Matching Items (2)
- All Subjects: TESOL
- Creators: Ericson, Rebecca Elaine
- Creators: Major, Roy C
- Status: Published
While English language education has become increasingly prominent worldwide, countries have adopted various initiatives to increase English language development. One country making a push for English language development is Taiwan; however, current educational practices and values can prove to be challenges in implementing new methods. For example, although Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) methods gained popularity starting in the 1990s, they have been slow to take hold in Taiwan. Additionally, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education is pushing for bilingualism by the year 2030, introducing curricular reforms and new strategies to increase the prominence of English on a social level. In order to analyze current educational methods and practices in Taiwan, as well as predict the efficacy of new strategies, this study focused on gathering the perspectives and experiences of the students themselves. International students were specifically targeted, as they have had exposure to multiple educational environments, as well as firsthand experience applying their English language knowledge in an immersive environment. To gather student perspective, an online survey was made available to Taiwanese international students currently studying in a U.S. university. Respondents were asked multiple-choice questions on curricular focus, as well as short answer questions regarding their educational experiences. Overall, the respondents showed an agreement in regards to the heavy emphasis of reading, writing, and grammar in Taiwan, which they correlated directly with high-stakes exams, particularly the university entrance exam. They also noted the lack of speaking and listening practice, as well as a strong desire to apply English in a communicative sense. These observations hold significant implications for various stakeholders, including teachers, principals, curriculum developers, exam designers, and university admissions.
Using a sociocultural framework, this dissertation investigated the writing processes of 31 ESL learners in an EAP context at a large North American university. The qualitative case study involved one of the four major writing assignments in a required first-year composition course for ESL students. Data were collected from four different sources: (a) A semi-structured interview with each participant, (b) process logs kept by participants for the entire duration of the writing assignment, (c) classroom observation notes, and (d) class materials. Findings that emerged through analyses of activity systems, an analytical framework within Vygotskian activity theory, indicate that L2 writers used various context-specific, social, and cultural affordances to accomplish the writing tasks. The study arrived at these findings by creating taxonomies of the six activity system elements - subject, tools, goals, division of labor, community, and rules - as they were realized by L2 writers, and examining the influence that these elements had in the process of composing. The analysis of data helped create categories of each of the six activity system elements. To illustrate with an example, the categories that emerged within the element division of labor were as follows: (a) Instructor, (b) friends and classmates, (c) writing center tutors, (d) family members, and (e) people in the world. The emergent categories for each of the six activity system elements were then examined to determine if their effects on L2 writing were positive or negative. Overall, the findings of the present study validate arguments related to the post-process views that an explanation of L2 writing processes solely based on cognitive perspectives provides but only a partial picture of how second language writing takes place. In order for a more comprehensive understanding of L2 writing one must also account for the various social and cultural factors that play critical roles in the production of L2 texts.