The present study attempted to examine the SIOP model’s possibilities in promoting effective and efficient CBI courses for college-level EFL students. In terms of making a CBI course effective enough to enhance the content knowledge as well as improvi ...
The present study attempted to examine the SIOP model’s possibilities in promoting effective and efficient CBI courses for college-level EFL students. In terms of making a CBI course effective enough to enhance the content knowledge as well as improving language skills of the students, a teacher-factor cannot be overemphasized. In particular, the CBI courses conducted in EFL contexts would require more prepared instructors. In that sense, it can be safely said that the SIOP model showed a certain possibility since it seemed to contribute to increasing the instructors’ awareness of how to promote students’ comprehension of the content concepts as well as encourage their participation.
Concerning the linguistic improvement achieved by the SIOP students, the data analysis of the speaking and writing proficiency tests did not clearly show whether their linguistic progress, if any, could be attributed to the fact that they had SIOP instructors. But the data analysis of questionnaire was suggesting that the SIOP students appeared to have improved their language skills with a relatively higher degree of satisfaction compared with that of the non-SIOP students, which was rather supported by the SIOP students’ comments talking about their sense of improvement. However, the study could not control the number of students at each class involved in the study, be it SIOP class or non-SIOP class. This number factor might be closely related to the level of interaction between the instructor and the students, and among the students both quantitatively and qualitatively. Especially in CBI classes in which a certain amount of interaction should be secured to take care of the linguistic demands as well as content comprehension in a proper way, class size is a critical factor affecting each phase of lesson resulting in a different degree of satisfaction with the way the instructor operates the class and the course itself in general. In addition, it should be also considered that it would take more than at least one semester to show linguistic gains that can be easily measurable. This is another reason to require follow-up studies in order to accumulate empirical evidence upon which the effectiveness of SIOP-led CBI courses might be proved.
As for the content-enhancement, the present study relied on the students’ self-evaluation of how well they were able to comprehend and extend content knowledge based on the analysis of the students’ answers to Question 5 and 9 of the questionnaire. It seemed that the students at the non-SIOP class struggled more to grasp the meanings and less percentage of the students showed their satisfaction in terms of increasing professional knowledge of the topic. It might not be reasonable to take a look at only one variable among others, whether the students were taught by SIOP or non-SIOP instructor, in interpreting the results. Above-mentioned class size factor might be one of the causes contributing to the different degrees of students’ satisfaction and evaluation. Nevertheless, such a different response from the students depending on whether they were studying at the SIOP or non-SIOP classes should be taken seriously and needs to be confirmed with further empirical studies.
At the same time, whenever conducting research with classroom practices, one should bear in mind the three things: "(1) courses are designed to accomplish different goals, (2) teachers vary greatly in their individual strengths, personalities, and teaching styles, and (3) learners differ extensively in the skills they are ready to acquire and in the ways that they learn" (Genesee & Upshur, 1996, p. 265). Only after understanding the inherent complexity of human behavior of learning and teaching, we will be able to evaluate how the instructors teach and find a best way fit for each different group of students.