The outcome of the literature review confirms that the ability to teach foreign languages on its own is not sufficient to increase the language proficiency levels of students and to maintain high levels of interest within students to immerse themselves more in foreign languages. It appears that students learn more effectively when a good learning climate has been created by their teachers in the classroom or language laboratory. The provision of “safe” working environments is vital as this enables students to practice and perfect their language skills. The most effective environments are those where making mistakes is considered to be a learning experience. The outcome from the face to face interviews and the focus group meeting provides new insights into what good language teaching looks like. Students at the UO benefit from being given some level of autonomy by their teachers to express themselves freely and being able to critically review the language teaching processes. Based on the strength of evidence from interviews, participants in the research consider that it is this level of personal involvement that increases motivation levels within students significantly. New-Generation Banks
Students and teachers would benefit from regular interactions with, for example, native English speakers who come from a variety of backgrounds such as business, education and non-profit organizations. This provides opportunities to learn new words and phrases but also to engage interactively, in another language, with subject matter experts who can share current best business practice across a number of industries. Students would be able to increase their knowledge how a business functions and operates. This will help them in their later life or career by being able to understand the perspectives of others better and gaining a deeper understanding of “where others are coming from or what is of value to others”. In this respect, practice makes not only perfect but also helps to become a better translator or interpreter. Knowing the words of another language such as English is considered not sufficient. Attaching more meaning to words and expressions is far more effective and allows language students to become more proficient in new languages much faster and with better results. The UO is including translation and interpretation in its language teaching syllabus. Both are related to and dependent on psychological aspects. The UO is endeavoring to excel in these areas with a view to raise the language proficiency levels of its students whilst at the same time aiming to close the gap between linguists and psychologists (Section 1.2) for the benefit of foreign language teachers and students. This is encouraging.
The three hypotheses of this research are supported by strength of evidence from the literature review, face to face interviews and the focus group meeting (see Table 3 for a summary of the results), namely:
H1: English language students improve their English language proficiency substantially if they interact regularly with business people and academics whose native language is English. This hypothesis holds true. High levels of exposure to native English or other language speakers will increase foreign language proficiency levels in accordance with the levels of exposure to the foreign language. Language schools should consider adopting this approach.
H2: English language teachers improve the quality of their teaching in the classroom for the benefits of students if they develop a positive and proactive attitude towards contemporary foreign language teaching methods and tools. This is a valid premise. The latest thinking in language teaching is based on years of research and feedback from practitioners in the field. Language teachers and language schools need to keep themselves abreast of new developments in this area and consider these for use in the classroom or language laboratory.
H3: English language teachers who give students the freedom to learn and practice using their own chosen topics are increasing students’ self-confidence and speaking abilities of speaking in the foreign language substantially. This is a true hypothesis. Teachers who give students freedom to choose their own topics increase their motivation levels significantly which leads to higher levels of language proficiency.
Table 3. Hypotheses and Research Questions: Summary of Results
|Hypothesis||Related Research Question(s)||Results|
|H1: English language students improve their English language proficiency substantially if they interact regularly with business people and academics whose native language is English.||1. What is the value of presenting topics of interest by visiting native English language practitioners who use contemporary English that is used in business and academic environments?3. Does the power distance between English language teachers and their students affect the quality and proficiency levels of the learning?||The evaluation of the literature made positive contributions to determine whether exposure, for example, to native English speakers would enhance language proficiency to the desired level. The face to face interviews and focus group meeting concluded that students who interact regularly with business and academics are more likely to develop stronger language proficiency levels. They will also increase their understanding how businesses across a number of industries function and operate.|
|H2: English language teachers improve the quality of their teaching in the classroom for the benefits of students if they develop a positive and proactive attitude towards contemporary foreign language teaching methods and tools.||2. What is the value to English language teachers of conducting regular research in order to keep abreast of the latest thinking in language teaching approaches and methods?3. Does the power distance between English language teachers and their students affect the quality and proficiency levels of the learning?||The literature provided some valid and reliable evidence that suggests that English language teachers who are striving to keep abreast of the latest thinking in foreign language teaching, are improving the language efficiency of their students. The outputs from the face to face interviews and the focus group meeting strengthened the findings from the literature review.|
|H3: English language teachers who give students the freedom to||3. Do proactive and interactive presentations in native English||The literature is positively conclusive that students would|
|learn and practice using their own chosen topics are increasing students’ self-confidence and speaking abilities of speaking in the foreign language substantially.||improve the language skills of students or do these divert from the syllabus?5. What is the value of regular research to keep abreast of the latest thinking in language teaching approaches and methods?||benefit from being given the freedom to choose their own topics, for example, for discussion in the classroom, as this increases their motivation level significantly.|