We welcome you to our next HL2C seminar, taking place on Wednesday 9th March 2022, from 12pm to 1pm (Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London). The talk is co-organized with Lancaster’s SLLAT Research Group.
Nur Ehsan Mohd Said (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia)
Differentiating instruction for EFL learners: Identifying and measuring changes in language attitude and critical thinking (Joint talk with Lancaster’s SLLAT Group.)
How to join:
Our seminars are free to attend. Simply sign up to the HL2C Mailing List to receive the link to join us via Microsoft Teams link. You do not need a Teams account to access the talk.
As a country that was once under British rule, Malaysia has accorded English the status of a second language and its teaching is compulsory at both primary and secondary schools. However, local scholars have reported mixed attitudes towards the English language as evidenced by research from different decades. While some users display a favourable attitude towards the teaching and learning of the language, others have indicated a fear that English could be a threat to the national language. Despite being an important language in the country, efforts to mandate the teaching of English outside English classrooms by the government (e.g. the teaching of Mathematics and Science) have resulted in a public outcry and street protests in the past.
In this talk, I will share findings from a preliminary study that investigated the effects of differentiated instruction (DI) on English language learners’ attitude. Over the years, education practitioners have introduced DI to accommodate multifarious learning needs within intact classrooms more efficiently, but it is a relatively novel concept in Malaysia with limited empirical evidence from English classrooms. Spanning 14 months, the study employed a classroom research design to investigate an English teacher and his students’ experience at a national secondary school. Data were collected by means of a pre- and posttest, and semi-structured interviews. The classroom intervention comprised a 13-week module, designed in line with the national curriculum and learning activities were tailored to the students’ learning styles. Analysis of the quantitative data indicated that DI has had a positive effect on language attitude with a large effect size while also revealing findings that may influence the landscape of language teaching in the country. The qualitative data revealed a rise in learner autonomy and acceptance of the differentiated learning tasks. In line with the government’s aspiration, it is proposed that DI should be practiced by English teachers more readily. It may be further facilitated by greater collaboration between university researchers and schoolteachers, and centralized provision of training nationwide.