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Vietnam national university University of languages and international studies FACULTY OF POST GRADUATE STUDIES

DIM THI HAO TM M.A. MINOR THESIS

TEACHERS AND STUDENTS PERCEPTIONS OF A GOOD TEACHER OF ENGLISH (Nhn thc ca gio vin v sinh vin v mt ngi gio vin ting Anh tt)

Field: English teaching methodology Code: 60 14 10 Supervisor: Nguyn Minh Hu, M.A.

Hanoi, 2010

DECLARATION

I, Diem Thi Hao Tam, certify that this thesis is the result of my own research and the substance of this thesis has not, wholly or in part, been submitted for a degree to any other university or institution. Hanoi, September 2010 Diem Thi Hao Tam

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS First and foremost, I would like to express my special and sincere thanks to my supervisor, Ms. Nguyen Minh Hue, who has given me great help with this thesis. Without her experienced guidance, valuable suggestions and dutiful supervision, my research would be far from finished. I also wish to acknowledge my debt of gratitude to the staff members of the Postgraduate Department and the lecturers at College of foreign Languages, Vietnam National University for their valuable lectures, which provide me with scientific knowledge that help to fulfill the study. I am also thankful to all the teachers and students at Haiduong Medical Technical University for answering the questionnaires and interviews. Last but not least, thanks go to my family, especially my husband, who has given me so much love, patience and encouragement. Hanoi, September 2010 Diem Thi Hao Tam

TABLES OF CONTENTS
PART A: INTRODUCTION 1. Statement of the problem and rationale for the study.. 2 Research aims and questions 3. Significance of the study 4. Chapter arrangements............................................................................................ PART B : DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER I: LITERATURE REVIEW I.1. Introduction I.2. Definition of a good teacher II.2.1. General views about a good teacher... II.2.2. Specific attributes of a good teacher .. I.3. General views and specific attributes of a good English teacher .. II.3.1. General views about a good English teacher... II.3.2. Specific attributes of a good English teacher... II.3.3. Perceptions of students and teachers on a good language teacher.. I.4. Studies on teachers and students perceptions of a good teacher of English I. 5. Summary.. CHAPTER II: METHODOLOGY II.1. Research context... II.2. Participants - Teachers - Students. II.3. Data collection methods and procedures . II.3.1. Questionnaires ....................................................................................... II.3.2. Interview................................................................................................ II.4. Data analysis ........................................................................................................ CHAPTER III: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION III.1. Introduction III.2. Teachers and students perceptions of the personal qualities of a good teacher of English... 22 22 19 19 19 19 20 20 21 21 4 5 5 6 10 10 11 14 17 17 1 2 2 3

III.3. Teachers and students perceptions of professional development and academic requirement for a good teacher of English III.4. Teachers and students perceptions of the roles of a good teacher of English. III.5. Teachers and students perceptions of the importance of classroom practices III. 6. Summary. PART C: CONCLUSIONS 1. Summary of the findings . 2. Implications . 3. Limitations and recommendations for further research.. 4. Conclusion... REFERENCES APPENDICES

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

ESL: English as a second language GED: General Educational Development CLT: Communicative language teaching ESP: English for special purpose Q 1: Question 1

LIST OF TABLES AND CHARTS


Chart : Teachers and students perceptions of the personal qualities ..................... 23 24 26 31 Table 1: Teachers and students perceptions of professional development and academic requirement................................................................................................. Table 2: Teachers and students perceptions about roles of a language teacher........ Table 3: Teachers and students perceptions of the importance of classroom practices.......................................................................................................................

ABSTRACT During the past few decades there have been major changes in English language teaching, particularly in teaching English as a foreign or second language. These changes first emanated from dissatisfaction with traditional approaches based on teaching the foreign language. For example, language teachers often put much attention to grammar and translation, which is no more suitable to teaching and learning intention. So, the language teachers are constantly faced with the problem of what to teach and how to do it. Moreover, many language teachers always wonder how best, or perhaps, how appropriately, the teaching and learning of English as a foreign language can be tackled. The purpose of this study is to investigate the teachers and learners perceptions of a good English teacher. Survey questionnaires and interview were designed and given for the students and teachers at Haiduong Medical Technical University. The students and teachers perceptions were compared to find out the similarities and differences. The results showed that the teachers and students had different views of the main attributes of good English teachers. Teachers put emphasis on the role of a good English teacher while students placed teaching practice in the classroom to be the most important in considering good English teachers. The literature with the present research incorporating students and teachers ideas would comprise a useful model of the good English teacher. The model may be helpful for teacher self-development and self-assessment.

PART A: INTRODUCTION 1. Statement of the problem and rationale for the study A question that many teachers often ask is: I like my job, and I love the students, but how can I become a good language teacher? The answer is not easy. It is clear that whether someone can become a good foreign language teacher does not solely depend on his /her command of the language. Some linguists assume that those who are engaged in language teaching profession have the burden of keeping up-to-date, not only with the language which is taught but ever changing learner needs and profiles as well (Kayhan, 1999). According to Schrier (1994), along with subject matter knowledge, professional good foreign language teachers must also have the ability to reflect, analyze critically, select the tools and materials of teaching, and evaluate the products and performance of the learners (p.220). Wing (1995) emphasized that todays language teachers are expected to have multiple roles along with target language competence: In structuring the foreign language environment, the teacher needs to be a manager who facilitates language acquisition; a resource developer who uses to the greatest advantage the target and native languages, materials, and technology; an analyst who observes and evaluates what is happening in the classroom (p.168). Cross (1995) identified several ingredients of an ideal language teacher. According to him, an ideal language teacher should have high level of education, subject matter competence, professional competence which involves lesson planning, textbook selection, materials and tests design, awareness of current teaching approaches, and educational theory. According to Williams (1975), in order to teach the language effectively, a teacher needs two major competencies as well as having excellent knowledge of the target language s/he is teaching, s/he should have teaching skills to apply in the classroom. According to Williams argument, a language teacher should have a good blend of target language knowledge on the one hand and skills to present and teach the target language to the students on the other. As a language teacher, it is necessary to know what a good English teacher is. Needless to say, knowing how to be a good English teacher can improve the qualities of teaching and help students learn English effectively and efficiently. Teachers personalities

and teaching methodologies will affect how students learn. Moreover, Jersild (1955) says that the teachers understanding and acceptance of himself are the most important requirement in any effort he makes to help students to know themselves and to gain healthy attitudes of self-acceptance. This study is conducted with the aim to find out the perceptions of students and teachers of good teachers of English. By means of survey research based on questionnaires and interviews completed by students and teachers, I try to define the characteristics of a good English teacher both from teachers and students point of view. I hope that the views from the participants are essential as a whole picture of teaching and learning language activities. Though students perceptions instead of actions were the main focus in the present study, it may be that people cannot implicitly understand the problems or the factors of hindrance without looking at the whole picture from students and teachers. Therefore, I would like to find out the differences between teachers and students perceptions in order to improve the quality of language teaching. 2 Research aims and questions This study is carried out to: a. to investigate teachers and students perceptions of a good teacher of English b. To find out the differences between teachers and students of a teacher of English. In order to achieve these aims, the study seeks to answer the following research questions: 1.What are the perceptions of a good teacher of English held by students and teachers of English at Haiduong Medical Technical University? 2. What are the commonalities and differences between the teachers and students perceptions of a good teacher of English? 3. Significance of the study English as a second language (ESL) teachers often encounter student resistance to some of their activities. Some students want more opportunities for free conversation while others complain about the pattern drill. When language teachers fail to meet student expectations, students can lose confidence or interests in the teacher and their ultimate achievement can be limited. It is true that teachers performance have a strong impact on the students ultimate success in language learning. Due to this reason, I decided to carry

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out this study in order to explore a whole picture of what a good English teacher is, both perceptions of teachers and students are crucial in this study. The students in the study might have similar perceptions or very different perceptions from the English teachers. Thus, looking for ways to use insights from the research might help English teachers understand what to expect from students, or it might give teachers ideas for tasks, assignments or assessment. 4. Chapter arrangements The minor thesis consists of six chapters. The first chapter includes a statement of the problem and rationale for the study, the aims, significance of the study as well as chapter arrangement of the study. The second chapter includes five parts. The first part is introduction, the second part is definition of a good teacher, the third is qualities of a good English teacher, the following part is studies on teachers and students perceptions of a good teacher of English and the last one is research questions. The third chapter is research method: part one is research context, part two is participants, part three is data collection instrument and procedures and part four is data analysis. In chapter four, the researcher shows results and discussion about findings. Chapter five gives some implications. The last chapter is about limitations and conclusions of the study.

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PART B: DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER I: LITERATURE REVIEW I.1. Introduction In a study with 200 foreign language teachers teaching English, French, Arabic, Brosh (1996) identified the perceived characteristics of effective language teachers. According to the results of this study, desirable characteristics of effective language teachers include: knowledge and command of the target language, the ability to organize, explain, and clarify, and the ability to arouse and sustain interest and motivation among students. Many language teachers have the same point with Hammadou and Bernhardt (1987): Language teachers differ from other teachers in that they do not teach a factual product but rather a process of communication and that they may lose the use of the process if they themselves do not use it on a regular basis (p. 302) Included in many factors that directly influence the success of language teachers are also conditions such as: teaching resources, administrative support, and physical facilities in schools where teachers work (Crookes, 1997). In order to keep up with such a demanding profession foreign language teachers need be in the development of professional competence, which is the state or quality of being adequately qualified for the profession, and armed with a specific range of skills, strategies, knowledge, and ability . Moreover, they have to try their best to become a good language teacher. A question is raised that how can one become a good language teacher? And to answer this question each language teacher has to understand definitions and characteristics of a good language teacher, which are mentioned in the following parts. I.2. Definition of a good teacher What is a good teacher? What characteristics should a good teacher possess? What makes good teachers better than others? Buskist et al.s (2002) study on students perceptions on what qualities master teachers possess produced a list of 28 traits. Such qualities as knowledgeable, wellorganized, hardworking were all featured in the list. However, it is interesting to note that more than half qualities in the list were interpersonal in nature. Furthermore, the five most valued characteristics were: understanding, personable, respectful, happy, and caring. A good language teacher

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should conduct interesting classes, emphasize

good pronunciation, give clear

explanation, have a good knowledge of the target language, have no favouritism, try to involve the students into the classroom activities, and be patient. He/she should be friendly, prepares good notes, can tell jokes, plays games with the students, treats the weak learners well, and acts like a comedian. A good teacher should be able to explain lessons clearly and arouse students interest. All responsible English teachers have ethic devotion, and they are supposed to make their personal styles compatible with their work. These two aspects, which are beyond the scope of this book, can be achieved as long as the teacher himself has the willingness to do so. Moreover, he/ she should be kind, responsible and establish good relationship with students. This review is aimed at finding out the perception and qualities of a good teacher from different perspectives. I.2.1. General views about a good teacher For a teacher, years of teaching experience and knowledge of teaching methods do not guarantee effective teaching. Teachers should constantly look for ways to develop themselves professionally and sharpen their teaching skills along with the subject matter : "One who teaches effectively, teaches not only his subject but himself. Personality is that part of the teacher's self which he/she projects into every classroom activity, thereby affecting and conditioning every learning situation" Penner (1992: p.45). A language teacher's professional competence is much more difficult than a driver's skill to handle a car, and is more complicated than student's competence of speaking a foreign language. It involves more factors and longer learning time, and may never be really finished. Good teachers must posses a number of approaches and patterns of working and the flexibility to call on several different strategies in the space of one lesson. Sound planning and skilful management are needed to blend class, group and individual work to provide a wide range of learning activities, to observe, to solve problems, to offer explanations and to apply skills and ideas. Regarding the communication, it means the quality of interest in other people, especially students and being able to demonstrate that interest through ideas and stories, as well as through shared values. Many students were asked to give expected characteristics from their teachers; they said that they wished their teachers to have some qualities as follows: - They must be passionate about teaching, and patient, adapting to the level of the students - A good teacher must be strict, friendly, interesting should be passionate and intelligent

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- They should not rely on the course book only - They must know students individual needs help students make progress - They can give interesting lessons be kind - They have a good sense of humour - They must be patient, flexible and creative - They know the students names you must know your students must care I.2.2. Specific attributes of a good teacher Teaching is as an art, it is true. Being a teacher is difficult but being a good teacher is much more difficult. It demands each teacher must be creative, has sense of humor, flexible, sometimes behaves as an actor, motivating, enthusiastic, is able to communicate freely, and has positive attitude, etc. When being a teacher, he/ she often worries and wants to answer the question that What is a good teacher? and we all find that there are different qualities shaping a good teacher. As teachers we have to discover essential elements as well as characteristics of becoming a good teacher. In my opinion, I believe that if any teacher wants to become a good teacher, he/she will have the abilities to: a. Motivate students to learn Noone can deny that students motivation to learn is one of the most important factors to create success for each lesson. Teachers are able to motivate the students by using creative and inspirational methods of teaching. Each teacher has a different approach and that makes students stand out from the crowd, share views and opinions without fear of intimidation. Hence the reason why students enjoy their classes and seek the teacher out for new ideas. If students have low motivation in learning it will be one of the problems for teachers. According to Carroll (1977), successful second language learners are nearly always highly motivated to learn the language. How to improve and sustain their interests in learning is thus the responsibility of a good teacher. b. Be a good model Being a teacher is a way of life. Teachers are the window through which many young people will see their future. According to Kottler and Zehm (2000), the best teachers are those who have worked hard to practice what they know and understand in their own personal lives. If they can preach to others some important values such as importance of truth, honesty, self-discipline, knowledge, growth and taking constructive risks, then they practice these same values in their own lives. As a result, the teachers become living

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examples for their students as they can show what they say is important enough for the students to apply to their own lives. The responsibility involves more than presenting subject knowledge or making sure the students score high examination marks. Being a teacher is a way of life. You are a teacher not only when you stand in front of the classroom but also as you walk through life, applying what you know and understand and can do. c. Establish good relationship with students Teachers who have good relationship with their students generally teach more effectively. The reason is because the connection between students and teachers brings the teachers to learn about each student as unique from others, and also enables them to understand the diversity of all the students. This shows the importance of establishing good relationships with students. Good teachers are usually associated with teachers who have maintained a good relationship with their students. This assertion is reiterated by Palmer (1999) "Good teaching isn't about technique. I've asked students around the country to describe their good teachers to me. All of them describe people who have some sort of connective capacity, who connect themselves to their students, their students to each other, and everyone to the subject being studied." (p. 27). Good teachers are usually associated with teachers who have maintained a good relationship with their students. The significance to students of their teachers interpersonal posture is one of the reasons why some teachers are better than others. d. Obtain personal qualities In order to be a good teacher, patience, smart, honesty and creativity, sense of purpose and sense of humor are necessary (Kottler and Zehm, 2000). One of the most significant traits of an excellent teacher is patience. With patience, teachers are likely to react in an assertive attitude, giving students respect but simultaneously being able to retain that firmness to control the class( Gibb, 1961, p. 142). Without patience, it is likely that teacher is unable to maintain a steady relationship with the student. The result of impatience usually involves frustration, yelling and screaming, irritation, aggressiveness and intolerance. These negative effects create a high anxiety-prone atmosphere, as well as, perhaps disrespect for the teacher and bad attitude or behaviour in class. Patience often comes from teachers empathetic understanding. Smart may refer

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to intelligence. Teachers are perceived as being intelligent not just in book smarts but also in other aspects. In view of honesty, the writer explains that honesty means teachers can be trusted and to tell the truth. Creativity is regarded as one of the important elements in teaching, teacher should keep students on their toes, for example, some interesting and motivational activities are introduced in the classroom learning. Another quality of good teachers is a sense of purpose, teachers have an expectation of success for every student, or a goal for students to complete certain tasks by themselves after the course. Without a purpose, there is no meaning to teaching and learning. In addition, a good teacher needs a sense of humor in classroom teaching. A great sense of humour reduces barriers and lightens the atmosphere especially during heavy periods. An ability to make students laugh will carry teachers far and gain the teachers more respect. Kottler and Zehm (2000) state if there is one major premise of effective teaching, it is conveying the idea that learning is enjoyable. e. Understand students needs and difficulties "As a teacher, this means that you know what your students expect, and you make plans to meet those expectations. If you teach a GED class, you spend time explaining the format of the test and helping students to improve their test-taking skills ." (Hassett,2000, p:46) being a good teacher, he/she has great efforts to understand of students modes of learning, to understand that each student has diverse talents and interests, and take account of this diversity in their teaching. Teachers know how to help students focus their potentials on learning and growth, how to match appropriately teaching methods, processes of inquiry, resources and content with the developmental level, temperament and learning style of students. Teachers also respect students as individuals, and adapt their teaching to suit the individual learning needs of all their students. f. Have good mastery of knowledge Gammage (1971) states that the teacher should be a prime source of knowledge. If the teacher fails as a prime source for his/her students, they will knowledge of their teacher is inadequate. It is indispensable that think that the he/she builds up

knowledge of the subject and masters the teaching materials well. Good mastery of content is, therefore,a kind of professional development. A good teacher needs to effectively adapt their practice on the basis of continual critical reflection on and evaluation of their teaching, and seek feedback and appropriate support from other professionals. A good

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teacher cannot lack of knowledge since it is easy to burn out if teachers are not learning and teaching something new periodically in their life (Kohl, 1986, p. 54) g. Have good teaching practice in classroom Good teaching is associated with good classroom practice. Morgan and Morris (1999: p.16) state that classroom practice can be divided into three aspects namely the method of presentation, explanation or giving feedback and classroom control. There are some principles of a good teachers presentation: effectively select and sequence learning activities, and manage and pace teaching time to achieve planned student outcomes; apply a variety of human, material and technological resources to maximise learning; are as impartial as possible when discussing controversial matters with students; create and maintain a learning environment which: + is interesting and challenging + is orderly and purposeful + is safe and supportive + is positive and enjoyable + encourages students to take control of their own learning + encourages students to take intellectual risks + respects the right of each student to form his/her own judgments based on appropriate knowledge + fosters self-discipline, responsibility and creativity + develops in students an awareness of the consequences of their own behaviour + encourages cooperative learning + enhances each students psychological, emotional and physical well-being + encourages effective resolution of conflict + fosters cultural identity; + develop sound routine procedures to manage recurring tasks; + respond appropriately to situations which may arise incidentally; + maintain effective records for purposes of student assessment, evaluation of teaching, counselling of students, reporting to parents, recording critical incidents; + effectively complete administrative tasks associated with teaching and pastoral

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care. Vernon (1953) states Teachers are as diverse in their psychological traits as any other occupational group, it is fallacious to talk of the teaching personality as something distinct and consistent (p.482). If teachers can make an interesting and exciting presentation, students views a teacher is possessing good teaching practice. To sum up, it can be said there are no standard or definite answers of looking at how good a teacher is. I.3. General views and specific attributes of a good English teacher I.3.1. General views about a good English teacher As I have already mentioned above, we studied the general views and the special attributes of a good teacher. As a language teacher, I want to have a deeper study to answer the question that what personal qualities, characteristics or classroom practices that help make up a good language teacher? This answer is considered as a vital role in teaching English process because perceptions of the language teachers role have changed considerably. Nowadays language teachers are no longer seen exclusively as individuals who hold and transmit language (like any other teachers), but as people who assist the learners to develop a natural capacity to communicate in another language. With the question that what personal qualities, characteristics or classroom practices that help make up a good language teacher? I can take evidences from the study of Richards, Tung and Ng (1992) as my own answer. The qualities as: good language teachers are able to motivate students (52%), they are able to diagnose students weakness (26%), they know the subject matter well (26%), they assist students in their development (24%), and they are wellorganized (22%).In fact, every teacher tries to do his/her work better every day and lots of teachers whose interest in their students drives them to a constant search for more motivating activities, more efficient teaching methods and better designed materials for their classes. They spend a lot of time, inside and outside their classes, thinking how to help their pupils. Prodromou (1991) wrote a very precise and clear article. In it he reported the results of a survey designed to discover students' views of good and bad language teaching. Over 40 students (intermediate to advanced level) were involved in the survey. Some of the characteristics of the good language teacher were: friendly, explained things, gave good notes, knew how to treat someone who sits at a desk for six hours, let the students do it by

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themselves- group work, etc. In his book, Scrivener (1994: p.15) lists some pieces for advice for language teachers: Be as honestly yourself as you can be, encourage a friendly, relaxed learning environment, ask open questions, allow time for students to listen, think and process their answers, increase opportunities for student talking time, make use of pairs and small groups, encourage co-operation rather than competition, encourage interaction between students, use gestures, etc. I.3.2. Specific attributes of a good English teacher In addition to the general views about the qualities of good English teachers in the previous section, there is other more subject specific attributes of being English teachers. a) Understand students needs and difficulties The needs and difficulties of each student may be different. In order to attain successful learning by students, language teachers should be able to identify the needs and abilities of individuals. If a good English teacher can find how students feel about activities and tasks in the foreign language learning process, then it can be a relatively easy task to make the adjustments necessary to increase the students learning potential. Yamoor (1985) suggests that teachers have to change or eliminate those elements that evoked negative attitudes which hinder learning. b) Motivates students to learn English Motivation of learners does seem to be one of the key factors in teacher- student relationships. Wright (1987) points out that a primary function of teachers management role is to motivate the learners who are unmotivated and to nurture those who are already well motivated to the task of learning a foreign language. This can be achieved, for example, by giving students meaningful, relevant and interesting tasks to do and involving the learners more actively in the classroom process in activities that demand inter-student communication and co- operative efforts on their part. c) Use different teaching approaches and practices in classroom Many teachers adopt the traditional chalk and board approach in their language teaching classroom. The teachers in Richards, Tung and Ngs (1992) study were asked to tell which teaching methods they used most frequently in their classes. The results showed that 59% used a grammar-based approach, 58% used a functional or communicative a good English teacher. It is worthwhile to look at the following specific attributes of good

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approach and 44% used a situational approach. Moreover, when asked, many students often complained that they had to do exercises most of the time during lessons; teachers seldom play games and interesting activities with them in the English lessons. This idea can be illustrated in the survey of Richards, Tung and Ng (1992). The teachers ranked the classroom activities they most frequently employ in their teaching were ranked as: 1. doing reading and writing exercises from the textbook, 2. doing written grammar exercises, 3. composition, 4. pair or group work tasks, 5. reading aloud, 6. dictation, 7. oral grammar exercises. It implies that teachers can try to change their teaching practices in the lessons from drilling to more communicative tasks. d) Create an interesting and relaxing environment It is crucial to provide a motivating linguistic environment for the students once they start learning English. This can be made by introducing more games and meaningful activities during language lessons. Meanwhile, teachers encouragement and reinforcement are both key factors in creating positive language learning environment. Teacher encourages all students to contribute to the academic activities of the class. And he/she establishes a classroom in which ones peers were not only willing but eager to draw reluctant classmates into the activities. e) Accept students mistakes According to Rubin (1995), the process in learning a new language appeared to involve trail and errors. They could be expected to make mistakes as they worked toward understanding the many details of a language. As a result, the function of a language teacher is to facilitate communication about matters of common interest, not to provide a host of additional constraints to the learning process. f) Balancing the use of four skills in English In language classrooms the receptive skills of listening and reading have received less attention than had the productive skills of speaking and writing historically. Teachers might focus on oral language, so they fail to train students in listening and reading skills

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effectively. As a result, students could not receive sufficient attention in each skill in language learning. Language teachers should take their prominent place in a language classroom; students will be provided opportunities to practise these skills. Since the four skills have shown significant relationships, helping students acquire and develop the four skills reading, listening, speaking and writing in English lessons is put in high priority. This is stressed by The Department of Education and Science in Great Britain (1985) that students of any age need a satisfying balance between oral, practical and written tasks providing scope for extended discussion as well as for sustained writing of many different kinds. g) Encourage students to speak and participate in English activities In learning a foreign language, we find that four skills have to draw equal attention. However, speaking may be one of the most difficult and complex skills for language learners. In most situations, speaking involves more than talk, that means most speaking tasks are interactive. Students lack the ability to communicate in the language, so they do not have confidence to speak English.A good English teacher has the responsibility to help students become proficient speakers through extensive and varied exposure to the language. To help students become proficient speakers of target language, the target language needs to be used as much as possible in the classroom. Frequent and sustained opportunities for interaction provide students with practice in both producing meaning and in checking the comprehensibility of their messages (Long, 1983). As a result, our students would have more opportunities to engage in speaking tasks in the classroom. In turn, students will benefit most from tasks in which real meanings are conveyed, and in which students perceive a purpose for speaking. h) Give clear explanation One of the main tasks of a good language of teacher is to help students understand the language. In order for students to produce language spontaneously, they must first understand it. There were some studies have put emphasizes on giving students clear explanation. In the study done by Morgan and Morris (1999), students associated good teaching with explanation which was made to the whole class as well as to the individuals. Furthermore, good explanation is expected from a good English teacher. Brown (1994) describes that good explanation skills include clarity and fluency of the

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language used, emphasis and interest through voice, using examples, organization of ideas and feedback to the students. i) Being Up-to-date It is better for a language teacher to catch up what changes are taking place in the English curriculum nationally and what their own students are reading or seeing or listening to. In order to help keep English teachers up-to-date, they need to stretch out and touch the world. They should read some professional publications, novels, magazines, classics and English journals. They should stay alert to changes in the youth culture, especially changes in language, dress, and music. By doing so, teachers can understand what moves, disturbs, or stimulates young people in language teaching. I.3.3. Perceptions of students and teachers on a good language teacher Teachers are constantly being enriched by daily contact with their learners which put them in touch with different perspectives and ways of looking at things. Learning is more effective if both teachers and students are actively involved in the teaching-learning process. The problem, however, is that in most learningsituations in different parts of the world, the teacher has the final word regarding classroom teaching. This stands in contradiction to the belief that the learner has an equal part in the learning process. According to Yorio (1989) The experiences that students bring with them are important in their learning and should, in consequence, also be important in our teaching, this is particularly true in second- language classes where we deal with students of varied social and cultural backgrounds and where what we do as teachers might be socially and/or culturally alien to the students (p.34) English-language teachers should learn continually from their students and from other colleagues experience and knowledge with the purpose of incorporating everything they learn into their teaching. The idea of considering the learners and teachers perceptions as much as possible is directly connected with the answer to the question what makes a good English language teacher? a. Teachers perceptions For the language teachers themselves, motivating students to learn English is a prerequisite to become a good English teacher. A good teacher or a good English teacher is expected to assume his/her professional responsibilities at schools as whole-heartedly as he/she can. When the teachers were asked about the views of their primary roles and main roles of a language teacher, they described the roles clearly as follows:

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* Primary role as a teacher in the classroom: - to provide useful learning experiences, - to provide a model of correct language, - to answer learners questions, and - to correct learners errors. * Main roles as an English teacher: - to help students discover effective approaches to learning - to pass knowledge and skills to pupils - adapt teaching approaches to meet students needs The good teacher of modern languages (Sanderson 1983): 1. uses the foreign language predominantly, 2. is vigilant about pronunciation, intonation and stress, 3a. uses the foreign language for classroom instruction, 3b. uses the foreign language for the teaching/learning message, 4a. praises correct responses, 4b. is sympathetic/positive about wrong responses, 4c. conveys warmth in delivery of the message, 4d. conveys warmth through facial expression, 5. engages in intensive oral exploitation of material, 6. promotes understanding by non-verbal cues, 7. relates the foreign language to the target culture, 8. explains tasks clearly, 9a. is varied with regard to materials, 9b. is flexible with regard to objectives, 10. builds up on pupil error, 11. provides a variety of language activity, 12. involves the whole group, 13. is skilled in handling equipment, 14. promotes use of the foreign language by pupils. b. Students perceptions In addition to teachers persceptions, students perceptions on a good language teacher are also essential. Some students were asked about what constituted a good teacher

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of foreign languages in Altmanns (1981) study and some viewpoints described by the students are as follows: - A real second language teacher is on my side - A real second language teacher lets me be me and tries to understand what its like to be me - A real second language teacher accepts me whether he or she likes me or not. - A real second language teacher doesnt have expectations of me because of what Ive been or what he or she has been. - A real second language teacher is more interested in how I learn than what I learn. - A real second language teacher doesnt make me feel anxious and afraid. He/ she provides many choices - A real second language teacher lets me teach myself even if it takes longer. A real language teacher talks so I can understand what he or she means to say. - A real second language teacher can make mistakes and admit it - A real second language teacher can show his or her feelings and let me show mine. - A real second language teacher wants me to evaluate my own work. From the above description, the characteristics are unique and specific to the teacher of foreign languages. Girard(1977) carried out a similar study and a thousand French school pupils of different age groups were asked to make a list of the qualities of a perfect foreign language teacher. The following ten descriptors are found to be the best qualities of a good language teacher: 1. The good language teacher makes his course interesting. 2. He teaches a good pronunciation. 3. He explains clearly. 4. He speaks good English. 5. He shows the same interest in all the pupils. 6. He makes them participate. 7. He shows great patience. 8. He insists on the spoken language. 9. He makes pupils work. 10. He uses an audio-visual method. It can be seen that the above general statements could apply to teachers of any

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subjects, in which we find that statements 2, 4 and 8 are specifically for describing language of foreign teachers. I.4. Studies on teachers and students perceptions of a good teacher of English Being a good English language teacher, students ways of learning a language is a crucial piece of information. At the same time, knowing how students see a good language teacher is also important. It is believed that students hold a wide variety of beliefs about language teacher. Some beliefs are likely influenced by students previous experiences when they received education from their teachers. There have been few studies on good English teachers (Richards et al., 1992; Urmston et al., 1996; Peacock, 2002) and Riddell (2001). Besides these studies, there were some other western studies done by Gorham (1987), Kutnick & Jules (1993) and Aksoy (1998). They have discussed most of the characteristics of a good teacher, for instance, personality,instruction, relationship and classroom management. Cortazzi & Jin (1996a) also carried out similar research on the characteristics of a good language teacher in Tianjin. They asked 135 university students to write essays on the expected characteristics of A Good language Teacher. In the open-ended responses, most of the students felt that a good language teacher should be patient, humorous, friendly and be a good moral example. Other qualities of a good teacher were also mentioned, such as he/she teaches student about life; arouses students interest; is warm-hearted and understanding; uses effective teaching methods; is caring and helpful; and explains clearly. However, I wonder whether the characteristics of a good language teacher found in the above studies are appropriated for English teaching and learning in Vietnam. Meanwhile, there seems to be no study on teachers and students perceptions of a good English teacher in Vietnam. As a language teacher, who is teaching English in Vietnam, I want to investigate what main characteristics Vietnamese students desire from their language teachers. I. 5. Summary In Vietnam, English has always played a crucial role within the education system. Language development is an important focus of education both for teachers and students. If an English teacher requires certain level of skills and abilities in teaching English effectively, including reading, writing listening, speaking and classroom language assessment, a good English teacher needs to have more qualifications. They have to know

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what students interests, needs and difficulties are. A good English teacher should have a great sense of patience, a good communication skill and fluency of his/her language. Class activities are important for students, but what techniques an English teacher should apply to motivate students and create a relaxing atmosphere is a big question for a good English teacher. In return, we can say that a good English teacher should demonstrate the above language abilities in teaching English. This study is designed to seek answer to the following questions: 1. What are the perceptions of a good teacher of English held by students teachers of English at Haiduong Medical Technical University? 2. What are the commonalities and differences between the teachers and students perceptions of a good teacher of English? The answer to these questions would serve to give insights into students and teachers perceptions on a good language teacher. and

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CHAPTER II: METHODOLOGY This chapter presents the research methodology employed in this thesis including document analysis, survey questionnaires and interviews. Besides, a detail description of the participants involved in the research will be shown. II.1. Research context I decided to conduct a study with the students at my own university because I was intrigued with giving my students the chance to tell me their own opinions of what a good language teacher was. Haiduong Medical technical University, at which I have taught English as a foreign language for 6 years, was founded in 2007, based on Haiduong Medical Technical High School (founded in 1960, and then Haiduong Medial Technical College in 2000 ). The students from 29 Northern provinces of Vietnam come here to study medicine, so they dont often pay much attention to learn English. Due to this reason, the English teachers always meet difficulties in teaching them English. This demands each teacher has various methods to help their students to overcome their difficulties. II.2. Participants Teachers In the research, there are 2 male and 8 female English teachers. The range of their age is between 28 and 50 years old. They come from the foreign language faculty of Haiduong Medical Technical University. On average, most of the teachers have from 420 years of teaching experiences. The youngest teacher has 2 years teaching experience while 6 teachers working for more than 10 years. The English teachers are teaching either upper, lower secondary or both levels. Almost all of the English teachers have obtained Bachelor degrees and teacher certificates. Three of them got the Master degrees. Students The study was carried out with 70 third year students at Haiduong Medical Technical University, 23 males and 47 females. They are taught by Vietnamese teachers of English, who are also the participants of this study. The reason for the choice of the third year students is that these students have had three years experience of learning English, so they are believed to have more to say about characteristics as well as their perceptions of a good language teacher.

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II.3. Data collection, methods and procedures In order to gain data for the study, two different instruments were employed: survey questions and interview. II.3.1. Questionnaires - Reasons of choosing questionnaires One of the most common methods of data collection in second language research is to use questionnaires of various kinds. The popularity of questionnaires is due to the fact that they are easy to construct and uniquely capable of gathering a large amount of information quickly in a form that is readily processable (Dornyei, 2003:1). A questionnaire as an instrument of a data collection has such advantages as low cost in time and money, respondent anonymity, and standardization of questions. However, it has disadvantages such as the quality of data, respondent literacy problems, question wording. Therefore, interview was used to . Given the purpose of the study, it is necessary to have the students and teachers opinions on perceptions of a good language teacher, I decided to use two types of questionnaires (reserved for teacher and for students). + A questionnaire for teachers The survey consisted of 15 questions divided into 4 areas (1) personal qualities and personalities, (2) professional development and academic requirement, (3) role of a language teacher, (4) classroom practices, requiring answers from very important to not important with no option for an indecisive answer (1=very important, 2=important, 3=not very important, 4= not important). These questions focus on the two categories: roles of a good language teacher and classroom practices of a good language teacher. The purpose of the questionnaire was to obtain their attitudes and perceptions of a good language teacher. (See appendix A for an example of the survey instrument) + A questionnaire for students The survey consisted of 15 questions requiring answers from very important to not important with no option for an indecisive answer (1=very important, 2=important, 3=not very important, 4= not important). All questions were written in Vietnamese to ensure students accurate understanding of all the questions before answering them. -Procedures

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Prior to administering the survey to the participants I spent fifteen minutes with the student participants during which I explained my research objectives and asked them to feel free as far as the participation in the study was concerned. Then the questionnaire was piloted on a group of 70 students from 2 different classes and on a group of 10 teachers and on the basis of the responses, the questionnaire was revised before it was administered to the target respondents. II.3.2. Interview - Reasons of choosing interview Interview may be used as the primary research tool or in an ancillary role as a checking mechanism to triangulate data gathered from other source. Hopkins (cited in McDonough & McDonough (1997:181)) lists three applications of interviews in classroom research: + to focus on a specific aspect of classroom life in detail + teacher pupil discussion + to improve the classroom climate What is more, in order to avoid the quality of data, respondent literacy problems, question wording of a questionnaire, I decided to use interview as another supplemented instrument. - Procedures Five teachers and ten students among the questionnaires respondents were chosen randomly for a following up interview for more in depth data which mainly focus on the perceptions of the teachers and students towards the concept good language teacher. Each of the interviewee was asked 3 questions. Since the purpose of the interview was to have more in-depth information. II.4. Data analysis Data collected from three different sources were categorized into teachers perceptions and students perceptions of the concept a good teacher of English. The data were then analyzed both descriptively and interpretively. The information was displayed in the form of tables. diagnostic information

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CHAPTER III: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION III.1. Introduction This chapter presents the findings both descriptively and interpretively as well as discusses the findings. How the chapter is organized? All the 15 questionnaires were returned. After analyzing the results of the questionnaire, the most interesting and significant findings were selected to present here. Moreover, in order to obtain more in-dept data, 5 teachers and 10 students were selected randomly among the respondents for a structured interview. These teachers and students were in fact selected on the basis of accessibility. These teachers were asked in English and the students were asked in Vietnamese. This was to guarantee the truthfulness of the information in case the students were not confident enough in answering in English or they may get confused in understanding the interview questions and in giving answers to the asked questions. All the interviews were audio-taped. Each interviewee was asked three questions: 1. What characteristics do you think a good teacher of English should have? 2. What do you think is the most important characteristic of a good teacher of English? 3. What should a teacher of English do to motivate students to participate in classroom activities? III.2. Teachers and students perceptions of the personal qualities of a good teacher of English Question 1 was designed to find out whether language patience and sense of humor of English teachers are very important, important or not important. The result of question 1 is presented in the table below:

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80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
Very im portant Important Not very im portant Not Im portant

Teachers' responses Students' responses

Chart 1: Teachers and students perceptions of the personal qualities Table 1 shows that most teachers (70%) selected a good teacher of English should have a great patience and sense of humor as a very important characteristic of a good English teacher. For the students responses, they also assume that patience and sense of humor are important for a good English teacher, which accounts for 51.4% (for very important) and 48.6% (for important). There is not much difference in this characteristic between two groups of respondents. This points out a fact that language teachers cannot sometimes understand why their lessons are boring or why their students are very tired of their lessons, why effects of their lessons are not very high. When asked, most of the interviewed students said that they wanted their language teachers to have patience, and especially a sense of humor. They also gave some explanation for these wishes I find sometimes my students are encouraged to study a lot with a joke. I find them more excited (teacher 4). Through the result surveyed, we can conclude that most teachers and students thought a teacher of English should be patient and have a sense of humor because the patience helps stimulate students and the humor will be able to cross out tiredness from lessons and create new enthusiasm for more effective lessons. III.3. Teachers and students perceptions of professional development and academic requirement for a good teacher of English In this area, 3 questions were given to find out what characteristics on professional development a good teacher of English really needs. The result is presented in the following table:

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Teachers responses Items 1 Need to have good communication skills Need to update information/ changes in a foreign language Be able to be flexible and vary techniques according to students level and the teaching/learning situations 80% 60% (N= 10) 2 3 20% 40% 0% 0% 4 0% 0% 1 67.1% 62.9%

Students responses (N = 70) 2 3 30% 32.8% 2.9% 4.3% 4 0% 0%

40%

60%

0%

0%

52.8%

42.8%

4.3%

0%

Table 1: Teachers and students perceptions of professional development and academic requirement 1= Very important 3= Not very important 2= Important 4= Not important

a. A good language teacher needs good communication skills At Haiduong Medical Technical University the language teachers have also begun to pay more attention to many ways of encouraging communication within the language classroom. To do this, each of the language teachers is required to master good communication skills and to provide the choice of strategies and a range of strategically expressions most suited to their students. I can say that there is a big change in teaching methodology towards to CLT. Therefore, responding to this survey is an opportunity for teachers and students to express their thoughts. So, when asked, the first characteristic that the majority of the teachers and the students mentioned is good communication skills, for example, when I am taught by a teacher with good communication skills, I feel interested and confident (student 9). It is clearly seen from the collected data, we still find similarity in responding to this characteristic between teachers and student because up to 100% of the teachers consider this characteristic very important (80%) and important (20%). There may be a bit difference from the teachers results, but the number of the students agreed that it is very important for a good language teacher to have good languages skills which accounts for 67.1%. Another number of the surveyed students agreed it was important (30%). The results from the questionnaires and the interviews show that both the teachers and

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the students agreed that it is important for good language teachers to possess good communication skills. b. A good teacher of English needs to update information/ changes in a foreign language As can be seen from the table, 100% of the teachers assumed that updating information/ changes in a foreign language is very important and important. The responses of the students compared with the teachers agreement may be fewer (96.7%), but we can find the similarity between the teachers and students. At Haiduong Medical technical University, where they are studying ESP about medicine, the students really wanted language teachers have constantly updated information of the language in order to explain the related knowledge to ESP. This is reasonable because medicine is an area which has continuous changes of drugs, treatment, machines, kinds of diseases, epidemics and etc., so the language teachers always have to pick out new terminologies, then give their Vietnamese equivalents and teach the students how to pronounce then correctly. c. A good language teacher needs to be flexible and vary techniques according to students level and the teaching/learning situations The given data above points out that using effective teaching method in the lessons is also put high in the list. 100% teachers and 95.7 % students think that it is important to have many techniques for teaching a language based on students levels. Only 4.3% students consider it not very important to be flexible in choosing techniques according to students levels. However, analyzing the data more deeply, we can find that the number of the students who said that this characteristic was very important is higher than the teachers. Moreover, 4 out of 10 interviewed students gave their ideas that they wanted their language teachers to know who they were teaching, how good their students English was: Our teachers seem to be teaching English only for major students, I dont understand anything(student 4). In short, it is found that teachers and students are very aware of the importance for choosing suitable teaching methodologies for each students level. However, more students paid their attention to this problem than teachers and they also consider this characteristic more important than teachers.

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III.4. Teachers and students perceptions of the roles of a good teacher of English Teachers responses Items 1 be able to make/ stimulate students to interact/ communicate with each other through pair /group work/roles play /simulations etc.. be able to plan the lessons clearly. be able to state the objectives of the lessons clearly be able to offer a good model as the target language user. be able to provide students with appropriate correction and feedback be able to build students confidence be able to realize students needs, interests as well as individual differences 1= Very important 3= Not very important 60% (N = 10) 2 3 40% 0% 4 0% 1 34.3% Students responses (N = 70) 2 3 44.2% 4

18.5% 2.9%

40% 40% 80% 20% 40% 70%

60% 60% 20% 80% 60% 30%

0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%

0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%

54.3% 47.2% 80% 54.2% 12.9% 17.1%

42.8% 52.8% 20% 41.4% 82.8% 71.4%

2.9% 0% 0% 4.3% 2.9% 11.4%

0% 0% 0% 0% 1.4% 0%

Table 2: Teachers and students perceptions about roles of a language teacher 2= Important 4= Not important

A language teacher is definitely not only a transmitter of knowledge, but also has a lot of roles. There is no specific teaching model for teachers to follow, but a different combination of the qualities and teaching strategies as the keys. a. A good teacher of English should be able to make/ stimulate students Motivation plays a big part in learning languages; teachers think that one of their prime roles is to motivate students to learn English, so 100% of the teachers consider it very important and important. To make students interested in communicating with each other, teachers have tried to design appropriate activities for students such as group work, pair work, games, play roles, etc.. However, the teachers at Haiduong Medical Technical University met many difficulties in motivating our students to speak with large-sized class and multi-level class (at least 35, sometimes up to 65 students in each class): I think students need to have time to practise by working in pairs, in groups or other activities, but

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sometimes I have trouble with such a crowded class (teacher 3). This is difficult for the teachers to design suitable tasks or manage learners involvement in speaking lessons. From this fact, many students cannot adequately receive effects of the teaching techniques given their teachers, they are not enthusiastic enough to involve in speaking activities. This may be a main reason why 78,5% surveyed students consider this term very important and important, and up to 18,5% of the students consider it not very important or even not important (2,9%). Interview question 3 What should a language teacher do to motivate students to participate in classroom activities? was given and I received many answers as well as suggestions for this question. A teacher said that I will design activities suitable to learners ability in class so that the learners feel motivated to speak (teacher 1), another I will provide learners with appropriate and interesting topics to discuss, especially topics relating to real life to create enjoyable class atmosphere (teacher 3). For the students, they hope to get involved more in class activities I will actively participate in activities given by teacher (student 7). From the analysed result, we find that there is a big difference the teachers and students perceptions about this characteristic; 100% of the teachers agreed with the importance of this characteristic. But 21.4% of the students disagreed with this importance. This may originate from the mentioned facts, which are happening in language class in Vietnam in general, and Haiduong Medical Technical University in particular. b. A good teacher of English should be able to plan the lessons clearly. From the result collected in the survey, 100% teachers (40% for very important and 60% for important) and 97,1 % students (54,3% for very important and 42,8% for important) appreciated this characteristic because a good language teacher should know the subject matter and know how to make useful and clear plans which are relevant to students. From the result, we do not find clear difference between teachers and students in responding to this question. All teachers and students thought that planning lessons clearly before going to class is essential for each teacher. c. A good teacher of English should be able to state the objectives of the lessons clearly The figures collected point out that 100% of the teachers (40% for very important and 60% for important) and 100% of the students (47.2% for very important and 52.8% for important) agree that this action is necessary. This absolute agreement of both teachers and

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students on the importance of this characteristic can be originated from the fact that at Haiduong Medical Technical University, it is compulsory for the teachers to state the objectives of the lessons before each new lesson is started. This has been done for a long time, so both the teachers and students are easy to find out importance of this characteristic. d. A good teacher of English should be able to offer a good model as the target language user. As can be seen, the majority of the teachers (80%) and the students (80%) say that it is very important for a good English teacher to be a good/appropriate model in using the language. The rest of the surveyed teachers (20%) and students (20%) consider it important. This means that the students always expect their language teachers to have a specific proficiency level in any skill area, especially the four skills. The skills of understanding, speaking, reading and writing do not exist in isolation. A good English teacher should have a good command of the language so that he or she can set a good model for the students to follow. e. A good teacher of English should be able to provide students with appropriate correction and feedback When asked to express their opinion about whether a good language teacher should provide students with appropriate correction and feedback or not, most of the teachers and students answered that it was necessary. Generally, both the teachers and the students (80% of the teachers and 41.4% for the students) attach importance to this characteristic and they think that it is necessary to accept students mistakes and provide appropriate corrections. However, based on responses through questionnaires, we find that the number of the students think that giving appropriate corrections or feedback is very important is far more than the teachers (20% compared to 54.2%). The students at Haiduong Medical Technical University come from many parts of the country, they do not have the same background of English and English is not their major subject, so they often make mistakes when they learn English, especially when learning speaking. Whenever students make mistakes in learning English, the teachers often try to correct them at once. For example, when our students make mistakes in pronunciation, we often point out the errors of the students at once, then correct and explain them and ask the students to repeat. However, such ways of correction may have really satisfied many

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students: I want my teacher to give more specific explanation (student 8). Sometimes, the teachers correction is quite confusing and incomprehensible. We are very difficult to understand my teacher because she always corrects mistakes in English (student 5), this is a reason why student responses do not find importance from their teachers mistake correction (4.3%). I think a good language teacher must be willing to accept students mistakes, provide chances as well as ways of correction for the students. The teacher expresses concern for the students by offering encouragement and support during difficult times. From the collected result, we find that both the teachers and the students come to agreement that it is important to give appropriate feedback for students. But the teachers have to pay much more to their ways of correction in order to gain more effects and meet the students desire. If so, there will be not difference between the teachers and the students because the students consider this characteristic as one of the top priorities. f. A good teacher of English should be able to build students confidence Good teachers are usually associated with teachers who have maintained a good relationship with their students. One of the most important facets of effective teaching relationships has to support and create confidence for students. With the positive responses from the students (95.7% for both very important and important), they really expected their language teachers to listen, support and forgive them when they are upset by mistakes or feel worried about their learning progress. It may be true that good teacher-student relationship may help to improve the learning attitude of the students and the learning atmosphere in the lessons. Being aware of this, when asked, 100% of the surveyed teachers agreed that building confidence with students is important and very important. What a good English teacher can do is to establish a confidence with their students in terms of building cohesion among the students and in establishing strong teacher-student relationships. Students think that having a relationship just like friends with the teacher. The warmest and most supportive relationships among the students will then be sustained. We find positive attitudes towards the importance of this characteristic between the teachers and the students. But we admit a fact that sometimes language teachers do not have sufficient interests for their students or the students do not receive proper interests from their teachers, so when responding to the questionnaires, some students reckoned that building students confidence of a good language is not very important (2,9%) or even

37

not important (1,4%). g. A good teacher of English should realize students needs, interests as well as individual differences The responses to this question also reveal the fact that it is important for a language teacher to understand not only how learning takes place but also what may impede or block learning needs and interests of students. 30% of the teachers and up to 71.4% of the students think that understanding students needs and interests is important. Demands for learning English are becoming more and more, but not everybody can learn English. Learners can have much trouble in pronunciation, communication skills, etc At that time, they need a teacher who has the ability and willingness to step inside students shoes in order to feel what the student is going through learning a language. Teaching students who have limited English proficiency requires that teachers adjust their responses and their instructional activities to match the specific language skill and ability of their students. This requires teachers ability to communicate this deep level of understanding. That means teachers can use their experiences of being a language learner to better understand how their students are experiencing their classroom practices. Perhaps, it is not surprisingly to find out that the percentage of the students commenting that it is very important to realize students needs and interests was much lower than that of the teachers (17.1% against 70%). We have to find a fact that when students have greatest problems in learning English, they need help. It is the teacher whom the students could approach for assistance and help them to find way through the difficulties. However, many language teachers cannot meet their students requirements: Sometimes my teacher seems not to know who she is teaching, so she explains things quite fast and I cant catch what she says (student 4). I feel that this situation is very popular in language classes in Vietnam. Teachers only give lessons as a duty, they do not care how their students study and what they really want. So, many students (11.4%) expressed that they do not find the importance of this characteristic. The above findings do not seem to correspond with the number of interviewed students because when asked to give some characteristics which a good language teachers must have (Q 1), the majority say that a good language teacher has to find out what knowledge their students need and what difficulties students are facing: I wish my language teacher to know what I want to learn (student 1,3,6,8,9,10). I understand that what they said

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expresses a desire towards their language teachers, not simply responding to a question. All the collected results of the teachers and the students can be inferred that realizing students interests, needs and individual difficulties is important for a good teacher of English. However, students comments make language teachers pay more attention to their students needs. There is surprising difference between the teachers and the students. III.5. Teachers and students perceptions of the importance of classroom practices Items be able to create good classroom atmosphere. be able to manage, balance language classroom activities. be able to encourage students to speak English with praises/ rewards Be able to explain vocabulary and grammar clearly. Teachers responses 1 2 3 70% 50% 10% 50% 30% 50% 90% 50% 0% 0% 0% 0% 4 0% 0% 0% 0% Students responses 1 2 3 48.6% 12.9% 24.3% 70% 48.6% 80% 31.4% 28.6% 2.9% 5.7% 40% 1.4% 4 0% 1.4% 4.3% 0%

Table 3: Teachers and students perceptions of the importance of classroom practices 1= Very important2= Important 3= Not very important 4= Not important The data shows that students would like to learn English in an enjoyable environment where they have fun. There is clear evidence that in students eyes, teachers need to use more devolved activities and practical teaching approaches. a. A good teacher of English should create relaxing classroom atmosphere Language anxiety refers to the stress felt when using a second language either within the classroom or when communicating in the reality. High levels of language anxiety may inhibit students from participating in class. Therefore, a relaxing language learning environment may help solving this problem. The figures from the teachers (70% for very important and 30% for important) point out that the teachers are aware of the necessity to build up stimulating and supportive atmosphere in order to trigger the language-learning process in the students. From the student respondents (48.5% for very important and the same for important, it means that the students really want to have a relaxing atmosphere for language classes. Five students interviewed attributed the effectiveness of creating a good atmosphere and

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they said that they liked learning English. The reason why the students liked learning English was that the teacher succeeded in creating a good learning environment. The students felt motivated, excited, therefore, it was easy for them to understand and memorize the lesson: we can learn much from games(student 3) I like leaning English because I can share ideas freely with my partner (student 10). However, at Haiduong Medical Technical University, the teachers have to teach English with large scaled classes and different English backgrounds, so it is difficult to create a really good environment for the students. Although the proportion of students thinking that this characteristic is not important was inconsiderable, only 2.9%, we can find that students long for a relaxing environment to learn English. Only when they have a comfortable atmosphere, can they feel safe to try out language to express what they really want to say and learn other skills effectively. There is not very much difference between the teachers and the students in this aspect. This means that both teachers and students were aware that it is vital for teachers to contribute to an atmosphere encouraging the learningg of English. b.A good teacher of English should manage, balance language classroom activities Unlike other subjects, teaching and learning English need combining many skills such as listening, speaking, reading and writing. The findings indicated that the percentage of the teachers commenting that it is very important for a good language teacher to balance activities in a language classroom was much higher than that of the students (50% against 12.9 %). Meanwhile up to 80% of the student respondents and 50% of the teacher consider it important. Why is there such a difference? I will quote some responses of the teachers and the students when asked to answer question 1 (what characteristics should a good language teacher have?) as explanations: I think that we, language teachers,, are sometimes out of control in class. That means that we do not manage class activities well (teacher 1), I think I usually put too much attention to teaching grammatical structures (teacher 3). For the students My teacher teaches four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing, but these skills are not taught confusingly (student 4), we do not speak English regularly because my teacher often teaches much about grammar and vocabulary so that we can do English tests well (student 6). This can be the clearest explanation for the paradox between the teachers and the students. This is the answer to the question why 5.7% of the

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students consider this characteristic not very important and even not important (1.4%). The agreement of the teachers and the students to this characteristic is rather high. In reality the technique is still good; good language teachers should provide a variety of activities in the classroom to keep students' attention. However, the unequal proportion between the teacher and the students (50% against 12.9%) makes me wonder whether the way of managing and balancing class activities is effective or not. c.A good teacher of English should encourage students to speak English with praises/ rewards According to the survey, 100% of teacher responses agree with importance of encouraging students to speak English with praise/ rewards. Teachers need to provide opportunities for students to speak or practise English with reinforcement. When asked to answer question 3 that what a good language teacher should do to motivate students to speak, responses were given: students usually know exactly what will happen in class and answer questions mechanically, so I often add suprises to my lessons (teacher 1), At first, teachers should reward any success however small. If students speak out loudly and clearly, but make a mistake, praise them just for speaking out or for pronouncing it well. As students improve, you can focus on the most outstanding successes. Whatever teachers encourage, students will continue to do (teacher 5). Teachers can also motivate students by adopting a positive attitude towards the learners For the students, from the collected data, 55.7% of the students showed their much interest in encouraging speaking English with praise/ rewards. And a not small number of student responses (40%) think that this characteristic is not very important, even not important (4.3%). This surprising finding gives us a question that why so many students show their little interest in this characteristic. Second language learning takes place in the classroom with little or no opportunity for practice. Teachers do not really express their willingness to motivate the students, or teachers rarely use praises and rewards to encourage students. Students do not know exactly how an activity is done, so both teachers and students are out of control. Or many students can think that this speaking activity is not important, they give up or practise half-heartedly. To have more exact explanation for this problem, I asked the students question 3 and many responses were given, but I put impression with the answer: My teacher seems to forget to give rewards after we speak and do exercises, she only put attention to correcting

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mistakes. I think rewards are very important because they made us feel self-confident (student 10). I assume that the students answer reflected a reality in only her class but also many other classes in Vietnam. A good teacher of English remembers that praise and encouragement for positive efforts by the learners will help to keep motivation up. This survey shows differences between the teachers and students about this characteristic. Although, both objects consider it important to motivate students to speak with praises and rewards, the surveyed results from the students say that effectiveness from teachers rewards is not high. d.A good teacher of English should explain vocabulary and grammar clearly Maybe from the fact that Vietnamese teachers who teach English often pay too much attention to teaching grammatical structures and vocabulary, Vietnamese students are too familiar to such a way of teaching and learning. Therefore, when asked, up to 70% of the students agree that this characteristic is very important. 28.6% find it important. 100% of the teachers believe that explaining vocabulary and grammar clearly is very important and important. A good English teacher ensures that students learn and understand the language while in the lessons. Teaching students who have limited English proficiency forces teachers to constantly judge whether those students understand what is going on during a lesson. If the students feel frustrated, teachers have to explain the content in a clear and simple way. It is the need to ensure student understanding. III. 6. Summary This chapter discusses the findings of the study in order to answer two questions proposed in II.5. Firstly, the analysis of the data reveals both the teachers and the students reported a range of necessary characteristics for a good teacher of English such as great patience, various techniques for teaching, appropriate correction or feedback, good communication skills etc. Secondly, there are similarities between the teachers and the students in the perceptions of a good teacher of English. For example, they thought that it is important for a good teacher of English to possess patience, sense of humor, good communication skills, building students confidence, or she/he is able to meet students needs, help them out with difficulties, create good atmosphere in class, accept and correct mistakes with suitable feedback, etc.. However, some differences are found through this survey. For the teachers,

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they agreed that all the characteristics are necessary and important. For the students they also consider them important, but they give their responses according to real situations, which are happening in their class. So, we sometimes find that students are not very satisfied with the teaching methodology of their teachers or with the effectiveness of the teachers motivation.

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PART C: CONCLUSIONS 1. Summary of the findings The study has highlighted some important characteristics of a good language teacher. Most of the students and the teachers agreed that it is important for a good language teacher to possess some necessary characteristics such as patience, good communication skills, language proficiency, etc. Besides, a good language teacher has to build students confidence, understand what students need to learn, create a good atmosphere and be flexible to apply variety of teaching techniques. Moreover, unlike teachers of other subjects, a good language teacher has to balance all activities in class and especially they need know what to do to encourage students to communicate in English. However, through the collected results we find some differences between the teachers and the students on perceptions of a good language teacher. The teachers say that it is very important to encourage students to speak with praises and rewards, understand students needs and difficulties and motivate students to interact each other by working in pairs, groups or playing roles. However, many of the students reported that these characteristics are not very important or even not important because they assumed that their teachers do not perform these activities effectively and some activities are not applied in classroom practices. 2. Implications The findings of the present study have clear implications for teachers and students inside or outside the classroom at schools. The picture of the present study obviously tells us of the expectations that students hold for English teachers. Although using the questionnaires and interviews is only able to explore teachers and students perceptions of their general ideas on a good language teacher rather than determine whether the teachers have acquired such qualities as good English teachers or put the good language teaching methodologies in actual practice, the study provides valuable information that can assist in improving and developing teacher education programs and activities. English teachers may have considerable insight to tribute to their teaching profession. By looking at how the students perceives a good English teacher, teachers can have well- developed lessons and well-established language teaching methodologies, which help students acquire a second language in an effective and encouraging way.

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The ultimate purpose of studying students and teachers perceptions of good English teacher is, of course, an applied one; teachers hope to determine which strategies are most effective and help students adopt more productive leaning procedures. When teachers have researched what a good English teacher is in the eyes of the students more thoroughly they will be able to incorporate teaching strategies into their teaching methodology, what the students and teachers said about a good English teacher has implications for teachers of a second language. When teaching speaking skill, if teachers want students to participate into this activity effectively, the teachers should remember that students need to know exactly how an activity is done, otherwise they will be out of control when the activity starts. So, a good language teacher should: Model the activity with one of your best students so everyone can see what they need to do and start with a simple, mechanical activity, then continue with something more meaningful, and finish with a communicative activity. Design interesting activities suitable to students ability Give students more time to work in pair and in group Create a natural and free speaking environment Establish close and friendly relationship with students Give more compliments, encourage than criticism

Besides, a good language teacher accepts students mistakes and must be willing to correct them with suitable methods until the problem becomes really clear. Teachers remember that they are never angry or scold and criticize their students whenever they make mistakes in class activities. While interviewing with question 3 (what should a good language teacher do to motivate students to participate in classroom activities?) the researcher received many ideas as implications for language teachers: at first, teachers have to relieve anxiety from students (teacher 2), we will study better if we have good atmosphere (student 2), teachers can use various techniques to motivate such as video, music, pictures, games, etc. (Student 5) Praising and rewarding are very important for each student because we will feel more self-confident (student 10). Though teachers have to take their responsibilities in improving the quality of

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teaching, students should also take more ownership of their own learning. Perhaps they are expecting too much contribution from their teachers and too little from themselves. For example, they have to more actively participate in activities given by the teacher. Students also have their own responsibilities in improving their attitude toward learning English in order to become an effective and successful language learner. All in all, language teachers have to face the challenge in any school situation, they should be equipped with as great a repertoire of methods, learning activities and relationship skills as possible. 3. Limitations and recommendations for further research Although the study has found some important findings, like many other studies, there are some limitations. There will be some limitations in the methodology. The research design, especially content analysis, is limited by some constraints. Sometimes the materials involved are unrepresentative for analysis to have a chance of producing valid results. By asking the participants of two classes, some invaluable information has been obtained to show the essential attributes constituting a good English teacher. However, the findings are limited and cannot represent a true and full picture of a good language teacher. There is limitation in generalisability, the participants, teachers and the students, are all from Haiduong Medical Technical University. So, the findings might not have high applicability to other contexts. Moreover, the students are non-major English ones, so their responses are not representative of English majors. In order to help students of all levels and subjects study effectively and teachers improve their teaching method better in all subjects, the researcher hopes that there will be further studies to investigate perceptions of good teachers of English. This will help improving the teaching quality. 4. Conclusion In conclusion, the present study, though at the preliminary level, has not only helped us to recognize necessary characteristics, but also provided insightful information about the teachers and students perceptions of a good English teacher. From that we could make a comparison and found that there were many similarities on perceptions of a good English teacher between the teachers and the students. For example, both agreed that a good English teacher had to possess great patience, a good communication skill, fluency in

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his/her foreign language, understanding students needs and interests, etc. However, we found a lot of different perceptions of these two kinds of respondents. The teachers said that it was very important to stimulate students, realize students interests, needs and difficulties or encourage students with praises and rewards, but the students assumed that these activities were not very importance. To find out the explanation for all these differences, the researcher carried out many interviews and discovered the reason that teachers had not applied their methods of motivating effectively. So, we always look forwards to active teaching methods from their teachers. Obviously, when the gap of perceptions between teachers and students is narrowed, the students will me more motivated and the effectiveness of language teaching will be considerably increased.

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REFERENCES
1. Altman, H.B. (1981). What is Second language teaching. In the Second language Classroom: Direction for the 1980s.ed.J.E. Alatis, H.B. , Altman and P.M. Alatis. Oxford University Press. 2. Askoy,N (1998). Opinions of Upper Elementary Students about good teachers. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Education Research Association (29th, Ellenville, NY. October, p.p. 28-30) 3. Brosh, H. (1996). Perceived characteristics of the effective language teacher. Foreign Language Annals, 29, 125138. 4. Brown,H.D. (1994). Principles of language learning and teaching. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents. 5. Buskist, W., Sikorski, J., Buckley, T., & Saville, B. K. (2002). Elements of Master Teaching. In S. F. Davis & W. Buskist (Eds.), The teaching of psychology: Essays in honor of Wilbert J. McKeachie and Charles L. Brewer (p.p. 2739). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. 6. Carroll,J.B. (1977). Characteristics of successful Second Language learners in Viewpoints on English as a Second language, Burt,M., Dulay, H., and Finocchiaro,M. (Eds). Variables in second language learning. Regents Publishing Company, INC. 7. Cortazzi, M., & Jin, L. (1996). Cultures of learning: language classrooms in China. In H. Coleman (Ed.), Society and the language classroom (pp. 169206). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 8. Crookes, G. (1997). What influences what and how second and foreign language teachers teach? The Modern Language Journal, 21, 67-79. 9. Cross, D. (1995). Language teacher preparation in developing countries: Structuring preservice teacher training programs. English Teaching Forum, 6, 34-36. 10. Girard, D. (1977). Motivation: The responsibility of the teacher. ELT Journal 31, 97 102. 11. Gorham, J.K. (1987). Sixth Grade students perceptions of a good teacher. Research Report ED 359164. 12. Hammadou, J. & Bernhardt, E.(1987). On being and becoming a foreign language teacher. Theory into Practice, 26, 301-306. 13. Kottler, J.A., and Zehm, S.J. (2000). On being a teacher. The Human Dimension.

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Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. 14. Kutnick & Jules (1993). p.p. 400 413. 15. Jersild, A.T. (1955). When teachers face themselves. J.C. Columbia, N.Y. 16. Long, M.H. (1983). Native speaker /Non-native speaker Conversation in the Second Language Classroom. In M.A. Clarke and J. Handscombe (eds.). Pacific perspectives on language learning on TESOL 82. Washington, D.C: TESOL. 17. Penner, J. (1992). Why many college teachers cannot lecture? IL: Charles C: Thomas. 18. Prodromou, L. 1991: The Good Language Teacher. English Teaching Forum, 29(2): 2-7. 19. Richards, J.C., Tung, P., and Ng, P. (1992). The culture of the English language teacher: a Hongkong example. RELC journal, 23, p.p. 81-102. 20. Riddell, D. (2001). Teaching English as a Foreign/ Second language. Hodder & Stoughton Limited. 21. Rubin, J. (1995). A guide for the teaching of second language listening. Learning processes and learner strategies in Research within Research II: research- guided responses to the concerns of foreign language teachers, eds. Galloway, V. and Herron, C. (1995). Southern Conference on Language teaching. 22. Sanderson, D. (1983). Modern Language Teachers in Action: A Report on Classroom Practice. York: Language Materials Development Unit of the University of York. 23. Scrivener, J. (1994). Learning Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 24. Urmston, A., Pennington, M.C. & Brock, M.N. (1996). Attitudes towards teaching English of BATESL students: a comparison of beginning and graduating Cohorts. Research Monograph No.9. Hongkong: Department of English, City University of Hongkong. 25. Vernon, P.E. (1953). The Psychological traits of teachers, in King- Hall, R., Hans, N., & Lauwerys, J.A., The year book of education, Evans Bros. 26. Williams, W. (1975). The training teachers of English as a foreign language. English Language Teaching Journal, 29, 107-115. 27. Wing, B., (1995). The pedagogical imperative in foreign language teacher education. In G. Guntermann (Ed.), Developing language teachers for a changing world. (pp.159170). Illinois: National Textbook Company Retrieved. Pupils perceptions of a good teacher: a developmental perspective from Trinidad and Tobago. British Journal of Educational psychology, 63,

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28. Wright, T. (1987). Roles of teachers & learners. Oxford University Press. 29. Yamoor, K.Y. (1985). A study of attitudes in second language learning . University Microfilms International. 30. Yorio, C. (1989). The other side of the looking glass. Journal of Basic Writing, 8(1), 3245.

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APPENDIX
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 1. How long have you taught English? 2. What can you say something about English of your students? 3. What do the teachers in your department often do to help students to overcome the difficulties? 4. Do you think what characteristics a language teacher should have? 5. What do you think is the most important characteristic of a good English teacher? Why? 6. What should a language teacher do to motivate students to participate in classroom activities?

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SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE (Completed by the teachers)


I am interested in researching the students and teachers perceptions of a good language teacher. Your participation in this survey will help me to complete my MA thesis at Vietnamese National University. Please kindly spare a few minutes of your time to fill out this questionnaire. Your responses to this questionnaire will be treated with utmost confidence. Thank you for your cooperation.
Very important Important Not very important Not important

A good language teacher should : Personal Qualities & personalities Professional Development & Academic requirement need to have great patience and sense of humor need to have good communication skills need to have fluency and up-to-date information/ changes in a foreign language be able to be flexible and vary techniques according to students level and the teaching/learning situations be able to make/ stimulate students to interact/communicate with each other through pair /group work/roles play /simulations etc.. be able to plan the lessons clearly. be able to state the objectives of the lessons clearly be able to offer a good model as the target language user. be able to provide students with appropriate correction and feedback be able to build students confidence be able to realize students needs, interests as well as individual differences be able to create good classroom atmosphere. be able to manage, balance language classroom activities. be able to encourage students to speak English with 54

Role of a language teacher

Classroom practices

praises/ rewards Be able to explain vocabulary and grammar clearly.

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PHIU IU TRA NGHIN CU (DANH CHO NGI HOC) Bng cu hi di y nhm phc v ti nghin cu s nhn thc ca gio vin v sinh vin v mt ngi gio vin ngoi ng tt. Cu tr li m cc bn cung cp rt quan trng i vi cng trnh nghin cu ny. Cc d liu iu tra s ch c s dng cho vic nghin cu, khng nhm mc ch no khc.
Rt quan trong Quan trong Khng quan trong lm Khngquan trong

A good language teacher should : Phm cht va tinh cach phai co s kin nhn va hai hc Cn phai co kha nng giao tip tt Cn phai co s thanh thao cung nh kha nng cp nht oi hoi chuyn mn va thng tin cho ngn ng minh s dung phat trin ngh nghip phai linh hoat va ap dung c nhiu phng phap khac nhau theo trinh va hoan canh cua ngi hoc phai khuyn khich c ngi hoc giao tip vi nhau bng nhng hoat ng nh lam vic theo cp, theo nhom, ng vai, v.v Phai a ra mt k hoach bai giang ro rang phai a ra c muc tiu bai giang mt cach ro rang Vai tro cua ngi giao phai noi, phat m ngoai ng cua minh mt cach tri vin ngoai ng chay va chinh xac phai tip nhn cac li sai cua ngi hoc va co nhng y kin phan hi mt cach hp ly phai bit c nhu cu va s thich cua tng ngi hoc phai co c mi quan h tt cung nh s quan tm n ngi hoc Hoat ng trong lp hoc phai tao c mt khng khi lp hoc tt. phai quan ly va cn bng c cac hoat ng trong lp 56

ngoai ng phai bit dung nhng li khen hoc phn thng khuyn khich c ngi hoc noi ngn ng ang hoc. phai giai thich t vng va ng phap mt cach ro rang.

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