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Language Teacher

The Language Teacher

Investigating and Responding to Student Attitudes and Suggestions For Course Improvement

Robert W. Long III

Kyushu Institute of Technology

At one time or another all teachers ask the question, "What do my students really think of me and my teaching?" While this question is of definite interest to some educators, many dismiss the idea that students have any insights to offer regarding pedagogical issues, and perhaps fear that if they do elicit information from the students, they will be regarded as pandering to student desires. However, teachers are becoming more aware that how students feel about their educational experience is useful in innovating curriculum and class material and in many ways is as important as what is taught. The problem for many teachers and institutions is how to best synthesize and reflect upon the information collected and how to make the changes that students see as relevant. Making substantive changes can be a slow process because of the difficulty teachers find in changing their habits and beliefs. This article describes one way to survey student attitudes and elicit suggestions and presents how one teacher responded to this input.

The Importance Of Student Attitudes

Several studies have shown that students have definite ideas about their learning. Yorio (1983), after giving a questionnaire survey to 711 students in an intensive academic English program, found that learners often have distinct opinions about their language education. Christison and Krahnke (1986) noted that an overwhelming majority of subjects preferred an active, interactional approach to language learning, at least as a central or major component of the general program. Couta and Towersey (1992), in their study of Brazilian EFL students' preferences in teaching methodologies, concluded that "More than ever, the need to know what learners need and want as well as what can be delivered to them and how it can be best delivered is a key factor in the success or failure in learning" (p. 2).

If students are actively participating in evaluation, what kinds of information can they appropriately contribute? According to Aleamoni (1981) there are three kinds of information can be obtained from the learner. First, students will be the main source of information about the accomplishments of the program. Second, only students can clarify the degree of communication between the teacher and themselves, for example, how well rapport is established. Finally, students are the most logical evaluators of the quality and effectiveness of various course elements such as the textbook, homework, course content, instruction, student interest, and attention. Only the students themselves can clarify the existence of instructional, institutional, situational, and personal barriers as well as attest to how they have been motivated to pursue further study (Maurice, 1992). Christison and Krahnke (1986) found that students can be valuable and reliable sources of information about what should and should not be done even in intensive programs and wrote "Many of our subjects were quite articulate and willing to discuss their experiences in an open and objective way" (p. 72). Of course, this does not mean that every student will have valuable contributions for every issue; some students' commentary may have to be interpreted or follow-up information will have to be gathered.

It seems, then, that students do want to give feedback and that they are uniquely situated to do so. Teachers who do not solicit student attitudes often face three predicaments: (a) they simply receive less feedback and gain fewer insights into the problems their students are having; (b) they may continue in certain practices that negatively affect the students' self-esteem, performance, and future goals; and (c) they do not conduct reviews of previous lessons and therefore may not prepare new material more relevant to their students' needs. As a result, students may not improve their language abilities and develop self-confidence, they may have poor attendance and do just enough to pass, or they may simply drop out of class.

Development of a Survey Instrument

Previous Studies

After establishing the need, an attitude survey was developed in four stages: a) previous studies reporting attitudes of Japanese students were examined; b) attitudinal categories of interest relating to EFL instruction were identified; c) a pool of items was created, and d) the survey instrument was piloted. Based on the data obtained from the pilot study, the survey instrument was revised and administered to students of Kyushu Institute of Technology (K.I.T.).

Some researchers have investigated Japanese students' attitudes and beliefs about their own learning, while others have examined Japanese students' feelings toward foreign EFL teachers. Reid (1987) found that Japanese students had negative attidudes towards language learning as compared to other language groups, and speculated that culture may play a role in this variance. This aspect, however, needs to be examined more thoroughly with additional crosscultural studies. The college environment in Japan can lead to interesting paradoxes: Benson (1991) notes that while a great number of English classes are taught at Japanese colleges, most students who take them are uninterested in mastering English to any satisfactory level. Shimizu (1995) went further when she surveyed Japanese college students about their attitudes toward foreign EFL teachers. She not only found that students felt that classes taught by foreigners were interesting, humorous, and energetic, but also that students evaluated Japanese and foreign instructors by a different standard: foreign teachers are not seen as serious teachers.

Generating An Item Pool

Mueller (1986) discusses the need for a pool of items stating beliefs or opinions concerning the object or topic of study. The original pool of items for this survey was drawn from three surveys: a student survey from K.I.T., a student survey used at the Center of Intensive English at Florida State University, and the Profile of Attitudes, Needs, and Student Interests (Widdows & Moller, 1991). These proved useful in generating some items relating to teacher abilities, teacher-student rapport, and course evaluation. Other surveys (Knapp, 1972; Mitchell, 1985, 1983) were also examined but they had items that were either not academic, or were too vague for this study. The remaining survey items were derived from concepts and theories relating to attitudes (McGuire, 1986; Allport, 1935; Ajzen,1987; Davis, & Ostrom,1984; Campbell, 1963) and from input from the teachers at K.I.T. Items that students could understand, judge, and would deem important were selected after piloting (see below). A final list was drawn up and revised two times to eliminate or reconceptualize items that were abstract, difficult, or irrelevant.

Planning the Survey

To better understand exactly what students do like about foreign EFL teachers and EFL instruction, the current study focused on first-year students and their attitudes regarding 48 variables relating to EFL instruction and instructors in six categories: (a) the teacher-student relationship; (b) teacher characteristics; (c) teacher abilities; (d) the presentation of the instruction; (e) instructional content; and (f) course conditions. Student attitudes were determined as being either positive, neutral, or negative. Student suggestions for course improvements were elicited, and student likes and dislikes were also ranked. The primary aim of the study, however, was to identify which specific variables are viewed positively and negatively by students. Clarification of these issues can be of some help to teachers in curriculum design, and possibly help to establish more effective teacher-student interactions and feedback to students.


The pilot survey included 48 items with three additional open-ended questions. To test Loehlin's (1967) suggestion that the use of single adjectives may be ambiguous, two versions of the survey were piloted on 72 students at another university in Kitakyushu. Thirty-six students took a semantic differential survey an 36 took an integer-based survey using a five-point scale representing a continuum of decreasing satisfaction from 1 (very satisfied) to 5 (very dissatisfied). The difference in the frequencies, means, and group means between the two surveys was not significantly significant.

An analysis of the data from the pilot study subsequently led to 18 items being changed because of unusually high central tendencies. Specifically, the word choice in some questions were made more concrete and questions relevant to the teaching environment at K.I.T. were added. For example, the item "For conferences or questions the teacher is available - unavailable" was deleted because many teachers at K.I.T. are part-time and thus are simply not available to meet with students. A committee of three bilingual professors from the Humanities Department gave feedback on the English and Japanese versions and the revised survey was then translated into Japanese (see Appendices A and B).

Administration And Analysis Of The Survey


A total of 662 Japanese college freshmen were surveyed: 591 males and 71 females (which reflects the population at K.I.T.). Almost all students are Japanese nationals between the ages of eighteen and twenty. The subjects are all first-year students taking Comprehensive English Course A at K.I.T. This course has a communicative syllabus designed to bring students up to mid-ability as described by the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. Typically, students entering the course have limited working proficiency, are able to use some formulaic speech and a few isolated words and phrases in asking or answering questions, and their vocabulary is is limited to high frequency, concrete language. Students have a solid understanding of grammar. At the end of the course, they should be able to better express their ideas in short dialogues, going beyond rehearsed language into sentence-level speech. All students plan to major in various technical skills, so attaining a high level of ability in English is not a primary concern.


Administration of the survey was carried out by the twelve foreign English language teachers in early October. In general the survey took about 15 minutes to complete. Each instructor was given instructions on how to administer the survey. Instructors could choose to use a Japanese version if they felt it was necessary (see Appendix B). The instructors explained to their classes why they survey was being done. After the surveys were completed, students put them into envelopes which were then put in a specified box in a teacher's conference room. Although the intent of this study was to establish a better understanding of the variables about which students feel strongly and to clarify student responses regarding course improvements and not to evaluate teachers, teachers could specify if they wanted feedback on their own classes.

Frequencies and descriptive statistics were analyzed using SPSS, a statistics software package: means, percentages, standard deviations, and variance were examined. The textual data were organized and manipulated using Qualpro 3.2. All of the 662 surveys were used in this study; the 84 nonresponses on individual questions were classified as "no opinion." The results will be discussed in three categories: teacher factors, instructional factors, and student suggestions.

Results and Discussion

Teacher factors

Table 1 shows survey items and students' responses to items about foreign teachers of English. Students generally have a positive outlook regarding foreign language teachers at K.I.T. The totals of percentages in the two positive categories (very satisfied [1] and satisfied [2]) show that the variables of friendliness (Q8: 80.8%), impartiality (Q6: 79.0%), teacher helpfulness (Q16: 77.8%), teacher activeness (Q11: 77.2%), and fairness in grading (Q13: 61.0%) received the highest positive responses. The totals of percentages of the two negative categories that received the most negative loadings included the ability of the teacher to ease tension (Q23: 25.0%), encourage student participation (Q3: 21.6%), show interest in student progress (Q1: 14.9%), and show concern about their performance (Q2: 14.4%). Nonetheless, in examining group means, the factor of teacher characteristics is viewed the most positively (2.09) compared with the teacher's relationship with students (2.30) and teacher abilities (2.42). Teacher abilities proved the most difficult for students to judge or respond to: an average of 42.4% of students gave a neutral response. In some cases, students may not address the variables in questions such as teaching grammar or vocabulary, and although management of the classroom and facilitating the learning process may be simply too abstract for students to understand, a majority of students did express satisfaction with how the class is managed.

Table 1

Students' General Attitudes toward English Language Teachers

Percentage of student response

Item Responses 1 2 3 4 5 Mean SD
Teacher's relationship with students . . . . . . .
1. Interested in student progress 14.5 24.9 45.5 9.8 5.1 2.66 1.01
2. Concerned about student performance 10.3 18.9 56.0 10.4 4.4 2.80 0.92
3. Encouraging student participation 12.8 14.4 51.2 11.0 10.6 2.92 1.09
4. Helpful with student problems 17.8 24.6 47.9 6.3 3.3 2.53 0.97
5. Supportive of student interests 29.0 32.9 31.3 4.4 2.4 2.18 0.98
6. Impartial 60.9 18.1 16.9 3.0 1.4 1.66 0.95
7. Quality of treatment of students 41.1 24.3 32.9 0.6 1.1 1.96 0.93
8. Friendliness 49.5 31.3 15.1 2.3 1.8 1.76 0.92
Teacher's characteristics . . . . . . .
9. Teachers' enthusiasm 27.8 34.4 32.8 4.1 0.9 2.12 1.32
10. Teacher is focused 14.0 33.1 40.8 8.6 3.5 2.54 0.95
11. Teacher is active 45.6 31.6 17.5 3.8 1.5 1.84 0.95
12. Teacher is encouraging 27.8 34.4 32.8 4.1 0.9 2.16 0.91
13. Fairness in grading 42.7 18.3 36.9 1.4 0.8 1.99 0.96
14. Teacher is interesting 31.7 31.7 29.9 4.2 2.4 2.14 0.99
15. Teacher is supportive 31.7 31.1 31.7 4.1 1.4 2.12 0.95
16. Teacher is helpful 42.6 35.2 19.2 2.1 0.9 1.84 0.87
Teacher's abilities . . . . . . .
17. Teacher facilitates learning 12.7 30.8 50.6 4.2 1.7 2.51 0.83
18. Class atmosphere pleasant 43.1 33.1 21.0 2.0 0.9 1.85 0.88
19. Teaches grammar well 10.6 16.3 61.5 8.9 2.7 2.77 0.86
20. Teaches vocabulary well 14.4 19.6 56.2 8.0 1.8 2.63 0.89
21. Teaches spoken English well 24.2 40.3 29.8 4.8 0.9 2.18 0.88
22. Provides feedback 32.6 33.7 27.6 3.6 2.4 2.10 0.98
23. Able to ease tensions 13.0 21.1 41.8 16.6 7.4 2.84 1.08
24. Management of the classroom 15.3 26.1 51.1 6.5 1.1 2.52 0.87

Note: 1 = Most positive, 2 = Positive, 3 = Neutral, 4 = Negative, 5 = Most negative

N = 662

Instructional factors

The results from the student responses regarding the instruction itself reveal considerable satisfaction for the existing course conditions (see Table 2). Examining the means grouped by category confirms that students are the most satisfied with the course conditions (2.26) as compared with course content (2.57) or presentation of material (2.65). In totaling the percentages in the positive categories, the variables of number of classes (Q45: 64.5%), length of class (Q47: 62.5), pacing of class (Q41: 60.9%), stimulating class interactions (Q43: 58.1%), and use of class time (Q42: 54.2%) received the highest loadings. As Table 2 suggests, there were just a few variables in which students were dissatisfied: teachers not using enough visual aids (Q31: 41.2%), the teachers' rate of speech (Q29: 29.6%), the textbook (24.4%), and the class atmosphere (Q419.1%). In talking to teachers about this, most said that they rarely carried posters and other realia to their classes, relying instead on the text or communicative activities. It is interesting to note that many students (75.2%) had no opinion regarding the organization of the syllabus: an explanation for this is that most teachers probably fail to refer to it during the term after talking about it in the first class. Similarly students had difficulty in deciding whether the lessons were informative; over 50% had no convictions either way.

Table 2. Students' General Attitudes toward English language instruction

Percentage of student response

Item Responses 1 2 3 4 5 Mean SD
Presentation of material . . . . . . .
25. Clear directions 16.9 26.9 40.8 11.3 4.1 2.59 1.03
26. Lessons are well-arranged 19.3 34.3 40.0 5.1 1.2 2.35 0.89
27. Examples are given 21.6 26.1 44.7 6.0 1.5 2.40 0.94
28. Clarity of pronunciation 28.4 29.9 27.3 10.1 4.2 2.32 1.11
29. Rate of speech 24.5 23.0 23.0 22.8 6.8 2.65 1.26
30. Lecture style 16.0 31.3 41.7 8.6 2.4 2.50 0.94
31. Visual aids 7.3 14.5 37.0 20.5 20.7 3.33 1.17
32. Organization of syllabus 3.3 7.3 75.2 8.2 6.0 3.06 1.17
Course content . . . . . . .
33. Conversational topics 14.0 29.8 43.7 8.5 4.1 2.59 0.97
34. Usefulness of textbook 10.9 26.4 38.4 14.4 10.0 2.86 1.11
35. Review of material 10.0 22.7 52.0 10.1 5.3 2.78 0.94
36. Informative lessons 9.7 24.2 52.4 12.1 1.7 2.72 0.86
37. Length of practice 23.3 21.1 40.3 10.4 4.8 2.52 1.10
38. Value of practice 25.4 32.5 32.0 7.1 3.0 2.30 1.02
39. Teaching techniques 17.1 37.3 41.2 3.8 0.6 2.34 0.82
40. Testing 21.1 23.6 45.8 6.8 2.7 2.46 0.99
Course Conditions . . . . . . .
41. Pacing of class 43.2 17.7 30.1 7.3 1.8 2.07 1.09
42. Use of class time 25.7 28.5 34.3 9.2 2.3 2.34 1.03
43. Stimulating class interactions 27.0 31.1 28.1 10.0 3.8 2.32 1.09
44. Energetic class atmosphere 15.4 28.2 37.2 13.4 5.7 2.66 1.07
45. Number of classes 44.0 20.5 28.9 3.2 3.5 2.02 1.08
46. Opportunity to speak English 29.5 20.5 34.9 10.9 4.2 2.40 1.14
47. Length of class (90 minutes) 45.2 17.4 33.2 2.6 1.7 1.98 1.02
48. Appropriate level 35.0 18.6 28.4 12.8 5.1 2.34 1.22

Note: 1 = Most positive, 2 = Positive, 3 = Neutral, 4 = Negative, 5 = Most negative

N = 662

Percentages relating to the presentation of material were fairly consistent, except those concerning visual aids and the syllabus, which makes it difficult to draw conclusions. While most students were not happy with the clarity of directions (15.4%) and with the teachers' pronunciation (14.3%), close to a majority of students maintained positive attitudes. The results under course content are less consistent, but this category has the highest average central tendency (43.2%). As stated before, a quarter of the students were dissatisfied with the textbook, but this is offset by the 37.3% who viewed it positively. Teaching techniques drew the fewest negative responses (4.4%) in all of the instructional variables except for the length of the class. In short, due to the high central tendencies under presentation of material and course content, student expectations need to be further explored.

Students' Suggestions

The last three open-ended questions, in which students could express their thoughts, yielded a great deal of data. All but 10% of the students responded to this section. First, students clarified their positions regarding course content. In responding to how the class can be improved (Question 49), video topped the responses with 142 students stating that they wanted more of it used in class. Students were often very specific regarding the use of video, wanting Japanese subtitles, interesting content, and a slower and more thorough treatment of what is shown. Short video clips were mentioned as beneficial to pronunciation development, and as a way to get students to ask more questions. Movies were also suggested as a means of learning more colloquial expressions. Second in popularity, students cited instruction relating to culture and cultural differences (100 responses); in particular students wanted explanations about specific differences between Japanese and American cultures. Students wanted discussions on attractive and unattractive aspects of foreign cultures, and to know about various customs and manners. Learning about life in other countries, including learning about the lives of students, is also desired. In the next-most frequent response category, students wanted more exposure to pronunciation (83 responses); specifically, students wanted more practice, clearer speech, slower instruction, repetition after the teacher, more chances to practice difficult sounds, the teacher correcting their pronunciation, more explanations and details, and having pronunciation as a focus during conversation practice. A fourth suggestion on how to improve the course revolved around testing (73 responses). Suggestions were made that tests should be easier, less frequent, and primarily oral. Students felt that written tests focused more on the ability to memorize information instead of their ability to actually use English. Students also wanted more explanations regarding the framework of the test before it is given. Some felt that the teacher needed to be more careful about the actual level of the test. Other concerns involved: a) the use of class time (primarily students wanted shorter classes, and some wanted class two or three times a week, more time for each activity, and more time for conversational practice); b) the teaching of vocabulary (students wanted to learn more high frequency words); c) the nature and length of conversational practice; (d) the pace of the class (most found it too fast); (e) grammar; (f) study of terms related to each student's department; (g) business English; (h) literature; (i) homework; and (j) translation.

Question 50, concerning what students disliked about the class, received more nonresponses than any of the three questions, with 88%(589 students) not responding to it. The reason for this may lie in student discomfort with being critical or simply needing more time to process their own ideas. Students likely do not like other aspects of the teacher or class, but that this will need to be identified by surveying students over the years. Essentially, students found the class too long (25 responses); many did not understand what was going on (22), or felt that either the class (14) or the textbook was boring (12). There were widely different concerns: Students discussed issues relating to testing, the use of only English, unmotivated students, and the use of memorization and presentations. Comments also focused on how class activities do not relate to the textbook, that the conversational practice is not effective, that audiotapes are difficult to understand, and that there is too much repetition and homework.

Question 51 asked students what they liked about the class, and two themes drew the most responses: English conversation (56 responses) and an enjoyable class atmosphere (40). Again, there were many various responses including seeing one's friends (38), the friendliness of the teacher (26), games which used English 16) and the use of humor in class (16). Students also appreciated hearing native pronunciation of English, various kinds of topics, the enthusiasm of the teacher, discussions on cultural aspects, and the class size.

Responding to student attitudes and suggestions

It can be difficult for teachers to synthesize survey information and use it to make practical changes in their own teaching styles or course content. Two main elements should be considered: the teacher's own belief systems, including educational practices; and constraints that exist which might make changes difficult of impossible.

Teachers' beliefs greatly impact how they perceive feedback, prioritize innovative ideas, make decisions, and initiate new practices. Richards (1994) found that a "primary source for teachers' classroom practices is teacher's belief systems--the information, attitudes, values, theories, and assumptions about teaching and learning which teachers build up over time and bring with them to the classroom. Teacher beliefs form a structured set of principles, derived from experience, school practice, personality, educational theory, reading, and other sources" (p. 31). Thus, as I responded to my students' suggestions and feedback, I considered my own beliefs, enabling me to have a better understanding and response.

It is also important to identify not only logistical, cultural, personal, monetary, and institutional constraints, but also linguistic and motivational limitations of the class. One example of a logistical limitation is preparation time: finding appropriate social and cultural topics can be extremely time-consuming and frustrating. The proficiency level of the class can also limit what can be presented or shown, and deciding on the content itself can be a formidable challenge: for example, what might be interesting to male students might not hold the same interest for female students. Likewise, developing student rapport is a worthwhile venture, but meeting and getting to know all, or even most, of one's students in the college context can be an almost impossible task.

Thus, teachers need to sift through the pool of suggestions from surveys such as the one described in this article to find the ideas that can be easily implemented while having two or three long-term innovations that require cost, energy, and time to put into place. Innovation often fails because people do not fully account for how much time, cost, and energy, key changes may entail.

Teachers need to investigate and consider the underlying reasons for a student's attitude: why does a student have such a perception, behavior, or reaction in the first place? It can be difficult to generate relevant insights and develop satisfactory responses. Table 3 shows some of the items from the survey that elicited negative responses from the students. The fourth column in Table 3 shows ideas about my students responses. By considering these possible reasons, I could identify new practices to implement in the classroom. I will briefly discuss two issues that I found problematic: redesigning the syllabus (Question #32), and the usefulness of the textbook (Question #34).

Table 3. Responding to Student Attitudes



Negative Attitudes (Totals)

Possible Reasons

New Practices

Question #20

Teaching of vocabulary

2.84 13.0% Translation (either too much or none at all) Too direct Not contextualized in speech Only address vocabulary in natural, student-generated contexts

Question #19

Teaching of grammar

2.84 14.2% Possible over-use of matching and fill-in the- blank exercises. Address grammar in natural contexts. Tape record various students. Have them identify and write down the errors.

Question #34

Usefulness of textbook

2.72 27.1%

Textbook may not provide

activities which students find interesting.

Look carefully at the pros and cons of the book. Have a meeting annually to discuss other choices.

Look at different ways of using the textbook.

Question #23

Able to make student relax

2.87 28.3% Students may feel as if there is too much pressure to speak quickly. Give more lead time for students to respond. Tell specific students a week beforehand that they will be called on

Question #25

Directions of


2.87 27.1% Oral directions probably are not understood.

Write the directions on the board.

Tell students directions and have them repeat them. Then check on all students to make sure that they understand

Question #3

Encouraging participation

2.93 17.6% Students feel ignored. Make it point to identify students who are having a difficult time and try to say something encouraging every class.

Question #29

Rate of speech

2.84 41.2% Rate of speech is viewed as too fast. Repeat and rephrase everything that I say. Have students shadow-talk me to see if they can repeat what I said.

Question #32

Organization of syllabus

3.09 18.9% Material is not seen as integrated. Rearrange syllabus and explain it as the class goes through it.

Question #31

Use of visual aids

3.52 50.5% Logistics of bringing visual aids over to each class.

Use the chalkboard more

Design visual aids which can be put on A4 paper

My former syllabus did not fully review and integrate previously learned material later in the course. There seemed to be a tendency for students to read, study, and forget material as we moved through the course. Table 4 shows a new syllabus based on student input. In this syllabus, previous material is recycled in various ways and in a natural context throughout the course. For four weeks, students practice talking about themselves; in the second subskill, students again introduce and discuss their backgrounds but in the context of their preferences. Dialogues are likewise extended in the third, fourth, and fifth subskill insofar that, after learning about each other, and talking about preferences that they have in common, they invite each other out to particular activities, discuss their schedules and past experiences. The last two subskills also can involve students talking about their past experiences and preferences, but in relation to different cities and countries that they have been to or know about. In this way, a variety of conversations could be developed by combining different subskills (see Table 4).

Table 4. Comprehensive English A Syllabus

Statement of curriculum: At the end of this class, students will be able to make brief exchanges concerning seven subskills. Speaking is the main emphasis, but students are expected to express their ideas in writing as well.

TEXT: Interchange: English for International Communication. Jack Richards. Cambridge University Press.




1. Giving biographical information

A. Introduce self

B. Giving background information: jobs, hobbies

C. Talking about family members

D. Giving personal descriptions

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 5

Unit 9


2. Identifying preferences

E. Expressing likes and dislikes: music, T.V.

F. Identifying likes and dislikes: leisure

G. Ordering food: expressing desires

Unit 4

Unit 13


3. Giving information / messages

H. Making invitations

I. Giving directions

J. Describing surrounding landmarks

Unit 15

Unit 8


4. Describing oneีs schedule and habits

L. Talking about the frequency of activities

M. Talking about past activities

N. Finding similarities in schedules and habits

Unit 6

Unit 7


5. Discussing past experiences

O. Asking and answering questions about past experiences

P. Describing a past experience

Q. Describing two past experiences (good and bad)

Unit 10


6. Discussing cities and countries

R. Describing places: basic adjectives

S. Making recommendations about certain places

T. Making comparisons

U. Identifying problems

Unit 11

Unit 14


7. Talking about culture

V. Giving background information about a country

W. Talking about a festival

X. Giving opinions

Y. Identifying differences



Evaluation: By contract.

A - 80 - 100% on tests,and attendance 2 student made audiotapes

B- 70 - 79% on tests,and attendance 1 student made audiotape

A - 60 - 69% on tests and attendance

. .

Students were also asked to evaluate the textbook as useful or useless (Question 34); 27.1% of the students gave a negative response. I thought that students might find the activities in the textbook uninteresting, but after examining several textbooks, I decided that it was the way that I used the textbook that was the primary problem. I decided to be extremely selective in the exercises I used. For example, I avoided many of the fill-in-the blank grammar drills which take too much time to complete and often do not provide a springboard for actual conversation). Second, when I did use a dialogue, I provided a variety of ways of how the dialogue would be adapted in real-life. I used a technique called the "Use What you Know" approach (Cruz & Bolen,1997) to increase the amount of conversation practice. In this approach, speaking practice is nonstop through shadow talking (repeating everything as the teacher says it) and by engaging students in short interactions about a variety of common topics.


This research confirms that students do have generally positive attitudes regarding foreign EFL teachers, but that students maintain different opinions regarding particular variables. Also, surveying student attitudes (as well as responding to them) requires a great deal of commitment, time, and reflection. Being able to develop a strategy of active involvement and relevant innovation (with short and long-term goals) is crucial. Obtaining student feedback is the first step in properly framing problems, understanding student motives and needs, and actively (and systematically) promoting relevant innovation. Richert (1990) observes: "The ability to think about what one does and why-- assessing past actions, current situations, and intended outcomes--is vital to intelligent practice that is reflective rather than routine" (p. 525). We hope this article will help others to not only better survey their students, and reflect on their teaching and instruction, but also to respond to student attitudes and suggestions.


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Appendix A



1. Regarding my progress, the teacher is Uninterested _ _ _ _ _ Interested

2. Regarding my performance, the teacher is Concerned _ _ _ _ _ Unconcerned

3. Regarding my participation, the teacher is Unencouraging _ _ _ _ _ Encouraging

4. Regarding my problems, the teacher is Helpful _ _ _ _ _ Unhelpful

5. Regarding my interests, the teacher is Supportive _ _ _ _ _ Unsupportive

6. Generally, the teacher treats everyone Equally _ _ _ _ _ Unequally

7. Generally, the teacher treats me Well _ _ _ _ _ Poorly

8. Generally, the teacher is Friendly _ _ _ _ _ Unfriendly

9. In class, the teacher is usually Unenthusiastic _ _ _ _ _ Enthusiastic

10. In teaching, the teacher is usually Focused _ _ _ _ _ Unfocused

11. With students, the teacher is usually Active _ _ _ _ _ Passive

12. The teacher can be described as Encouraging _ _ _ _ _ Aloof

13. In grading, the teacher is Fair _ _ _ _ _ Unfair

14. The teacher is usually Uninteresting _ _ _ _ _ Interesting

15. The teacher can be characterized as Supportive _ _ _ _ _ Unsupportive

16. The teacher is Helpful _ _ _ _ _ Unhelpful

17. The teacher makes learning Difficult _ _ _ _ _ Easy

18. The teacher makes the class atmosphere Unpleasant _ _ _ _ _ Enjoyable

19. Discussing grammatical aspects, the teacher is Clear _ _ _ _ _ Confusing

20. In teaching vocabulary, the teacher is Clear _ _ _ _ _ Confusing

21. The teacher teaches spoken English Well _ _ _ _ _ Poorly

22. The teacher corrects my errors Rarely _ _ _ _ _ Frequently

23. The teacher makes me Relax _ _ _ _ _ Anxious

24. Managing the classroom, the teacher is Unorganized _ _ _ _ _ Organized


25. Directions for activities are Clear _ _ _ _ _ Complicated

26. The lessons are Well-arranged _ _ _ _ _ Disorganized

27. Examples are Not clear _ _ _ _ _ Clear

28. The pronunciation of the teacher is Clear _ _ _ _ _ Not clear

29. The rate of speech is Understandable _ _ _ _ _ Too fast / slow

30. The lecture style is Boring _ _ _ _ _ Stimulating

31. Visual aids (blackboard, video) are used Little _ _ _ _ _ A lot

32. The syllabus is Disorganized _ _ _ _ _ Organized

33. Conversational topics are Interesting _ _ _ _ _ Uninteresting

34. The textbook is Useless _ _ _ _ _ Useful

35. Past material and vocabulary is often Neglected _ _ _ _ _ Reviewed

36. The lessons are Uninformative _ _ _ _ _ Informative

37. The conversational practice is Too short _ _ _ _ _ Appropriate

38. The conversational practice is Valuable _ _ _ _ _ Useless

39. Teaching techniques are Well constructed _ _ _ _ _ Poorly contructed

40. Testing of material is Limited _ _ _ _ _ Comprehensive

41. The pace of this class is Too fast / slow _ _ _ _ _ Appropriate

42. Class time is used Well _ _ _ _ _ Poorly

43. The class interactions are Stimulating _ _ _ _ _ Boring

44. The class atmosphere seems Energetic _ _ _ _ _ Apathetic

45. The number of classes are Appropriate _ _ _ _ _ Not enough

46. The time to speak English in the class is Not enough _ _ _ _ _ Appropriate

47. 90 minutes for this class is Not enough _ _ _ _ _ Appropriate

48. The level of difficulty is Just right _ _ _ _ _ Too difficult /easy

49. How can the class be improved? Some ideas are offered below.

I would like__________________________________________________________________________________


I would like__________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________.

50. What don't you like about the class?

I don't like the________________________________________________________________________________.

I don't like the________________________________________________________________________________.

51. What do you like about the class?

I like the_____________________________________________________________________________________.

I like the_____________________________________________________________________________________.

Appendix B


(Not available online at this time)

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