Socio-Cultural Factors Affecting the Quality of English Language Learners

The English language is said to be the global lingua franca that is used by several countries so as to communicate with other countries.
That is why we need to be proficient in speaking it. One of the few countries which made English as their official second language is the Philippines.The need for knowing the English language increases because of globalization and our connections, relations and transactions with other countries. Because of this great need, schools from all over the world require the study of the English language. Students even tend to study English outside of their country so as to suffice their need of the language. Nowadays, majority of classroom environments are culturally diverse. In the Philippines, an English language classroom is not limited to only Filipino students but also to other nationalities such as Koreans, Indians, Timorese and the like.
This scenario is evident in universities catering other nationalities, such as Angeles University Foundation. Aside from having a bachelor degree in any field of their choice, foreign students also aim to learn the English language. Guided by the university with its teaching personnel, foreign students are given opportunities to enhance their English communication through interactive language learning activities. These activities are applicable not only to foreign students but also Filipino students.Although the university has the capability of providing opportunities to students, there are still other factors that could affect the quality of the English language learning. One of which is the socio-cultural foundation of the students. Socio-cultural factors or external conditions associated with students’ entire environment, in which he or she studies the language, greatly contributes to the quality of language learning.

Customs, belief systems, the school environment as well as the people surrounding them are just some of the factors aforementioned.With this in mind, the impact of the external factors to their language learning should be catered by the teacher and other curriculum stakeholders as they build the foundations on the English language learning of the students. They might experience culture shock if there are variations on their socio-cultural foundation with others and this may affect language learning. The students who most likely experience what we call culture shock in the tertiary level are the freshmen.Some of them find it difficult to adjust to their new classroom environment because it might be extremely different from the previous one they had. Some may find it difficult to deal with their other classmates, especially the foreigners, because of the differences in their previous school environment, culture and beliefs. When these differences clash, there are greater chances that it might result in reluctance to communicate, discouragement to participate and collaborate, and it can greatly affect the quality of English language learning.
Shedding a light on these socio-cultural factors, the researchers would like to assess the quality of English language learning and its effect on selected first year College of Education students at Angeles University Foundation. Learning these socio-cultural factors could help teachers emphasize on what and where the student’s schema is currently at and that they could build on these knowledge so as to make the experience authentic for the learner of the second language.Another point is that, if the teacher of the language experiences a problem on a culturally diverse classroom, such as that of the classrooms of Angeles University Foundation, they could prepare themselves in finding a remedy to their problem. THEORETICAL AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK Tharp and Gallimore’s (1988) concerns on Vygotsky’s Socio-cultural theory is focused on the idea that we should also cater the “external social factors” that the individual belongs to and not only focus on the study of the individual.It is in this theory of Lev Vygotsky that the socio-cultural factors were taken great considerations in the process of learning. Not only is the individual’s identity taken into account but also the environment in which the individual gathered his or her experience. In the field of education, Vygotsky (1978) states that the development of a child’s culture is visible twice: first is in the social level then on the individual’s level.
In other words, from interpersonal to intrapersonal or in Vygotsky’s terms: from “interpsychological” (between people) to “intrapsychological” (within the child). Available at: http://www. unm. edu/~devalenz/handouts/sociocult. html and http://tip. psychology. org/vygotsky.
html. Accessed on December 20, 2010) Jean Lave’s theory (1988) on Situated Learning is given further explanations by Brown, Collins & Duguid (1989) as they emphasize on the idea that social aspects including “authentic domain activities” and learning in the informal scenario which is focused on the experiences outside the classroom, contributes greatly to the “cognitive apprenticeship” of the student. (Available at: http://tip. psychology. org/lave. html.Accessed on December 20, 2010) If the two theories were to be combined, Vygotsky’s Socio-cultural theory and Lave’s Situated learning theory, the outcome would pertain to socio-cultural factors that could contribute to the quality of English language learning of a student.
Figure 1: Lev Vygotsky’s Socio-cultural theory. Figure 2: Situated Learning Theory by Jean Lave In figure 1, the external social factors of an individual pertain to the Environment (Interpsychological Level) which, if added to the study of the individual or the Identity (Intrapsychological Level), would result to the individual’s experiences.These experiences lead to the individual’s culture that concretizes Vygotsky’s Socio-cultural theory of Learning. On the other hand, Jean Lave’s Situated learning is depicted in figure 2 wherein the social aspects of an individual, if broken down to it’s components, are made up of the person’s experiences on authentic domain activities, which are offered inside the classroom, and the informal learning scenarios that the person encounters outside the formal learning environment. These experiences, according to Brown, Collins & Duguid (1989), cater to the individual’s “cognitive apprenticeship”.While the researchers were examining Jean Lave’s Situated learning, Brown, Collins & Duguid’s term “cognitive apprenticeship” came up. In Dennen’s research on Cognitive Apprenticeship, (Available at: http://www.
aect. org/edtech/ed1/31. pdf. Accessed on: December 22, 2010) she defined it as: “The use of an apprentice model to support learning in the cognitive domain…with learning that occurs as experts and novices interact socially while focused on completing a task…on developing cognitive skills through participating in authentic learning experiences. (Dennen, 2005) Cognitive apprenticeship involves an expert which deals with the cognitive task of learning. If the task is to learn the English language, an expert on the language would most likely help the learner understand the task. In this theory, Dennen also strengthened the idea that the learner needs to be active socially so as to complete a task.
With the help of a coach or a mentor, an activity that elicits authentic learning also participates in the development of such cognitive skills. Figure 3: Paradigm of the StudyBased on the cited theories of Vygotsky (Socio-cultural theory), Lave (Situated learning) and, from constructivist approaches to human learning that the researchers encountered during the dissection of Brown, Collins & Duguid’s (1989) elaboration of the latter theory, Cognitive Apprenticeship theory. The inputs of the study in figure 3 involves the theories, studies and the participation of the respondents of the study which are the first year CED students. The process involves review and analysis of the aforementioned theories, extraction from related literature nd studies, conduct of survey and interview amongst selected first year CED students and analysis and interpretation of data, and determining the socio-cultural factors that affect the quality of English language learning. Combining all of these processes, we can determine how socio-cultural factors affect the quality of English language learning of first year CED students of AUF. The “Socio-cultural factors affecting the quality of English language learning of selected first year CED students of AUF” is the researchers’ expected output for this particular topic on language research.STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM This language research study aims to determine the socio-cultural factors that affect the quality of English language learning of first year College of Education students at Angeles University Foundation through a survey to be followed by an interview of selected respondents if ever the survey would elicit questions that could affect the data gathered by the researcher.
The interview would pursue for further clarifications on the answers to the survey.The survey would include questions that are to fall on the following topics: 1. The respondent’s view on their learning of the English language (are they enjoying their present status in the learning of the language) 2. Recall on previous experiences prior to learning the language and its impact to their English language learning. 3. Their view of their prior knowledge on the English language and how they could relate it to their first language. 4.
The importance of their culture in the accumulation of ideas on their learning of the English language. 5.The respondent’s perspective on having good relationships with their classmates to include these experiences to their English language learning. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY A good research according to Flood et. al. (2005) gives out concepts or ideas that teachers in the academe could ponder on. Its purpose is not to recommend solutions that would directly answer the teacher’s problem on his or her classroom.
Rather it aims to make a teacher’s instructional decisions more intelligent and enhanced. Angeles University Foundation caters international students in their curriculum.The diverse number of students are too numerous to count that the environment of the campus is depicted to be a community of people from different countries. The culture that these international students brings to the classroom are said to be rich that if educators and other members of the academe would include them in discussions, meaningful life experiences are promoted like “genuine internationalism and fostering intercultural learning” (Carroll and Ryan, 2005 p. 75). The study does not limit it’s responses to those who are foreign to the country.Since the language research is all about the quality of English language learning, the Filipino students under the first year CED students are still included as a member of the respondents.
This study could be beneficial to the following: Educational Institutions. This study could greatly contribute to the academe if the realization of having the social and cultural aspects of students be brought to the enrichment of classroom discussions, particularly those educational institutions which opens their doors to international students around the globe.Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education (DepEd and CHED). The Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education could formulate educational programs that can help educators make use of these socio-cultural factors as they implement them in the curriculums used in the English Departments of different education institutions. Department Chairs. This study could help enhance and contribute to meaningful or authentic learning activities to be added in the curriculum.Not only will it add to the learning activities language learners could have in their curriculum, the teachers or professors could also involve students during presentations of their prior experiences when it comes to sharing of one’s culture.
English Language Teachers. This study could help educators in their formulation of solutions when it comes to handling English Language Learners, specifically culturally-diverse classrooms. It can help teachers to accommodate these socio-cultural factors and cater to the students’ eeds. Involving the students in the discussion is a big help to the development of an individual’s social aspect since it would draw out their own experiences for the fulfillment of a cognitive task prepared by the English language teacher. English Language Learners. Students could find this study significant to them when it comes to the experiences that the respondents could share. Finding themselves caught up in the dilemma of contributing their culture and experience to the class would no longer be an issue.
They could find in this thesis that theorists such as Vygotsky and Lave advocates their participation in the classroom since their experiences are lessons other students could relate to. Not only that, the impact that culture and experiences has in classroom discussions are elevated at some point since it focuses directly on the English language learner’s personal contribution to the class. Future Researchers. This study could be a source for future studies on other socio-cultural aspects or factors that future researchers would like to discover.It also could open the doors into solving the different problems in the topic of English Language Learning. SCOPE AND DELIMITATION This study is focused on the socio-cultural factors affecting the quality of English Language Learning amongst selected first year CED students of Angeles University Foundation. There are different socio-cultural factors that could affect the English Language Learning and these are identified through analysis of different theories of learning, review of related literature and studies on socio-cultural factors affecting language learning, and conducting of survey and interviews.
Through identifying these factors, the researchers could come up with recommendations in solving the problems of curriculum stakeholders, particularly the teachers and students. The subjects of the study are the first year CED students. They are the researchers’ chosen subjects particularly because they are most likely to be still adjusting to the new school environment, specifically the foreign students. Having a different background when it comes to their culture, irst year foreign students, especially those who are fresh from their motherland, would have a hard time learning the language (unless the learner had had formal schooling in a country in which the English language is given a bright spot in its curriculum). The Filipino students, on the other hand, since it is their first time in college, may also be having a hard time adapting to the new environment and interacting with their colleagues. The researchers agreed upon having the first year section B CED students as their respondents due to the reason that the population of this section is larger when it comes to foreign (e. Koreans) and also Filipino students.
This is confirmed by the College’s Assistant Dean, Dr. Alita G. Agapay, in response to a correspondence electronic mail sent to her by the researchers. On the other hand, the method to be used in this study is the qualitative method of research. Flood (2005) identified, in his book Methods of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts, qualitative method as exploratory in nature as it anticipates discovery on possible important aspects that may not have been noted yet.The researchers aim to explore on the meaning of language learning to its participants. The participants’ points of view, thoughts and feelings, and why they think, feel or behave are noted.
This method’s focus is on “small numbers of participants and thorough understanding of small, complete units of social interaction” (p. 7) which are later on analyzed, interpreted and categorized for classification of data. This study is conducted at Angeles University Foundation, Angeles City, Pampanga.Starting from December 2010 till March 2010, the study is to be conducted, wherein the researchers are given ample of time to undergo the different phases of their paradigm of the study. (Refer to figure 3. page 8). The study would not tackle the following topics: 1.
The other factors (e. g. physical, psychological, etc. factors) that affects their language learning. 2. The specifics under the umbrella term culture such as food and clothing since it does not have any bearing on the respondent’s language learning. 3.
The respondents are limited to the students of first year section b of the College of Education. DEFINITION OF TERMS The following terms are defined by the following cited resources so as to have a better and guided understanding of the language research on the socio-cultural factors affecting the quality of English language learning: Authentic Domain Activities. These are language activities that are integrated to actual communication and eventually lead to specific outputs. Language activities involve the four (4) macro skills namely listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Finocchiaro, 1958) (p. 150) Cognitive Apprenticeship. As defined by Dennen (2005), it is the utilization of an apprentice model in supporting the learning of a cognitive task.
With this study, the task for the respondents is the process of learning and developing their English language. Culture. Merriam-Webster dictionary defined Culture as the “way of life, breeding”. According to Flood, et. al. (2005) culture is made up of “principles that members use to guide their actions with each other” (p. 157).
It is not fixed and is to be modified, expanded and revised across one’s interaction in duration of time and events. In this study, the term culture is used by the researcher as a contributing factor to a student’s learning process of a secondary language; English. Culture shock. Caroll and Ryan (2005) described culture shock as diversity in all aspects of differences and similarities along a given dimension of learning and contribute difficulties to the individual learning styles and background experiences of the students in the classroom. (p. 45)English language learning (ELL). English language learning is a sum total of the process in which students undertake to learn the content and contexts of the English language.
Intercultural learning. According to Caroll and Ryan (2005), intercultural learning relates to the discovery and transcendence of difference of cultures through authentic experiences and social interaction. It involves real tasks, emotional and intellectual participation, and participation in social experiences that stimulate learning in the self and action domains. (p. 75)Meta-cultural Awareness. According to Louie (as cited in Caroll and Ryan, 2005) meta-cultural awareness aims to help students appreciate the home and the host culture through the development of skills and strategies. (p.
24) Multiculturalism. In Martin’s theory of Multiculturalism (Available at: http://www. start-at-zero. com/papers/multiculturalism/theories. htm#kallen. Accessed on December 23, 2010), he pointed out that there are many faces of the educational process that contributes to one’s understanding. One of which is the culture of the individual.
Schema. Schema is better known as background or prior knowledge and/or experience. An individual’s knowledge and experience do not remain stagnant in his/her mind. They are constantly used in organizing new experiences and knowledge. It can be increase, nurtured and changed. (p. 6) (Galang, et al, 2007) Second language acquisition (SLA).
Having a strong foundation on the individual’s first language (Filipino, English, Korean, etc. ) the next stage is the learning of a second language (Available at: http://www. asha. org/public/speech/development/second. tm. Accessed on: December 23, 2010). In this study, the researchers made use of English as the second language being learned by the selected respondents.
Socio-cultural Constructivism. Vygotsky defined it as knowledge being developed between interactions of both Piaget’ view that knowledge is built by the individual and the social constructivist’s view that knowledge is embedded in the social aspects of the individual: e. g. society. (Available at: http://www. aiias. edu/ict/vol_23/23cc_085-101.
htm. Accessed on: December 23, 2010)CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES In this chapter, related literatures and studies are reviewed by the researchers to further deepen the significance of their study on the socio-cultural factors affecting the quality of English language learning among First year College of Education students at Angeles University Foundation. These resources are presented so as to supply the readers the sufficient information about the problem being analyzed. RELATED LITERATURE RELATED STUDIES CHAPTER 3 METHOD AND PROCEDURESThis chapter deals with the study’s methodology, procedure, sources of data, instruments and the description of respondents employed in gathering, analyzing and interpreting data. RESEARCH DESIGN Research Method The researchers applied the qualitative method of research, to determine the socio-cultural factors that affect the respondents’ quality of English language learning. According to Flood et. al (2005) in the book Methods of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts, qualitative methods investigates on the language learning that takes place in the learning environment.
Qualitative methods, by definition, feature qualitative data – the researcher’s description of what participants do or say about themselves and their activities in an educational setting. ”(p. 7) The qualitative method that Flood et. al. mentioned has its similarities to descriptive method. The context of the method only changes its name since the study is done under researches in the language arts. It is also mentioned that qualitative method focuses on small numbers of participants.
The researchers then analyze, interpret and categorize for the classification of data.This process involves the dissemination of a survey questionnaire to the respondents and if further questions about the survey are needed to suffice the information that the researchers would need, an interview would follow the survey, The following survey questions’ topics would fall on the numbered items: 1. The respondent’s view on their learning of the English language (are they enjoying their present status in the learning of the language) 2. Recall on previous experiences prior to learning the language and its impact to their English language learning. 3.Their view of their prior knowledge on the English language and how they could relate it to their first language. 4.
The importance of their culture in the accumulation of ideas on their learning of the English language. 5. The respondent’s perspective on having good relationships with their classmates to include these experiences to their English language learning. Research Locale This research is to be conducted at Angeles University Foundation, Angeles City, Pampanga particularly in the College of Education. Research Respondents The respondents of the study are selected first year section B students who are currently enrolled during S.Y 2010 – 2011 at the College of Education of Angeles University Foundation. Research Instruments The researchers’ instrument to be used in the process of the study is the interview tool.
It is in this instrument that the researchers would include questions that are focusing on the respondent’s perspective on the importance of their social and cultural backgrounds in the determination of their English language learning. The specific questions are to be confirmed by the group’s research adviser and other experts in the field of English to determine the whether or not the questionnaire needs to be eveloped further. Revisions and finalization of the questionnaire needs to be affirmed first by the mentioned people, so as to refine the reliability and validity of the study, before the questionnaire is administered to the chosen respondents. Interview with the respondents will be managed by the researchers for further clarifications with their answers to the survey about the socio-cultural factors affecting the quality of English language learning amongst the respondents, which are the first year section b students of the College of Education.Statistical Tool and Analysis of Data The data gathered in the duration of the study will be hand scored. The data gathered will be analyzed, interpreted, calculated, and classified according to categories that would fit the data. Like descriptive method, qualitative method would also use descriptive statistics that will be used to analyze that data obtained.
The researchers would seek the help of experts in the field of statistics to aid them throughout the calculation and classification of tabulated data. ____________________________________(wait for Gem caban to clarify the descriptive statistical tool to use in the study. ) RESEARCH PROCEDURE In line with the procedure of the study, the researchers would ask permission from the Dean of the College of Education as well as the Assistant Dean of the said college, with the endorsement of the group’s language research adviser, so as to administer survey and interview to the selected first year section B of the College of Education. Administration of the survey will push through with the free time of the respondents.If unavailability of the schedule is seen, the researchers would heed the permission of a teacher that could give a schedule wherein the respondents are vacant in his or her subject. A Likert-type scale is used to classify the respondents’ answers on the topics (see STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM for the topics). Finally, the results of the survey will be tabulated and categorized according to the socio-cultural foundations in which the respondents find to have an effect in the process of their English language learning.
———————– External social factors of an individualIndividual’s culture Experiences Environment/Social (Interpsychological Level) Identity/Individual (Intrapsychological Level) Cognitive Apprenticeship Socio-cultural Theory Situated Learning Theory Study of the individual Social Aspects Informal learning scenario (experiences outside the classroom) Authentic domain activities Determine how socio-cultural factors affect the quality of English language learning of first year CED students of AUF Extraction from related literature and studies the socio-cultural factors affecting the English language learningSocio-cultural factors affecting the quality of English language learning of selected first year CED students of AUF Determine the socio-cultural factors from the theories of learning Conduct of survey and interviewing of selected first year CED students English Language Learners: First year CED students Theories of Learning Review and analysis of the theories of learning Analysis and Interpretation of Results from the survey and interviews INPUT Literature and studies regarding factors affecting English language learning PROCESS OUTPUT

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