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DONG NAI DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING Title of the study: A CALL Evaluation Report to Promote Learner’s Autonomy in Learning English Phan Thò Ngoï c Tuù Tran Bien High School 1 2012 - 2013 SƠ LƯỢC LÝ LỊCH KHOA HỌC I. THÔNG TIN CHUNG VỀ CÁ NHÂN 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. II. TRÌNH ĐỘ ĐÀO TẠO - III. Họ và tên : Phan Thị Ngoc Tú Ngày tháng năm sinh : 09/3/1976 Giới tính: Nữ Địa chỉ: 42/9 Đường Đặng Đức Thuật, khu phố 6 phường Tam Hiệp, thành phố Biên Hoà, tỉnh Đồng Nai. Điện thoại: 091 3 755 399 Fax: E-mail: tutranbien@gmail.com Nhiệm vụ: Giáo viên giảng dạy bộ môn Tiếng Anh Đơn vị công tác: Trường THPT Trấn Biên Học vị: Năm nhận bằng: Chuyên ngành đào tạo: Thạc sỹ giáo dục 2013 Lý luận và phương pháp giảng dạy Tiếng Anh. KINH NGHIỆM KHOA HỌC - Lĩnh vực chuyên môn có kinh nghiệm: Giảng dạy bộ môn Tiếng Anh THPT. Số năm có kinh nghiệm: 14 năm. Các sáng kiến kinh nghiệm đã có trong 5 năm gần đây: Thành lập và duy trì câu lạc bộ tiếng Anh ở trường THPT Năm học: 2010 – 2011. 2 SỞ GD & ĐT ĐỒNG NAI CỘNG HÒA XÃ HỘI CHỦ NGHĨA VIỆT NAM TRƯỜNG THPT TRẤN BIÊN Độc Lập - Tự Do - Hạnh Phúc -------Biên hòa, ngày 25 tháng 05 năm 2013 PHIẾU NHẬN XÉT, ĐÁNH GIÁ SÁNG KIẾN KINH NGHIỆM Năm học : 2012 – 2013 ĐỀ TÀI: “A CALL Evaluation Report to Promote Learner Autonomy in Learning English” Họ và tên tác giả: Phan Thị Ngoc Tú Đơn vị (tổ) Ngoại ngữ Lĩnh vực: Quản lý giáo dục  Phương pháp dạy học bộ môn: GDTC  Phương pháp giáo dục  Lĩnh vực khác………………  1. Tính mới: - Có giải pháp hoàn toàn mới  - Có giải Pháp cải tiến, đổi mới từ giải pháp đã có  2. Hiệu quả - Hoàn toàn mới và đã triển khai áp dụng trong toàn ngành có hiệu quả cao  - Có tính cải tiến hoặc đổi mới từ những giải pháp đã có và đã triển khai áp dụng trong toàn ngành có hiệu quả cao  - Hoàn toàn mới và có áp dụng tại đơn vị có hiệu quả cao  - Có tính cải tiến hoặc đổi mới từ những giải pháp đã có và đã triển khai áp dụng tại đơn vị đạt kết quả cao  3. Khả năng áp dụng - Cung cấp được các luận cứ khoa học cho việc họach định dường lối chính sách: Tốt  Khá  Đạt  - Đưa các giải pháp khuyến nghị có khả năng ứng dụng thực tiễn dễ thực hiện và dễ đi vào cuộc sống: Tốt  Khá  Đạt  - Đã được ứng dụng trong thực tế đạt hiệu quả hoặc có khả năng áp dụng đạt hiệu quả trong phạm vi rộng: Tốt  Khá  Đạt  XÁC NHẬN CỦA TỔ THỦ TRƯỞNG ĐƠN VỊ CHUYÊN MÔN 3 Nguyễn Thị Thanh Hồng Title of the study: “A CALL Evaluation Report to Promote Learner’s Autonomy in Learning English” Phil Name of candidate: Phan Thi Ngoc Tu E-mail: tutranbien@gmail.com Tran Bien High School Đặng Đức Thuật street –Tam Hòa ward–Biên Hòa city–Đồng Nai province. ABSTRACT In the beginning of the 21st century, high technology, notably in the form of CALL (Computer-assisted language learning), has established a powerful presence in foreign and second language pedagogy. A common justification for the use of CALL applications in language teaching and learning is said to promote learner autonomy, which researchers and practitioners alike now set as a very important goal. This study probes a brief Web evaluation report in an effort to clarify the process of second language acquisition (SLA) and develop a suitable Web evaluation system for Websites used in Vietnamese high school. This paper also offers a CALL activity that the teacher has a role to play in developing students' sense of autonomy. INTRODUCTION Vietnamese learners of English have long become habituated to the traditional teaching methods and rigid curriculum and always suffer from mastering real, normal and fluent English for lack of a live language environment. They have also been passive learners for many years. Whether the use of the web for language learning has helped them to understand the text in a more direct, visual, vivid and even interactive way and whether they will feel comfortable in the flexible and active learning environment provided by the web-based language learning (WBLL) activities 4 in an English language intensive course for high school students can be best used for specific learners in specific contexts still remains questionable. In an effort to find the effects of a global database of authentic materials given by the web on EFL teaching and ESL education, there is thus a need for developing evaluation criteria of using the web effectively and efficiently, which can enhance language learning and teaching. In this coming information age, evaluation of language learning website refers to empirical research intended to discover how successful the CALL materials are for learners and how can they influence on learners’ language learning outcome. In other words, it aims to gain a better understanding of the relationship of the CALL materials to perceived changes in learners’ motivation, autonomy, learning strategies as well as interactive & cooperative learning, so that we can design and implement such CALL materials more effectively in the future. I am fortunate to work at a modern state school in Bien Hoa city, Dong Nai province. Our school is equipped three computer-labs with 40 computers in each lab and we are encouraged to use computers in my teaching. Although we are given an opportunity to reflect on our practice in a meaningful way and improve the learning of our students with CALL activities, the current grammar-reading dominated testing, learners’ needs and motivation, a language environment with “traditional” teaching methods and limited materials and resources lead to low quality in EFL education. Apparently, CALL environment provides additional means and innovative solution to enhance and accomplish the way I teach and the way my students learn more effectively and efficiently. LITERATURE REVIEW A number of researchers and practitioners have suggested that the web sites provide a global database of authentic resources that can facilitate language learning and teaching (see Kung, S.-C., & Chuo, T.-W, 2002; Son, 2005). In order to explore factors that affect the appropriateness of the chosen websites for my teaching I begin with constructivist ways whereby students can design and explore simulations, problem solve in multimedia presentations and investigate web sites. Thus, the ways in which students learn and understand will be challenged, which will maximize their learning opportunities rather than minimize the 5 mind by copying information onto word processors. As Donna Ferguson says “The task of the educational system should be to embrace the future and empower children to learn with the tools available to them. Trying to think up clever ways to use computers in a traditional classroom setting will not do the job. If we assign technology to a secondary role, which does not fully utilize its potential strengths, we are failing to use it to its fullest potential”. Thereby, using constructivist theory in the classroom to give learners the tools to develop and prosper in the technological age, she also argues that technology should be used across the curriculum so learners can prosper from its use. From the constructivist perspective, learners come into a classroom with their own experiences and a cognitive structure based on those experiences, for the teachers, their role in a constructivist classroom isn't so much to lecture at learners but to act as an expert learners who can guide their students into adopting cognitive strategies such as self testing, articulating understanding, asking probing questions, and reflection. Besides they can organize information around big ideas that engage both learners’ interest and need and assist learners in developing new insights and connect them with their previous learning. In other words, instead of being directly involved in learners’ constructions of the language, the teacher interacts with them primarily to solve their difficulties in using the target language (vocabulary, grammar, etc.), while the students are given the free hand to use the language to interact with the computer and/or other peers. Moreover, shy students can feel free in their own students'-centered environment. This will raise their self-esteem and improve their knowledge and the less-able students can become more active participants in the class because class interaction is not limited to that directed by the teacher. In the same way, the benefits in considering a move toward more learner-centered approaches to foreign language learning were argued in Nunan’s (1988, p. 177 as cited in Son’s, 2007) ''no curriculum can claim to be truly learner-centered unless the learner's subjective needs and perceptions relating to the process of learning are taken into account'' This is parallel with learner-centered instruction as proposed by Brown (2001) “Learner-centered instruction includes…techniques that give some 6 control to the student, techniques that allow for student creativity and innovation, and techniques that enhance a student’s sense of competence and self-worth”. In addition, interactive features in Web environments ensure that learning process takes place when learners engage in the lessons. Immediate feedbacks in terms of scores, guidelines, and customized lessons given after learners' inputs are assessed by the web-based tasks to assist learners improve their language competency, which include language skills. Based on Krahshen's Monitor Theory, CALL activities in Web environments can be a tool that helps teachers to facilitate language learning process and it can be not only used to reinforce what has been learned in the classrooms but also used as remedial to help learners with limited language proficiency. Furthermore, Wilson (2000) maintained three isolated core principles for effective use of the Web for learning: - Provide access to rich sources of information. - Encourage meaningful interactions with content. - Bring people together to challenge, support, or respond to each other. While the first principle is being dealt with the Web environments itself, the second and the third usually need to be orchestrated by a teacher, hence, the first task for a teacher is undoubtedly that of evaluating selected materials, methods, and the WBLL activities for the learners to work with. Furthermore, evaluation of both the learning process and the product, i.e. student level of competence acquired, calls for a radical revision of current models of evaluation like examinations. With the new perspectives on CALL for second language classrooms Chapelle & Hegelheimer, (2004, p. 305) also state that “all teachers need to know how to use the Web as a resource for current authentic language materials in written, audio, and visual formats”, for that reason, It has been increasingly important to evaluate those resource systematically before use. According to the list of guidelines for designing a good Web site for ESL students (Kelly, 2000) which demonstrate what kinds of questions can be asked in the evaluation of general types of Web sites. Also, this evaluation system can provide a useful source for selecting and using Web sites and identify strengths and weaknesses of a language learning, this indicates that user 7 responses Web site to each evaluation criterion of the system, importantly, would allow teachers to choose specially well-designed Web-based activities or materials and use them in best places (Son, 2007). In response to integrating WBLL activities into classroom effectively, Yang & Chan (2008) state that many of the existing studies of website evaluation criteria are not specific enough; the majority of them seem to be entirely based on theory without including interests and needs of teachers and learners; some of them lack emphasis on evaluating features to transmits four skills; most do not offer a complete set of criteria for some language learning aspects. On the other hand, they also show that "English learning websites should organize the learning objectives based on the interaction of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and also provide learning opportunities for the semantic, pragmatic, and sociolinguistic usages" (Yang and Chan, 2008, p. 405). After experiencing and evaluating WBLL activities, language teachers should, however, adapt or modify the activities and materials to suit their own teaching circumstances. For the sake of synthesis and convenience, this review evaluates EnglishTestStore website, a popular English learning and testing website, in terms of three aspects drawn from the above literature in accordance with English learners' academic and social needs: - Pedagogical aspects - Technical aspects - Integration DESCRIPTION The “EnglishTestStore” website is a learning website for ESL learners. This website is not listed in Directory. It is IP address is 209.51.135.110, and its server is located at Atlanta, Georgia, United States, Technical Contact: GNAX ENGINEERING Telephone: +1-404-230-9150 Email: engineering@gnax.net The “EnglishTestStore” aims to encourage interest for learning English through various and effective materials with following features:  Free  Support all OS 8  Test Online  Limit time clock show/hide  Downloadable  Show/hide questions list  No Installation  Flag questions  No Register required  Question Skip  Professional design  Report test result  Flash supported  Review test  Various of test types  Printable The personal information is collected to provide us with the best and most useful content and services. These include access to subscription-only areas, the ability to post opinions or other content, participation in sweepstakes or contests as a condition of usage. Englishteststore.net completely focused on practicing free English tests online, English grammar exercises and TOEFL, TOEIC, GRE, GMAT, SAT tests, joining learning English community, finding answers for your English questions. Taking funding from advertisers, there are some ads links on the site but not many. 9 Figure 1: EnglishTestStore main page EnglishTestStore provides free English tests and exercises online for English learners to practice. Visitors can select following favorite topic to start and choose suitable level; - Practice English grammar efficiently with many topics from basic to advanced level. - Improve listening skill easily with systematical listening tests. - Practice testing reading skills with various reading topics. Reading can help you improve your vocabulary. - Practice pronunciation and speaking skills for general speaking test, TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS … - Practice and test your English vocabulary and enrich it efficiently. - Take full English tests to know learners’ English level and get the highest ranking in the list. - Take free English tests for high-school students. They cover almost all kinds of skills. - Take free TOEFL tests to practice many skills before taking a real TOEFL test. - Practice free TOEIC tests with many skills before taking a real TOEIC test. We not only can download free English tests as EXE and PDF format, which are also available for some kind of tests for offline use if we don't have time to be online but also chat with English learners to exchange experiences or we can practice spoken English online. Apart from the other English learning websites, EnglishTestStore offers a forum in Facebook, the world's largest social network (Figure 2) as a platform for asynchronous social interaction. To enter the forums, learners are required to register Facebook before they can be involved in activities such as posting an English language question, participating in student discussions about texts and exams, or exchanging views on any topic related to learning English, in addition learners from all over the world can do some private messaging with individuals. If 10 we want to ask regarding some of the questions or suggestions to “EnglishTestStore”, we can contact and find them in Facebook. Figure 2: EnglishTestStore forum in Facebook From the home page of the website (Figure 1), the blue label of Englishteststore.net with detailed instructions attracts learners' attention to the concise themes of the website. It is worth noting that High School English Grammar Tests allow my students to focus on skills that they want to improve, review, and refresh their knowledge about High School English Grammar (grade 6-12). In addition, not only instructions may be available for each test but also after finishing a test the learner can review and get feedback for their answers. 11 Figure 3: High School English Grammar Tests Finally, EnglishTestStore focuses on one of the most important aspects of language, speaking skill, from the general to perfect speaking to help learners become fluent quickly and take advantage of skill lessons to personalize their course, visitors can take part in a pronounce training course. Besides, there are a lot of topics for learners to practice before taking the real TOEFL Ibt speaking tests. Figure 4: Practice Speaking English EVALUATION Based on the three aspects defined previously and adapted Language Learning Website Review Form (Son, 2003), the potential effectiveness and shortcomings of EnglishTestStore are as follows; 1. Pedagogical aspects Learner Fit First of all, this site has various resources for learners to utilize independently and free of charge. Actually, there are not many private English education programs in Vietnam. Therefore, this site could be suggested as alternative models to Vietnamese learners who are learning English as a second or foreign language. The second, it is classified as each skill or each topic. So learners can practice the part more specify and deeply. This is not only useful for learners, but also effective for teachers. The instructor could integrate their lesson purpose naturally and effectively through this site. The third, this site gives the tests to practice that learners can be 12 habituated to a real test effectively. Besides, learners can download flash tests and PDF to practice offline. All in all, every website follows the design principles of being usable enough to attract as many users as possible. Even websites specifically designed for ESL students will not prove helpful unless the content is relevant and the instructions are understandable. In this regard, EnglishTestStore has offered an abundance of resources for my high school students with limited language ability to locate them and know how to use them to enhance and supplement their language learning experience. EnglishTestStore also fits the needs of intermediate and advanced English learners to enhance their grammatical accuracy and expand vocabulary, as well as get access to extensive reading, writing, listening and speaking practice. In addition, EnglishTestStore’s practice tests of vocabulary and pronounce training enhanced students’ use of correct word collocations and repeated practice to increase learners’ memorization of the information. In contrast, for learners aiming to become proficient at academic language, the repeated gap fill drills of four skills may not facilitate the integrative and complex practice of language skills they need. If this site spread their categories and topic more visually, actively, intuitively and sequentially, like other educational portal site, Vietnamese EFL learners could have much more opportunities, resources and information about learning English. Teacher Fit The EnglishTestStore site is an idea practice test bank for Vietnamese teachers and it is a useful stage for learners. It gives a practical opportunity they can close to the target language testing easily. Most of the contexts are very wellstructuralized and systemic based on language testing theory. Therefore, learners can understand well their learning and testing purpose through the pre-description and this site provide enough opportunities for exercising the contents. This site is not only classified exactly as Vietnamese learners’ levels, but also has various contents for practical lesson and accompanying materials for teaching like teaching plan, practice test. It would be supporting materials that are very valuable and teachable and the instructor could manage the learners’ curriculum more effectively. 13 However, the feedbacks that are given after some test package is not much appropriate, this can not get the motivation for successful learning. Furthermore, we have a little information about authority. Therefore, we cannot believe their curriculum without filtering, this lead to a hard work for us, teachers, who want to integrate this website into our syllabus. 2. Technical aspects I can personally say that this website is a user-friendly type for my students who just have 45 minutes per lesson period. The website’s application only requires them to have basic skills such as clicking, moving the mouse, typing, dragging, and listening voice, recording via speakers. But, the young learners love pictures, colors, wonderful intonation because they will become motivated once they see there are cartoons, colorful writings and pictures on user interface, as well as, the right combination of text and graphics will encourage learners to stay in the site or to explore the site more thoroughly. Hence, this website is not actually a successful attention grabbing yet knowledgeable especially for young learners. On the other hand, this web site takes a short time to load into the browser (maybe because of the small file size of the graphics) and the navigation of this web is efficient enough for the students to maintain their interest. All links are still currently active and that the links take the user to valid and appropriate content is another essential component of the web navigation. EnglishTestStore contains content designed for English learners only so the learners will feel free to find those practice courses more efficiently. I personally think that flash quizzes given by EnglishTestStore are enjoyable quizzes that they are very easy to handle, and time effective. It moves us from one question to another and thus making the task very practical to be done. This web site provides ESL learners with forums, resources, and activities for using chats this allows learners to share ideas and ask questions about English learning, as well as links to Facebook thereby the topics provided by the website are also broad. What’s more, the topics provided as in nature, people, grammar, geography, history and others could broaden the student’s general knowledge that they are not aware of, not particularly restricting their knowledge on the English 14 language learning per se. Though Englishteststore.net has many advantages, it also has one major disadvantage of being web-based, that is the speed at which the user can turn the pages and interact with the material. This could have an impact on the users' motivation and patience. Finally, this website is more effective when integrated with Google Chrome. INTEGRATION In my observation and exploration of Web-based application, Along with SCORM (The Sharable Content Object Reference Model) standard developed by U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), which is being applied by Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) in education environments in Vietnam. Specifically, DOET (Department of Education and Training) created a directive named 1801/2012/SGDDT-VP for all schools across the province to improve in education in general and the teaching of English in particular through application of computer technology in education in school years 2012-2013. In this school year, DOET also launched a movement of Information Communication Technology (ICT) applications in schools named ICT’s application school year; this movement is considered a big step in ICT application in schools and is ongoing for the coming years. Additionally, focusing on the stuffs for students, I am really impressed by the wide range of learning topics under the quizzes and the chat room provided in the websites. Certainly, I would exploit this application in my teaching work. I found out that there are some ways to integrate the content of the website in to my CALL activities in my classroom. Below is a lesson plan I have used to teach my students in computer lab. This plan has been distributed to students’ computer through NetOpschool application (see Appendix 5 & 6). My students nowadays are very advanced in technology. Most of them are already familiar with technology and internet. THEME YOU AND ME Unit 2: Personal Experiences Level: Time: Form 45 minutes 4 per period Preparation: 15 (Intermediate) – 6 periods for a unit. - Learning course: Unit 2: - Personal Experiences Website: www.englishteststore.net - Trace a suitable site from the web about Past tenses practice. I. Objectives: Aims: To be able to locate specific information on a Website and to be able to practice their basic language skills. 1. Reading: Guessing meaning in context Understanding the sequence of events in a story Passage comprehension 2. Speaking: Talking about the past experiences and how they affected one’s life 3. Listening: Dialogue: Deciding on true false statements Gap - filling 4. Writing: Writing a personal letter to describe a past experience 5. Language Focus: Pronunciation: two consonants / m / / n / and / ŋ / Grammar:  Present simple indicating past time  Tenses revision II. Technical Requirements: One computer for each of students equipped with an Internet connection and a Web Browser. III. Procedure: (for language focus stage) 1. Ask the students if they can remember the use of Simple past tense, Past perfect, and Past progressive. 2. Link the website chosen together with lesson and show them what the website offers. (Appendix 1) 16 3. Explain to the students that they need to practice the test in site. 4. Discuss the answers with the class and explain unfamiliar words or phrases. 5. Facilitate students if they had any problems while using the website. CONCLUSION As an educator, I think that no website can offer all the components involved in English learning to meet the needs of all kinds of learners. EnglishTestStore provides learners with substantial tutorials on grammar, vocabulary, and test packages to practice, links to authentic resources for online listening, reading, writing and speaking, as well as forums for social interaction and collaborative learning. However, the simply presented drill-and-practice approach to language learning, plus the repeated quizzes and multiple-choice cloze tests, may fatigue most of engaged learners. Further, it would be appropriate for the website to make its credentials easily available, provide appropriate authority and more regular update to meet cognitive challenges and promote learners’ comprehension abilities effectively. It is worthwhile to prepare the concordance for integrating Web - based tasks into teaching stage; thereby students will become more autonomous, relying on themselves to practice to get more learning benefits instead of the teacher. References Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. Chapelle, C. A. & Hegelheimer, V. (2004). The language teacher in the 21st century. In S. Fotos & C. M. Ferguson, D. (2001). Technology in a constructivist classroom. Information Technology in childhood Education Annual 2001, pp. 45-55. Godwin-Jones, Bob.(May 2001).Emerging Technologies: Language Testing Tools and Technologies. Language Learning and Technology. Vol 5(1). Retrieved October 11, 2003 from http://llt.msu.edu/vol5num2/pdf/emerging.pd 17 Kelly, C. (2000). Guidelines for designing a good Web site for ESL students. The Internet TESL Journal, 6(3). Retrieved October 13, 2012, from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Kelly-Guidelines.html Kung, S.-C., & Chuo, T.-W. (2002). Students’ perceptions of English learning through ESL/EFL Websites. TESL-EJ, 6(1). Retrieved October 13, 2012, from http://tesl-ej.org/ej21/a2.html Son, J.-B. (2005, September). Making Web-based language learning meaningful. Paper presented at the Second International Conference on Pedagogies and Learning, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia. Son, J.-B. (2007). Learner experiences in Web-based language learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 20 (1), 21-36. Son, J.-B. (2008). Using Web-Based Language Learning Activities in the ESL Classroom. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, pp. 34-43. August 2008 Wilson, B., & Lowry, M. (2000). Constructivist learning on the Web learning technologies. In Burge, L. (Ed.), Reflective and strategic thinking. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. Retrieved October 13, 2012 from http://carbon.ucdenver.edu/~bwilson/WebLearning.html Yang, Y.-T. C. & Chan, C.-Y. (2008). Comprehensive evaluation criteria for English learning websites using expert validity surveys. Computers & Education, pp. 403422. Retrieved October 13, 2012 from http://www.docin.com/p-337782549.html 18 Appendix Figure 5: Distributed Lesson Figure 6: Link to EnglishTestStore 19 Language Learning Website Review Form Site Information Title EnglishTestStore URL http://englishteststore.net Target Audience ESL learners Language □ Reading □ Writing Activities/Skills □ Listening □ Speaking □ Grammar □ Vocabulary □ Other - Please specify: Site Description The “EnglishTestStore” website is a learning website for ESL learners, which aims to encourage interest for learning English through various and effective materials with following features. Englishteststore.net completely focused on practicing free English tests online, English grammar exercises and TOEFL, TOEIC, GRE, GMAT, SAT tests, joining learning English community, finding answers for your English questions. Site Evaluation 2. Accuracy: Is the content accurate? Are spelling and grammar accurate? Very Very Unsatisfactory Unsatisfactory Uncertain Unsatisfactory Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Uncertain Very Satisfactory Satisfactory Very Satisfactory 20
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