The papers included in this publication were chosen by the editors upon the recommendations of a Scientific Committee consisting of top global names in foreign language education like Anna Uhl Chamot (The George Washington University), Hermann Funk (University of Jena), Brian Tomlinson (Leeds Metropolitan University) and Mayumi Usami (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies), to name but a few. Ranging from discussions about theoretical and conceptual foundation to qualitative and quantitative evaluation studies, this book strikes a good balance between theory, empirical research and practice.
This book, comprising two parts, is concerned with both the science and the art of foreign language teaching, and seeks to combine the two to present a holistic foreign language pedagogical discussion.
Part 1 of the book provides updates of recent developments in theoretical and empirical research which have profoundly affected foreign language teaching, or which promise to do so in the near future. This part does not restrict itself to the domain of foreign language teaching, but also includes studies from its feeder disciplines of linguistics and second language acquisition. The seven chapters in Part 1 vary from a review of research into language learners’ learning strategy use and instruction by Chamot, to an introduction of a preliminary framework for a universal theory of Discourse Politeness by Usami, to an attempt by Christina Kuhn to address the changing needs of foreign language learners in a globalising world. Three other chapters focus on a Chinese-language environment, where Hong Wang first provides a review of the development of teaching of Chinese as a foreign language in China, and critiques current curricular practices and teaching methodology. Yujia Zhou then discusses the significant contribution of psychological research to foreign language teaching, bringing together two hitherto discrete disciplines. Vygotsky’s highly influential sociocultural theory of learning is then leveraged upon by Danli Li, who presents the results of her study of peer collaboration in an English as a Foreign Language listening classroom in China. The final chapter in this part moves from the largely single-race environment of China to multi-racial Malaysia, studying the learning strategy preferences of a surveyed sample of students from different ethnic groups.
Part 2 of the book focuses on the practical aspects of classroom teaching and evaluation studies. In the opening chapter to this part, Wai Meng Chan and Ing Ru Chen discusses how constructivist principles of pedagogy impacts upon the design of interactive multimedia learning materials, citing as examples three network-based applications developed by and used in the National University of Singapore’s Centre for Language Studies. The principles of content-based instruction and task-based learning are applied in an English for Business Purposes course in Taiwan by Wenhua Hsu, who demonstrates how these approaches help students to improve their performances, and stimulate their interest in foreign language learning. Izumi Walker and Tomoko Utsumi then attempt to make a case against current negative sentiments towards memorisation, citing an evaluation study that they conducted to explore students’ perceptions of the usefulness of memorising dialogues, with findings that would be somewhat surprising to non-believers of memorisation. Naoko Araki-Metcalfe then iterates her belief in educational drama as a subset of the literary genre of drama to develop linguistic skills, as well as communicative abilities in a broader sense, citing as evidence a course that she implemented for Japanese primary school students. In the final chapter, Satomi Chiba and Yoko Morikawa work at alleviating students’ anxiety through the form of an interactive, multi-student oral communication test that departs from the traditional one-on-one oral interview test. Self-evaluative reports by the students and the authors’ statistical analysis of the data obtained provide indications of its success.
- Chan, W.M., Chin, K.N., & Suthiwan, T. (Eds.) (2006). Foreign language teaching in asia and beyond. Current perspectives and future directions. Singapore: Centre for Language Studies.
- Chan, W.M., & Chen, I.R. (2006). Technology in the service of constructivist pedagogy: Network-based applications and knowledge construction. In W.M. Chan, K.N. Chin & T. Suthiwan (Eds.), Foreign language teaching in Asia and beyond. Current perspectives and future directions (pp. 191-215). Singapore: Centre for Language Studies.