Action Research Template

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The following template may be used for your action research:

Context of the Problem

Education is one of the most important processes in the development of human beings. Education has implications that must be taken into consideration in the learning process of students; in that process students acquire different abilities and skills that will be helpful for them the rest of their lives. It is noticeable that students with special or different needs are in disadvantage from the rest of their classmates if teachers do not use the appropriate strategies and methodologies to help them to learn the same topics in a different way. The idea of using certain strategies would encourage those students to feel part of the class as if they were regular students (by regular I mean students with no disabilities); in this way, students would obtain benefits in their education process such as being part of the class. For those reasons, teachers must find an appropriate way to integrate students with learning disabilities in their classes as if they were students with a standard learning process. There are several strategies that teachers should apply to achieve this objective. Those strategies must be used according to the educational level, students’ profile, age, needs, among others.

What type of problems will teachers face while teaching a group with students that have learning disabilities?

What will be the best strategies to integrate appropriately this kind of students? How will teachers manage this problem?
What kind of activities will teachers provide for students with learning disabilities?

The participants in this research are teachers from Elementary schools. This action research was based on the answers provided by 5 teachers (3 are female and 2 male) that are teaching English in groups that have at least one case of students with learning disabilities. These teachers have faced this problem since years ago. The purpose of the instrument was to collect their opinions about what strategies are really useful to integrate this kind of students as part of the group. They teach in each group 3 hours per week. The cases were detected by professionals that are in charge of following their particular situation. Professionals also give advices to other teachers (English, Arts, Physical Education and computers) of how to apply certain strategies that should help to the development of their studies. The purpose of these professionals is to integrate those type of students in the group as part of it.

First of all, it is very important to define what a strategy is. Strategy refers to how knowledge and understanding are formed and organized. According to the Cambridge dictionary online, a strategy is a detailed plan for achieving success in the learning process of students. (Cambridge University Press, 2011). The main objective of education is to form students capable of being integrated in the society in a successful way. That is the reason why all the students in a classroom must have the same opportunities to learn and practice the language, it does not matter if they have learning disabilities or not. The function of an English teacher is to create an environment in which students feel free to learn according to their learning style and abilities. According to DeFalco, education is the role of the teacher and that includes teaching students with different or special needs. In our days, a high amount of students in Elementary schools around the country have special needs. The real problem is that some teachers never notice that they are teaching students with different ways to learn and they pretend to teach them as if they were equal to the rest of the group. In Addition, applying new methodologies help teachers to satisfy students´ needs successfully. Those are the reasons why some experts have made research about this controversial topic. The use of new methodologies has helped teachers to incorporate different techniques for special education that have been helped students to obtain benefits in their learning process. Nowadays, teaching a second language has been incorporated to the subjects that students have to take. Thanks to the knowledge of learning processes in elementary education, and to experiences with this process, it was found a problem or disadvantage to integrate students with special needs in a second language class. Students with special needs are in disadvantage from the rest of their classmates. The intention of this research is to find the most appropriate strategies that would help students to learn a second language without problems and to learn in the same way that the rest of students do. Teaching techniques are also important when teaching a second language. Some pedagogical procedures came from psychological theories. For example, programmed teaching was developed by the learning theory of Skinner in 1961, and the techniques of mental conflict for the exhibition of social materials of study are based on the mental evolutionary models of the cognitive development that Piaget talks about. (Johnson,1979). In the other hand, numerous pedagogical techniques consider simply “what everyone thinks that must work well” (Harré, 1990). Obviously, this research is not only useful for English teachers; it also helps to general teachers that work with students that face this situation.

Method and Materials

It is a mixed research in which the participants are teachers of first graders of a public school. This research is based on theoretical information from other authors and at the same time it is based on two cases that exist in this grade. The participants are teachers of students with learning disabilities and also they present language problems and other learning disabilities such as short-sightedness, astigmatism, blindness, position, displacement, lack of coordination, mutism, aphasia, delayed language, nasal voice, and stutter. The instrument was designed to obtain information about the type of strategies that English and general teachers in elementary school would use. Also to know if teachers are really conscious of the educative types of special needs that can be found in a real English classroom. In addition, the instrument will be applied to promote the integration of children that face learning disabilities problems in their educational process. The instrument will be helpful for knowing different opinions and suggestions about the strategies that can be applied in this kind of situations for students to succeed in their academic lives. This research will focused on English teachers that are working with elementary school students that show learning disabilities. The participant teachers will answer an instrument that explores what kind of disabilities students present. The teachers that will be interviewed have experience working with these kind of students. All the teachers interviewed have taught students with learning disabilities. Learning a second language is never easy; learning English is a hard process for students with learning disabilities because it involves the use of voice and language, psychomotor abilities and mental processes. The instrument will be applied to 5 English teachers that have experience teaching these kind of students. The instrument will help to analyze the most common strategies that they use to integrate students with learning disabilities in the class. Also the research will be supported by personal interviews with teachers that should share important information related to the main topic of this research. The intended teachers to be interviewed have different periods of time facing this problem in their classrooms. This research will measure some variables that would help to find out the most appropriate strategies to be used when teaching students with learning disabilities. The aspects that will be taken into consideration are the following: the use of body language, use of audiovisual material, applying Listening activities, use of Choral repetition, Individual repetition, and Substitution. Those variables are strategies that can be applied while teaching students with special needs. The intention of this research is to interview teachers to know what kind of strategies they use and at the same time, to apply some examples of exercises that were designed to work with students that show any type of learning disability. It is important to take into account that the integration of children with problems of learning disabilities to schools is very important because it must manage an adaptation in a group or a community to obtain positive results when teaching children with different needs and not only to the common ones; also it helps children to feel comfortable in their own learning process. Those children must feel supported by their teachers in order for them to succeed in their mental processes when learning a second language.

Results and Data Analysis

GENDER AND AGE OF THE INTERVIEWED TEACHERS. The results of the applied surveys showed that 60% of the teachers are female and 40% of the teachers are male. This demonstrates that there are more female English teachers than men working with students that present any type of learning disabilities. The applied surveys to the English teachers in elementary Education showed that all of them are from 22 and 27 years old. One of teachers interviewed is 23 years old, two teachers are 24 and the rest 27 respectively. The following charts show that information: Statistics

gender Valid 5

	Missing	0


	Frequency	Percent	Valid Percent	Cumulative Percent
	female	3	60,0	60,0	60,0
	male	2	40,0	40,0	100,0
	Total	5	100,0	100,0	 

YEARS TEACHING ENGLISH AND STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES. The results of the interviewed teachers showed that 100% of them are in average from one to five years teaching English at Primary school. They have taught students with learning disabilities through their experience teaching a second language. They said that teaching this type of students is never easy because it was noticeable that they mentioned that sometimes they do not which strategies are the most appropriate to teach this kind of students. Descriptive Statistics

	N	Minimum	Maximum	Mean	Std. Deviation

years teaching 5 1 5 2,80 1,643 Valid N (listwise) 5

The mean of the survey was 2.80 and the standard deviation was 1.643. The minimum experience that teachers had was one year and the maximum was 5 years. One of the teachers had 1 year of experience teaching this type of students, two teachers had 2 years of experience, one of them had 4 years and the last one had 5 years of experience working with students with learning disabilities.


	Frequency	Percent	Valid Percent	Cumulative Percent
	one year	1	20,0	20,0	20,0
	two years	2	40,0	40,0	60,0
	four years	1	20,0	20,0	80,0
	five years	1	20,0	20,0	100,0
	Total	5	100,0	100,0	 

STRATEGIES THAT CAN BE APPLIED. 1. Body language 80% of the survey ones reported that they use body language as strategy of education most frequently in the English class. In the other hand, 20% do not consider important this strategy. 2. Audiovisual material 100% reported that one of the used strategies of education most frequently in class is the use of audio-visual material. 3. Listening activities 80% reported that the use of listening activities helps students with learning disabilities. 20% do not think the same. 4. Choral repetition 100% of the teachers think that choral repetition is a great strategy to promote students’ participation and let them learn in a meaningful way. 5. Individual repetition 80 % of the participants said that this kind of drilling activity is a good one. The rest do not think the same. 6. Substitution Only 40% of the interviewed teachers think that substitution words are useful to integrate all kind of people in the same class. Talking about the total number of interviewed teachers, we can conclude that 80% of the teachers have students with learning disabilities; that means that they have faced this common problem. The 20% does not have children with these characteristics at the moment. 20 percent reported 3 cases about children with learning disabilities at least. The 20 percent reported 2 cases; the 20% reported 4 cases; 20% 6 cases and the last teacher that represents the last 20% reported that this scholar year is not working with students with special needs.


The behaviorism since the point of view of Skinner explains that the learning of a second language is carried out thanks to the formation of learning habits that are based on ideas of stimulus and answer. Learning a second language is defined as the process to acquire a language when one has already been obtained. Several approaches focused to the education of a second language exist. From the behaviorist point of view of Skinner, learning a second language occurs by a formation of habits, and the behavior is based on the stimuli answer, this focused on the learning of a second language implies to change the habits that have been learned in the maternal language by other different ones. In the same way this is only to change the conduct by means the reinforcement or are verbal or with some type of incentive. That is the reason why the majority of the schools that offer an education of a second language use this type of techniques in order for them to reinforce the learning process in children (Last consultation in November 2010: Within the same page it is clear the appointment of Chomsky in which it explains that learning a language not only is by the exhibition that people had with the language, also it is by the structure of the same. This talks about how children must be able to use complex and simple structures when using the language. Chomsky argued that the difficulty of the learning of a second language was by its structure since said that the children could not use so complex structures with the little information of the examples that around handled to his (Last consultation in November 2010: Finally, also it mentions Piaget’s idea that says that the language is a manifestation of general ability that human beings have to communicate to each other. Within the psychological scope Piaget said that the language is a general manifestation of the own ability that human beings realize symbolic representations and that this ability is acquired within the mental development this way was not necessary to count on a special ability to learn a second language (Last consultation in November 2011: Lately, diverse types of education have been applied based on the use of computers. This has been very useful since there exist a high amount of software for education as second language and it brings a great benefit to which they want to learn. This leaves aside the traditional systems of education of English; that were based on the learning of grammar rules; nevertheless this does not mean that the learning of the grammar no longer is something necessary; but “that the study of this give to the knowledge base that with time are included/understood and put into practice” (Malavé 1998). The integration of children with problems of learning disabilities to schools is very important because it must manage an adaptation in a group or a community to obtain the successful satisfaction of teaching children with different needs to the common ones; also it helps children to feel well satisfied with their own learning process. Thanks to the elaboration of this research it was possible to consider different aspects that are very important when deciding which strategies are helpful to teach in a meaningful way to all kind of students. Also, when trying to understand the special education and to apply educational techniques in the learning process of a second language. This investigation mainly provided the required theory to have a better understanding of students needs and its different special educative capacities, in which the teacher has an interaction when teaching; and in this way is obtained an integration of the same atmosphere; in background thanks to this investigation I could design an instrument to collect data that helped me to identify the strategies that English teachers must use and as they consider appropriate for the students with Special Educative Needs. The theory that bases this investigation was totally related to the application of surveys since it was possible to be observed that the interviewed teachers agreed in the integration of the students with NEE besides guessing right with the majority of the strategies that are used in the learning of a second language. During the analysis of the results I realized that exist enough teachers of English which they do not notice the different types of deficiencies that can appear in the children with special educative needs. Therefore, we can say that some teachers do not have qualification to deal with students that have this problem. The hypotheses realized for this investigation were fulfilled; since the teachers provided important information to know the most common and useful strategies for teachers to deal with this situation. This topic must be useful to promote the use of different strategies to integrate those students in the learning process of a second language as part of the same class. Those strategies are used depending widely on the type of Educative Necessity that each student has. Some of the limitations that I could find in this investigation were that the English teachers in elementary education are not specialized in Special Educative Needs or they do not have the knowledge of them; for that reason many teachers never pay attention to the real needs of their students. This is a serious problem because those teachers maybe do not integrate students with special needs appropriately. Applying appropriate strategies facilitates the learning process for students and at the same time, the teaching process for the mentor. In Addition, applying new methodologies help teachers to satisfy students´ needs successfully and to develop their abilities and it promotes students participation in the seen topics in class. It is important to know that for applying methodologies and strategies must be based on identifying the type of learning disability that each student has. There are no equal students; that is the reason why the teacher task must be based on the students’ needs of the group.


DeFalco, L. (2011). Integrating the Secondary School Foreign Language Classroom through Multiple Learning. SUNY Oswego: EDU 520

Albus, D., Shyyan, V., & Thurlow, M. L. (2006). Online Survey on instructional strategies for English language learners with disabilities (ELLs with Disabilities Report 13). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.


Capitulo II: Enseñanza de un Segundo Idioma. Retrieved on November 28th, 2011. From: http//

Nuhan, N (1987). Learning Strategies. Editorial McGrawHill: USA.



  • 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 22:03, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Add your references. --Bnleez 13:07, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Avoid subheadings in your Context of the Problem section but do include subheadings in your Method section. --Bnleez 15:03, 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.