BENEMERITA UNIVERSIDAD AUTONOMA DE
FACULTAD DE LENGUAS MODERNAS
Reactions and Learning Impact of Visual Material on 6th
graders in a Public
School: A Classroom Reflective Approach.
A thesis submitted to the School of Languages for the degree of
Licenciatura en Lenguas Modernas
Angel David Garcia Ortega
Rocío Jiménez Rodríguez
2.3 Principles of Language Teaching 7
2.4 EFL Approaches, Methods and Techniques 8
2.8.1 Content-Based Instruction 14
2.8.2 Task-Based Instruction 15
2.8.3 Participatory Approach 15
2.9 Learning English at Elementary School 15 2.9.1 Children‟s Ability to Grasp Meaning 17 2.9.2 Children‟s Capacity for Indirect Learning 18 2.10 Elementary Students Learning English in Mexico 18 2.11 Conditions of Teaching and Learning English 21
2.12 Selecting Materials 22
2.13 Adopting Materials 23
2.14 Adapting Materials 23
2.15 Designing Materials 26
2.16 Visual Materials for Teaching English to Children 27
2.17 Types of visual materials 28
2.17.1 Flashcards 28
2.17.2 Drawings 29
2.17.3 Work cards and Worksheets 30
2.17.4 Whiteboard and Chalkboard 31
2.17.5 Wall Pictures and Wall Posters 31
2.18 The Reflective Approach in ELT 32
Chapter III: Methodology
3.0 Introduction 34
3.1 Context 34
3.2 Instrument 35
3.3 Procedure to Collect the Data 35
Chapter IV: Results
4.0 Introduction 36
4.1 Research Questions 36
4.2 Reactions Sixth Graders towards Supporting Visual Materials 36 4.3 The Impact of Visual Materials on 6th Graders Learning 42
4.4 The Use and the Impact of Visual Materials and
Our Professional Development 47
4.5 David‟s Reflection (the teacher) 47
4.6 Rocío‟s Reflection (the observer) 48
Chapter V: Conclusions
5.0 Introduction 49
5.1 Conclusions 49
5.2 Implications for Our Teaching Practice and Other Teachers 51
5.3 Limitations of the Study 52
5.4 Directions for further Research 53
Appendix A: Observations 54
Appendix B: Syllabus 65
The purpose of this research was to describe the outcomes that visual materials produced on 6th graders in a public primary school. Visual materials are a high-quality tool to teach English to children. Teachers can use them as a guide, taking into account the way they can design, adapt and exploit visual materials. This research was based on classroom observations to collect the data. The first step of this research was to observe five classes. The observer wrote the students‟
reactions and learning impact when the teacher used visual material. The second step was to collect the classroom observations, commented and added details on what we did not take into account when we were doing our correspondent duties. The final step was to make a reflection on how the teacher and the observer used the experience of using visual material; this to improve our teaching practice. This research provided valuable information regarding the students‟ reactions and learning impact. We noticed that children‟s reactions differ from other students when the
material were presented, based on the results some children responded in different ways towards what the teacher used during the class. Learning impact played a very important role in this research because visual material made quite an impact on students. Visual materials are an important tool to teach English with children who have a first contact with English because it facilitates students‟ leaning and the class was more attractive and interesting to catch students‟
Le Doy gracias a Dios por impulsarme a seguir adelante haciendo a un lado los tropiezos. Gracias a él he alcanzado una de mis metas, concluir los estudios de la licenciatura en lenguas modernas.
Quiero dedicar esta tesis a mis padres, por haber guiado con amor y dedicación mi educación; gracias por sus desvelos, esfuerzo y tiempo, pero sobre todo por entregarme la mejor de las herencias: mi estudio. A cada uno de mis hermanos por apoyarme y escucharme siempre.
A mi compañera de tesis y amiga, Rocío Jiménez Rodríguez, por ser parte de este proyecto, por su apoyo, dedicación, ayuda incondicional y sobre todo la paciencia que me tuvo a lo largo de esta investigación.
A una persona muy valiosa, Cristel Ballinas Sandoval, a quien conocí en la universidad y se volvió una gran amiga; por los momentos inolvidables que compartimos en la facultad, por sus consejos y apoyo incondicional.
Con todo mi cariño y mi amor para las personas más importantes en mi vida que hicieron todo en la vida para que yo pudiera lograr mis sueños, por motivarme y darme la mano cuando sentía que el camino se terminaba, a ustedes por siempre mi corazón y mi agradecimiento.
Gracias a esas personas importantes en mi vida, que siempre estuvieron listas para brindarme toda su ayuda, ahora me toca regresar un poquito de todo lo inmenso que me han otorgado. Con todo mi cariño está tesis se las dedico a ustedes:
Dulce (mi hermana)
We want to thank you M.A. Leticia Estudillo León to support this research as well as your valuable time, effort, dedication and patience. We are very grateful because you always motivated us to finish this project. You became a special person in the professional aspect and in the personal one.
We are also grateful to M.A. Martha Ofelia Ortega Vergara to be part of this project, and your advice was very useful to improve this work. Thank you for taking your time to read it. Professor
M.A. Blanca Estela Flores Martinez thanks to accept being part of this project and to enhance in all aspects this work and thank you for reading this thesis.
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
In today World English is an essential language for everybody to communicate because it has spread all over the world. For that reason, it has been implemented in primary schools in order to make children become familiar with English language. Ramírez, Pamplón, & Cota (2012) explained that most states in Mexican Republic have an English program with almost the same similarities but they differ from methodologies in teaching, approaches, curriculum, hours per class, educational material, among other aspects (as cited in PNIEB, 2009; Davies, 2009; Castañedo and Davies: 2004, p.1)
Teaching English at primary level as a foreign language is sometimes boring and uninteresting for some children because it is explained and taught only through grammatical rules. That is why they are not very interested in learning it because the lessons are occasionally passive and tedious. This may be because some teachers do not have enough experience in teaching English to children particularly. Another reason is because there is a lack of training and some teachers do not have a degree to prove their English level or they do not have enough material resources Davies (2011) That is why they only based their teaching on a book (Ramirez et al., 2012) Thus, the fundamental part of this research is to focus on visual materials teachers use in the classroom when teaching English with the intention of analyzing the reactions and the impact that visual materials have on 6th graders.
learn vocabulary easily and they can discover grammatical rules by using attractive materials in the lessons. According to Feunteun (1995) young children learn much about the written word long before they have formal reading and writing activities at school. We think that most children learn easier through the sight because they keep in mind images for a long period of time. Another main aspect is that they enjoy what they are learning when they discover things by means of certain images they observe. Therefore one of the main objectives is to make children take pleasure in the learning English process, perceiving the language as an indispensable and necessary tool. So, they can benefit themselves in the following levels of their education.
In this research we will focus on primary6th graders because we want them to learn English. Although they do not use it outside the classroom, we want them to have knowledge about English. According to Gebhard (2009), in EFL settings there are fewer chances for students to use English outside the classroom. For that reason, we wish to motivate children to practice the English language outside the classroom.
Visual materials area a high-quality tool to teach English to children, teachers can use them as a guide, taking into account the way they can design, adapt and exploit them because children lose attention easily if the materials are not attractive for them. Visual materials are difficult to create as they have to be imaginative, eye-catching and good-looking.
have creative and attractive materials that can be useful for children in order to catch their attention.
Visual material plays a very important role in the classroom because it makes the teaching process more forthcoming, appealing and effective. However, some teachers do not take advantage of visual material to the full. Also, there is a problem when deciding which techniques to use. (Haleem & Wright, 1992)
1.1 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this research is to describe the outcomes that visual materials produce on6th graders at Primaria Oficial Profesor Rafel Aguila Rosas.
1.2 Research questions
This investigation sets out to answer the following research questions.
1. What are the responses that 6th graders have towards using visual materials as a support in the English class?
2. What is the impact of visual materials on 6th graders learning?
3. How the use and the impact of visual materials enhanced our professional development?
1.3 Significance of the study
The materials in which we are primarily interested are visual materials which teachers employ to teach English and catch learners‟ attention to acquire vocabulary and
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
Teaching English to children by using visual materials is significant for the ELT community. Tomlinson (1998) defines materials as “anything which is used to help to teach language learners.” Thus, we have to take into account children‟s age, interest, and aptitudes in
order to select, adapt, and design materials to teach the language so that they can learn it in a fun, interesting and entertaining way.
It is essential to have a curriculum in each elementary school and be familiar with it in order to know its content and objectives. Therefore, a syllabus plays an important role because it is a guide for teachers to teach the content. However, there is a difference between curriculum and syllabus according to the British sense. White (1998) states that „syllabus‟ “refers to the content or subject matter of an individual subject” while „curriculum „“refers to the totally of
content to be taught and aims to be realized within one school or educational system.” (p.4) In the USA „curriculum‟ is likely a synonymous of „syllabus‟ in the British meaning. There are
some other definitions of curriculum which vary depending on the point of view of some authors. White (1998) is based on three definitions of curriculum and he says that it may be viewed as “the programme of activities … the course to be run by pupils in being educated”(Hirst, 1969;
definition that in a few words exemplifies this distinction as “the difference between a plan of a house or a journey and the house or the journey” (Sockett, 1976; cited in White, 1998, p.22)
In view of the house metaphor, curriculum can be seen as one or three perspectives. The first view is a plan that demonstrates a matter of objectives and content. The second one is the construction of a system that includes methods to the model. The goals and the ends are accomplished by means of the methods. The third standpoint is the dwelling that refers to the evaluation seen as feedback. White (1998 p.5).
As it was mentioned previously, there is a distinction between syllabus and curriculum. There were some definitions about what a syllabus is. Despite such variety in the outline of the document, (Brumfit, 1984; cited in White, 1998, p.3) summarizes what a syllabus is as follows:
1. A syllabus is “the specification of the work of a particular department in a school or college, organized in subsections defining the work of a particular group or class. 2. It is often linked to time, and will specify points and ultimate goal.
3. It is a document of administrative convenience and will only be partly justified on theoretical grounds and so is negotiable and adjustable.
4. It can only specify what is taught; it cannot organize what is learnt. 5. It is a public document and an expression of accountability.”
2.3 Principles of Language Teaching
Larsen-Freeman (2000) uses the term principles to refer to “the thoughts in language teaching.” She stands for thoughts to involve beliefs, attitudes, values and awareness as well. It is
significant to attach importance to methods which relate thoughts and actions for the reason that teaching is not completely about one or the other. As teachers of languages, we are concerned about our students‟ learning, the way they become skilled at the English language, our subject
matter, all of the things that have to do with culture, the attention we have with our students and the way we help them gain knowledge of English. According to Larsen-Freeman (2000) it is very necessary for us to become conscious of the beliefs and ideas that guide our actions in the classroom.
Nation & Macalister (2010) say that today a very small number of teachers or researchers follow any specific method or approach during the teaching language process. In addition, they state that to follow any specific method or approach is a reasonable source to lead teaching and to facilitate the design of courses support on principles. Teachers are required to follow a line of investigation and theory and sufficient to permit variety and flexibility in their use to be appropriate in the conditions in which language is taught. The following twenty principles are the ones teachers are based on.
Content and sequencing
Strategies and autonomy
Keep moving forward
Format and presentation
Time on task
Depth of processing
Monitoring and assessment
Ongoing needs and environment analysis
2.4 ELT Approaches, Methods and Techniques
the school. Methods seem to be rested on diverse views of what language is and the way it is taught and learned.
Richards & Rodgers (2001) make clear the distinction between the philosophy of language teaching at the rank of theory and principles, and a set of procedures to teach a language. They are based on the applied linguist Edward Anthony who recognized three levels of conceptualization and organization in 1963. These levels are named approach, method and technique. In Richards & Rodgers book they use the definition that Edward Anthony described.
Method is “an overall plan for the orderly presentation of language material, no part of which
contradicts, and all of which is based upon, the selected approach. An approach is axiomatic, a method is procedural and within one approach, there can be many methods.” The definitions for approach and technique will be defined later.
Richards & Rodgers (2001, pp.16-17) include a definition of approach following Edward Anthony description and refers to “theories about the nature of language and language learning that serve as the source of practices and principles in language teaching.” This means that
approach is the level at which assumptions and beliefs about language learning are specified.
The second view of language is the functional view “language is a vehicle for the expression of functional meaning. This assumption gives emphasis to the semantic and communicative aspect instead of grammatical features of language. It follows a specification and organization of language teaching content through groups of meaning and function.
The third view is named the interactional view. It sees language “as a vehicle for the realization of interpersonal relations and for the performance of social transactions between individuals.” Language is perceived as an instrument for the creation and keeps in good
conditions the social relations. This theory is centered on the patterns of move, acts, negotiation, and interaction discovered in conversational exchanges.
There are methods that are developed mainly from a theory of language learning. A learning theory is the basis of an approach or method acts in respond to two issues: psycholinguistic and cognitive processes involved in language learning and the conditions for these learning processes to be activated. Process-oriented theories develop learning process such as habit formation, induction, inferencing, hypothesis testing and generalization. Conditions-oriented theories highlight the nature of the human and physical situations in which language learning occurs (Richards & Rodgers, 2001)
stratagem, or contrivance used to accomplish an immediate objective. Techniques must be consistent with a method, and therefore in harmony with an approach as well.” This means that
technique is the use of any extensive selection of exercises, activities, or tasks in the classroom in order to realize lessons objectives. (As cited Anthony 1963:63-7)
Methods are a description of the procedures that a teacher follows in the classroom. The following section is an overview of the methods taken from Larsen-Freeman (2000). The methods described are the grammar translation method, the audio lingual method, the silent way, desuggestopedia (suggestopedia), total physical response and communicative language teaching.
2.7.1The Grammar-Translation Method
This method was named the Classical Method because Latin was taught by means of it. The purpose of this method was to make students learn the grammar of the target language by putting words together. This also meant memorizing vocabulary, written exercises and the use of translations of texts. There was little attention to pronunciation. Students would also become familiar with their mother tongue and were expected to speak and write their native language much better.
meanings much better. In this method, right pronunciation was highlighted. Students worked on their oral skills by asking and answering questions. Besides, students were asked to think in the target language.
2.7.3The Audio-Lingual Method
This method had their principles based on linguistics and psychology. This was because of the way to acquire sentence patterns by supporting conditioning to make the target language easy to learn. In this case the language is presented in conversation forms. Teacher mimics the dialogue correctly and structural patterns are taught by repeating drills as necessary so that students can do it in the same way. Teacher also pays close attention to the errors committed by students and those errors are corrected immediately.
2.7.4 The Silent Way
Caleb Gattegno was the creator of this method. Teacher uses vocabulary charts, color-coded pronunciation and colored rods. The name of this method is due to the fact that the teacher remains silent most of the time and he only speaks if necessary. Students help each other and they are in charge of their own learning.
to master remarkable list of vocabulary and the objective is that they understand not memorize. They practice questions and answers, role-plays and listening exercises and if they make a mistake, they are corrected gently.
2.7.6 Total Physical Response
James Asher was the developer of Total Physical Response (TPR). The purpose of this method is the use of commands without any translation. The teacher gives orders that students have to perform by moving their bodies. That way, students understand first before they produce. When students feel ready, they start speaking. The teacher has to be patient and tolerant because students are expected to make mistakes at first. The target language should be presented in large pieces instead of saying word by word.
teacher and students and among students is of trust, support and cooperation. Learning is dynamic and creative which implies learning is a living and developmental process.
2.7.8 Communicative-Language Teaching
This method involves “authentic language” This means that the language used in the
lessons is meaningful in real context. The objective of this method is to make students involved in the process of communication. They share, interact, express ideas and opinions and discuss in order to agree with meanings in groups to make best use of communicative practice they are given. The role of the teacher is to be a facilitator and advisor during the activities. The most important thing is that communicative interaction makes students be willing to work together and create a good relationship among them.
2.8 Later approaches in ELT.
Larsen-Freeman (2000) mentions three approaches that make communication central: content-based instruction, task-based instruction, and the participatory approach. In the following paragraphs a brief description of each approach is presented.
2.8.1 Content-Based Instruction
2.8.2 Task-Based Instruction
Task-Based Instruction intends to offer students natural context for language use. In this case, they have a great opportunity of interaction. This interaction makes language acquisition easier for students to understand each other and they are able to express their own ideas. They also have to make sure if they have understood correctly and look for clarification. Students are given different tasks in order to achieve them.
2.8.3 Participatory Approach
Participatory Approach is in some ways similar to the content-based approach. The difference is the nature of the content in the participatory approach. The content is supported on subjects of concern to learners. The main objective of the participatory approach is to assist learners to comprehend the social, historical, or cultural forces that have an effect on their lives. This allows students take action and make decisions to get control on their lives.
2.9 Learning English at elementary school
Childhood is the best stage to learn any language because children love discovering new things and become skillful to fulfill anything they are interested in. Harmer (1997) says that “children are curious, and this in itself is motivating.”(p.7) It means that they are regularly
questioning why things happen which makes them show interest when they discover something new. They need to be given different types of activities in order to be active for a certain period of time because they lose interest on the things easily. That way their curiosity is being stimulated. They also need their teacher‟s approval about the activities they are doing as well as
Studies have hypothesized that children learn a foreign language better than adults. The Critical Period hypothesis states that “children can learn a second language because children‟s brain is able to use mechanisms that assisted first language acquisition.” (Cameron, 2002, p.13)
Children learn a language in a different way to adults. Bransford (2000) establishes “learning is important because no one is born with the ability to function competently as an adult in society.”(p.51).For that reason, it can be said that children are able to learn English if they are
taught with designed methods in order to know what they can do according to their abilities.
Children learn a language easily by means of games, songs, activities they have to perform, and when they are given the opportunity to discover things. That way they can be in contact with the language and enjoy. Scott & Ytreberg (1997) state that children are willing to learn, they also are keen on playing alone or with someone else as well as when they enjoy what they are doing.
Moreover, Bransford (2000) explains four major areas of research in studying young children‟s learning capacities. The first one „early predisposition to learn about some things but no others‟, this refers to the capacity and facility children have to learn things easily. The second one „strategies and meta cognition‟ makes reference to the determination and effort they show to improve and develop their competence of learning. The third one „theories of mind‟ which means
2.9.1 Children’s ability to grasp meaning
Halliwell (1998) states “young children do not come to the language classroom empty-handed. They bring with them an already well-established set of instincts, skills, and characteristics which will help them to learn another language.” (p.3). For instance, children are
able to infer meanings without understanding individual words. They are magnificent observers and take pleasure in discovering and making fun on what they do. This means that they have a wide imagination to create lots of things in their minds. They regularly learn indirectly rather than directly.
2.9.2 Children’s Capacity for Indirect Learning
Halliwell (1998) says “guessing is actually a very powerful way of learning phrases and structures, but it is indirect because the mind is engaged with the task and is not focusing on the language.” (p.5).This process is related to the way our mother tongue is developed. It is acquired
by means of exposure and use.Guessing phrases or words are activities which involve this indirect learning because children give all their attention to try to guess right rather than trying to learn phrases.
Human beings have something of both direct learning (conscious) and indirect learning (subconscious). It will be certain of a mixture of circumstances, temperament and intellectual development whether we are likely to use one or the other. Direct learning works on accuracy while indirect learning works on fluent use. Teachers have to take into account that some children will be more inclined to operate in one system than in the other. When teachers establish any kind of activities, they have to bear in mind which system they are trying to use according to what children are asked to do. (Halliwell, 1998. p.5)
2.10 Elementary students Learning English in Mexico
Brewster et al., (1992) state that “pressure to introduce early English learning has often come from parents who strongly believe that having English as a tool will benefit their children by giving them more opportunities to gain economic, cultural or educational advantages.”
It is important to point out that the government in Puebla, Mexico has partially introduced English at public primary level at present, so that children can have knowledge of that language earlier in life. That is the reason that some parents agree with that idea of teaching English to their children because they perceive it as support and advantage for their education.
Children at this level learn English because it is stated in the school curriculum Harmer (1997). They are not asked if they want to study the language, they have to do it because it is a requirement on behalf of the school. But they are some children who are interested in learning English because they had taken extra courses in private institutions. They also start having contact with the language due to the influence of the media, for example, video games, cartoons, comics, movies and even songs they like.
Harmer (1997) says that “some students study a foreign language because they are attracted to the culture of the target language community” (p. 2). They are fascinated in knowing
more about places where people speak English, the way of living there, and the chances they can have to travel in order for them to practice what they know about the language or how can they learn more of it.
express in a different language. In Cameron´s words (2002) the first point to be made is that if children are to talk meaningfully in foreign language classrooms, they must have something they want to say. For that reason, it is important that the teacher presents the topics with well-designed material and attractive to catch their attention and make them like English even more.
Today, English is studied by younger learners in public schools because of the trend that has been proposed to them (Gebhard, 2009) Teachers have to take into account several aspects when teaching English; such as the type of method, materials, arrangement, and timing among other things they are going to use in their lessons in order to have a satisfactory class, and the objective of the lesson can be achieved. While there are some teacher who try to make more dynamic lessons and put into action varied activities, other teacher only use failure activities. Another trouble in the English teaching primary setting is that some teachers use too much Spanish and translate everything from English to their mother tongue which makes children‟s learning be less successful (Ramírez et al., 2012).
Gebhard (2009,p.42) states “English is presently taught to EFL students in public schools worldwide, and in recent years the trend has been to offer English to younger and younger students”.
2.11 Conditions of Teaching and Learning English
Cameron (2002) says that, “Children are often more enthusiastic and lively as learners when they are learning a foreign language. They want to please the teacher rather than their peer group. They will have a go at an activity even when they do not quite understand why or how. However, they also lose interest more quickly and are less able to keep themselves motivated on tasks they find difficult.” (p.1). Children do not feel ashamed when they make a mistake as adult
learners do because they have more confidence in themselves and they are even more susceptible to have a better accent. It is essential to mention that children learn according to circumstances that surround teaching and the background they have. It is crucial to talk about theories and researches relevant to children‟s language learning.
As it is said by Davies (2011), teaching English as a foreign language is now one of the most important subjects in most public primary schools. One of the issues to consider is the amount of time given to teach the language. In private schools there are more hours in the teaching of English than in public schools. English is taught three hours per week in public schools and it is not enough time so that children have good learning. In contrast, the result in the development of English level in private schools tends to be better. This is because learners are organized according to their level of English no matter their age or the elementary grade they are in and the number of students in each classroom is reduced.
gain communicative competence. For instance, other EFL teachers give more opportunities for students to be involved in interacting with and in English.
In Cameron´s words (2002), Developing foreign language resources and skills occurs through the building of vocabulary and supporting the development of discourse abilities. Learners need to notice that details of how foreign language works, from the inside of words up to the large units of stories or descriptions. They need to incorporate this knowledge through use, and to be able the knowledge in their own communication (p. 242)
2.12 Selecting Materials
There are lots of sources where teacher can select materials that can be useful and realistic for them to teach English to children. Brewster (1992) states that teachers have to be familiar with materials before selecting them and they have to know the aims
Course books are the most common source in which teachers can obtain materials for teaching English but they need more variety in order to complement their lessons. For instance, they can make use of songs, rhymes, games, storybooks, flashcards, as well as the internet where they can find a great diversity of materials to be used in the classroom to introduce new vocabulary and grammar points. On the other hand, Brewster (1992) says that teachers can also create their own materials if they have enough time to do it in order to provide more variety to the lesson.
Tomlinson (1998) also states that impact is achieved when materials have a noticeable effect on learners that is when the learners‟ curiosity, interest and attention are attracted. If these effects are achieved there is a better chance that some of the language in the materials will be taken in for processing. (p.7)
2.13 Adopting Materials
This process is the most common because teachers do not make any change in materials; they just take the material as it is found. McDonough & Shaw (1998, p82) make a distinction between adopting and adapting. They say “adaptation is a process subsequent to and depend on
adoption. Furthermore, whereas adoption is concerned with whole course books, adaptation concerns the parts that make up that whole”. Therefore, these processes work together but the
teacher takes the decision of making an adoption or adaptation, it depends on the necessity of the class and children.
2.14 Adapting Materials
“Adaptation is the process in which teachers make some changes and adjustments of some materials and/or exercises they have selected for the class” McDonough & Shaw (1998, p82).
Teachers will be the only ones who are going to make their own changes on the materials they want to use in the course group. Teachers also adapt materials to make the language easier for the students to understand better and materials can be competent of using it correctly.
learners. Most teachers adapt materials every time they use a textbook in order to maximize the value of the books for their particular learners.
According to McDonough & Shaw (1998, p. 83)“Adaptation tends to be thought of as a rather formal process in which the teacher makes a decision about, say an exercise that needs changing and then writes out a revised version for the class” There are several sources in which a
teacher can find different activities. They just adapt them for the class depending on the purpose. Most teachers adapt materials for their lessons because they save time. They also adapt material in order to vary their lessons and put into practice more than one learning style. Because students get tired and bored when they do the same in a lesson and there is no balance and any change during the lesson.
Adapting materials can help learners develop other skills. For example, they can learn grammar through visual material. In this way they are doing other types of activities instead of staying in the same seat and the arrangement can be varied.. It is essential to keep in mind what the purpose of the class is going to be in order to select and adapt materials suitable for students. For instance, teachers have to take into account reasons for adapting materials to obtain a better result in learning process. McDonough & Shaw (1998) establish that teachers have to identify the following reasons into visual material
Not enough grammar coverage in general
Not enough practice of grammar points of particular difficulty to these learners.
The communicative focus means that grammar is presented unsystematically.
Comprehension questions are too easy because the answers can be lifted directly from the
text with no real understanding.
Not enough guidance on pronunciation
Photographs and other illustrative material not culturally acceptable
Amount of material too great/too little to cover in the time all located to lessons.
Into the process of materials adaptation there are techniques that help the students learn better. These techniques are introduced briefly as follows:
Adding: The notion of addition is, on face of it, a very obvious and
straightforward idea, implying that materials are supplemented by putting more into them, while taking into account the practical effect on time collocation. We certainly can add in this simple quantitative way by the technique of extending or qualitative way by expanding.
Deleting or omitting: Deletion is clearly the opposite process to that of
addition, and as such needs no further clarification as a term. However, although material is taken out rather than supplemented, as a technique it can be thought of as the “the other
side of the same coin”. Addition and deletion often work together. Material may be taken out and then replaced with something else. Where the same kind of material is substituted as for instance one set of material pairs for another, the internal balance of lesson or the syllabus is not necessary altered.
Modifying: “Modification” at one level is a very general term in the
an exercise or other piece of material. It can be sub-divided under two related headings. The first of these is re-writing, when some of the linguistic context needs modification; the second is re-structuring, which applies to classroom management.
Re-writing is currently the most frequently stated requirement for a change
in focus and it is made to become materials more communicative. Re-structuring, for many teachers require following a coursebook rather strictly, changes in the structuring of the class are sometimes the only kind of adaptation that is realistically possible.
Simplifying: This technique is a type of modification namely a
“re-writing” activity. It is considered as a separate procedure. Many elements of a language
course can be simplified, including the instructions and explanations that accompany exercises and activities, and even the visual layout of material so that it becomes easier to see how different parts fit together.
Re-ordering: This procedure refers to the possibility of patting the parts of
a coursebook in a different order. This may mean adjusting the sequence of presentation within a unit or taking units in a different sequence from that originally intended. There are limits, of course, to scale of what teachers can do. And too many changes could result, unhelpfully, in an almost complete re-working of a course book. McDonough & Shaw (1998)
2.15 Designing Materials
children have a preference for seeing the language written, some for doing things through movements and some for hearing it. Because children have different capacities and needs to learn English, it is paramount to consider their styles to select, adapt and design materials for their learning.
Vale & Feunteun (1995) state “Young children learn much about the written word long before they have formal reading and writing activities at school. Information in the form of words and picture clues are displayed in most public places, in the home, and on television, and children soon realize that there is a close association between visual information and the spoken word.”
Children are accustomed to see images all over around they are. What they see is what they learn first. For instance, children can infer meanings by seeing images. Teachers can make use of different visual materials in the classroom such as the board, pictures, flashcards, real items, videos, and so on. These materials should be used according to students‟ level, their abilities, their attitudes, and likes.
2.16 Visual Materials for Teaching English to Children.
Visual materials are all kind of images that a teacher can use for helping children to understand the English class. As Trujillo (2004, p2) says “the teacher should use a variety of visual resources to complement their writing and their speaking”.
material should be used for an effective learning. One of the reasons is that visuals clarify the topic being taught and the second one is that visuals make learning more permanent.
ELT materials, especially books that contain illustrative images should make a considerable contribution because they help learners to develop the ability to use and acquire basic competence in learning English. Tomlinson (1998, p.6) states two main characteristics that materials should have. The first one is that “some of them are providing a rich experience of different genres and text types”. The next one is that “some of them are providing an aesthetically positive experience through the use of attractive illustration, design and illustration.”
Thus, visual materials should be carefully chosen other way children can get confused and loose the attention on the class because on it depends that children do not get confused during the class and at the same time they can catch their attention.
2.17 Types of Visual Materials
There are different types of materials that teachers can use as a tool of teaching or as a complement of class to clarify some aspects that students did not understand through the class. Children have a great necessity to be motivated by the teachers and the visual materials that they use because it is a big factor in order to obtain an effective learning (Baranowska 2013). Therefore, teachers have to deal everyday with the type of visual material they must include in their classes.
visual stimulus for learners to read, speak or write. What is more, illustrations that complement texts add extra information, which allows students to infer what does the author intend but not clearly state in them, or help to understand unknown vocabulary” Baranowska (2013). Therefore, visual materials also help students relate words to images and it is an easy way to remember the vocabulary for children.
Haleem &Wright (1992, p.51) established that “picture flash cards are pictures mounted or drawn on cards approximately 15 cm by 20 cm. They are normally used by the teacher in oral work for cueing responses to questions or in more open communicative for stimulating
conversation, story- telling, and so on. The normal picture card has a picture on one side only. However, both sides can be used and the card can be folded or cut in various ways with particular teaching purposes in mind”. As teachers we have to be careful how to make and how to use them
because they have to be very attractive and understandable for children. Haleem & Wright (1992) state that flash cards can be easy and inexpensive for the teacher to make and they can be used over and over for a period of time, also they can easy to store and carry to the classroom. They can be showed to the whole class or to a single student and they can be presented at speed time or in a slow manner.
Drawings are “diagrams, sketches, and other kinds of drawings are inexpensive to make
and can be designed to illustrate your points exactly. This more than compensates for what they may lack in realism” (Marshall, 2013).For that reason is necessary to make a good representation because children can understand easily the relation between the image and word.
In a similar way, Baranowska (2013) states that our drawings do not need to be perfect and we do not have to be very talented. The most important thing teachers have to remember while drawing on the board is that there should not be too many details in the picture. In fact, the more details we include the less visible it becomes. Our drawings should be simple and not unclear. To achieve that, we should use quite thick lines and the shape should be as suggestive of the object as possible. Although, we think that is important that the drawings are well drawn as children are too visual and retailers and can be confused and relate it to another word or image.
2.17.3 Work Cards and Worksheets
They are the type of visuals that we can treat with a wide variety of techniques. Even children can be busy in doing simple work cards containing illustrations. Furthermore, worksheets are useful for individual students‟ work or for those working in pairs or small groups.
Thanks to them, students have the chance to be more or less independently of the teacher. According to Baranowska (2013) they can be successfully used to present information different from what regular lessons contain. In other words, they contribute to variety and interest in the classroom. If we want to assure students‟ success in dealing with work cards and worksheets, we
have to remember two things:
1.” The students should understand what they have to do”
In conclusion, drawings should cover characteristics as they are drawn by the teacher or by students or taken from magazines or they can be combined with printed material or handwritten. They can be used for two purposes; presenting different information and doing different activities. Teacher can work with the whole group or individually.
2.17.4 Whiteboards and Chalkboard
These are the type of materials easier for learn vocabulary. There are two types: white and black. Each one will be briefly explained. “Whiteboards are a substitute to blackboards and are
commonly used in workshops, conferences, presentations etc. These boards are commonly used by several users on which writings, pictures and graphics can easily be drawn with the help of a marker pen and thus help in exchange of information”. (Subathra, 2012, p.42)
Also, chalkboards are found in most classrooms. They are usually black or green, cheap, easy to install and use and very adaptable. Some chalkboards are magnetized allowing pictures, word cards, and so on, to adhere to the surface if magnets are placed on top of them. Both boards have some similarities in characteristics and techniques as Haleem & Wright (1992, p5) say like the whole class can see the boards, the texts and pictures can grow in front of the class, texts and pictures can be erased, added to or substitute quickly and text or pictures on paper or card can be propped against the board, stuck to it or hung over it. Boards are widely very easy to use to teach vocabulary for children and also students can draw their pictures with their imagination and in this way children and teacher might interact and interchange ideas about drawings.
2.17.5 Wall Pictures and Wall Posters
mention that wall pictures often show a complicated scene and contain many details. On the other hand, it is the very useful of most wall pictures which make some activities so useful. Also, the whole class can see the picture and it is ready to use and can be used more than once and it can be left on display or taken down. This kind of material is very attractive for children because it has colors, images and is big but at the same time has a disadvantage because children could get confused if the posters have small pictures.
2.18 The Reflective Approach in ELT
The reflective approach (Bailey, Curtis and Nunan, 2001) is used to develop professionally; specifically, reflective teaching. According to Dewey (1933; cited in Freeman, 2001) being reflective includes three key attitudes; open mindedness, responsibility, and wholeheartedness”.
These characteristics enclose an understanding of what refection means, so they are as follows: the first characteristic “open mindedness”, implicates being strong enough to evaluate oneself without restrictions, the second characteristic “responsibility” goes beyond the duties individual
have since this concept implicates self-commitment during reflection, discovering what goes on during situations; and the third characteristic “wholehearted” encloses the self-critical at
evaluating specific situations, including students, schools and societies. Richards (1998, p.1) states that “reflection or “critical reflection”, refers to an activity or a process in which an
2.19 Professional Development
Teachers play an essential position inside classrooms. Thus, professional growth becomes imperative (Richards and Renandya, 2002). As professional development comes from teachers, it is mandatory to find ways of achieving professional goals. Similarly, Bolton (2010) advocates that “writing as a reflective practitioner can lead to professional development” Thus, writing and
reflecting about own experience on teaching and observing might lead teachers to reflect as a way of professional development.
CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
In this chapter, detailed information about the context, the instrument and the procedure in this research work are provided. The aim of this research was to describe the outcomes that visual materials produce on 6th graders. This research was carried out by using a qualitative approach. This implied five classroom observations to collect the data to answer the research questions that guide this investigation.
This research was carried out at an elementary school named Profesor Rafael Águila Rosas in Puebla, Puebla. This is a public school where the students are boys and girls. They are from low to middle socioeconomic background in sixth grade of elementary school. Their ages range from eleven to thirteen years old, and they were in two different groups “A” and “B”. The
groups are of forty to forty five students each one. This research was carried out in this school because we were doing our social service there; it is a university requirement that lasted six months. We worked with these students during six months. Few of them had previous knowledge of English because they had taken extra courses in private schools and for the rest our classes were the first contact with English.
The instrument used in this research was classroom observations. We observed five classes and we wrote the students´ reactions and the learning impact observed when the teacher (Angel) used visual materials.
3.3 Procedure to Collect the Data
CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS
In this chapter the results related to this research are presented. The results are focused on student´s reactions and learning impact on visual materials. The visual materials used were flash cards, bingo game, worksheets, and board with drawings, realia and posters. Moreover, we present our reflection on how this study has enhanced our professional development.
4.1 Research questions
1. What are the responses that 6th graders have towards supporting visual materials?
2. What is the effect of visual materials on 6th graders learning?
3. How the use and the impact of visual materials enhanced our professional development?
4.2 Reactions Sixth Graders Have towards Supporting Visual Materials
The first question was answered by observing students‟ reactions every time we presented
Table 4.1 Students Reactions towards Visual Materials
Worksheet In the last activity that was the worksheet students did not work because they said it was not enough time to do it but the teacher said: “you can work in pairs to finish more quickly”, so they
The teacher drew on the board eight boxes with a ball in each one and wrote below them the prepositions but students got confused because there were drawings that they did not understand because they said: “la pelota esta en frente o a lado
y la otra esta escondida o atras”.
The teacher drew on the board an apple, an orange, a banana and a strawberry, he wrote the word fruits. The teacher said
these are fruits. Some children said what they were: “es una
manzana, un plátano, una fresa y un limón”
Poster In that moment when the teacher showed the poster some children made a boring face and they said in Spanish: “oh no, a
46 Strips of
The teacher took out fifteen strips of paper which contained the name of each drawing. Students had to put each strip of paper below the correct drawing. After he gave the instructions, some of them started making some noise while others were distracted.
Class 3: Occupations
Flash cards When students saw our material they started to say:” waoo hoy veremos los trabajos de las personas” and they were very quiet talking about their dreams. For example, a child said: “Cuando
sea grande quiero ser un doctor” and that moment that child asked the teacher in English “How do you say doctor in English? And the teacher answered him “doctor”.
Worksheet Then the teacher had another activity with worksheet related to occupations and gave the instruction but some students did not understand the picture that was on the worksheet because they said that the flashcard was not similar to the worksheet. The picture was the architect. As a result, their face´s reaction was of confusion
Class 4: Animals
tiger´s flash card, they made “grrrr” before he asked them.
Worksheets Later, the teacher handed out a worksheet in which students had to color the animal and described it because they already knew the colors and parts of the body. But the teacher had a problem, students did not work because they said that it was boring to color the animals
Class 5: Feelings and
Flash card The teacher caught students‟ attention once he presented the flash cards on feelings and emotions and they made similar faces to the ones on the flash cards.
Bingo game Immediately after he showed to the students bingo cards to play. He asked the students to be quiet and sit down in order to start with the game. Few students continued with the mess, so he told them that if they did not sit the class would have been over.
At the beginning of each session we greeted students and after that we started the lesson with a warm up in order to encourage the class and catch their attention. We used different types of visual material, depending on the topic we planned for the class. When we showed flash cards, some students grasped the meaning at once. At the same time they started to say their meaning in Spanish loudly. Whenever we wanted them to repeat the vocabulary, some used Spanish. But we told them to do it in English. Sometimes not all of them participated in class because they said it was a bit difficult the pronunciation or they laughed at their classmates‟ pronunciation. At the beginning they were kind of embarrassed when we asked them to participate. Once they noticed we were helping them, they felt more comfortable and secure.
Besides flashcards we also used posters that included some drawings so that students could infer meanings easily. On one hand they sometimes had problems to infer meanings because they said that some drawings were not clear for them. On the other hand, they lost interest in the class considering that they had to learn lots of vocabulary. For example, when we taught them likes and dislikes they got confused in three drawings. They said the drawings did not have any shape. This was because the poster we used was designed by us and we thought it was going to be effective. We used other examples for the drawings that were not clear for students by drawing other ones on the board. We tried to use English as much as possible. Every time we drew on the board some students laughed because they said we did not draw well, or our drawings looked funny. For that reason some children went to the board and drew. The class became a mess in those moments because everybody wanted to draw. Some students also argued that they drew better than their classmates.
activity everybody wanted to win. Whenever they changed cards, they disturbed the class considering that some of them did not want to exchange their card. They said that theirs was more attractive or beautiful.
There were sessions in which they were not so interested. What they wanted was to play all the class. So we made activities in which they were more active. We also used worksheets that included crossword puzzles and they liked them. Many times they did not work because they had to share their worksheet and started doing other things. Some got bored because they did not like activities in which they had to color. When we gave them the worksheets, few enjoyed them because they said that they did not have to write a lot. Some said that the exercises were tough and they did not understand anything. We tried to motivate them by giving them extra points if they finished their work on time. We also encouraged them by praising with phrases such as “try it” “you can”“excellent” and “perfect”. At the beginning was hard to make them work. We let
them work with the classmates they want to because that way they worked well.
4.3 The Impact of Visual Materials on 6th Graders Learning
The second question was also answered with the observations describing the learning impact towards visual materials. This is to find out the effect that visual materials had on 6th graders during the learning process.
Table 4.2 Students learning impact towards visual materials
TOPIC VISUAL according to the place the cat was. Only a few students opened their notebook as a guide because they had the prepositions written in their notebooks while the rest did it by themselves
Realia school ítems The teacher asked them, where is the eraser? And students answered: on… the teacher told them “on what?” and they replied “on la estuchera” and the
teacher said: yes, it is on the pencil case
each other. At the end, some students replied it very well because he once again drew the prepositions and he just pointed them out and students could answer.
Class 2: Likes and
Board with drawings When the teacher asked the question Do you like fruit? Some children started to answer what they like but in Spanish. I (observer) heard one girl said :” me gustan las strawberries”
Poster When the teacher was almost going to finish saying the vocabulary, one boy stood up and went towards the board and pointed out three drawings and told me “¿Qué son éstos teacher”
Strips of paper This activity strips of paper that students stuck under the correspondent picture on the poster, they worked well at the end in spite of the fact that the class became a mess all the answers were correct.
52 Class 3:
Flash card In this activity the teacher used a game adapted from the basket fruits game and he replaced fruits for occupations, and he grouped the students with an occupation when the teacher was showing the flash cards and at the same time saying the name of the occupation some students got ready before the teacher mentioned the occupation so students learned the vocabulary because at the end when it was student´s turn they stood up when he showed the flash card without saying the name.
Worksheet Students took a long time to answer the worksheet. In spite of the fact the teacher had explained, they still did not understand. So, the teacher had to explain again deeply. In this way, students were able to answer the worksheet.
Class 4: Animals
Flash cards Some of them said the correct pronunciation and the rest tried to say in English and other in Spanish
53 shouted “enamorados” because there were two people
together with hearts around them.
Bingo game At the end, I notice that students learned because when the teacher played again, he cover the name of the feeling and students shouted the name.
Worksheet At the end of this class only a few students could express their emotions and their classmates‟. The rest of
the class told me that it was a bit difficult to speak Spanish by looking at what they had on the board. They could acquire some vocabulary. Few of them tried to say short sentences in English. The rest of the students had a clear idea about what they had learned. But they said that it was difficult to speak English. The teacher asked them questions about previous lessons. For instance, when the teacher asked “What is your favorite animal?” Some students answered with animals that they had already learned. While others
so the teacher just said the first syllable and the students completed the rest of the word. In this way they remembered. This helped them with their self-esteem and increased their confidence in class.
Few students said the correct pronunciation of vocabulary that was taught in each class once we gave it to them. At the end of each session we made a quick review and some of them answered immediately. For example, when we showed the flash cards about feelings and emotions and asked how is he/she? They said the answer loudly just by looking at the flash card. In the following lesson when we entered the classroom and asked them how they were, they answered by using the vocabulary that they had learned. We found that they liked to express their own emotions. The same happened when we saw the topic about prepositions of place. If they wanted to borrow an object they said “me prestas tu eraser” When we heard that we gave them a clue “Can I borr…” and they immediately remembered and used the complete question in
English. Once everybody had their notebook on their school desk except one boy, so we asked him, “where is your notebook?” He felt embarrassed when he heard that. We smiled and asked
him again. He pointed to his back pack and the rest of the class said “in su pack back” We asked him a third time “is it in your back pack?” And he replied “si ahorita la saco teacher”
As the weeks went by when they wanted to participate they did it in Spanish. But every time they said a word in Spanish that they knew in English we encouraged them to use it in English. The visual material stayed in the classroom on the walls. When we entered the class, there was a boy that pointed to any image and told us what they saw. This happened when he taught the topic “feelings and emotions”. At the end some students asked us to bring short stories
Observing this we dare to say that in spite of the fact that at the beginning it was difficult for them to learn English, they learned more vocabulary. Some students also said that the class was more fun and entertaining when we used material.
4.4 The Use and the Impact of Visual Materials and our Professional Development.
The results showed us the importance of students‟ reactions and the learning impact of using visual materials for teaching English. With this we realized that there is a relationship between the use of visual materials in the class and the children´s learning process. We also noticed that by reflecting on our experience on the use of materials we increased our knowledge as teachers. In the following sections our personal reflections are presented.
4.5 David’s Reflection (the teacher)
I have learned to take the most advantage of the time when using visual material considering that I can do a lot of different activities with them. Sometimes children take too long doing an activity. Hence, I must keep in mind the time each activity should last. I also found that the use of eye contact around the classroom is very significant because I noticed whether my students paid attention. The use of eye contact has to be accompanied of gestures and facial expressions because they are an important factor and it helps that there is a better communication. Moreover, I realized about some students‟ reactions and distinguished if they comprehended what I was saying.
visual material is not only used to be shown but also to do other kind of activities and take the most advantage of them. I never imagined that the students were so demanding when I showed them the visual material. Therefore I learned not to take for granted that handmade visual material especially drawings were understandable for all students. For that reason, I must be more careful when I select, adopt, adapt and design visual materials.
The way how students learn is not equal because each one of them does it in a different mode; that is commonly known as learning styles. There are visual, auditory and kinesthetic students inside of a classroom. For that reason, I must know the way how my students learn and use the equipment or material available and vary every day to perform an interesting, dynamic and effective class
4.6 Rocío’s Reflection (the observer)
As observer I realized that teacher made some mistakes when giving the class. Thus, when I take the role as a teacher I should reflect on the experience of using visual materials. For example, when the teacher used drawings by hand, some children got confused. So I learned that if I am not a good drawer I should not take the risk to do the drawings by hand. I must be organized with time, activities and manage control with students. The use of certain expressions such as “excellent”, you can do it”, “good”, you are right”, “congratulations”, among others make