This chapter describes the overall methodology of the study. The purpose of this study aims to investigate university students. The first section describes the design of the study. The second section introduces the participants and sampling in the study. The third section presents the instrument, which is the Questionnaire designed by the researcher to measure the frequency of strategy use by university students. The fourth section is the detailed description of the procedure undertaken for collecting data. The data analysis methods are discussed at the end of this chapter.
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Participants and Sampling
Participants are conveniently sampled in this study. Convenient sampling is the most common of methods in researches that involve a relatively large population size. In as much as the ideal situation would be to test the whole population in the university it is impracticable to do so within the limited period available. The University of Edinburgh has a diverse population of students who can be categorized into two, the undergraduate students and postgraduate students. The study therefore limited the sample to postgraduate students in the fall semester of 2010.
For convenience and relevance, the sample was further reduced to narrow down to those students whose main specialty is either language teaching or TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language). A convenient sample also allows the researcher to document and investigate a particular quality in of a substance. The participants in the sample are only female Asian students who range between the ages of 25 to30 the rationale for limiting this age bracket is that these students and participants have had just enough experience with the English as a second language to present the situation as it is today and not a historical account. This was also to provide a since of guidance and to ensure that that the research maintained an objective track.
The study employs the conventionally recognized questionnaire as the main instrument in the study. It allows the research to gain base its discussions and conclusions from raw primary information. The questionnaire it also allows leaves room to adjust the questions to answer and provide tentative answers to the objective questions of the research. Also considering the limits and constraints of the research such as limited time and manpower the questionnaire is the most appropriate instrument of data collection. It is considered user friendly and can be used on varying target subjects. The questionnaires are all similar and therefore create a sense of uniformity in the data generated (Zhang and Goh 2006).
The speaking motivation questionnaire was used and adopted as an item of survey developed by the researcher to assess the different aspects of students’ speaking motivation. To react to the objectives of the study, the questionnaires were limited to only those items that affect s student’s motivational attitudes towards learning English. The instrument captured the varying student responses by providing 5-step Likert continuum. The design ranges the response from “strongly disagree” to strongly agree with values of 1 to 5 being allocated to each alternative. The survey was designed to capture two main aspects (Naughton 2006). The first aspect on the questionnaire assesses students’ sense of competence and efficacy in speaking. This goes to ascertain how well the students have embraced English as the second language. It therefore acted as a test to ascertain the proficiency of the participants in English. The second aspect is based on previous work on self-efficacy and are termed speaking efficacy. These aspects interrogate the students own experience in enhancing the learning of English as a second language.
The participants were postgraduate students in University of Edinburgh. There was therefore no trouble in translating the questionnaires since they all were conversant with the simple language that was used in the questionnaires. The questionnaires were first administered to the students physically in a pilot for those who were available. They received instant guidance as to how the questionnaires were to be filled and submitted. The pilot test was undertaken within a short period with each respondent receiving a maximum of 10 minutes within which they are to have filled the questionnaires. The second stage of the survey involved handing the questionnaires to individuals in the class during a class sitting where most students were present. The questionnaires were passed round the class and collected at the end of the class form the various lecture hall exits through designated and marked boxes. Out of these, there were 250 responses of which 202 were full responses that were ready for analysis and evaluation. The remaining submissions were either partially filled or with little or no response and therefore provide inconsistent information (Holmes 2004).
To ensure that there is maximum participation the second stage of the survey also engaged online participation by posting the questionnaire online for open participation. The researcher therefore designed as specific link that was then forwarded to the participants by email (Han 2002). The link allowed the participants to fill and submit the questionnaire at their own convenience. Out of these, there were an additional 208 responses that were ready for analysis and review. The purpose of the questionnaires was also laid out at the beginning of the questionnaire to allow the respondent to respond from an informed perspective (Hayland 2000). The questionnaires were also maintained confidential to ensure that the research maintained an objective tone sand perspective.
Data Analysis Method
The results of the survey were analyzed and computed from the questionnaires into statistical terms such as the mean mode and median as well as the standard deviations of the various student responses depending on the levels of perception of the speaking of English in the class room (Dörnyei 2001). These methods also allowed for correlation analysis of the connection between the students perception of the use of English in the class room with the effectiveness of the method used by the teacher in the class room environment in an attempt to help the Asian English language learners speak freely in the class room (Wharton 2000).
The mean modes and medians of the responses in the questionnaire provides a basis for analysis of the effects of the perceptions of the students in speaking English in class to the actual rate at which students are likely to speak freely in the class (Dörynei 1994). This analysis also allows the researcher to give an analysis of the effect of the method used by the teacher in motivating a student to speak English freely in class as well as the relevance e and effectiveness of this method. The χ2 – test was used to investigate the students’ attitudes toward the English speaking strategies. The hypothesis will therefore analyze the goodness of fit of the various methods that the teacher uses in class as a motivation al mechanism for students. The null hypothesis (h0) was that the mode of learning as well as the class room environment has an impact on the learners ability to speak freely in class while the second hypothesis(h1) was that the mode of learning as well as the class room environment has an impact on the learners ability to speak freely in class (Clėment et al 1994). A high positive probability value indicates that the is a connection between the teachers strategy and the receptiveness to learning the English language while a small or negative value indicates that there is no connection between the teachers strategy and the receptiveness to learning the English language (Black 1999).
Results and Discussions
This chapter presents the statistical analysis of the collecting data and the Firstly, it provides as general over view of the success or otherwise of the instrument in providing a tentative justification and results for the survey. It then interrogates the individual hypothesis and the extent to which they have been responded to and fulfilled. It then gives a general overview of the stand that the survey has taken in as far as the results are concerned. The results are presented in the form of tables and graphs indicating the various responses.
The basic and conventional learning strategies can be conceptualized as either cognitive met cognitive or socio affective strategies (Belmechri and Hummel 1998). This is however not well known to the students since they unconsciously employ one or a number of these strategies in learning the language. The strategies work with different effectiveness among students and therefore there can be no specific appropriate strategy that can be said to be the best. Some students are faster that others at learning language but there are equal chances and abilities of students learning how to use learning strategies (Byram et al 2001)..
Studies on the effect learning strategy have leaned on the argument that there is an enervating effect and connection between the student’s attitude and their receptiveness and ability to speak a second language and that this must be overcome by the students before they can adequately learn the language and effectively speak it. The major purpose of this study was to evaluate and determine students attitudes towards the use of English in class as well as to justify or qualify the various motivational strategies adopted by the teacher in helping students learn and use English as their second language. It also goes further to determine the effect and relevance of the strategy adopted on the students ability to use English freely in class. The results of the study are views and reflections of the participants in as far as the use of English language as a second language in class is concerned.
The research survey had a reliability rating of 89 percent in as far as the responses in the questionnaires are concerned. A general analysis of the questionnaire indicated that the subjects in this study employed a variety of learning strategies to speaking in English, with some groups of learning strategies receiving more frequent uses than others. Some of these frequently used strategies included compensations strategies for overcoming deficiency in English and affective and metacognitive strategies for managing emotions and learning; while a few strategies, such as thinking in English and some mnemonic strategies
Research Question 1
To evaluate the general perspective of students towards the use of English in class, the statistical mean mode and range of the student’s responses in the 8 item section was reviewed. The researcher made use of the likert scale ratings that were indicates in the questionnaire ranging from 1 to 5 between strongly disagree and strongly agree making keen re-arrangements for the scale for different items. A high score indicates a student’s positive perspective attitude towards the use of English in class while a lower score indicates a student’s negative perspective towards the use of English in class the section in the questionnaire concerting his research question has 8 items and therefore the range of the score can either fall between a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 40. If a score is above 32 then it shows that the respondent has a strong positive perspective towards the use of English in class. Total score was between 24-32 means that the respondent has a moderately positive perspective towards the use of English in class. A score that falls below 24 shows that the respondent has a general negative perspective towards the use of English in class. The results are shown in the graph below
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As can be seen in Table 1 overall all the students have a general positive perspective towards the use of English in class. However not all these students have a positive view on the issue. The score sheet ranged from 8 to 39 with the highest number falling above the 24 mark. However, there were students who were totally not for the use of English in class and therefore find no importance in using it in class. The majority however enjoys the use of English and found speaking it in class an enjoyable and exciting experience. They therefore planned to continue using English in class and to take measures to improve their proficiency in the language.
Research Question 2
To determine strategies was the teacher use to motivate and encourage Asian English as foreign language learners to speak in English in the classroom the statistical mean mode and range of the student’s responses in the 8 item section was reviewed. The researcher made use of the likert scale ratings that were indicates in the questionnaire ranging from 1 to 5 between strongly disagree and strongly agree making keen re-arrangements for the scale for different items. A high score indicates students have frequently experienced this strategy or they strongly support the use of this strategy while a lower score indicates students have no idea what the strategy entails or they have not used the strategy at all. The section in the questionnaire concerting his research question has 8 items and therefore the range of the score can either fall between a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 40. If a score is above 32 then it shows that the respondent strongly supports the use of this strategy as a motivational mechanism. Total score ranged between 24-32 means that the respondent has a moderately supports the use of this strategy as a motivational mechanism. A score that falls below 24 shows that the respondent generally does not support the use of this strategy as a motivational mechanism. The results are shown in the graph below
|statistical analysis of the students response to motivational strategies||31.31||33||30||12- 35|
As seen in the table below, all the students generally approve of the method that the teacher used in motivating the students to use English in the class. They were optimistic that the strategy used was important in the motivation of students in learning English as well as using the language in class. The range of score was between 12 and 35 meaning that there were those who did not approve of the strategies that the teacher used in attempting to motivate the students to speak English in class. Some of them found these strategies demeaning and did not like the approach that the teacher was taking in attempting to motivate and encourage them. There was however, a general recognition of a viable and relevant connection between the approach and strategy that the teacher adopted and the general perspective and perception of the student towards speaking English in class (Bredella 2003).
The correlation coefficient between the two hypotheses was 2.7, which represent those students who enjoyed speaking English in class because they relieved more attention and got a chance to participate in class activities. The students used a variety of strategies but the majority tended to rely on socio-affective strategies that involved actual oral participation and support during class and outside class environment. Others however used a variety of strategies that suited their rates of learning the language. Reading English based texts for instance is much easier than speaking hence some preferred writing then reading the text.
Research Question 3
To investigate the effect of the classroom environment as well as the strategy that the teacher uses in helping the learners in speaking English freely in class the χ2 – test was used. The hypothesis therefore investigated the relevance and suitability of the teacher’s strategy as well as the student’s level of reliance on these strategies. The null hypothesis (h0) was that the mode of learning as well as the class room environment has an impact on the learner’s ability to speak freely in class while the second hypothesis (h1) was that the mode of learning as well as the class room environment has an impact on the learner’s ability to speak freely in class. A high positive probability value indicates that the is a connection between the teachers strategy and the receptiveness to learning the English language while a small or negative value indicates that there is no connection between the teachers strategy and the receptiveness to learning the English language. The survey results indicated that there was a strong reliance on the class room environment as well as the teacher based strategies by the students in developing and maintaining an interest in the speaking of English in class. This is as indicated in the table below
|p2= d2/e 2.668|
|at 8 degrees of freedom|
The questionnaire results concerning the relationship between the class room environment and the ability of the students to speak English in class have 8 items hence the 8 degrees of freedom as indicated in the table above. The value of p2 otherwise referred to as the x2 represents the deviation from the original statistic that was recorded from an analysis of the results from the questionnaires. This value is then to be checked against the X2 test table appendix 2 , which reveals a high probability and therefore an acceptance of the second hypothesis that suggests a 90 percent connection between the student’s classroom environment and their ability to speak fluent and consistent English in class (Stewart 2003).
The results also disclosed that the lack of confidence as well as the fear of making mistakes was the reason behind the low perception towards speaking English in class. Most of these students were not confident enough to speak in broken English to be corrected therefore they remained not learning (Leki 2001).. The major concern among the majority of them was the lack of fluency and insufficient vocabulary. They often are left to describe a word or object for the lack of the appropriate terminology, which makes speaking the language much more difficult.
In line with the results in the hypothesis analysis above, majority of the respondents indicated factors such as unsupportive class room environment lack of enough practice and general laziness as the most prevalent drawbacks and challenges facing them as learners of English as a second language (Basturkmen 2002).
The major findings of this study are summarized in the first section of this chapter. Then, some pedagogical implications based on the findings will be provided in the second section. Finally, the
Summary of the Research Finding
The survey indicates that despite the fact that students are not collectively aggressive to the idea of using English in class, they are fairly motivated and provided with a fairly supportive environment to improve their knowledge on the subject. Majority of them are either strongly or moderately motivated towards learning the language and have a prospect of learning more of the language to allow them to take advantage of resources such as the internet and to become more knowledgeable in as far as world matters are concerned (Basturkmen 2001. The students therefore require motivation and constant support from their teacher. Learning styles across education systems are majorly student centered and have a dynamic and exciting approach to teaching and learning. Along these systems, discussions often occur in the class room setup. In effect there is no motivation or a since of target language competence Asian students have been found to have a high propensity to hold discussions in their native languages and mummer when encountering questions. McDonough (2001)suggests that it is this lack of motivation and language competence that stops these students from actively participating in the classroom discussions the teacher therefore has a big role in maintaining and encouraging students to be more participative and confident in the class room and creating a stable environment that accommodates the learner.
In order to help students find the importance of improving their skills and competence in the English language it is important that they conduct constant strategy research to ensure that they know what strategies their students are using to master and motivate their speaking competence (Lacina 2001).. The teacher should begin by identifying the level of the learners strategy use. This can be conveniently established by a strategy inventory for language learning questionnaire which is rather easy and fast to administer especially in the class room setup.
The teacher should then offer the learner the appropriate knowledge as to the characteristics effectiveness and importance of various strategies open for practice and implementation. The teacher should explain the advantages and shortcomings of each strategy to ensure that they do not feel that the strategy has been imposed on them. The teacher should also ensure that he gives the learner appropriate time to review the strategy and ask questions.
The teacher should also offer a hands on practice approach by incorporating the help of the classroom as a whole (Kinoshita 2003). This is affected by assigning students into groups that have students with varying competencies in English language. Finally he should offer the students a chance to make their own personal evaluation of their progress.
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Appendix I Questionnaire
This questionnaire is designed for research purposes only. Any information you provide will be used only for data comparison and analysis in this study. Thank you in advance for you cooperation. THE PURPOSE OF STUDY…
How long did you learn English at school?
- 1-3 years
- 4-8 years
- More than 8years ___
How long did you learn English at private institution?
- 1-3 years
- 4-8 years
- More than 8years ___
|Questions||Totally disagree||Partly |
|How did you feel about speaking English in the classroom?|
|I was only able to express basic ideas to my teacher and classmates.|
|Speaking English in class made me feel embarrassed.|
|I preferred to work individually rather than interacting with others.|
|I found it stressful that I had to think of appropriate vocabulary to express my own ideas.|||
|Speaking English in class made me feel like a more active learner.|
|I felt unhappy when I couldn’t speak English in the classroom|
|Speaking in English in class made me feel more confident.|
|I feel I didn’t speak English enough to improve my speaking skills.|
|Were you sometimes reluctant to speak English in the classroom? Yes/No|
|If yes, why?|
|I didn’t understand what my teacher or my classmates were talking about.|
|I lacked confidence in my speaking skills.|
|I was not sure if my pronunciation is correct or not.|
|I was afraid of giving the wrong answer while answering questions in English.|
|What did the teacher do to motivate and encourage you to speak English in class?|
|Did the teacher lead students to an answer when they had difficulty answering questions?|
|Did s/he encourage students to speak up by using encouraging expressions such as ‘Well done’; ‘Good’; ‘What else?’; ‘What do you think?’|
|Did the teacher set achievable goals, such as answering at least one question during the class?|
|Did the teacher set up useful role-play activities, which were relevant to your needs?|
|What type of classroom environment/mode of learning encouraged you to speak more freely?|
|Working in pairs, groups or teams.|
|Knowing the teacher wouldn’t correct my oral mistakes immediately but give me delayed feedback.|
|Knowing the discussion topic in advance.|
|Having the teacher surprise us with new activities in order to maintain our interest.|
|Being able to use the Internet, to work independently during class activities.|