Foreign-language teaching and studying in Chilean and Finnish classrooms as seen by teachers

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Abstract

This article reports Chilean and Finnish foreign-language (FL) teachers’ perceptions of teaching and study realities in their own FL classrooms. Communicative language teaching (CLT) is used as the teaching–studying–learning methodological framework of an international KIELO project (= the acronym for Finnish “kieltenopetus” meaning “language teaching”), whose online survey was used to collect data for this article. We aim at answering the following research question: What are the FL teachers’ main approaches to teaching and studying in Chilean and Finnish FL classrooms and what is the FL classroom teaching and study reality like in these two countries? The data were collected from 83 Chilean and 147 Finnish FL teachers through an online survey covering 15 key themes of CLT and including 115 Likert-scale statements and 8 open-ended questions. In the descriptive data analysis, both Chilean and Finnish FL teachers claim that they encourage their students to use the target language considerably and that they use communicative oral tasks. For both groups of participants, however, teacher-centeredness and use of textbook score relatively high. The two-cluster analysis revealed a context-dependent cluster and a context-independent cluster. Context-dependent teachers tended to favor communicative oral tasks, real-life tasks and their own language tasks, whereas context-independent teachers favored more non-communicative tasks. Context-dependent teachers proved more student-centered than context-independent teachers. For Chilean and Finnish research participants, the use of mother tongue in foreign language classrooms appears to be an issue despite the growing need of foreign language communication.

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