Before I began writing my DBR proposal, I posted a rough plan. David pointed out that the plan was missing design principles and advised that I follow a template, which he provided. I followed his advice and it was extremely useful for giving me a solid structure to base my proposal on. His advice also assisted me in making the decision to analyse both TESOL education and NGL integration into TESOL education.
Natalie very generously dedicated an entire blog post to offering me feedback. She suggested that the scope of my intervention could be expanded to learners in non-traditional classrooms, such as those who do not have access to English education due to geographic isolation. While trying to keep the scope of my proposal limited, her suggestion encouraged me to consider a variety of applications of my intervention, rather than the context it was based upon alone. She also made the suggestion that variables such as language, socio-economic circumstances and internet access need to be carefully considered in my proposal. I agreed entirely and this suggestion led me to another finding; there appeared to be significant differences in expectations of educational outcomes between Japanese and Western academic literature. I also encountered this difference in the responses to my questionnaire. There appeared to be an underlying fear among Japanese citizens that excessive focus or achievement of English educational outcomes may diminish students’ connection and respect for traditional Japanese culture and language. I think it is important to acknowledge and respect this concern. I believe that if I am to disagree with this sentiment, I must make sure that my beliefs and arguments are as objective as possible.
Natalie’s suggestion about the use of creative commons led to a response by David regarding what learning theories are truly concerned about. While I didn’t integrate creative commons into my final proposal, the information I gained from this discussion did influence the focus of the analyses I made.
When initially planning my DBR proposal, I identified a problem that I felt needed resolving in my teaching context as a TESOL teacher in Japanese public junior high schools. To minimise the effects of my own biases and perspective, I made a questionnaire for my professional colleagues. The questions in this questionnaire attempted to identify what others felt about the situation and what kinds of solutions they thought would be effective. One colleague is not a native English speaker, so I conducted an interview through the mobile messaging application ‘Line’, as I was not confident she would be able to interpret the formality of the English used in the questionnaire.
Below are links to PDF documentations of responses to my questionnaire
From the responses these teachers provided me, the following concerns appeared multiple times:
- excessive focus on rote learning and the grammar-translation method of teaching
- insufficient opportunities to use English both inside and outside of lessons
- excessive attention to reading and writing skills and insufficient attention to listening and speaking skills
- focus on traditional summative assessments (exams)
- lack of authentic learning opportunities leading students to feel English is not useful or necessary
- teaching methodologies are uninteresting and unengaging
Combined with the literature review I undertook, these insights were integral to helping me identify which design principles would be most important for my proposal.