Action Research Template

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The following template may be used for your action research:

Context of the Problem

There have been many thoughts regarding the problem of why students make excessive use of their native tongue in the L2 classroom. Some approaches such as the communicative approach and the direct method suggest that the native tongue should be avoided in the EFL or ELT classroom while some methods such as the translation method suggest that the native tongue is essential in the L2 learning process. Although both of the approaches creators disagre on the amount of usage of the target language, they agree upon the existence of L2 usage in the EFL classroom. When there is a considerable lack of L2 in the classroom there may be learning problems. The problem I have is that students speak too much L1 and not enough L2 in class. This may be due to a variety of factors such as motivation, cognitive processing, and activity election among others.

The questions I plan to make in this action research paper are the following: How can I encourage my students to speak more L2 in class? What are the learner’s perceptions regarding their use of L1 in the EFL classroom. The existence of this research is to discover what factors are involved in the production of L1 in the L2 classroom in 2 specific speaking activities. This research is focused on a group of students studying a variety of different majors at the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes, who at the same time are taking a level 1 English Fomento course.

Theoretical Framework

Language learning in a non-autonomous classroom is a complex procedure in which learning is a two way process; the teacher takes part in the role of educator while the student acquires the role of apprentice. Within this laborious development another factor that plays a significant role in language learning and teaching is cognitive processing, which includes critical thinking, and memorizing. Activity election is an immense aspect in the language learning classroom because the activity selection may either stimulate the students to participate or complicate the learning process. All of the previously mentioned aspects may lead to the reasons why students speak too much L1 in class.

“Teaching must adapt to learning in certain respects, but in other respects the adaptation must be reversed” (Widdowson 2003,p22). Teaching roles vary according to different contexts, in an advanced level English classroom the teacher may be a facilitator allowing the students to perform autonomously for the reason that they have previous knowledge and the ability to do things on their own. On the other hand the teacher may possess the role of a guide in a beginner’s English level 1 course which is the case of this action research, thus validating the point of teacher adaptation to student´s circumstances, but should it always be like this? There are moments in which the students must adapt to the teacher’s circumstances, Widdowson (2003) says, “The teacher may choose to set the parameter so as to allow it to be exercised, but always within the limits, for it is the teacher and not the learner, who sets parameters and regulates classroom interaction.” This means that teacher’s roles should be delicately chosen according to the environment as well, but at the same time students should be able to adapt to the circumstances previously provided by their teachers.

Cognitive processing and critical thinking are vital in the second language learning process. Taylor (2011) suggest that one of the most relevant problems in the EFL classroom is that students struggle with the target language because of the lack of cognitive processing such as learning strategies, memory organization among others. Taylor suggests that tutoring sessions are appropriate in the language learning process. She suggests that through the implementation of learning strategies and memory organization students are more viable to learn the target language due to the fact that they have more cognitive skills which they can apply in language learning.

The election of the activities that will be done in class may either motivate or make learning more difficult. An example of this is lack of instructions in a orally productive activity. If students are not given specific instructions they may become confused and the learning process may be interrupted. Parrot (1993) argues that when it comes to speaking activities it is most pertinent to choose activities that are most compelling for the students which will facilitate the student’s interaction. Giving feedback is also is crucial when working with procedural activities such as role plays, because it allows the teacher to discern what errors or mistakes students have regarding the production of the L2.

Method and Materials


This research is based on a group of 15 students studying English courses in the Fomento program at the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes (UAA). The 15 participants study a level one English course. The students are situated in the age range of 18-24. Nine students are females and six are males. They study different careers at the UAA while taking the Fomento course.


The instruments I will be using are open answer questionnaires regarding the student´s perceptions of the use of L1 and L2 in two different speaking activities. The questionnaires are composed of 5 questions comparing the “Speed dating “speaking activity to the “Find your other half” speaking activity and their perception of the use of L1 in each of the two speaking activities. Another instrument I will be using is a semi-structured interview with 4 students regarding further questioning about their use of L1 in each of the speaking activities.


Speed Dating Activity

The students will receive input regarding the scale of likes and dislikes (I love, I really like, I like I don’t mind, I don’t like, and I hate) and do 2 exercises with the employment of these. After the input students will practice the previous knowledge in order to repeat and facilitate the learning process by putting into practice the vocabulary of likes and dislikes. The students will arrange their seats in a semi circle, sitting two people to a desk, one on the outer side and the other on the inner side. The students will be given a handout using images to facilitate the activity as well as some common verbs and structures. The students will then be given 2 minutes to dialogue and share their likes and dislikes. The teacher will tell them to switch when her timer signals that two minutes have passed. At the end of the activity the teacher will elicit about the meaning of the vocabulary and ask students to produce new language using the previously presented input.

Find Your other Half Activity

In this activity students will briefly review likes and dislikes and perform interactive dialogues with each other. The students will answer worksheets regarding the expression of likes and dislikes. The students will then be given picture cards of famous television characters. Each of the pictures will have a brief introduction of the character with likes and dislikes, which will be filled in by the students. The next step is to have the students walk around and find their other half according to common likes and dislikes. After that students will go up to the board and present their other half to the class.

Although both activities are based on implementing L2 in the classroom they have an assortment of variations and similarities. The speed dating activity is more controlled than the second activity because the students have to switch places when the teacher asks them to. Another factor is that the students in the speed dating activity have pre-established question forms as well as a list of commonly used verbs and a handout with images describing likes and dislikes. In the second activity the students do not have any pre-fabricated structures; the only material the students have is the picture cards with short fill in autobiographies. Another factor that changes is the teacher role. In the first activity the teacher plays the role of a conductor or leader while in the second activity the teacher plays the role of the facilitator allowing the students to have more control over the activity. One of the aspects that both activities have in common are the carefully sought out instructions for oral production. Something else that was considered for both of the activities was the appeal the topics would have for the students in order to keep them motivated and interested, therefore implementing participation and the use of L2 in the language classroom.

Results and Data Analysis

Present the findings of the investigation using graphs, tables, etc.


Discuss your results in terms of how they answer your research question(s) or hypothesis. Did your intervention work? What recommendations can you offer? How might others extend this research? Are there any limitations?


Adhere to APA.


Apply speaking classes by September 22nd Retrieved data by September 30 Start analyzing data in October


  • Remember that your action research paper must be emailed to me as a Word document. To convert your wiki text to Word refer to this video. If you email me your finished document by Thursday (Dec. 9, 2011), I'll check your work, making comments in the Word document, and send it back to you for final revisions. --Bnleez 21:55, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Add your references and move the appropriate information to each of the three level III headings in your method section. Also, make sure your data collection procedures (interviews, questionnaires,etc.) allow you to get the information you need that specifically addresses your research questions. --Bnleez 18:18, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Begin writing your first two sections of your action research paper. Avoid subheadings in your Context of the Problem section but do include subheadings in your Method section. --Bnleez 14:55, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
    • Note: For those taking Applied Linguistics for credit, please do the following:
    • Copy and paste the template above as a subpage to your user page.
    • Adhere to the following approximate word count per section...
    • Context of the problem should be 800 words
    • Method and Materials should be 500 words
    • Results and Data Analysis should be 500 words
    • Discussion should be 1,000 words that includes a 250-word conclusion
  • Under data collection, you need at least two, probably three types of instruments/techniques: questionnaires, focus groups, and observations, for example. --Bnleez 17:55, 7 September 2011 (UTC)