1.1 Research Background
As an extended English learning activity in the classroom,homework hasalways been an important role in English teaching and learning.As the designer ofhomework,teachers’reasonable and effective homework arrangement can facilitatestudents to fully feel the charm and power of language,stimulate their multifacetedsensory experience,and enable them to develop their comprehensive use of English ina pleasant environment.In addition,effective homework design can also reduce theworkload of teachers,promote their professional growth,and achieve the effect ofhalf the work with double results(Yang,2014).However,there are still manyproblems for teachers in the homework design,such as the simple form of homework,neglecting the cultivation of students’interest in learning,and the lack of peercooperation etc.(Yao,2016).
General Senior High School English Curriculum Standards(2017 Edition)(hereinafter referred to as the Curriculum Standards)points out that the design ofEnglish learning activities should aim at promoting the development of students’English subject core competencies.As is known to all,English subject corecompetencies are specifically divided into four aspects:language ability,learningability,cultural awareness,and thinking dispositions.Therefore,promoting thedevelopment of these four aspects of students is also the purpose that English teachersshould follow when designing homework.Furthermore,the report of the 19th CPC National Congress emphasizes that to build an innovative country,educators shouldcultivate people with high-level thinking dispositions(Shen&Qiu,2020).Consequently,to respond to this appeal and foster innovative talents,teachers shouldattach importance to improving their awareness of cultivating students’thinkingdispositions in homework design.
1.2 Purpose and Significance of the Research
Through studying the cultivation of students’thinking dispositions by seniorhigh school English teachers in homework design,this study aims to collect and analyze teachers’knowledge of thinking dispositions in homework design.In otherwords,the author will try to explore how well teachers understand the concept ofthinking dispositions when they design homework.Then,through case analysis,theauthor will find out the features of teachers’homework design in cultivating students’logical,critical,and creative thinking.Moreover,based on the collected data andinformation,an interview will be used by the author to analyze and summarize thefactors affecting teachers’homework design for thinking dispositions.Thus,it ishoped that teachers’English homework design can be optimized,so that they canpromote students’thinking dispositions,accelerate the development of students’English subject core competencies,and lay the foundation for cultivating talents withinnovative consciousness and ability.
As for the significance of this study,the author attempts to explore how seniorhigh school English teachers cultivate students’thinking dispositions in homeworkdesign,which will bring many benefits.From the perspective of English teachers,they can have a better understanding of thinking dispositions,and they can designeffective homework to cultivate students’thinking dispositions so as to develop theirEnglish subject core competencies.From the perspective of students,they canenhance their ability to observe things and analyze and solve problems.Besides,asmentioned above,there is little related research in senior high school.Therefore,thisstudy can enrich the research topic and provide a reference for later research.
Chapter TwoLiterature Review
2.1 Exploration of Concepts
The following part mainly explores two concepts,they are homework andthinking dispositions.Moreover,in homework,the different purposes and types of italso be introduced.
In this part,the author systematically introduces the definitions,purposes,andtypes of homework.
22.214.171.124 Definitions of Homework
There are many definitions of homework at home and abroad.Devine(1987)believes that homework refers to students’learning tasks outside the classroom orlearning without the direct supervision of teachers.American homework expertCooper(1989)defined homework as a task assigned by teachers to students,whichneeds to be completed by students after class.Moreover,Bembenutty(2011)thinksthat homework is a task set by teachers,and students should complete it independently after class.Besides,in China,according to Ci Hai(1999),homework isdefined as activities carried out to complete the established tasks in learning.In theDictionary of Education,homework refers to students’independent learning activitiesin extracurricular time under the requirements of teachers(Gu,1999).Ren(2007)defined homework as a timely and effective supplement to insufficient classroomlearning,which is designed by teachers to provide students with valuableextracurricular learning opportunities.Furthermore,Hu(2019)expounds on theconnotation of homework from the perspective of traditional Chinese culture,and hebelieves that homework is a cultural process under the combined action of school,society,and family.In this process,students self-construct a good view of knowledge,ability,morality,learning,etc.In other words,homework is a cultural activityassigned by the teacher after considering various factors to help students identify withtheir own cultural identity.As can be seen from the above definitions,homework canbe roughly understood as a timely supplement designed by teachers for students tocomplete independently or cooperatively outside the classroom,with the purpose ofhelping them construct knowledge by themselves.
2.2 Previous Studies on Homework and Thinking Dispositions atHome and Abroad
The following two parts are previous studies about homework and thinkingdispositions at home and abroad.
2.2.1 Previous Studies on Homework at Home and Abroad
Ci Hai(1999)defines“homework design”as the process of determining thecontent,type,form,and requirement for completing and correcting homework.Manyforeign scholars believe that the content of homework should be close to students’reallife.Gardner(1999)points out that in the process of designing homework,teachersshould know students’learning willingness and real needs,and collect topics ofinterest.Only in this way they can mobilize students’enthusiasm for learning andpromote them to finish homework creatively.As for the content,Good and Brophy(2009)indicate that teachers should ensure part of homework content overlaps withwhat students have learned when designing.The purpose is to provide students withways to review knowledge.In addition,according to the experiment by Raymond(2019),there is a negative correlation between the difficulty of teachers’homeworkdesign and students’participation.That is to say,the more difficult the homework is,the lower level of the participation of students,which leads to the unsatisfactory effectof homework completion.Therefore,when designing student-oriented homework,teachers should pay attention to the difficulty and ensure the participation of students.
Chapter Three Methodology..........................23
3.1 Research Questions....................................23
3.2 Research Participants...........................23
3.3 Research Methods.......................25
Chapter Four Results and Discussion...................32
4.1 Teachers’Knowledge of Thinking Dispositions in Homework Design.............32
4.1.1 Knowledge of Logical Thinking in Homework Design..............................32
4.1.2 Knowledge of Critical Thinking in Homework Design..............................34
Chapter Five Conclusion....................................70
5.1 Summary of Major Findings...................70
5.2 Pedagogical Implications...............................72
5.3 Limitations of the Present Study...................................74
Chapter FourResults and Discussion
4.1 Teachers’Knowledge of Thinking Dispositions in HomeworkDesign
For the purpose of finding what knowledge of thinking dispositions teachershave in the design of homework,the author designs a questionnaire based on therevised Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives(see Appendix I)and analyzes itfrom three thinking dimensions:teachers’knowledge of logical,critical and creativethinking in homework design.
4.1.1 Knowledge of Logical Thinking in Homework Design
Items 1 to 5 are used to test teachers’knowledge of logical thinking inhomework design.Results are shown in Table 4.1.(1=completely inconsistent;2=mostly inconsistent;3=uncertain;4=mostly consistent;5=completely consistent)
5.1 Summary of Major Findings
Through the questionnaire,the author investigates fifteen teachers’knowledgeof thinking dispositions in homework design;in case analysis of homework,theauthor figures out the features of the three teachers’homework design whencultivating students’three thinking dimensions;according to the interview,this studysummarizes the factors that affect teachers’cultivation of students’thinkingdispositions in homework design.Therefore,the author is now able to answer theresearch questions raised earlier.
For the first question,in line with the data analysis of the questionnaire,teachers have the knowledge of thinking dispositions when they design homework.However,their comprehension of thinking dispositions in the three thinkingdimensions is not comprehensive:they have a better understanding of logical thinking,and they know that homework design should include tasks such as recalling learnedinformation,interpreting,exemplifying,classifying,summarizing,inferring,comparing or explaining learned knowledge,putting learned skills into practice anddifferentiating,organizing and attributing information;compared with logical thinking,teachers’knowledge of critical thinking is less adequate.They basically know thathomework design should involve tasks of detecting the internal consistency or fallacy of received knowledge,and judging things based on certain standards;as for creativethinking,teachers’understanding of it is not as adequate as the previous two thinkingdimensions.To be specific,they have insufficient knowledge of the cognitiveprocesses of“generating”,“planning”,and“producing”.In general,teachers havemastered the knowledge of logical thinking,and their comprehension of critical andcreative thinking needs to be strengthened.