NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ936258
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-1949-3533
"Learning English Is Like Going to Hell": Using Learner Stories to Make Critical Pedagogical Decisions
Lo, Yi-Hsuan Gloria
TESOL Journal, v2 n2 p249-258 Jun 2011
Research has shown that English as a foreign language (EFL) learners in Taiwan fall into two peaks of the curve. This is to say, learners can be classified into two major groups: those who perform quite well on standardized tests, such as college entrance examinations, and those who perform poorly. From a socioeconomic perspective, the correlation between learners from rural areas and those in the disadvantaged group is high. Geographically, the 36 junior high school learners (aged 13-14) in this study all came from a rural area on an island off the main Taiwan Island. This study was intended to understand what it was like for this group of learners to learn English. To obtain a deeper understanding of their experiences in, feelings about, perceptions of, and views on their English language learning, they were invited to draw on a blank piece of paper what it was like to learn English. After completing their drawings, students were divided into groups of six and asked to describe to their group members and me, the researcher, what was depicted in their drawings. This study applied the sociocultural perspectives of second language teaching and learning (Lantolf & Poehner, 2008), second language teacher education (Johnson, 2009), and learning in a school-university partnership (Tsui et al., 2009) to creating a community of teachers and learners. Multiple drawings at different phases of the study served as meditational tools to help learners elaborate on their feelings about, perceptions of, and attitudes toward English language learning prior to the study and at the end of the first and second semesters of the new curriculum. The results show that learners' stories based on their drawings were a powerful meditational tool that helped the teachers make critical pedagogical decisions. More essentially, the incorporation of technology into the curriculum, the jointly created texts based on culturally relevant topics, and the presentations that utilized multiple ways of knowing provided fulfilling teaching and learning experiences to the teachers and learners and created a positive culture of teaching and learning. (Contains 1 table and 7 figures.)
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. 1925 Ballenger Avenue Suite 550, Alexandria, VA 22314. Tel: 888-547-3369; Tel: 703-836-0774; Fax: 703-836-7864; Fax: 703-836-6447; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Junior High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Taiwan