Survey listed above has the main objective of recollecting not only closed answers, but also opinions and reasons as to why they decided such responses. I need to know the reasons as to why students act in such ways, in order to think and plan a course of action to successfully improve and change the problematic. Questions aim at understanding the reasons as to why students avoid groupwork when the instances are provided. I did not add any other question, since it would mean plenty of information to handle —as they aim at receiving a free-form answer— and it would result as an impediment rather than a support. First question focus on the idea of students enjoying English without necessarily interacting with classmates (answering a question out loud, completing an exercise on the whiteboard while raising their voice, etc.). On the contrary, second question aims at receiving a response that demonstrates whereas students enjoy interacting and working with other classmates in English classes or not and why they decided to give such answer. Third question aimed at receiving responses that deal with their opinion about their learning process; that is to say, if they think they learn better working alone or while they work with others and cooperate towards the achievement of a task. This question was created to know students’ opinion regarding both ways of learning. Some responses may lead to reasons as to why they avoid working in groups and cooperating with their classmates.
Throughout the term, the observations I have written had to do with my own difficulties managing the behaviour of my students whenever they start talking, moving around, playing or yelling. In those instances, I use attention getters and songs to reincorporate students to the class and focus them on task. However, in some occasions the strategies do not work and the English teacher and I make use of breathing exercises. Thus, if the strategies previously mentioned do not work, we warn students writing their names in the chalkboard or discounting minutes from the break. When none of the aforementioned strategies worked, the host teacher had to reprimand students until they are focused on the class again. (See Appendix A Journal Entries, Journal September 5 th ) Reprimand students is not an effective strategy because in few minutes, the class starts to talk, move around, playing and yelling out one more time. (See Appendix A Journal Entries, September 26 th )
Taking into consideration that this is a co-educational institution which receives materials from the Ministry of Education, students usually use the student’s book during lessons. Specifically in 5 th grade, students work with the student’s book every class. However, classes are not only focused on the book because they are more communicative. For instance, students discuss about different topics in pairs, and they give opinions. Moreover, the teacher relates the contents to students’ context. The teacher approaches the topics to students’ reality, and students can express their interests, likes and dislikes. Also, students often tell about their experiences inside and outside the school. It depends on the activities and the unit.
al cerebro y las segundas son las conductas desarrolladas como reacción al estímulo [...] En un modelo pedagógico basado en teorías conductistas, el alumno es visto como un ser pasivo, receptivo, a quien hay que transmitirle conocimientos. Se fomenta un conocimiento memorista, verbalista y repetitivo, manejado y controlado por el profesor. [...] La educación es, entonces, la acción que el maestro ejerce sobre el estudiante y está sujeta al control, al condicionamiento y al refuerzo. El refuerzo del aprendizaje puede ser negativo (castigos, notas bajas, llamado a los padres, etc.) o positivo (notas altas, estímulos verbales, caritas felices, etc.)” (Muñoz, 2010 p. 72-73) Therefore, the definition that she offers regarding the concept of behaviorism is pretty accurate for my context, as she also states the use of positives reinforcers (rewards) and negative reinforcers (punishment). Concepts that were highly observed inmy practicum.
Finishing this process of not only 5 years at university, but also 14 years of being a student makes me feel so happy. I am absolutely grateful with all those people who helped me along this exhausting process. I must say, it was not easy, but I could always count on my family and my friends, who were always supportive to me. My mom and my dad, who always stimulated me to study and gave me all the love I always needed, and more. My beautiful family members, who, believe it or not, each one of you taught me something that I could use to succeed in this process. And of course all my friends from life: Yaritza Cuevas and Macarena Pedraza, who always supported me at everything I wanted to do; and my dearest friends I met at University, Camila Godoy, María José Leiva and Chandra Kripalani, for always pushing me towork and do better, and be the best partners towork with during these five years.
interpretation and concerns of the students and the lessons. I mainly wrote about the reasons why we were not improving in English and why translation was always the best way to solve the problems we had to establish a more complete and effective instructions delivery. I decided to take notes every week since the first day of classes as a way to have a source to check and observe progress or any problem that arise. From the first day until nowadays I am able to observe a big progress inmy students in the disposition they had at first and the changes so far. To continue with, I investigate what other data collection was going to fit best for my reality. Particularly I chose towork with questionnaires since they are a good way to investigate my class concerns on specific information needed, in this case, effective instructions. Even though it is a third grade class I did simple and straightforward questions so to not get them confused or lost.
The purpose of this Action Research is to present possible solutions for promoting an interactive and participatory learning environment when teaching English to young learners. As it has been previously described, there had been some difficulties when planning the lessons since this particular context required the use of the textbook in every class. The use of this only strategy was focused on achieving a certain number of pages per class. Moreover, the activities proposed were focused on individualizing the work, and not in interaction and participation. Therefore, the reasons for undertaking this Action Research were based on promoting participation and interaction among the students, in order to develop an interactive and participatory learning environment. At the same time, searching for strategies that could motivate the students to participate during the class, interact with their classmates and be able to learn and have fun at the same time.
The findings and the intervention proposal presented in this research gives English teachers a resource to motivate students into Literacy that can also be applied in EFL contexts, inside of a project bssed methodology. In this sense, English teachers usually avoid team workin reading and writing activities (spelling, handwriting, among others) because they imply individual assessment of the progress or the completion of the task, however, project based classes are an effective strategy for these skills as it keeps students in task, encourages autonomous work and allows the teacher develop a student-centred class. In other words, because students have a motivating purpose for improving their spelling, handwriting, creative writing, or any other skill implied, intrinsic motivation and academic improvement are higher.
some helpers inside the class. For example, if they finished earlier a certain activity, they could go and help their classmates. So that, they can all work together, boosting each other’s confidence and giving peer feedback to achieve a certain task. My idea is to include all my students in the same class, making them feel that not only the teacher is able to teach and help, but they also are able to do it. Besides, I would like toimplement projects in which students could feel they need to use English to communicate. For example, as a warm-up activity, pick up two or three students and make them talk for 5 minutes, interacting among them if they were in a supermarket, in a mall, cinema, another country, so on.
Moreover, as part of the interventions planned for this action research, I decided to use a stopwatch to control time during the activities that my students did during classes. This part of my interventions was not as successful as I expected to be. Even though I used the stopwatch to check time during the activities, most of times I lost control of the length of the exercises because I spent time answering doubts or questions related to the topic of the class. Ican state that this interventions was not successful enough because my students and host teachers noticed that I was controlling time, but I spent more time than the expected for each activity.
After three weeks more less I managed to establish a relationship with my students based on respect. I think they trust me more now and are less afraid to speak but they have difficulties to express what they want to say and that is stressful for me too because many times I have to ask them: “Can you repeat, please?” They usually repeat in Spanish the second time and Ican observe that it is uncomfortable for them to repeat all the time. Even when they repeat in Spanish, I paraphrase what they want to say into English. I really want to avoid speaking any Spanish during my lessons and it is something new for them and I think they still need time to accept it and get used to it. I want to give all the instructions and explanations in English in the simplest way Ican. My goal is toimplement effective strategies instead of translating from L2 to L1 in order to facilitate their understanding and vocabulary production in L2 speech.
Related to this Action Research’s purpose – promoting participation and students’ understanding of English –, Ur poses “Make your students’ goals clear and achievable, so they don’t feel like they are faced with an impossible task. In order to develop confidence, teach your students useful expressions they can fall back on when looking for words” (2015). Ur promotes the students’ constant exposure to the new language, which provides some strategiesto enhance the speaking skills development, such as flashcards, posters with pre-determined chunks of classroom language, and so on.
In another opportunity, two students were asked to go to the whiteboard and they had to express their preferences about food images stuck in the classroom. Then, other students were selected (from a cup of sticks with the students’ names) and asked to recall the answers that the first students gave. One student made a mistake by saying “yes…” and forgetting the rest of the answer. After that, another kid helped him and added “yes, I do” with the rhythm of a song they listened a few classes ago. In that moment it could be realized that they could recall information from what they listened toin previous lessons, so there would not be a problem to continuing using audios and to try to make the students understand them. The fact is that they did not know whatto do or how to behave in front of a listening activity, that is to say, to have specific routines to listen to specific pieces of information or answers. By having a specific routine, the students might get used to have and to participate more in listening activities and might understand English more easily.
This project was finished with expected and fruitful outcomes in terms of strategies used in this work. Knowing your students and a proper identification of their needs allow teacher toimplement different strategies other than grammar focused. Making students infer about grammar structures and little by little avoid the use of Spanish or translation help to deliver a better lesson. It is important to develop different cognitive skills like reasoning. Students came with the idea that English is only spoken in U.S.A. or U.K.; however, it is relevant to keep in mind that English is a language. It is essential to make students reflect that English need to be considered as a mean of communication and not only for learning purposes.
Action Research gives the possibility of stopping for a second and start observing carefully the problems and issues one is facing every day in a complex place that is the classroom. It gives the opportunity of being an agent of change for your students’ learning process and to make teachers’ practice more pleasant and better by proposing changes and intervention. By exploring literature, one gets to intervene with basis and select carefully what authors propose based on your context. Additionally, what is more valuable of Action Research is that as you are the teacher and the researcher, you are able to craft carefully interventions based on your context and the characteristics of the group you are applying this research for.
Before the intervention, there was a group of students that was quite disruptive along the class. They used to watch videos, listen to music, chat, and play with their mobile phones or bothering other classmates. Nevertheless, when the intervention started, these “disruptive” students started working concentrated and quiet. The interpretation of this fact could be that, in this entry, as they have the possibility, to watch videos in YouTube, they did not get distracted by listening to music. In this case the students had to open YouTube to look for videos related to the class. If there is another more positive reason, perhaps the students focused on the task, because the students like listening to music. Therefore, they feel more motivated towork on something related towhat they like when they have classes in the English laboratory.
Groupwork facilitated the understanding of the words among students when there were some words that they did not remembered, it also helped students to realize that they had an important role in the development of the activities. Using images and realia while presenting the vocabulary and giving instructions helped students to relate the new words with concepts that they knew on their mother tongue. The use of body language helped students to have an idea of the meaning of the instructions given by the teacher when images were not enough.
When we think about language we shall think on communication as a human systemic method, either written or spoken. Moreover, according to the online Cambridge Dictionary, language is a system of communication consisting of sounds, words and grammar, that is to say, a system to express feelings, opinions , etc ,either verbally, written or any manner that you choose to do it. Hence, we need to understand the importance of language as a tool of communication, especially, when teaching and learning a second language, which in this case is English. As teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL), we need to ensure that all the abilities that concern language, that is to say the four skills: reading, speaking, listening and writing, are correctly achieved in order to have a prosperous communicative relationship in the classroom. Therefore, I have realized that speaking performance is one of the weakest of the four skills in the class I will analyse throughout this research, and it needs to be ensure carefully and dynamically taught in order to keep our students interested and challenged. We as EFL teachers know the burdens when getting our students to produce and achieve a suitable level of proficiency when they have to express themselves orally or answer inside the classroom in a language that is not familiar for them.
The second and third stages presented by Wiggins and McTighe (1998) refer to Assessment Evidence and Learning Plan, which contain performance tasks and learning activities, respectively. After determining the desired results, teachers must first establish what specifically they will consider acceptable evidence for such expectations (Assessment Evidence), Wiggins and McTighe argue that this approach encourages teachers and curriculum planners to “think like an assessor” (p.18) before designing a specific unit or lesson in class. Only in the third stage do Wiggins and McTighe encourage teachers to plan learning experiences and instruction. In the sense of thinking through the most appropriate instructional activities, there are several key questions which can be useful in the backward design: “what enabling knowledge (facts, concepts, principles) and skills (processes, procedures, strategies) will students need in order to perform effectively and achieve desired results? What will be need to taught, in light of performance goals? What materials and resources are best suited to accomplish these goals?” (p. 1819).
According to McKay (2006), observation checklists allow teachers “to check that learners are achieving the objectives they have set for learning, over a unit of work, or a length of time. An observation checklist is usually made up of points of observable behavior that can be checked off” (p.278) Objectives achieved will be presented according to the indicators created by the teacher. In this regard, the indicators created will be based on students’ outcome that is to say, if they are able or not to use orally the vocabulary taught. This collecting data method will be used on the final interview where students will have to show what they have learned by using the target language.