Date of Award

9-16-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Jeannine M. Fontaine, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sharon K. Deckert, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Miriam S. Chaiken, Ph.D.

Abstract

Following the trend of the association between TESOL and Christianity, this qualitative study explored the learning of rural Taiwanese elementary school students with the specific Christian NESTs named Schweitzer English teachers (SETs) in Taiwan. Research questions in this study included the exploration of the Christian elements in the teaching behavior by the Schweitzer English teachers, how the three groups (the SETs, the collaborating Taiwanese teachers, and the students) perceived each other and how they were affected by each other, and how they evaluated their experience with each other. Data collection included a two month observation of six SETs, twelve Taiwanese English teachers (TETs), and thirty-eight rural elementary school students in Nantou County, Taiwan, using an ethnographic approach based on the researcher’s participant observation role to study the interactions between the three groups. Interviews and casual conversations with each group were conducted to draw conclusions. Also, documents concerning the teaching of the SETs were collected during the two months’ data collection. The findings of this study showed that the SETs developed four major teaching behaviors based on their Christian faith; students changed their perspectives of the SETs and seemed to find an affinity with the SETs; the SETs developed motivation in language learning and were affected by the intangible rewards of teaching for their future plans; the TETs had a positive view of the SETs, but the communication between the groups needed to be improved to achieve true teaching collaboration. The findings led to the suggestion that Christian English teachers in an EFL context can engage in a kind of holistic witness in the classroom through excellence in their work attitude and caring behavior. Better collaboration in team teaching could be achieved through personality type questionnaires, team teaching workshops, and team teaching discipleship. More effective service to the rural Taiwanese students might be achieved through a re-location of the SETs so they would be closer to the students they serve.

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