Good Language Teachers: Divergent Perspectives between University Language Teachers and Learners

Dr. Lilian Ya-Hui Chang


Teachers assume several key roles in the language classroom: as educators transmitting knowledge, as facilitators assisting students with their learning, and as motivators inspiring students to achieve their language goals, to name a few. As any one teacher is unlikely to possess the full range of characteristics suggested in the literature, it seems important to explore what individual class groups of learners believe are the characteristics most beneficial to their language learning. In addition, how about these language learning group teachers’ perspectives? Do language learners and their teachers hold similar views? Are there any discrepancies in their viewpoints? If so, would these discrepancies affect learning effectiveness? These are some questions this research project aims to answer.

9 language teachers and their class groups (a total of 10 groups, 287 students) from a language university in southern Taiwan participated in this study. Questionnaire results from student questionnaire were collated with data from their language teachers to discover points of agreement and divergence. The result shows that both language learners and their teachers believe in the importance of good command of L2. However, language learners care more about their relationship with the teachers (e.g., whether they are treated fairly, with respect), whereas language teachers believe that their professional teaching knowledge and the ability to update and reflect most important. This gap in the viewpoints may cause unmet expectations which ultimately affect learning effectiveness. This research ends with some practical suggestions for language teachers in the classroom.

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