The Attributes Of Effective Lecturers Education Essay

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INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

Since the role of English as a language of international communication has been widespread quickly in educational system around the world, teaching of English as a foreign language has become an increasingly significant task (Rechards, 2001). Therefore, many countries in the globe have been working to ensure their citizens' adequate English proficiency, which is necessary for their social economic development. To reach their goals, English has been included as a relatively important subject in each country's national academic curriculum. As a part of educational development, effective and qualified teachers are really significant in improving students' academic performance and educational system (Shishavan & Sadeghi, 2009). Before Civil War (1975), French was a dominant foreign language in Cambodia and English was little learnt and spoken during that period. After Genocidal regime (1980-late 1980s): English and French were prohibited; Russian and Vietnamese were taught in schools. However, during 1990s English became a dominant language and in the mid 1990, the Royal Government of Cambodia declared English and French as foreign languages in Cambodia, (12th ESEA conference by Narith K.C., 2008 ). According to a report of the Cambodian ministry of education youth and sport in 1992, English was officially reintroduced to secondary school in September, 1990. Since that year, Cambodian students have had an option to choose either French or English as their foreign language. In 1991, the ministry tried to modify and improve the curriculum created in 1990 with the assistance of some foreign experts (Chamnan & Chornish, 1997; cited in Ouk, 2009). In recent years Cambodia has undergone a massive political and economic turmoil and people have suffered a great deal. In the process of rearing from the tragic past, the government and people of Cambodia have chosen English as the second language to communicate and do business with people, organizations and companies from abroad. In this respect, Cambodia shows a clear example of language policy and its impact on the people's life, education and future of a country in transition (Igawa, 2008). English language education is a boom in Cambodia. Competency in English helps to get a better job with a better pay. In today's Cambodia, English is the most preferred language, and it found out that it is clear about English is being perceived as important for the development of Cambodia as well as for the status of the proficient English learners (Moore and Mounchan, 2010).

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As a result, ways to help improve student learning outcome are very crucial. Although students have responsibilities to learn, effective teaching is not solely dependent upon the students. Teachers too have responsibilities to help improve student learning outcome. Chepchieng, Mbugua&Kariuki (2006) pointed out that "Usually, a healthy relationship between the lecturers and students does influence students' academic, personal and social integration into higher education" (p. 1). Horwitz (1987) warned of the dangers of ignoring student beliefs about language learning: "When language classes fail to meet student expectations, students can lose confidence in the instructional approach and their ultimate achievement can be limited" (Cited in Barnes & Lock, p. 139). Hence, effective outcome of students do not depend only on student attributes, but also attributes of effective lecturers, especially those coming from the view of students. However, it seems that the studies related to students' voice about the attributes of effective lecturers of English as a Foreign Language are scarce, especially in Cambodia.

1.2 Research Problem

As we have learnt that English may be the most popular language in Cambodia nowadays and despite the importance of knowledge about student perception as a key informant to effective teaching, there is a lack of studies in the field of English language teaching in term of seeking for students' view point . In addition, it seems to have a mismatch between students' needs and teachers' contribution if the teachers do not know students' preferences toward effective teaching. This present study is relevant due to a lack of information regarding attributes of effective lecturers of English as a Foreign Language from the learners' perspective, especially in Cambodia and it will aim at filling in this gap in order to enable teachers to obtain a deeper comprehension from student perception for effective teaching.

1.3 Research Objectives

Realizing that student perception on attributes of effective lecturers really contributes to student learning outcome, this study aims to: (a) explore characteristics of effective lecturers of English from students' view point, and (b) explore why those attributes are considered to be important for effective teaching

1.4 Research Questions

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In order to achieve these objectives, this study is intended to answer the following questions:

What are the attributes of effective EFL lecturers from Cambodian EFL University student perspectives?

Why are those attributes considered to be important?

1.5 Significance of the study

Students are eager to learn English since it is a tool for communication in the global village; therefore, the fruitful outcome of learning English is very important. As a result, the finding from this study will provide useful information for lecturers about student perceptions of lecturer characteristics and other attributes that affect effective teaching, especially English. Accordingly, the finding will help teachers to know better about what the students really want from the teachers and want the teachers to do in class which are perceived to help improve the students' learning outcome. In addition, this can help to increase more students' participation in class since their expectations are concerned and could be met. It will also help the teachers to reflect their strong and weak points of themselves and their ability in teaching that possibly enhances the teachers to improve their teaching skills and ability, especially English language. This result should be informative to teachers, lecturers, students and other administrative staffs, especially for those working in Cambodia. In addition, due to the scarcity of similar studies about students' perception in the field of language teaching, the finding from this study will provide fresh insight for all teachers, especially for EFL teachers and lecturers and it will also provide a significant share for literature related to this area.

1.6 Definition of key terms

The following terms are pertinent to the context of this research and thus need to be defined.

Attribute: Quality forming part of the nature of a person or thing (Longman Dictionary); effective teaching and effective lecturer characteristics (Aregbeyen, 2010)

Effective teaching: Maximizing student academic attainment and teachers and student course satisfaction (Bastick, 1995).

EFL: English as a foreign language (learning English "in a country or context in which English is not commonly used as a language of education, business, or government" [Brown, 2007, p. 381]) (Cited in Barnes & Lock, 2010)

Lecturers of English as a Foreign Language: Lecturers who teach English, but it is not their mother tongue.

Perception: can be defined as the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information. It is the result of what we see or hear. However, perception is also used to mean a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something, or mental impression. It is the reflection of what we experience in life.

Student perceptions: The thought or beliefs of students

1.7 Proposed chapter Organization

This research study is organized in five chapters. Chapter 1 is introduction dealing with background information of the study, problem statement, research objectives, research questions, significance of the study and definitions of key terms.

Chapter 2 is literature review which makes use of many studies oversea to construct a logical framework for effective English teaching.

Chapter 3 is research methodology which deal with research design, instruments for data collection, setting, data collection procedures, plan for data analysis, ethical considerations, and limitation of the study.

Chapter 4 will be about finding and discussion

Chapter 5 will be about conclusion and recommendation

CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

The emphasis on teaching effectiveness depends on the fact that effective learning is closely associated with effective teaching. Numerous studies into effective teaching have been published which have been examined by several scholars (Bettencourt, Gall, & Hall, 1983; Cabello & Terrell, 1994; Cruickshank, Jenkins & Metcalf, 2003; Michalis, 2003; Faranda& Clarke, 2004; Okpala and Ellis, 2005; Allan, Clarke &Jobling, 2009; Mohidin et al., 2009; Aregbeyen, 2010, Wongs, 2011). The focus of these earlier studies has included the attempt to conceptualize the effective teaching and general characteristics of effective teachers.

2.1 Effective teaching

After 25 years, Wongs (2011) have consistently underscored a single point: "To produce student achievement, produce effective teachers!" In addition, Wongs added that "It is the teacher that makes the difference in the classroom; the more effective the teacher, the greater the student gains!" (p. 1)

As a concept, Cruickshank, Jenkins & Metcalf (2003) defined effective teaching:

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Good teachers are caring, supportive, concerned about the welfare of students, knowledgeable about their subject matter, able to get along with parents…Effective teachers are able to help students learn (p. 329).

2.2 Teacher personality

Cruickshank, Jenkins & Metcalf (2003) pointed out that effective teachers have warmth, possess a sense of humor with enthusiasm; moreover, they added that these personality traits are really influential on students' success. A similar study by Bettencourt, Gall, & Hall, 1983; Cabello & Terrell, 1994) showed that enthusiasm of the teacher is strongly connected to student success. Allan, Clarke &Jobling (2009) noted that being approachable and starting sessions on time, being patient, respecting students' opinion and being enthusiastic about teaching are the good characteristics of the teachers. In addition, Aregbeyan (2010) stated that effective teachers show interest and concern in quality of teaching and respect for students as persons. Moreover, Koutsoulis&Michalis (2003) confidentially stated that teachers who have commitment to student learning are also critical for improvement of student learning outcome.

2.2.1 Student perception on teacher personality

Barnes & Lock (2010) conducted a study about attributes of effective lecturers of English from students' perception pointed out students really want teachers who are patient, enthusiastic, have a positive attitude toward students, care, make themselves accessible for consultation, share professional life experiences and being fair for students including treat all students impartially and provide clear grading guidelines.

2.3 Teaching ability

2.3.1 Teacher knowledge

Allan, Clarke &Jobling (2009) noted that effective university teachers are demonstrating excellent knowledge of their subject, ensuring the relevance of information within sessions. Aregbeyan (2010) also found out that having an interesting style of presentations is also appreciated for effective teaching. Similarly, teaching skills, commitment to student learning, content knowledge and verbal skills are important attributes of a qualified teacher (Okpala& Ellis, 2005)

2.3.1.1 Student perception on teacher knowledge

Barnes & Lock (2010) identified that students value teachers who have sound content knowledge of their discipline, go beyond the textbook, be able to answer complex questions, use relevant real world examples in lessons, be proficient in English, having a sound knowledge of grammar and be able to teach study techniques.

2.3.2 Teacher teaching skills

Allan, Clarke &Jobling (2009) describe effective university teachers are those who include group activities in class and encourage discussion. Aregbiyan (2010) stated that recognizing if the class in understanding or not is also valued from students.

2.3.2.1 Student perception on teaching skills

Barnes & Lock (2010) added that effective teachers as perceived by students are those who give clear explanations, vary their delivery methods, encouraging group work and participation, providing interesting and meaningful activities, provide pronunciation practice, tailor content to the students' English levels and provide prompt feedback on assessments and providing a supportive environment.

Barnes & Lock's (2010) study of Korean tertiary EFL students report on attributes of effective lecturers of English provide some information related to the context of the present study. Despite the scarcity from the EFL field, information from earlier studies conducted on effective teaching on general students are also informative to the present study.

CHAPTER 3

METHODOLOGY

3.1 Research design

This chapter will clearly describe the sampling method, participants, instruments, data collection, data analysis, and limitation of the study. The method needed to allow for the exploration of deeper insights of student perceptions of these attributes, such as reasons why the attributes were thought to be most important. Given these requirements, the researcher will employ a qualitative method. It can help the researcher to interact extensively and intimately with participants during the study, using time-intensive data collection methods such as free writings, interviews and observations.

3.2 Instrument/tools

In order to capture students' perceptions of attributes of effective lecturers, and why they think that these attributes are important, two key qualitative data collection methods will be used in this study. They are free writing and the interview. First, the researcher decided to choose free writing. As Kutnick and Jules (1993) advised, the perceptions generated by qualitative methodologies are valid because they are revealed in the research and not imposed from what others believe to be effective attributes. Kutnick and Jules (1993) claimed that free writing facilitates unrestrained expression (Cited in Barnes & Lock, 2010). The researcher will provide each participant with a question about what the attributes of effective lecturers of English are from students' perception and give reasons why those attributes are considered important. Second, the researcher wants to get some clarification related to student writing, the interview will be followed as a second step. The questions will be based on what students write and literature review. The language use in collecting data is English since the English language capacity of the participants is acceptable to express their thought.

3.3 Sampling

The study will be conducted in one EFL university in Phnom Penh. The populations are about year-two students. The participants in this study will be selected purposefully.The sample will consist of 10 year- two students in which five will be selected from public and other five will be selected from private classes. Also, the researcher will choose both female and male students regardless of the age. Purposive sampling is one of the most common sampling approaches.

3.4. Data collection procedure

First, the researcher will get permission form from the study office and take it to the field to get permission from the university conducted. The researcher will ask the chief of the department for 10 classes of both public and private. Then the researcher will go to each class and tell the students about the objectives and the significance of the study. Next, the researcher will ask for one participant who is interested and volunteer to participate in the study. After getting the 10 participants, the researcher will set up a meeting to meet all the participants at the agreed and convenience location and explain that there will be two steps for them to do. First, the free writing of attributes of effective lecturers of English and the reasons for those attributes will be applied. Second, the interview will be followed for clarification. At this point, the researcher considers the use of incentives to boost participation level. In particular, the study by James and Bolstein (1992) provided empirical evidence that completion rates of surveys issued with cash rewards (even of very small amount) were significantly higher than the rates of surveys issued with no incentives. Addtionally, Chromy and Horwitz (1978) claimed that the survey places "unusual demands upon the respondent" (p. 473) (Cited in Barnes & Lock, 2010). As a result, the researcher decided to provide a small amount of incentive to the participants that they could buy some stationery. In addition, the researcher will explain the participant about the value of their real thought for a topic. After explanation, the participants will be asked to sign the consent form.

Free writing:

The researcher will ask all the participants for one- hour available and set up the agreed date for writing their thought. A detailed form for their writing is provided in Appendix A. (On the agreed date, the researcher will explain any query of the participants if needed).

Interview:

After receiving the writing papers, the researcher will check the students' writing and note down some points which need clarification. The researcher also prepares some questions based on literature. (In Appendix B). Later, the researcher will ask the participants for the available time of 30 minutes each for the interview. It will be in a form of a semi-structured interview, and it will be conducted individually. The researcher will use the recorder and note taking. The time and location will be suggested by the participants.

3.5 Data analysis

Data analysis will be started as soon as data has been collected. The perception based data will be analyzed qualitatively according to the themes and patterns that emerge of lecturers' personality and lecturing ability. If it is not in the list, the researcher will add more themes. During this step, the researcher will note down points needed for clarification for the interview of the second step. The transcript of the interviews will be coded into thematic categories, and classifications will be developed using the constant comparative method and other similar procedure descriptions or analysis. Finally, the researcher will take the results from both free writing and interview to compare and analyze for the final complete result.

3.6 Strengths and Limitation of the Study

This research study has the significant strengths because the researcher will go to the field (Institute of Foreign Languages) and talk to the students personally about the significance of the research. By doing this, the involvement from the students can be increased. In addition, the researcher will use both free writing and interview for clarification of the students' free writing. As a result, the researcher will be able to understand deeply about the students' perceptions of the study. However, the study is limited to only ten year-two students from only one university in Cambodia. Thus, the findings cannot be generalized for all universities through out the country due to the narrow scope of the research.

3.7 Ethical consideration

There are few ethical issues that the researcher will take into consideration. First, the consent form will be given to the participants to see and think if they really agree to join in the study. Second, the purpose of the study will be clearly informed to participants in order to build mutual understanding and more involvement for the participation. Third, the researcher will state that the incentive is presented as a token of appreciation rather that as compensation. Finally, pseudonyms will be used instead of the students' names so as to enable them to feel comfortable in expressing their opinions.