Action Research Template
Action research site
The following template may be used for your action research:
Context of the Problem
The teaching strategies applied in an ESL group of second grade of an elementary school from Cosío Aguascalientes do not promote students to participate in speaking activities in the classroom. This problem could be because of many factors that can be observed inside the classroom. Students, on the other hand, they seem to understand the language when they listen to the teacher and when they write down some notes. However, students do not feel self confidence to speak the English language when involved in speaking activities, such as: role plays, dialogues, and for giving opinions. Therefore, teachers might use teaching strategies for involving students in speaking activities.
How can teachers use adequate teaching strategies to promote students’ participation on speaking activities in the classroom? In order to analyze this question, teachers might need to determine what kind of needs students have. In addition, it is recommendable to take into consideration the teacher’s proficiency in the classroom for understanding if the inputs that teachers are giving are positive or negative. These points make reference to the problem that says that English teachers do not use the necessary teaching strategies to make students of second grade of an elementary school to participate when speaking in the classroom. However, the use of practical teaching strategies promotes students’ participation when students try to speak the second language.
The scope of this paper focuses on students of second grade of elementary school from Cosío, Aguascalientes. In addition, some observation done to this group emphasize that students are not allowed to speak the second language or to be motivated to do so. Therefore, this study pretends to encourage teachers of a second language to apply teaching strategies to improve these young students’ participation and practice of the second language focusing specifically on their speaking skills.
Most of the students have no intention of communicating in English, nor do they feel the need to do so during the English class. However, the application of meaningful strategies changes that point that according to Zhang (2007), “a systematic technique employed by a speaker to express his meaning when faced with some difficulty” (p. 44). For instance, students get motivation to speak through the use of an interesting activity that the teacher probably applies. In addition, a strategy that the English teacher might use is the one that according to MacGrath (2005), the action of giving the students a problem or situation to focus on in groups, students will practice articulation and verbal exchanges that often help them to concentrate better (p. 34). In contrast, the problem might be bigger when there is no sense from the students to participate. This could happen because perhaps they do not know anything―or perhaps a little―about the language itself, so for this reason teachers need to be conscious about students’ level and to encourage them to speak easy vocabulary first. In addition, teachers need also to take into consideration the next situations: students’ level, the type of activities teachers use, and finally the strategies that they promote in order for students to speak in the second language. For that reason young learners need to develop their speaking skills as well as the other three (listening, writing, and reading) in order to be proficient as English language learners.
On the other hand, Marulanda (2010) states that the implementation of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) creates a leaning environment where students and teachers speak the SEL language to adapt and adopt new attitudes and beliefs which in effect enhances learning of the second language. (p. 5). This strategy tends to inform that teachers could provide a proficient environment where students feel comfortable for learning the English language, for instance, giving the students a chance to choose their teams for working throughout the course and providing the necessary material for working with a positive attitude. However, some students could probably have fear for speaking up in front of the group because they tend to be shy with the teacher and with their peers. This situation perhaps could be clarified by some theories that according to Fernández (1992) “In a regular classroom students may be reluctant to speak out for fear of not being accepted by others” (p. 12)
The implementation of these strategies in a real EFL classroom of a elementary school seek to promote students’ participation in the classroom in speaking activities. By consequence, this research specifies that according to Alberta Education (2007) “Language is used in a natural way, in real and practical contexts classroom activities regularly provide opportunities for listening and speaking” (p. 59). In order to implement these two teaching speaking strategies referred to social and emotional learning and a problem or situation to focus on in groups, two classes were undertaken. In addition, these two classes focus on verbal and non-verbal communication in which Savignon (2002) states that the Communicative Language Teaching theory involves both the process and goals for successful classroom learning by implementing speaking activities.
Method and Materials
This research focuses on a qualitative study due to this consists on observations and interviews done to one group of elementary school. The participants were students from second grade of an elementary school located on a rural zone called Cosío to the north of Aguascalientes State. In addition, the group totally consisted on thirty four students, in which sixteen were females, and eighteen were males with economical differences depending on the area they live inside the country. On the other hand, students work in a dynamic way if an interesting activity is implemented, or if an activity they commonly like is applied. Besides, the subject matter of English has been imparted to this group since the last year; therefore, students have certain knowledge about the English language.
For this research I applies an observations sheet as a designed instrument due to it just consisted on observations, the application of some teaching strategies through activities that promoted students’ participation on speaking activities, and some interviews to specific students. On the other hand, students made a drawing about their performance during the application of teaching strategies they were involved in order to know how they felt and what kind of activity the like the most. In addition, the interviews I did were adapted depending on the situation or students’ responses, that at the end, I just obtained three main questions for the students, such as: How well did you do on the activities?, Did you raise your hand and answer questions?(why?, why not?), How did you feel about yourself today?.
I implemented two types of activities related to the two teaching strategies I selected to promote students’ participation on speaking activities. The first activity was a hot potato game focused on Halloween monsters where students were passing two balls to their peers as fast as they could while I was playing a song to create a suitable environment. In addition, the students that lost on that competition had to create a short dialogue asking a question like what is it?, and then the other student needed to answer It is a … (for instance skeleton, vampire, mummy, etc.). On the other hand, the second activity I applied was a role play game focused on the same topic as the first activity where I asked some students to pass to the front in order to describe a specific monster by using signs, movements, sounds, etc. The students that were performing at the front of the class were asking the same question to the whole group what is it?, and the rest of the group tried to answer raising their hand it is a … (for example witch, ghost, werewolf, etc.).
After the implementation of the two strategies, I gave students a piece of paper in order to draw how they felt about the activities they were involved with, or what activity they like the most and describe why. Additionally, once students handed in their drawings, I asked some of them that I observed they did not participate at all in the speaking activities to stay in the classroom in order to make a short interview. I asked some questions to the students related to how well they did on the activities, if they raised their hand for answering questions and why, and finally how they felt during the activities.
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?
Alberta Education, (2007). English as a second language: Guide to implementation. Edmonton : Alberta education
Christina, B., (1992). An in-service training course designed to increase teachers’ strategies for working effectively with second language learners in the elementary school mainstream classroom. Retrieved from Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Dissertations/Theses - Practicum Papers. (ED 348865)
Fernandez, G., (1992). Teaching enrichment strategies of limited English proficient students in elementary grades. Retrieved from Dissertations/Theses - Practicum Papers. (ED352845)
MacGrath, M., (2005). Beyond behavior management: manage or motivate?: Education review, 19 (1), 57-64
Marulanda, Z., (2010). Benefits of social and emotional learning in challenging schools 1: Social and emotional learning strategies to support students in challenging schools. Retrieved from Online Submission, Master's Thesis, Dominican University of California. (ED509463)
Savignon, S.,(2002). Interpreting Communicative Language Teaching : Contexts and Concerns in Teacher Education. New Haven, CT, US: Yale University Press
Teaching diverse learners: Oral language, (2006). Retrieved on October 7th, 2011, from http://www.alliance.brown.edu/tdl/elemlit/orallanguage.shtml
Teaching speaking: Strategies for developing speaking skills, (2004). Retrieved on September 25th, 2011, from http://www.nclrc.org/essentials/speaking/stratspeak.htm
The teaching center: Increasing student participation, (2009). Retrieved on September 25th, 2011, from http://teachingcenter.wustl.edu/increasing-student-participation
Zhang, Y., (2007). Communication Strategies and Foreign Language Learning,: US-China foreign language, 5 (4), 43-48.
- Schedule (design, method, and writing paper)
- Method: last days of September
- Writing paper: I will start writing the paper on September and finish it on november
- Data collection: the last weeks of sepetember
- Design instruments: September 22nd
- This is just a reminder to refer to this video before emailing me your final draft. If you have any questions about APA, come by my office.--Bnleez 21:59, 8 December 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.