Conversation Analysis of Chinese Language Teachers in Bangladeshi University Classroom


This paper analyses the condition of teaching and learning Chinese in Bangladeshi university classroom. Analysis of classroom conversation and interactions between teacher and student has been done to demonstrate the nature of interactions. The different subjects of interactive discussion were coded in order to determine how the approach of teaching impacted upon discourse. For this analysis, author used both qualitative and quantitative model to analyze the data and tried to figure out the nature of classroom interaction and compare between native and nonnative teacher’s classroom interaction. From this research, we have found that the nature and amount of classroom interaction between native and non-native teachers with their students is not the same. Our result will help the organization to make a decision whether a native or a non-native teacher will be more appropriate for Chinese language teaching in Bangladesh.

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Shihabuzzaman, M. and Zheng, T. (2019) Conversation Analysis of Chinese Language Teachers in Bangladeshi University Classroom. Chinese Studies, 8, 1-12. doi: 10.4236/chnstd.2019.81001.

1. Introduction

Chinese language is gaining importance day by day all over the world. Because of the Belt and Road initiative, Bangladesh is getting more attention from the Chinese government as well. Lots of Bangladeshi young students are learning Chinese for their better future. They are learning Chinese both in Bangladeshi and Chinese universities. Most of the Chinese language teachers in Bangladesh are native Chinese. These Chinese teachers mostly use English to communicate with their elementary level students. However, many of the elementary Chinese language learners’ English language ability are not high which leads to communication problems with their teachers during class. Even in a regular classroom environment their interactions with their teachers are not normal as expected, so their performance is getting impacted. In the above circumstances, it is needed to find out is there any difference between the native and non-native teacher’s interactions for teaching Chinese.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Definition of Classroom Interaction

According to Oxford Dictionary the word interaction means “Communication or direct involvement with someone or something”.

According to, to interact means to communicate and react to the people you’re involved with, and interaction comes from interact.

According to Cambridge dictionary interaction means an occasion when two or more people or things communicate with or react to each other:

So classroom interaction means Communication or direct involvement between teacher and students in the classroom. It can be verbal interaction, written or can be body language interaction, it depends on certain situation.

2.2. What Is Teacher’s Conversation Analysis?

Conversational analysis is a process to analyze verbal or written conversation, for this analysis normally recorded conversation lies as video or audio collected, typically a video camera or other recording devices in the room where the conversation takes place.

Teacher’s conversation analysis includes the conversation between teacher and student conversation in the classroom environment.

According to McCarthy (1991: p. 121) , it is concerned with the study of the relation between language and the context in which it is used. It is both a study of the formal linguistic qualities of stretches of language by individuals and groups. In a face-to-face context, Waite, Jackson and Diwan (2003) note gains in student performance resulting from establishing a teacher-led (conversational) environment in their computing classes. For language learning class, face to face communicative interaction with teacher will be more effective for student’s performance. Noor, Aman, Mustaffa, & Seong, (2010) tried to identify which type of verbal feedback is most frequently practiced for primary school ESL teachers. When a student asks questions to the teacher and teacher gives his/her feedback, by this way other students also get chance to correct their ideas and misunderstanding. This form of interaction shows learners their errors and guides them to correct their work (Ellis, 2002) . According to Boud (2010), “A good feedback is given without personal judgment or opinion, given based on the facts, always neutral and objective, constructive and focus on the future”.

Cultural discussion along with text book dialogue is also important, specially for language learning. As B. N. Peirce (1995) notes, by better understanding the power relations of the dominant culture, students may discover avenues of participation where they might otherwise have been marginalized. But for a foreign teacher due to language barrier the discussion is not possible for some cases, even teacher discussed but sometimes students do not understand, this kind of cases are also not rare.

2.3. Characteristics of a Good Teacher

According to Henry Adams “A good teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops”. Just because somebody can speak a language, doesn’t mean that he/she can teach it well. There are lots of other qualities involved with this. So the million-dollar question is: Besides your language skills, what else is vital to awesome language teaching?

Effective and efficient learning on the part of the students highly depends on teachers and the actions they take in their classes (Markley, 2004) .

The way teachers behave and the methodologies they exploit in their teaching, to a large extent, depend on their perceptions of effective teaching and their beliefs about teacher efficacy (Ghaith & Shaaban, 1999) . It also affects the way they understand and organize instruction (Chacón, 2005) .

Shulman (1986) has identified seven types of knowledge that highly effective teachers must have. According to him, teachers need knowledge about the content they are teaching; the curriculum, materials, and programs; the broad principles and strategies that constitute classroom management and organization; the student population; the particular educational context they are teaching in; educational aims and values; and pedagogical content knowledge, which is a special mix of content and pedagogy unique to teachers.

Knowledge in his subject, Good Communication Skills, Relationship with Students, A Good Listener, Knowing the learners , Caring Personality, Dedicated, Activating the Students, Activating the Students, Commitment to Lifelong Learning, A Good Sense of Humor etc. might be the characteristics of a good teacher.

Highly effective teachers must be good communicators as they are required to articulate ideas, talk about issues, and express their beliefs and values about teaching. Because teachers take on numerous roles in their classrooms and in the workplace. So communication or interaction between teacher and students play a vital role to be an effective teacher.

2.4. Research Problems (Stated Purpose)

Learning a foreign language is a multidimensional process, various kinds of interactions are needed to follow and learn a language. In Bangladesh there are native and nonnative Chinese language teacher. So the purpose of this study is to find out the nature of classroom interaction between the teacher and the students during the class time in Bangladesh and compare between native and nonnative teacher’s classroom interaction with students.

This paper will answer the following questions

1) Is there any effect on classroom interaction by the country of origin of the teacher?

2) Native or nonnative Chinese teacher, which one has the most interaction with their students in the classroom?

3) In which situation they used more words and sentences to make their interactions?

3. Research Methods

3.1. Source of Data

We have collected data from different classroom environments; we took some classroom videos which included both Chinese native teacher’s classes and Bangladeshi native teacher’s classes. To complete our research, we have taken a total of 4 classroom videos which are 10 minutes each. Upper elementary level classes (HSK-3 and HSK-4) were selected for these videos, because in these levels, students are able to speak some Chinese and are able to communicate with their teachers effectively. For Bangladeshi teacher’s class data, we have selected the Chinese language class of Institute of Modern Language Dhaka University where a Bangladeshi teacher was giving a class to a group of Bangladeshi students. For native Chinese teacher’s class data we have selected the Chinese language class of Confucius Institute of Dhaka University where a native Chinese teacher was giving a class to another group of Bangladeshi students.

From our analysis we have discovered that, when a Bangladeshi Chinese language teacher or Chinese native teacher attends the class he/she uses Chinese word according to the lesson but native and nonnative teacher word count is different (although native and nonnative teacher teaches the same lesson) which is mentioned on Figure 1.

Some samples of conversation are given in Table 1 & Table 2.

3.2. Research Procedure

First of all, we have collected classroom data in video format, and then we have converted all kinds of classroom conversation, body languages and actions into

Figure 1. Word counts for two different cases. Source: Generated by Nvivo 12 based on sample data.

Table 1. Bangladeshi teacher’s classroom conversation.

Table 2. Chinese teacher’s classroom conversation.

text format. After conversion, we have encoded all text-data into nine main codes. Then we have counted the conversation ratios in different codes and compared between two groups of samples. NVIVO 12 software for mac was used for qualitative data analysis in this process.

In the quantitative research part, we have used Pearson’s Chi Square test to analyze our data. We have calculated the Chi Square value of our variables and compared it with Chi squared critical value. Then we have decided whether to accept the null hypothesis or not. For Chi Square Test we have used Microsoft Excel.

In our research,

Case-1 = Bangladeshi teacher’s class to Bangladeshi students and

Case-2 = Native Chinese teacher’s class to Bangladeshi students

Qualitative analysis of the classroom conversation of Bangladeshi Chinese Language teacher:

From our research we have found that, when a Bangladeshi Chinese language teacher gives the class he/she speaks three languages; Bengali, English and Chinese. Through our research, we have recorded a total of 341 interactions between the teacher and his students in a total of a 20 minute class and a total of 2053 words have been counted. In Figure 2 [Nodes comparison between two cases] we can see on the left side that almost all nodes have some normal values. We can also see that the total number of interactions is 341 and that the total words count is 2053, that means for each interaction there are 2053 ÷ 341 = 6 words on average being used.

Qualitative analysis of the classroom conversation of Native Chinese Language teacher:

From our research we have found that, when a native Chinese language teacher gives the class he/she speaks two languages, English and Chinese. So native Chinese teachers are mostly used English language to explain the new Chinese words and sentences. In this case through our study we have recorded total 484 interactions between teachers and students, we have counted the total number of words used as 1737. In the Figure 2 we can see that on the right side, some nodes value is too high and some nodes value is very low, even one node which is questions by students is null. It describes in the class students did not ask any questions what we have recorded. We can also see that, the total interaction is 484 and the total words count is 1737, it means for each interaction there are 1737 ÷ 484 = 3.5 words on average being used.

Comparison between Bangladeshi and Native Chinese Language Teacher’s Interactions:

Here is our comparison table between two cases (See Table 3).

From our analysis, we have found that in a Bangladeshi teacher’s class an average of 6 words have been used for each interaction. On the other hand, a native

Figure 2. Nodes comparison between two cases. Source: Generated by NVIVO 12 by using our collected data.

Table 3. Comparison table between two different cases.

Source: Generated by researcher based on sample data.

Chinese language teacher’s class only had 3.5 words on average per interaction. From this comparison, we can clearly see that, on average, the Bangladeshi teacher-students’ conversations were much longer than the native Chinese teacher-students’ conversations. Bangladeshi teachers and their students were simply able to use more words to explain/ask any topic/questions in detail. While in the native Chinese teacher’s class, the teacher and his students used, on average, fewer words. Sheen (2004) reports about similarities and differences in teachers’ corrective feedback and learners’ uptake across instructional settings. For language learning or any other learning process, being able to explain in detail is definitely more effective. Schiffrin (1972) Speaker and hearer are related to each other, and to their utterances, in a perticipation framework. Their knowledge and metaknowledge about ideas is organized and managed in an information state. The students’ characteristics are also influenced by the teacher’s attitude and efficacy.

Another interesting finding is, the amount of questions asked by students to the teacher, case-2 is very abnormal compared to case-1. In case-1, a total of 8 questions have been asked by students including some self-answering questions with a total of 25 answers. On the other hand, for case-2, the total amount of questions were asked by the students was null, and the amount of answers that were given by the teacher were only 7 including self-answering questions. So from this comparison, we can clearly see that there is an imbalance in the question and answer part which was not appreciated for any kind of learning environment specially for language learning. The research shows that questions can produce significant learning and performance benefits, potentially improving learning by 150% or more. Although traditionally used in quizzes, tests, and exams as mechanisms for assessment, questions make their most profound contributions when they are designed specifically to produce learning (Thalheimer, 2003) .

In both cases we can see that both teachers were more focused on the new words, for case-1 there was a total of 79 new words taught by the teacher which were then repeated by the students. In case-2 however, the students were could only repeat 127 words out of 139. So for case-1 it looks proportional to have 79 new words taught by the teacher and repeated by the students but, for case-2 it looks non proportional to have 139 new words repeated by the teacher and only 127 were repeated by students, where most probably students have not repeated new words accordingly to the teacher’s repeatation new words. So, in spite of more amounts of new words, our analysis will give more points to case-1 for using more words to make interaction.

Case 1 shows that the students were able to repeat the whole list of words given by the teacher (79:79). On the second case however, students were only able to repeat 127 words out of the 139.

In our last comparison we can see that the ratio of questions asked by the teacher and answered by the student is about average, not so high and not so low. For case-1 the ratio is 55:29 and for case-2 the ratio is 74:59 accordingly. So the number of questions asked by the teacher and the number of answered by the students are high for the both cases, with case-2 being much higher. Although, the number of interactions is higher in case-2, student used a lower number of words and sentences than in case-1, which was kind of only yes-no answers; there were no detailed answers or responses from the students.

3.3. Quantitative Analysis

We have null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis here and we used Chi Square test to test our hypothesis.

H0: Case 1 = Case 2

H0: Case 1 ≠ Case 2

Which means for null hypothesis the amount of interaction in both cases is the same but, for alternate hypothesis the amount of interaction in both cases is not.

Chi Square Test: The formula of Chi Square test is as below

χ 2 = ( O E ) 2 E

where X2 = Chi Square; O = Observed Value; E = Expected Value; ∑ = Sum.

Here, the Chi Square total value is 342.113 (see Table 4).

Table 4. Chi square table.

Source: Generated by researcher based on collected data by Microsoft Excel.

Where difference of freedom: df = (r − 1) (c − 1) = (9 − 1) (2 − 1) = 8

Here r = row total and c = column total.

So according to the rules, if the problem had a Chi Square value that is greater than the Chi Square critical value then, we can reject the null hypothesis and can accept the alternate hypothesis, and then prove that there is a significant relationship between the teacher’s country of origin and the nature the interaction in the classroom.

The problem Chi Square X2 > Chi Square Critical Value

P = 0.05 342.113 > 15.507

P = 0.01 342.113 > 20.09

In the 95% confidence level we can see the critical value is less than the Chi Square value. Even in 99% confidence level we can also see that the critical value is less than the Chi Square value, so we can easily say that the result is statistically very significant and we can reject the null hypothesis and can accept the alternate hypothesis.

4. Results

1) After completing our analysis we have got the evidence to say that the nature and amount of interaction in the class between the native and non-native teachers, and their students is not the same. There is a significant difference between the two cases.

2) For Case-1 more teachers’ explanation has been counted, meaning that the teacher used more words and sentences to make his/her statements clear for the students. On average 6 words have been used for each interaction in case-1, and 3.5 words have been used for each interaction in case-2. In the above circumstances, we can comparatively say that for the Bangladeshi teacher’s class more words have been used to make interactions.

3) Case-1 clearly shows that more questions (total 8 questions) were asked by the students but, for case-2 the scenario is different, zero questions were asked. This means that if the teacher is of the same origin of that of the students’ then, there will be more questions asked during the class and accordingly, more explanations.

4) In case-1 class more words have been counted in total for the whole duration of the class (2053) than in case-2 (1737). This proves that having a teacher of the same origin of that of the students will lead to more interactions during the class.

5) In both cases the majority of the class time was used to learn new words. According to our analysis we can see that for case-1 the new words taught by teacher were comparatively less than case-2.

5. Conclusion and Research Implications

Conversation between teachers and students is very important for any kind of studies, especially for language studies. This research extended our understanding about classroom interactions. Findings from this study can benefit several audiences. A major contribution of this study is about understanding which classroom conversation rate is higher.

After completing our analysis we know that the interaction between case-1 and case-2 are not the same. From our research we have found that the conversation amount between Bangladeshi Chinese language teacher and the Bangladeshi students which is case 1 is comparatively higher than case 2. However, from just some conversation analysis it’s very difficult to say which teacher is more suitable but, if we consider higher conversation rates having a positive impact on learning a language then, we can say that Case-1 is quite ahead of case-2. This leads us to believe that for a Chinese language course, particularly elementary level, a Bangladeshi teacher for Bangladeshi students is might effective.

Native Chinese teachers are obviously better in term of the Chinese language proficiency than nonnative teachers. According to the analysis of case-1 and case-2 however, we have found that Bangladeshi teachers spend more time explaining the new words while the Chinese teachers spent more time repeating them. During word explanation situation, the number of interactions in case-1 is higher than case-2, so a Bangladeshi teacher is probably better at understanding the Bangladeshi students’ mindset and mentality.

At the same time, Bangladeshi students also need Chinese teachers to provide an interactive environment to practice and improve their language ability with a native speaker. So mixing up native and nonnative teachers might be effective for elementary, upper elementary or in some cases intermediate and upper intermediate level.

6. Weaknesses and Future Direction

This research is only based on samples of Bangladeshi university students. A total of 4 samples were collected from two different classes; class 1 having a Bangladeshi teacher and class 2 having a Chinese teacher. For both cases we have collected the data from the same teacher and the same students group. Including a wider range of data and more cases might change the results slightly. Because different teachers with different students interact differently, all samples are collected from elementary and upper elementary classrooms. However, after completing a certain level of language study, students are able to communicate fluently with their teachers, so for advanced Chinese classrooms the conversation rate might vary.

In the future we will focus on including more sample data, and we will try to find out the most efficient way of teaching Chinese language through online and offline environments.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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