The Globalization of English: Its Impact on English Language Education in the Tertiary Education Sector in Taiwan
Her, J.-H. (2007). The Globalization of English: Its Impact on English Language Education in the Tertiary Education Sector in Taiwan (Thesis). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2809
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2809
The overall agenda for the research reported here grew out of semi-structuredinterviews with senior educational managers from a tertiary educational institutionin Taiwan. These managers raised a number of issues, including the changingprofile of tertiary students, the changing nature of English curricula, theincreasing need for English teaching staff to be adaptable, highly qualified andresearch-active, and the growing pressure on institutions to introduce Englishlanguage proficiency benchmarking. Each of these issues can be related to theimpact of globalization and, in particular, the impact of the globalization ofEnglish, on the education sector. Following a critical review of selected literatureon the impact of globalization on the teaching and learning of English, each ofthese issues, as it affects the tertiary education sector in Taiwan, was explored.Analysis of the Taiwanese national curriculum guidelines for schools, stronglyinfluenced by academics in the tertiary education sector, revealed a number ofproblems relating to a lack of proficiency benchmarking and a lack of coherence,consistency and transparency in some areas. These problems may be associatedwith the initial phase of transition from a grammar-based curriculum to a morecommunicatively-oriented, outcomes-centered one. Problems of a similar typewere indicated in responses to questions relating to curriculum matters included ina questionnaire distributed to a sample of teachers of English in the tertiary sector.Among other things revealed by questionnaire responses was the fact that manysurvey participants had received no training in English teaching.The results of a C-test (one that was initially used in a major European study)taken by a sample of entry-level and exit-level Bachelors degree studentsindicated a wide variation in proficiency, with individual scores differing by asmuch as 64 percentage points in the case of exit-level students. Furthermore, therewas a difference of almost 10 percentage points between the mean scores ofstudents from two different institutions who had majored in English. These resultsindicate some of the difficulties that Taiwan faces in attempting to establishgraduation proficiency benchmarking.-ii-C-test participants completed a background questionnaire, the responsesindicating a generally positive attitude towards English-speaking people, a generalwillingness to use English in situations where there was the option of not doingso, and a strong tendency towards instrumental motivation. Although one of thefactors that appeared to have a positive impact on C-test performance was timespent in an English-speaking country, fewer than 18% of respondents had done so.Although there appears to be considerable anxiety and uncertainty associated withthe teaching of English at tertiary level in Taiwan, and some genuine cause forconcern, there are also many positive indicators of future success. Teachers andeducational managers are aware of the problems they currently face and appeardetermined to resolve them. Taiwanese academics are increasingly involved inlanguage-related research and increasingly prepared to interrogate their ownpractices, and Taiwan, unlike some other countries in Asia, is moving towardsgraduation proficiency benchmarking.
The University of Waikato
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