Action Research On English Intonation Teaching

My survey purposes at bettering intermediate or advanced EFL scholars ‘ modulation ( supra-segmental ) utilizing audio-video AIDSs in combination with assorted activities. The chief focal point is on whether the preparation helps better scholars ‘ modulation and if they can bring forth address with modulation after the preparation or non. The end can be obtained through the theoretical account of action research that involves actions and contemplations. Action research, harmonizing to Whitehead ( 1989 ) and Mcniff ( 1993 ) , constitutes a expression at ‘the inquiries in the category of things which disturb us ‘ and attempts to ‘find out the solution ‘ . The instructors can work as research workers. They develop their ‘professional competency ‘ and assist heighten their pupils ‘ larning through the research. Bing a university instructor, I intensely desire to follow this attack non simply for this PhD survey but besides for my future research calling. This attack enables me to look into every bit good as evaluate my instruction and more determinedly, I can make my ain theory of learning pattern. Furthermore, it would be ideal if the research leads to some alterations in my university policy about English instruction, for illustration, to establish an modulation class either as a separate compulsory class for English big leagues or an optional one for non-English big leagues. As can be seen, action research has evidently entailed a huge figure of benefits for instructors in footings of calling development, allow entirely for a state ‘s instruction promotion.

Following on from the above mentioned grounds, one more ground remainders on the features of an action research itself which is to liberate and empower participants who will take a leading function in pull offing their acquisition methods for their learning benefits. Originating from the thought of learner-centred attack, I am more inclined to take scholars ‘ larning procedure earnestly with the aid of scholars ‘ research journals that contain their contemplations on the instruction and acquisition procedure, questionnaires and recordings so as to happen out the best possible method to ease their acquisition of English modulation. I believe the best method lies in the scholars themselves. Furthermore, action research can enable me to descry jobs in my instruction pattern so that blink of an eye and timely alterations can be made to break the pattern.

The research involves two rhythms with one ultimate end that is to witness the scholars ‘ betterment of talking with modulation. My pupils will move as participants who write their contemplations on their improvement- about how it occurs and my instruction pattern after every preparation session. I act as a trainer, an perceiver and a research worker at the same clip. One native talker will be needed for the appraisal of my pupil ‘s modulation through their pre and post-test recordings. Each six-week rhythm includes 2 phases of preparation of which each session lasts 1 hr. The first 2-week phase focuses on theoretical cognition of supra-segmental facets including pitch, emphasis, affair, elision, beat and modulation ; and on consciousness elevation, the 2nd 4-week phase on pattern of talking with right emphasis, affair, elision and modulation. Throughout the phases, student-centred activities such as conversations, function playing, peer-grading, acquisition and assessing/discussion/observation ( identify spouses ‘ errors, give corrections, advice will name for. At the beginning of each session, pupils will listen to a conversation/dialog/text. The preparation will hold recourse to audio-video AIDSs made by English native talkers with a strong belief that they can assist better pupils ‘ modulation enormously. Changes or versions will be made after each rhythm to accommodate the state of affairs.

1. Background and history of the development of action research

With respect to the advancement of action research, McKernan ( 1991 ) mentioned five chief motions that influenced Action Research ( AR ) . The first 1 is the Science in Education Movement of the 19th and early 20th century when scientific method was foremost introduced into instruction. Following comes the motion of Experimentalist and Progressive educational work, notably the work of John Dewey, ‘who applied the inductive scientific method of job resolution as a logic for the solution of jobs in such Fieldss as aesthetics, doctrine, psychological science and instruction ‘ ( McKernan 1991:8 ) . Another motion in the 19th century is called Group Dynamics which focused on societal psychological science and human dealingss preparation and addressed the societal jobs of the epoch through qualitative societal question ( McKernan 1991:9 ) . The motion was repeated in 1940s to turn to some of the jobs like racial bias, inter-group dealingss and onslaught of WWII. Kurt Lewin who discussed action research as a signifier of experimental enquiry based upon the groups sing jobs is widely known for this motion. The following motion is Post-war Reconstructionist Curriculum Development Activity when action research in instruction was used as ‘a general scheme for planing course of study and assailing complex jobs, such as inter-group dealingss and bias through big course of study development undertakings ( McKernan 1991: 10 ) . However, action research was in diminution and under onslaught by the terminal of the fiftiess. The last motion with its influence on action research is known as ‘The teacher-researcher motion ‘ which originated in the UK. The work of Stenhouse ( 1971, 1975 ) was noteworthy, he felt that ‘all instruction should be based upon research, and that research and course of study development were the preserve of instructors ‘ . Other of import developments are the Ford Teaching Project and the Classroom Action Research Network.

2. The cardinal thoughts of action research

The word ‘action research ‘ itself indicates the combination of both ‘action ‘ as ‘practice ‘ and ‘research ‘ as ‘theory ‘ which is at the same clip the indispensable characteristic of the attack. This is besides frequently known as an alternate societal scientific discipline research attack based on community for practicians in the field as mentioned by Stringer ( 1996:9 ) . The attack aims at proving out of thoughts in pattern as a agency of betterment in societal conditions and increasing cognition ( Kemmis & A ; McTaggert, 1988:6 ) . It is besides defined as a “ systemic enquiry that is corporate, collaborative, self-reflective, critical and undertaken by participants in the enquiry ” ( McCutcheon and Jung, 1990:148 ) and “ a signifier of corporate self-reflective enquiry undertaken by participants in societal state of affairss in order to better the reason and justness of their ain societal or educational patterns, every bit good as their apprehension of these patterns and the state of affairss in which these patterns are carried out ” Kemmis and McTaggert ‘s definition ( 1990:5 ) . Besides discoursing about action research, ( Rapoport 1970:499 as cited in McKernan 1991:4 ) “ action research aims to lend both to the practical concerns of people in an immediate debatable state of affairs and to the ends of societal scientific discipline by joint coaction within a reciprocally acceptable ethical model ”

3. Questions that action research seek to reply

An action research undertaking seeks to make cognition, propose and implement alteration and better pattern and public presentation ( Stringer, 1996 ) . Action research is frequently conducted to detect a program for invention or intercession and is collaborative. Action research identifies and clarifies the jobs and country of focal point, defines the factors involved in the country of focal point ( Mills, 2003 ) , for illustration, English modulation teaching/learning, the instruction of English reading accomplishment, etc. It suggests the intercession or invention to be implemented and besides develops a timeline for the execution of research. Apart from that, it describes the information to be collected and develops informations aggregation and programs analysis. Last, it carries out the program and reports the consequences. The specifying characteristics of action research besides reflect the qualities of leaders in collaborative civilizations of alteration. These qualities include a deep apprehension of the organisation, vision and penetration, a pursuit for new cognition, a desire for improved public presentation, self-reflective activity and a willingness to consequence alteration ( Fullan, 2000a, 2000b ) .

4. The major phases of an action research rhythm

Despite the difference of the footings, action research is under three chief subjects viz. authorization of participants, coaction from participants, acquisition of cognition and societal alteration. In order to accomplish these subjects, the research worker needs to undergo a spiral of action research rhythms with four chief stages dwelling of planning, moving, detecting and reflecting ( Zuber-Skerrit, 1991:2 ) .

Figure 1 – The Action Research Spiral

( after Zuber-Skerrit, 1995:13 )

The upward way indicates the continuously extension of professional cognition, an betterment of pattern and experience ( Zuber-Skerrit, 1995 ) . The four important action elements in the spiral can be explained as follows

Plan. Develop a program of critically informed action to better current pattern. The program must be flexible to let version for unanticipated effects or restraints ;

Act. The group members act to implement the program which must be calculated and controlled

Observe. This action is observed to roll up grounds which allows thorough rating. The observation must be planned and a diary may be used for entering intents. The action procedure and its effects within the context of the state of affairs should be observed separately or jointly ;

Contemplation of the action recorded during observation is normally aided by treatment among the group members. Group contemplation can take to a Reconstruction of the significance of the societal state of affairs and provides a footing for farther planning of critically informed action, thereby go oning the rhythm.

These stairss are carried out in a more careful, systematic and strict manner than that which normally occurs in day-to-day pattern ( Kemmis & A ; McTaggert, 1988:10-14 ; Zuber-Skerritt, 1992:16 ) .

In a similar vena, Lewin ( 1946 ) addressed a spiral of stairss that involve planning, action and an rating of the consequence of the action. The AR procedure begins with a general thought that an betterment or alteration in the practician ‘s country of work is desirable. A group so forms to clear up the common concern which has been identified. The group makes the determination to work together and concentrate its betterment schemes on the ‘thematic concern ‘ ( Hart & A ; Bond, 1995:54 ; Kemmis & A ; McTaggert, 1988:8-9 ) .

5. Features and rules of action research

The different definitions of action research themselves have entailed the six major features which, to some extent, entail the rules of an action research as proposed by Holter & A ; Schwartz-Barcott ( 1993 ) , Zuber-Skerritt ( 1992:14 ) . They include job resolution, coaction, alteration in pattern, theory development and public consequences severally which can be easy distinguished from other theoretical accounts of research. Problem resolution is the chief purpose of action research, they can be addressed from a specific state of affairs and puting determined by the group or organisation and identified by assorted methods of informations aggregation such as questionnaires, interviews, observations, etc. , ( Holter & A ; Schwartz-Barcott, 1993 ; Stringer, 1996:9 ) . Collaboration means the interaction between a research worker ( s ) and a practician ( s ) . In some instances the research worker is considered as a ‘co-worker ‘ with a practician. But in common sense, practicians are persons who know the field from an insider or an internal position, who understand the workplace meticulously and what are expected to be done to the local scene. The ‘researcher ‘ is an foreigner who has limited cognition sing the scene but has expertness in theory and research. The coaction between the two parties varies from periodic to uninterrupted grade throughout the survey ( Hart & A ; Bond, 1995:55 ; Holter & A ; Schwartz-Barcott, 1993 ) . Sing ‘change in pattern ‘ , ( Zuber-Skerritt, 1992:12 ) said action research aims more at practical betterments in the job country instead than theoretical importance and ( Holter & A ; Schwartz-Barcott, 1993 ) asserted that the alteration in pattern will depend on the nature of the job identified. Theory development is besides an of import end of an action research ; it is interpreted by Holter and Schwartz-Barcott ( 1993 ) that the consequences assist the research worker in developing new theories or spread outing scientific theories. By the grounds and the critical contemplation gathered, research worker can make a ‘developed, tested and critically-examined principle ‘ for the practician ‘s country of pattern ( Kemmis and Mc Taggart, 1988:25 ) . The concluding features is besides rather correspondent with that of any research, that is all solutions or theories produced in the research should be publicized to the wider community who may hold an involvement in that work puting or state of affairs ( Zuber-Skerritt, 1992:14 ) . All these above-named features are neatly summarised by Zuber-Skerritt ( 1992:15 ) in the CRASP theoretical account in which each missive stands for characteristics as follows

Critical collaborative question by

Brooding practicians being

Accountable and doing the consequences of their enquiry populace,

Self-evaluating their pattern and engaged in

Participative problem-solving and go oning professional development

6. Different Types of Action research

As said earlier, different footings are used for action research manners ; however, three major types widely known among research workers are proficient, practical and emancipatory. About the first type-technical, Holter and Schwartz-Barcott ( 1993 ) put it ‘the end of this type is proving of an intercession based on a pre-specified theoretical model. The research worker is oppugning whether the selected intercession can be applied in a practical scene ‘ . In this type, ‘the research worker acts as an outside expert who aims to derive the practician ‘s involvement in the research, and understanding to help in the execution of the intercession ‘ ( Holter & A ; Schwartz-Barcott, 1993 ; Kemmis & A ; McTaggart, 1988:12 ) . The 2nd type involves the coaction of the research worker and practician to place possible job, implicit in causes and possible solutions or intercessions. The research worker encourages engagement and self-reflection of the practician ( Holter & A ; Schwartz-Barcott, 1993 ; Kemmis & A ; McTaggart, 1988:12 ) . The 3rd type known as ’emancipatory ‘ involves all participants every bit with no hierarchy, the research worker aims to diminish the distance between the existent jobs identified by the practician and the theory used to explicate and decide the jobs. The research worker besides facilitates brooding treatment with the practician to place implicit in jobs and premises. This assists the research worker to go a collaborative member of the group ( Holter & A ; Schwartz-Barcott, 1993 ; Kemmis & A ; McTaggart, 1988, p:12 ) .

7. My action research

After look intoing action research for a long piece, understanding its features, its types, I choose the collaborative type for my PhD survey which is a participatory small-scale action research. Why do I follow this type? For me as a instructor, the purpose of making an academic research is at developing, monitoring and detecting alterations from the localized, contextualized educational scene of little range for my ain self-development instead than for originating large-scale reform, this is besides what Wallace ( 2000 ) , Burns ( 1999 ) and Rainey ( 2000 ) asserted about research for instructor research workers. With this manner, I can entree my pupils in my place university easy. As a full-time instructor for about four old ages at that place, I have rather thorough penetrations into the English learning context in the module and English instruction state of affairs in Vietnam. That Gilmore, Krantz, & A ; Ramirez ( 1986:24 ) stress on the importance of ‘co-learning as a primary facet of the research procedure ‘ leads me to the thoughts of being a participatory research worker, with an outlook that jobs of learning and larning English modulation can be identified and studied consistently.

7.1 The nature of informations

This type of research allows me as a research worker to be instead flexible in roll uping informations, informations can be in the signifiers of a trial, questionnaire, diary, interviews, observations, etc. each of which bears its ain peculiar nature, but by and large talking they will supply both subjective and nonsubjective nature of informations when they are dug into meticulously. In my peculiar research, as discussed before, informations are chiefly in the signifiers of diary entries, the nature of this sort of information is personal-oriented. They are subjective experience, contemplations and ratings which vary depending on other factors such as psychological, societal and affectional factors ( McDough and McDough, 2003:135 ) . But they have a batch of advantages which can assist me understand scholars ‘ demands and their acquisition procedure better to do timely alterations or version to acquire the best result.

7.2. Method of roll uping and analysing informations ; and epistemic foundations ( the position of cognition underpins the method )

Three signifiers of informations in my research include questionnaires, recordings ( trial ) , journals ( studies ) , some of which are proposed for an action research by Brown ( 1995 ) ( as trials, observations, interviews, meeting and questionnaires, etc ) to derive dependable, valid and utile information to supply an penetration into the instruction and acquisition pattern. The signifiers of informations can assist scholars recognize their best acquisition method and better their English modulation result, which supports O’Brien ( 2001 ) thoughts that asserted “ action research is larning by making that is when a group of people identify a job, do something to decide it, see how successful their attempts were and, if non satisfied, seek once more. ” This is besides one of the general purposes of an action research ‘changes in pattern are based on the aggregation of information or information which provides drift for alteration ‘ ( Burns, 1999: 34 )

The method of informations aggregation and analysis will be fundamentally a qualitative one which is to make with categorization, descriptions, logic of descriptions, reading, interferences ‘process-oriented ‘ ( Chaudron, C. , 1988 ) though seldom in some topographic point, it looks a spot like a quantitative one which deals with statistics, Numberss, measurings, nonsubjective and product-oriented.

7.2.1 Questionaire ( present twice- at the beginning and at the terminal of the preparation plan )

The first questionnaire delivered at the beginning of the preparation Centres on placing pupils ‘ jobs or troubles to larn to talk with modulation, their attitudes to intonation acquisition ( whether it ‘s of import or non, do they truly wish to better ) , the 2nd questionnaire ( delivered at the terminal of the preparation ) will be designed for measuring the preparation plan, acquiring pupils ‘ feedback on the preparation.

7.2.2 Recordings ( trial )

The 2nd sort of informations are pupils ‘ recordings in the pre and post-test appraisal and analysis which will affect reading aloud a short transition ; each of the recordings will be looked into exhaustively to place their chief jobs in such supra-segmental facets as whether they place right English word/ sentence emphasis and modulation in a sentence? Do they utilize sound linking, elision, assimilation? A native talker will be needed for the appraisal of pupils ‘ betterment and a comparing of pupils ‘ betterment between pre and station preparation will be made.

7.2.3 Diary/students ‘ contemplations

Diary/log/journal is presents used widely in footings of research method, learning and research. Many aspects of instructors ‘ functions as are said to reflect critically via these tools ( McDough and McDough, 2003 ) .

In my research, informations ( diary entry ) will be collected before every session get downing from the 2nd session and so analyzed after every preparation Sessionss ( this helps in ‘observation ‘ procedure )

How will I analyse the diary contemplations? I take three cardinal characteristics into history following Bailey ‘s suggestions ( 1990: 193 ) , the characteristics include the frequence of reference, the distribution of reference ( across authors, when several journals are being examined ) and salience that is the strength of the look with which a subject is recorded. I will pay attending to construing the content of the diary text.

Before stating the participants about composing their contemplations on their acquisition and betterment every bit good as my preparation, I give them a sort of lineation or chief subjects such as Thingss they have learned, the most utile and interesting part/the most hard portion, the jobs with the trainer/ preparation method, activities/knowledge that trainer should alter about/add to/remove from the preparation plan, their specific betterments ( on what facet ) , their feeling of about the impact/benefits of developing on their betterment, their ain strategies/tactics of larning it faster.

Most of my clip will be spent on polishing the methodological tools to accommodate the state of affairs and on collection, analyzing and showing informations on an ongoing, cyclical footing.

7.3 Choice of samples

The topics for my research are 10 2nd twelvemonth English-majored pupils ( intermediate degree ) of Hanoi University of Technology ( HUT ) , Vietnam. All of them have had at least 8 old ages of larning English and most started larning English from 12 old ages old and onwards. They are trained four and a half twelvemonth at university chiefly to be transcribers, translators, instructors of English or other occupations that need English.

8. Advantages and restrictions of action research

Action research is selected in a broad scope of countries for its multiple advantages. Its first strength is that it allows the research worker to utilize assorted signifiers of informations and research methods. The following strong point lies in its property itself, that was clarified by O’Brien as something that differentiates it from other attacks, that is it creates chance for participants to move as research workers who can use what they have learned when they learn it themselves, or it takes topographic points in the existent universe state of affairs with the research worker ‘s purpose to work out existent jobs and the initiating research worker makes no effort to stay nonsubjective but openly acknowledge their prejudice to the other participants. However, aside from that, it has some restrictions, for illustration, with different signifiers of informations, it is so clip devouring for the research worker to analyse, sort or transcribe, etc. Research workers may be confused and flooded with an tremendous sum of informations and do non cognize how to cover with informations consistently and do the best out of them. Furthermore, the informations are subjective experience, they vary depending on other factors such as psychological, societal and affectional factors ( McDough and McDough, 2003:135 ) ; pupils may bury or jump what have happened in category to reflect ; or they can compose excessively much, they may compose things to fulfill the trainer, etc. that is why McDough ( 2003 ) added that ‘we still need to add a prophylactic reminder that self-contemplation of the sort recorded in journals is non universally suited and non everyone discoveries such self-scrutiny illuminating ‘ ( 2003:135 ) , allow entirely some research workers ‘ intuition of the dependability and cogency of the information. However, the informations are non merely under the signifiers of diary or questionnaires but besides in the signifiers of recordings which are rather nonsubjective to measure. And this sort of research purposes at detecting persons ‘ reaction to the acquisition procedure, hence, the subjectiveness ( how one perceives the procedure, what one chooses to enter, etc. ( McDough, 2003 ) is non a large affair and non off the subject.

9. AR applications in Language Teaching- A brief lineation of a twosome of good illustrations in the literature-the choice of samples

As widely known, action research is adopted in societal Fieldss like in authorities scene, medical scene, late action research has spread widely across instruction scene and more and more quickly to linguistic communication preparation. There are in fact countless surveies which are successfully done under action research theoretical accounts. Many instructor research workers have launched their action research with an ultimate purpose to better the school and instruction service. Their research can name for or make an ‘impetus for alteration ‘ ( Burns, 1999:34 ) in linguistic communication acquisition policy or for the coaction of instructors to make an drift to heighten their instruction pattern, to interchange instruction experiences, findings, etc. like the research of Varasarin ( 2007 ) on linguistic communication acquisition schemes and talking assurance with an purpose to better pupils ‘ communicative competency ; and Songsiri ( 2007 ) with an action research on advancing Thai pupils ‘ motive to talk English ; or Julie Sormak ( 2008 ) with an action research on techniques of English linguistic communication pronunciation in which she develops the Pronunciation Rhythm Control Method ( PRCM ) which proves to dramatically better English speech production and listening accomplishments for both pupils and instructors.

It is undeniable that an tremendous figure of action research are yearly accomplished with ebullient success and made populace in instruction subdivision, which brings a more and more advanced instruction to many states in the universe. However, as compared to other instruction Fieldss, there are non as much action research in English pronunciation learning in general and English modulation learning in peculiar. After looking into the relevancy of AR to my research country, I strongly believe in the success of an action research on bettering EFL pupils ‘ modulation of English. It will hopefully be a discovery in learning English modulation for non merely Vietnamese pupils of English but besides EFL pupils.