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National (UK)

Research Mentoring with Teachers
at Guyuan College, China

Sarah Fletcher's responses to action research reports
by teacher researchers led by
Dean Tian Fengjun and Dr. Moira Laidlaw,

The teachers' writings and my responses are linked below.
Cao Yong (response added 09/07/04)
Liu Hui (response added 09/07/04)
Li Peidong (response added 06/07/04)
Liu Xia (response added 06/07/04)
Wang Ying (response added 09/07/04)
Liu Binyou (response added 10/07/04)
Gong Lixia (response added 10/0704)
Ma Hong(response added 10/07/04)
Li Jun (response added 09/07/04)
Tao Rui (response added 11/07/04)
He Lina (response added 11/07/04)
Ling Yiwen (response added 11/07/04)
Zhao Xiaohong (response added 25/10/04)
Wang Shuqin (response added 25/10/04)
Ma Jianfu (response added 25/10//04)


I have posted up my responses to teacher research reports from China which have been accessed from http://www.bath.ac.uk/~edsajw/moira.shtml where Dr Moira Laidlaw provides insights into daily life in Ningxia province as well as her own on-going enquiry into working with teacher researcher colleagues.

I am delighted to be invited to respond to the work of action researchers in an educational context that I have never experienced. Moira's diary, her educational enquiry and those of the teachers with whom she works, bring new vistas. As a distance learning tutor for teacher researchers in many countries I am accustomed to giving e-feedback but here I am not the tutor and not in contact with each researcher. This presents me with challenges as I hold each teacher in mind as I offer personalised feedback on their writings.

I have chosen to respond through a series of layers of interaction, using monological and dialogical approaches in order to create a clear and structured form of feedback: I have offered, where appropriate, guidance in accessing texts and web-based resources that might enable our Chinese colleagues to extend their teaching through learning

The four points below give, I hope, an insight into how I engaged with the writing - on an individual and whole group basis. The first feedback I represent in the Research of the Month section of www.TeacherResearch.net for July 2004, relates to point 3) in the four point process of my on-going reflection about the group's work in the Experimental Centre for Educational Action Research in Foreign Languages Teaching, at Guyuan Teachers' College, Ningxia Province, China.

1) a video-recorded discussion with colleagues and friends in the Monday Evening Educational Conversation Group convened by Dr. Jack Whitehead at the University of Bath on 28 June 2004. This session allowed me to give an overview of the contributions from China as an initial response. I talked about the kind of reflections they evoked in me as a self-studying action researcher and as a linguist. I considered Chinese perspectives on pedagogical problems that British teachers are considering, looking for common and new ground. It is my conviction that there are global considerations in education where East and West should collaborate.

2) a spontaneous video recording by me of my reactions addressed to each author individually, as I read and enjoyed each person's work.

3) an investigation in depth, of each author's work in relation to the following questions which relate broadly to reflections on values, methodology and linguistics.

a) What does this piece of writing tell me about the author's professional values as an educator?
b) What can I learn about the professional context in which each person is working?
c) What does this piece of research contribute to my knowledge of teaching English as a foreign language?
d) What does this piece of action research teach me about the methodology or approach used to investigate a means to improve teaching?
e) What do I learn about how each teacher has improved their professional practice as teachers?
f) What do I believe might be of global significance in the process of research and the outcomes described in each report?
g) How might this particular piece of writing be improved so that it communicates more easily the nature of the problem researched?

4) a further video recording with colleagues and friends in the Monday Evening Educational Conversation Group convened by Dr. Jack Whitehead at the University of Bath on 6 July 2004. In this session, I shared the questions which I used as a basis for considering each writing in depth (above, point 3)

Further reading to develop ideas for improving language learning and teaching? You may find the language teaching and research resources useful at http://www.cilt.org.uk

The British Council website gives guidance in teaching English as a foreign and teaching English as a second language at http://www.britishcouncil.org/english/quals.htm#1

http://www.tefl.net provides an on-line forum for teachers of English which covers a range of topics in addition to a wide range of resources that can be usefully engaged with. The page devoted to reviews of TEFL literature http://www.tefl.net/reviews/index.htm looks particularly useful for contextualising teachers' research accounts.

This web site may be useful to contextualise developments in the New Curriculum in China - they relate to to language learning policy and curriculum development in the UK

The National Curriculum for Modern Foreign Languages

If you don't have time to read anything else about language teaching - do read the Pathfinder Series from CiLT! These are the titles I am preparing to send out to the Guyuan Group:
PF1 Reading Progress
PF2 Reading for Pleasure in a Foreign Language
PF4 Keep Talking
PF5 On target
PF6 Communication re-activated
PF7 Bridging the gap
PF11 Departmental Planning
PF12 Progressing through the Attainment targets
PF13 Continuous Assessment
PF14 Fair Enough?
PF15 Improve your image (OHP)
PF17 Grammar matters
PF18 Differentiation
PF20 Nightshift
PF23 Keeping on Target
PF24 Exploring Otherness
PF25 With a Song
PF26 Listening in a foreign language
PF27 New Contexts for Modern Language Learning
PF29 Assessment and Planning
PF33 Stimulating Grammatical Awareness

These language learning texts are likely to be useful to the Guyuan group to extend, consolidate and contextualise their writings about learning English as an additional language: I have marked with * texts that I am preparing to send out to China, for Guyuan Teacher Researcher group - in addition I am sending some copies of the ALL Language Learning Journal

General Texts
*Association for language Learning: Languages, Continuity, Opportunity, ALL
*Brumfit, C.J. and Johnson, K. (1987) The Communicative Approach to language Teaching, Oxford, O.U.P.
Brumfit, C. (1995) Language Education in the National Curriculum, Oxford, Blackwell
Fawkes, S. and Haworth, S. (2003) Action Stations! Transforming Learning through Creative Strategies, London, CiLT
Fernandez-Toro, M. and Jones, F.R. (2001) DIY Techniques for Language Teachers, London, CiLT
Graham, S. (1997) Effective Language Learning, Clevedon, Multilingual matters
Harris, V. (1997) Teaching Learners How to Learn, London, CiLT

*Hawkins, E. (1984) Modern Languages in the Curriculum, Cambridge, C.U.P.
Lee, J. Buckland, D. and Shaw, G. (1998) The Invisible Child, London, CiLT
*Lee, W.R. (1990) language Teaching Games and Contest, Oxford, O.U.P.
Littlewood, W. (1981) Communicative Language Teaching, Cambridge, C.U.P.
*Macaro, E. (2001) Learning Strategies in foreign and second language classrooms, London, Continuum Press
*Pattison, P. (1987) Developing Communication Skills: A Practical Handbook, Cambridge, C.U.P.
Tosi, A. and Leung, C. (1999) Rethinking Language Education, London, CiLT
*Widdowson, H.G. (1979) Teaching Language as Communication, Oxford, O.U.P.
*Wright, A., Betteridge, D. and Buckby, M. (1989) Games for Language Learning, Cambridge, C.U.P.

Speaking Skills
Jones, B., Halliwell, S. and Homes, B. (2002) You Speak They Speak (CPF1) Focus on target Language Use, London, CiLT
Harris, V., Burch, J. Jones, B. and Darcy, J. (2001) Something to say? promoting Spontaneous Classroom Talk, London, CiLT
*McDonald, C. (1992) Using the Target Language, Cheltenham, ALL/MGP
*Maley, A. and Duff, A. (1992) Drama Techniques in Language Teaching, Cambridge, C.U.P.

Reading Skills
*Grellet, F. (1986) Developing Reading Skills, Cambridge, C.U.P.

Vocabulary Learning Skills
Meara, P. (Ed) (1987) Vocabulary in a Second language, London, CiLT
Snow, D. (1998) Words (1998) (PF34) Teaching and Learning Vocabulary, London, CiLT

Raising Achievement and Motivation
Chambers, G. (2001) Reflections on Motivation, (RoP6) London, CiLT
*Flint, A. and Gordon, A.L.(1993) managing the Modern Languages Classroom, Cheltenham, All/MGP
*Hamblin, D. (1984) Pastoral care, London, Basil Blackwell
Gardner, R.C. (1985) Social Psychology and Second Language Learning: The role of attitudes and motivation, London, E.J.Arnold
*Gathercole, I. (1990) Autonomy in Language Learning, London, CiLT
*Miller, A. (1995) Creativity, Cheltenham, All/MGP

Grammar Learning Skills
*Hadfield, J. (1984) Elementary Communication Games, London, Nelson
*Hadfield, J. (1990) Intermediate Communication Games, London, Nelson
Neather, T. (2003) Getting to Grips with Grammar, (APF5) London, CiLT
*Rinvolucri, M. (1984) Grammar Games: Cognitive, Affective and Drama Activities for EFL, Cambridge, CUP
*Taylor, A. (1994) Teaching and Learning Grammar, Cheltenham, ALL/MGP
*Ur, P. (1992) Grammar Practice Activities, Cambridge, C.U.P.

*Hewer, S. (1997) Text manipulation, (InfoTech2) London, CiLT
*Hewer, S. (1989) making the Most of IT Skills, London, CiLT
*Lonergan, J. (1990) making the Most of Your Video Camera, London, CiLT
*Townsend, K. (1997) E-mail (Infotech1) London, CiLT

General Language Learning and Teaching Theory
*Doff, A. (1992) Teach English, Cambridge, C.U.P.
*Cajkler, W. and Addelman, R. (2000) The Practice of Foreign Language Teaching, London, David Fulton
*Fletcher, S. and Calvert, M. (1994) Working with Your Student Teacher,Cheltenham, Association of Language Learners/Mary Glasgow Publications
*Larson-Freeman, D. (1986) Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching, Oxford, O.U.P.
*Morgan, C. and Neil, P. (2001) Teaching Modern Foreign Languages, Lodon, Kogan Page
*Marland, M. (1997) Language Across the Curriculum, London, Heinemann
*Pachler, N. and Field, K. (1997) Learning to Teach Modern Foreign Languages in the Secondary School
*Penningtion, M. (1993) Appraial for Language Teachers, Cheltenham, ALL/MGP
*Swarbrick, A. (1994) Teaching Modern Languages, London, Routledge,
*Wallace, M.J.(1991) Training Foreign Language Teachers: A Reflective Approach, Cambridge, C.U.P.
*Woodward, T. (1993) Ways of Training, London, Longman
Wringe, C. (1989) The Effective Teaching of Modern Languages, London, Longman

I am deeply grateful to Dr. Moira Laidlaw, who is currently a VSO worker at Guyuan Teachers' College, for making these reports available. Her tireless efforts to enable teachers to respond to the challenges of the New Curriculum for Language Teaching in China coupled with her devotion to supporting educational development for all, provide a beacon for all educators as we strive to improve teaching and learning. She is 'living the changes (we) hope to see in the world'. (After Ghandi)



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