Applying case method in teaching ESP at the university of security

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VIETNAMESE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY- HO CHI MINH CITY University of Social Sciences and Humanities  LE THI NGUYET APPLYING THE CASE METHOD IN TEACHING ESP AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SECURITY, HO CHI MINH CITY A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS (TESOL) Supervisor: NGUYEN THI KIEU THU, Ph.D Ho Chi Minh City- 2010 CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY I certify my authorship of the thesis submitted today entitled: APPLYING THE CASE METHOD IN TEACHING ESP AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SECURITY, HO CHI MINH CITY in terms of the statement of Requirements of the theses in Master’s Programs issued by the Higher Degree Committee Ho Chi Minh City June, 2010 LE THI NGUYET RETENTION AND USE OF THE THESIS I hereby state that I, LE THI NGUYET, being the candidate for the degree of Master of TESOL, accept the requirements of the University relating to the retention and use of Master’s Theses deposited in the Library In terms of these conditions, I agree that the original of my thesis deposited in the Library should be accessible for purposes of study and research, in accordance with the normal conditions established by the Library for the care, loan and reproduction of the theses Ho Chi Minh City, June 2010 LE THI NGUYET ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the following people who have made writing this thesis possible for me: First of all, I would like to express my wholehearted thanks to my thesis supervisor, Nguyen Thi Kieu Thu, Ph.D, at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, HCMC for her enthusiastic, constant guidance and valuable advice Without her assistance, patience, encouragement and advice, this thesis could not have been completed She has not only shown me the limitations of my own knowledge, but also always guided me towards overcoming these problems Gratitude is also offered to the Board of Directors at the University of Security, who gave me facilities and conditions to take part in this Master’s program I would also like to give many thanks to Mr Pham Trac Kham, the Dean of the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Security, who always gave me lots of support and encouragement to successfully implement this thesis I owe many thanks to my colleagues and friends not only for their endless encouragement and support but also for their assistance in data collection I simply cannot find enough words to express my thankfulness to them Last but not least, I would also like to thank my husband, my parents and my younger sisters for their loving support and encouragement that help me so much in finishing this thesis ABSTRACT The case method has been one of the most widely-used method in the area of ESP In fact, it is rather difficult to apply in teaching languages but many researchers have realized its benefits This thesis, therefore, attempted to find out whether the case method was effective in enhancing students’ interest and communication skills as well as their ability to deal with actual situations in professional contexts through students’ attitude towards learning ESP with cases, and finally to discover how to apply the case method effectively in teaching ESP at the University of Security The data were collected through surveys to students’ attitude with an experimental teaching, classroom observations, questionnaires and pocket interviews to teachers It was found that most students felt interested and motivated when learning ESP with the case method They were more responsible for their own learning, thus working harder In addition, they actively participated in case activities such as group discussions, role-playing or decisison-making More importantly, students could improve their communication skills as well as the skills of solving professional situations and making decisions However, despite the benefits of the case method, many ESP teachers at the University of Security did not apply the case method in their ESP classes Based on the findings, some suggestions for ESP teachers, ESP students, and administrators were made to enhance the quality of teaching ESP at the University of Security TABLES OF CONTENTS Pages Certificate of originality i Retention and use of the thesis ii Acknowledgements iii Abstract iv Table of contents v List of tables and abbreviations xii List of figures xiii Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background 1.2 Statement of the purpose 1.3 Research questions 1.4 Significance of the Study 1.5 Terminology 1.6 Assumptions 1.7 Limitations 1.8 Organization of the Study Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 An overview of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) 10 10 2.1.1 What is ESP? 10 2.1.2 General characteristics of ESP 11 2.1.3 Types of ESP 13 2.1.4 How is ESP different from GE? 15 2.1.5 Methodological approaches used in teaching ESP 17 2.2 The Case Method 19 2.2.1 A case 19 2.2.1.1 What is a case? 19 2.2.1.2 Important Features of a Case 20 2.2.1.3 Types of cases 21 2.2.1.4 Nature of a Teaching Case 23 2.2.2 Case method 24 2.2.2.1 Definitions 25 2.2.2.2 Types of Case method 27 2.2.3.The teacher and student roles 28 2.2.3.1 The teacher and student roles in a regular class 28 2.2.3.2 The teacher roles in an ESP case class 29 2.2.3.3 The student roles in an ESP case class 33 2.2.4 Advantages in the use of case method in teaching language 34 2.2.5 Drawbacks in the use of case method in teaching language 39 2.2.6 Effective case teaching strategies 41 2.3 Summary 42 Chapter 3: RESEARCH METHODODLOGY 43 3.1 Research questions 43 3.2 Research design 44 3.2.1 Research instruments 3.2.1.1 Experimental teaching 3.2.1.1.a Purposes 44 44 44 3.2.1.1.b Subjects 44 3.2.1.1.c Teaching procedures 45 3.2.1.2 Class observations 51 3.2.1.2.a Purposes 51 3.2.1.2.b Subjects 51 3.2.1.2.c Procedures 51 3.2.1.3 Questionnaire for ESP students 52 3.2.1.3.a Subjects 52 3.2.1.3.b Questionnaire design 53 3.2.1.3.c Data Collection Procedure 53 3.2.1.4 Pocket interviews 53 3.3 Summary 55 Chapter 4: FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS 57 4.1 DATA ANALYSIS 57 4.1.1 Class observations 57 4.1.1.1 Teachers’ evaluation of ESP students’ attitude 57 towards their learning with the case method 4.1.1.2 Teacher’s evaluation of ESP students’ 58 improvements in English communication skills 4.1.1.3 Teacher’s evaluation of ESP students’ ability of 59 dealing with real 4.1.2 Students’ responses to the questionnaires 60 4.1.2.1 Students’ English background 60 4.1.2.2 The effectiveness of the case method in improving 61 students’ interest and their communication competence as well as their ability to deal with real situations in professional contexts 4.1.2.3 Students’ attitude towards their ESP learning with 66 the case method 4.1.2.4 Students’ comments case activities, disadvantages 69 of the case method and necessary factors of ESP teachers, which resulted in how to apply the case method effectively in ESP classes 4.1.3 Teacher interviews 4.2 FINDINGS 76 77 4.2.1 The ESP coursebook did not give advantages to ESP teachers in 78 teaching with the case method 4.2.1.1 The coursebook designers did not recognize the 78 importance of the case method and its benefits in improving the quality of teaching ESP students, therefore they neglected this method in the process of designing the coursebook’ content 4.2.1.2 The professional cases presented in the coursebook were 78 not satisfactorily and systematically arranged 4.2.2 From ESP students 4.2.2.1 Students had positive attitude towards their learning and 79 79 the case method 4.2.2.2 Students showed active performance in the experimental 79 classes 4.2.2.3 Students realized the importance and effectiveness of 79 the case method 4.2.2.4 Some difficulties of learning with the case method were acknowledged 80 4.2.3 From ESP teachers 80 4.2.3.1 The importance and benefits of the case method was 80 widely acknowledged among ESP teachers 4.2.3.2 ESP teachers admitted that the case method was 81 difficult for both teaching and learning though it was very interesting and beneficial 4.2.3.3 Many ESP teachers did not apply the case method in 81 their ESP classes 4.2.3.4 ESP teachers realized some difficulties of applying the 82 case method in teaching ESP at the University of Security 4.3 SUMMARY 82 Chapter 5: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 83 5.1 Conclusion 83 5.2 Recommendations 85 5.2.1 Recommendations for ESP teachers at the University of Security 5.2.1.1 ESP teachers ought to apply the case method in their 85 85 ESP classes to improve students’ communication skills 5.2.1.2 ESP teachers ought to help students prepare for good 85 discussions 5.2.1.3 ESP teachers should use many kinds of case activities to 90 arouse students’ interest in learning ESP 5.2.1.4 ESP teachers ought to spend a lot of time preparing lesson plans carefully professional cases and selecting effective 94 139 comments on the students’ decisions After that, both teacher and students will wait for the decisions of the actual judge in the following articles (Appendix I) Then a comparison between students’ decisions and the judge’s ones is made to help students know how to deal with actual professional cases better Step 1: Preparation (outside class) First of all, the teacher assigns students two from criminal reports to read and analyse outside class Each 05 Activity (90 mins): mentioned a crime without the judges’ punishments ANALYSING THE Additionally, the teacher provides a list of open-ended PROBLEMS FROM questions for students to discuss (see Appendix J) ACTUAL During this phase, the teacher provides some professional DOCUMENTS and vocabulary, expressions, structures, etc for the students MAKING THE to analyse the cases more easily DECISIONS (see Appendix K) Step 2: Small group discussion (in class) After preparing the teacher’s assignment, the students will be asked to work together in small groups to examine the key and subordinate issues, identify the crime, and then evaluate if the judges’ punishments fit the crimes The students will have to put themselves in the shoes of the judges Step 3: Full- class discussion Next, all students get together to participate in a full-class 140 discussion during which they analyze and solve the cases During this phase, the teacher also goes around and provides more input (vocabulary, structures, expressions, phrases, etc), questions, listens, seeks clarification, challenges, redirects questions, encourages the exploration of alternatives, promotes interaction between students, and highlights points or issues Step 4: Teacher’s evaluation After the full- class discussion, the teacher will summarize some main problems solutions of student groups Next, the teacher gives her comments on students’ learning process For instance, the teacher can assess the students’ mastery of issues, problem-solving strategies, their use of vocabulary and structures, their participation and communication skills Step 5: Follow-up activity (outside class) The teacher asks students to write a reflective journal about their case analysis and their own decisions, and tell them to submit their writings next class Step 1: Students’ preparation (outside class) 06 Activity (90 mins): The class is divided into groups The teacher asks each GUESSING GAME group of students select a case from newspapers The 141 case contained information about a crime and the judges’ sentences Step 2: Presenting the case (in class) Each group presents their case in front of the class, however, they don’t mention the judges’ sentences Other groups have to guess the judges’ punishments for the crimes in each case The group that quickly guesses the right sentences as expected will win the game Step 3: Students’ feedback on right sentences Finally, each group will present their analysis about the crimes and the judges’ punishments in their case 142 APPENDIX G: SOLVING PROBLEMS FROM ACTUAL DOCUMENTS AND RE-EVALUATING THE DECISIONS Case 1: Eight- year prison sentence against the driver In 2001, on Lang-Hoa Lac highway, Pham Hong Quan’s car collided with bicycles ridden by Pham Phuong Linh and Pham Anh Thu who were primary students The lower court found Quan’s main fault was a lack of observation and drifting in the right lane, causing the accident So he was convicted of manslaughter because the lower court had failed to convict Quan of more serious offenses involving road racing, despite letters from the families of the two who had died in the accident Then Ha Noi City People’s Court upheld an eight year prison sentence against the man The verdict handed down stated that, the defendant Pham Hong Quan, should have his original sentence upheld due to his “violations against regulations applied for directing transportation on roads.” In the three-day trial completed in October 2004, a representative for the victims spent more than two hours expressing his argument that the defendant should be tried for car racing as opposed to reckless driving Pham Cong Hoan, a father of one of the victims, then accused the investigation team of supplying incorrect evidence and documents related to the case Hoan told the court that he was furious that many important pieces of evidence and documents and reports related to the case were not included in the final list of documents presented to the court Hoan demanded the court review the matter and look at the circumstances leading up to the accident as that of car racing Meanwhile, the defendant appealed that the punishment was too strict for the crime and some leniency should be given 143 The appeal has been the fifth one to reach the court since the accident occurred in 2001, due to either appeals by the victims’ families or the defendant The Supreme People’s Court rejected the appeal on Thursday of the driver sentenced to eight years in prison following a fatal traffic accident, and those of the victims’ families Questions for Discussion: Was justice done in this case? Why? What you think about the statement “An eye for an eye A tooth for a tooth”? If you had been the judge, would you have given a different sentence? Would you have chosen a lighter sentence, or a more severe one? Why? How would you have felt if you had been the parents of the victims? How would you have felt if you had been the defendant? If you had been the judges, what other facts and circumstances would you have wanted to know? Case 2: Murdering during the probation Nguyen Van Chien, born in 1978, was a prisoner on probation at the local area At 6:00 p.m on Nov 2006, Nguyen Thanh Xuan (born in 1961, a police officer in Tan My village, Quang Phuc commune, Quang Binh province) came to Chien’s house for the third time to send the paper of summons for educational propaganda at the People’s Committee Before that, Xuan had come to Chien’s house twice on the same day, but Chien tore the papers and ran away This time, when Xuan arrived, Chien was not at home, so Xuan only met Chien’s father, Nguyen Van Thoi who promised that he would ask Chien to present himself at the People’s Committee at 8:00 the following morning 144 Xuan left there and about 150 meters away on the way back, he met Chien talking with his friends Chien and the guys threatened and offended Xuan, but Xuan was still calm and patient to talk with Chien about the summons for educational propaganda The two sides argued with each other Suddenly, Chien took a knife out and violently stabbed Xuan in the front Immediately, some witnesses took Xuan to the hospital, but he died there because of his very serious injury After committing the crime, Chien ran away, but he was caught the next day Then he was convicted of murdering and was sentenced to death penalty by Quang Binh Province People’s Court Questions for Discussion: Did the punishment fit the crime? Why? If you had been the judge, would you have given a different sentence? How would you have felt if you had been the defendant? 145 APPENDIX H: ROLE PLAYS Case 1: Nguyen Van T was a worker at an industrial park On April 2008, he intended to rob a motorbike pawnshop because he was broke At first, he made friends with Na motorbike taxi driver- who has known the owner of the pawnshop One day, he told N that he wanted to buy a secondhand motorbike and asked for help Not knowing T’s intention, N believed him, so he took T to the pawnshop to select a motorbike After discussing about the price, T wanted to get a ride to check the engine Before that, when nobody noticed, he locked the gas stopcock The owner agreed to allow T to ride the motorbike with one of the shop’s employee About minutes later, the motorbike stopped on the way because of the lack of gas T told the employee that there was a problem with the motorbike, so he wanted the employee to get off to push the motorbike Immediately, the employee believed T, so he got off Quickly, T opened the gas stopcock and ran away with the stolen motorbike Questions for Discussion: What crime did T commit? Do you think that N was T’s accomplice? Why or why not? Case 2: Nguyen Phuc and Le Phan were members of a reactionary organization which consisted of exiles in foreign countries On 20 August 2007, they tried to penetrate into Vietnam from Cambodia through Moc Bai border, Tay Ninh province 146 Knowing their intention, a group of security officers kept a close watch on the two suspects and caught them with their belongings a few days later At the police station, while searching their bags, the officers found a lot of documents used to disseminate slanderous and libelous information against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam Besides, some other things were found such as guns, knives, cameras, tapes and cash The tape content was counter-revolutionary, which aimed to overthrow the Government When they joined that reactionary organization, they were accepted to get the foreign nationality and they followed all instructions of Nguyen Huu C- the reactionary leader In fact, all of their actions were under control of a foreign Intelligence They were told that Vietnamese Government could not catch them if they had foreign ID cards, so they tried everyway to resist the security officers with their cunning and obstinacy Questions for Discussion: What crimes did Nguyen Phuc and Le Phan commit? Did they have any accomplices? Who? 147 APPENDIX I: LIVE CASE A brutal revenge in Ho Chi Minh city The criminals: Đat, Huy, Tuan, Vuong At p.m on April 2008, Tuan and Vuong snatched a mobile phone from Ngo Bich Ngoc on Cong Hoa Street in Tan Binh’s Ward 13 and ran away When the 23-year-old female victim cried for help, Trinh Xuan Tam, 45, and Tran Quang Kiet, 43, both residents of Ward 13, threw a chair and a bicycle onto the street to stop the robbers Tran Manh Thanh, 49, and others then gave chase After their escape, Tuan and Vuong came back to Dai Bac café to give the spoils to the gangleader, Dat “Trang” After hearing the two gangs’ report of the affair, Dat “Trang” became upset, so he ordered the other gangs to “come back to kill anybody that had interfered in their robbery At 10 p.m, Dat and other members of his gang returned to the site and they saw a group of men drinking Dat ordered, “Kill anyone who shouts first” Then they used falchions to slash and injure Tam, Thanh, Tran Van Muoi and Phan Van Binh to intimidate residents of Ward 13 for their attempted heroics When these men ran, the cruel criminals continued to chase them and slashed all citizens they met on the way 148 Then they rushed to Tam’s house, damaged all the furnishings and slashed Tam in the head, arms, back, etc to make him unconscious immediately After the robbers moved away, nearby residents quickly took the injured to the hospital Unluckily, Tam escaped the death, but he injured 37% all his life After carrying out the crime, the robbers came back to their rented rooms, changed clothes and went to their “headquarter”- Hoang Hac café to hide their falchions and ran away Eights days later, they were suddenly caught by the police while they were planning their night robbery at Hoang Hac café The residents in Ho Chi Minh city were very furious with the gangsters’ disregard of law and their cruelty The crime is now under investigation Questions for Discussion: What crimes did the four guys commit? If you were the judge, what sentence would you give to them? If you were the judge, what facts would you consider to make the punishments fit the crimes? 149 APPENDIX J: The article Murderer gets death penalty HCM CITY — A gangleader in HCM City was found guilty of robbery and attempted murder at a HCM City People’s Court in Tan Binh District, yesterday Dang Quoc Dat, a 25-year-old resident of Tan Phu District, was sentenced to years in prison for robbery and he has also been sentenced to death for attempted murder Le Dinh Tuan, a 25-year-old resident of District 5, and Tran Quang Vuong, a 23year-old resident of Binh Thanh District, were handed 24-year prison terms each for the same charges Nguyen Ngoc Huy, 25, a resident of Tan Binh District, was sentenced to years in prison for attempted murder, while Nguyen Dinh Phuong, a 20-year-old resident of Tan Binh District, got months for harbouring criminals 150 APPENDIX K: ANALYZING THE PROBLEMS FROM ACTUAL DOCUMENTS AND MAKING THE DECISIONS Case 1: A student caught with murder In 2002, Nguyen Quoc Thai, 19, went to Ho Chi Minh city to study and rented a room at Ben Nghe ward, dictrict In March 2007, Thai stole a roommate’s ID card and Senior High School Diploma, and then used them to apply for an extra job at a jobcenter Thai was introduced to get a job at Tran Thi My Dung’s house in Ho Dac Di street, Tan Phu district In the afternoon on 25 March 2006, on an opportunity of Dung’s absence from home, Thai stole all money and other valuable possessions, which have been totally valued at about VND 200 million and ran away After spending all stolen money, Thai returned Ho Chi Minh city and also used his roommate’s ID card to get another job at Nguyen Thi Trinh’s in Binh Khanh commune, Can Gio district With the intention of breaking into Trinh’s house to rob her, at about 5:00 a.m on 24 March 2007, while the female host was sleeping deeply, he used a lot of dangerous murder weapons such as a knife, stone, etc to attack and injure her seriously Then he took all of her jewelries After a while, at the moment of Thai’s inattention, the female victim immediately ran out of the door and cried for help At that time, Thai was arrested along with his murder exhibits Discussion questions: What crimes did Thai commit? If you were the judge, what sentence would you give him? What facts should the judge consider to give him a severe punishment that fits his crimes? Suggested answers: 151 - Crimes: murder, robbery and theft of property - Final punishment: 18 years in prison Case 2: Lawyers disseminated libelous information against Vietnam In Hanoi, Nguyen Van Dai, 38, the head of Thien An Lawyers’ Office, and Le Thi Cong Nhan, 28, from 2006 to the day they were arrested, used Thien An Lawyers office to have abused the right to freedom of speech by posting information on the internet and giving interviews to overseas Vietnamese-owned radio stations where he painted a biased and distorted picture of the country and its internal affairs He himself wrote the charter for an illegal party called “Democratic Party 21st” in order to create dissension, unrest and eventually overthrow the Government In addition, Dai in his writings have campaigned for a global boycott of Vietnamese products and the refusal of Viet Nam’s new status as a member of the World Trade Organization and a US Permanent Normal Trade Relations partner Dai also had an ongoing relationship with an outlawed terrorist group, the Viet Nam Reform Party He was very active in establishing training courses using his Thien An Law Office in Ha Noi as a base In addition, Dai, labeled as a “theorist” of the so-called Viet Nam Democracy Movement, has so far received over US$60,000 in funding from reactionary organizations in the US The money, in large part, was used to fund a scam where the “Viet Nam Committee for Human Rights” group offered law school students scholarships to study in Bangkok, Thailand There, they attended “education” workshops run by anti-Government elements operating inside the country Dai have instructed staff from his Thien An law office to travel to northwestern, Central Highlands and southern provinces to contact Protestant clergymen and their followers who have shown hatred towards the Government, according to the source 152 Together they compiled “evidence of Viet Nam’s suppression of the Protestant religion” and gave it to the US-based Committee for Religious Freedom in Viet Nam and to the US Embassy in Viet Nam Officials said their findings were doctored, distorted or fabricated to further the aims of Dai and his organization Under Dai’s guidance, Tran Khai Thanh Thuy, who had been dismissed from her workplace for serious breaches of discipline and ethical regulations, had posted nearly 200 pieces of libelous and slanderous propaganda on the internet that gave grossly distorted views on the socio-economic development, politics, human rights and rights for a universal vote in Viet Nam Another member of the group’s leadership is Le Thi Cong Nhan In mid-2006, Nhan joined the “Viet Nam Advancement Party” and voluntarily became its spokesperson More rebellious than her seniors, Nhan made sweeping statements proclaiming a fight to the bitter end with the Government and said she would: “fight the Vietnamese State until the end of her life.” Police said they seized many documents intended to undermine the State, distort guidelines, policies and laws of the State and Communist Party of Viet Nam and sabotage the upcoming National Assembly election from their homes and Dai’s office Dai was also found to have held courses through which he spread libelous and distorted news against the State and through which he recruited members for illegal organizations established by anti-Government elements, including groups so-called 21st Century Democracy Party, Viet Nam Progress Party and Block 8406 After the trial, lawyer Nguyen Trong Ti, the former director of the Ha Noi Bar Association, said Dai had showed signs of wrongdoing when Ti was the association director Ti said the association had asked Dai to criticise himself and warned him not to let it happen again, otherwise the association would wipe his name off the association’s member list 153 Even with this warning in mind, Dai continued to break the law until April 8, 2006 Discussion Questions: What crimes were they committed? If you were the judge, what sentences would you give each of them? Do you think that Dai’s crimes caused serious consequences for our country? Should the judge consider those consequences as a base to give Dai a severe punishment? How could they be punished appropriately? Dai was a lawyer who clearly knew Vietnamese law, but he still broke the law with the role of an instigator How should he be severely sentenced so that he will give up to fit his crimes? Suggested sentences: Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan are accused of violating Section 1, Article 88 of the Criminal Code Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan were sentenced to five years and four years in prison, respectively, for “disseminating slanderous and libelous information against the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam,” violating Article 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code Dai, 38, will also serve four years of probation, and Nhan, three years, following their release, the Ha Noi People’s Court ruled ...CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY I certify my authorship of the thesis submitted today entitled: APPLYING THE CASE METHOD IN TEACHING ESP AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SECURITY, HO CHI MINH CITY in terms of the statement... teachers did not apply the case method in 81 their ESP classes 4.2.3.4 ESP teachers realized some difficulties of applying the 82 case method in teaching ESP at the University of Security 4.3 SUMMARY... the background of the thesis It figures the rationale of the study and current situation of ESP teaching at the University of Security It also emphasizes the importance of the case method on students’
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