The purpose of the study is to compare divergent teaching methods in Canada and China, and to identify which teaching approaches are effective to Chinese ELL students. The research contains pre- and post-tests, and one open-ended survey for 20 Chinese ELL students at one university in Canada.
English as a communication tool holds prominent position in Chinese curriculum (Liu, 2012). Learning English as a Second Language (ESL) has seen its boost in China (Qiang & Wolff, 2007). Mastering English is an asset for students in job hunting and further education. As academic achievement is highly valued in Chinese culture, students are expected to achieve high marks in English tests (Liu, 2012). University students need to pass National English proficiency examinations, which are the part of the evaluation for obtaining degrees (Wolff, 2010). Students attend after-school English courses for enhancing their English because of the pressure (Liu, 2012). The majority of ELL students aim at improving the international English proficiency tests results, such as International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). ELL students are more motivated in the after-school English courses because of the high-target learning environment. However, the teacher-centred learning procedure neglects the long-term enhancement of students’ English level. The ignorance of the long-term development is due to less student involvement during the teaching procedure (Mo, 2012). Some Chinese ELL students choose to attend ESL courses abroad. The reasons are that they can have a better language environment (Wolff, 2010) and can engage more in the learning procedure (Smith & Hu, 2013). The aim of the study is to compare the teacher-centred teaching in China and student-centred teaching in Canada and to examine efficient teaching methods for Chinese speaking ELL students.
Teachers hold essential roles to motivate students in learning procedure and to provide resources for achieving academic goals (Alderman, 2008). The guidance and support from teachers are crucial to ELL students (Kruger, 2011), as the students come from different cultural backgrounds and confront difficulties in learning English (Choy & Lee, 2012). Teachers need to become culturally responsive educators to understand the students’ individual needs (Anderson, Lubig & Smith, 2012). Chinese speaking ELL students are used to teacher-centred teaching methods, which require students to follow teachers’ instructions without asking questions (Smith & Hu, 2013). Teacher-fronted instruction is the main teaching pedagogies of ESL in China (Lam, 2011). The pedagogy allows teachers to manage class orders. Student-centred teaching approaches in Canada focus on practical education, such as developing critical thinking, setting goals and engaging in problem-solving (Smith & Hu, 2013). According to the research conducted at one Ontario University, it indicates that teachers in...