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Opening Writing Doors Journal
Open. writing doors. J.
ISSN 2322 9187
Vol.9 No. 1 December 2012
http://owdj.unipamplona.edu.co
School of Education
B.A. in Languages-English-French
Foreign Language Research Group-GRILEX
Foreign Language Undergraduate Research Group -SILEX
University of Pamplona
Editor
Gabriel Eduardo Cote Parra, Ph.D.
Editorial Committee
Alexis Augusto López Mendoza, Ph. D. Associate Research Scientist at Educational
Testing Service ETS.
María Imperio Arenas González, M.A. Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Tunja.
Gabriel Cote Parra, Ph.D., Associate professor and researcher at Universidad de Pamplona,
Colombia.
Magdaleydy Martínez Cáceres, M.A., professor and researcher at Universidad de
Pamplona, Colombia.
José Luis Flórez, M.Ed. Spanish and ESL teacher Surry County Schools - Dendron VA
EEUU.
Proofreader
Danica Steele, British language assistant at Universidad de Pamplona, Colombia.
Arthur Galian, Freelancer.
Scientific Committee
Aleidine J. Moeller, Edith S. Greer Professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA.
Alexis Augusto López Mendoza, Ph. D. Associate Research Scientist at Educational
Testing Service ETS.
Anne-Marie Truscott de Mejía, Ph.D, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia.
Elisabeth Richard, Ph.D. Université de Rennes.
Gabriel Cote Parra, Ph.D. Associate professor and researcher at Universidad de Pamplona,
Colombia.
Magdaleydy Martínez Cáceres, M.A. professor and researcher at Universidad de Pamplona,
Colombia.
Ricardo A. Nausa T., MA. Ricardo A. Nausa T., MA., Universidad de los Andes,
Colombia.
Editorial Review Board
José Luis Flórez, M.Ed. Spanish and ESL teacher Surry County Schools - Dendron VA
EEUU.
Alexis Augusto López Mendoza, Ph. D. Associate Research Scientist at Educational
Testing Service ETS.
Farida Agammedova, M.A. INTERLINNK Language School, Calgary , Canada
Gabriel Cote Parra, Ph.D. Associate professor and researcher at Universidad de Pamplona.
Javier Hernando Reyes Rincón, M.A. Pontificia Universidad Javeriana – Bogotá.
Liubava Sichko, M.A. Professor of Department of Languages and Sociocultural Studies At
the Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia.
Lucy Durán Becerra, Esp. Universidad de Pamplona.
Luis Rodrigo Bastidas Garay, M.A. Wilkes Central High School. Carolina del Norte,
EEUU.
María Imperio Arenas González, M.A. Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Tunja.
Pavel Miranda, M.A. Universidad Pontificia de Bucaramanga.
William Fernando Fernández, M.A. Universidad Surcolombiana.
Valeriya Lytvychenko, Ph.D. English Academic Program (PAL) At the Universidad de los
Andes, Bogotá, Colombia.
Marjorie Verónica Arciniegas Vera, M.A. Professor at Universidad de Pamplona
Graphic Cover Designer
Alfredo Ramírez Parra
Technology Infrastructure Coordinator
Jesús Evelio Ortega Arévalo
Web Master
Daniel Ricardo Pedraza
Creative Commons
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNon Commercial-No Derivs 2.5 Colombia. Readers can read,
copy and distribute the contents of this publication under the
terms of Creative Commons, Colombia.
Table of Contents
Editorial
In 2002, I created, Opening Writing Doors Journal as a way to promote the
publication of end-of the-semester writing products of foreign language students at the,
Licenciatura en Lenguas Extranjeras, Inglé –Francés at the Universidad de Pamplona. At
that time, the print journal included several articles written by students enrolled in an
academic writing course I taught to undergraduate students.
One of the premises I fostered among those students was that they should not write
to please their professor. Instead, they should “write to be read.” In other words, I was
giving them a real learning opportunity, in which they were allowed to tell others what they
were able to produce.
A decade after that first issue publication, I have come to understand that the
premise is still relevant. More importantly, it is aligned with the last step in research, in
which researchers report findings to the scholarly community. Therefore, the first online
issue offers the reader one main section with thirteen research articles and one introductory
paper describing the way The Foreign Language Research Group-GRILEX- has led
research for the last three years.
Readers are provided with nine small-scale research studies conducted by nine foreign
language (FL) undergraduates who share not only what they discovered, but also their
experiences and challenges as they went through the process of planning, conducting and
reporting their first small-scale research. Sandy Liseth Cañas Carrillo presents an article
that reports a case study that attempted to identify factors that affected FL learners’ oral
participation. Mayerly Ariza Beltrán’s study aimed to study three English as a foreign
language (EFL) learners’ experiences on how anxiety affected them when communicating
orally. Claudia Marcela Rubio Manrique attempted to understand the mother tongue
interference with foreign language oral production of four beginner learners. Susan
Córdoba attempted to understand how code switching affects students’ proficiency level
when learning foreign languages at a public university in Colombia. Darymar Redondo
Fuentes’ study aimed to understand strategies used by FL teachers in order to improve
learners’ oral skills.
The second group of articles focuses on the research experiences of four professors
who teach French as a foreign language. Iván Vargas and Andrea Jimenez describe how
French was re-introduced as a language course at high school and university levels in a
main city in Colombia. Lucy Durán Becerra’s article reports preliminary findings of an
action-research on FL evaluation as a process that put together internal and external
perspectives. Laura Torres presents findings on the use of informative texts to develop
French communicative competence. Magdaleydy Martínez reports her use of short stories
as a way to teach French as a FL.
As an online publication, Opening Writing Doors Journal has opened a new door towards
the publication of current, completed and in-progress research on teaching and learning
foreign languages issues. Committed to the preservations of natural resources, we are
certain that this online publication will not only benefit the FL community but also will
help to have a better environment for today and future generations.
I hope you enjoy reading these articles. May they inspire and enlighten the learning and
teaching processes of a foreign language in Colombia.
5
Foreign Language Research Group-GRILEX-: The Process of Becoming an FL
undergraduate researcher.
Gabriel Cote Parra, Ph.D.
[email protected]
In an attempt to provide foreign language (FL) pre-service teachers who master
the essential knowledge and foundations on linguistics, instructional and research
competences to teaching foreign languages at middle and high school levels, The
licenciatura en Lenguas Extranjeras, Inglés-Frances (a five-year program equivalent to a
Bachelor of Arts in English and French) at the Universidad de Pamplona has designed a
curriculum with four major components: Linguistic, pedagogic, socio-humanistic and
research. The eventual aim of incorporating research, as part of the teacher preparation is
to provide students with a twofold purpose: first, providing in-service teachers with the
theoretical foundations, paradigms, designs and approaches mostly used in educational
inquiry; and second, enabling them to conduct small-scale projects in order integrate
theory into practice that expose them to first-hand learning experiences.
Bearing in mind that the main objective of this foreign language program is to
educate future FL teachers, a formative research approach has been adopted as a way to
reflect on the process of learning and teaching foreign languages, in order to
“… [e]ducate in research and educate for research based on research activities that
adopt an inquiry approach using research methods, not necessarily aimed at
conducting formal studies nor to obtain new or universal knowledge” (Restrepo,
2004.) 1
However, at the FL program professors, researchers and students are certain that,
in the long run, this training will enable them to conduct large-scale research-based
educational initiatives. More importantly, they will attempt to improve their teaching
experiences while enriching the learning process their students will go through.
In 2010, five professors created the Foreign Language Research Group (GRILEX)
as a way to improve their practices by engaging themselves in reflection towards their
teaching and the process their students go through as foreign language learners. Under the
epistemological and philosophical umbrella of ‘learning and teaching Foreign
Languages,’ as its line of investigation, GRILEX set out on a research journey.
The first research study was an attempt to provide Foreign Language (FL) preservice teachers at the FL program with an opportunity to reflect on their daily practices
during their first teaching experience. This research aimed at answering a question on
how reflection would contribute to examine initial teaching experiences of FL pre-service
teachers as a basis for identifying weaknesses and strengths towards their professional
growth.
This research was developed in three main phases: First phase: August –
December 2010; second phase February – July 2011; and third phase August – December
2011. In all, 14 student teachers participated in the study. Findings from the first and
second phase will be published in the Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal and HOW
journal respectively, and they revealed that student teachers that engaged in a process of
1
Translation by the author.
7
critical reflection throughout their teaching practicum were able to face the challenges,
difficulties and weaknesses this process implied. Researchers also found that the student
teachers redirected their upcoming actions and class activities based on their reflections.
Conducting this research, helped GRILEX members to learn several lessons, and
gain sensible experience while conducting research. As a group, they learned how to
work collaboratively towards the achievement of a common goal: Being able to teach
research by example.
The Process of Becoming an FL researcher.
Students who enrolled in the FL program after taking two general courses on
educational research taught in L1, strengthen their research process skills through four
courses taught in L2 focused on the underpinnings of research in foreign language
teaching and learning. The practical nature of having designed a set of four research
courses tends to be a way of exposing learners through a “learning by doing” experience
in which partakers become knowledgeable of several theoretical implications of research
while being involved in several end-of-the semester projects that condense the main
objectives of each course.
The first research course, an 80-hour process taught in English or French, is
intended to provide an overview of FL research. This introductory course consists of
qualitative and quantitative theoretical frameworks and methodologies. Students are
required to discuss and put into practice strategies for reading, summarizing and
critiquing research papers. In order to accomplish this goal, students are engaged in an
8
end-of-the-semester project that consists of a poster session in which students exhibit the
process of writing a critique.
The second research course is aimed at providing students with the theoretical
foundations and a practical experience on writing a research proposal. During 128 hours,
students read quantitative and qualitative research proposals in the area of learning and
teaching foreign languages, write a literature review with a minimum of 12 papers, and
defend a research proposal either in English or French. This course enables students to
collect data during the next semester.
In the third research course, students become familiar with the process of
qualitative and quantitative data collection that includes several data gathering
techniques, forms and protocols, data recording techniques, and how to deal with ethical
issues while collecting data. After approval of their proposal, students are required to
adapt or design data collection instruments in order to start the data gathering process.
Although the students take a total of 96 hours in English and French, they are required to
choose one of the two languages to continue with the development of their research
projects.
The fourth research course is devoted to make sense of the data gathered. In
doing so, during 128 hours, students produce a research report based on the project they
developed the previous semester. Therefore, they learn how to organize, code, and
analyze data using several techniques and software. Additionally, students are instructed
on how to write and defend their final research report.
9
It is interesting to note that the Research Group in Foreign Languages (GRILEX)
at the FL program redirected the way research courses had been taught to what they are
today, a methodology that exposes students and professors to a learning-by-doing
experience.
Some may disagree with the idea of teaching undergraduate students research.
However, at the FL program at the Universidad de Pamplona, students are exposed to a
learning-by-doing experience, in which they not only learn about research through a
foreign language, but also they carry out their projects in a foreign language. By
providing undergrads with this particular experience engages them in a reflective and
critical learning process and initiate them into the subtle intricacies of teaching a foreign
language. More importantly, future FL teachers will be equipped with research
competences in order to make an effective difference when teaching foreign languages.
What have we learned so far?
As opposed to the way research had been taught before, now student teachers conduct
small-scale research projects in order to learn about research. Along with the research
methodologies and techniques learned, students are required to present their end-ofsemester projects to the scholar community both at a local and national level. For
example, in 2011, GRILEX organized the “First Conference for Undergraduate
researchers: Sharing Experiences & Challenges!” This event was an attempt to provide
foreign language undergraduates with scholarly opportunities to share their research
experiences as a way of promoting understanding on the real role they should play as
learners and future teachers. This was an exciting opportunity for them as pre-service
10
teachers to contribute to understanding and changing the way a foreign language should
be learned and taught. During a two-day conference, 63 students had the opportunity to
share their research projects, proposals, literature reviews and critiques that they had done
on research during the spring of 2011.
The first cohort of students, following this methodology, conducted 13 smallscale case studies that involved several professors and students from the FL program at
the Universidad de Pamplona. These researches were conducted during the fall semester
2011, and their results were presented in February 2012. The main topics and projects
were: 1) Oral skills, five projects developed: Identifying factors that affect the FL
learners’ oral production; Understanding the effectiveness of oral production activities in
an intermediate language classroom; Analyse de la compréhension orale du FLE chez les
étudiants de langues étrangères d'une université publique en Colombia; Une exploration à
la dissymétrie communicative à partir de la fluidité orale des étudiants de langues
étrangères : une étude de cas; L'usage de la langue maternelle dans l'apprentissage de la
langue étrangère: Une étude de cas; and The influence of code switching on beginnerlevel learners in their oral production. 2) Listening skills, three projects developed:
Identifying the type of listening skills activities used by intermediate-level learners;
Identifying factors that interfere the EFL learners’ listening comprehension; and
Understanding how the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
improve listening skills among EFL learners; 3) Writing skills: five projects developed:
Understanding the influence of vocabulary learning strategies among beginning-level
learners; Understanding factors interfering students’ achievement through their foreign
language learning process; FL Portfolio, a Tool to Promote Autonomy among EFL
11
Learners; The influence of motivation in the writing process of EFL students; and
Exploring the effect of exposure to L2 through activities inside an FL Classroom. Among
the thirteen projects, three of them were presented at the VIII encuentro de
Universidades Formadoras de Licenciados en Idiomas Extranjeros celebrado en Pereira,
30 – 31 de marzo de 2012.
The second cohort of students, under following this methodology, conducted nine
small-scale case studies. They decided to report their findings through an article that will
be published in the first online issue of Opening Writing Doors Journal.
References
Restrepo Gómez, B. (2004). Formación investigativa e investigación
formativa: Acepciones y operacionalización de esta última. Revista
Iberoamericana de Educación. Retrieved on June, 2012, from:
http://www.rieoei.org/deloslectores/370Restrepo.PDF
12
Identifying Classroom Activities to Encourage Oral Participation among beginnerlevel learners in an English Class.
Elkin David Perneth Parra*
[email protected]
Abstract
Speaking is one of the most desirable skills that foreign language learners want to
develop to communicate their needs and desires. This case study is aimed at identifying the
activities an EFL teacher uses to encourage oral participation among beginner-level
learners. Data was collected through non - participant observation and interviews. Inductive
analysis (Hatch 2002) guided the analysis of data. Findings show that role plays and song
translations, and the teacher’s attitude positively influenced students´ interaction and
participation. However, these strategies should not be repetitive because they lose their
effectiveness in the classroom since they may become monotonous.
Key Words: oral participation, interaction, activities, teacher’s attitude.
Resumen
Hablar es una de las habilidades más deseables que los estudiantes de lenguas
extranjeras quieren desarrollar para comunicar sus necesidades y deseos. Este estudio de
caso tiene como objetivo identificar las actividades que un profesor de inglés como lengua
Classroom activities and oral participation
extranjera usa para fomentar la participación oral entre los alumnos de nivel inicial. Los
datos fueron recolectados a través de observaciones no participante y entrevistas. El análisis
inductivo (Hatch 2002) orientó el análisis de los datos. Los resultados muestran que los
juegos de roles, la traducción de canciones, y la actitud del profesor influenciaron
positivamente la interacción y la participación de los estudiantes. Sin embargo, estas
estrategias no deben ser tan repetitivas puesto que su eficacia se pone en riesgo a causa de
la monotonía”.
Palabras claves: participación oral, interés, actividades, actitud del profesor.
Introduction
Throughout my experience as an English as a foreign language (EFL) learner, I
have found that speaking is one of the most desirable skills that English learners want to
develop. Most learners are eager to talk and use the language they are learning to
communicate their needs and desires. However, it is not so easy to participate in class since
often it is necessary to have significant influence of the teacher’s strategy.
Learning a foreign language is focused on four skills: Writing, reading, speaking
and listening; however, this research will be focused on speaking since this is the basis of
everyday interaction; from there I feel the need to know how teachers aim to help learners
encourage oral participation in class.
Furthermore, drawn from my experience as a teaching assistant in an EL (English
language) beginner-level course at a Colombian public university, I realized that beginners
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Classroom activities and oral participation
do not have sufficient teacher stimulus or self-motivated interest to orally participate in a
FL class environment. They should be involved in meaningful situations that emphasize the
interaction between student to student and student to teacher, through the use of English as
a communication tool. Thus, teachers need to implement pedagogical activities to help
students improve their oral production in English. Although, it is true that the lack of
variation in classroom activities contributes to this problem; it is also true that students
need to take more risks when participating orally. Therefore, I focused this project on
answering the following question: What strategies do teachers use to encourage oral
participation among beginning-level learners in an English classroom?
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Classroom activities and oral participation
Literature review
A series of concepts and previous studies on classroom interaction, oral
participation, motivation, and teaching strategies will be presented concurrently in order to
describe the relationship between them and the phenomenon being studied.
Classroom interaction
Classroom interaction is the phenomenon in which students practice oral and
written speech in the language they are acquiring (Bishop, 2000). Castro et al. (2010)
carried out a study in a public university in Colombia in order to describe how a French
Foreign language teacher involves 6th semester, non-participant students in classroom
interactions. Findings showed that the back position in the classroom became a problem
due to the distracting nature that it constituted; also the time of arrival to the class did not
influence the students’ position inside of it. Moreover, the front position demanded more
interaction from the students than the back positions. However the students’ position in the
classroom did not determine their proficiency in French, only the level of participation.
Similarly, Herazo (2009) published an article about Authentic Oral Interaction in a
secondary school in Monteria, Colombia. The conclusions showed that the script-based
dialogue has very little to offer in terms of EFL proficiency growth. He thinks it retains
some value in terms of pronunciation practice, confidence in handling the sounds of the
language, and perhaps motivation, as well as controlled language practice.
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Classroom activities and oral participation
These two studies highlighted the importance of enhancing the classroom
interaction by creating a friendly environment and collaborative learning towards the
students. Furthermore, it could be said that the environment alone is not sufficient; the
teacher also needs to motivate students in order to create a productive attitude.
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Classroom activities and oral participation
Motivation
According to Winke (2005), motivation is the factor which has more influence than
others in an FL classroom. She defines it as “the positive implication and contribution in
the attitudes on learning environment”. Motivation involves four aspects: a goal, an effort, a
desire to attend a goal and a favourable attitude towards the activity in question. Several
studies have been conducted to examine the influences of motivation in classroom
interaction and oral participation. Prieto (2007) carried out research to establish strategies
that help students to improve their oral production in English with eleventh graders at a
public school in Bogotá, Colombia. Finally, the author concluded that “The
implementation of cooperative learning strategies showed a different attitude towards group
work and the skill of speaking. It was enjoyable for the students and teacher because it
used many elements to motivate the students to improve their process. Students said that
they learnt more and had more opportunities to participate orally in the class; they felt
comfortable using English in class”.
Similarly, Winke (2005) published an article on how to promote motivation in the
foreign language classroom. The author concluded that “teaching motivational strategies in
the language classroom is a complex task, but one that can easily be done by following
some common foreign language teaching principles and by remembering that motivation is
one of the key factors in student success. Motivation is something all our students bring
with them in one form or another. It is not the case that all we need to do as teachers is to
identify it, encourage it, feed it now and then, and watch it grow”.
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Classroom activities and oral participation
Based on conclusions of Prieto (2007) and Winke (2005), I inferred that motivation
has a positive influence on classroom interaction; and that oral participation is the most
beneficial aspect since it gives the students a sense of identity and opportunities to
participate in class.
Oral participation
“Oral participation is the cognitive and socio-linguistic communication developed
in the classroom interaction considering the nature and conditions of speech”, (Carter and
Nunan, 2001). Several studies have focused on how to help students improve their oral
production, or, basically, their participation in English classes. Ariza (2001) conducted an
action research in order to encourage oral participation in English through the use of games
at a public school in Bogota, Colombia. Ariza (2001) concluded that “games are good
activities for developing participation in a funny and interesting way because they permit
students to use the second language in communicative situations. Furthermore, they help
lower tension and anxiety that prevent students’ acquiring the language.
A recent case study carried out by Tepfenhart (2011) attempted to determine which
factors students find most influential in their oral participation in a foreign language class,
and their thoughts on what actions the teacher should take to encourage more oral
participation in class. Tepfenhart (2011) concluded that “to encourage all students to
participate orally in foreign language class, teachers need to create a safe and fun
environment”.
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Classroom activities and oral participation
Likewise, Lanfont (2007) studied the factors that affect oral participation in students
of 6th grade in a public school from Sahagún, Colombia. She stated that “all type of oral
activities such as conversation, reading in public provoke anxiety in students; the author
concluded that “some personal factors such as self-esteem, risk taking, competitiveness and
social anxiety affect students´ performance”. Furthermore, some external factors are
evidenced, such as beliefs, academic differences, empathy and relationship among students
as well as the lack of strategies to assume a different attitude to participate in class”.
Based on the definition and the studies previously presented on motivation, I
believe that students actively participate when they feel positive attitudes, responsibility
and are engaged in a meaningful learning process. Besides, based on Lanfont's negative
emotions (2007) I consider that motivation is a factor which has to be present in whatever
constructive strategy to promote positive attitudes towards learning in a foreign languages
classroom, but the most important is to look for the most appropriate teaching strategy to
encourage oral participation. As teaching strategies are part of this research, I am going to
explain how it is defined.
Teaching strategies
Bishop (2000) refers to teaching strategies as “the way where teacher has the
opportunity to bring the students a faster and more efficient learning process, a greater
retention, and feel more positive about the learning experience”. Buitrago and Ayala (2007)
conducted action research in Bogotá, Colombia at a public school. They implemented
activities in order to encourage oral interaction of tenth graders. Findings also showed that
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Classroom activities and oral participation
the cultural activities permitted not only an increase in the level of participation but also a
reduction in learners’ fears which contributed to the loss of confidence in expressing
themselves orally in English in public.
Similarly, Castrillón (2003) conducted a study to provide teachers with instructional
tools that promote changes in the classroom at a public primary school in Bogotá. Findings
showed that the implementation of fun activities as a supporting strategy is important to
encourage oral communication in the foreign language classroom. The teachers should
include games as part of their teaching strategies because these provide students with
situations that help them learn easily. At the same time, games encourage the development
of oral and written communicative competences.
On the other hand, Forero (2004) developed research on how to promote oral
Interaction in large groups through task-based learning. In conclusion, the researchers said
that the use of task-based learning in large groups helped students to improve oral
interaction. In addition, to teach English in large groups, it was necessary to use different
strategies to maintain motivation such as changing the activities often, using creative and
colourful flashcards and guides, and making a dynamic lesson plan.
Finally, the aforementioned definitions and studies show how motivation becomes
an indispensable factor to promote positive attitudes towards learning foreign languages
and the teacher is responsible for looking for the most appropriate teaching strategy to
encourage oral participation.
Methodology
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Classroom activities and oral participation
I adopted a qualitative case study; “an approach to research that facilitates
exploration of a phenomenon within its context using a variety of data sources” (Baxter and
Jack, 2008, p. 544). I spent 16 weeks in the field collecting data through seven nonparticipant observations and two interviews. Although I was working on the proposal for
this research since March 2011; the data collection process started in May 2012.
The participants of this case study were beginner-level students of an English course
at a public university in Colombia. Although the course was comprised of 27 students, five
students gave their consent to be interviewed; the rest of students in the class gave me their
permission to be observed. These interviews followed two interview protocols (see
Appendix A, B); the questionnaires consisted of five questions related to students’
perceptions of their foreign language class, their teacher and their thoughts on their
personal participation in the class.
In addition to the interviews, I observed seven classes; two classes in a foreign
language laboratory and five classes in a regular classroom. In the foreign languages
laboratory, I saw 31 computers, one computer per student, which were divided up by
separate cubicles. Furthermore, in front of the computers there was a whiteboard, one
television set, and a sound system.
I observed each class following an observation protocol (see Appendix C). None of
the class observations were recorded. During the observations, I sat at one of the
classroom's corners observing and taking notes about teachers’ performance, activities and
how students responded to them. One of the main advantages of collecting data by
observing is the opportunity to record information as it occurs.
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Classroom activities and oral participation
During my first visit to the class I introduced myself and explained the purpose of
my visit, I explained all the aspects about my research, including the ethical considerations
I would observe while collecting, analysing and reporting data. I gained approval from
participants of this research. Finally the teacher and the students signed a consent form (see
Appendix D) that explained the specific conditions and requirements of the study.
Data analysis
Data was analysed following inductive analysis (Hatch 2002). After, I organized the
data using MAXqda, a computer software programme; I analysed data from interviews and
observation, and I reduced it into a set of domains. I also made some preliminary judgments
about the most important data of my study; I analysed data in the light of my research
questions. Finally, I selected the domains one-by-one and re-read them and began to write
reflections which later became the basis for my findings.
Findings
I identified two major themes: Teachers’ activities to encourage students’
participation; and activities influence on the students’ oral participation in class.
Teacher’s activities to encourage the students’ participation:
The teacher in my case study used activities such as reading comprehension, role
plays, translations and songs. She implemented them throughout different classes. The
week was divided up among literature, grammar and listening classes.
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Classroom activities and oral participation
In literature classes, the teacher used activities based on two books: the student book
named “New English File” for elementary students and a book named “kidnapped”. When
the teacher worked with “New English File” she asked students to read texts such as
“Fascinating Festivals”, which is about three different festivals in the world, but focuses on
how to say dates. The methodology employed by the teacher was to demonstrate the
pronunciation of new vocabulary followed by students’ choral repetition .After reading, the
teacher asked students to develop conjugation and pronunciation exercises according to the
topic introduce in class. Finally, the teacher encouraged the students to present their
answers in an oral way and for each act of participation, she gave participation points.
While working with the book named “kidnapped”, the teacher told students what chapter of
the book they had to read before class, and furthermore she gave students a questionnaire to
develop at home. For instance, “Deckac” said in the first interview “La profesora siempre
nos decia cual era la actividad para la próxima clase de literatura”. The questionnaires were
found at the end of the book and for each class the students only had to answer the
questions and present them in class. In order to answer the questionnaires, the teacher
called each student alphabetically by list and awarded a participation point for every correct
answer submitted. However, if the student did not provide the correct answer, another
classmate had the possibility to answer.
As a final remark, I can infer that the literature classes must not be part of the
teaching motivational strategies in an English class at a beginner level because I realized
students did not like to participate actively, keeping in mind they did not feel motivated to
do it, so it would not accomplish the objective of the activity.
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Classroom activities and oral participation
Meanwhile, in grammar classes, the teacher usually worked on role plays. These
classes were on Wednesdays and were taught in the classroom IB 106. The teacher began
these classes with a greeting or an expression which are used by American and British
people in a real context. “Reina” stated “La profesora inicia la clase saludando a los
estudiantes, luego ella dice: ''good morning, how are you?'' y pregunta ¿cuál es el saludo de
la clase?; ella dice ''what is the student book's greeting?''. An example of a greeting used in
the English textbook was “what's going on?'' Later, the teacher continued with the
explanation of the grammar topic, among the grammar topics the teacher explained “the
past tense” and the demonstrative pronouns “this, that, these, those”.
The teacher frequently asked students to present role plays and dialogues in order to
improve the students’ participation. The students in this class prepared a presentation based
on a real life situation using the grammar topic introduced in class and at the end the
teacher gave feedback about pronunciation and grammar mistakes.
I can infer that role plays are a good activity but it is not recommended to overuse
that same technique frequently because the students feel this activity is monotonous and
each time they will participate less in class.
Finally, the listening classes were based on song and translation activities. The
teacher used songs during Thursday classes, these classes were in the foreign language
laboratory where the students had a computer to listen to songs and look up both song
lyrics and unknown vocabulary online. The students heard the song once without lyrics.
Then they used the lyrics in order to recognize the words that they did not comprehend and
finally they translated the song’s lyrics.
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In addition, according to Reina: “Todo lo que usa la profesora, los materiales y
estrategias motivan mucho para que nosotros participemos. Las actividades influyen en
nosotros para que participemos o no participemos”. I can infer that the teacher’s attitude
and the activities used by her in the class are essential to increase the students’ interest
towards the class.
Influence of activities on students’ oral participation in class
During the observation procedure, it was observed that the teacher used different
activities in class and how they influenced the students to participate in class. Teachers ask
students for active oral participation which in some cases they do not try to encourage by
implementing new or different activities in the classroom. To use activities to improve the
students’ motivation while teaching is the remedy for the lack of oral participation in class.
Teachers know many activities and decide which strategy to use but it would seem that they
do not assess their strategies.
Motivation plays an essential role in students’ participation. If students do not feel
inspired by the activities, they will not participate actively. EFL learners in this study
expressed positive as well as negative comments regarding motivation as a factor created
by their teacher’s input and strategies. For instance, during the first section interview, two
students agreed to not feeling motivated to participate in reading classes. The part of
reading classes, where the students had to read and answer questionnaires about readings of
the student book, were identified by two of the five students interviewed as a class in which
they did not participate because of the lack of motivation, for instance; “Gebagu” said “nos
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ponen a responder las lecturas del student book, ella nos pone a leer y eso a mi no me
cuadra”. As for the Reading class with the book named “kidnapped”; “Decak” and
“Musical” agreed that “las clases con el libro de “Kidnapped” son aburridas porque
tenemos que pasar uno por uno como estamos en la lista y no es tan dinámico para hablar”.
On the other hand, students stated they participated more in role plays and singing
activities. When participants were asked about what activity motivated them to participate
actively in classes, four of them concluded “La actividad que más motiva son los role plays
y las que se hacen con las canciones porque ahí uno aprende bastante y conoce nuevas
cosas. Si hay errores, la profe corrige y podemos interartuar con los compañeros ya que
estamos en fase de comunicación oral. Además, en los role plays hacemos situaciones del
día a día”. However, two students pointed out that “Los role plays on buenos pero ya están
monótonos, uno pasa y participa pero después se pierde toda la motivación. Y pues al
principio si participaba pero ahora cansa.” It means that when an activity is repetitive, it
loses its effectiveness in the classroom.
Conclusions
Findings from this study revealed that students’ oral participation depended not only
on the grammar and vocabulary knowledge of English, but also on which and how the class
activities were implemented by the teacher in the classroom. Based on the teacher’s
activities and the methodology used, I conclude that some activities such as role plays and
songs translations were successful, and encouraged students’ oral participation, because
they involved the study of subjects and the creation of real life stories.
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Discussion and implications
According to Williams and Williams (2011) “Motivation is probably the most
important factor that educators can target in order to improve learning.” They identified
five key aspects that have a big impact on the enrichment of the students' motivation in
their learning process; the student, teacher, content, method/process, and environment.
Although Williams and Williams (2011) identified five aspects, I found that there were
only two essential aspects that played an important role when motivating the students' oral
participation: the teacher and the lesson procedure. For instance, the teacher must not only
be a guide in the class; the teacher must observe and analyse the students’ learning. The
lessons procedure is not only used to accomplish the students’ needs; it is necessary to
focus the activities on the students' desires and expectations.
Finally, I leave an open invitation for teachers and students to continue researching
the teachers' activities and methodologies to encourage the students' oral participation. FL
teachers and students may embark upon a reflective practice in order to expand the present
findings.
References
Ariza, E. (2001). Interacting in English through games. Profile. Issues in Teachers’
Professional Development, 1-3.
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Baxter, P. & Jack, S. (2008). Qualitative case study methodology: study design and
implementation for novice researchers. The Qualitative Report, (4), 1-16.
Bishop, P. E. (2000). Classroom interaction. Valencia Community College, 1-2.
Retrieved from: http://files.myopera.com/tnthaonguyen1/blog/classroominteract.pdf?1354285825.
Buitrago, R., & Ayala, R. (2007). Overcoming fear of speaking in English through
meaningful activities: a study with teenagers. Profile, 23-46.
Carter, R., & Nunan, D. (2001).The cambrige guide to teaching English to speakers of other
languages. Cambrigde: Pearson Longman.
Castrillón, O. (2003). Encouraging the development of children's oral communicative
competences through play. Issues in teachers’ professional development. 4 (1), 5964.
Castro, J., Londoño, E., & Torres, L. (2010). Involving non-participant students into
classroom interaction: a case study of a French language course at a public
university in Colombia. 1-19. Unpublished manuscript.
Forero, Y. (2004). Promoting oral interaction in large groups through task-based learning.
Profile, 23-46.
Hatch, J. A. (2002). Doing qualitative research in education settings. New York: State
University of New York.
Herazo, J. (2009). Authentic oral interaction in the efl class: what it means, what it does
not. Profile, 12, 47-61.
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Lanfont, L. ( 2007). Study of factors that affect oral participation in the students of 6th
grade at Maria Auxiliadora school in Sahagún, Cordoba. Tesis Magister En
Educación. Cordoba, Colombia: Universidad Del Norte. (393).
Prieto, C. (2007). Improving eleventh graders’ oral production in English class through
cooperative learning strategies. Profile, 75-90.
Tepfenhart, K. L. (2011). Student perceptions of oral participation in the foreign language
classroom. Education Resources Information Center. (29).
Williams, K., & Williams, C. (2011). Five key ingredients for improving student
motivation.
Research in Higher Education Journal, (12) 1-23. Winke. P. M. (2005). Promoting
motivation in the foreign language classroom. CLEAR News, 9, 21-45.
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Elkin David Perneth Parra*
Elkin is a foreign languages student at the University of Pamplona. He has taken four
courses on educational research during the last two years. He has been part of The
Undergraduate Research Group SILEX. This article is his first publication as a qualitative
researcher. He is interested in expanding his knowledge and research experiences on
classroom activities and speaking skills.
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Appendix A
Interviews’ Protocol (First section)
Interview Nº: ____
Interviewer: ________________________________
Interviewee: _________________
Date: _____________ Hour: _______________
Site: _______________________
Focus__________________________________________________________________
Objective:_______________________________________________________________
QUESTIONS
PARTICIPANT #
Cuénteme un poco acerca de sus clases de
Inglés.
¿Cual es la parte de la clase que más le gusta
y porque?
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¿Cual es la parte de la clase que menos le
gusta y porque?
¿Cuál es la parte de la clase en la que usted
más participa? ¿Como y porque?
Cuénteme acerca de cómo hace su profesora
de Inglés para que usted y sus compañeros
participen en clase.
Las siguientes preguntas tienen como fin recolectar información acerca de la experiencia de los estudiantes, cuando aprenden inglés,
además de ello, saber cómo se sienten los estudiantes de 1 semestre cuando ponen en práctica la producción oral que se requiere al
momento de aprender una lengua extranjera. La misma se realiza con el fin de dar respuesta al siguiente fenómeno “Teaghin
Strategies to Foster Oral Participation”. La información que usted proporcione en esta entrevista será utilizada únicamente para la
colección de datos del estudio previamente citado. Mi interés es aprender de sus experiencias. Todos los comentarios y sugerencias de
todos los participantes serán manejados con profesionalidad y confidencialidad. Ahora siéntase libre y cómodo de responder al
siguiente cuestionario. Le agradecería su completa sinceridad.
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Appendix B
Interviews’ Protocol (Second section)
Interview Nº: ____
Interviewer: ________________________________
Interviewee: _________________
Date: _____________ Hour: _______________
Site: _______________________
QUESTIONS
PARTICIPANT #
¿Qué tan participativa hace su profesora la
clase de Inglés?
¿Cuál es la actividad que menos los motivan
a participar en clase? ¿Por qué?
¿Cuál es la actividad que menos los motivan
a participar en clase? ¿Por qué?
¿Cuales factores identifica usted que
posiblemente afecta la participación en su
clase?
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¿Cómo cree usted que su profesora haría
que participen un poco mas usted y sus
compañeros?
Dígame algunos comentarios o información
que quizás me podrían ayudar a entender
como influyen las estrategias del profesor
para que participen oralmente los
estudiantes.
Focus__________________________________________________________________
Objective:_______________________________________________________________
Las siguientes preguntas tienen como fin recolectar información acerca de la experiencia de los estudiantes, cuando aprenden inglés,
además de ello, saber cómo se sienten los estudiantes de 1 semestre cuando ponen en práctica la producción oral que se requiere al
momento de aprender una lengua extranjera. La misma se realiza con el fin de dar respuesta al siguiente fenómeno “Teaching
Strategies to Foster Oral Participation”. La información que usted proporcione en esta entrevista será utilizada únicamente para la
colección de datos del estudio previamente citado. Mi interés es aprender de sus experiencias. Todos los comentarios y sugerencias de
todos los participantes serán manejados con profesionalidad y confidencialidad. Ahora siéntase libre y cómodo de responder al
siguiente cuestionario. Le agradecería su completa sinceridad.
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Appendix C
Observation Protocol
Observation Nº: ____
Teacher: _________________________________
Observer: ________________________________
Course: _____________
Date: _____________ Hour: _____________
Site: _______________________
Focus_____________________________________________________________
Objective:__________________________________________________________
CLASSROOM DESCRIPTION:
1- Description of the classroom:
2- Teaching aids /materials:
3- Assessment strategies used by the teacher:
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STUDENT DESCRIPTION:
Number of students: Date:
1- Number and gender of students; number of minorities or majorities:
2- Describe the students’ behavior
3- Students’ attitudes toward the subject matter and the teacher:
CLASS DESCRIPTION:
TIME
WHAT I OBSERVED
MY REFLECTIONS
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Appendix D
Estudiantes
Primer semestre
Departamento de Lenguas Extranjeras y Comunicación
Universidad de Pamplona.
Cordial saludo.
Con el fin de dar cumplimiento a uno de los objetivos fundamentales del curso “proyecto de
investigación en Lenguas Extranjeras”, les solicito muy comedidamente su participación en el
estudio durante el periodo académico con el cual será entrevistado y observado durante el
semestre en la investigación que se llevara a cabo, titulada “Identifying Teaching Strategies That
Foster Oral Participation Among Beginning-Level Students In An English Class: A Case Study”.
Igualmente quiero manifestarle que toda la información que se obtenga, será llevada con la más
estricta confidencialidad, anonimato y privacidad que caracteriza este tipo de estudio. Es
importante resaltar que su participación es de manera voluntaria y no tendrá ningún tipo de
remuneración económica, en cualquier momento podrá retirarse de este proyecto sin ninguna
consecuencia y sin que afecte su proceso de evaluación semestral ni su relación con el docente
encargado del grupo. Sin embargo, cabe decir que el proyecto le proporcionara beneficios en su
proceso académico ya que conocerá de antemano que estrategias de enseñanza emplea el
profesor de primer semestre en lenguas extranjeras con el fin de fomentar la participación oral en
la clase de Inglés. De otra parte los resultados de este proyecto podrían ser publicados en un
artículo. Esto no quiere decir que la identidad de los participantes será revelada, ya que toda la
información recopilada se mantendrá bajo estricta confidencialidad.
Desde ahora, le agradezco su colaboración. Al final de semestre ustedes serán invitados para
socializar los resultados obtenidos en el estudio realizado.
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Al firmar este proyecto Ustedes autorizan su participación, con el objetivo de recoger los datos
necesarios para el proyecto
Sin otro particular,
Atentamente,
Co investigador
_______________________
________________________
Investigador principal
Docente
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Portfolio as a Tool to Improve Writing Skills among First Semester EFL Learners at a
Public University in Colombia, a Case Study
Yessica Elena Sierra*
[email protected]
Abstract:
This case study was an attempt to understand the perceptions and experiences of
four first semester students through the use of FL portfolio as a way to improve their
writing skills. Data was gathered through participants’ portfolios, interviews and one
participant’s observations. Data was analysed by using the interpretive analysis model
suggested by Hatch (2002) and using MAXQDA10. The findings showed that Portfolios
helped learners to improve their writing skills since they provide the learners and the
teacher with different activities and strategies to improve their writing. There are some
problems related to the correct use of portfolios.
Key words: Case Study, Portfolios, Writing Skills, English as a Foreign Language, EFL.
Resumen:
Este estudio de caso fue un intento por entender las percepciones y experiencias de
cuatro estudiantes de primer semestre hacia el uso del portafolio como una forma de
Portfolio and Writing Skills
promover las habilidades de escritura entre los aprendices de inglés como lengua
extranjera. Los datos fueron recogidos a través del análisis de documentos, entrevistas y
una observación participativa. Los resultados mostraron que el portafolio es una
herramienta útil para promover las habilidades de escritura a través de diferentes
actividades y estrategias utilizadas por los estudiantes y la docente pero existen algunos
problemas con relación al correcto uso del portafolio.
Palabras claves: Caso de estudio, Portafolios, Habilidades de escritura, Inglés como Lengua
Extranjera, EFL
Introduction
Writing in English constitutes one of the most problematic areas in language
teaching and learning. One of the reasons to carry out this inquiry was my personal
experience; I wondered how my writing skills would be if I had used a portfolio; because,
as previous studies have shown, a portfolio is a helpful tool to promote this ability and
achieve accuracy, complexity, fluency and coherence. “Portfolio is considered as a
compilation of students’ work, which documents their effort, progress and achievement in
their learning, and their reflection on the materials negotiated for the portfolio” (Yang
2003). In other words, students show their work from the beginning of the term to the end;
portfolios therefore give both a teacher and students a chance to evaluate how much the
student’s writing skills have progressed.
This case study attempts to understand whether a portfolio is a useful tool to
improve writing skills among students. They were chosen taking into account the following
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Portfolio and Writing Skills
criteria: Proficiency level ranging from A1 to A2 level, and the completeness of the
portfolio. After having revised seven students’ portfolios, only four decided to participate.
Literature review
This inquiry took into account the theoretical framework and previous studies
related to portfolio and writing skills. First, I will provide the main definitions of portfolios
and communicative competencies, categorized into receptive and productive skills.
Second, I will present a review of important studies on portfolios and how these might have
an impact on learning processes in EFL. More importantly, I will describe the relationship
between these past case studies and my case study pertaining to the use of a portfolio to
improve writing skills in EFL.
Receptive and Productive skills
According to the Common European Framework (CEF), receptive skills involve
two aspects: understanding and reading, whereas productive skills involve writing and
speaking. In both the receptive and productive modes, the written and/or oral activities of
mediation make communication possible between persons who are unable, for whatever
reason, to communicate with each other directly (CEF).
Speaking and writing as parts of productive skills are two critical components of the
complex process of communication. Furthermore, a particular social value is attached to
these judgments made up of what has been submitted in writing or of fluency in speaking
and delivering oral presentations. Writing skills are specific abilities which help writers
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Portfolio and Writing Skills
express their thoughts, feelings and experiences in words in a meaningful form (CEF). In
the same way, writing skills help the learner gain independence, comprehension, fluency
and creativity in writing.
Raimes, (1987) stated that writing in a foreign language can have some pedagogical
purposes such as reinforcement, training, imitation, communication, fluency, and learning
(As cited in Aydin, 2010). Besides, Scarcella and Oxford (1995) stated that writing in a
foreign language helps learners improve their grammatical, strategic, sociolinguistic, and
discourse competencies in the target language. Writing in English as a foreign language
constitutes one of the most problematic areas because it is seen as one of the most difficult
skills. Students have to pay a lot of attention to the mechanics of writing (punctuation,
capitalization, abbreviation, numbering, spelling) and grammar in order to be able to write
effective compositions.
Similarly, Nunan (1991) pointed out that producing a coherent, fluent, extended
writing piece is likely to be the most difficult thing in a language since the reader has to
comprehend what has been written without asking for clarification or relying on the
writer’s tone of voice or expression. Moreover, he asserted that writing is clearly a complex
process, and competent writing is accepted as being the last aspect of language to be
acquired; few people write spontaneously and feel comfortable with a formal writing task
intended for the eyes of someone else, even in their L1, and all the more so in a second or
foreign language. When that "someone else" is the teacher, whose eyes may be critical, and
who indeed may assign an individual assessment to the written product, most people feel
uncomfortable.
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Portfolio
Currently, the use of a portfolio is well known in the education field and over the
years it has been implemented by students and teachers not only to document their
achievements, but also to demonstrate how their skills have developed over the years as a
consequence of their learning background, so it has become a feature of many university
departments.
Since the purpose of this research was to understand whether a portfolio is a useful
tool to improve writing skills, I have quoted some important authors that define portfolio.
For instance, Barnard & Deyzel (2003) “defined portfolio as a portable, systematic,
purposeful collection of work, selected to provide information about attitude, level of
development and growth during a given period of time. It is a powerful visual tool that
provides evidence of self-assessment, personal reflections, learning, growth and
development and a comprehensive and complex overview of skills.”
On the other hand, Yang (2003) defined portfolio as “a compilation of students’
work, which documents their effort, progress and achievement in their learning, and their
reflection on the materials negotiated for the portfolio”. The current study will be guided
by this definition because it is important to take into account the role of a portfolio in the
learning process in order to grow and advance in all skills.
Several researchers pointed out that portfolios are an effective means to integrate
learning as well as to promote writing skills. For instance, Aydin (2010) conducted a case
study implemented at Balıkesir University, Turkey, with a group of 39 pre-service EFL
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Portfolio and Writing Skills
teachers. The results suggested that portfolio keeping helps learners to integrate the
development of proficiency skills, content knowledge, and grammatical competence; it
improves vocabulary and grammar learning and practice, although there were some
potential problems as well such as the feeling among some students that portfolio keeping
is boring and tiring because students need to study every week to complete their products
and it also takes time to finish them.
Similarly, Lombardi (2008) carried out a qualitative research project in some
colleges, universities and other institutions in the United States where she showed that
written portfolios have been replaced by electronic portfolios. Digital portfolios or
ePortfolios have evolved from the traditional paper variety and serve as a source for study
regarding their effects on student motivation, achievement, and institutional outcomes.
Moreover, the author stated that students can use digital cameras, camcorders, Web cams,
scanners, and file transfers to demonstrate skills that cannot be conveyed via traditional
paper portfolios. Students documented material without reflection and the portfolio became
a mere exhibition rather than a real collection of work.
The following two papers explain how the use of portfolios helps EFL students
improve their writing skills. Also, they showed portfolios are positive tools to become
informed about assessment processes in language courses. Romova & Andrew (2011)
examined the benefits for learners who work with portfolios as pedagogical tools for
developing academic writing. This case study was carried out in a tertiary institution in
New Zealand where a multicultural group of 41 learners enrolled in the degree-level course
of “Academic Writing’ that made up part of this course. The authors found relevant
benefits. For example, they found that a multi-draft portfolio is an effective assessment
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tool, not only because it provides a feedback loop, but also because it enhances learners’
understanding of writing as a recursive process and the student developed the stages of
writing skills which are: pre-writing, outlining, drafting and doing several re-drafts. So,
learners gain a sense of progress and hence increased confidence.
In addition, Qinghua (2010) studied two sophomore English major classes,
consisting of 34 students aged between 18 and 21. The author in his comparative study
investigated differences between the Portfolio-Based Writing Assessment (PBWA)
experimental class and the non-PBWA class in terms of writing products involving
accuracy, complexity, fluency and coherence. Qinghua (2010) indicated that (PBWA)
facilitated growth of EFL writing ability at least in some dimensions, specifically accuracy
and coherence. Therefore, the author considers PBWA, as a tool of learning to aid
promoting writing ability.
Other studies have analysed teachers’ portfolios. Craig (2003) conducted a multiple
case study with teachers from five schools in the United States. The author found that
school portfolio development proved to be a productive activity for the teachers. Even
though this research showed that portfolios are useful to teachers as well as students, there
are some dilemmas about the use of a portfolio such as the fact that there are limitations in
enthusiasm and creativity when working on their portfolio. Similarly, Xu (2003) conducted
a case study in which portfolios used by teachers evolved as a mechanism to promote
school-centred professional development in a public elementary school located on the
Upper East Side of Manhattan, in New York City. The author worked with a group of 12
teachers. Xu found important results which were essential for teacher development, for
instance: a portfolio helped create a sense of affiliation and provided a vehicle for teachers
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to work collaboratively and constructively. It also energized teachers at different stages of
development to take risks and to examine their practices.
Finally, all of the studies reviewed in this section were useful to supplement my
proposal because they showed that a portfolio promotes writing skills and integrates
learning, organization and self-assessment in which the students can improve their EFL
writing ability and acquire confidence to continue writing and overcome their problems in
this skill. In addition, they contributed to a better understanding of portfolio
implementation and the impact it has on the learning process in EFL because they provide
both negative and positive aspects that were essential when posing the questions that
guided this study.
Methodology
I adopted the case study method because this type of design allowed me to
understand a “bounded system” in time and space through a detailed data collection process
Creswell (1998.) This was a bounded system in space because this research was conducted
in a specific classroom setting in the foreign languages program belonging to a Colombian
public university. This research took 16 weeks, and was developed according to my
schedule of activities (See annex 1.)
Participants were: Butterfly, Consentida, Vago, and Poderosa (pseudonyms), 4
beginner-level students (3 female and 1 male), their ages ranged from 16 to 18. The
selection of participants was done through purposeful sampling. According to Patton
(2002) purposeful sampling is a non-random method of sampling where the researcher
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selects “information-rich cases for study in depth.” In other words, I selected participants
who can best help me understand my phenomenon and also participants who are between
A1 and A2 level (Common European Framework.)
Student’s portfolios were the main source of data in this study. I evaluated them
based on 4 aspects: organization, content, quality of reflection and self-assessment. I
designed my own protocol in order to carefully examine these portfolios. It allowed me to
have an easy and understandable way to gather all the information required in this study
(see annex 2.) Moreover, I conducted two semi-structured interviews. The first one,
conducted at the beginning of the study, aimed to identify the general and basic knowledge
that students had about portfolios and how they used them. The second interview conducted
at the end of the data collection process, helped me to learn about participants’ experiences
when using portfolios (See annex 3.) The information gathered through the participant
voices corroborated previous analysis of the portfolios.
In order to complement the data gathered, I conducted one participant classroom
observation. This had not been planned initially. However, the professor in charge of this
course invited me to observe a students’ oral report. I accepted and I observed this activity
for approximately two hours. During this activity, I participated actively: The teacher let
me ask students general questions about their presentation or their process using a portfolio;
in this presentation participants showed their classmates their portfolios including the
organization and content, which refers to their writing products such as tests, exams and
free writing products that they collected. Participating in this activity was a unique
opportunity to have a first-hand experience in the real setting. In other words, while
observing participants in their classroom environment, I learned how they expressed their
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experiences and feelings at the time of writing the texts or tasks required in the portfolio
and what they learned and improved using it.
Data analysis
Data was analysed through the interpretive analysis suggested by Hatch (2002.)
Once data was transcribed, I started the coding process in order to identify all of the cases
related to the salient memos. I also used MAXQDA to organize all of the data. Finally, I
wrote narratives about what I found during the coding and analysing process. The idea
behind writing narratives was to force myself to put the interpretations in my memos into a
“story” that others could understand (Hatch 2002.)
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Findings
The findings obtained from this study can be divided into two broad categories:
advantages and disadvantages. Portfolios make some significant contributions to the
writing skills of foreign language students. However, some potential problems exist when
using portfolios in EFL writing.
In terms of the advantages, there are three aspects that seemed to have been
improved by the use of a portfolio such as: the organization of their portfolios, vocabulary
and grammar used. First, participants agreed that the portfolio helped them to become more
organized because they kept track of their assignments in a variety of ways. For example,
participants were allowed to organize their portfolios by sections, such as free writing
products, tests, exams and songs. This simple strategy was useful when managing and
assessing their progress. For example, Consentida stated that: “sugiero llevar sus trabajos
organizados es decir dividirlos por secciones porque se le facilita a uno mejorar el uso del
portafolio y así ver el progreso en cada escrito y lo tiene uno bonito”.
Although, most of the students’ agreed that it was necessary to have a wellorganized portfolio, when analysing them, I realized that they did not have section
markers, and some documents were not labelled with titles; in other words, the products
students showed in their portfolios did not reflect enough time spent by the students
organizing their work or enough preparation. Participants’ samples were only a seemingly
random collection of writing tasks that lacked creativity and originality.
Secondly, the use of a portfolio was also advantageous when improving
participants’ vocabulary. Based on the portfolio samples, I realized that they rewrote their
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products (e.g. my daily routine, who is my best friend, my favorite day and others) as a
strategy to learn by heart those new words and the mechanics of the language.
For instance Butterfly pointed out: “uno aprende mucho vocabulario de tanto repetir
o escribir varias veces, uno escribe mucho más, aprende uno a mejorar la gramática a
inspirarse o a soltarse más para escribir”.
I inferred that the teacher followed this strategy as a way to assess and at the same
time to help them to develop their writing proficiency. For instance, when they had
grammar, vocabulary and spelling mistakes in the texts in their portfolios, the learners
wrote these texts again. The teacher corrected their mistakes; students then rewrote the
correct version.
Thirdly, portfolios helped participants to improve their grammar knowledge and use
what resulted in improved, coherent, and cohesive writing production. As stated by
Butterfly: “… Uno escribe mucho más, aprende uno a mejorar la gramática a inspirarse o a
soltarse más para escribir bien”.
It seems that rewriting texts helped them to improve their grammar knowledge, and
use fluent and correct sentences in each task. Moreover, it was advantageous because they
realized and understood the mistakes they had made and after teacher corrections they were
able to produce more complex and complete writing products.
As for disadvantages when using EFL portfolios, I found that students have faced a
variety of problems that could interfere with the process of improving their writing ability;
and acquiring confidence to continue writing and overcoming their problems in this skill.
The first problem is that students had difficulties when writing because the way the students
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used their portfolios was a boring and tiring process since they had to write each text more
than twice as Butterfly stated:
“No le prestaría mucha atención porque es tedioso y algo cansón y además
cuando terminamos los quizes la profesora no lo corregía en el tablero y nos
tocaba después pasarlos y no solo los quizes todos nuestros escritos una dos o
más de tres veces nos tocaba pasarlo hasta que quedaran bien”.
I deduce that using a portfolio is not a tedious and boring process in itself. Perhaps
the strategy used by the teacher was not successful, and did not reach her students’
expectations.
The second problem students faced while keeping their portfolios was the insecurity
they felt when writing. Sometimes they did not know how to produce a complete and
creative piece of writing that would satisfy their teacher’s expectations. For example one
student stated:
“Una desventaja puede ser que a la hora de hacerlo nosotros mismos no
estábamos seguro al hacerlo entonces una escribe como uno entiende que es,
pero después uno se da cuenta que no es así por que la profe no los corregía”.
The last limitation found through the analysis of each portfolio was that students
were not required to reflect on their own progress or self-assess. All in all, the content of
the portfolios was based on writing products. The use of reflections on the students’ part
would indicate the ability to analyse and critique their own work. Reflections also
demonstrate student understanding of relevant outcomes. Moreover, through self-
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assessment the student would identify strengths and areas for improvement related to
portfolio product.
Conclusions and discussions
Two main results were drawn from this study. Firstly, data demonstrated that
portfolios were beneficial to improve vocabulary, grammar, and writing in a FL.
Participants became more organized when writing a text. Secondly, EFL students perceived
some problems during the use of a portfolio; they believed that a portfolio implies a tedious
and tiring process, and they also had difficulties in writing each text because they felt
insecure when writing for fear of later being corrected. Finally, the analysis of portfolios
was appropriate for confirming students’ opinions and for finding advantages and
drawbacks related to the use of a portfolio, for instance: student’s portfolios did not feature
reflections and self-assessment and they also featured problems in terms of organization
because some students did not use them correctly.
After summarizing the study results, I concluded that there were some similarities
and significant contributions found in my study and previous studies. For instance: Aydin
(2010) pointed out that portfolio keeping helps students to improve vocabulary and
grammar learning and practice. But she also found some problems as portfolio keeping is a
boring and tiring tool. In my study I found similar results: the improvement in the
proficiency skills (writing) and problems as some students considered portfolio as a tedious
and laborious process.
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Moreover, Romova & Andrew (2011) found significant benefits using a multi-draft
as an effective assessment tool, because it enhances learners’ understanding of writing as a
recursive process and the student gains a sense of progress and hence increased confidence.
In my study, the teacher used a similar strategy as a way to assess her students through the
portfolio used; it was re-writing and correcting their mistakes. Even though in both studies,
the use of this strategy was useful to improve the writing skills of EFL students, the
difference found between Romova & Andrew (2011) and this study was that students did
not assess and critique their own work through reflection and self-assessment or through
correcting their mistakes because they were made by the teacher and for this reason
students felt insecurity when writing their texts because they were subject to the grades
given by the teacher.
Finally, I suggest that the use of portfolios is a valuable tool for promoting
reflection and self- assessment in which students can assess and improve their writing skills
with the collaboration of their teacher as a guide or supervisor during the process. It is
important to note that in the university in which I conducted this case study, the teacher did
not promote self-assessment or self-reflection through portfolio keeping. This tool should
be used more frequently by teachers from this public university because a portfolio used in
the right way (with plenty of opportunities for student self-assessment and reflection on
learning built in) would help to overcome writing skills problems.
*Yessica Elena Sierra is studying a bachelor degree in foreign languages English – French
at the Universidad de Pamplona, she currently is in her fifth year and she has been a
member of The Undergraduate Research Group –SILEX for 2 years. Moreover, she is
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interested in FL students’ writing skills process. She can be contacted at
[email protected]
REFERENCES
Aydin, S. (2010). A qualitative research on portfolio keeping in English as foreign
language writing. The Qualitative Report, 15 (3), 15.
Barnard, S.E. & Deyzel, L. (2003). Career portfolio- the 21st century career management
tool. South Africa: University of South Africa.
Craing C. J. (2003 ). School portfolio development : A teacher knowledge approach.
Journal of Teacher Education , 14.
Common European framework in its political an educational context. Retrieved may 15,
2012 from: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/source/Framework_EN.pdf.
Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five
Traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y. (2000). Introduction: The discipline and practice of qualitative
research. In N.K. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research
(2nd ed., pp.1-17). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Hatch, J. A. (2002). Doing qualitative research in education settings. New York: State
University of New York.
Lombardi, J. (2008). To Portfolio or not to Portfolio helpful or hyped? College teaching,
56(1), 11.
Nunan. (1991). To language teaching methodology a textbook for teachers. Practice Hall
International English Language Teaching. Sydney: Macquire University.
Patton, m.q (2002). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Qinghua, L. (2010). The impact of portfolio-based writing on EFL writing development of
Chinese learners. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics (Bimonthly), 33 (2), 14.
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Scarcella, R. C., & Oxford, R. L. (1992). The tapestry of language learning: The individual
in the communicative classroom. Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.
Yang, N. D. (2003). Integrating portfolios into learning strategy-based instruction for EFL
college students. Education Full Text (Wilson). IRAL, 41(4), 293-317.
Xu J. (2003). Promoting school-centered professional development through teaching
portfolios : A case study. Journal of Teacher Education , 16
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ANNEX 1
SCHEDULE TIME
JUNE 2012
Mon.
11
Wed
13
Thur.
JULY 2012
Fri.
14
27
28
15
29
Mon.
Wed.
Thur.
Fri.
11
12
13
16
18
20
21
21
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
Artifact analysis
Interviews
Document analysis
Interview analysis
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ANNEX 2
ARTIFACT ANALYSIS PROTOCOL
Artifact: Portfolio
Participant: ______________
CATEGORIES
DESCRIPTION
REFLECTION
ORGANIZATION
CONTENT
QUALITY OF
REFLECTION
SELF ASSESSMENT
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ANNEX 3
Interviews’ Protocol
INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS
Interview Nº: _1__
Interviewer: _______________________
Interviewee: student name ( pseudonym)
Subject: Ingles
Date: _____________ Hour: ___________________
Site: _______________________ Number of interviewee: _________
Focus: ________________________________________________________
Objective: To identify the basic knowledge that students have about portfolios’ use.
Brief Description: Las siguientes preguntas tienen como fin recolectar información acerca
del uso de portafolios en relación a las producciones escritas con el fin de entender si el este
es una herramienta útil para mejorar las habilidades de escrituras desarrolladas por los
estudiantes de 1 semestre.
La información que usted proporcione en esta entrevista será utilizada únicamente para la
colección de datos del estudio previamente citado. Mi interés es aprender de sus
experiencias. Todos los comentarios y sugerencias de todos los participantes serán
manejados con profesionalidad y confidencialidad.
Ahora siéntase libre y cómodo de responder al siguiente cuestionario. Le agradecería su
completa sinceridad.
QUESTIONS
1
PARTICIPANT (pseudonym)
Cuénteme, ¿Qué es para usted
escritura?
2
¿Cómo es su proceso de escritura o
que pasos sigue a la hora de hacer
un escrito?
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3 ¿Con base en su experiencia con el
portafolio; cuénteme ¿Que es para usted
esta herramienta?
4 ¿Qué tipo de escritos ha realizado en el
portafolio?
5 ¿Piensa usted que el portafolio es buena
herramienta para mejorar su escritura? Por
que
Interview Nº: _2_
Interviewer: _____________________
Interviewee: student name ( pseudonym)
Subject: Ingles
Date: _____________ Hour: ___________________
Site: _______________________ Number of interviewee: _________
Focus: ________________________________________________________
Objective: To know students’ experience obtained in portfolios’ use.
Brief Description: Las siguientes preguntas tienen como fin recolectar información acerca
del uso de portafolios en relación a las producciones escritas con el fin de entender si el este
es una herramienta útil para mejorar las habilidades de escrituras desarrolladas por los
estudiantes de 1 semestre.
La información que usted proporcione en esta entrevista será utilizada únicamente para la
colección de datos del estudio previamente citado. Mi interés es aprender de sus
experiencias. Todos los comentarios y sugerencias de todos los participantes serán
manejados con profesionalidad y confidencialidad.
Ahora siéntase libre y cómodo de responder al siguiente cuestionario. Le agradecería su
completa sinceridad.
QUESTIONS
PARTICIPANT (pseudonym)
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1 ¿Como ha sido su experiencia
trabajando con el portafolio?
2
¿cuáles fueron las ventajas al trabajar
con el portafolio?
3
¿cuáles fueron las desventajas al trabajar
con el portafolio?
4¿Como
considera usted que mejoro su
escritura con el uso del portafolio? En qué
aspectos?
5 ¿Que sugerencias tiene usted que pueden ser
útil al usar el portafolio con el fin de obtener
buenos resultados?
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How Does Code Switching Affect Students‟ Proficiency When Learning Foreign
Languages?
Susan Córdoba Huertas*
[email protected]
Abstract
This qualitative case study attempted to understand how code switching affects
students’ ‟proficiency level when learning foreign languages at a public university in
Colombia. The participants were seven English intermediate- level students from the
foreign language program.
Findings revealed that code switching affects students consciously and
subconsciously while speaking a foreign language. Their speaking skills were affected
consciously due to the lack of vocabulary; and subconsciously because of the
environmental situation they were in when communicating (in public, due to nervousness
and the pressure they felt when speaking in front of the teacher and being orally evaluated.)
Key words: Code Switching, case study and communicative skill.
Resumen
Este estudio de caso cualitativo pretendió comprender como el cambio de código
afecta el nivel de competencia oral de los estudiantes, en el aprendizaje de lenguas
Code Switching and Oral Proficiency
extranjeras, en una universidad pública en Colombia. Los participantes de este estudio
fueron 7 estudiantes pertenecientes al nivel intermedio del programa de lenguas extranjeras.
Los resultados revelaron que el cambio de código afecta a los estudiantes consciente
y subconscientemente mientras hablan y se comunican en una lengua extranjera. Las
habilidades orales de los estudiantes se vieron afectadas conscientemente debido a la falta
de vocabulario para expresar sus ideas y subconscientemente por las situaciones y lugares
en las que se encontraban al comunicarse. (En público, por el nerviosismo y la presión que
sentían al hablar en frente del profesor y ser oralmente evaluados).
Palabras clave: cambio de código, caso de estudio y habilidad comunicativa.
Introduction
Foreign languages learners face several challenges when communicating orally. The
most common ones are: mispronunciation, incorrect grammar structure, word choice and
also code switching. Code switching is defined as “the transference of elements of one
language to another at various levels including phonological, grammatical, lexical and
orthographical (Berthold, Mangubhai & Batorowicz, 1997.) There are several factors that
make foreign languages (FL) learners code switch, consciously or subconsciously, from
one language to another at different levels. However, learners are not always aware of the
causes that make them code switch. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to
understand whether code switching affected students‟ oral skills positively or negatively
when learning foreign languages. Although code switching may occur when writing, this
study was primarily focused on the participants‟ communicative skills.
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Literature review
In order to develop this research, I have chosen three previous studies in order to
complete the literature review. I found these three studies helpful because they show the
advantages and disadvantages of code switching when learning foreign languages.
(Unamuno 2008) conducted a study called “Multilingual switch in peer classroom
interaction.” Findings showed that code switching opens sequences aimed at planning,
organizing and structuring the discourse and the activities students are sharing when
expressing themselves. Similarly, code-switching sometimes shows an alteration in the
arrangement of participants, i.e. a shift of receiver, the incorporation of a new interlocutor,
etc.
Similarly, (Macias 1992) studied “Code-Switching, Bilingualism, and Biliteracy”.
The author focused on a single classroom because there was more code-switching occurring
in this classroom. Participants were 30 students, including their parents and teachers.
Data for this investigation comes from approximately fourteen hours of videotapes
taken in this classroom, observation notes by a participant observer (teacher) and nonparticipant observers (project coordinators), informal parent interviews, and work samples
done in the classes and at home. Findings revealed that students used code switching to
elaborate, to emphasize, to specify an addressee and to clarify; the instructor code switched
effectively and in the fashion of a native bilingual (excluding a few performance errors in
grammar which did not detract from the message); and parents maintained their use of
Spanish in the classroom even when they were capable of speaking English. This was true,
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with the exception of short phrases, when they spoke to the instructor (who was English
dominant). Macias (1992) “also found that children used both languages freely as they
responded to the teacher. Code-switching was found to enhance communication, in both
oral and written form”.
(Olcay Sert 2005) conducted a study on the functions of code switching in ELT
classrooms. This author concluded that: “It may be suggested that code switching in
language classrooms is not always a blockage or deficiency in learning a language, but may
be considered as a useful strategy in classroom interaction, if the aim is to make meaning
clear and to transfer the knowledge to students in an efficient way. Yet, it should be kept in
mind that in long term, when the students experience interaction with the native speakers of
the target language; code switching may be a barrier which prevents mutual intelligibility.
These studies helped me to better understand how code switching could affect
students while speaking and communicating their ideas in a foreign language. I have also
learned that code switching affects positively or negatively students’ oral skills.
Methodology
This study followed qualitative research procedures; especially the ones framed
under a case study. According to (Creswell 1998) a case study is as “an exploration of a
bounded system‟ or a case (or multiple cases) over time through detailed, in-depth data
collection involving multiple sources of information rich in context. This study was
bounded in time because it lasted 14 weeks. It was also bounded in space, since this
research studied seven English intermediate - level students.
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I used purposeful sampling to select the participants to take part in this study, taking
into account the following criteria: willingness to participate and students that
interacted/participated the most in their English classes. According to (Patton 1990) “the
purposeful sampling is to select information-rich cases whose study will illuminate the
questions under study”.
The participants for this study were seven English intermediate-level students of the
foreign language program at a public university in Colombia. Their ages ranged between
17-19 years. (Participants were: Mariana, Estefanía, Pablo, Carlos, Andrés, Ramiro and
Clara (Pseudonyms)).
Their proficiency level was B1 according to the common European framework.
They were fully informed about the project, and the reasons why the project was being
conducted. They expressed their concerns about the research and their doubts and questions
were answered.
Data was gathered in a natural setting, in a foreign language classroom at a public
University in Colombia. Classes were developed in a classroom with two big, transparent
windows. The classroom was well lit providing students with a pleasant learning
environment.
The sources of information used were six non- participant classroom observations
and three interviews. According to (Creswell 2005) a non-participant observer is someone
“who visits a site and records notes without becoming involved in the activities of the
participants” (p.212.) Interviews and classroom observations were video-taped and
transcribed to not miss relevant information about the phenomenon under study. For the
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classroom observations I played an unobtrusive role, in order to be unbiased when
conducting the research.
The observations were conducted in a FL classroom that had two big, transparent
windows which could have presented a distraction for students; however the organization
of the classroom and its setting arrangement helped students to better understand what was
being taught. Students usually organized themselves in a semi-circle except for when they
had exams and they had to organize the chairs in several rows.
The classroom observations lasted two hours each time. I focused on the students
that participated and talked the most to get the information needed for the data analysis.
During the process, a particular protocol was used (see annex 1) which describes date,
classroom observation number, class, time, teacher, observer, site, focus and reflection on
my insights. More importantly, I set an objective for each classroom observation in order to
gather specific information of the phenomenon under observation. The objectives of each
classroom observation were fully accomplished and they were helpful when analysing the
information of the study. I also wanted to observe the students’ reactions towards oral
activities guided by the teacher.
Data was also gathered through three semi-structure interviews. Semi-structured
interview protocols (see annex 2) complemented the data collection process through “a
structured but flexible process” (Turner, 2010.) Because I wanted to gather more
information about the phenomenon being studied, from the participants’ voices, taking into
account their opinions, thoughts and answers towards the questions asked. Participants
were interviewed three times starting on June 19th, then on July 9th and finally July 18th. I
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carried out these interviews in a quiet and peaceful place where participants felt
comfortable.
Description of the Setting
The classes I observed did not have a specific sequence when developing them
(beginning, development and closure). The teacher in charge of the classes, most of the
time started her classes by revising students’ homework related to the previous class, and
then she introduced the new topic for the class by asking students some questions, that they
had to answer orally. The teacher usually ended by explaining to students what they had to
do for the next class or by assigning new topics for some oral presentations.
Data analysis
The data was analysed following the interpretive analysis suggested by (Hatch
2002.) Using MAXQDA software was very helpful in order to analyse the information
previously gathered. The data were coded and reduced to 2 themes to better understand and
organize the findings.
Ethical considerations
Before starting the data collection procedure, I previously contacted the teacher in
order to get her permission through a formal letter which contained the title of the project,
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and the observation and interview schedule planned for each one of them. The letter of
consent aimed to guarantee the confidentiality and objectivity of the information. Moreover
in the first classroom observation I explained to the students what the project was about, its
purpose, its advantages, and the implications it would have in their learning process.
Students’ doubts and questions were answered. Those students who wanted to participate
in the study did it voluntarily. Participants’ real names were changed by Pseudonyms in
order to protect their privacy and anonymity.
Findings
Once data was analysed, two themes emerged reflecting how code switching
affected students when communicating orally. Findings will be presented in the light of the
conscious and subconscious process students went through when speaking.
I found that the students code switched consciously from one language to another
because of the lack of vocabulary and expressions they might need when speaking. That is
to say, they either do not have enough vocabulary, or do not remember the appropriate
words to continue speaking. On the other hand, I found that students did not only code
switch consciously because of the lack of vocabulary, but also because some words in the
other language have a stronger meaning and help them to emphasize an idea or opinion and
to better express themselves when communicating. Additionally they code switched due to
the lack of interest in the topics assigned by the teacher or the ones from the book New
English File. For instance; when the teacher asked Mariana:
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“Are you a risk taker?” she immediately answered “yes, I am” to which the teacher
replied: “tell us more, explain why”…
“Well. I love to explore new things… mmm things, like, eeeh… tengo la idea pero
no se como decirlo. Mmm something like, experimenting new emotions in my life,
because it is good to “ser capaz de” to do things you have never done before.”
When conducting this classroom observation I realized that some students wanted to
participate in the oral activities. However, due to the lack of vocabulary they experienced
fear of running out of words when they started talking. On the other hand the topic was not
interesting enough for some others, because it was a topic from the book and not a free
theme to talk about. For the teacher it did not make any difference whether the students
liked the topic or not. During a class observed, I noticed that the teacher did not pay too
much attention to how students code switched; she seemed to be aware of the fact that they
code switched because they wanted to make themselves understood in one way or another.
In my personal opinion, it would have been better if the teacher had used some role plays,
debates or round table discussions in order to give students an opportunity to talk more or
get orally involved in the class, because sometimes students did not talk and did not express
their thoughts and opinions due to the lack of interest in the topics and the classes in
general.
My insights were supported by what Estefania stated: “ay no que mamera este tema,
que clase tan aburrida.” To this statement Clara replied:
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“este semestre las clases y las actividades han sido muy aburridas, ya casi ni
hablamos en inglés, falta mas creatividad por parte de la profesora, la mayoría de las
actividades que hacemos son de acuerdo a lo que esta en el libro.”
Likewise, they expressed their concerns about the oral activities that the teacher
used to enhance oral production. The oral activities were few and they did not have enough
opportunities to express what they wanted freely. As they did not agree with the activities
they spoke in Spanish and not in English, and they felt uninterested in talking about
something they did not like and that was taken from the book New English File.
For example, during an interview, Pablo stated that the topics for the oral activities
were essential to get them interested in talking and sharing their likes and dislikes. As he
said: “Pues a mí me gusta mucho trabajar la parte de “speaking” pero la verdad siento que
no he podido porque las actividades de la profesora no se acomodan a ello.”
When one of the participants was asked about his level of comfort when expressing
his ideas, opinions and other oral activities in front of the teacher or classmates, Carlos
agreed that he loved speaking in English but sometimes he ran out of vocabulary to
continue talking and communicating his ideas. As he stated:
“Personalmente me gusta mucho hablar en inglés, pero a veces me quedo sin
palabras para expresar lo que pienso y esto es un poco incomodo… pues hay
momentos en los que uno habla, y pues bien y como que si fluido y tal que no sé
qué, pero muchas veces uno amanece como troncado de que juemadre hoy estoy
pensando en francés hoy estoy pensando en español no se me viene ninguna palabra
o cruzo las dos lenguas, o sea es complicado, según la situación”.
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From this answer I can infer that although students loved speaking in English they
sometimes did not know how to communicate without having to switch to make themselves
understood. Code switching in this case substantially affected them because it was
constraining them from talking. I realized that when students did not want to talk because
of their fear of mixing two languages together, it represented a disadvantage for them
because instead of helping and making them talk; it constrained them from talking and
expressing their ideas, concerns, and thoughts.
All in all, I realized that some students hesitated when the teacher unexpectedly
asked questions and they had to answer them orally. I noticed that they were indecisive
because some of the topics such as: taking risks in life and oral sentences about
conditionals was not an interest of theirs to talk about. In addition when students answered
questions their lack of vocabulary constrained them from speaking. As a matter of fact, a
few of them started talking and were unable to continue with their ideas. Some others were
talking in Spanish about their daily life with their classmates and others were just yawning
and looking at the watch on their wrists. This shows that they were neither interested in
speaking in English nor paying attention to the topics being taught.
I also found that when students communicated orally in a foreign language, they
subconsciously code switched. In doing so, they displayed nervousness, fear and lack of
confidence when trying to find the appropriate words to talk about a particular topic. It
seems that the subconscious code switching was caused due to the environmental situations
participants were in, for instance, when being orally evaluated by the teacher, or judged by
classmates.
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It can be concluded that some of them did not even realize that when speaking a
foreign language they used words or expressions from another language different from the
one they were supposed to speak in. I found that they subconsciously code switched
because they were not able to identify the code switches they went through while speaking
in front of an unfamiliar audience. Foreign language learners also code switched
subconsciously because of what they displayed while being observed. They realized
afterwards, or when their classmates or teacher made them aware of it. As Andrés said:
“en el evento de francés fue un oso horrible porque tanto Sirena como yo
cometimos errores gramaticales, de conjugación y de pronunciación pero fueron
cosas como de nervios, por sentir la mirada de tantos estudiantes y todos los
profesores, entonces fueron terribles yo me sentí (jajajjajaj) que vergüenza, ni
siquiera me daba cuenta cuando decía cosas en Inglés te lo juro como que huyy que
pensaran los profesores de uno, ya después de que las había cagado. Que uno está
en cuarto y cometiendo esos errores. De primero, de primer semestre, entonces fue
horrible, si claro obvio los nervios y ante el público es complicado entonces no se
yo creo que quede como troncado ahí como que heyyy, pero igual seguí hablando
porque que mas”.
According to participants’ answers and the classroom observations I conducted,
participants felt under pressure when they had to talk in public and do oral presentations
because the teacher was taking notes about their performance, and what they were saying
almost all the time.
For instance:
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“La profesora toma nota de todos los errores en una hojita y es feo porque uno está
mirando que escribe y escribe… y uno como que huy!!! Lo estoy haciendo remal, y
se le salen palabras en la otra lengua y cuando salgo como que : no… porque dije
esto en “Ingles” cuando era en francés o como que…Huy no que feo pero ya que
puede hacer uno”
When I asked participants the reason behind the pressure they felt when
communicating in a foreign language in public or in front of the teacher they answered as
follows:
“Por ejemplo con los parciales orales uno ya está como juemadre esto es en serio y
me tengo que sacar buena nota. Pues a mí me sucede que me sale una pregunta en
un oral y siento como si no supiera Inglés Francés (jajajaajaja) y termino diciendo
todo en las dos lenguas y nada que ver, a veces la profesora hace caras pero, uno
como que perdón teacher, pero si uno esta dando el punto de vista, solamente es
como relajao, no pasa nada.”
I can infer that they felt under pressure because of their grades; and their
commitment to succeed, different from when they are just giving opinions and having the
freedom to express their ideas. I also asked them for specific situations in which they code
switched while speaking and Ramiro answered:
“Eee…pues no sé, a ver…mmm… (pausa) yo tenía que decir “c‟est ne pas diffícile”
en el evento de francés y termine diciendo “it‟s not difficult” porque no recordaba
bien las palabras, además tenía el micrófono en la mano, todos callados y
poniéndome cuidado, no… fue muy feo, sentía que estaba frio y rojo de la pena.
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Algunas palabras las decía con acento en inglés sobre todo esas que terminan en
tion, no las decía como terminan en francés, huy no que oso”.
This demonstrates how participants code switched subconsciously; Ramiro did not
know that he had code switched until he watched the videotape at the end of the event.
Conclusions and pedagogical implications
Taking into account these findings, I realized that code switching affected students
consciously and subconsciously depending not only of the lack of vocabulary but also on
the environmental situations they are in, the topics they have to talk about, the different oral
activities in which they take part, and the pressure they feel when being orally evaluated.
Conscious or subconscious code switching is advantageous for FL learners; they use code
switching in well-structured and short sentences while speaking. When being immersed in
the classroom I found that code switching allows students to make themselves understood
by others. However code switching can only be an advantage when it does not constrain
students from talking, because when it does so, it clearly represents a disadvantage for
foreign languages learners. Findings of this research could benefit not only FL teachers;
but also students who feel ashamed when they code switch from one language to another,
regardless of if it is only one word or a short sentence. Moreover, it should be taken into
account that code switching cannot be the only strategy to make students talk in every
single oral activity developed by teachers; neither can it be used as the only way to improve
students’ proficiency level when learning foreign languages. I also found that code
switching represents a disadvantage for students when it constrained them from speaking
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for their fear of running out of words when expressing themselves and using code switching
as the only mechanism to continue talking.
In a way, these findings coincided with what Macias’ 2002 study revealed about
students who used code switching “to elaborate, to emphasize, to specify an addressee and
to clarify”. Macias’ findings are related to my results because I found that code switching
allows students to communicate their ideas, opinions and thoughts more effectively even
when they mix the two languages together.
Recommendations for further research
Researchers, who might want to further on these findings should consider:
1. Conduct more than six classroom observations and interviews. This would
provide researchers and the foreign language community with more solid findings
that would allow a better understanding of the phenomenon under observation.
2. Interview the teacher in charge of that particular setting in order to get more
information about their reactions and insights towards the use of Code Switching in
the classroom while communicating orally.
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*Susan Córdoba Huertas, is a Bachelor’s Degree student of Foreign Languages English and
French at the Universidad de Pamplona, Colombia. She is currently in her 5th year. She has
been a member of the undergraduate Research Group SILEX for 2 years. She is interested
in conducting studies that involve FL learning and teaching experiences. She can be
contacted at [email protected]
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References
Berthold, M., Mangubhai, F., & Batorowicz, K. (1997). Bilingualism & Multiculturalism:
Study Book. Distance Education Centre, University of Southern Queensland:
Toowoomba, QLD. Common European framework in its political an educational
context. Retrieved from:
http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/source/framework_en.pdf
Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five
Traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Creswell, J. W. (2005). Edu.Research: planning, conducting ad evaluating quantitative and
qualitative research. (2nd Ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (p. 212)
Hatch, J. A. (2002). Doing qualitative research in education settings. New York: State
University of New York.
Huerta-Macías, A. (2002) Code-Switching, Bilingualism, and Biliteracy: Bilingual
Research Journal, 22.
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Code Switching and Oral Proficiency
Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. Newbury park: sage.
University of New York.
Sert, O. (2005, August 8). The functions of code switching in ELT classroom. Retrieved
from The internet TESL Journal : http://iteslj.org/
Turner, D. (2010). Qualitative interview design: a practical guide for novice investigators.
The Qualitative Report, 15 (3), 754 - 760.
Unamuno. (2008). Multilingual switch in peer classroom interaction. Linguistics and
Education, 19.
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ANNEX N°1
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ANNEX 2
ENTREVISTA N° 1
Date:_________________________Hour :_______________________Site:_______________
Focus:________________________________________________________________________
Subject:______________________________________________________________________
Objective :____________________________________________________________________
Interviewee:__________________________________________________________________
Interviewer:___________________________________________________________________
Las siguientes preguntas tienen como fin recolectar información a cerca de la experiencia de los
estudiantes, cuando aprenden inglés-Francés además de ello, saber como se sienten los estudiantes
de 4 semestre cuando ponen en práctica las 4 competencias que se requieren al momento de
aprender una lengua extranjera. Las mismas se realizan con el fin de dar respuesta a la pregunta del
proyecto “HOW DOES CODE SWITCHING AFFECT STUDENTS’ PROFICIENCY WHEN
LEARNING FOREIGN LANGUAGES?”
La información que usted proporcione en esta entrevista será utilizada únicamente para la colección
de datos del estudio previamente citado. Mi interés es aprender de sus experiencias. Todos los
comentarios y sugerencias de todos los participantes serán manejados con profesionalidad y
confidencialidad.
Ahora siéntase libre y cómodo de responder al siguiente cuestionario. Le agradecería su completa
sinceridad.
CUESTIONARIO.
1. Cuando usted esta hablando en Ingles/ francés y no sabe como decir una palabra y/o
expresión que hace ud para no interrumpir la comunicación?
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
2. Siente ud que ha mezclado dos lenguas al participar en alguna actividad oral en salón de
clase?____________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
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3. Podría proporcionarme algunos ejemplos en los cuales ud ha mezclado dos lenguas?
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
4. Se da ud cuenta cuando mezcla dos lenguas en alguna conversación o presentación
oral?_____________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
5. Si se da ud cuenta que hace en ese momento para corregirse y seguir con la
conversacion?______________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
Aquí concluye la entrevista, le agradezco inmensamente su colaboración y la atención prestada.
Quisiera saber si en futuras entrevistas podría contar de nuevo con su colaboración. SI_ NO_.
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ENTREVISTA N° 2
Date:_________________________Hour :_______________________Site:_______________
Focus:________________________________________________________________________
Subject:______________________________________________________________________
Objective :____________________________________________________________________
Interviewee:__________________________________________________________________
Interviewer:___________________________________________________________________
Las siguientes preguntas tienen como fin recolectar información a cerca de la experiencia de los
estudiantes, cuando aprenden inglés-Francés además de ello, saber como se sienten los estudiantes
de 4 semestre cuando ponen en práctica las 4 competencias que se requieren al momento de
aprender una lengua extranjera. Las mismas se realizan con el fin de dar respuesta a la pregunta del
proyecto “HOW DOES CODE SWITCHING AFFECT STUDENTS’ PROFICIENCY WHEN
LEARNING FOREIGN LANGUAGES?”
La información que usted proporcione en esta entrevista será utilizada únicamente para la colección
de datos del estudio previamente citado. Mi interés es aprender de sus experiencias. Todos los
comentarios y sugerencias de todos los participantes serán manejados con profesionalidad y
confidencialidad.
Ahora siéntase libre y cómodo de responder al siguiente cuestionario. Le agradecería su completa
sinceridad.
CUESTIONARIO.
1. Que actividades orales utiliza la profesora para hacer participar a los estudiantes?
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
2. Se siente ud nervioso/a cuando habla en ingles en frente de los profesores o compañeros de
clase?
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________
3. Se siente ud intimidado por las notas que pueda obtener o los errores que pueda cometer
cuando habla en lengua
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extranjera?________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
4. Siente ud que cuando mezcla dos lenguas es juzgado por el profesor o los compañeros de
clase?____________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
5. Que tan a menudo participa ud en las actividades orales de las clases en este semestre?
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
Aquí concluye la entrevista, le agradezco inmensamente su colaboración y la atención prestada.
Quisiera saber si en futuras entrevistas podría contar de nuevo con su colaboración. SI__NO___.
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ENTREVISTA N° 3
Date:_________________________Hour :_______________________Site:_______________
Focus:________________________________________________________________________
Subject:______________________________________________________________________
Objective :____________________________________________________________________
Interviewee:__________________________________________________________________
Interviewer:___________________________________________________________________
Las siguientes preguntas tienen como fin recolectar información a cerca de la experiencia de los
estudiantes, cuando aprenden inglés-Francés además de ello, saber como se sienten los estudiantes
de 4 semestre cuando ponen en práctica las 4 competencias que se requieren al momento de
aprender una lengua extranjera. Las mismas se realizan con el fin de dar respuesta a la pregunta del
proyecto “HOW DOES CODE SWITCHING AFFECT STUDENTS’ PROFICIENCY WHEN
LEARNING FOREIGN LANGUAGES?”
La información que usted proporcione en esta entrevista será utilizada únicamente para la colección
de datos del estudio previamente citado. Mi interés es aprender de sus experiencias. Todos los
comentarios y sugerencias de todos los participantes serán manejados con profesionalidad y
confidencialidad.
Ahora siéntase libre y cómodo de responder al siguiente cuestionario. Le agradecería su completa
sinceridad.
CUESTIONARIO.
1. Siente usted que se queda sin vocabulario más a menudo en ingles o en francés? Por que?
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
2. Le gusta participar en todas o por lo menos la mayoría de las actividades orales
desarrolladas
en
la
clase
si?
no?
Por
que?______________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
3. Cuales son las razones principales por las cuales ud no participa tan a menudo en las clases
de
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ingles?____________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
4. Siente ud que cuando mezcla dos lenguas en presentaciones orales ud aprende de una mejor
manera?___________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
5. Cuales cree ud que son las razones por las cuales mezcla dos lenguas en presentaciones
orales?____________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Aquí concluye la entrevista, le agradezco inmensamente su colaboración y la atención prestada.
Quisiera saber si en futuras entrevistas podría contar de nuevo con su colaboración. SI__NO___.
90
GRILEX-SILEX
Mother Tongue Interference with Foreign Language: A Case Study about A2 Oral
Production in a Colombian Public University
Claudia Marcela Rubio Manrique*
[email protected]
Abstract
This small scale case study attempted to understand the mother tongue interference
with foreign language oral production of four beginner students in the A2 level of learning.
These students are enrolled at a Foreign Language department in a Colombian public
university. Three main themes of analysis were proposed: a) characteristics of the students’
oral production, b) activities that encouraged oral production among students and c) the role
of the mother tongue while learning a foreign language. Five class sessions were observed
as a non- participant researcher, and the data gathered was supported by two semistructured interviews to obtain the participants’ own perspectives. Findings revealed some
advantages and disadvantages of using the mother tongue as a reference to speak in the
foreign language, identifying the syntactic and morphological failures in participants’
speech.
Key words: Mother Tongue (MT) - Foreign language (FL) - Language Interference Syntax - Morphology.
Resumen
Mother Tongue Interference
Este estudio a pequeña escala intentó comprender la interferencia de la lengua
materna sobre la producción oral de cuatro principiantes en el nivel A2 de aprendizaje.
Estos estudiantes están vinculados al departamento de lenguas extranjeras en una
universidad pública colombiana. Tres temas principales de análisis fueron propuestos: a)
características de la producción oral de los estudiantes, b) actividades que fomentaron la
producción oral entre los estudiantes y c) el rol de la lengua materna en el aprendizaje de
una lengua extranjera. Cinco sesiones de clase fueron observadas como investigadora no
participante y la información recolectada fue apoyada en dos entrevistas semi-estructuradas
para obtener las propias perspectivas de los participantes. Los resultados revelaron algunas
ventajas y desventajas de usar la lengua materna como referencia para hablar en la lengua
extranjera, identificando las fallas sintácticas y morfológicas en el discurso de los
participantes.
Palabras clave: Lengua materna - Lengua Extranjera – Interferencia de la lengua – sintaxis morfología.
Introduction
Have you ever been influenced by your mother tongue when speaking a foreign
language?
Many people hold on to their mother tongue while attempting to speak a foreign
language. The production of sentences in a correct structural manner, added to the right
pronunciation, make beginner foreign language learners experience frustration when they
make an effort to communicate.
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According to Bhela (1999), although foreign language learners appear to be
accumulating enough knowledge, they come across problems organizing coherent
structures when speaking, relying on mother tongue structures in the foreign language,
showing a gap between gathering knowledge and producing orally. In the cases in which
the gap increases and becomes more complex to solve, the possibility of mother tongue
interference emerges. Odlin, 1989, defined the mother tongue interference as the “negative
transference of linguistic patterns”, meaning that students take the structure belonging to
the mother tongue to construct messages in the foreign language, constraining their learning
about new elements, since they start making performance mistakes that gradually become
competence errors.
This study was guided through stating the following grand tour question: How can
mother tongue interfere with the A2 student’s oral production in a foreign language? From
which three sub-questions were derived: 1) How does the mother tongue interfere with
English syntax and morphology when speaking? 2) What is the mother tongue advantage
when speaking in English as a foreign language? 3) What is mother tongue disadvantage
when speaking in English as a foreign language?
Consequently, this research aimed to describe the mother tongue interference
focused on the experiences of four A2 beginner- level learners in the foreign language
program at a Colombian public university. In addition, this study served as a vehicle to
identify and describe the students’ weaknesses when speaking. Hopefully, this will provide
FL teachers with ideas on how to help their learners while teaching in the earlier stages of
learning in order to avoid potential problems at advanced levels.
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Theoretical Framework
Literature Review
Throughout this literature review, the main definitions and six previous studies on
mother tongue interference over foreign language learning are presented. Mother tongue is
the first language the individual learns when they are a child (Cambridge, pp.420.) On the
contrary, foreign language is the language belonging to a country which is not your own
(Cambridge, pp.263.) Both of them have their own features in structural factors such as
syntax, the grammatical arrangement of words (Cambridge, pp. 647) and morphology, the
use of verbal inflections such as modes, tenses, numbers, and subject verb agreement
(Ameri & Asareh, 2010.)
Nevertheless some cases about the use of the mother tongue in an FL class are the
result of the transfer of some structural features. According to Noor (1994), transfer can be
positive “if any MT skills facilitate the learning of skills or parts belonging to the FL”,
because of the similarities they could present; however, transfer can be also negative “when
it impedes the learning or has a negative influence over the FL” due to the differences in
skills. For example, Odlin (1989, pp. 27) stated that “transfer resides in the influence of
similarities and differences between the MT and the FL that has been previously acquired”.
In other words, if the transfer of a skill in the MT impedes the learning of a skill in the FL,
there will be language interference.
This research was guided by the following projects, enriching my understanding,
knowledge and domain about the issue in question.
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In their research studies, Bhela (1999), Al-Baldawi & Saidat (2011) and Enisa
(2011), stated that learners brought into the form and meaning the MT through over
generalizing the grammatical rules, to cover the structure of sentences that they did not
know in the FL; as a result of the differences in syntactic and morphological structure, the
difficulties that the authors found in FL students were verb omission when talking in
imperative utterances, and verb placement in a) the presence of subject, object and adverb
in declarative utterances; b) the presence of the object, even if the other constituents are
missing in declarative utterances. Moreover, the authors found some other faults such as the
addition of non-necessary prepositions, and the wrong use of personal pronouns, verb and
number agreements, within the students’ word-for-word translation as an attempt to
communicate themselves in an FL.
Similarly, Alonso (1997) conducted a study in order to discover the main types of
interference mistakes that beginner Spanish students made when learning English as
foreign language. The author found that the phonetic, orthographic, syntactic,
morphological and semantic features between the FL and the MT were problematic issues
for the Spanish students, due to most mistakes being caused by transference of structures
from the Spanish to the English language. Consequently, the author concluded that
participating students generalized the grammatical rules of the mother tongue to cover the
features in the FL that they did not know or they were not sure about.
In 2010, Ameri & Asareh conducted a study that showed the limitations of
participants in their speech as well as multiple “grammatical non-conformities” related to
the non-accurate use of verbs, the tendency to use general and simpler morphological
structures and less comparative adjectives, time adverbs and the proper structure between
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noun and adjective. The author established the students’ tendency to use their written work
to support their speech, the misuse of successive answers to some questions or the
production of successive sentences accompanied by syntactic disagreements among parts of
sentences and semantic errors.
On the other hand, Horst et al. (2010), investigated how native language instruction
helped learners to build their knowledge in acquiring a new language. The researchers
suggested that making links between the mother tongue and the second language could be
helpful to enrich the students’ knowledge. However, the researchers found that even when
stating that the use of MT in some cases was a positive point when learning an FL, the
teachers they observed preferred not to use the elements belonging to native language to
improve the students’ level in the FL because of some apprehension towards possibility to
get confused, raising interference in the students’ minds.
The previous studies had a closer relationship with mine not only because they shed
light on how the presence of MT structures influenced the FL structures, but also due to my
attempt to understand how the same phenomenon emerge in the beginner students’process.
Methodology
Conducting this case study gave me the opportunity to “analyze different
participants’ experiences within a simple setting” (Baxter & Jack, 2008.) In other words, a
“bounded system in time and space” case study (Creswell, 2005, pp. 439) was selected in
order to explore, contrast and compare data. This research project was bounded in time
because it lasted twelve weeks devoted to collecting and analysing data; and it was bounded
in space because it took place in two FL classrooms.
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After doing the first non-participant classroom observation, in May 2012, four
participants, Leonard, Daniel, Mary and Gloria (pseudonyms) were chosen through
purposeful selection (Creswell, 2005, pp. 204.) The sample's selection was guided by the
intent to describe and understand four different experiences from students who were
pursuing a B.A. in foreign languages, with A2 level of proficiency (Common European
Framework); and the following criteria was taken into account: the cases and fluency when
using the FL in interaction with their teacher and their classmates.
Data was gathered through five non - consecutive classroom observations in May,
June and July, 2012. The classroom observation protocol (see annex 1) was used as the
main data collection instrument, to describe the activities and experiences participants went
through in their natural setting. This allowed, as non-participant observer, to “illustrate and
evaluate the phenomenon of interest” (Patton, 2002, pp. 21-23.)
In each classroom observation four specific objectives were included to keep me
focused on the aspects, issues and factors that were attempted to identify. For example,
describing the students’ use of mother tongue when interacting with the teacher and among
themselves; identifying what types of interactions were done either in the mother tongue or
the foreign language; describing the students’ general mistakes when speaking in the
foreign language, syntactic and morphological mistakes; and observing the students’
attitude towards the use of mother tongue as a reference to speak in the foreign language.
Taking into account the aforementioned facts, this research project sought to obtain
enough information to describe, analyse, contrast and compare the results about the mother
tongue interference phenomenon; two semi-structured interview protocols (see annex 2)
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complemented the data collection process through “a structured but flexible process”
(Turner, 2010.) Although two sets of questions were planned, I was prepared for emergent
additional questions whilst interviewing the participants.
Interviews were carried out after the second observation in June, 2012, and before
the last observation in July, 2012. Using purposeful selection (Creswell, 2005, pp. 204.)
four participants were chosen with the following criteria: two students that always took part
in oral activities and two students who made morphological and/or syntactic mistakes in
any speaking activity previously observed.
Videotaping was adopted in order to store sounds/images and information about
conversations or activities in each class session (Hatch, 2002, pp. 100.) It provided me with
accurate, subtle details, facial expressions, non-verbal communication and emotions
experienced in the classroom. Thus, both observations and interview sessions were
videotaped with a prior permission from the teacher and participating students.
Description of the setting
Data to support this research project was gathered in the following two settings: 1) a
foreign language laboratory equipped with thirty computers distributed into five horizontal
rows on the left and the right part of the classroom. The whiteboard was located in front of
the classroom where there was little space for teacher’s placement. 2) A classroom with
thirty five or thirty eight desks, a teacher’s desk and a whiteboard, located in front of the
classroom.
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Data analysis
The Interpretive Analysis (Hatch, 2002, pp.179) helped me make sense of the whole
data. Eight steps suggested by this model were followed. In doing so, memos about relevant
aspects were recorded, participants’ impressions were identified from their own voices, and
summaries which supported my interpretations about the issue in question were written.
Before starting the analysis of data gathered, it was entered into the software called
MAXQDA that helped me to code and reduce data in the light of the research questions.
Findings
After having analysed the data, the following three things emerged: a)
characteristics of students’ oral production; b) activities that encouraged oral production
among students; c) the role of the mother tongue while learning a foreign language.
a) Characteristics of the students’ oral production:
In a foreign language classroom the greatest attempt should be to make the students
communicate their ideas orally in the language they are studying. When being interviewed,
Mary stated that “el profesor no nos deja hablar en español entonces toca preguntar en
inglés…” This proved that the teacher’s goal was improving the students speaking through
the use of a FL instead of the MT. When observing this classroom, it was found that the
teacher adopted the use of the FL by using oral encouragement. For example, during one
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classroom observation, while students were required to answer to a teacher’s question, he
adopted the use of the foreign language by saying: “I can’t comprehend what you say” “I
don’t understand” “Tell me in English, please”, which forced them to always use the FL.
Although the result of the teacher’s encouragement was the beginner students
attempting to speak in English (FL), they tried to avoid saying incoherent phrases; first
through interacting in Spanish (MT) with their peers, socializing and organizing any idea
they had into a written text in English that helped them to talk.
It was found that writing could be a tool for students to recognize the mistakes they
made or to analyse if they had organized the sentences in the right structure; according to
Mary’s statements “siempre que escribo la frase la leo para ver si tiene concordancia o
no…” “Para… mirar la estructura, a ver si… sale también con lo mio”, writing guaranteed
successful speaking, whilst beginners were not aware of the mistakes they made while only
performing orally. In contrast, writing could implicate not only the students holding on to
their MT to speak in the FL but also their speech’s dependence on writing.
Although, it was found how the students were willing to speak in English as they
were talking about the classes themes, the exchange between the teacher and the students
revealed that even if students were able to produce a simple answer they avoided giving
more detailed information; For instance, the answer “I can’t remember” to the teacher’s
demand for more information through the question “What was the main reason?”.
Consequently, oral interaction when using longer and more complex statements in
the foreign language seemed to be complicated for the A2 level students when trying to
have an informal conversation about their daily life. This was the reason for students’
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interaction in their mother tongue, when sharing with other classmates their personal
experiences, opinions or points of view. However, they adopted short and non-concrete
English utterances to interact with their teacher towards his reprobation of Spanish speech.
On the other hand, other students demonstrated certain apathy to speak in English
from the beginning of the activities. I found that students went through long periods of
silence or avoided answering after being asked by the teacher questions like “Who can
interpret that dream?” “Any interpretation of the dream?” Based on their body language it
was established that their frustration emerged as a result of their lack of accurate words to
express what they wanted to say. In Leonard’s statements: “Profe… venga hagame un
favor…” “Teacher, cómo digo fútbol Americano”, his tone of voice showed certain
annoyance after having tried to communicate the expression for almost 10 minutes. Before
asking his teacher, he had made mistakes such as saying “Football American” as the literal
translation from the mother tongue, instead of “Football” as the correct structure in the FL.
b) Activities that encouraged oral production among students:
In order to notice the most common situations in which participants experienced
interference, it was necessary to identify activities that encouraged their oral participation
during the class sessions.
When observing, it was found that the oral activities aimed to encourage learners to
improve their oral skills, making them fluent, fearless, and eager to use the right intonation
when speaking. According to Leonard’s opinion: “El profesor está tratando que tengamos
más habilidad para hablar, como perder el miedo al momento de hablar en inglés”. The
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challenge of A2 students was to elude gradually the MT as a reference to construct a fluent
speech in the FL.
During the five class sessions observed, seven different types of activities carried
out by the teacher, to foster the students’ oral production were identified: 1) leading
questions, 2) flashcards and oral instructions, 3) debates, 4) oral reports or expositions, 5)
role plays, 6) riddles, 7) informal class participation in discussions.
The first activity carried out by the teacher was asking leading questions.
According to Gloria’s explanation “El profesor nos hace preguntas y nosotros decimos sí o
no; al final nos dice que qué es eso otra vez y nosotros le decimos que es; a lo último todos
repetimos” . In this activity, the teacher gave students the images of two different objects: a
motorbike and a bicycle; he asked the students “What is this?”, making the correct option
evident to produce the students answer “It’s a bicycle”; then he showed the bicycle image
and he asked: “Is it a motorbike?” to make the students answer “No, it’s a bicycle”;
consequently, he stated the same question: “What’s this?” to receive a longer answer from
the students: “this is a bicycle”. Subsequently, he showed the motorbike image to ask
them the same questions. Although these kinds of exercises contributed to the students’
mechanization of the right pronunciation and intonation of vocabulary, the sentences were
not long enough. Consequently, the exercise seemed to be limited and did not allow
students the use of more grammatical elements that would help them to practice the foreign
language more realistically.
The second type of activity involved the use of flashcards and instructions. The
teacher showed the students the flashcards and demanded the learners say as much
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information as possible about them. It was observed that students had the possibility to
speak more and use complex sentences while providing more detailed information about
the name of the character they imagined (if it was a person), describing the actions they
were doing and stating when they were performing the action, “Diana was doing the dishes
yesterday”; if it was an object, they had to describe, the type of object, its characteristics,
where they imagined the object was and why it was there “It was a red car, a Mercedes
Benz, it was at the garage because it was damaged”.
Debates about daily life situations were the third type of oral activities. Students had
the possibility to make a link between the topic belonging to the class (e.g. music or
everyday situations), and their own life experiences; students shared an informal speech
with their peers and their teacher. During the development of this activity, it was found that
when speaking, students felt more relaxed and comfortable. It was easier to notice the
students’ progresses in pronunciation, fluency and syntax. However, their production was
not as expected. Students avoided giving deeper details that were replaced by more general
sentences and short answers; for example to the teacher’s question “Why do teenagers have
conflicts with their family and the family with the teenagers?” Daniel answered “Because
of hormones” and Gloria said “Because they think they can’t do everything”.
The fourth activity required the students to previously prepare an oral report based
on a chosen topic. For example, Leonard shared his experience when being interviewed:
“también nos hizo hablar sobre un cantante, una biografía y cantar…” In this brief
remark, he emphasized that this activity helped him to work on the foreign language oral
production. In other words, through these types of activities, the students were allowed to
speak as much as they were able to, showing their skills in a more complex and formal
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manner. Leonard recognized the importance of preparing an oral presentation before
performing it in front of others. “La verdad… yo escribo bastante… y… comenzaría
escribiéndola, y después… la voy leyendo en voz alta”. It is very important to take into
account that oral reports were obviously prepared previously; In this case, the students
natural and fluent speaking could be interfered with by writing before speaking, where it
could be a possible translation from the MT to the FL, to correct what they considered was
wrong then, making them feeling more confident about not making mistakes due to having
perfected and learned by heart the structures and pronunciation in advance.
The fifth activity consisted of performing sketches or role plays. Although I was
aware of the students’ effort and engagement to improve their pronunciation, I noticed that
in each performance the groups repeated what the other students had done. I became aware
that the students were not working on a free topic at all, but the teacher assigned the topic
chosen from a TV program that was supposed to be known by most of the teenagers.
Regarding this program, Leonard mentioned “en la tarea que nos deja el profesor,
debemos escuchar un video que es de … y transcribirlos, sacar lo que podamos y después
actuarlo; como un role play pero ya hecho”.
Also, it was found that role plays could be appropriately implemented to learn
vocabulary and to contextualize the knowledge into a real setting and a daily situation. For
instance, several scenarios could be re-created in class: at the airport, at a travel agent, at a
restaurant, in the classroom or in a friend’s house. However, although it seemed that
students learned their scripts by heart in advance, the activity was not as productive as
expected. While performing in front of their classmates they went through long periods of
silence, hesitation and some even forgot or changed words that altered the meaning of what
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they were saying. When being interviewed for the first time, Leonard said “a veces es como
difícil para mí aprender así de memoria… entonces… debo repasar bastante…siempre
comienzo es… escribiendo”. There were certain similarities in the process students went
through while performing sketches and oral reports. In these two activities, students were
able to prepare their scripts in advance. Sometimes, they would previously translate or at
least refer to their MT as a way help themselves with the use of grammatical structures. On
the contrary, when role plays were improvised and presented in the same class session, the
students showed their real oral skills displaying more weaknesses in a more realistic oral
production.
The sixth activity was about riddles, in which “the students had to hold up a
flashcard which contained an action and the others had to guess what the student who was
holding up the flashcard was doing the day before or the week before”. From this activity it
was observed that riddles encouraged the beginner students to produce orally, given that
improvisation is a real challenge for students, and where they show their real skills. In fact,
the situation impeded them from writing paragraphs beforehand or thinking so much about
sentences before saying them. It involved an immediate production in the foreign language
as it was being asked in the same language, without them having enough time to analyse
sentences in the mother tongue. As a matter of fact, it might have helped beginner students
to think in a foreign language.
The last activity used by the teacher required students to participate in discussions
about different themes during a class session. During that class, the topic for discussion
was “the problems that teenagers have with their parents.” Although the students did not
give detailed information, they orally produced at least short sentences that showed their
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thoughts and speaking skills in the foreign language; as it happened to a student who
answered “My brother take my cell phone or my computer” to the question “What drives
you mad about your family?” This activity encouraged her participation in a natural
manner. If the teacher would have given this student the opportunity to write it first, maybe,
she would have noticed her mistakes, and attempted to state a correct sentence reflecting a
wrong idea about her real oral productive skill.
c) The role of the mother tongue while learning a foreign language:
Taking into account that participants used their MT during their learning process, I
identified the advantages and disadvantages when learners used their mother tongue during
class sessions. The failures they experienced when speaking in the FL in order to determine
the MT interference were highlighted.
Although some participants’ level in speaking was higher than expected, it was
found that their mother tongue helped them to comprehend FL meanings, which in some
cases were difficult to deduce using only their prior knowledge. For instance, before
starting his studies at the university, Daniel took eighteen levels of English at another
institution which allowed him to become interested in academic texts whilst being at the
present beginner level; nevertheless what he called “el lenguaje técnico” forced him to
work on translation from the foreign language to the mother tongue.
Similarly, it was found that some aspects associated with the foreign culture did not
make sense in their native language. Consequently, the MT became useful within the A2
level classroom, as a tool to help the teacher and the students to construct a meaning about
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a real social concept such as, "las chuzadas” (a political and social event about a
Colombian president who infringed the privacy law for the governmental entities, when
tapping their calls and e-mail messages), that the teacher explained in Spanish maybe
because it could not be explained at the time with an accurate term in the FL to make it
understandable enough for students.
Additionally, it was found that the use of the mother tongue was advantageous
when both teacher and students needed to compare the use of certain words. For instance,
the use of: still, yet, already. Here, they translated those words into the mother tongue, and
realized that it had certain variations in use.
In some other cases, the teacher used Spanish to explain grammar, or when the
mother tongue was required as an instrument to support the messages in order to reinforce
the topics that students were not able to comprehend at all.
When observing a class, I noticed that students took advantage of the similarities
between their mother tongue and the target language. For example, when using deductible
meanings, such as "important", “comfortable”, or “famous”. In this case, the use of words
that had a similar spelling in both languages improved the students’ fluency, and helped
them structure their speech; they became more secure and kept their concentration when
presenting orally. However, they should be warned that in order not to be trapped by a false
cognate, due to the fact that not all the words that seem to be similar between both
languages have the same meaning; for example, the word “actually” that could be translated
to the MT as “actualmente”, when its real meaning is “en realidad/ en verdad/de hecho…”.
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Consequently, in some cases it was positive if the beginner students thought in the
MT as a way to guarantee an advance in their knowledge about concepts, vocabulary, and
contexts to be taken into account while speaking.
Nevertheless, the use of MT was disadvantageous when translating complete
sentences from the MT to the FL. The result had no agreements, was non-accurate and
presented incorrect structures, resulting in speaking inaccuracy. As Daniel said "palabras
que se forman a partir otras que al traducirlas en español no tienen ningún significado; no
concuerdan". Hence, the main source of mistakes in beginner students’ oral production
came from their thought process in their mother tongue or from making a literal translation
from their native structures into the target language.
According to Mary’s statement "uno piensa más hablando la otra lengua; en
español uno piensa normal, pero en inglés tiene que pensar lo que va a decir y si está bien
estructurado". I found that the students established relationships between Spanish, mother
tongue and English, the foreign language, in order to construct their speech, analysing and
building an appropriate structure to speak. As I observed, some students were hesitant or
less fluent when improvising the oral production, such as in Daniel’s case when stating
“The weather was terrible because it rain… it ran…eh…it was raining the… the entire day
and in the night… so the streets was like… were like... wet...”; subsequently, the MT was
used as way to overcome students’ linguistic deficiencies when preparing themselves to
speak in the target language.
In some other cases, I realized that it was easier for the learners to deal with FL
activities when they were given enough time for preparation; when being interviewed for
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the first time, Mary assured me “no preparamos en español sino preparamos de una vez en
inglés”; therefore, they had the possibility to review, analyse and correct what they did in
the FL, without experiencing the necessity to think in the mother tongue as a reference to
structure their ideas.
On the contrary, when talking about the improvisation she said “digamos si se le
olvida… el otro improvisa y pues uno lo traduce; entonces piensa uno que va a decir en
español para luego decir en inglés”.This indicated that the MT was taken as a reference
when the students needed to comprehend and to organize immediate sentences in the FL.
Therefore the issue emerged when sentences in the Spanish structure did not correspond to
what the English structure should be.
It was found that mispronunciation and grammatical errors were the most common
types of interference between the mother tongue and the target language. Mispronunciation
concerned the omission of morphemes and subjects in sentences that affected the meaning
of the message expressed orally by the students. For instance, when observing a class, I
noted some sentences such as “she was crying lie a baby”, “because I don’t lie dance”,
“Do lie a famous actor?” as a result of the translation from the MT. This was due to two
main factors: the first one is the way people speak Spanish in some Colombian regions that
is a part of their native accent such as the omission of some morphemes in words; at this
stage of the learning process, the students have not been trained to neutralize this accent
while speaking in the FL, generating their mispronunciation. The second factor involved
the possibility to eliminate the subject in the sentence without affecting syntax in the MT,
which for the FL is wrong since the subject must always be stated.
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With regards to the grammatical errors it was found that: 1) The wrong insertion of
morphemes that distorted the message (“I was addressed of green); 2) The mistaken use of
gerunds (“hey! Andrea, are you ready for go to shopping?” ”I’m here to buying a ticket”);
3) the incorrect use of prepositions (“I was addressed of green” “have you ever think in go
to London?”); 4) the erroneous use of verbs in the third person (“My brother take my cell
phone…”, “I think you was at fashion show”); 5) the incorrect use of verbal tenses (“Why
did you bought it?”); and 6) the incorrect organization of a sentence which used all of the
elements (“I’m going to stay hotel comfortable in”).
It is important to highlight that although the previous failures experienced by the
participating students were the most important findings in my study, they were not the
central phenomenon under study. Therefore, I suggest a deeper level of analysis in a further
investigation.
Conclusion and discussion
This study provided insights on how FL learners were affected by the use of their
mother tongue when orally producing in a foreign language. This process of thinking in
Spanish (MT) to translate into English (FL), followed by the analysis of the accuracy of
statements was the main disadvantage for the participants. In other words, when the mother
tongue was used as a reference to overcome difficulties or lack of knowledge, it resulted in
a negative effect because of the time spent to complete a statement. For example, this made
students experience long periods of silence followed by hesitation when speaking that
impeded the students’ development of their spoken skill.
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Therefore mother tongue interference over the foreign language oral production in
the A2 classroom affected the students’ fluency when trying to avoid morphological
mispronunciation or wrong syntactical statement, forcing students to reduce their oral
participation or to exchange information with other individual using their mother tongue.
On the other hand, the advantage of using the mother tongue was evidenced as it
served to support the construction of the student´s learning on the FL; when developing
oral production or facilitating the acquisition of FL meanings.
Previous studies found that “learners brought into the form and meaning the MT
through over generalizing the grammatical rules, to cover the structure of sentences that
they did not know in the FL” (Bhela, 1999; Alonso, 1997; Al-Baldawi & Saidat, 2011;
Enisa, 2011). This case study coincided with them in the sense that the students observed
and constructed their own rules in the FL spoken tasks, taking as a principle the structures
belonging to the MT, mainly in the situations requiring improvisation, more than in the
situations requiring previous preparation.
In addition to the previous studies that showed the “verb omission when talking in
imperative utterances, difficulties with the verb placement in students’ productions, as a
result of the differences in syntactic and morphological structures” and some other faults
concerning “the addition of non-necessary prepositions, the wrong use of personal
pronouns, verbs and number agreement, within the students’ word-for-word translation as
an attempt to communicate themselves in a FL” (Bhela, 1999; Alonso,1997; Al-Baldawi &
Saidat, 2011; Enisa, 2011), this case study found the omission or addition of morphemes,
the omission of subjects, that affected the meaning of the message expressed orally by the
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students, errors when employing gerunds, wrong use of verbs in the third person, the
wrong statement of verbal tenses and general syntactic disorganization in sentences.
Findings of this study also coincided with what Ameri & Asareh (2010) found; in
both studies, students’ oral participation decreased due to the “misuse successive answers
to some questions” or the “production of successive sentences accompanied by syntactic
disagreements” in the students attempt to provide detailed information in an oral manner.
Another similarity between these two studies was the fact that students assumed that
writing would guarantee successful speech.
* Claudia Marcela Rubio Manrique is in her fifth year of a B.A in languages. She has been
part of the Undergraduate Research Group -SILEX- at The Universidad de Pamplona for
two years. This article is her first publication as a qualitative researcher. Her current
research interests involve understanding educational settings and FL learning and teaching
experiences.
References
Al-Baldawi, W. N., & Sadait, A. M. (2011). Linguistic overgeneralization: a case study.
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Alonso, M. R. (1997). Language transfer: Interlingual errors in Spanish students of English
as a foreign language. Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses (10), 7-14.
Ameri, H., & Asareh, F. (2010). An investigation about language learning problems at
elementary levels in bilingual areas of Iran. Procedia Social and Behavioral
Sciences , 9, 1757 - 1761.
Baxter, P., & Jack, S. (2008). Qualitative case study methodology: Study design and
implementation for novice researchers. The Qualitative Report , 4 (13), 544–559.
Bhela, B. (1999). Native language interference in learning a second language: Exploratory
case studies of native language interference with target language usage.
International Education Journal , 1 (1), 22-31.
Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary. (2001). United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Common European framework in its political an educational context. Retrieved
from: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/source/framework_en.pdf
Creswell, J. (2005). Educational research: planning, conducting and evaluating quantitative
and qualitative research. Merrill Prentice Hall.
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Enisa, M. (2011). The acquisition of word order (verb placement) in an adult
SerboCroatian-Turkish bilingual. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences (15),
134-137.
Hatch, J. A. (2002). Doing qualitative research in educative settings. New York: State
university of New York.
Horst, M., White, J., & Bell, P. (2010). First and second language knowledge in the
language classroom. International Journal of Bilingualism , 14 (3), 331-349.
Noor, H. H. (1994). Some implications of the role of the mother tongue in second language
acquisition. Linguistica Communicatio , 6 (1-2), 97–106.
Odlin, T. (1989). Language transfer: Cross-linguistic influence in language learning.
Cambridge: Cambridge University press. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative
Research and Evaluation Methods. London: Sage.
Turner, D. W. (2010). Qualitative interview design: a practical guide for novice
investigators. The Qualitative Report , 15 (3), 754-760.
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Annex 1
Classroom Observation Protocol
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Annex 2
Semi structured interview Protocols
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Songs as an Implementation Resource When Learning a Foreign Language
Daniel Ricardo Pedraza Ramírez*
[email protected]
Abstract
This qualitative case study attempted to understand how students and their teacher
used songs to learn and teach a foreign. Participants were four beginner-level English
language learners at a foreign languages program at a public university in Colombia.
Findings revealed that when working with songs, students worked actively in order
to improve their language proficiency and communicative skills; and the teacher had to act
as an innovative agent to motivate her students to develop and improve their linguistic
competences. Finally, the author presented some pedagogical implications when using
songs to learn a foreign language.
Key words: songs, lyrics, communicative skills, linguistic competences.
Songs As An Implementation Resource When Learning A Foreign Language
Introduction
When learning a foreign language, learners attempt to improve their communicative
skills by using myriad resources, including songs. In doing so, they advance in the target
language consciously or subconsciously ever nearing their ultimate purpose of learning a
foreign language. According to Rosová (2007), music is one of the neuroleptic factors that
reduce the signs of nervousness of children and teenagers by 30%. That is to say students
will probably have both a better language learning development and proficiency by not
only understanding the lyrics of the song but also by getting into a better attitude to learn a
Foreign Language.
When learning how to speak, there are some differences between the learning
processes for a child, versus the learning method of an adult. In other words, older people
are more purpose driven to learn what they really need to learn, they immerse themselves in
the language, meaning that foreign language students are aware of their needs when
learning a foreign language, instead of children that learn a language by repetition,
imitation, motivation by their context or just at their age, it is easier to learn more than two
languages. Consequently, and not far beyond reality, music is a great tool used in classes by
teachers to supply lacking components while developing the class, to motivate students,
and also to reinforce their linguistic development or just to create a better environment for
their students in order to generate a softer and more relaxed learning environment.
This case study aimed to understand how songs can be used as a foreign language
learning tool. Fonseca, Toscano, & Wermke (2011) state that “while in first language
acquisition babies start receiving sonorous stimuli in their mother‟s womb, in foreign
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language learning opportunities to receive auditory input are mainly limited to the
classroom, the teacher, the classmates and situations in which listening is included in the
lesson” (p101). In other words, the more work done with songs, the better progress the
Foreign Languages students will have.
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Literature Review
A variety of studies have provided a framework on how the use of songs motivates
students to learn more about a language by learning phrasal verbs, vocabulary, learning the
diversity of accents depending on the nationality of the song, interpreting the content of the
lyrics within a song and also, of equal importance, the attitude generated when listening to
music while studying either a foreign language or any academic subject.
Merrel (2004) pointed out that students feel more comfortable when listening to a
soft classical song because students can better concentrate when learning a new language
with classical tunes because the rhythm of these songs improve the concentration of the
students. On the other hand, other studies suggest that students enjoy learning a language
by referring to the lyrics, looking for new information about the language, and learning
more vocabulary. Lee, 2009; Li & Brand, 2009; Contreras & Flores, 2010; Fonseca,
Toscano, & Wermke, 2011, state that music, while learning a new language, is not just
related to learning only vocabulary and phrases, but the culture of the country where the
song was made. In addition, Kotsopoulou & Hallam, 2004; Sicherl-Kafol & Denac, 2011,
believe that music applied while learning a new language is not just related to learning
only vocabulary and phrases, but the culture of the country where the song was made.
Nonetheless, Huy (1999) stated that the only bad aspect of this strategy is the
intromission of a foreign culture within the students and the distancing from their roots, as
seen in many Asian countries. This also makes the student acquire different behaviours
from the ones taught in their own country.
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In Colombia, Perez (2010) described how young learners view music as a coltish
tool that will improve their oral performance and how the activities applied by a music
teacher help to reinforce the language topics studied in other English classes. This author
found that music sessions worked as a motivator to enable students to be eager to advance
in the English course. In addition, children felt confident and motivated when they heard
the music teacher explaining the activities in English. It helped them to improve their
English level by getting accustomed to the pronunciation and the intonation of the English
language. Furthermore, music was a fun way to learn English, and children enjoyed the
music class and its activities so much that they also wanted to practice more with the
musical instruments. In general terms, most students agreed that the specialized music class
was a fun way to grasp information and gain acknowledge.
The previous studies have given the researcher a brief idea about the importance of
the use of songs, lyrics and music when learning a foreign language. The common factor
shared by these studies is that songs encourage students to learn even more about
vocabulary but also phonetics, syntax, and semantics.
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Methodology
This study was developed with 20 foreign languages students at a public university
in Colombia, but only four students of these were selected to be part of this study.
Participants were students from Elementary English I, A1 language level. Their ages ranged
from 17 to 20 years old. The pseudonyms selected for the four participants were: Angus,
Ronald, Bruce and Simone.
The main reason why participants were chosen depended on the permeability that
they showed when learning a foreign language, that is to say, they are not at too high a
level to not appreciate the advantages that music and songs could give when assimilating
the syntax, semantics, and grammar structures. Hence, they are within the right level to be
influenced by music, songs and lyrics when sailing into the sea of what foreign language
learning entails.
Participants were selected based on the following criteria: level A1 in English, time
availability for being interviewed, and interests in the target language (English). They were
observed through five different classes and interviewed three times. This article described
the procedures conducted over twelve weeks in which this study took place.
Furthermore, the linguistic experience of every one of the students is different due
to the life that each one of them has lived, that is to say, if students have travelled abroad or
have simply studied beforehand in different linguistic institutions apart from the university,
then they may have a more difficult or an easier time with the language.
The program where this study took place relies on several instructional materials
and resources that facilitate the learning and teaching process. Student benefit from a
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resource centre, two languages laboratories, which each have more than 20 desktop
computers, internet connection, television sets, one projector, and speakers to listen to
audio material. In addition, both students and teachers use different tools to enhance the
pedagogical and linguistic period by using text books, CD-ROMs provided by the
textbooks, videos, and songs. In addition, it is important to note that not all classes attended
by these students were developed in the laboratories, but they had to attend to the rest of the
classes in different buildings out of the main campus, assigned to the university.
Otherwise, data was gathered through non-participant observations and three
interviews as the main collecting data instrument. The researcher has also used different
procedures to organize and analyse data by using the typological analysis suggested by
Hatch (2002). MAXQDA computer software was used to facilitate the data organization
and analysis.
After gathering data through five non-participant observations, and three interviews,
the researcher noticed that the classes concerning songs were developed once a week in one
of the two languages laboratories inside the foreign languages building, due to the sound
devices found in each laboratory and the accessibility for the students to use desktop
computers for them to study even more on their own during a length of time established by
the teacher. During the classroom observations, the researcher realized that students took
advantage of this resource to increase their vocabulary, to correct their pronunciation and
solve some doubts about the real use of words and phrases in a specific context; the
teamwork between both teacher and students, whilst working with songs was an important
factor while developing the pedagogic process due to the guidance of the teacher when
students got lost and the mutual help among students in order to easily solve doubts.
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Each interview included five questions (see appendix 1.) Taking into account that
there were some difficulties meeting with all the participants at the same time and place, the
hour and place for each interview were agreed on the phone. The day before each
interview, I called the participants to inform them about the specific time and location
where the interview would take place. Although the researcher had piloted the
questionnaires, participants were not able to fully understand one of the questions. The
researcher then rephrased it differently to facilitate the participants‟ responses.
The typological analysis described by Hatch (2002) was used to analyse data. Once
the data was coded; the researcher reduced them into three main themes: 1) Implications
when using songs when learning a L2; 2) Songs as a motivating factor inside and outside
the classroom; 3) when songs are not enough.
This study aimed to answer on grand-tour: “How do students and teacher use music
to learn and teach a foreign language?” and the sub-question described as: “what are the
implications when using music to learn and teach a foreign language?”
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Findings
Findings will be presented in light of research questions. With regards to the main
research question related to how teacher and students used songs when learning a foreign
language, this study found that the teacher not only used listening activities whilst playing
songs, but writing, reading, comprehension and speaking activities. For example, during a
class, the teacher did writing activities such as: gap filling, translation of the lyrics, writing
sentences with the new vocabulary acquired, and reading activities. When doing gap filling
activities, the teacher gave the students a photocopy in advance, which they had to fill in
whilst listening to the song. They also had to complete the entire lyrics by filling in the
missing words.
In addition, the teacher used resources from the internet. For example, during a
class, students worked individually on http://www.inglesdivino.com, a webpage that offers
songs, videos, worksheets, didactic on-line games and English grammar theory. At the
time, students used headphones in order to complete the gap filling activity (see Appendix
2). Other times, the teacher used the sound system in order to allow students to work and
sing the song as a group. Once the students finished the gap-filling activity, the teacher
requested the students translate the entire song line by line.
Translations were used differently; sometimes, each student translated one line;
other times, students helped each other to translate the whole song. They then corrected the
mistakes made by their peers. Whilst doing the translation, the students had to write down
what they had done. For instance, while translating “La Isla Bonita”, a famous Madonna
song; as it was observed, Ronald was asked to translate the sentence “ring through my ears
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and sting my eyes” After a while, he stood up and said: “suena a través de mis oídos y
punza mis ojos”. After that, Simmone was asked to say if she agreed with the translation
done previously; she then replied: I have another version of it: “resuena en mis oídos y se
clava en mis ojos”. For a third time, the teacher asked the rest of the students if they agreed
with the correction done, to which they did not have any objection; the whole translation
was done by following the steps previously described (see Appendix 3).
With regards to the way students worked on vocabulary acquired based on songs, in
a class observed the teacher began working on the song “Always” by Bon Jovi. The song
had been chosen to work on frequency adverbs. In addition to the activities the teacher had
done during the previous class; students were asked to write down some examples using the
word “always”. The most relevant sentences that the students wrote were: “I always go to
the cinema on weekends”, and “My parents always send me money by the end of the
month”. The teacher not only used the adverb always as an example for the entire class, but
also she used more adverbs such as: frequently, never, almost, seldom, etc.
Regarding to reading activities, during another class, the teacher used “The one that
got away” by Katy Perry. Students were asked to read aloud one of the sentences from the
lyrics; then to read the translation of that sentence to the entire class. The teacher asked
Bruce to read aloud one of the lines of the song. He selected the sentence “I should have
told you what you meant to me” and after he read the entire sentence; the translation made
and read by the participant was “Debí decirte lo que significabas para mi” and based on
the topic for that day, which was the past simple tense, the participant described the use of
that simple tense based on what the teacher said about the tense preciously described.
During the same observation, Simmone was requested to do the same activity, but the
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teacher also asked her to explain in detail how she would describe the use of the past simple
by using the same song. Simmone took the sentence “Someone said you had your tattoo
removed” and in advance, she explained the word order in the following form:
“1st there is the subject which is “Someone”, 2nd we can see the verb to say in
past as said. Also, we can appreciate that the complement of the sentence contains
another simple past structure just like: you (subject) had (to have in past) your
tattoo removed (complement).”
Regarding to the comprehension activities, the teacher sometimes asked the students
to look for unknown expressions and then to understand their meaning based on the
context. For example, during an observation, the teacher used the expression “to be left on
the shelf” which she began to explain as soon as she finished writing it on the board. In
order to erase any doubts, the teacher realized that none of the students told her the real
meaning of the expression; hence she had to give the real translation of it, which was
“quedarse vistiendo santos”. The teacher askedher students: “Are you going to be left on
the shelf? And Why?” Students‟ answers varied. There were both positive and negative
answers preceded by the explanation why; one of the students gave an explanation in which
he said that he wanted to have sons and to be called grandfather. As written before, the
speaking activities were mainly developed based on expressions of the lyrics of that day‟s
song.
There were a series of steps that the teacher followed while teaching songs, which
were described by one of the participants during one of the interviews and observed by the
researcher in each class:
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1. The teacher gave the students the entire syllabus and contents of the subject, for
the students to be aware of the schedule and development of the class and for them
to be responsible for their tasks and assignments. During the day of the planned
activity, the teacher used to tell the students to take their photocopies of the lyrics to
begin working as soon as the song began. The students followed the teacher‟s
instructions and took their photocopies in order to start working on the planned
activity.
2. Then, the song was played a first time for the students to get a general idea of the
content of the lyrics. The teacher requested the students to remain silent for them to
listen carefully to every word and sentence within the lyrics and notice the
pronunciation of the words.
3. After the first time, the teacher played the song for a second time, giving the
students the opportunity to fill in the blanks.
4. Taking into account that the lyrics had unknown vocabulary, the teacher told the
students to guess the meaning based on the context. They were told to begin
translating the lyrics by giving them a contextual meaning. In doing so, students
were able to better understand the diverse uses of words and expressions.
Sometimes, students were required to use the grammar knowledge in order to
explain certain grammatical uses. For example, the participant Angus was asked to
explain the use of the frequency adverbs within the lyrics of the song “Always” by
Bon Jovi; the participant explained to both teacher and students that the use of that
adverb implied that an action in particular would be repeated most of the time. As
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an example, Angus explained that the expression “I will love you, always” meant
that the singer or the fictional character is in love with somebody and that love
would not have an end.
As it was inferred, the teacher did not only use songs and music for listening, but
also to engage students in a more motivating and meaningful way of learning the target
language.
The teacher was an innovating agent. She used a variety of strategies to keep her
students motivated. When being interviewed, Angus summarized what the teacher did in
class:
“La variedad de actividades, es decir que… no se limita a una o dos cosas para
aprender… para aprender la lengua, para aprender los temas vistos en clase; sino
que… existe una gama de herramientas o una gama de opciones para… para
intentar aprender. Es decir, si a una persona se le dificulta… exponerlo o si a una
persona se le dificulta las canciones, puede ser que esta persona sea muy buena en
los Role Playing.”
The use of role plays, songs and several other activities from the textbook helped
the students to improve their linguistic skills. For example, when using role plays from the
textbook, the students sometimes had to memorize them and other times they had to change
the content of the dialogues but following the steps set in the textbook example; three
students performed a role play in which they were lost at sea and found an island with only
one inhabitant. The researcher noticed that the rest of the students were caught in the
atmosphere of the fictional context while the three students involved were conversing
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among themselves. Other activities found in the textbook were related to grammar rules.
Students‟ knowledge was tested by using the textbook software.
Learners took advantage of songs to learn new vocabulary, improve their
pronunciation, and establish phonetic differences.
During a classroom observation, the researcher witnessed how songs were used to
help learners differentiate the phonetic variations between Americans and British people,
these comparisons were not only done by listening to the text book CD; but also when
comparing “Pretty Woman,” an American song and “Waterloo Sunset, ” a British song.
This activity helped students to establish the differences between American and British
pronunciation by doing a phonetic comparison between the most relevant words, such as:
look, night, home, must, etc.
On the other hand, songs provided a contextualized meaning of the unknown words.
Students learned several words in context while reading and singing the songs‟ lyrics.
According to one of the participant‟s opinions:
“siempre uno intenta asimilar el vocabulario que uno aprende con las canciones,
porque uno aprende la pronunciación y el significado contextual en las canciones y
pues la idea siempre es tratar de usar ese vocabulario de alguna manera para
comunicarse o con los compañeros o con la profesora”.
It can be inferred that students were always attentive while using songs, music and
lyrics. In one observation the teacher led an activity in which the students had to identify
mistakes present in a song lyrics; the researcher realized that while the song was played, the
students took their reading materials and followed the song in order to find possible
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mistakes to be corrected. Students listened to the song more than once; they then shared the
way they had corrected some mistakes with the entire group. As an example of this, in a
class the teacher played Abba‟s famous song “Dancing Queen” for the students to translate
the lyrics. One student was asked to translate the line “you‟re a teaser, you turn „em on,
leave them burning and then you‟re gone”; the student translated the sentence as “tu eres
una coqueta, los calientas los dejas ardiendo y te vas”. Bruce was asked to modify the
previous translation if necessary, in which modifications were “Tu los engañas, los
enciendes, los dejas ardiendo y luego te vas”. Then the teacher said that both translations
were good and both of them are described in same context.
Needless to say the use of songs in a FL classroom is motivating. The researcher has
found that the participants were eager to learn when using songs. As one of the participants
stated:
“¿Porque a quién no le gusta la música?... no cierto tipo de música sino ya por
gustos personales… y que mejor que esa música no sea por pasar un buen rato,
sino que le ayude a aprender algo que le gusta”.
It seems that songs helped students to understand not only semantics, but also
contextual and socio-linguistic meanings. When participants were asked about their
preferences for class activities, they expressed several positive comments towards the use
of songs:
“Pues más que todo la parte de música, pero más la parte en la que hay que
hablar… porque el hablar es lo principal que se debe tener para hablar una
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segunda lengua… aparte de la práctica oral y también la parte de la práctica
escrita porque también aparte de escuchar y hablar hay que saber escribir”.
Although there are several benefits of using songs in a FL class, there were certain
concerns which make its use challenging. In order to clarify these concerns this study
highlighted three main implications such as: 1) The approval of an average pronunciation,
2) no democratization while selecting the songs; and 3) the speed of the song.
1. Although songs were used for academic purposes, some students who were good at
singing, found some classmates‟ pronunciation annoying and shocking. One of the
participants stated that: “no se hace énfasis total. O sea, ella… ella acepta… por
decirlo así una pronunciación mediocre… o eso pienso yo, a mi parecer es eso”.
Taking into account that this participant is one of the advanced students in the class,
she felt that the linguistic level of her classmates should have been higher.
2. There is no democracy for choosing the list of songs at the beginning of the semester.
The teacher decided on a list of songs prior to the beginning of the course. Angus
expressed his unhappiness:
“Mmm… a veces la música que se escoge no está, no está planeada entre todos, es
decir una canción con la que sale la docente y ya. Me parece que sería más
práctico que se diera una lista de canciones y dentro de esa de acuerdo al gusto de
la mayor parte de los estudiantes se eligiera, porque algunos estudiantes de pronto
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chocan con cierto tipo de música, entonces obviamente no van a estar muy
dispuestos a participar en esa clase en específico”.
It seemed that the teacher selected the songs based on her own likes or to fit a specific
grammar structure that needed to be reinforced. However, some songs did not match all of
the participants‟ likes. According to what was observed, this aspect did not affect the
linguistic development of the students, instead it helped them improve their intonation and
stress the accent found in every song they used.
3. The level of speed of the songs worked during the class did not correspond to the
proficiency level of the participants. They stated that sometimes songs were too fast for
them to understand or to follow when singing. “Angus” stated that:
“hay canciones… hay, así como hay tipos de canciones que según la melodía van
muy rápido o muy despacio, de pronto para, para, para un comienzo sería bueno
con canciones que tienen la música lenta, como para uno entender lo que dicen… y
ya cuando uno ya… acostumbra un poco más el oído intentarlo con canciones que
tengan más fluidez verbal.”
In addition, it was found that not all of the students were focused on the planned activities.
It was observed that some students were doing some other things while the class was being
developed, such as: talking with other students, checking their cell phones, or looking at the
pc screens. However, the time in which students got distracted was shorter than the amount
of time that they were on task.
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CONCLUSIONS
Using songs went beyond filling in the blanks, translating the entire lyrics, singing
the songs and analysing the variety of pronunciations; the students had to be active agents.
Songs were used through different activities by both teacher and students. Mostly, students
were involved in: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. In each case, the teacher had to
improve her role as a guide, to adopt a new role as innovator, motivator, and a model to be
followed by her students. It was found that the students and the teacher worked on the
lyrics and songs through a myriad of activities in order to accomplish the goals of the
communication skills, such as: the translation of the entire song, filling some blanks in a
photocopy or found on internet, listening to and singing the song for the students to be
aware of the pronunciation, working on the concerning vocabulary for the grammar part of
the class, and to use the knowledge acquired in class in order for the students to create new
structures while using the target language.
Finally, as the researcher of this study attempted to describe the way in which songs
could benefit the students learning process, there were some implications such as: the use
of this resource more than once a week, the creation of a song list made together by both
teacher and students in order for them to be more comfortable while learning the target
language, and the moments of distraction that the students had during the activities
development. These factors did not cause a potential effect in which the learning
development process was affected.
In addition, taking into account that the songs were played once a week, the
participants suggested using songs more than twice a week, for them to increase the
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opportunities to learn a foreign language by using audio material, and to improve their
language proficiency and fluency by practicing songs in myriad activities which involve the
four communication skills. It is appropriate to say that songs not only help students to
improve their linguistic skills, but also creates a relaxing learning environment based on the
rhythm and the harmony of the songs.
Something that caught the researcher‟s attention was that while songs were used in
the FL classroom students showed a relaxing attitude. This might be in light with what
Merrell (2004) found in her study on the effects of music while teaching a foreign
language. According to this author:
“The calming effects of music have positive effects on the students when it is
introduced into the classroom. Creating a classroom that has low anxiety and stress
levels is important to classroom management. Music can help to keep the levels of
tension and stress to a minimum. When music is played in the classroom it can help
to change the mood. Specific types of music can be played to illicit the desired
mood.”(p4)
This finding along with what the researcher wanted to contribute for further
research into what learning a foreign language learning through songs and music concerns,
gave him some clues to remain focused on looking for more concrete answers for his
questions, and to further understand the effects of music within the classroom and the fact
that songs have an effect on the students‟ linguistic development.
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References
Contreras, A., & Flores, A. (2010). Can Music Improve Foreign Language Learning?
Teacher‟s Diploma Course. Instituto Angloamericano. Revised in: September 25th of
2011. Retrieved from: http://www.tuobra.unam.mx/obrasPDF/1242:)2648:)c.PDF
Fonseca-Mora, M.C., Toscano-Fuentes, C., and Wermke, K. (2011). Melodies that help:
The Relation between Language Aptitude and Musical Intelligence. Anglistik International
Journal of English Studies. Revised in: September 19th of 2011. Avaliable on:
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED51
8583
Hatch, J.A. (2002). Doing qualitative research in educational settings. Albany: State
University
of New York Press. 179 – 190. Revised in: September 29th of 2011 . Available on:
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tch+2002+interpretative+analysis&source=bl&ots=TBCPu5mGoS&sig=Jg2GRXTp7G7
TDFi-Hkt6yabhE-o&hl=es&sa=X&ei=B55HT_3QG8L8gge2pCnDg&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
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Huy, M. (1999). The Role of Music in Second Language Learning: A Vietnamese
Perspective.
University of Tasmania. Revised in: October 3rd of 2011. Available on:
http://www.aare.edu.au/99pap/le99034.htm
Kotsopoulou, A., & Hallam, S. (2004). Cross cultural differences in listening to music
while
studying. University of london. Revised in: September 12th of 2011. Retreived from:
http://www.icmpc8.umn.edu/proceedings/ICMPC8/PDF/AUTHOR/MP040184.PDF
Lee, L. (2009). An empirical study on teaching urban young children music and English by
contrastive elements of music and songs. Revised in: August 30th
of 2011. Retrieved
from: http://es.scribd.com/doc/20553842/An-Emperical-Study-on-Teaching-UrbanYoungChildren-Music
Li, X., & Brand, M. (2009). Effectiveness of Music on Vocabulary Acquisition, Language
Usage, and Meaning for Mainland Chinese ESL Learners. Revised in: October 15th of
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2011. Retrieved from http://krpb.pbworks.com/f/music-esl.pdf
Merrell, A. (2004). The Benefits of Incorporating Music in the Classroom. Revised in:
September 5th of 2011. Retrieved from:
http://audreymerrell.net/INTASC/INTASC6/the%20benefits%20of%20incorporating%20
music.pdf
Perez, D. (2010). The Role of Music in Young Learners‟ Oral Production in English.
Universidad Nacional De Colombia. Revise in: November 7th of 2011. Avaliable from:
http://redalyc.uaemex.mx/redalyc/pdf/1692/169216302010.pdf
Sicherl-Kafol,B., & Denac, O. (2011). Through Musical Communication to Development
of
Competence in Culture Awareness and Expression. US-China Education Review, ISSN
1548-6613. Revised in: October 1st of 2011. Avaliable on:
http://20.132.48.254/ERICWebPortal/search/recordDetails.jsp?ERICExtSearch_Descript
or=%22Visual+Stimuli%22&_pageLabel=RecordDetails&accno=ED519540&_nfls=false
Rosová, V. (2007). The use of Music in Teaching English. Masaryk University. Faculty of
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English and Anglophone Litterature. Retrieved on, August 27th , 2011. from:
http://is.muni.cz/th/84318/pedf_m/diploma_thesis_1.pdf
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Daniel Ricardo Pedraza Ramírez is a student of fifth year the Universidad de Pamplona. He
has been taking research studies for 2 years and he is also a member of The Undergraduate
Research Group –SILEX. This article is his first publication as a qualitative researcher. His
interests in research involve FL learning and teaching experiences and the implementation
of new resources when learning a foreign language.
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Appendixes
Appendix 1
QUESTION
RONALD
BRUCE
ANGUS
SIMMONE
¿Qué actividades usa su
profesor para enseñar la
lengua extranjera
dentro del salón de
clase?
Aaaa… pues casi
siempre se usan páginas
de internet que se usan
relacionadas con el
tema y normalmente se
usan bastante los
audios de los libros.
Eeee… usualmente, o
sea en los salones de
lenguas se usan algunas
canciones.. y se usa
audio deee… que se le
proporciona a uno en
los libros de texto, para
entender un poco más
los ejercicios o el tema
que se está viendo.
Emm… canciones,
diálogos… aaa…
lecturas, básicamente
eso.
¿Cuáles actividades de
las que usa su profesor
en clase le gusta más?
Pues más que todo la
parte de música, pero
más la parte en la que
hay que hablar… porque
el hablar es lo principal
que se debe tener para
hablar una segunda
lengua… aparte de la
práctica oral y también
la parte de la práctica
escrita porque también
aparte de escuchar y
hablar hay que saber
escribir.
Eee… me gusta la parte
en la queee seee en la
que nos pone canciones
conocidas para… para
uno aprender a educar
un poco más el oído con
respecto a la lengua
inglesa y eeeh seguir,
seguir la canción con la,
con la letra que está en
la, en la pantalla del
computador.
Emmm… dependiendo
de los días, el lunes
hacemos ejercicios con
role playing para
aprender más
vocabulario y aprender
a cerca del vocabulario
utilizado en diversas
situaciones y en
diversos contextos. El
martes, a menudo
usamos canciones…
emmm… dependiendo
del vocabulario que
contenga cada una y
que esté relacionado
con el tema que
estamos manejando en
cada clase. Y los viernes,
eee… tenemos la
lectura de un libro, en
este caso llamado
“kidnap” y del cual
sacamos diferentes
actividades y siempre
de manera lúdica para
aprender a… exponerlo
de una manera fácil.
Eeee… la de los días
martes porque
personalmente la
música en inglés me
llama mucho la atención
y el tener un contacto
cotidiano con ella y de
este modo aprender
expresiones que son
muy usadas en el
contexto extranjero,
pues es una… una muy
buena oportunidad.
Además que… que es
algo muy chévere
compartir con los
demás compañeros lo
que es una canción y
que sea un gusto en
común.
Emm… La variedad de
actividades, es decir
que… no se limita a una
¿Qué es lo que más le
llama la atención de
estas actividades?
Pues más que
todo, como
nosotros estamos
Queee, que le ayudan a
uno bastante a…
relacionar la eee la
Las que tienen que ver
con escucha: canciones,
emm diálogos… que
tienen que ver con
escucha básicamente.
Bueno, como te dije
antes pues… las
actividades de escucha
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en un país hispano
no tenemos la
posibilidad de
estar en contacto
casi siempre con la
lengua y esas son
actividades que
nos permiten
interactuar en
todo momento
con el idioma.
lengua, la lengua inglesa
con lo que uno… los
hobbies que uno tiene,
o sea eso lo estimula a
uno, porque uno se
siente a gusto
aprendiendo ¿sí?,
supongo.
Con respecto a las
actividades realizadas
por el profesor, ¿Qué
tanto suele usar su
profesor música para
reforzar la enseñanza
de la lengua extranjera?
La música, como
ya te digo, se usa
cuando vamos a la
sala de idiomas… y
se usa una vez por
semana.
Mmmm… bueno,
nosotros actualmente
usamos bastantes eee
bastantes métodos de…
para aplicar la lengua.
En cuanto a la música,
las estamos usando
cuando vamos a laaa… a
la sala mutimedia que
es una, una vez a la
semana; durante estas
clases son las que se
aplica la música como
instrumento para el
desarrollo de la lengua.
¿Cómo es utilizada la
música dentro del salón
de clase?
Pues es una manera
más fácil de aprender…
porque principalmente
es más fácil recordar la
letra de una canción
porque rima, a tener
que recordar páginas de
gramática y estudio….
Pues, primero que todo
se dice cuál es la
canción, se escucha un
audio general… y
después de esto cada
uno de nosotros debe
escucharla en el celular
o en el computador,
después se hace un
segundo audio general y
se prosigue a traducir la
canción y trae un
vocabulario para el
estudio de esta misma.
Como herramienta,
como herramienta para
uno aprender, porque
yo creo que es una es
una manera con la que
uno se identifica y con
la que se siente a gusto;
todo el mundo escucha
música y trata y trata
uno de relacionar el
aprendizaje con la
música….. ¿Cómo las
desarrolla? Pues esto…
primero nos explica la
actividad que vamos a
hacer, en el caso de
algún tipo de música
pues mmmm ¿qué?...
pues se prepara la
canción o la actividad
que va a hacer, nos dice
que es lo que
debemos… cuál es el
propósito y a
continuación
escuchamos o
practicamos la canción,
no sé.
o dos cosas para
aprender… para
aprender la lengua, para
aprender los temas
vistos en clase; sino
que… existe una gama
de herramientas o una
gama de opciones
para… para intentar
aprender. Es decir, sin a
una persona se le
dificulta… exponerlo o si
a una persona se le
dificulta las canciones,
puede ser que esta
persona sea muy buena
en los Role Playing.
Emmm… bueno,
usualmente los martes,
como ya lo había
comentado, es algo… de
una vez por semana y,
pero en la últimas clases
a través de los ejercicios
del libro, por ejemplo…
lo ha direccionado a
usarlo con música
también. Me explico, en
la clase pasada del libro
tuvimos que diseñar
una canción e… y
adecuarle un ritmo a la
misma para… para
tratar de reforzar ese
conocimiento.
Como el participante lo
responde en la 4ª
pregunta, las
actividades musicales
están direccionadas con
el tema que se esté
trabajando con el libro
guía.
por el hecho de que te
ayudan a mejorar eee la
pronunciación y el
modo como hablas,
también algunas,
algunas palabras y así.
Una vez por semana.
Bueno, son tres pasos:
en el primer paso la
profesora pone la
canción. Segundo paso,
nos pone a rellenar
partes de la canción. Y
tercera parte, nos pone
a cantar y a traducir la
canción.
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Appendix 2.
Format of the song “Always” by Bon Jovi available on http://www.inglesdivino.com/?l=214 in
order to do the activity concerning to filling the blanks.
This Romeo is bleeding
You can't see
blood
It's nothing but some feelings
That this old dog kicked up
It's been raining since you left me
Now I'm drowning in the flood
see I've always been a fighter
But without you I give up
I can't sing a love song
Like the way it's meant to be
I guess I'm not
good anymore
But baby that's just me.
And I will love you baby,
And I'll be there
and
, always.
I'll be there till the stars don't shine
Till the heavens burst
And when I die you'll be on
the words don't
mind
And I'll love you always
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Now your pictures that you left behind
Are just memories of a different life
that made us laugh, some made us cry
One that made you have to
goodbye
What I'd give to run my fingers through your hair
Touch your lips to hold you near
When you say
Try to understand
I've made mistakes, I'm just a
When he holds you close, when he pulls you near
When he says the words you've been needing to hear
I wish I was him with these words
mine
To say to you till the end of time that...
I will love you baby, always
And I'll be there forever and a day,
If you told me to
If
for you,
told me to die
could
you, I would
a look at my face
There's no price I
pay
say these words to you
Well there
no luck
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In this loaded dice
But baby if you give me just
more try
We can pack up our old dreams and our
lives
We'll find a place where the sun still shines, and I...
Will love you baby, always
And I'll be there forever and a day, always
I'll be
till the stars don't
Till the heavens burst and the words don't rhyme
I know when I die you'll be on my mind
And I'll love you always
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Appendix 3.
Lyrics and translation by the participants of the song “La Isla Bonita” by Madonna.
"COMO PUEDE ESE OLVIDAR"
"COMO PUEDE ESE OLVIDAR"
LAST NIGHT I DREAMT OF SAN PEDRO
ANOCHE SOÑÉ CON SAN PEDRO
JUST LIKE ID NEVER GONE,
ES COMO SI NUNCA ME HUBIERA IDO,
I KNEW THE SONG.
CONOCÍA LA CANCIÓN
A YOUNG GIRL WITH EYES LIKE THE DESERT
UNA JOVEN CON LOS OJOS COMO EL DESIERTO
IT ALL SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY,
TODO PARECÍA COMO AYER,
NOT FAR AWAY.
NO TAN LEJANO.
TROPICAL THE ISLAND BREEZE
LA BRISA DE LA ISLA TROPICAL
ALL OF NATURE WILD AND FREE
LLENA DE NATURALEZA SALVAJE Y LIBERTAD
THIS IS WHERE I LONG TO BE
AQUÍ ES DONDE DESEO ESTAR,
LA ISLA BONITA.
LA ISLA BONITA
AND WHEN THE SAMBA PLAYED
Y CUANDO SUENA A SAMBA
THE SUN WOULD SET SO HIGH
EL SOL SE PONE EN LO ALTO
RING THROUGH MY EARS AND STING MY EYES
RESUENA EN MIS OÍDOS Y SE CLAVA EN MIS OJOS
YOUR SPANISH LULLABY.
TU SUSURRO ESPAÑOL.
I FELL IN LOVE WITH SAN PEDRO
ME ENAMORÉ DE SAN PEDRO
WARM WIND CARRIED ON THE SEA, HE CALLED TO ME:
VIENTO CÁLIDO ARRULLABA EL MAR, ÉL ME LLAMÓ:
"TE DIJO TE AMO"
“ME DIJO TE AMO”
I PRAYED THAT THE DAYS WOULD LAST
ROGUÉ PARA QUE LOS DÍAS DURARAN
THEY WENT SO FAST.
PERO SE FUERON TAN RÁPIDO
I WANT TO BE WHERE THE SUN WARMS THE SKY
QUIERO ESTAR DONDE EL SOL CALIENTE EL CIELO
WHEN ITS TIME FOR SIESTA YOU CAN WATCH THEM GO BY.
CUANDO SEA HORA DE LA SIESTA LOS PUEDAS VER PASAR
BEAUTIFUL FACES,
BELLOS ROSTROS,
NO CARES IN THIS WORLD
SIN PREOCUPACIONES EN ESTE MUNDO
WHERE A GIRL LOVES A BOY,
DONDE UNA CHICA AMA A UN CHICO,
AND A BOY LOVES A GIRL.
Y EL CHICO AME A LA CHICA.
LAST NIGHT I DREAMT OF SAN PEDRO
ANOCHE SOÑÉ CON SAN PEDRO
IT ALL SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY, NOT FAR AWAY
TODO PARECÍA COMO AYER, MUY CERCANO.
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Anxiety Effects on EFL Learners When Communicating Orally
Mayerly Ariza Beltrán*
[email protected]
Abstract
This study aims to report three English foreign language (EFL) students’
experiences on how anxiety affected them when communicating orally in their classroom; a
review of the literature illustrated the perspectives from which foreign language anxiety
research has been conducted. Non participant observations and direct interviews served to
explore EFL students’ self-perceptions and level of self-confidence toward anxiety
experienced from activities that involved speaking and the main source of this
phenomenon.
Key words: oral communication, affective factors, anxiety, sources of anxiety.
Introduction
Anxiety may influence EFL learners’ oral communication. According to Horwitz et
al. (1986:126) anxiety is defined as a “distinct complex phenomenon of self-perception,
beliefs, feelings and behaviours related to classroom language learning arising from the
uniqueness of the language learning process.” Suffering from anxiety when speaking is a
real life issue that some students may experience at different levels and triggered by several
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How Anxiety Affects English Foreign Language Learners when Communicating Orally
performance anxieties such as: “communication apprehension, test anxiety and fear of
negative evaluation” (Horwitz& Young, 1991). This study was carried out with three
students in an English foreign language program at a Colombian public university, in order
to gain an in-depth understanding of the effects that anxiety had on students’ selfperceptions and self-confidence towards oral communication in the classroom; likewise it
also attempted to find the main source of this phenomenon. I adopted a descriptive case
study in which Yin (2003) explained: “this type of case study is used to describe an
intervention or phenomenon and the real-life context in which it occurred.” This research
was guided by two questions: the grand tour question, “How does anxiety affect EFL
students when communicating orally?” and the sub question, “What is the main source of
anxiety?”
Literature Review
In this section of the paper I present salient definitions with regards to the terms
used in my study. I also summarize and describe the findings of several previous studies
related to anxiety associated with oral performance.
Affective Factors
Learning a foreign language may entail a number of challenges for learners.
Affective factors seem to be permanently involved in such a process. Thus, these factors
can be considered positive and negative for second language acquisition. Positive factors
can be listed such as: the student’s positive attitude towards learning a new language, the
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teacher’s motivational attitude, proficiency in the student’s first language and the student’s
discovery and application of similarities between the first and the second language. On the
other hand negative affective factors are: poor attitude towards learning a new language,
lack of motivation and the negative influence of teachers (Alleyne, 2010). Likewise, Wang
(2005) suggests two types of affective factors, on the one hand individual factors including
anxiety, inhibition, extroversion-introversion, self-esteem and motivation, etc.; on the other
hand, rational factors comprising empathy, classroom transaction, cross-cultural processes,
and so on. Research studies have been conducted from several areas of interest in regard to
affective factors. Kimura (2000) conducted an investigation with sophomore female
students of two different classes majoring in English at a junior college, looking for
knowledge on the use of the affective factors of the successful learners and the less
successful ones in the oral communicative tasks (Task 1 was relatively easy and Task 2 was
an unfamiliar and difficult one for the learners). She focused on two main affective factors,
“anxiety” and “high self-esteem”. Results showed that “facilitating anxiety” has a good
effect in successful learners as a more risk-taking attitude arose in them as they fought the
new difficult learning task.
Oral Communication Anxiety
I based this study on the specific definitions of anxiety that Horwitz et al. (1986)
identified as a type of anxiety which is associated with L2 formal context in learning
language skills, described as a "distinct complex phenomenon of self-perceptions, beliefs,
feelings and behaviours related to classroom language learning arising from the uniqueness
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of the language learning process" and which is different from other forms of anxiety
distinguished by psychologists and educators (Foss &Reitzel, 1988).
According to Young (1992), speaking is probably considered the most stressful skill
among the four (listening, speaking, reading and writing) from the perspective of both FL
teachers and learners. Hence, students involved in oral communication activities are
generally prone to experience constant anxiety, especially in the classroom where the
learners have little control of the communicative situation and their performance is
constantly monitored by both their teacher and peers (Horwitz et al., 1986). Thus, a great
deal of research has been conducted to explore the effects that anxiety has in FL students’
oral production. In Colombia Fandiño (2010) conducted an action research with 17
beginner EFL students enrolled in a three-month EFL course where one of his aims was
finding the obstacles and difficulties EFL learners would experience in learning activities.
Findings showed that students felt more anxious when the task or exercise required a more
spontaneous and authentic use of the foreign language. Students argued that speaking and
pronunciation were aspects they felt more insecure and nervous about. Fandiño (2010)
added: “this anxiety was characterized by avoidance, passiveness, and discomfort”.
Likewise Xianping (2004) carried out a study addressing issues of language anxiety and its
effects on the oral performance in the classroom with eight students from a university of
China. Results generally showed that anxiety may affect the quality of oral performance;
the maturity of language may determine the levels of anxiety and that procrastination, fear
of evaluation and over-concern of errors may be seen as three important criteria to
recognize anxious and non-anxious students.
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The Sources of Performance Anxiety
Horwitz& Young (1991) identified three performance anxieties. The first is:
communication apprehension, which is a type of shyness that is felt when communicating
with people and that manifests itself through anxiety, test anxiety and fear of negative
evaluation. The next is fear of negative evaluation that stems from an individual’s concern
of being evaluated negatively, leading to the individual avoiding others’ evaluations and
evaluative situations. Finally test anxiety is defined as a type of performance anxiety that
arises from fear of failure felt in academic evaluation environments. Likewise, Horwitz et
al., (1986) highlighted that foreign languages require continual evaluation by the only
fluent speaker in the class, the teacher. Therefore, students may also be “acutely sensitive to
the evaluations, real or imagined of their peers” (Horwitz et al., 1986, p. 31). In short,
people are prone to fear of negative evaluation which seems to be one of the strong sources
crediting to anxiety in FL classrooms. Kitano (2001) conducted a study to investigate two
potential sources of anxiety of college learners of Japanese in oral practice: 1) an individual
student’s fear of negative evaluation, and 2) his or her self-perceived speaking ability. 212
students in Japanese courses at two major universities participated in the study. It was
found that an individual student’s anxiety was higher if his or her fear of negative
evaluation was stronger, and the strength of this tendency depended on the instructional
level and the experience of going to Japan.
These previous studies helped to broaden the view on how anxiety affects FL
learners. They also contributed to gain solid information about this phenomenon.
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Research Methodology
This section shows the procedures I followed: choosing a research design, deciding
on research population (participants and setting), designing instruments for data collection.
These steps helped to collect and analyse data to answer my research questions.
This descriptive case study “is used to describe an intervention or phenomenon and
the real-life context in which it occurred” Yin (2003). In other words, this design helped me
to describe the three participants’ experiences facing speaking anxiety.
The selection of participants was guided by the purpose of this study to collect data
about self-perceptions and behavioural signs related to anxiety. I chose three under
graduate participants, two male and one female from a group of 28 students from a foreign
languages program in a public University; their names were changed to Josh, Tom and
Anny. Their foreign language proficiency was B1 according to the Common European
Framework. The participants were informed about the research problem, its objectives and
also about the confidentiality of the information gathered from them. The participants
voluntarily agreed to participate in the study.
Data was gathered from August to October 2011 through classroom observation,
interviews and checklist. I did two classroom observations (see appendix 1), two interviews
and a checklist.
Classroom observations were done in two different environments; one was a regular
classroom on a public campus, equipped with chairs and a dry-erase board. It had big
windows. The other setting was a foreign language lab which was equipped with cubicles
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arranged in two rows side by side and every row had three cubicles for every three students,
and it also had the main cubicles for the teacher and a white board on the front wall. During
the first classroom observation, I played a non-participant role. The development of this
class was the following: it started with the teacher giving general advice about working
hard on homework, then the teacher implemented listening and speaking activities from the
workbook “New English file 1”. Also the teacher discussed common grammatical mistakes
made by students. The class finished with the teacher’s final advice of revising at home the
contents tackled and students’ homework for the next class.
The second classroom observation was carried out in the English Lab. The class
began with the teacher handing out homework, and then students performed a role-play.
Afterwards speaking mistakes with regard to pronunciation, grammar mistakes, over use of
words, etc. were discussed. Finally the native speaker assistant carried out an activity where
students had to read an article about famous athletes and then answer questions asked by
the native in front of the class.
I also conducted two one-on-one interviews (see appendix 2). The first interview
adapted from the Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) designed by Horwitz et al.
(1986) containing 10 open-ended questions that asked about the way learners feel when
they are in oral communication situations such as speaking in front of other people or
answering questions asked by the teacher. The second interview comprised three follow –
up questions related to anxiety.
I used a checklist (see appendix 3) during the second classroom observation in order
to register each participant’s behaviour while performing oral communication activities.
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Data was analysed by following the interpretive analysis model suggested by Hatch
(2002). I also used MAXqda, software that helped me to organize and code data gathered
from the classroom observations, interviews and checklist. First, I transcribed the data from
the classroom observations, interviews and checklists; then I uploaded this data into the
software to code and to reduce the data. After a careful analysis, I found recurring themes
which were further categorized into three broad categories.
Findings
After the data analysis, three main themes emerged:
1. Anxiety effects on students’ self-confidence
2. Anxiety and students’ self-perceptions
3. Communication apprehension as the main source of anxiety.
Anxiety and students’ self-perceptions
Participants had different perceptions on what an oral communication activity
would entail. Hence, some of them expressed that when performing those activities
involving speaking (e.g. oral presentations, role-plays, native speaker assistant
conversational activities) in front of others, they were not able to avoid concerns of
“forgetting things” caused by the fear of speaking in front of an audience. For example, I
witnessed through the classroom observations the case of Anny who, in the middle of
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performing a role-play with two more classmates, got a “mental block” (Ohata, 2005) that
forced her to remain quiet without speaking. This almost caused her not to finish the
activity. This was supported by what she had already expressed through the interview when
she argued: “I become embarrassed, very anxious, especially in oral presentations because
even when I feel prepared, I always may forget something”. Another participant’s
perception evidenced what they thought of their own English speaking skills and their
ability to express clearly what they meant to say; in other words, how good they were
conveying spoken language and making themselves understood (MacIntyre& Gardner,
1989); Thus, some of the participants expressed their concerns when they were called to
speak in the conversational activities with the native speaker without “knowing the words
required” or afraid of “not having good pronunciation”, hence when not being able to
answer questions Josh expressed: “ I start to feel intimidated I don’t know what to do, I
start to look at my classmates gestures to find some help in them”. Also they expressed that
even when their native speaker assistant was patient with them, they thought she would not
come to understand what they tried to say because of their flaws in the English language,
therefore and because of this, their levels of their anxiety increased during those activities.
Generally the participants showed negative perceptions toward activities involving
speaking that they sometimes handled by not being willing to participate in class to avoid
communicating orally with others.
Anxiety Effects on Students’ Self-confidence
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Participants reported three reasons that, according to them, determined their level of
self-confidence in oral communication activities. The first was the teacher’s attitude
towards their speaking mistakes affected participants’ self-confidence. For example, when
the teacher began correcting them in the middle of their speech, they felt anxious. Anny
said: “when I speak I feel worried and under pressure, especially from the teacher’s attitude
toward my mistakes.” She added: “I accept everything she says even when I don’t agree
with her…I think one is the one who has everything to lose”.
According to the participants, the way the teacher corrected their mistakes was the
second reason that affected their level of self-confidence. For example Josh argued: “The
teacher [uses] certain sarcasm when correcting to make fun of the situation”. Generally, I
found through classroom observations that participants tried to avoid becoming involved or
ask the teacher questions. However, when taking part in any activity they were usually
willing to listen to their teacher’s corrections showing a certain level of anxiety that seemed
to be well handled.
The third reason, the fear of speaking in front of the whole class, affected
participants’ self-confidence. For example, some of the participants were very anxious
before and while performing role-plays. One might infer that it was caused by their peers’
reactions towards them. Josh, for example, said he was not able to ignore his classmates’
whispers and laughing” and he pointed out: “I feel so much embarrassment because of this;
I think I would make more mistakes that I usually do”.
The teacher’s attitude toward participants’ speaking mistakes, the teacher’s manner
of correcting their mistakes and fear of speaking in front of others were the three strongest
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reasons that participants reported to be the ones to cause the anxiety affecting their selfconfidence. Their constant concern about the grade was really only a minor concern that
influenced the quality of their performance during oral communication activities. For
example, Josh expressed: “I generally feel good but when making presentations in front of
my classmates and the teacher I don’t feel entirely self-confident because I am thinking
about the grade, one feels under pressure”. Nevertheless this did not seem to influence
directly the level of anxiety of the participants in this study.
Generally it seemed some of participants’ levels of anxiety caused by the fear of
communicating orally were moderate.
Communication Apprehension as the Main Source of Anxiety
I found that communication apprehension (Horwitz et al., 1986) was what made
participants suffer the most anxiety while performing oral communication activities. It was
shown through the most common symptoms I observed while being in class. For example,
some of the participants showed: 1) avoidance of participation, forgetting vocabulary and
grammar rules, and remaining silent. Some examples of these situations include:

During a conversational activity led by the native speaker assistant consisting in
answering her questions about a sports article, some participants were not willing to
become involved during the whole activity.
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
When performing the role-play, Tom seemed to forget some grammatical structures
that he was supposed to have learned by then. During the interview Tom expressed:
“I feel very confident with myself I am not shy in those moments. I really like to
speak faster because I would like to be best in my class. But when doing role-plays
I prefer speak slowly, in that way my peers can understand what I am saying.”
However whilst performing the role-play he seemed to be suffering from a certain
level of anxiety as he forgot not only some grammar rules, but the script itself.

Sometimes, some participants did not ask the teacher for clarification even when
certain aspects were not well understood. They preferred to ask a classmate. It
seemed they preferred not to hold a conversation with the teacher because it would
involve a more complex interaction they were not willing to make.
Conclusions
Findings have generally shown that anxiety affected participants’ oral
communication in several ways. For example when being in front of others; they were
concerned about “forgetting things” due to the fear of speaking in front an audience, and
not being able to convey a clear message. Likewise anxiety seemed to determine the level
of participants’ self-confidence in two specific aspects, the teacher’s attitude toward
participants’ speaking mistakes and the teacher’s manner of correcting their mistakes, in
other words the feelings of being judged.
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*Mayerly Ariza Beltrán is an under graduate student doing a B.A in languages. She has
taken four courses of research and she is a member of the under graduate research group
Silex at the University of Pamplona. She is currently in her fifth semester. She is interested
in affective factors involved in FL learning.
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References
Alleyne (2010). Affective factors for acquiring language. Retrieved on May 2011 from:
C:\Users\user\Documents\list of references\Positive and Negative Affective Factors
for Second Language Acquisition.mht
Fandiño, Y. (2010).Explicit Teaching of Socio-Affective Language Learning Strategies to
Beginner EFL Students*1.Íkala, Revista de Lenguaje y Cultura. 15 (24) Medellín
Jan./Apr. 2010
Foss, A. K., & Reitzel, A. C. (1988). A relational model for managing second language
anxiety.TESOL Quarterly, 22(3), 437-454.
Hortwitz, E. K., Horwitz, M.B and Cope J (1986) Foreign language classroom anxiety.
The modern language Journal 70, 125-132.
Kimura, M. (n.d.). Affective factors of Japanese EFL learners at junior college in the oral
communication tasks. The Society of English Studies.(30), 5-19.
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Kitano, K. (2001). Anxiety in the college Japanese language classroom.The Modern
Language Journal, 85, 549-566.
Ohata, K. (2005). Potential sources of anxiety for Japanese learners of English: Preliminary
case interviews with five Japanese college students in the U.S. TESL-EJ, 9(3), 1-21.
Scovel, T. (1978). The effect of effect on foreign language learning: A review of the
anxiety research. Language Learning Journal, 28, 129-42.
Subaş, G. (2010). What are the Main Sources of Turkish EFL Students’ Anxiety in Oral
Practice. Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry.
Wang, G. (2005). Humanistic Approach and Affective Factors in Foreign Language
Teaching.Sino-US English Teaching.2, (5) (Serial No.17).
Yin, R. K. (1984). Case study research: Design and methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
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Young, D. J. (1992). Language anxiety from the foreign language specialist‟s perspective:
Interviews with Krashen, Omaggio Hadley, Terrell and Rardin. Foreign Language
Annals, 25(2), 157-172.
Zhang Xianping.(2004), Language anxiety and its effect on oral performance in Classroom.
Retrieved January 25, 2011, from http://www.elt-china. Org
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Appendix 1
“Classroom observation form”
CLASSROOM OBSERVATION FORM
Date: _________________Semester_______ Observation Nro: ____
Observer: _____________________________________Duration:___________________
Number of students present:
_________________________________________________
Objective: _______________________________________________________________
Focus: __________________________________________________________________
Brief description of the setting:
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
Time Description
Reflections:_______________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
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Appendix 2
INTERVIEW #1
1. How do you feel when you speak in English?
2. How do you feel when you make mistakes in the English Class?
3. What do you do when you don’t understand what the teacher is saying?
4. How do you feel when you speak with your native speaker assistant?
5. How do you handle your teacher’s corrections?
6. When you are confused about a certain topic in the class, how do you get to understand it?
7. How do you feel being in the class with people who speak English better than you do?
8. How do feel speaking in English in front of other students?
9. What do you do when the English class has moved so quickly that you have got left behind?
10. What do you do if a classmate laughs at you when you speak in English?
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INTERVIEW #2
1. What do you describe anxiety?
2. Do you acknowledge anxiety in the EFL classroom?
3. Have you ever experienced anxiety in your foreign Language learning process?
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Appendix 3
CHECKLIST
OBSERVED BEHAVIOR: student’s behaviors toward English class that can be
identified as signs of Anxiety.
TASK: check whether or not the students presented the following:
Yes
No
1. Got worried when made a mistake
____
____
2. Trembled when being called
____
3. Frightened for not to understand what the teacher
____
____
____
____
____
Was saying
4. Got afraid when the teacher corrected him/her
5. Got nervous when speaking in front of the class
____
____
6. Felt insecure to volunteer to answer teacher’s
____
____
Questions
7. Got embarrassed when a classmate laughed at
him/her when speaking in English.
8. Started to panic when the teacher asked something
____
____
____
____
He/she didn’t know.
9. Forgot things he was already taught when
____
____
The teacher asked him.
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Understanding Strategies for Improving Oral Production Skills among EFL Learners
at a Public University in Colombia
Darymar Redondo Fuentes*
[email protected]
Abstract
This case study, carried out at a public university in Colombia, aimed to understand
strategies that improve the oral production of EFL learners in a public university.
Participants were four A1 EFL learners who were selected by using purposeful sampling.
Two questions guided this case study: 1) what strategies does the teacher use to improve
EFL learners’ oral skills? 2) How do the teachers’ strategies improve EFL learners’ oral
production skills? The data was gathered through nonparticipant observations and
unstructured interviews.
Introduction
The productive skills of a foreign language include speaking and writing, two
critical components of the complex process of communication. With regards to the
speaking skill, Chastain (1998) stated that “speaking is a productive skill and it involves
many components. Speaking is more than making the right sounds, choosing the right
words or getting the constructions grammatically correct.” (As cited by Prieto 2007)
Although speaking is one of the most important skills to master, learners may not
reach a high level of oral skills because some teachers may not use appropriate strategies
that permit them to develop these skills correctly. It is important that teachers implement
strategies that improve their students’ oral production, such as: role plays, performances,
songs, play activities, and cooperative learning. Holden (1985) points out that “role plays
and dramatizations are activities that students enjoy a lot not only because they like to dress
in different ways, make faces and imagine that they are different people, but also because
they can internalize and use English expressions.” (As cited by Cardenas and Robayo 2001)
This case study aimed to understand strategies that FL teachers use to improve EFL
learners’ oral production among FL learners. At this stage, oral production will be defined
as an ability to communicate with others. This process involves communication and
expressing ourselves in a natural and fluent way through different activities.
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Theoretical Framework
In order to have a better understanding of the purpose of this research study, it is
necessary to define key terms such as: oral production and strategy.
Oral Production
There are several definitions of Oral Production. Hymes (1972) defines oral skill as
“the capacity to communicate effectively within a particular speech community that wants
to accomplish its purposes.” Similarly, Chastain (1998, pp. 330-358), states that “speaking
is a productive skill and it involves many components”. Speaking is more than making the
right sounds, choosing the right words or getting the constructions grammatically correct.
According to Bygate (1987) speaking is “a skill which deserves attention as much as the
literacy in both native and foreign languages.” (As cited in Leon & Vega 2010)
Strategy
It is important that a teacher uses different strategies when teaching to improve the
learning process in an interesting way that catches the students’ attention. Similarly,
learning strategies can greatly improve learning outcomes for students entering the
classroom with different learning styles and abilities. Stephen (2006) points out that
“Strategy has the power to transform passive students into active learners equipped with the
tools to promote strategic planning and independent reflection”. Likewise, Nunan (1991)
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states that “learning strategies are the mental processes which learners employ to learn and
use the target language”.
Likewise, Serradel (2005, p209) stated that “learning strategies refer to the
techniques learners apply in order to understand, remember and learn contents, which it is
the object of learning”. Besides, the use of adequate strategies helps to attain the maximum
goals and success.
Literature Review
Teaching and guiding students to learn a second language is a hard job, therefore,
teachers have to try to find other pedagogical tools in order to help the students’ learning
process effectively. This section presents three studies focused on strategies to improve
EFL learners’ oral production presented in order to show what other researchers have done
about this issue. Moreover, these studies aimed to improve oral production through
strategies that helped to guide this research. This one uses role plays as a strategy to
improve speaking skills.
Cárdenas & Robayo (2006) studied third graders because they realized that they
were not conscious of the importance of learning English as a means of interaction with
other classmates. The results showed that role plays and dramatizations are good activities
for developing speaking skills in a striking and interesting way because they permit
students to use the language in communicative situations related to their lives, such as
greetings, family album, clothes and weather. While they developed these activities, they
identified the progress in the students’ oral production. The researchers also realized that
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before they implemented these strategies, the students just sang isolated songs, said rhymes
and words, and after the implementation of role-plays and dramatizations, learners spoke
frequently about situations in context.
In addition, Cuestas (2006) conducted action research aimed at understanding
students’ low speaking proficiency in the English language and the complexity of working
with a large number of students per class. Researcher used surveys, audio and video
recording, field notes and focus group interviews. Findings revealed important changes in
students' oral production, since they expressed their ideas freely, spoke more when the topic
was interesting for them, expressed several reasons and opinions about the proposed songs,
interacted more with one another, and spoke clearly and quickly.
On the other hand, Prieto (2007) carried out action research with three students in
order to help them express themselves better orally due to the fact that they did not practice
speaking during the experience: they did not have an appropriate input; in some cases, they
did not have enough vocabulary or the correct grammatical structures to express something;
besides, the lack of attractive and appropriate activities to motivate students to express
themselves by the teacher. Findings showed that cooperative learning strategies helped
students to improve oral production and interaction, moreover, it was enjoyable for the
students and teacher because it used many elements contributed by the students and
encouraged them to improve their process.
All of these studies enlightened this research, because they showed three different
ways to improve oral production through strategies such as roles plays, songs and
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cooperative learning. Furthermore, they have a connection with my study because I was
able to understand some strategies that improve oral skills among EFL learners.
Methodology
This study was based on a qualitative case study, defined as a means for exploring
and understanding the meaning individuals or groups ascribe to a social or human problem.
“The process of research involves emerging questions and procedure, data typically
collected in the participant’s setting.” (Creswell, 2009 p.23). Consequently, I interviewed
and observed participants in their natural setting. This study attempted to understand
strategies for improving oral production among EFL learners through their experiences
inside their classroom.
After inviting 25 students, four students: Andrea, Dechack, Fer and Mafalda
(pseudonyms) accepted the invitation and expressed their willingness to participate in the
study. I carried out three interviews during three weeks. Participants were purposefully
selected taking into account their English level.
Context of the Study
This research project was carried out in a FL classroom. Classes lasted 120 minutes,
and in some cases, classes were extended to 180 minutes. Mostly, the teacher divided the
class into three parts: beginning, development and closure. In the beginning, the teacher
176
started by correcting students’ homework and teaching them some expressions and
greetings, then she gave students instructions about the development of the class. Then,
students did an activity depending on what the teacher wanted to work on. Finally, the
teacher corrected their mistakes and gave them feedback at the end of the class.
Data Collection Instruments
I used several sources of information. According to Neale et al, (2006) “Case
studies also allow one to present data collected from multiple methods (i.e., surveys,
interviews, document review, and observation) to provide the complete story. I used
observations and interviews. I chose these instruments as they increased the likelihood and
validity of the phenomenon which provided credibility to the findings, because I was able
to compare and contrast data from different sources.
The length of this study was about 16 weeks; I conducted five observations during
five weeks in a FL classroom. In those observations, I played the role of an unobtrusive
observer which helped me to identify some strategies used by the teacher and how the
teacher carried out all the activities.
Non-participants observations
According to Broshenka and Castro, (1983) “in a non-participant observation, the
observer remains separate from his study population's activities, and attempts to be
unobtrusive. There may be a conscious structuring of observation in the sense of
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developing hypotheses to be tested, or following up unclear relationships”. I conducted
non-participant observations in a classroom of A1 learners and also I took notes from these
observations.
Before entering the classroom, I asked permission. Once permission was granted by
the teacher, participants signed a letter of consent that explained the details of this project.
I carried out five observations during the semester; it was developed one day per week
according to my schedule activities and the schedule of the teacher that I observed. I used
an observation protocol (see annex 1) for organizing and writing what I observed - class
activities, time, date and reflections of each observation.
Semi-structured interviews
I carried out three interviews during the academic semester. Harrell & Bradley,
(2009) state that in “this kind of interview collects detailed information in a style that is
somewhat conversational. Semi-structured interviews are often used when the researcher
wants to delve deeply into a topic and to understand thoroughly the answers provided”
(p.27.) During the interviews I took detailed notes - I also recorded these interviews in
order to increase the validity of the study.
Data Analysis
Before starting the data analysis process I transcribed the interviews and the
observations. I then followed the interpretive analysis model suggested by Hatch (2002). I
178
also used the MAXQDA, computer software, in order to organize and to analyse data more
easily.
Ethical Considerations
I gained approval from the research committee at the Foreign Language program
where this research took place. This permission determined that there were no risks
involved for human participants. Then, I contacted participants directly, inviting them to
participate. After students agreed to participate, they signed a letter of consent form that
explained the specific conditions and requirements of the study. In this study, pseudonyms
were used in order to maintain the anonymity of the participants to protect their privacy.
Findings
After data was analysed, I identified the strategies used by the teacher and how
those strategies helped students to improve their oral skills. With regards to the strategies
used by the teacher, I found that role plays and songs seemed to improve EFL learners’ oral
skills. I have also found that role plays and songs were the strategies used most by the
teacher. For instance, when the participants were asked about what activities the teacher
used when working on oral production, Dechak said: “los métodos que utiliza la profesora
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son role plays y canciones más que todo”. Likewise, the other two participants stated
similar answers about the strategies that the teacher used for improving oral production.
In addition, one of participants stated that sometimes the teacher used interesting
readings to increase their oral participation. As she stated:
“otra experiencia sería lo del Kidnapped (a book for reading), en lo último,
tenemos que inventarnos algo totalmente diferente al final, entonces tuvimos que
usar mucho vocabulario, inventarnos algo totalmente diferente, entonces ahí
hablamos bastante.”
According to the four participants’ opinions, I can infer that role plays and songs
were the strategies used by the teacher to promote students’ oral production.
During one of the classroom observations, I found that the use of the book
Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson, helped participants to enhance their oral
participation. For example, most of the time, the teacher asked students opinions about
readings. On that day, the teacher started reading about daily routines, taken from the same
book. She then asked students to continue with the reading; she corrected the pronunciation
mistakes and made them to repeat the word in the right way. When they finished the
reading, the teacher requested students ask their classmates questions. In doing so, they
worked cooperatively, sharing their experiences using the present continuous. All these
activities helped students to enhance their oral production, and encouraged oral
participation while sharing their own experiences interacting with their classmates.
With regards to the second research question which was about how these strategies
improved participants’ oral skills, I found that role plays seemed to be the most effective
180
strategy. According to the participants, role plays really helped them to improve their oral
skills. For instance, when participants were asked about the activities they found most
appropriate for improving oral production; Dechack answered: “los role plays, porque
dentro de los role plays existen muchas situaciones en la cuales tenemos que practicar, y las
cuales ponemos en práctica todos los días, entonces son cosas importantes que realmente
tenemos que aprender”. Taking into account participants’ answers, role plays were the
strategy that helped them to improve their oral skills, since in carrying out this activity they
had the opportunity to enrich their vocabulary and express themselves in English
performing different situations.
In addition to the students’ perceptions, during my classroom observations I was
able to realize that songs also helped students to improve their oral production. For
instance, in my field notes I reflected on how the teacher used songs in class:
“The song was repeated and the teacher asked about the answers inside the blanks.
The entire group gave the correct words to fill the blanks. Later, the translation
began. Idioms and slangs were explained. They repeated the song line by line two
times. Finally the students sang the song aloud. The teacher gave the historical facts
about the song. She then asked about the students’ opinions about the song.”
It seems that these type of activities helped students to participate and express their
opinions and thoughts in English and at the same time it helped to improve their
pronunciation since the teacher corrected their pronunciation mistakes.
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Conclusions
Conducting this study enabled me to understand that role plays helped learners to
enrich their oral skills, while performing everyday situations. It seems that role plays were
the most effective strategy, in which they used the language freely. Taking into account that
roles plays were performed in small groups, students worked cooperatively, sharing their
experiences using not only grammatical structures and vocabulary, but also putting into
play group work strategies. They also used different clothes, decoration, and environments
according to each situation that they had to perform.
Similarly, songs helped learners to enhance their oral production and oral
participation while sharing their own experiences interacting with their classmates. Once
the students interpreted the songs, and completed gap filling exercises; students were
actively engaged while expressing their opinions and feelings about the songs. Such
activities served a twofold purpose; they permitted participants to express their opinions
and thoughts in English; and they helped to improve their pronunciation because the
teacher corrected their mistakes while they were speaking.
Finally, this study allowed me, as an undergraduate researcher, to reflect on the
process of conducting a qualitative study. Although, I started this study based on my
experiences as an EFL learner, I learned how to maintain a “neutral stance” (Patton, 1994)
throughout the entire process. I also realized the importance of conducting research in
educational fields because through it, teachers and learners could understand phenomena
that occur inside the classroom in order to look for ways of improvement.
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Further Research
For further studies some recommendations could be taken into account:
1. Regarding the research instruments should be helpful not only to implement
observations and interviews but also other sources to collect in-depth data. For
example, teachers in charge of the group should be interviewed in order to
understand their insights about the phenomenon. They may provide more
information about the study.
2. Spending more time in the field could facilitate the collection of robust data.
*Darymar Redondo Fuentes is studying a Bachelor degree in Foreign Languages, EnglishFrench at the Universidad de Pamplona. She is a member of the Under Graduate Research
Group-SILEX-. Her research interests are oral skills in EFL and strategies used by FL
teachers to improve oral skills.
References
Broshenka, & Castro, (1983) FAO Corporate Document Repository From:
http://www.fao.org/docrep/Q1085E/Q1085E00.htm
183
Cardenas, R & Robayo, D. (2001) Improving Speaking Through Role Plays And
Dramatization PROFILE 2(1). Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development 12-14
Cuestas, M.(2006) Songs in the English Class: A Strategy to Encourage Tenth Graders'
Oral Production PROFILE 7 47,57
Chastain, K. (1998). Developing second language skills (2nd Ed.). Chicago: Harcourt Brace
Publishers.
Creswell, J. (2009) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods
Approaches. (3er Ed.) 23-3. Thousand Oaks: Sage
Hatch, J. A. (2002). Doing qualitative research in education settings. New York: State
University of New York.
Harrell & Bradley, (2009) Data Collection Methods Semi-Structured Interviews and
Focus.Groups National Defense Research Institute
Holden, S. (1985). Second Selection from Modern English Teacher. London: Longman.
184
Hymes, D. (1972). On communicative competence. In Duranti, A. Linguistic anthropology:
A reader. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers. 53-73
Leon & Vega, (2010).Encouraging Teenagers to Improve Speaking Skills through Games
in a Colombian Public School. PROFILE Issues in Teachers' Professional
Development12. 11-31
Neale, Thapa& Boyce (2006) Preparing a Case Study: A Guide for Designing and
Conducting a Case Study for Evaluation Input.Pathfinder International Tool Series
Monitoring and Evaluation(1) 4-5
Nunan, D. (1991) Language teaching methodology: a text book for teachers.168
Prieto, C. (2007) Improving Eleventh Graders’ Oral Production in English Class through
Cooperative Learning Strategies PROFILE 8 75-90
Stephen, D. (2006) the power of strategy instruction. Evidence for Education. Issue I
185
APPENDIX 1
“Classroom observation form”
CLASSROOM OBSERVATION FORM
Date: _________________Semester_______ Observation Nro: ____
Observer: _____________________________________Duration:___________________
Number of students present: _________________________________________________
Objective: _______________________________________________________________
Focus: __________________________________________________________________
Brief description of the setting:
_________________________________________________________________________
_______
_________________________________________________________________________
_______
_________________________________________________________________________
_______
_________________________________________________________________________
_______
TIME THAT I OBSERVED MY REFLECTIONS
186
APPENDIX 2 Interviews’ Protocol
Interview Nº: _1__
Teacher: _VerónicaArciniegas________________
Interviewer: __Darymar Redondo Fuentes______
Course: _English____________
Date: _____________ Hour: ___________________
Site: _______________________ Number of interviewee: _______________________
Focus_________________________________
Las siguientes preguntas tienen como fin recolectar información acerca de la experiencia de
los estudiantes, cuando aprenden inglés, además de ello, saber cómo se sienten los
estudiantes de 1 semestre cuando ponen en práctica la producción oral que se requiere al
momento de aprender una lengua extranjera. La misma se realiza con el fin de dar respuesta
al siguiente fenómeno “UNDERSTANDING STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING ORAL
PRODUCTION SKILLS”
La información que usted proporcione en esta entrevista será utilizada únicamente para la
colección de datos del estudio previamente citado. Mi interés es aprender de sus
experiencias. Todos los comentarios y sugerencias de todos los participantes serán
manejados con profesionalidad y confidencialidad.
Ahora siéntase libre y cómodo de responder al siguiente cuestionario. Le agradecería su
completa sinceridad.
QUESTIONS
PARTICIPANT 1
1. ¿Cuénteme algo sobre su
experiencia en la producción oral
en sus clases de inglés?
2. ¿Qué actividades usa su profesor
187
para la producción oral?
3. ¿Descríbame como son estas
actividades?
4. ¿Cuál de estas actividades cree que
no le ha ayudado a mejorar la
producción oral?
188
Identifying Factors that Affect FL Learners’ Oral Participation at a Public University
in Colombia
Sandy Liseth Cañas Carrillo*
[email protected]
Abstract
This article reports a case study that attempted to identify factors that affect foreign
language (FL) students’ oral participation at a public university in Colombia. Participants
were six foreign language students at beginner-level. Findings revealed that some anxiety
signs such as general avoidance, physical actions and physical symptoms are the factors
that affect FL students when speaking in front of the class. It was also found that role-plays
are the activities in which students are actively engaged and workbook activities are ones in
which they are less involved.
Key words: FL students, oral participation, speaking, anxiety
Resumen
Este artículo presenta un estudio de caso que identifico los factores que afectan la
participación oral de los estudiantes de lenguas extranjeras (FL) de una universidad
pública en Colombia. Los participantes fueron seis estudiantes de lenguas extranjeras con
un nivel A1. Las conclusiones revelaron que hay algunos signos de ansiedad tales como
evitación general, acciones físicas y síntomas físicos. Estos son los factores que afectan a
los estudiantes al momento de hablar frente a la clase. También se encontró que los juegos
Factors affecting oral participation
de rol son las actividades en las que los estudiantes participan activamente y de las
actividades de libro son aquellos en los que están menos involucrados.
Palabras clave: Estudiantes de lenguas extranjeras, participación oral, ansiedad
Introduction
Speaking plays an important role in a FL classroom. Those who attempt to become
proficient in an FL classroom should be actively engaged in class oral activities. However,
participation is a problem for many students. Based on personal experiences during my
time as a FL student, I have realized that there are many factors involved in oral production.
Experts have identified nervousness, anxiety, lack of vocabulary or lack of self-confidence
as affecting factors. Eventually, this study will help FL students and teachers understand
the factors that affect their communicative oral production and will help teachers
understand what students need in order to achieve their speaking goals in the FL learning
process.
Theoretical framework
This theoretical framework describes key concepts, such as: classroom and oral
participation; speaking, and anxiety.
According to Swain (1993), classroom participation provides opportunities for the
students to use and practice their linguistic and communicative skills, and that is what
students do during English classes. On the other hand, according to Jakarta (2009)
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Factors affecting oral participation
speaking is an activity used by someone to communicate with another. It takes place
everywhere and has become part of our daily activities. When someone speaks, he/she
interacts and uses the language to express his/her ideas, feelings and thoughts. He/she also
shares information with others through communication (Cited by Mendoza, 2007). The fear
of speaking in public is related with anxiety and can be defined by Horwitz et al, (1986,
p.125) as the subjective feeling of tension, apprehension, nervousness, and worry
associated with an arousal of the autonomic nervous system, it includes signs such as
general avoidance that is related to “forgetting” the answer, showing carelessness, cutting
class, arriving late, arriving unprepared, low levels of verbal production, lack of
volunteering in class, apparent inability to answer even the simplest of questions. Physical
actions such as squirming, fidgeting, playing with hair or clothing, nervously touching
objects, stuttering, displaying jittery behaviours, being unable to reproduce the sounds or
intonation of the target language. Physical symptoms refers to complaining about a
headache, experiencing muscle tension, feeling unexplained pain or tension in any part of
the body. Other signs which might reflect language anxiety, depending on the culture,
include over studying, perfectionism, social avoidance, conversational withdrawal, lack of
eye contact, hostility, monosyllabic or noncommittal responses, image protection or
masking behaviours (exaggerated smiling, laughing, nodding, joking) failing to interrupt
when it would be natural to do so, excessive competitiveness and self-criticism.
Consequently, this research attempted to identify affecting factors to FL students’
oral participation, the factors stated by Horwitz will be taken into account in order to
answer the main research question of this study.
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Factors affecting oral participation
Literature review
This literature review summarizes and describes the findings of 3 (three) previous
studies related to negative and positive factors that affect oral participation; I chose three
studies conducted in Colombia because I am more interested in what has happened here.
For this reason I am not referring to other studies in which anxiety is the most relevant
factor affecting oral production in FL students.
In Colombia, Mendoza (2007) conducted a case study in a public high school with
6th grade students who showed symptoms of anxiety in specific situations as conversations,
role plays and oral participation or any other oral activity. Findings showed that students
felt anxiety and nervousness symptoms during oral activity participation. It was also found
that when they participated they felt external factors such as sweating hands, movement of
a leg or a hand on the chair, or an inability to move. Castrillón (2010) conducted research in
a high school institution with 4th semester students from a public university in Colombia in
order to identify what affects their participation and interaction in class. He found that there
are different learners’ factors that may influence participation in a classroom such as
unwillingness to participate and fear of making mistakes in front of their classmates.
Moreover, Zapata (2007) conducted a case study with first semester students in an English
language teaching program in Colombia. Findings revealed that anxiety is one of the factors
affecting students’ oral participation and is caused by internal and external factors. Internal
factors such as self-esteem, motivation, introversion and extroversion, lack of vocabulary,
beliefs, ability to take risk; and internal factors such as methodology and interaction. The
findings concluded that anxiety affects oral competences of language students. This study
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Factors affecting oral participation
also revealed that oral presentations and participation in front of large audiences and the
teacher were the communicative activity which aroused the most anxiety.
It can be concluded by revisiting the three studies that English language anxiety is a
multi-dimensional factor which affects students differently depending on the context or
situation. In regards to the findings previously mentioned, it was helpful during the research
process because I identified those factors more easily whilst my classroom observations
were being conducted.
Research methodology
This section explains the steps I followed during this study, deciding on a research
design, selecting participants, instruments, data collection and analysis procedures.
Type of research design
I implemented a qualitative research because I was interested in understanding
students’ feelings and perceptions about their learning experiences. According to Creswell
(2002) the investigator explored a bounded system over time, through detailed, in-depth
data collection involving sources of information; I used purposeful sampling which,
according to Patton (1990), is used to select information-rich cases whose study will
illuminate the questions under study.
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Factors affecting oral participation
Participants
The selection of participants was guided by the purpose of this study that attempted
to identify factors affecting FL students’ oral participation. Participants were - Estrellita
(1), Dekac (2), Phineas (3) Princess (4) Chuck (5), Toto (6) - (pseudonyms were used to
protect their real identities). They are six beginner-level students from a FL program at a
Public University in Colombia. The age of the participants ranged from 16 to19 years old.
Their language proficiency was A11. I informed the participants about the research issue, its
aims, its purpose, and the future use of the information collected. I also informed them
about their freedom (willingness) to freely collaborate or withdraw from the project at any
time. In order to preserve participants’ anonymity I used pseudonyms. After I observed the
first class, I chose six students taking into account their level of participation in the English
classes and I asked them to answer to a set of questions at interviews in order to get
relevant information about the factors that influence their participation. In the section called
“instruments” the classroom observation process and the interviews I conducted will be
further explained.
Setting
The setting in which this research took place was a foreign language classroom at a
public University in Colombia. Classes always took place in a big classroom, well
illuminated with two big windows on the left side. The seating arrangement was a stretched
1
According to the Common European Framework
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Factors affecting oral participation
semi-circle. During the 5 (five) classes observed the teacher always used the same
methodology; she divided the class into three parts: beginning, development and closure.
At the beginning, the teacher started by correcting students’ homework and giving students’
instructions for the development of the class. Then, students did oral practice depending on
what the teacher asked the class to do, for example a role-play, and reading books. Finally,
they worked on the students’ textbook “New English file 1” in which they developed
question by question each exercise presented. The class finished when the teacher assigned
the task for the next class.
The instruments
I conducted 5 classroom observations (See appendix 1) and 3 interviews (See
appendix 2, 3, 4) as the main instruments to gather the necessary information to answer the
research questions for this study.
In order to have a clear idea of how they behaved in oral presentations, I did
classroom observations. As a researcher, I was a non- participant observer, I did not take
part in the class activities, which allowed me to take detailed notes. Classroom observations
were carried out from May to July 2012. For the classroom observations I stated five
objectives aimed to identify: students’ attitudes when they took part in the class orally;
also, factors that constrain students’ oral participation, identifying which kind of activities
students participate in the most and identifying which kind of activities students participate
in the least. On the other hand, I interviewed the participants three times: Although I had
designed an interview protocol with five questions each, during the interviews I had the
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Factors affecting oral participation
opportunity to ask other follow-up questions that allowed me to expand the data from the
participants. The questions aimed to obtain information on the effect of FL students’ oral
participation; the interviews were carried out in June and July.
During the classroom observations, I observed 27 students that signed the letter of
consent in order to participate in the study, during the first classroom observation I selected
6 students, 3 men and 3 women for the interviews, taking into account their behaviours and
their participation in class. They were interviewed based on the schedule I established at the
beginning. In each interview I used open- ended questions. I took into account their
perceptions and thoughts about their oral participation in the classroom and how they
behaved when having to take part in oral situations.
Data analysis
In this section I will explain the procedures followed to organize and analyse data. I
followed the interpretive analysis model suggested by Hatch (2002). After transcribing
classroom observations and interviews, I used MAXQDA software in order to organize and
code the whole data.
Findings
Findings will be presented in light of the research questions. With regards to the
first question that addresses the factors affecting students’ oral participation I found that
when students participated orally in the classroom, their performance was affected by some
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Factors affecting oral participation
symptoms of anxiety. I have adopted the Horwitz (1986) model in order to better explain
what I found. Although the Horwitz (1986) model has four sources of anxiety, I have
identified three of them in my project: 1) General avoidance, 2) physical actions and 3)
physical symptoms. 1) General avoidance is when students forgot the answer, arrived late
or arrived unprepared to class, and did not answer the questions (Horwitz, 1986). I realized
that students felt these symptoms when participating in oral activities. For instance, during
a class I observed that one participant said while performing a role play “No teacher, ehh
wait a moment, I don’t know what to say.” During another class, while performing a role
play, two students seemed to be nervous because one of them had forgotten his script. He
then said “Tengo mucho miedo, que hago, se me olvido.” One of his classmate said to him:
“A mí también, ojala que todo nos salga bien.” On the other hand, general avoidance
constrained them from answering specific requests from the teacher, one participant said
“Una vez no era capaz de pronunciar unas palabras, la de kip…ki ¿Cómo se dice
secuestrado? Este kidnap, esa palabra se me olvido, entonces los compañeros se reían ese
día, me dio mucha pena.” I observed that the teacher suggested that they not learn dialogues
by heart; she said “If you forget just one word, you are lost.” I can infer that when students
performed an oral activity they forgot some words and the right pronunciation which
constrained their participation. Students became afraid of making mistakes because they
were not well prepared or had forgotten parts of their scripts.
With regards to the second source of symptoms 2) physical actions, some students
reacted by showing nervous behaviours. For instance, I realized in my second classroom
observation that “They were laughing, they seemed to be nervous, they started to develop
an oral activity but something was wrong so they started again”. My perceptions were
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Factors affecting oral participation
confirmed when the participants were asked during one of the interviews: “Me achanto
siempre porque a veces me equivoco en la pronunciación, pero lo que más siento es
nervios.” another participant said: “Nerviosa porque se me olvidan algunas cosas.” I
realized that students reacted with nervous behaviours because it was difficult for them to
keep talking when doing oral activities.
On the other hand 3) Physical symptoms refer to complaining about a headache,
feeling unexplained pain or tension. During a classroom observation one participant
expressed some concerns about her health that would not let her participate in class:
“Profesora no puedo cantar, me siento enferma.” She did not participate in the whole class.
I realized that when the teacher asked them to complete any exercise some students did not
participate, as one student said in the classroom “Teacher, I didn’t do the homework.”
When the teacher asked him why, he said “Porque no tuve tiempo.” I can infer that when
students did not have the correct answer they complained about a headache and made
excuses up in order to avoid participation.
With regards to the second research question related to the activities in which the
students participate the most, I realized that the teacher provided students with different
types of activities such as: Role-plays, dialogues, listening activities and workbook
activities. While observing a class, I perceived that students tended to participate more in
those activities in which they have enough time to prepare what they were to say or perform
with their classmates or individually. I also realized that, when students worked in small
groups there was more participation among them because they felt they were in a more
relaxed environment. It seems that participants agreed on what I observed. For example,
one of them stated: “Me gustan las actividades por ejemplo juegos de rol porque podemos
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trabajar con los compañeros, crear personajes, también porque nos da la oportunidad de
mejorar el inglés, ya que cada uno debe utilizar expresiones o cosas vistas en la clase, eso
es muy interesante.” Similarly, another participant stated: “En los juegos de rol participo
más porque puedo hablar, puedo preparar, es divertido porque cada uno de nosotros tiene
diferentes ideas entonces tratamos de que las cosas que hacemos nos salgan bien.” It seems
that students participated actively because they felt immersed in a more relaxed
environment and they had the opportunity to prepare their oral performances with their
classmates. As a non- participant observer, I realized that students were well prepared when
they performed role plays. The teacher congratulated them because of their performance.
With regards to the third question, this study found that there were other activities in
which students participated less frequently. As a non-participant observer, I realized that
students were not actively engaged while doing workbook grammar activities. Most of the
students participated because the teacher requested their participation and not because they
wanted to do so. Others preferred to remain silent. During a classroom observation “I
realized that students did not participate because they had not found the correct answer to a
textbook exercise, one participant said “Participo menos en las actividades del libro no
porque no quiera sino porque a veces no tengo la respuesta.” I also realized that getting
bad/good grades were a factor that constrained students’ participation. During an
interview, one participant said: “En las actividades del libro yo creo que es por temor a
equivocarme y la presión por sacar buena nota.” Taking into account that the teacher
graded each student’s participation, some participants reported that they were not actively
engaged in those activities, because they were afraid of making mistakes when expressing
their ideas, and therefore getting a bad grade.
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Conclusions and pedagogical implications
I found that there are three factors that affected students’ oral participation such as
general avoidance, physical symptoms, and physical actions. Conversely, I found that role
plays are the activities in which students preferred to participate the most. On the contrary,
students seemed to be less engaged when doing workbook activities.
The results of this study will be helpful for FL teachers who may implement these
strategies to foster students’ participation, and to improve their oral skills. However, it
would be necessary to look for more activities in which the students feel motivated and
engaged while learning a foreign language. Also, in order to have better results, teachers
should pay more attention to students’ feelings and perceptions.
Further research
For further studies some recommendations could be taken into account:
Regarding the sources of information, it would be helpful to interview the teachers
in charge of the group in order to learn about their insights about the phenomenon
experienced by the students. Finally, researchers should spend more time in the field.
*Sandy Liseth Cañas Carrillo is studying a bachelor degree in foreign languages, English –
French at the Universidad de Pamplona. She is currently in her fifth year; she has taken
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four courses on research. She has been part of the undergraduate research group SILEX for
two years; her research interests involve oral participation and factors affecting FL
students. She can be contacted at [email protected]
References
Castrillón (2010). Students’ perceptions about the development of their oral skills in
English as a foreign language teacher training program. Unpublished master’s
theses. Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira. Common European Framework
(cef).(n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2012 from:
http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/source/framework_en.pdf.
Creswell, J. W. (2002). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating.
Cutrone (2002). Overcoming Japanese EFL learners’ fear of speaking. Language studies
working papers.
Hatch, J. A. (2002). Doing qualitative research in education settings. New York: State
University of New York.
Hortwitz, e- k Horwitz, M.B and Cope J. (1986) Foreign language classroom anxiety.
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Jakarta (2009) Speaking as Oral Communication skill.
Mendoza (2009) factors that affect students’ oral participation. Master thesis for master
degree. Universidad Del Norte. Barranquilla.
Patton, m. q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. Newbury park: sage.
Swain, M. (1993). The Output Hypothesis: Just Speaking and Writing aren’t Enough. The
Canadian Modern Language Review. 50/1. The modern language. Journal 70: 125132
Zapata (2007). Students’ Personality Type and Attitudes toward Classroom Participation.
Proceedings of the CATESOL State Conference, 2005.
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APPENDIX 1
“Classroom observation form”
CLASSROOM OBSERVATION FORM
Date: _________________Semester_______ Observation No: ____
Observer: _____________________________________Duration:___________________
Number of students present: _________________________________________________
Objective: _______________________________________________________________
Focus: __________________________________________________________________
Brief description of the setting:
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
TIME WHAT I OBSERVED MY REFLECTIONS
APPENDIX 2
“Interview number 1”
INTERVIEW No 1
Date: ____________ Hour: __________ site: ______________
Focus: __________________________________________________________________
Objective:________________________________________________________________
Interviewee: _____________________________________________________________
Interviewer: ______________________________________________________________
Las siguientes preguntas tienen como objetivo recolectar información acerca de la
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Factors affecting oral participation
participación oral de los estudiantes en el curso de inglés elemental I en la Universidad de
Pamplona para desarrollar un proyecto de investigación llamado “factores que impiden la
participación oral de los estudiantes en primer semestre”.
La información que usted proporcione en esta entrevista será utilizada únicamente para la
recolección de datos del estudio previamente citado. El propósito de esta entrevista es
aprender de sus experiencias, averiguar cuales con los factores que influyen en la
participación oral. Los comentarios y sugerencias de todos los participantes serán
manejados con ética profesional es decir, los profesores no tendrán acceso a ellos ni va a
perjudicar su nota. Pido sinceridad al momento de responderQUESTIONARIO Nro. _____
1. ¿Cuénteme como se ha sentido hasta ahora en el área de inglés?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
2. ¿Dígame como es su participación en clase?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
3. ¿Cómo se siente al momento de participar en clase?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
4. ¿Podría contarme una de sus experiencias durante su participación oral en
clase?______________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
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Factors affecting oral participation
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
5. ¿Cuándo usted participa en clase lo hace voluntariamente o porque le toca?
Cuénteme una de sus experiencias.
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
APPENDIX 3
“Interview number 2”
INTERVIEW Nro. 2
Date: ____________ Hour: __________ site:________________
Focus:___________________________________________________________________
objective:_________________________________________________________________
Interviewee: ______________________________________________________________
Interviewer:______________________________________________________________
Las siguientes preguntas tienen como objetivo recolectar información acerca de la
participación oral de los estudiantes en el curso de inglés elemental I en la Universidad de
Pamplona para desarrollar un proyecto de investigación llamado “factores que impiden la
participación oral de los estudiantes en primer semestre”.
La información que usted proporcione en esta entrevista será utilizada únicamente para la
recolección de datos del estudio previamente citado. El propósito de esta entrevista es
aprender de sus experiencias, averiguar cuales con los factores que influyen en la
participación oral. Los comentarios y sugerencias de todos los participantes serán
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Factors affecting oral participation
manejados con ética profesional es decir, los profesores no tendrán acceso a ellos ni va a
perjudicar su nota. Pido sinceridad al momento de responder.
QUESTIONARIO Nro. _____
1. ¿En cuál materia se siente más cómodo al momento de hablar en inglés o francés?
¿Por qué?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________
2. ¿Le gusta la clase de inglés?
¿Porqué?___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
_
3. ¿Le gusta la metodología de su profesor?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
4. ¿Qué le agrada y que no le agrada de la clase de inglés?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
5. ¿En qué actividades usted participa más en clase y por qué?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
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Factors affecting oral participation
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
6. ¿Que hace que usted participe en clase? ¿podría usted darme un ejemplo?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
APPENDIX 4
“Interview number 3”
INTERVIEW Nro. 3
Date: ____________ Hour: __________ site: ________________
Focus: _________________________________________________________________
Objective: ________________________________________________________________
Interviewee: _____________________________________________________________
Interviewer: _____________________________________________________________
Las siguientes preguntas tienen como objetivo recolectar información acerca de la
participación oral de los estudiantes en el curso de inglés elemental I en la Universidad de
Pamplona para desarrollar un proyecto de investigación llamado “factores que impiden la
participación oral de los estudiantes en primer semestre”.
La información que usted proporcione en esta entrevista será utilizada únicamente para la
recolección de datos del estudio previamente citado. El propósito de esta entrevista es
aprender de sus experiencias, averiguar cuales con los factores que influyen en la
participación oral. Los comentarios y sugerencias de todos los participantes serán
manejados con ética profesional es decir, los profesores no tendrán acceso a ellos ni va a
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Factors affecting oral participation
perjudicar su nota. Pido sinceridad al momento de responder.
1. ¿Cómo se siente usted cuando se expresa en inglés?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
2. ¿En qué actividades usted participa menos y por qué?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
3. ¿Que hace que usted no participe en clase? ¿Podría usted darme un ejemplo?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
4. ¿Cómo se siente usted en cuanto a su nivel de inglés en comparación con el grupo?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
5. Como se siente cuando no entiende los temas que se presentan en clase? ¿Por qué?
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
208
Understanding the Effectiveness of Peer Tutoring as a Process to Improve English
Writing Among Beginner-level Efl Students.
Adrian Yesid Celis*
[email protected]
Abstract
This research aimed to understand the potential effectiveness of peer tutoring to
improve the writing skills in English beginner-level students. This study was conducted in a
public university in Colombia; participants were four tutees from first semester, their age
ranged from 16 to 19 years old, and one tutor from sixth semester.
The researcher used interviews and tutoring session observations as main instruments
of data collection. Findings indicated that tutoring sessions, an extra class practice helped
participants to advance in their knowledge experience; and tutoring sessions helped tutees to
improve English writing skills. A main disadvantage described by tutees was the lack of a
more rigorous planning on the part of the tutor.
Peer Tutoring in EFL learning
Introduction
Foreign language teachers have used several strategies in order to help students learn
more easily and efficiently. The most common strategies are: Information and
Communication Technologies (ICT), use of Portfolio, and Direct instruction (DI.) They have
been largely documented in several studies because they have shown efficacy when students
learn a broad topic, also, it is known as an effective intervention for children with academic
and/or behavioural difficulties in writing (Kroesbergen & Van Luit, 2003).
This was a case study which attempted to understand the potential effectiveness of
peer tutoring to improve English writing among first semester students. The researcher’s
purpose was to identify the main advantages and disadvantages of this process. At this stage
peer tutoring is defined as ―a system of instruction in which learners help each other and
learn themselves by teaching, (Goodlad & Hirst, 1989). Others have defined peer tutoring as
a way for all students to get one-on-one help and enough time to practice and learn; because
of this, peers mutually support each other’s knowledge growth (Ariza & Viafara, 2008), and
it even helps students who generally have little trouble learning. Peer tutoring is very helpful
for students who are at risk and for students whose parents and teachers worry that they will
start to have problems in school (Meneses, 2005).
Although peer tutoring (PT) has been implemented in beginner semester courses (first
and second semester) at the university where this study was conducted, there is not enough
evidence to present its advantages and disadvantages. In addition, this study aimed to answer
the following research questions: What is the effectiveness of Peer Tutoring in order to sort
out writing skill difficulties in tutees? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of Peer
Tutoring when used to improve writing skill?
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Literature review
This literature review presents several studies undertaken in the field of peer tutoring.
Although this process has been studied so far, this particular study focused on the approaches
and the concepts given to peer tutoring, and tutors that emerge within the study. This section
will show different studies which will help this research be differentiated among the others
already conducted.
Although there are several concepts of peer tutoring, this study has chosen Thurston’s
(2008), in which the author states that peer tutoring is ―characterized by specific role taking
as tutor or tutee, with high focus on curriculum content and clear procedures for interaction,
in which participants receive generic or specific training.
Similarly, it is necessary to understand the actors involved in this strategy. One of
them is the tutor, ―A more capable, knowledgeable, and experienced peer with a supportive
role. (Topping, 1996 as cited on De Smet, 2009). This study took the conception of tutor as a
peer with high curriculum level because this is how peer tutoring is developed in the setting
studied.
In Cheng & Yu-ku (2008) a quantitative research, the participants were 105
undergraduate students from the same semester who took a Technology in Education course
at a university in western United States. They found that students’ attitudes revealed that
what students liked about reciprocal peer tutoring (RPT) were helpful group members,
opportunities to work in groups, feedback from groups, knowledge sharing, in fact, they
didn’t feel intimidated when asking. What students disliked about RPT were the unnecessary
work and lack of interaction.
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Similarly, Yuen Loke & Chow (2005) included enhancement of deep learning,
cooperative learning, and personal achievements/gains. In regards of bad points, there were
discrepancies because of the styles of each tutor to teach and the issue of not having enough
knowledge to teach.
Meneses (2005) found that all students receiving the intervention (reciprocal and
tutee groups) produced a significant increase in the number of digit corrects on a math probe.
These results showed the effectiveness of peer tutoring above and beyond that of traditional
classroom instruction.
Likewise, these findings can be compared with Harts & King (2007) a multiple case
study, because this research supported previous assertions that service-learning positively
influences student academic achievement. The data gathered provided evidence that this
positive influence is related to several design features. Specifically, the value placed on the
service increased student motivation to learn course contents, besides, it allows students to
develop a sense of empathy and understanding in their education, rather than view their
education as a means to an end.
On the other hand, Ariza & Viáfara (2009) pointed out that the relationship between
tutor and tutee was less tense because these sessions were more open to multiple options and
each one of the actors involved were acquaintances of each other. Likewise they discovered
that tutees’ learning process was strongly influenced by the tutor’s personality and attitudes,
passing on even mistakes made by the tutors.
Furthermore, in Thurston (2008) data was collected from an on-line peer tutoring
project. Results indicated that pupils tutored each other in using Piagetian techniques of error
correction during the project; error correction provided by tutors to tutees focused on syntax
and morphology, more specifically on verb correction. Personal attitudes of impact on tutees
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corrected were observed; moreover, some implications for peer tutoring initiative via on-line
environments were discovered, such as implications cheats when doing tasks because of the
technology.
In comparison with the previous studies, De Smet et al (2009) conducted a case study
in an authentic university setting. Results revealed that it was assumed that tutor training can
also affect tutor characteristics such as self-efficacy beliefs, perceived collective efficacy, and
personal training evaluation influenced in a negative manner tutees’ performance of their
skills.
Although all these studies have presented advantages and disadvantages in almost all
the four skills, this research studied the general success or failure of tutees focused
specifically in the writing skill process used in a tutoring session.
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Peer Tutoring in EFL learning
Methodology
The researcher adopted a qualitative case study, which according to Creswell (2005) is
―an in-depth exploration of a bounded system in time and space‖. This study lasted ten
weeks. Participants were: One tutor from sixth semester; and four female beginner students
who played the role of tutees, their ages ranged from 16 to 19 years old and their pseudonyms
were Manzanita, Amy, Jully and Clöe. Tutees were purposefully selected. According to
Patton (2001) purposeful sampling is a non-random method of sampling, therefore, the
criteria for the selection of participants was based on selecting cases that were ―informationrich‖.
The main instruments used to collect data were two interviews and three tutoring
session observations. Interviews were one of the main instruments to gather data used by the
researcher; he interviewed three participants twice, using two different types of
questionnaires. The first interview took place during the third week, and the second one
during the last week of the study (see Appendixes A and B). Interviews gave the researcher
the opportunity to get first-hand data from participants’ voices.
The author also conducted three peer tutoring session observations. During these
observations the researcher played the role of a non-participant observer, someone who does
not take part in the class, an unobtrusive agent in the class only observing and taking notes
(Creswell, 2005). The natural setting gives the opportunity to observe the student’s attitudes
and reactions; moreover, observation is the process of gathering first hand data by observing
people and places at a research site, Creswell (2005). The researcher followed a protocol in
order to observe the peer tutoring sessions (see Appendix C), and to write as many details as
possible. These protocols also gave him the opportunity to make reflections on the
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Peer Tutoring in EFL learning
descriptions made in order to have a better understanding of the setting and the phenomenon
being studied.
Data was analysed through the interpretative model suggested by Hatch (2002); first the
researcher read all the raw data from the interviews, the tutoring session observations and
three copies from participants’ notebooks. After this, the author reduced data into domains by
using MAXQDA, software used to organize data and classify it into domains for a better
understanding of the data. During this process the researcher made several reflections and
classifications of the most important data in light of answering the research questions.
Finally, the author chose the themes which became the foundations of the study.
Findings
After analysing data, two major themes emerged in the light of the research questions:
Peer tutoring advantages, and its disadvantages.
Peer tutoring advantages: The researcher identified three advantages in the process of
peer tutoring: 1) Group work opportunities; 2) extra help outside the classroom; and 3) Tutor
help to foster students’ self-confidence.
1) Working in group opportunities: Participants agreed that the guidance of the tutor was
essential in the development of a better writing process. During a tutoring session
observation, the tutor asked tutees to write a simple essay about a topic and then he asked
them to exchange their essays in order to correct each other’s essay; this strategy gave
participants the opportunity to learn by correcting mistakes from their classmates. Writing
production was well corrected by the tutor, because he made students write everything in a
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Peer Tutoring in EFL learning
notebook used in the tutoring sessions (see Appendix D). Tutees wrote down everything that
the tutor asked them to write.
Likewise, participants agreed that tutoring allowed them to make corrections of a
written activity as a group; this is because the tutor provided the opportunity to work as a
group, at the same time learning by correcting other's mistakes. As one of the participants
expressed:
―La tutoría me ha ayudado a darme cuenta de mis errores porque el tutor hace que
entre todos identifiquemos los errores de otros‖ (Jully)
These activities described the way participants collaboratively worked with
classmates in order to sort out doubts and to improve their writing skills. In several tutoring
sessions observed, participants demonstrated a relevant understanding of knowledge because
after a group's correction they were able to correct their own mistakes, based on what they
had learned from their peers’ corrections.
2. Extra help outside the classroom: All the participants agreed that tutoring was a
way to get extra help outside the classroom. Participants acknowledged that tutoring sessions
were an opportunity for them to sort out doubts and improve their skills by attending these
tutoring sessions which allow them time and space to work on such difficulties presented in
the English classes; likewise, the researcher assumed participants surely had no other time or
space to work on corrections and solutions of doubts. As one of the participants said:
―No tenemos otra manera de estudiar y pués…..se me hace más fácil asistir a estas
tutorías, además me gusta porque algunas veces compartimos conocimientos‖‖
It can be inferred that all participants agreed that this process gave them an opportunity to
work with classmates with similar needs and skills towards the improvement of their writing
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Peer Tutoring in EFL learning
skills. In different tutoring sessions, participants arrived early and talked among themselves
about the expectation of working together.
3) Tutor helps to foster students’ self-confidence: Tutoring sessions contributed not
only to improve tutees’ writing skills, but also it helped them to feel more confident. The
friendly environment in which the tutoring sessions were carried out allowed participants to
rehearse, and overcome certain obstacles enabling them to be more secure when in class.
During the tutoring session observations, the researcher found how students felt comfortable
with the tutor’s attitude. For example, the tutor approached his tutees in such a way that made
them feel secure, although tutees made mistakes, the tutor did not make them feel
embarrassed of their mistakes, for that reason the researcher observed how the four tutees
were paying close attention to the tutor’s explanation. The following comment from a
participant, explains how the tutor fosters students’ self-confidence. ―... También el tutor nos
pone a que cada uno dé un ejemplo de una frase y entonces él dice si está bien el orden de la
oración o no, así me atrevo a ensayar por mí misma.‖
It seems that peer tutoring has helped students to improve not only writing skills, but
it is probably a relevant support to improve oral production which would guarantee a better
performance in the term exams. This is an example of how the tutor fostered student’s selfconfidence. When being interviewed, Amy stated:
―Pués la tutoría nos ayudó mucho en la parte de escritura de cuentos pero lo mejor fue que el
tutor nos ayudó a pronunciar bien para el parcial oral……mmmm él siempre nos ayuda en lo
que necesitemos.‖
Although there are several advantages reported, this research revealed that peer
tutoring has some disadvantages. The researcher identified several instances in which
students seemed to be bored with the methodology of the tutor. For instance the tutor asked
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what to do for the next class and because nobody answered he then proposed to study
―prepositions‖. Jully one of the participants answered:
―no me gusta ese tema, pero no hay de otra…….ups perdón‖ she seemed to be sorry
of the attitude but then she said: ―lo siento pero es la verdad…….ese tema no es muy
bueno para trabajar‖. (Jully)
Moreover, there were some concerns in the interview when the researcher asked them
about the materials and methodology used by the tutor.
―Siempre usamos el tablero para explicar, me gustaría que fuera más
personalizado……es decir trabajando juntos en el cuaderno‖ (Jully)
Amy stated she did not agree with the strategies used by the tutor to explain some
topics which should have been worked on with other materials for instance as she stated, by
working one-on-one and writing down in the notebook.
On the other hand, the researcher observed and identified the process followed in a
normal tutoring session:
1) The tutor and tutees look for a classroom in order to develop the tutoring session.
2) The tutor asks students for questions and doubts about whatever topic to deal with.
3) If there are not doubts, the tutor makes an exploration and explanation of a common topic
worked in the normal classes.
4) The tutor explains on the board with an exercise and then he asks students to write in their
notebooks.
5) After writing the example he asks one student to come to the board and write his/her
example in order to correct this as a group.
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Peer Tutoring in EFL learning
6) Finally, the tutor gives students a probable topic to be worked in the next tutoring session
in the case they do not have doubts for that session.
Even though it was not always the same process followed to develop the tutoring
sessions, participants agreed that the tutor should have a plan to work with them. In addition,
participants reflected they were bored with the methodology used by the tutor to develop the
tutoring sessions.
Conclusions and further research
During the participation of tutees in the process of peer tutoring, they experienced the
process as a meaningful learning background for their lives and also they realized their future
role as a teacher and the elements surrounding the process of peer tutoring. Tutees also
discovered the importance of this process in order to improve their skills, and more
importantly, writing skills.
On the other hand, tutors played an important role in the tutee’s development of
writing skills; this actor gave tutees the opportunity to feel comfortable to ask and to clarify
doubts during the tutoring sessions, also, he allowed them to work one-on-one in order to
make constructed-group knowledge; this was an excellent occasion to teach students how to
work as a group and increase level in a specific skill. Likewise, the tutor reflected a particular
tutor style to teach; even though this was not completely supported by significant data, this
could be deeply studied in further research in order to look for more evidence of this potential
theme.
The extra class practice is a key advantage of peer tutoring identified during this
research, participants stated they liked the implementation of peer tutoring in their learning
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Peer Tutoring in EFL learning
process because this was an opportunity to improve their skills, especially good writing
which is not well developed at a beginner level.
In addition, during the analysis of data the researcher found that tutor fostered
student’s self-confidence for instance when the tutor was close, students felt confident to ask
and sort out their doubts, also he supported self-confidence by making them correct each
other’s mistakes, orally or written; also, this strategy allowed tutees to be aware of their own
knowledge and their classmates’ knowledge creating a group work environment.
In contrast, the main disadvantage of this peer tutoring session revealed the need of
the tutor to integrate a tutoring session plan; even though this was a remarkable disadvantage,
this process was considered by participants as an excellent extra class help because most of
them did not have another time and space to study in group.
Finally, this research found that there are certain principles that participants required
for shaping tutor preparation; this is because participants stated that tutor preparation affects
student’s performance in the development of their skills. However, it was not possible to
analyse, because there was not enough evidence to support this potential theme. This theme
could be deeply studied in further research.
* Adrian Celis is a foreign languages student, and a member of SILEX. His research interests
are: foreign language oral communication issues; and the use of TIC’s for teaching in FL
learners.
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References
Ariza, A., & Viáfara, J. (2009). ―Interweaving Autonomous Learning and Peer-tutoring in
Coaching EFL Student-Teachers‖ . Profile 11/2 (2009) 85-104.
Chen, H., & Liu, K. (2008). ―An investigation of the effects of reciprocal peer tutoring‖ in
Computers in human behavior, 25 (2009) 40–49.
Creswell, J. W. (2005). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating
Quantitative and Qualitative Research. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
De Smet , M. et al (2009). ―Cross-age peer tutors in asynchronous discussion groups:
Exploring the impact of three types of tutor training on patterns in tutor support and
on tutor characteristics‖. In Computers & Education, 54, 1167–1181.
Goodlad & Hirst (1989) Peer tutoring: A guide to learning by teaching. 13-14.
Hart, S. M., and King, J. R. (2007) ―Service learning and literacy tutoring: Academic impact
on pre-service teachers‖ in Teaching and Teacher Education. 23, 323–338.
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Hatch, J. A. (2002). Doing Qualitative Research in Education Settings. New York: State
University of New York.
Kroesbergen, E., & Van Luit, J. (2003). ―Mathematics Interventions for Children with
Special Educational Needs, A Meta-Analysis‖. Retrieved March/April, 2003, from
Department of Special Education at Utrecht University, Remedial and Special
Education Web Site: http://rse.sagepub.com.
Meneses, K.(2005). ―Determining the relative efficacy of reciprocal and non-reciprocal
peer tutoring for students identified as at-risk for academic failure‖. Submitted to the
Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical
College in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Retrieved December, 2008.
Patton, M. (2001). Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods. (3rd ed.). Sage Publications,
Inc (2001).
Thurston, A. et al (2008). ―International on-line reciprocal peer tutoring to promote modern
language development in primary schools‖ in Computers & Education, 43,165–177.
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Yuen Loke, A., & Chow, F. (2005). ―Learning partnership—the experience of peer tutoring
among nursing students: a qualitative study‖ in International Journal of Nursing
Studies, 44, 237–244.
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APPENDIX A
INTERVIEW # 1
Date: ____________________ Hour: __________ Site: _________________
Focus: _________________________________________________________
Objective: _______________________________________________________
Interviewer: _____________________________________________________
Interviewee: _____________________________________________________
La siguiente entrevista tiene como objetivo recolectar información acerca de los
beneficios o desventajas de la tutoría para el mejoramiento de la habilidad de escritura,
esta tutoría tiene como participantes estudiantes de inglés de nivel A1. El nombre de
este estudio es ―Understanding the effectiveness of peer tutoring as process to improve
english writing among EFL beginners at a public university, a case study‖
La información que usted proporcione en esta entrevista será tratada con todas las
consideraciones éticas y tendrá como único fin la recolección de datos del estudio
previamente citado. El propósito de esta entrevista es aprender de sus experiencias y
averiguar sus opiniones sobre el tema, por lo tanto, sus profesores no tendrán
conocimiento de esta entrevista ni mucho menos esto influirá en sus calificaciones. Les
pido de manera atenta su completa sinceridad a la hora de responder esta entrevista.
QUESTIONS
1. ¿Cómo ha sido su experiencia en la universidad en la parte de escritura del inglés?
2. ¿Podría decirme como es el proceso que siguen sus compañeros y usted en la
tutoría?
3. ¿Cuáles son los pasos que sigue su tutor para enseñarle gramática?
4. ¿Podría describirme cómo ha influido la tutoría en su producción escrita?
5. ¿Qué otras maneras para estudiar utiliza usted?
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APPENDIX B
INTERVIEW # 2
QUESTIONS
1. ¿Tuvo algún problema para asistir a las tutorías? ¿Qué tipo de problemas?
2. ¿Podría contarme cómo fue su proceso de tutoría durante estas semanas?
3. ¿Encontró alguna dificultad en la explicación de un tema explicado en la tutoría? ¿En
qué sentido le fue difícil superar el tema?
4. ¿De qué manera la tutoría influyó en su desarrollo de la habilidad escrita?
5. Según su punto de vista, ¿qué debería cambiarse en la tutoría ?
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APPENDIX C
TUTORING SESSION OBSERVATION
DATE: ____________SEMESTER: ___________ OBSERVATION NRO:
OBSERVER: _____________ TIME: ________________
NUMBER OF STUDENTS: __________________
OBJECTIVE: __________________________________________________________
FOCUS: ______________________________________________________________
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SETTING:
___________________________________________________________________________
__
___________________________________________________________________________
__
___________________________________________________________________________
__
TIME WHAT I OBSERVED MY REFLECTIONS
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APPENDIX D
227
LA NOUVELLE LITTÉRAIRE : UNE OPTION POUR LA LECTURE DU TEXTE
INTÉGRAL EN CLASSE DE FLE
Magdaleydy Martínez Cáceres*
[email protected]
RESUMÉ
Cet article propose la nouvelle littéraire comme une option pédagogique pour l’exploitation
du texte littéraire en classe de langue. Pour mener à bien cette réflexion nous définirons
d'abord la littérature et nous présenterons un historique de l'évolution de sa place dans
l'enseignement des langues, plus spécialement du Français Langue Étrangère. Ensuite,
nous aborderons les spécificités qui font de la nouvelle un genre privilégié dans
l'enseignement, nous ferons également un bref aperçu de la nouvelle française et
francophone et nous regarderons la place qu’elles occupent dans les manuels et les
collections littéraires du Français Langue Étrangère. Finalement nous donnerons quelques
pistes pour son exploitation en classe.
Mots clés : nouvelle littéraire, FLE, littérature, texte littéraire
La littérature a toujours été associée à l’enseignement des langues. Le texte littéraire a vu
passer à travers les siècles des méthodes et des courants pédagogiques et avec eux la
modification de son statut. De pilier de l'enseignement dans antiquité à simple document
de langue authentique, le texte littéraire a voyagé dans le temps et a été soumis à tous types
La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
des pratiques de classe en langue étrangère.
Il a été l'objet de traductions, de
mémorisations, de découpages et d'analyses textuelles qui changeaient avec l'évolution des
approches pédagogiques. Il a failli tomber dans l'oubli total les dernières années sous
prétexte qu'il ne constituait pas un instrument de communication. Cependant, sous ses
différentes formes,
la littérature revient aujourd'hui sur la scène didactique de
l'enseignement des langues et propose un vaste choix d'outils pour le travail de classe.
Le choix du texte littéraire à exploiter en classe de langue étrangère revient dans la
plupart des cas à l'enseignant. La réflexion à faire avant ce choix décourage souvent les
moins expérimentés et pose un certain nombre des questions aux plus osés : Quel texte
choisir ? Quel auteur ? Quelle époque ? Quel genre littéraire ? Quelles activités proposer ?
Que faire des mots inconnus et des structures difficiles ? Aborde-t-on le texte intégral ou
seulement un extrait ? Autant des questions qui révèlent la complexité du sujet et ses
incidences sur la pratique de classe dont les réponses concernent plusieurs disciplines
comme la linguistique, la sémiotique, la critique littéraire, la psychologie cognitive et la
didactique.
Cet article propose la nouvelle littéraire comme une option pédagogique pour
l’exploitation du texte littéraire en classe de langue. Pour mener à bien cette réflexion nous
présenterons d'abord un bref historique de l'évolution de sa place dans l'enseignement des
langues, plus spécialement du Français Langue Étrangère (désormais FLE).
Ensuite, nous
aborderons les spécificités qui font de la nouvelle un genre privilégié pour la lecture d’un
texte intégral en classe. Finalement nous donnerons quelques pistes pour son exploitation
en classe en montrant un exemple d’un itinéraire de lecture autour d’une nouvelle française.
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
Cette recherche ne prétend pas de fournir une méthode pédagogique ou un mode
d'emploi pour l'utilisation du texte littéraire en classe de langue. Son but est de réfléchir de
manière aussi objective que possible à partir d'un certain nombre des théories et des faits
étudiés jusqu'à aujourd'hui en les illustrant par une proposition pédagogique autour d'un
recueil de nouvelles des auteurs francophones. Toutefois, en présentant ces faits, nous
serons parfois obligés de prendre parti, non pas sur une méthode d'apprentissage donnée,
mais sur un certain nombre des conditions nécessaires pour que l'utilisation de la nouvelle
en classe de langue soit plus fréquente et plus efficace.
1. Regard Historique
Ce regard historique des époques et des méthodes dans l'enseignement des langues nous
permet de comprendre les pratiques auxquelles le texte littéraire s'est soumis et se soumet
encore en classe. La tradition écrite, longuement nourrie par l'enseignement des langues
mortes comme le latin et perpétuée par l'enseignement des langues vivantes suivant son
modèle, a associé la littérature à la traduction d'auteurs classiques. L'essor des méthodes
orales a relégué le texte littéraire à un arrière plan et l'approche communicative, qui semble
être celle qui a le plus d’adeptes, le place au même niveau que les documents authentiques
présents dans la vie quotidienne.
Même s'il se veut non dogmatique, c'est essentiellement dans une perspective
actionnelle que se situe le Cadre européen commun de référence pour les langues :
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
apprendre, enseigner, évaluer (désormais CECR). Ce cadre, qui concrétise les politiques
linguistiques et éducatives européennes, "décrit aussi complètement que possible ce que les
apprenants d'une langue doivent apprendre afin de l'utiliser dans le but de communiquer
(Conseil de l'europe, 2001). Le CECR énumère donc les connaissances et les habiletés que
les apprenants en langues doivent acquérir pour avoir un comportement langagier efficace
et les décline en six niveaux de référence communs en Europe. Dans le CECR, la littérature
n'occupe pas une place centrale comme celle donné par les méthodes traditionnelles, mais
récupère cependant sa forte valeur culturelle cette fois-ci, avec une dimension européenne.
Il est paradoxal qu'un ouvrage à destination des praticiens de l'enseignement des
langues, s'adresse ici particulièrement aux "professeurs de littérature" comme si celle-ci
n'était pas utilisée dans la classe de langue mais dans une classe exclusivement littéraire.
Ceci met en évidence deux questions fondamentales qui se croisent lorsqu’on parle de
langue étrangère et de littérature. La première question concerne le statut et la formation du
professeur de langues étrangères en tant qu'expert ou non - expert en littérature.
La
deuxième implique le statut de la littérature en classe de langue et ce que l'enseignant ou
l'institution cherche avec son utilisation.
Certes, dans la plupart des cas le professeur de langues a suivi dès son jeune âge des
modules en langue maternelle concernant la littérature universelle et celle de son pays
d'origine. Si le professeur est un spécialiste dans la langue étrangère qu'il se destine à
enseigner, il est possible qu'il ait suivi un cursus sur la littérature de la langue cible dans
son cycle d'études supérieures. Ce cycle d'études se ressemble fortement au cycle suivi par
les futurs professeurs de langue maternelle (enseignement du français en France, d'anglais
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
aux Etats-Unis, d'espagnol en Espagne) qui peuvent eux aussi exercer éventuellement
comme professeurs de langue étrangère.
Ainsi, la plupart des professeurs de langue
étrangère, natifs et non - natifs, ont une expérience académique de la littérature qui diverge
d'abord, de l'expérience du public qui n'a pas une formation littéraire et ensuite, de celui qui
lit en langue étrangère. Et c'est souvent ces deux types de public que le professeur de
langue rencontre lors de ses pratiques de classe.
La deuxième question englobe le statut donné à la littérature en classe de langue
étrangère. Lorsqu’un enseignant présente un texte littéraire en classe, quel est son objectif
? S'agit-t-il d'apprendre la langue en prenant la littérature comme modèle ? Utilise-t-il le
texte littéraire pour illustrer un fait de langue ou de société ? Cherche-t-il à enseigner la
Littérature à ses apprenants? Pour chercher des réponses à ces questions et pour avoir un
panorama historique des pratiques des enseignants, nous nous centrerons ici sur le domaine
du FLE.
Depuis 60 ans, la place de la littérature dans l’enseignement du FLE évolue
conjointement avec les approches didactiques et littéraires. Des experts dans le domaine
comme Claude Albert et Marc Souchon parlent de deux tendances de pratiques de classe :
la « sacralisation » et la « banalisation » du texte littéraire (Albert et Souchon, 2000). Dans
la première, le texte littéraire est le document central de la classe, dans la deuxième, il est
un simple document de langue. Dans son étude Pour la littérature : de l’extrait à l’œuvre,
Mireille Naturel explique ces pratiques et présente la place de la littérature dans
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
l'enseignement du FLE en trois étapes : une période de grandeur, un moment de décadence
et une tendance de renouveau (Naturel, 1995).
1.1.
La Période de Grandeur
La période de grandeur place la littérature comme l’aboutissement de
l’apprentissage du français. Cette grandeur est visible à travers de la publication des
méthodes en quatre volumes dont le quatrième était consacré à la littérature. Le Cours de
langue et de civilisation française explique, dans la préface de son dernier volume La
France et ses écrivains (Hachette, 1957),
que l’étude de la littérature contribue à
l’édification des personnes distinguées parce qu’elle illustre la civilisation française, l’une
des plus riches du monde moderne. Comme l’explique Mireille Naturel, l’attention est
portée ici avant tout sur l’écrivain, les textes sont simplement accompagnés des notes
explicatives et des quelques questions, après quoi ils peuvent être utilisés pour faire des
explications ou des commentaires.
1.2.
Le Moment de Décadence
Les méthodes audio et l'approche communicative sont considérées par les experts
comme un des facteurs qui ont mené à la banalisation du texte littéraire en classe.
Rappelons que le courant des méthodes audio et audiovisuelles de l'époque a fait du texte
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
littéraire un outil rare en classe.
Dans Littérature et classe de langue, Henry Besse
explique cette période d'oubli de la littérature par des motifs linguistiques, statistiques,
pratiques, éducatives voire idéologiques. (Besse, 1982), Les trois premiers facteurs sont
expliqués par le fait que la langue constitue avant tout une réalité orale, la parole occupant
plus de place dans la communication que l'écrit et l'apprenant se trouvant plus facilement
confronté à une situation conversationnelle qu'à une demande de type littéraire. Le facteur
éducatif repose sur le souci pour maintenir la motivation de l'apprenant qui, jusqu'à présent,
voyait les textes littéraires comme une tâche lourde et ennuyeuse. Le motif idéologique
s’explique par le fait que la littérature est liée aux fonctionnements sélectifs et élitistes de la
tradition classique, ce qui affecte directement une popularisation de l'enseignement du
français. Pour ces raisons, pendant la période phare des méthodes audio, le peu de textes
littéraires travaillés en classe sont simplifiés pour en faire disparaître les difficultés
grammaticales ou lexicales que l'apprenant pourrait rencontrer.
Dans les pratiques de classe réalisées sous l'influence de ces méthodes, les
enseignants proposent d'abord aux apprenants des textes adaptés pour satisfaire leur niveau
de compréhension de la langue écrite, avant de les confronter au texte original. De son
côté, l'approche communicative a longtemps ignoré la littérature parce qu'elle n'était pas
considérée comme un outil de communication. Elle trouvera ensuite une place comme
document authentique illustrant des dialogues, des situations de la vie quotidienne ou des
faits de société. Ceci est fait par l'utilisation des morceaux choisis selon le fait à illustrer en
oubliant les caractéristiques qui font du texte un texte littéraire.
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
1.3.
Une Tendance de Renouvellement
Dans les années 90, une tendance de renouvellement du statut du texte littéraire en
classe de langue se met en place. Mireille Naturel attribue ce renouveau à l'intérêt de la
critique littéraire pour l'esthétique de la réception proposée quelques années plus tôt par
Hans Robert Jauss. L'évolution des regards et les expériences de classe réalisées pendant la
dernière décennie d'enseignement du FLE convergent vers un éclectisme des théories et des
méthodes. En effet, pendant ces années, une dizaine d'ouvrages théoriques sur la littérature
et l'enseignement des langues sont publiés dans les collections destinées à la diffusion de la
recherche, par les trois grandes maisons d'édition spécialistes dans le domaine.
Cet éclectisme cherche d'abord, à conserver la spécificité du texte littéraire par
rapport aux autres textes et à l'aborder en même temps du point de vue de la production et
de la réception.
Dans Les textes littéraires en classe de langue, Albert et Souchon
définissent la communication littéraire comme étant fortement déséquilibré à cause de la
distance entre le moment de l'émission et le moment de la réception du texte. (Albert et
Souchon, 2000). L'approche du texte littéraire en classe doit alors favoriser ces deux pôles
de la communication, réfléchir aux procédés de l'écrivain pour la mise en texte de la fiction
et orienter la reconstruction que l'apprenant fait du texte lors de sa réception. C'est alors sur
ces facteurs qui doit reposer la réflexion de l'enseignant à propos de l'intérêt didactique d'un
texte littéraire.
La prise en compte de deux pôles de la communication littéraire permet une lecture
efficace du texte en classe de langue. C'est cette approche que l’on appellera la lecture
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
interactive et que nous étudierons en prenant la nouvelle littéraire comme support
pédagogique. Dans notre perspective de travail, l'apprentissage de la littérature n'est pas
l'objectif final de la classe de langue puisque dans la pratique, nous nous adressons à un
public généraliste dont l'objectif n'est pas celui de poursuivre des études littéraires. Le texte
est considéré alors comme un support pédagogique qui conserve sa spécificité littéraire du
côté de la production et de la réception et qui permet en même temps, d'élargir les horizons
linguistiques et culturels du lecteur, dans notre cas, l'apprenant de langue.
2.
La Lecture Interactive des Textes Littéraires
Un des ouvrages clés dans l'approche du texte littéraire et non-littéraire en classe de langue
est Lectures interactives en langue étrangère, réalisé par Francine Cicurel et publié en
1991. Dans sa préface, l’auteure indique que “ l’approche interactive a pour but de vouloir
favoriser la réceptivité du texte par le lecteur” (Cicurel, 1991). Cette réceptivité doit
permettre un phénomène d’interaction entre les connaissances du lecteur et les données
fournies par le texte. L’hypothèse de départ de la méthodologie interactive est que “ un
texte en langue étrangère contient trop d’éléments d’information pour capturer à la fois et
qu’il faut alléger la lecture en donnant ou en faisant découvrir des repères solides”.
(Cicurel, 1991). Dans son œuvre, l’auteure propose quatre étapes à prendre en compte dans
une démarche interactive car en langue étrangère la compréhension textuelle est obtenue
par paliers. Nous décrirons ici brièvement ces étapes puisqu’elles permettent de segmenter
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
le processus de lecture et de lancer des hypothèses sur les avantages didactiques de la
nouvelle littéraire.
2.1. Activer les Connaissances
La première étape d’une démarche interactive est l’activation des connaissances. Le
but est de permettre à l’apprenant de mobiliser ses pré-acquis ou connaissances déjà
acquises pour faciliter la lecture d’un texte inconnu. Dans cette étape d’orientation, on fait
appel à l’encyclopédie du lecteur, à ses connaissances linguistiques ou non-linguistiques, à
son vécu par rapport au texte. Francine Cicurel propose pour cette phase, trois techniques
d’activation des connaissances : l’appel à l’expérience, le scénario d’anticipation et
l’association d’idées à partir des mots-clefs.
Notre première hypothèse présente la nouvelle comme un genre riche en éléments
quotidiens qui la rapproche à la vie du lecteur facilitant ainsi la compréhension du texte.
Avec ce support, les apprenants ne seront pas confrontés au texte littéraire de manière
abrupte mais ils l’aborderont en sachant qu’il a un rapport avec ce qu’ils connaissent déjà.
2.2. Observer et Anticiper
L’observation et la prise d’indices constituent la deuxième étape d’une lecture
interactive. Ce palier cherche à familiariser le lecteur avec un texte qui lui est jusqu’à là
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
inconnu. Cette étape s’appuie sur des variables visuelles pour dégager du texte les indices
de lisibilité. Ces indices, qui semblent plus facilement repérables dans les textes nonlittéraires comme les articles de presse, sont aussi présents dans la littérature. En effet,
c’est à ce moment là que l’on peut aborder ce que Gérard Genette a appelé le paratexte,
c'est-à-dire "ce par quoi un texte se fait livre et se propose comme tel à ses lecteurs, et plus
généralement au public" (Genette, 1987). Quelques éléments qui constituent le paratexte
sont la couverture du livre, le titre, les dédicaces, les épigraphes, les intertitres, la quatrième
de couverture et tout autre élément iconique ou textuel qui annonce ou détermine le texte.
La nouvelle, avec sa double forme littéraire, celle du récit et celle du recueil, est
particulièrement riche en éléments paratextuels et permet plus facilement la transition entre
l'activation des pré-acquis du lecteur et l'entrée dans l'histoire.
L’entrée dans l’histoire constitue un moment décisif dans le processus de lecture
parce qu'elle doit permettre d'aborder l'objet littéraire sans appréhension tout en conservant
la motivation de l'apprenant. Ce début de l'histoire appelé incipit à partir de l'extension du
terme latin qui désigne les premiers mots d'un manuscrit ou d'un livre, remplit "une
fonction majeure dans la mise en roman qui doit tout mettre en œuvre pour réussir son
entrée". (Goldenstein, 1990). Les premières phrases, voire les premiers paragraphes du
texte littéraire engagent la lecture et élargissent l'horizon d'attente du lecteur. Elles assurent
de la même façon, le succès du récit dans son procédé d'écriture. Dans la nouvelle, l'incipit
est particulièrement engageant puisqu'il introduit le récit et annonce la chute.
En
commençant l'écriture de la nouvelle, l'écrivain pense déjà à sa fin et ceci est visible dans
l'incipit. L’identification de ces deux types d’éléments (titre, couverture, incipit, etc.) doit
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
favoriser le processus d’anticipation pour amener le lecteur à se poser des questions sur le
texte pendant la période de pré-lecture.
2.3. Lire avec un Objectif
La troisième étape proposée par Francine Cicurel est la lecture avec un objectif.
Cette lecture est une lecture recherche guidée par l’enseignant. Elle va se construire sur les
hypothèses et les questions soulevées par les apprenants lors de deux étapes de pré-lecture.
Ainsi, les apprenants confrontent leur pré-construction du texte avec le texte même. La
lecture du texte peut être divisée en séquences avec un objectif de lecture différent pour
chacune d’entre elles. L’objectif de cette étape est d’arriver à la compréhension du texte
tout en conservant la motivation acquise pendant l’étape de pre-lecture. La construction
formelle de la nouvelle, brève et elliptique, invite constamment le lecteur à faire des
hypothèses et facilite le travail d'identification des séquences à faire par l'enseignant. Ainsi,
on favorise une interaction texte - lecteur par la segmentation du texte, la mise en évidence
d’hypothèses et leur postérieur confrontation et des questionnements spécifiques.
2.4. Relier les Connaissances
La dernière étape de la méthode interactive est celle qui sert à réagir et à relier les
connaissances. Cette étape cherche à favoriser une interaction entre les pré-acquis et les
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
nouvelles informations recueillies tout au long de la lecture. Francine Cicurel propose deux
techniques de prolongement du texte. La première repose sur un travail concernant la
réaction du lecteur face au texte et la deuxième porte sur l’isolation des éléments
linguistiques pour l’élaboration des activités d’extension qui visent à un acquis spécifique.
Dans ce cadre, la nouvelle permet de travailler une écriture créative à partir de leur fin ou
excipit - par opposition à l'incipit- ouvert, dans certains récits. Une interaction entre le
groupe des lecteurs peut se développer pour profiter de cette particularité de la classe où
chaque lecteur peut partager son expérience de lecture avec ses pairs.
3. Vers l'étude du Texte Intégral
La nouvelle, par sa brièveté matérielle, permet également d’aborder des textes littéraires
intégraux en classe de langue. Traditionnellement, le choix du texte littéraire à travailler en
classe est fait par l'enseignant qui tient compte de textes proposés dans les méthodes de
FLE, dans les programmes institutionnels ou qu'il a lui-même étudié dans sa formation
académique. L’enseignant réfléchi surtout à l'intérêt que le texte peut provoquer chez
l’apprenant, à son dégrée de difficulté perceptible selon sa longueur, sa syntaxe, son lexique
et son style.
La motivation personnelle de l'enseignant, ses goûts littéraires et son
expérience dans le domaine ainsi que d'autres critères comme l'actualité littéraire,
notamment en milieu endolingue, ou la disponibilité des œuvres dans l'institution de travail,
en milieu exolingue, s’ajoutent à ces facteurs. Ceci a comme résultat la réduction du choix
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
des textes et le plus souvent, l’enseignant opte pour l'étude des extraits littéraires à la place
des textes intégraux.
Cependant, comme le souligne Francine Cicurel "un véritable apprentissage de la
lecture passe par une lecture intégrale afin que l'apprenant puisse suivre le déroulement du
récit et s'appuyer sur les indices successifs du texte pour en voir la signification". (Cicurel,
p. 132). De plus, un sentiment de frustration peut envahir l'apprenant quand il a une
approche segmentée de la littérature en langue étrangère qui lui permet certes, de connaître
plusieurs genres, époques et écrivains, mais qui ne suscite pas la satisfaction d'avoir lu un
texte littéraire du début à la fin. Le travail en classe sur des échantillons de littérature,
omniprésent dans nos mœurs pédagogiques, empêche au texte de relever ces indices et au
lecteur d'en construire son sens globale. Pour ces raisons, dans notre démarche nous
opterons pour l'utilisation du texte intégral en classe de langue.
4. Itinéraire de Lecture
Après avoir fait une bref étude théorique sur l’utilisation du texte littéraire en classe de
langue, nous proposerons ici un itinéraire de lecture autour du recueil de nouvelles Noir,
comme d’habitude, qui essaiera de favoriser une méthodologie interactive d’approche du
texte littéraire.
Nous avons choisi de travailler sur un recueil de nouvelles d’Annie
Saumont, nouvelliste française contemporaine de grande importance, qui a publié plus
d’une centaine de récits et qui a reçu de nombreux prix en France, dont le Goncourt de la
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
nouvelle en 1981. La plupart des nouvelles d’Annie Saumont sont publiées par les éditions
Juillard et certains recueils comme Je suis pas un camion, Les voilà quel bonheur,
Embrassons-nous et Noir, comme habitude, sont aussi disponibles en version poche chez
Pocket.
Pour notre travail, nous avons choisi cette dernière édition car elle est plus
facilement disponible en libraire.
Noir, comme d’habitude est un recueil de nouvelles rassemblées par un éditeur qui a
préféré les publier sous le titre d’une d’entre elles. De par sa spécificité, notre perspective
de travail cherche d’abord à utiliser la nouvelle en tant que récit autonome, et ensuite, de la
considérer autour d’un recueil. Pour ces raisons, nous commencerons par la lecture des
nouvelles isolées (Annexe 1 : Fiche de lecture En una noche oscura) et nous passerons
après au travail autour du recueil (Annexe 2 : Fiche de lecture Noir comme d’habitude).
Cette méthodologie nous permettra d’introduire la notion de nouvelle en classe de façon
pratique, toujours en favorisant la réception de la part de lecteur.
Nous rappelons que le public auquel nous nous adressons est un public d’apprenants
adultes de niveau intermédiaire, issus de formations académiques de niveaux et de
domaines hétérogènes. Notre approche de travail n’a pas comme but final de former des
spécialistes en littérature mais d’aborder la littérature en classe en favorisant la participation
du lecteur comme partie prenante dans la re-construction d’un texte spécifique par son
caractère littéraire. Pour cette raison, notre itinéraire de lecture est construit avec un
langage simple tout en adaptant les termes littéraires au niveau des apprenants.
Notre démarche pédagogique repose sur le travail théorique fait auparavant.
L’itinéraire de lecture de chaque nouvelle est divisé en trois étapes : pré-lecture, lecture
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
découverte et après-lecture.
Comme nous l’avons vu précédemment, ces étapes -
originalement proposées par Francine Cicurel - favorisent le guidage du processus de
lecture chez l’apprenant, permettent un travail de mise en évidence de la structure narrative
du texte et laissent une place au travail d’écriture.
La nouvelle que nous présentons ici a été choisie du point de vue de l’enseignant mais
tout en conservant le point de vue de l’apprenant en français langue étrangère, qui est aussi
le nôtre. En una noche oscura, a été sélectionnée d’abord, par sa thématique et ensuite, par
sa structure narrative plus aisément repérable que pour les autres nouvelles.
Nous
cherchons, avec le guidage de la lecture de cette nouvelle du recueil, d’introduire une
méthodologie de travail efficace ainsi que de motiver les apprenants à une lecture à la fois
autonome et réfléchie. Ainsi, nous cherchons aussi à motiver le lecteur à l’exploration
d’autres recueils et d’autres auteurs pour découvrir la richesse du genre et redécouvrir le
plaisir de lire la littérature en langue étrangère.
5. Bilan et Perspectives
L’objectif de notre recherche était d’étudier la pertinence de la nouvelle comme support
pédagogique pour la lecture du texte littéraire en classe de langue. Nous avons vu que
l’utilisation du texte littéraire par l’enseignant varie selon les approches pédagogiques et les
courants d’analyse littéraire à un moment spécifique. Nous avons également constaté que
la nouvelle, contrairement à d’autres expressions comme le roman ou la poésie, n’occupe
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
pas une place très importante dans l’actualité littéraire française, et que ceci peut influencer
les choix des textes des maisons d’éditions spécialisées dans le domaine du Français
Langue Étrangère.
Malgré la moindre notoriété de la nouvelle en France, notre recherche a essayé de
montrer que des caractéristiques, comme sa brièveté, son unité, la concentration de ses
éléments et l’intensité de sa chute, stimulent la mise en action des processus cognitifs de
l’apprenant lors de la lecture. Le rôle de l’enseignant ou du concepteur de matériel est de
faciliter la réception de la nouvelle grâce à la mise en évidence de la structure narrative du
texte et de la conception d’activités. Ces activités doivent faciliter la confrontation des
connaissances linguistiques ou non linguistiques de l’apprenant avec les informations que
le texte lui donne.
Le choix d’une nouvelle, quelque soit son moyen de diffusion, recueil, presse,
cinéma ou Internet, doit être rigoureux. Des indices comme la thématique, le registre de
langue, la structure narrative peuvent l’orienter.
Alors que les nouvelles classiques,
souvent exploitées dans les méthodes, offrent une structure narrative canonique et un
registre de langue soutenu, les nouvelles contemporaines comme celles d’Annie Saumont,
se détachent des contraintes formelles du genre et jouent plus sur un registre de langue
parlée. L’enseignant doit alors concevoir les itinéraires de lecture selon les caractéristiques
du genre tout en conservant les spécificités littéraires de la nouvelle choisie. Le but n’est
pas, de faire rentrer une nouvelle dans un moule donné par un genre littéraire, mais de faire
ressortir sa qualité littéraire à la lumière des caractéristiques conférées à ce type de récits
brefs.
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
Après quelques années d’oubli dans l’enseignement des langues, la littérature revient
dans les pratiques didactiques actuelles. Une vague de renouveau ouvre le texte littéraire à
de nouvelles perspectives de lecture en classe.
En suivant cette tendance, doit-on
seulement s’attacher à la lecture de genres, de textes et d’auteurs traditionnels et
consacrés ? Pourquoi ne pas explorer aussi les récits brefs qui offrent à l’apprenant-lecteur
le plaisir de lire des textes littéraires dans leur intégralité ?
La nouvelle, malgré sa
réputation de genre littéraire mineur, se révèle un outil didactique d’intérêt majeur en classe
de langue.
* Magdaleydy Martínez Cáceres est titulaire d’une Licence en Langues Étrangères
(Universidad Industrial de Santander), d’une Maîtrise en Langues, Littératures et
Civilisations Étrangères (Université de Tours) et d’un Master en Didactique de Langues
Étrangères (Université d’Angers). Elle travaille en tant que professeur de français et du
Didactique du FLE à l’Université de Pamplona. Elle fait partie du Groupe de Recherche en
Langues Étrangères, GRILEX et y oriente des cours de recherche formative à l’intérieur de
la Licence en Langues.
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
6. Bibliographie
Albert C. et Souchon M, (2000), Les textes littéraires en classe de langue, Collection
Autoformation Hachette, Paris.
Besse H, (1982), "Apprendre la langue par la littérature?", in PEYTARD J.(dir), Littérature
et classe de langue, Collection LAL, Crédif, Hatier, Paris.
Cicurel F, (1991), Lectures interactives en langue étrangère, Collection F-Autoformation,
Hachette, Paris.
Conseil de l'europe, (2001), Cadre européen commun de référence pour les langues :
apprendre, enseigner, évaluer, Didier, Paris
Genette G, (1987), Seuils, Collection Poétique, Editions du Seuil, Paris.
Goldenstein J.-P, (1990), Entrées en littérature, Collection F - Autoformation, Hachette,
Paris.
Naturel M, (1995), Pour la littérature: de l’extrait à l’œuvre, Collection Didactique des
Langues Étrangères, Clé International, Chapitre 3.
Saumont Annie, (2000), Noir, comme d'habitude, Collection Nouvelles voix, Pocket, Paris.
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7. Annexes
ANNEXE 1 : FICHE DE LECTURE EN UNA NOCHE OSCURA
ITINÉRAIRE DE LECTURE
EN UNA NOCHE OSCURA
I. PRÉ-LECTURE
1. (Avec les lumières éteintes) Quelles sensations vous produit l’obscurité ? Que feriezvous dans une nuit obscure ? Qu’est-ce que vous ne pouvez pas faire ?
2. Vous voulez écrire une histoire en espagnol qui s’appelle « La noche oscura ». Quand
votre histoire est finie, vous décidez de l’appeler « La nuit obscure ». Quel titre préférezvous pour votre histoire ? Le titre en espagnol ou le titre en français ? Pourquoi ?
3. Quel type d’histoire est « La noche oscura » ?
II. LECTURE DÉCOUVERTE
1. « En una noche oscura » commence ainsi :
« Mariés depuis huit jours.
Panne d’électricité.»
Faisons des hypothèses…
A deux, imaginez une scène qui représente cette situation. Combien des personnages y a-til? Où sont-ils ? Que se passe-t-il entre eux ?
2. Lisez l’histoire entière. Coïncide-t-elle avec celle que vous avez imaginée ?
Mariés … (p. 51) - … tes yeux brillent (p.52)
a. Relisez l’histoire et complétez le tableau suivant.
Mariés depuis ……………….
ELLE
LUI
Qu’est-ce qu’il / elle fait dans la vie ?
Où est-il / elle pendant la panne d’électricité ?
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
Comment réagit-il / elle à la panne d’électricité ?
Que fait-il / elle pendant la panne ?
Que fait-il / elle à la fin de l’histoire ?
Le couple, a-t-il d’enfants ? Que font-ils ?
Faisons des hypothèses…
(Formation de 4 groupes ). En prenant cette histoire comme exemple, imaginez la suite de
l’histoire qui commence par :
« Mariés depuis ( 6 mois )/ ( 5 ans ) / ( 10 ans ) / ( 20 ans )
Panne d’électricité.»
3. ( Donner une histoire à chaque groupe ). Lisez l’histoire suivante et complétez le
tableau ci-dessus. Si vous ne connaissez pas l’information, complétez par « ? ». Racontez
votre histoire aux autres groupes une fois le tableau rempli.
Lecture des quatre histoires (p.52-p.55)
III. APRÈS-LECTURE
1. Relisez « En una noche oscura » dans sa totalité. Trouvez-vous que ce titre convient au
récit ? Comment expliquez-vous le choix du titre en espagnol ? Pouvez-vous imaginer un
autre titre ?
2. Écriture collective. Rédaction suivie d’une histoire. Début : « Mariés depuis 50 ans.
Panne d’électricité. » Fin : « Il dit, dans la pénombre je vois briller tes yeux ».
Groupe 1 : Présentation des personnages.
Groupe 2 : Description de la situation.
Groupe 3 : Description de l’endroit où se trouve le couple.
Groupe 4 : Enchaînement vers la situation finale.
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La nouvelle littéraire : une option pour la lecture du texte intégral en classe de FLE
ANNEXE 2 : FICHE DE LECTURE NOIR COMME D’HABITUDE
ITINÉRAIRE DE LECTURE
NOIR, COMME D’HABITUDE ( Le recueil )
1. LA COUVERTURE DU LIVRE
a) Regardez le dessin suivant et décrivez-le.
Dessin couverture
b)





A partir du dessin, pouvez-vous imaginer une histoire ? Pensez à une histoire…
Romantique
Tragique
Comique
Fantastique
D’horreur
2. LE TITRE DU RECUEIL
a) Écoutez attentivement la phrase suivante : « Noir, comme d’habitude ». Où
pouvez-vous entendre cette phrase ? Dans quelles circonstances ?
b) Faites des petits dialogues à partir des situations où vous pouvez dire cette phrase.
c) Les couleurs que nous voyons tous les jours représentent souvent des idées plus
abstraites. Qu’est-ce qui se cache derrière la couleur noire ? Pensez à un aspect.
3. LE SOMMAIRE
a) Feuilletez le livre Noir, comme d’habitude. Comment est-il divisé ?
b) Regardez le sommaire du livre. Combien d’histoires il y a-t-il ?
Sommaire
c) Quelle est la longueur des histoires ?
d) Lisez les titres du sommaire. Quel est le titre …
 le plus long ?
 le plus court ?
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










en langue étrangère ?
qui parle d’une personne ?
qui désigne une profession ?
qui parle d’un moment ?
qui montre un objet ?
qui pose une question ?
le plus intéressant ?
que vous ne comprenez pas ?
qui ne vous dit rien ?
que vous voulez lire ?
que vous connaissez déjà ?
a) Trouvez-vous une relation entre les histoires que vous avez déjà lues et le titre du livre ?
Expliquez.
4. LA QUATRIÈME DE COUVERTURE
Regardez la quatrième de couverture du livre.
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)
Quelles informations trouvez-vous ?
Qu’apprend-on sur les histoires du livre ?
Vous souvenez-vous des noms des personnages des histoires que vous avez lues ?
Quel est la caractéristique des personnages du livre ?
Pouvez-vous dire que le livre soit un roman ?
Que sait-on de l’auteur ?
Quatrième de couverture
g) Regardez la couverture suivante et comparez-la avec celle que vous connaissez.
Quelles différences y a-t-il entre les deux ?
Couverture Juillard
h) Imaginez la quatrième de couverture pour cette édition de Noir, comme d’habitude.
Quels éléments inclurez-vous ? Travaillez en groupe et créez la quatrième de
couverture pour ce livre.
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5. LA BIOGRAPHIE DE L’AUTEUR
Lisez la biographie de l’auteure du livre.
a) Quels types de récits écrit-elle ?
b) Quels prix a-t-elle obtenu ?
c) Combien de nouvelles a-t-elle écrit ?
d) Qu’est-ce qu’un recueil ?
e) Quels sont les différences entre un roman et une nouvelle ?

Connaissez-vous des nouvelles dans votre langue ? Des nouvelles d’auteurs de
votre pays ? Savez-vous si elles sont traduites en français ?

Revenez au sommaire du livre. Quel est le titre qui vous attire le plus ? Quelle
nouvelle aimeriez- vous lire ?
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REINTRODUCTION DU FRANÇAIS DANS LE SYSTEME EDUCATIF PUBLIC:
LE CAS DE BUCARAMANGA
Andrea JIMENEZ *
Professeur Université Santo Tomás de Aquino – Bucaramanga
Iván D. VARGAS **
Professeur Université de Pamplona
Résumé:
L'enseignement des langues est une tâche ardue qui se réalise au jour le jour
devenant significative dans le moment où nous réfléchissons sur notre activité
pédagogique, les besoins de nos apprenants et les objectifs à accomplir. Notre
métier nous demande non seulement d’orienter et guider les processus
d’apprentissage, mais aussi d’avoir un esprit curieux et chercheur grâce auquel on
puisse approfondir dans les problématiques éducatives locales concernant
l’instruction du Français Langue Étrangère et au même temps, apporter des outils
pédagogiques et méthodologiques pour améliorer les conditions pour son
enseignement.
Compte tenue de cette réalité et vue l’importance du sujet autour duquel
s’est organisé le XXI Congrès National de Professeurs de Français, « la
réintroduction du français en Colombie »
nous avons décidé d’y participer en
présentant sous forme de conférence, un aperçu global de ce qui a été
l'enseignement du Français dans la ville de Bucaramanga, son statut au sein des
établissements éducatifs secondaires publics et privés, les difficultés rencontrées
et le projet mis en route, au présent, dans le cadre du Programme National de
Bilinguisme (PNB) sans oublier que les « variations (des notions de Bilinguisme)
s’installent en lien avec des cultures éducatives locales et des attentes
sociopolitiques particulières. » (Gajo, 2009 : 15).
Nous parlerons aussi des différents acteurs et leurs rôles dans l’exécution
du projet, à savoir le gouvernement local comme gérant du projet ; les institutions
publiques et privées en tant que centres de diffusion de la langue et la culture
française et francophone ; les enseignants et leur formation en langue et
pédagogie ; les apprenants et leurs besoins et finalement, l´Alliance Française de
Bucaramanga, en tant que centre formateur de formateurs.
Sachant que ce processus de réinsertion de la langue française dans notre
éducation secondaire représente un défi pour nous tous, nous voudrions conclure
notre intervention justement en rappelant le rôle nous concernant en tant
qu’enseignants de Français Langue Etrangère dans les divers contextes
éducatifs : éducation secondaire, universitaire et non formelle, à savoir, celui de
rester engagés dans un processus de formation continue visant à garantir la
qualité dans l’enseignement et les pratiques pédagogiques dans les salles de
classe.
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La Réintroduction du français en Colombie
Ayant pour but de compléter le Plan National de Bilinguisme de 2004,
l’Ambassade de France dans notre pays, lance en 2009 un plan de réintroduction
de l’enseignement du français dans le système scolaire public, dont 95 lycées font
part dans les départements de Cundinamarca, Quindío, Boyacá et les villes de
Bogotá, Barranquilla, Cali et Pereira. Un an plus tard, pendant le premier trimestre
de 2010, un accord entre le Ministère de l’Éducation National, l’Ambassade de
France et l’Alliance Française est signé en rendant ce Plan National de Bilinguisme
plus ouvert car il touche aussi certaines institutions d’éducation supérieure publics
et privées pour développer des cours en ambiance bilingue.
Institutions impliquées
Le réseau des 16 Alliances Françaises,
« Le réseau des 16 Alliances Françaises partenaire essentiel de la
coopération linguistique entre les deux pays, organise toute l’année des cours de
français et assure la préparation aux examens de français. L’Alliance Française
propose des cours de français juridique (administratif, pénal, civil, droit du travail et
droit de l’Union Européenne). Cette formation permet la promotion du français et
254
de la culture juridique française. Depuis 2008, les Alliances Françaises offrent des
cours spécialisés dans les domaines de la médecine et ingénierie afin de faciliter
l’accès aux études supérieures et aux concours ouverts aux étudiants et
professionnels étrangers »1
Assistants de langues ICETEX
« Chaque année, une dizaine d’assistants de français sont présents dans les
universités colombiennes. Ils apparaissent comme la prolongation de la politique
linguistique de l’Ambassade et facilitent les échanges culturels entre les étudiants
des deux pays. De la même manière, chaque année 70 assistants d’espagnol se
rendent dans les établissements français, la grande majorité d’entre eux se
destinent à l’enseignement de la langue française à leur retour.2
Service National d’Apprentissage - SENA
FRANCÉS NIVEL I et “Parlons en français” émission télévisée
1
D’après le site de l’ambassade de France en Colombie; http://www.ambafranceco.org/Cooperation-Universitaire
2
L’information est disponible sur le site de l’ICETEX, chargé du programme.
255
Actuellement, le Service National d'Apprentissage, SENA met en œuvre deux
programmes pilotes dans l'apprentissage du Français. Le premier d'eux
FRANÇAIS NIVEAU I, présenté sous une plate-forme interactive sur Internet. Le
deuxième, "Parlons en français" fait part du programme de coopération entre les
gouvernements de la France et de la Colombie. À travers cette émission télévisée
les Colombiens peuvent apprendre le français en syntonisant la chaîne
institutionnelle du SENA. "Parlons en français" vient renforcer le FRANÇAIS
NIVEAU I.
Le cas Bucaramanga
La ville de Bucaramanga bénéficie de la présence de l'Alliance Française dès
1965 étant une institution de tradition dans l'enseignement de la langue, et un pont
de communication avec la culture et la civilisation française. Cependant, d’autres
établissements éducatifs ont été créés le long des dernières années ayant le
français dans son offre des langues étrangères; tel est le cas de l’INEM, les
Lycées Saucará et Cantillana et le Lycée San Diego, qui ont réussi à maintenir le
français dans leurs programmes d’études, malgré la perte du statu de celui-ci à
l’intérieur du système éducatif national, devenant des supports importants, même
s’ils ne se considèrent pas des membres officiels du PNB. Ainsi, on voit ces
lycées comme des établissements de tradition en ce qui concerne l’enseignement
de la langue française.
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Parmi ces établissements nous avons choisi les trois qui nous semblent les plus
représentatifs :
Institution publique
INEM
Dans la municipalité de Bucaramanga, les institutions publiques offrent une
alternative d'appui dans une langue étrangère, c’est le cas particulier du lycée
INEM - Custodio García Rovira qui offre aux étudiants d'enseignement secondaire
professionnel une formation dans différentes langues étrangères comme
l’allemand, le français et l’anglais à travers de sa filière Baccalauréat en Langues.
Ainsi, pendant les quatre premières années d'enseignement basique
secondaire, les étudiants du sixième au neuvième degré réalisent une rotation
dans laquelle, ils doivent suivre des cours d'allemand et de français avec une
intensité d'une heure par semaine. En ce qui concerne l'anglais, c'est une matière
obligatoire comprise à l'intérieur du curriculum selon les prémisses de la Loi
Générale d'Éducation.
Par ailleurs, le Baccalauréat en Langues dispose d'une intensité de trois
heures par semaine dans le dixième degré, et quatre dans la dernière année de la
secondaire. Les cours de français à l’INEM suivent, la même démarche de
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l'anglais. Cependant, le Baccalauréat en Langues a une grande limitation en ce qui
concerne le développement de compétences en langue étrangère, puisque les
cours offerts par le lycée dans cette modalité obéissent seulement aux notions de
base de la grammaire bien qu'ils essaient de suivre la perspective actionnelle et le
développement des compétences de compréhension et de production proposées
par le CECR.
L'une des difficultés qui a l'INEM est l'absence d'une méthode car on ne
peut pas obliger les apprenants à acheter un livre guide. En outre, les professeurs
ont déclaré que les méthodes qu'ils connaissent, actuellement, ne correspondent
ni aux âges des étudiants ni à leur contexte. À ce problème il faut ajouter les
conditions d’embauche des enseignants et le manque de renouvellement de
l’équipe d’enseignants de langues. Actuellement ce lycée, faisant part de l'histoire
éducative du pays, lutte pour maintenir sa philosophie depuis sa création, dans les
années soixante.
Institutions privées
Gymnase Saucará
Le Gymnase Saucará est un établissement éducatif à caractère privé, appartenant
à ASPAEN. (Association Pour l'Enseignement) placé dans la municipalité de
Bucaramanga.
Depuis ses débuts, ASPAEN - Gymnase Saucará présente dans sa vision
d'être l'un des centres éducatifs les plus importants de la région. Pour cela, il
258
propose une formation à partir de ses valeurs institutionnelles, le développement
scientifique et l'apprentissage de langues :
"En 2020, ASPAEN Gymnase Saucará sera reconnu dans le
contexte régional et national pour un leadership caractérisé par
l’excellence académique et une ample conscience de responsabilité
sociale des ses élèves et une bonne maîtrise de l’anglais et du
français conformément au CECR." (D’après la vision du Gymnase
Saucará)3
Pour ce fait, le Gymnase Saucará a organisé un programme de français autour de
la méthode Essentiel 1 et 2. Les apprenants étudient le français tout le long du
baccalauréat ayant une intensité de deux heures par semaine du sixième au
dixième et une heure par semaine dans la dernière année. Les cours sont
développés par un enseignant de l’Alliance Française de Bucaramanga. En
général, les séances se déroulent autour du travail individuel et aussi de groupe à
partir de fiches pédagogiques, jeux de rôles et un renforcement des aspects
grammaticaux et lexicaux en se servant du cahier d’exercices. On privilégie le
travail par compétences qui se réalise dans la salle de classe et dans le laboratoire
de langues, espace conçu pour le travail avec les TICE.
Une fois arrivés à
onzième degré, les apprenants certifient leur niveau A2 lors de la passation de
l’examen DELF dans les installations de l’AFB.
Les acteurs et leur rôle dans le projet
3
D’après : http://www.saucara.edu.co/plan_bilinguismo.html
259
La mise en route d’un projet si grand et important comme celui de la réinsertion de
la langue française dans les établissements éducatifs suppose la présence et la
participation de plusieurs acteurs à savoir, des institutions du gouvernement local,
des établissements éducatifs publics et pourquoi pas privés qui s’engagent dans le
développement d’un programme de français en accord aux besoins des institutions
et des apprenants. Nonobstant, la responsabilité de cette initiative dans la ville de
Bucaramanga, est en mains de deux institutions : La Mairie de Bucaramanga et
l’Alliance Française.
 Mairie de Bucaramanga
« L’implémentation du Plan National de Bilinguisme dans les établissements
publics de la ville de Bucaramanga s’est fortifiée grâce aux actions cherchant
l’amélioration de celui-ci »4 a affirmé le Secrétaire d’Éducation Municipal, Luis
Alfonso Montero Luna lors de la dernière rencontre National de Secrétaires.
À cette même occasion, le fonctionnaire de la Mairie de Bucaramanga a
annoncé que la nouvelle étape à développer serait la mise en route d’un
programme pilote adressé aux enseignants voulant renforcer le français comme
deuxième ou troisième langue, ceci dans le cadre de l’accord signé entre
l’Administration Municipal et l’Alliance Française de Bucaramanga.
Ainsi, la Mairie accomplit une de ses lignes stratégiques d’action proposées dans
le
Plan
de
Développement
2008–2011 concernant
le
Bilinguisme
:
4
D’après: http://www.vanguardia.com/historico/98723-alcaldia-intensifica-programa-de-ingles-y-francespara-docentes
260
« Développement de programmes visant à améliorer la formation des enseignants
et l’assurance de la qualité des programmes et des établissements qui offrent des
cours de langues »
 Alliance Française Bucaramanga
Dans le cadre de la réinsertion du Français dans les lycées publics à
Bucaramanga, le rôle de l’Alliance Française (AFB) est sans doute très important.
Depuis l’année dernière, l’AFB est responsable de former des enseignants du
secteur public, notamment des professeurs d’anglais, espagnol et également
sciences devenant ainsi centre formateur de formateurs. Ces formations ont pour
but essentiel de fournir tous les outils linguistiques et méthodologiques aux
enseignants pour qu’ils puissent renforcer leurs connaissances en théorie
d’acquisition des langues étrangères tout comme d’améliorer et de dynamiser leurs
pratiques pédagogiques de FLE. Il s’agit alors d’entraîner des enseignants qui
seront, à court terme, les responsables des cours de français dans leurs
établissements.
Pendant cette année, ces groupes de professeurs ont assisté aux cours intensifs
de langue Française avec des enseignants de l’Alliance Française ; il faudrait
préciser qu’il ne s’agit pas de débutants car ils ont suivi la Licence en Langues soit
à l’Université Industrielle de Santander, soit à l’Université de Pamplona. Ils suivent
la méthode Alter Ego et on peut constater des énormes progrès en compétence
communicative chez eux. Côté pédagogie, ces enseignants ont eu des rencontres
261
nettement académiques lors desquelles ils ont abordé des sujets de méthodologie
tels que : Antécédents de la méthodologie, Enseignement du français précoce et
des sujets de didactique comme, la pédagogie de la grammaire, la pédagogie de la
phonétique, l’expression et interaction des adolescents en classe de F.L.E. et la
conception d’une séquence pédagogique et pédagogie de grands groupes.
Finalement, un atelier de culture et civilisation francophone et contemporaine vient
compléter la liste d’ateliers.
Ces formations ont été accompagnées de discussions, de travail de groupe,
des débats, des échanges, des réflexions sur la réalité de l’enseignant colombien
et de l’enseignement de langues étrangères dans notre contexte, de tâches
pratiques mettant en œuvre la théorie abordée et finalement, la présentation d’un
projet pédagogique s’agissant de la création du programme de français qui a été
conçu en fonction des conditions accordées au celui-ci dans leurs institutions. De
cette façon, l’Alliance Française s’engage dans le Programme National de
Bilinguisme avec des actions concrètes et immédiates, rendant les futurs
enseignants de français mieux préparés pour faire face au défi qui représente cette
réintroduction du français dans les établissements d’éducation publique.
La réintroduction du français et l’enseignement supérieur
262
En ce qui concerne l’enseignement supérieur, on cherche à promouvoir des
programmes
de
formation
et
d’amélioration
de
l'enseignement
et
de
l'apprentissage des langues étrangères.
Quant au français, l’Ambassade de France en Colombie à travers son
programme de Service de Coopération et d’Action culturelle (SCAC) encourage
l’exercice de la mobilité académique au sein de l’enseignement supérieur, tout en
proposant des différents accords institutionnels tels que la reconnaissance
bilatérale des études et des diplômes ou de doubles diplômes aux niveaux de
Licence, avec la possibilité de poursuivre des études en Master et Doctorat.
Dans le cas Bucaramanga, des différentes universités françaises ont signé
des accords avec des universités locales, afin de gérer des liens de coopération
académique et de recherche, et bien sûr, de mobilité.
L’Université Industrielle de Santander par exemple, a des accords avec
différentes universités françaises telles que l’Université de Nice, l’Université de
Grenoble ou l’École d’ingénieurs de Metz. D’autre part, des universités telles que
l’UNAB (Université Autonome de Bucaramanga) les UTS (Unités Technologiques
de Santander) l’USTA (Université Saint Thomas d’Aquino), parmi d’autres ont
participé dans des journées de formation d’enseignants par rapport aux sujets
comme l’enseignement du français depuis des domaines différents de celui de
langue. Ceci comme part du projet de la promotion d’espaces bilingues dans la
salle de classe. Autrement dit, le développement des cours dans les deux langues,
263
bien entendu, cherchant à sensibiliser à la langue, en premier lieu, mais aussi à
former des professionnels intègres et performants dans leur domaine.
Preuve de ceci est le bilan rendu par les UTS en 2009 mentionnant la
formation, en langue française, de 30 enseignants dans le cadre de la convention
souscrite entre le Gouvernement Français, les Unités Technologiques de
Santander, la Mairie de Bucaramanga et l'Alliance Française, afin d'offrir à ses
étudiants et enseignants, les options pour réaliser des études d'échange en
France et d'autres études de troisième cycle, de master et doctorat dans ce pays.
L’Avenir
La réintroduction du français dans l'éducation colombienne suppose un défi et un
engagement de notre part. Dans le cas Bucaramanga, il y a des exemples
remarquables d'une forte campagne de réintroduction, c’est ainsi que la ville et les
établissements éducatifs se préparent à continuer avec ce projet. Preuve de cela
est le lycée New Cambridge, où la langue française est enseignée depuis 3 ans
ayant un bon accueil de la part des étudiants et des administratifs. Cet
établissement dispose d'une intensité horaire de 2 heures par semaine de sixième
au neuvième et d'une heure dans la dernière année. Bien que l'Alliance Française
de Bucaramanga ne participe pas directement à la formation de ces élèves ; elle
ouvre ses portes pour qu'ils puissent profiter de toutes les activités académiques et
culturelles, a travers la fraternité de la langue et de l'amour pour celle-ci.
264
En outre, l'Alliance Française de Bucaramanga et le Lycée de La
Présentation ont entrepris dès 2011, un programme pilote d'enseignement du
français en tant que cours électif pour des enfants à partir de sept ans. En 2012,
l'établissement éducatif adopte le français comme un cours obligatoire dans son
plan d'études ayant des enseignants de l’Alliance Française de Bucaramanga
comme responsables.
Cependant, les projets qui sont déjà en marche et ceux qui en viendront ne
doivent pas être vus comme des cas isolés, mais comme un appui dans cette idée
de réintroduction de la langue française qui aide à l’élargissement culturel et
professionnel de notre ville – dans le cas local – de notre région, voire du pays.
Conclusions
La langue française a eu une place évidente dans le contexte colombien, depuis le
début de l’éducation dans notre pays; et l'enseignement de celle-ci a tenu, malgré
les changements et les diverses réformes que l'éducation a subies, le long de tant
d'années en cherchant un modèle éducatif pour la Colombie. Alors, la
réintroduction du français nous offre l’opportunité de créer une forte politique
linguistique et des stratégies visant l'amélioration des pratiques pédagogiques en
didactique du FLE.
Il ne faut pas oublier le rôle que le français a joué dans notre histoire comme
la langue des intellectuels, des privilégiés, de l’élite. Ce statut, déchu pendant des
265
années, a repris aujourd’hui toute sa valeur, se positionnant comme l’une des
langues les plus importantes dans la scène culturelle et diplomatique
internationale. C’est justement ce caractère culturel, qui la rend au même niveau
de l’anglais et aussi lui confère une place remarquable dans la fleuraison de la
conscience d’appartenir à une société multiculturelle.
La réintroduction du français a besoin d'un programme dans lequel prime
une composante culturelle qui n’aille pas au détriment de la culture locale, mais qui
vise à la connaissance de notre propre culture et de notre langue. En somme,
cette réintroduction de la langue française exige que les besoins réels de nos
apprenants, de nos enseignants et de nos établissements soient tenus en compte
pour que l’on puisse accomplir les objectifs proposés dans le PNB, quant à la
formation des élèves compétents et capables d'affronter les défis de cette société
multiculturelle.
BIBLIOGRAPHIE
CALVET , Jean Louis, (1996), Les politiques linguistiques, Collection Que sais-je?
Presse universitaire, Paris.
CALVET , Jean Louis, (1999), Mondialisation, langues et politiques linguistiques,
Université Aix-en-Provence.
266
CONDAT, Sophie, (2010), Bilinguisme et enseignement bilingüe, CIEP.
GAJO, Laurent, (2009), « Politiques Educatives et Enjeux Socio-Didactiques :
L’enseignement Bilingue Francophone et Ses Modeles », in GLOTTOPOL, Revue
de sociolinguistique en ligne n° 13 – juillet 2009.
NUEVA LEY GENERAL DE EDUCACIÓN, Ley 115 de 1994 y Ley 60 de 1993
Ediciones Fecode.
PINEDA C., Roberto (2000), “El derecho a la lengua, una historia de la política
lingüística en Colombia” in Estudios antropológicos, N4, Ediciones Uniandes,
Bogotá. 2000.
SITOGRAPHIE
ASPAEN, Gimnasio Saucará, VISION [En ligne] :
http://www.saucara.edu.co/plan_bilinguismo.html
BILINGÜISMO EN COLOMBIA PERSPECTIVAS GLOBALES Y LOCALES [En
ligne] http://www.mineducacion.gov.co/observatorio/1722/article-170864.html
MEN
267
CHOMSKY, Noam: “¿EL BILINGÜISMO Y EL PLURILINGÜISMO SON UNA
REALIDAD CRECIENTE?: [En ligne]
http://observatoireplurilinguisme.eu/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id
=3096&Itemid=88888984
DOSCIENTOS AÑOS DEL FRANCÉS EN COLOMBIA, [En ligne]
http://www.monografias.com/trabajos10/colom/colom.shtml
COOPERATION UNIVERSITAIRE, AMBASSADE DE FRANCE EN COLOMBIE,
[En ligne]: http://www.ambafrance-co.org/Cooperation-Universitaire-et
DECRETO 2082 DE 1996. “CAPÍTULO I”. “Aspectos generales”. Dado en Santafé
de Bogotá, D.C., a 18 de noviembre de 1996. Pris de [En ligne] :
http://www.col.opsoms.org/juventudes/Situacion/LEGISLACION/EDUCACION/ED2
08296.htm
PLAN NACIONAL DE BILINGÜISMO, [En ligne]:
http://www.colombiaaprende.edu.co/html/productos/1685/article-158720.html
REINTRODUCCIÓN DEL FRANCÉS EN LOS COLEGIOS PÚBLICOS, [En ligne]
http://www.ambafrance-co.org/spip.php?article1210#Reintroduccion-de-laensenanza-del Embajada de Francia en Colombia
268
RODRIGUEZ, Diana. Histoire de l’enseignement du F.L.E. en Colombie dans
l’enseignement secondaire, Mémoire de Thèse de Doctorat, Université Paris III–La
Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris. 1994, Tomado de [En ligne] http://www.fenascol.org.co/
VANGUARDIA LIBERAL, BUCARAMANGA: INTENSIFICACIÓN EN EL
PROGRAMA DE INGLÉS Y DE FRANCÉS, [En ligne]
http://www.vanguardia.com/historico/98723-alcaldia-intensifica-programa-deingles-y-frances-para-docentes
269
BIOGRAPHIE DES AUTEURS
Diplômé de la Licence en espagnol et littérature de l’Université Industrielle
de Santander, M. Ivan VARGAS** a travaillé depuis l’année 2010 à l’Alliance
Française de Bucaramanga comme enseignant de FLE où il a suivi plusieurs
stages de formation en didactique de FLE. Actuellement il est professeur du FLE à
l’Université de Pamplona.
Aussi, il a participé dans plusieurs congrès parmi lesquels on peut signaler
le XXIe Congrès National de l´ACOLPROF « La réintroduction du français en
Colombie: du repli au renouveau » Bogotá, 2011 ; où il présente ce travail en cocréation avec Mme Andrea JIMÉNEZ*. Mme JIMENEZ est titulaire d’une Licence
en Langues Étrangères et poursuit actuellement en Master en FLE.
Elle est
professeur de langues étrangères à l’Université Santo Tomás de Aquino de
Bucaramanga et aussi enseignante de FLE à l’Alliance Francaise de la même ville.
270
L’évaluation interne et externe, une réflexion pour connaître et déterminer le
niveau des étudiants.
Lucy DURÁN BECERRA*
Résumé.
L’évaluation est un élément important dans le processus d’apprentissage d’une langue
parce qu’elle permet de valoriser et de réguler tout ce qui concerne le progrès des étudiants.
C’est pourquoi, au cœur de la Licence en langues, les enseignants ont fait la réflexion de
savoir pourquoi l’évaluation externe (DELF / DALF) ne reflétait pas le travail qu’ils
faisaient dans les cours a fin d’obtenir le niveau demandé. Cette analyse est née d’après les
résultats obtenus par les étudiants présentant des épreuves externes et la décision de les
éliminer comme un requis pour continuer au semestre suivant (4ème et 8ème). Pour
commencer à résoudre cette problématique, on a décidé d’analyser comment l‘évaluation
est travaillée. On a constaté qu’elle était abordé de plusieurs façons, et à partir de cette
situation deux questions sont émergées Pour commencer à envisager cette réflexion deux
questions ont émergé: - Pourquoi la plupart des élèves réussissaient les évaluations
internes et échouaient les externes ? , ou vice-versa ? - La formation à l’intérieur des cours
est-elle adaptée aux niveaux d’exigence du programme ? Alors, comme une mesure de
changement et de renforcement des pratiques pédagogiques, on a décidé d’adopter le
modèle des examens de langue française DELF et DALF dans le but de concevoir
l’évaluation sommative que chaque période doit être faite pour mesurer ce que les étudiants
apprennent dans chaque cours.
Mots clés : Évaluation interne, externe, DELF/DALF, Niveaux de langues.
INTRODUCTION
L’évaluation est un élément important dans le processus d’apprentissage d’une
langue, parce qu’elle permet de valoriser et de réguler tout ce qui concerne le
progrès des étudiants. Cet article décrit les dispositifs d’évaluation mis en place à
l’intérieur de la Licence en Langues Étrangères avec l’évaluation externe, selon les
référentiels au niveau international. Cette analyse est née d’après les résultats
obtenus par les étudiants passant des évaluations externes et le débat autour de la
question de leur inclusion comme exigence académique pour poursuivre les cours
de langue de 4ème et 8ème semestre.
Comme une mesure de changement et de renforcement des pratiques
pédagogiques, d’articuler l’évaluation interne et externe, on a décidé d’adopter la
structure des examens de langue française DELF et DALF dans le but de
concevoir l’évaluation pendant chaque période afin d’évaluer ce que les étudiants
ont appris. Au fil du temps, on pourra savoir si le modèle des épreuves externes
aide les étudiants à démontrer les compétences acquises au cours de chaque
période, en tenant compte le niveau attendu pour le semestre.
1. LES OBJECTIFS À OBTENIR
À travers le travail que les enseignants ont commencé à faire, quelques objectifs
ont été proposés afin de suivre le processus au cours des semestres et aussi
272
comme une façon de faire couramment des réflexions autour des pratiques
pédagogiques en matière d’évaluation. Les buts à atteindre sont :
- Familiariser les étudiants avec le modèle des épreuves DELF/DALF.
- Faire prendre conscience aux étudiants de mettre en pratique ce qui est
travaillé dans et à l’extérieur de la salle de clase pour obtenir le niveau
requis par le semestre en cours.
- Développer l’autonomie chez les étudiants pour connaitre le niveau où ils
se trouvent, prendre les mesures nécessaires pour fortifier ce qui est acquis
et chercher les stratégies nécessaires pour améliorer les faiblesses
détectées au cours du semestre.
2. QUESTIONS DE LA RÉFLEXION.
Pour commencer à envisager cette réflexion deux questions ont émergé:
- Pourquoi la plupart des élèves réussissaient les évaluations internes et
échouaient les externes ? , ou vice-versa ?
- La formation à l’intérieur des cours est-elle adaptée aux niveaux d’exigence du
programme ?
3. LE PROCESSUS D’ÉVALUATION.
En tenant compte del’axe central de ce travail, il est important de faire référence à
quelques termes tels que évaluer, le processus d’évaluation, l’évaluation
273
sommative, l’évaluation interne, l’évaluation externe, les niveaux de langue et
l’autonomie, expliqués ci-dessous.
« Évaluer » comporte plusieurs sens, mais on reprendra celui qui concerne le
processus d’enseignement et d’apprentissage des langues.(Cuq et Gruca, 2003),
affirment :
« Evaluer signifie déterminer précisément ce qu’on veut évaluer et mesurer,
c'est-à-dire définir au préalable les objectifs, les situations et les tâches,
dresser un inventaire d’actes de parole, définir les niveaux à atteindre ou
une hiérarchie de niveaux, définir les critères d’évaluation et les critères de
passation des tests, etc. L’évaluation d’une langue est donc un processus
complexe, d’autant plus qu’il faut évaluer la compétence des apprenants
non seulement en fonction d’une composante socioculturelle et des
composantes disciplinaires. (p. 212) »
Le processus d’évaluation des apprentissages « a pour but d’obtenir de la part des
étudiant-e-s une trace ou un témoignage qu’ils/elles ont réalisé les apprentissages
ou développé les compétences visées par le cours ». (Daele et Berthiaume, 2011)
Aussi il est important de tenir compte que le processus d’évaluation
permettra de réfléchir et pour ce faire on tiendra compte du schéma ci-dessous
parce qu’à partir de ces questions on pourra envisager ce mécanisme au cœur de
l’enseignement du français.
274
2. Observation
Comment
obtenir une trace
d'apprentissage?
1. Clarification
Quel
apprentissage
veut- on évaluer?
3. Interpretation
Comment
analyser cette
trace de
l'apprentissage?
Évaluation
Figure 1 : Adapté de Pellegrino, J.W.,Chodowsy,N., &Glasser,R. (2001)
Quant à l’évaluation, il en existe plusieurs types, mais pour la nature de cet
article on ne tiendra compte que de trois suivants :
-
L’évaluation sommative : Selon le Cadre Européen Commun de référence
pour les Langues (CECRL), elle contrôle les acquis à la fin du cours et leur
attribue une note ou un rang. L’évaluation sommative est souvent formative,
ponctuelle et teste le savoir.
-
L’évaluation interne : Elle est réalisée par le formateur.
-
L’évaluation externe : Elle est prise en charge par des personnes
extérieures au dispositif de formation (Cuq et Gruca, 2003 ).
275
Pour évaluer l’apprentissage des étudiants il est important de bien connaître les
six niveaux de langue que propose le CECRL autour desquels s’articule la
composante des langues et cultures de la Licence en Langues Étrangères.
NIVEAU DE LANGUE SELON LE
COMPOSANTE LINGUISTIQUE DE
CECRL
LA LICENCE EN LANGUES.
Niveau introductif ou découverte (A1)
1er Semestre
Niveau intermédiaire ou de survie (A2)
2ème Semestre
Niveau seuil (B1)
3ème et 4ème Semestre
Niveau avancé ou indépendant (B2)
5ème, 6ème et 7ème Semestre
Le niveau autonome (C1)
8ème et 9ème Semestre
Figure 2 : Tableau Explicatif : Articulation des Niveaux de Langue - Composante Linguistique.
-
Le Niveau Introductif ou Découverte (A1):L'étudiant peut comprendre et
utiliser des expressions familières et quotidiennes ainsi que des énoncés
très simples qui visent à satisfaire des besoins concrets. Il peut se présenter
ou présenter quelqu'un et poser à une personne des questions la
concernant (lieu d'habitation, relations, ce qui lui appartient…). Il peut
répondre au même type de questions. Il peut communiquer de façon simple
si l'interlocuteur parle lentement et distinctement et se montre coopératif.
276
-
Le Niveau Intermédiaire ou de Survie (A2) :L'étudiant peut comprendre des
phrases isolées et des expressions fréquemment utilisées en relation avec
des domaines immédiats de priorité (informations personnelles ou
familiales, achats, environnement proche, travail). Il peut communiquer lors
de
tâches
simples
et
habituelles
ne
demandant
qu'un
échange
d'informations simple et direct sur des sujets familiers et habituels. Il peut
décrire avec des moyens simples sa formation, son environnement
immédiat et évoquer des sujets familiers et habituels ou qui correspondent à
des besoins immédiats.
-
Le Niveau Seuil (B1):L'étudiant peut comprendre les points essentiels
quand un langage clair et standard est utilisé et s'il s'agit de choses
familières dans le travail, à l'école, les loisirs… Il peut se débrouiller dans la
plupart des situations rencontrées en voyage dans une région où la langue
est parlée. Il peut produire un discours simple et cohérent sur des sujets
familiers et dans ses domaines d'intérêt. Il peut raconter un événement,
uneexpérience ou un rêve, décrire un espoir ou un but et exposer
brièvement des raisons ou explications pour un projet ou une idée.
-
Le Niveau Avancé ou Indépendant (B2) :L'étudiant peut comprendre le
contenu essentiel de sujets concrets ou abstraits dans un texte complexe, y
compris une discussion technique dans sa spécialité. Il peut communiquer
avec un degré de spontanéité et d'aisance telle qu'une conversation avec
un locuteur natif ne comporte de tension ni pour l'un ni pour l'autre. Il peut
277
s'exprimer de façon claire et détaillée sur une grande gamme de sujets,
émettre un avis sur un sujet d'actualité et exposer les avantages et
inconvénients de différentes possibilités.
-
Le Niveau Autonome (C1):L'étudiant peut comprendre une grande gamme
de textes longs et exigeants, ainsi que saisir des significations implicites. Il
peut s'exprimer spontanément et couramment sans trop apparemment
devoir chercher ses mots. Il peut utiliser la langue de façon efficace et
souple dans sa vie sociale, professionnelle ou académique. Il peut
s'exprimer sur des sujets complexes de façon claire et bien structurée et
manifester son contrôle des outils d'organisation, d'articulation et de
cohésion du discours.
En dernier lieu, il faut aborder l’autonomie, que selon Barbot (2000),« implique
une valorisation de la capacité de chacun à s’autoréguler, d’autocentrer avec des
normes les conditions de son apprentissage, de le calibrer selon le mode d’être qui
lui est propre et ses nécessités ».
4. LA MÉTHODOLOGIE.
Pour faire ce travail, on a utilisé la recherche – action, définie par Kemmis &
McTaggart (1998), comme délibérée.
Elle est caractérisée par des cycles en
spirale d'identification des problèmes, collecte systématique de données, de
réflexion, d'analyse, des mesures prises à partir de l’analyse, et, enfin, la
278
redéfinition du problème. Le lien entre les termes «action» et «recherche» souligne
les caractéristiques essentielles de cette méthode: tester des idées dans la
pratique comme un moyen d’augmente les connaissances sur l'amélioration ou de
curriculum, l'enseignement et l'apprentissage (cité dans Ferrance, 2000, p.26)
Pour démarrer le travail, les enseignants qui conforment le groupe de
français, ont commencé à réviser à nouveau les différents objectifs à réussir selon
le niveau ayant comme référence le CECRL, la progression que l’évaluation devait
avoir, et les critères pour mesurer la performance des élèves dans les quatre
compétences visées aux épreuves pour reformuler l’évaluation qui se faisait
auparavant. Aussi on a décidé d’analyser comment l‘évaluation est travaillée par
les professeurs au cours des différents semestres.
Cette étude préliminaire a constaté que cela était abordé de plusieurs
façons selon la méthodologie, style et priorité de chaque enseignant. C’est
pourquoi, les enseignants ont adopté les niveaux proposés par le CECRL et la
structure des épreuves DELF et DALF, pour concevoir l’évaluation de chaque
semestre, relevant la compréhension ainsi que la production orale et écrite de
l’étudiant.
Une note supérieure ou égale à 30/50 est demandée pour réussir
l’examen pour adapter le seuil de réussite aux contraintes évaluatives
institutionnelles.
Pour la production orale, on a décidé de faire une évaluation collective,
c'est-à-dire que l’enseignant titulaire du cours et un autre sont les personnes
279
responsables de mesurer la performance des étudiants. De cette manière on
cherche à avoir un point de vue différent et objectif de ce que les étudiants sont
capables de faire en utilisant la langue cible.
On a adopté la recherche action car c’est la manière la plus simple de savoir
si le travail effectué en classe et le mode d’évaluation des étudiants fournissent les
résultats attendus afin de réduire l’écart trouvé entre l’évaluation interne et externe.
Ainsi il sera possible aussi que l’étudiant valorise son propre apprentissage pour
qu’il connaisse le niveau où il se trouve et prendre les mesures nécessaires pour
fortifier ce qu’il a déjà acquis et chercher les stratégies nécessaires pour améliorer
les faiblesses détectées au cours du semestre à l’aide de l’enseignant.
Cette recherche action suit son cours et un bilan est dressé à la fin de
chaque période. L’opportunité est donnée aux étudiants d’exprimer leur point de
vue concernant cette nouvelle forme d’évaluation.
REFERENCES
BARBOT, M.-J. Les auto-apprentissages. Paris. Clé International. 2000, p. 22.
Cadre Européen Commun de Référence pour les Langues : Apprendre, Enseigner.
Évaluer. (2001) Editions Didier. Paris.
280
CUQ, J. et GRUCA I. (2003) Cours de Didactique du Français Langue Étrangère et
Seconde. Grenoble. Presses Universitaires de Grenoble.
DAELE A. et BERTHIAUME D. (2011). « Choisir ses stratégies d’évaluation ».
Université de Lausanne. Février 2011.
FERRANCE, E.Themes in Education: Action Research.(2000).Copyright © 2000
Brown University.
PELLEGRINO, J.W.,Chodowsy,N., &Glasser,R. (2001). Knowing what students
know: The Science and Design of Educational Assesment. Washington,
D.C: National Academy Press
* BIOGRAPHIE
Lucy DURÁN BECERRA a été enseignante temps - partiel de Français comme
Langue Étrangère (FLE) pendant 5 ans à l’Université de Pamplona en Colombie.
Elle a fait ses études de Licence en Langues Étrangères et une Spécialisation en
Pédagogie Universitaire à la même institution éducative. Actuellement, elle fait un
Master en Linguistique et Didactique de Langues à l’Université Rennes 2.
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Utilisation des textes informatifs pour l’intégration des compétences communicatives de la
langue française: une recherche-action dans une université publique en Colombie.
Laura M. Torres Alvarez
Enseignante en Langues Étrangères Anglais- Français
Université de Pamplona Colombie
Résumé
Ce projet a été le résultat d’une expérience dans le stage pédagogique d’un étudiant de Langues
étrangères. Son développement a abordé deux axes centraux : le premier a été la composante
pédagogique qui interrogeait sur la réponse des étudiants vers l’implémentation de 3 types de
textes informatifs afin d’intégrer le travail des compétences de la langue française. La deuxième
composante était celle de la recherche qui questionnait comment l’emploi de la recherche-action
aide à améliorer le processus d’enseignement- apprentissage chez les stagiaires.
Le projet a eu lieu dans une université publique en Colombie, plus spécifiquement dans le
programme de Licence en Langues Étrangères Anglais-Français. La durée de la mise en marche a
été d’un semestre académique et la population analysée a été les étudiants de quatrième semestre
du programme de langues étrangères. L’étude a adopté la recherche-action comme méthode de
recherche et l’information a été récoltée en utilisant des tests diagnostiques, des observations, des
interviews et un journal de bord. Les résultats de cette étude montrent que l’usage de textes
informatifs aide à l’intégration des 4 compétences des langues mais il exige d’un travail
constant, rigoureux et exigeant de la part de l’enseignant, car comme tout matériel authentique,
ils sont riches en éléments linguistiques et culturels et que l’usage quotidien de la rechercheaction dans le processus d’enseignement-apprentissage est un grand support pour les enseignants
et les stagiaires à l’heure de comprendre la réalité trouvée dans les salles de classe.
Mots-clés : Textes Informatifs, recherche-action, stage, compétence communicative.
Introduction
L’enseignement de l'anglais ou du français comme langue étrangère n'est pas un travail facile et
il implique deux acteurs principaux, un enseignant et un étudiant. Le rôle du professeur est
d'aider les élèves à apprendre au cours d'un processus complexe qui contemple la pratique en
classe formelle et l'apprentissage dehors de la classe. Dans ce processus d'enseignement les
enseignants sont responsables de ce qui est enseigné, les ressources utilisées, le type d'activités et
d'encourager les élèves à prendre en charge leur propre apprentissage. Ce sujet a été étudié par
une grande quantité de chercheurs en éducation autour du monde. C'est le cas de la Colombie où
le Ministère de l’Education Nationale a créé « Le Plan National de Bilinguisme » comme réponse
à la compétitivité exigée dans le monde. Dans ce contexte on trouve le projet de réintroduction
de français.
L'objectif principal de ce plan consiste à formuler des politiques pour l’enseignement des
langues étrangères dans tout le système éducatif. De plus, il vise un engagement dans les
différents secteurs de la société avec la promotion d'une langue seconde. Le Cadre Européen
Commun de Référence pour les Langues est le document international qui a servi de guide lors de
la constitution de ce projet ambitieux de toute la Colombie. Il décrit d'une manière globale ce que
les apprenants et enseignants de langues doivent apprendre à faire pour utiliser un langage afin de
se communiquer et les compétences qu'ils doivent développer pour agir efficacement dans la
langue cible. Le cadre définit également les niveaux de compétences qui permettent d’évaluer le
progrès des apprenants à chaque étape de leur apprentissage.
Dans ce contexte, les universités colombiennes ont l’obligation d’adapter leurs programmes de
formations de professeurs de langues. L’université où ce projet a été développé est située dans le
département de Norte de Santander et a établi dans son projet éducatif institutionnel la nécessité
de former des professionnels qui soient partie intégrante, des agents de changement et des
promoteurs de la paix, la dignité humaine et le développement national. Son Programme de
Licence en Langues Étrangères Anglais – Français a pour but de former des diplômés réflexifs
et compétents dans les composantes linguistique, pédagogique et de la recherche lors de
l'enseignement des langues anglaise et française dans un contexte local ou global.
Il est nécessaire de remarquer que ce projet a eu comme épicentre de recherche le cours de
français de quatrième semestre. Dans ce contexte, une recherche-action a été développée comme
partie du stage demandé aux étudiants de la licence à la fin de leurs études. Ce stage a comporté
deux éléments principaux: une composante pédagogique et une composante de recherche.
Problématique
Ce projet a eu lieu dans le programme de Licence en Langues Étrangères d’une université
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publique en Colombie et il a été exécuté avec les étudiants de quatrième semestre de français, un
cours composé par 32 étudiants qui devaient réussir le niveau B1 à la fin du semestre. Les points
faibles présentés par cette population avaient de relation directe avec leurs connaissances dans la
langue cible, parmi lesquels on a trouvé que certains de ces étudiants n'étaient pas en mesure de
parler avec précision et aisance dans la langue cible.
En termes de la production et utilisation de la langue française dans la classe, on peut dire qu'ils
répondaient aux questions de l'enseignant d'une manière courte, ils n'étaient pas capables de
parler d'un sujet précis pendant cinq minutes environ et d’aborder différents côtés de la question.
Aussi certains parmi eux ne possédaient pas l’habileté de parler avec aisance ce qui était apprécié
aussi au moment où ils devaient écrire. La grande majorité faisait des erreurs élémentaires en
termes de grammaire. En ce qui concerne la prononciation, la majorité des étudiants ont présenté
des difficultés en prononçant des sons nasaux, en faisant des liens entre les mots et en produisant
de sons propres de la langue cible.
Ainsi en analysant cette situation et le fait qu’il a été une stagiaire l’enseignante en chargée de
faire face à cette situation, il a été proposé l'élaboration d'un plan en utilisant les textes
informatifs comme outil pour intégrer le travail des quatre compétences linguistiques dans cette
population avec l'intention de devenir des étudiants plus précis lors de la structuration, la
production et le développement d’exercices qui exigeaient un niveau B1 dans les quatre
compétences communicatives de la langue française. En plus, on a cherché de savoir quelle était
les réponses des étudiants face à l’implémentation de cet outil, les possibles avantages et
désavantages de son usage et d’une autre côté on s’est questionné comment le stage peut être
enrichi à travers l’implémentation de la recherche- action dedans les cours.
Cadre Théorique
Le stage est un complément de la formation qui apporte de nouvelles connaissances spécialisées,
elle facilite la construction de savoirs particuliers et renforce les méthodes d’apprentissage
traditionnelles, permet d’atténuer le choc du passage à la vie active par des multiples expériences
concrètes et finalement facilite aux futurs enseignants de se confronter avec des professionnels
en action (Escourrou, 2007).
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Pour accomplir les objectifs de ce stage de formation, on a proposé un projet pour l’intégration
des compétences communicatives au sein du groupe de quatrième tenant compte de l'approche
communicative qui est basée sur l'idée que l'apprentissage d'une langue signifie apprendre à
communiquer efficacement dans le monde dehors de la classe. L'objectif principal de cette
approche est d'apprendre à communiquer dans la langue cible et quelques-unes des principales
caractéristiques sont: un accent considérable sur l’utilisation du langage plutôt que sur sa
structure ; des activités orales et écrites peuvent être utilisées à partir du démarrage et les classes
utilisent une présentation-pratique-production (Lindsay & Knight, 2006).
Comme l'un des objectifs généraux lors de l'apprentissage d'une langue est celui de
communiquer, il est nécessaire de développer les quatre compétences langagières : lire, parler,
écrire et écouter. Donc, il apparaît l’approche intégrée des compétences définie par Oxford
(2001) comme une méthode qui présente l'instruction en termes de compétences liées à des
stratégies d'apprentissage: stratégies de lecture, d’écoute, d'écriture, et de production. Mettre en
pratique l'approche intégrée dans une classe demande à l’enseignant de faire davantage d'efforts
dans le choix des matériaux et la conception des activités en comparaison avec l'enseignement
traditionnel. Pour cette raison, il est nécessaire de rechercher des formes et des matériaux
différents pour mieux intégrer les quatre compétences.
Certains auteurs comme Chen-Y- su (2007) et Du et Lin (1998) ont utilisé l’approche intégrée
avec le but d’acquérir un meilleur développement linguistique chez leurs étudiants et ils ont
trouvé que l’utilisation de textes de la vie réelle et aussi d'une variété de matériaux authentiques
supplémentaires y compris les journaux et les matériaux audio-visuels ont contribué à atteindre
les objectifs pédagogiques de l'intégration des quatre compétences dans l'apprentissage.
Néanmoins, dans un cas l'enseignant a fait plus d’accent sur le développement de la
compréhension orale et de l'écoute, c’est pourquoi le développement et le travail dans les
différentes compétences n'a pas été équitable pendant toute la période des classes et à la fin les
compétences n'ont pas été développées au même niveau comme il avait été prévu.
Dans ce projet l’auteur a implémenté l’usage de 3 types de textes informatifs chez les étudiants
de quatrième semestre. Les textes informatifs sont définis par Duke (2004), comme un type de
texte de non-fiction utilisé pour transmettre des informations sur le monde naturel ou social. Les
caractéristiques communes des textes informatifs comprennent la présentation et la répétition
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d'un sujet, description des attributs et des événements caractéristiques, la structure comparative /
contrastive, le vocabulaire technique, les illustrations, les photographies réalistes, les étiquettes et
les graphiques.
Cependant, il peut être apprécié que les textes informatifs peuvent être classés dans la reconnue
catégorie de textes authentiques définie par Berardo (2006), comme des textes de la vie réelle, à
but communicatif et pas pédagogique, Ils sont donc écrits pour les locuteurs natifs.
Contrairement à des textes non authentiques qui sont spécialement conçus pour l'apprentissage
des langues. La langue dans les textes non authentiques est artificielle et monotone, se
concentrant sur quelque sujet qui doit être enseigné. Les trois types de textes utilisés dans ce
projet ont été : les faits divers caractérisés par la narration des faits d'une façon claire, honnête et
compréhensible. Habituellement, ce type de texte répond aux questions quoi, qui, où, quand et
comment. D'autre part, l'interview genre journalistique qui établit un contact étroit avec des
personnes dont on souhaite obtenir des informations. Souvent, ce genre de réponses concorde
avec les questions de qui et de quoi. Enfin, la conférence dont la caractéristique principale se
trouve dans le fait de présenter des informations précises sur un sujet d'intérêt pour une
communauté spécifique. L'information est présentée sous une forme claire et structurée et
qu'implique l'utilisation d'un vocabulaire technique (Diaz, 2000).
Méthodologie
La méthodologie suivie dans la composante pédagogique a été guidée par l’implémentation de
l’approche communicative et les descripteurs proposés pour le niveau B1 selon le Cadre européen
commun de référence pour les langues, puisque selon les exigences du programme de langues ces
étudiants doivent réussir le niveau B1 à la fin de ce semestre. L’élaboration des fiches
pédagogiques a été basée sur le référentiel établi par le Programme des langues étrangères pour
les étudiants de quatrième semestre de français, les textes informatifs ont été utilisés comme un
outil pour développer les quatre compétences linguistiques chez les élèves en tant que créateur de
différentes activités. En outre, on a utilisé une variété de ressources comme des vidéos, des
chansons, des jeux, des présentations pour complémenter les activités utilisant les textes
informatifs. Les fiches pédagogiques suivaient la structure proposée par l’approche
communicative : warm-up, introduction, présentation, pratique, évaluation et l'application ou une
tâche.
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L'intégration des quatre compétences de communication dans les classes de ce groupe a utilisé de
textes informatifs écrits et oraux trouvés dans des journaux en ligne et des pages web en français,
ces activités ont été complétées par les sujets et les documents oraux contenus dans la méthode
française TOUT VA BIEN 2. De cette façon à partir d’un texte informatif on élaborait les
activités de la semaine. Le rôle donné aux élèves dans les classes a été celui d'un apprenant actif
qui avait la responsabilité et la possibilité de construire leur propre apprentissage à travers le
travail continu dans la langue cible à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la salle de classe.
La deuxième composante a utilisé la recherche-action défini par Donato (2003), comme une
enquête systématique menée par des enseignant-chercheurs afin de recueillir des informations sur
comment leurs élèves apprennent et sur le processus d’enseignement. L'information est recueillie
avec les objectifs de gagner du discernement, développer la pratique réflexive, d'effectuer des
changements positifs dans le milieu scolaire et sur les pratiques d'enseignement en général. Les
étapes qui ont été suivies dans ce projet afin de mener cette recherche-action ont été:
1. Procéder à une série d'interviews et d’observations à l'enseignante de français qui dirigeait le
cours et à quelques étudiants de la population d’étude, afin de savoir les questions qui voulaient
être étudiées. 2. Générer une méthode ou un plan à mettre en œuvre dans la classe. 3. Mettre en
action le plan qui comprenait l'élaboration de fiches pédagogiques, des matériaux, des
évaluations. 4. Recueillir le plus de données à travers les observations, le journal de bord, des
réflexions et des entretiens. Apporter un changement dans la classe quand les stratégies n’étaient
pas assez utiles et continuer à travailler celles qui donnaient des bons résultats. 5. Observer les
effets du plan d'action. Analyser les données recueillies et réfléchir sur le développement de
l'ensemble du processus. 6. Rapporter les conclusions et fournir des considérations aux
enseignants qui voudraient travailler avec la stratégie utilisée dans ce projet ou même l'approche.
Afin d’accomplir toutes ces étapes l’enseignant devait décrire ses classes par semaines et
réfléchir sur les différents sujets comme les matériaux, le rôle des étudiants, la méthode
d’évaluation et à partir de ce travail améliorer et changer les classes quand il était nécessaire. Les
informations recueillies ont été objet d’analyse donnant lieu à 2 catégories et des sous-catégories.
Résultats
Les textes informatifs en tant qu'intégrateurs des compétences de la langue française.
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Avantages de l'utilisation des textes informatifs dans le cours de français de quatrième semestre :
l’utilisation des textes informatifs a montré que les étudiants sont devenus plus participatifs dans
les classes parce que les activités proposées leur demandaient de jouer un rôle actif. Avec le
soutien de ce genre de textes dans le cours, il a été possible de travailler les quatre compétences
de communication d'une manière égale puisque les étudiants dans la première interview ont
manifesté qu'ils n'étaient pas habitués à travailler sur le développement des quatre compétences
en même temps. Au début des classes, il a été un peu difficile de travailler avec les textes parce
que les élèves n'étaient pas familiarisés avec la structure, les traits de vocabulaire et culturels
trouvés dans ce type de textes, difficulté qui a été surpassée avec leur usage quotidien. Les textes
informatifs ont servi de base au moment d'expliquer un nouveau sujet de grammaire ce qui
permettait au stagiaire de présenter les nouvelles connaissances immergées dans un contexte
spécifique et non comme des phrases isolées.
Les différents thèmes proposés par les textes étaient appropriées quand les élèves ont été invités
à écrire ou à parler d'une situation spécifique, puisque cela leur motivait à chercher du nouveau
vocabulaire et à faire la révision de sujets qui parfois ils ne maitrisaient pas. Au début, les
étudiants ont apprécié seulement les sujets sociaux, culturels ou sportifs, mais avec le temps ils se
sont rendu compte qu'il était important de connaître un large éventail de sujets. L'utilisation de
textes informatifs oraux dans les classes a aidé les élèves à se familiariser avec des différentes
intonations, des accents et des rythmes de la lange cible. Ainsi, il a été évident que les textes
informatifs offrent plusieurs avantages au moment de l'enseignement du français. Cependant, le
succès ou l'échec dépendra des stratégies employées par l’enseignant et le rôle donné à eux dans
les classes. À la fin les étudiants sont devenus plus participatifs et ont augmenté leurs
connaissances dans la langue française.
Inconvénients de l'utilisation des textes informatifs avec les étudiants de français de quatrième
semestre : la difficulté de trouver des textes appropriés pour travailler étant donné que les goûts
des étudiants étaient variés a été compensée par la mise en œuvre d'une grande variété d'activités
didactiques dans lesquelles la participation des étudiants a été spontanée. Parmi ce type d'activités
on a trouvé les jeux, les présentations orales et l'écriture centrée sur l'expérience et sur le point de
vue. Trouver un texte informatif oral ou écrit contenant les structures grammaticales précises a
été une tâche difficile qui exigeait de passer des heures devant un ordinateur, puisque celui était
288
le moyen le plus disponible pour trouver des textes authentiques nécessaires pour la classe. Le
principal problème avec les textes informatifs a été au moment de travailler la partie d’écoute
parce que les faits divers, les interviews et les conférences disponibles sur l'internet ont été
difficiles à télécharger, ainsi la stratégie qu’on a utilisée afin de surpasser cet inconvénient a été
de travailler les activités d’écoute seulement quand on avait de cours dans le laboratoire qui avait
de l’internet ce qui signifiait une fois par semaine.
Les textes informatifs approchent les étudiants de la réalité française : la mise en œuvre des
textes informatifs a aidé l'enseignante à exposer les étudiants à la culture française et à sa réalité
grâce à l'utilisation des faits divers actuelles, des conférences et des interviews en utilisant le
vocabulaire, la grammaire et les informations fournies par ces textes, dans cette partie le stagiaire
était demandé de être au courant de la signification de certains traits .
L’usage de textes informatifs a aidé les étudiants à atteindre le niveau B1 : l’un des rôles
différents des textes informatifs avec ce groupe d'étudiants a été celui d’acquérir à la fin du
semestre le niveau B1. Ce travail a été fait à travers d’une pratique constante des quatre
compétences en français demandant les caractéristiques présentées par les descripteurs du CECR
pour ce niveau et entouré de tutorats extérieures aux classes afin de renforcer les connaissances
des étudiants et d’acquérir une pratique des activités exigées par ce niveau de langue .
La recherche-action comme superviseure du stage pédagogique
L'application de la recherche-action a permis à l'enseignante de superviser l'utilisation des textes
informatifs dans les classes et de vérifier si une méthodologie spécifique avec eux vraiment
fonctionnait ou non. Si l'enseignant se rendait compte que l'activité ne marchait, elle devait la
modifier ou même la changer. L'utilisation de la recherche-action a fourni à l'enseignant le fait
d'acquérir une pensée critique qui lui a permis de découvrir que les problèmes d'apprentissage ne
peuvent pas toujours être attribués aux étudiants, mais aussi il est nécessaire d'analyser le rôle de
l'enseignant qui comprend l'utilisation de ressources et la création d'un environnement de classe
pertinent et agréable. Pendant le développement de ce projet, l'utilisation de la recherche-action a
permis à l'enseignant de superviser l'utilisation plus correcte et appropriée des textes informatifs
et donc d'améliorer la qualité et le plaisir des activités et des matériaux utilisés.
289
Les descriptions et réflexions des classes ont été des éléments que l'enseignant a suivi comme un
outil pour analyser si la façon dont elle a enseigné donnait des résultats. Grâce à ces éléments,
l'enseignant a pu changer et innover dans les classes avec le cours de quatrième semestre et
obtenir de cette manière une meilleure réponse en termes de participation, motivation des
étudiants et richesse professionnelle.
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