to rule out alternative explanations and especially infer causations. Thus, this study will use the descriptive approach. This descriptive type of research will utilize observations in the study. To illustrate the descriptive type of research, Creswell (1994) will guide the researcher when he stated: Descriptive method of research is to gather information about the present existing condition. The purpose of employing this method is to describe the nature of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study and to explore the cause/s of particular phenomena. The researcher opted to use this kind of research considering the desire of the researcher to obtain first hand data from the respondents to formulate rational and sound conclusions and recommendations for the study.
The research described in this document is based solely on qualitative research methods. This permits a flexible and iterative approach. During data gathering the choice and design of methods are constantly modified, based on ongoing analysis. This allows investigation of important new issues and questions as they arise, and allows the investigators to drop unproductive areas of research from the original research plan.
This study basically intends to present the case of migrant Asians acquiring the English language through ESL courses. Specifically, the study seeks to identify the strategies employed by teachers in educating Asian primary school students on the English language; establish the advantages and disadvantages of adopting English as a second language for Asians; explain how Asian primary students adopt to English as a second language; and the level of effectiveness of the adoption of English as second language in the development of the Asian primary students in terms of academic performance and English language adeptness.
The primary source of data will come from published articles from social science journals, theses and related studies on ESL, education, and those concerning the Asian migration and its concurrent effects in communication.
For this research design, the researcher will gather data, collate published studies from different local and foreign universities and articles from social science journals; and make a content analysis of the collected documentary and verbal material. Afterwards, the researcher will summarize all the information, make a conclusion based on the null hypotheses posited and provide insightful recommendations on the dealing with Asians going through ESL courses.
Little sense can be made of a huge collection of data; therefore an essential part of research is the analysis of the data. This data must be carried out in relation to the research problem. (Walliman and Baiche, 2001) Because research is not a linear process, the only way to help us to judge the type of and amount of data is to decide on the methods, which we will use to analyze them to obtain a feel for the data, establish reliability and to understand how the results are interpreted.
Qualitative data are based on meanings expressed through words. It results in the collection of non-standardized data, which requires classification, and is analyzed through the use of conceptualization. (Sounders et al, 1997) In this research, I also need to get some qualitative data through a number of the process of qualitative analysis, including document and interim summaries, self-memos, etc.
Thus, the dependent variable is the variable of primary interest to the researcher. The researcher’s goal is to understand and describe the dependent variable, or explain its variability, or predict it. Through the analysis of the dependent variable, it is possible to find answers or solutions to the problem. (Sekaran, 2000) Furthermore, an independent variable is one that influences the dependent variable in either a positive or a negative way. As a result, the researcher will use a systematic explanatory and exploratory research and focus on those dependent variables. The relationships of the variables will be designed in detail, based on the understanding the independent variables of the ESL courses.
Creswell, J.W. (1994) Research design. Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.
Dreikurs, Rudolf. (1999) “Social Discipline”, in Tauber, Robert, Classroom Management: Sound Theory and Effective Practice, Bergin & Garvey, 1999
O'Grady, William, Michael Dobrovolsky and Mark Aronoff. (1989) Contemporary Linguistics. New York: St. Martin's Press.
Sauders, Mark, Philip Lewis, and Dr Adrian Thornhill. (1997) Research Methods for Business Students. Pitman Publishing.
Sekaran, Uma. (2000) Research Methods For Business. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Walliman, Nicholas and Bousmaha Baiche. (2001) Your research project. SAGE Publications.