Do teachers reap what they sow? A study of young ESL learners’ perception of what is learned in an English lesson

| September 20, 2011
Do teachers reap what they sow? A study of young ESL learners perception of what is learned in an English lesson

Keywords: ESL classroom, learner perception

Anne Ma
The Hong Kong Institute of Education

Bio Data
Anne Ma is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. She received her BA and CertEd at the University of Hong Kong and her MA and PhD at Durham University. She was an ESL teacher before she became a teacher educator. Her major teaching and research interests include ELT curriculum development, TEFL/TESL theory and methodology, children s/adolescent literature and language arts.

When teachers plan their lessons, they usually have certain objectives in mind. The objectives may state what they intend to teach or what they hope their learners will learn at the end of the lesson. Research in English as a second language (ESL) classrooms has shown conflicting perceptions of teachers and learners on what has happened or what is considered prominent in their shared classrooms (Allwright, 1988; Allwright and Bailey, 1991; Nunan, 1989; 1995; Breen, 2001; Benson 2001). As learners in most of these studies have been university or secondary students, this paper will instead discuss a case study of six young learners in a primary ESL classroom. The focus will be on the perceptions of their learning, the purpose of the main task, and their conception of difficulties in the lesson. These perceptions will then be compared to the teacher s. This study was accomplished through an analysis of the qualitative data collected through pre- and post-lesson interviews with the teacher and post-lesson interviews with six individual learners. It was found that similar to the older learners, the young learners also seemed to have their own agenda of learning different from that of the teacher and there are some variations in the concerns of learners of different abilities. The paper concludes with recommendations on pedagogical implications for teachers to reap better from what they sow.

See pages 184-204

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 13 Issue 3