Tài liệu Pplying learning strategies to improve toefl listening skill of advanced program students at thai nguyen university of technology

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VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES NGUYỄN THỊ HÀ APPLYING LEARNING STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE TOEFL LISTENING SKILL OF ADVANCED PROGRAM STUDENTS AT THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SỬ DỤNG CÁC CHIẾN LƢỢC HỌC TẬP ĐỂ CẢI THIỆN KỸ NĂNG NGHE TOEFL CỦA SINH VIÊN CHƢƠNG TRÌNH TIÊN TIẾN TRƢỜNG ĐẠI HỌC KỸ THUẬT CÔNG NGHIỆP THÁI NGUYÊN M.A MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS FIELD: ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY CODE: 60140111 Hanoi, 2014 VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES NGUYỄN THỊ HÀ APPLYING LEARNING STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE TOEFL LISTENING SKILL OF ADVANCED PROGRAM STUDENTS AT THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SỬ DỤNG CÁC CHIẾN LƢỢC HỌC TẬP ĐỂ CẢI THIỆN KỸ NĂNG NGHE TOEFL CỦA SINH VIÊN CHƢƠNG TRÌNH TIÊN TIẾN TRƢỜNG ĐẠI HỌC KỸ THUẬT CÔNG NGHIỆP THÁI NGUYÊN M.A MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS FIELD: ENGLISH TEACHING METHODOLOGY CODE: 60140111 Supervisor: DUONG DUC MINH, PhD. Hanoi, 2014 DECLARATION This thesis is a presentation of my original research work. Wherever contributions of other sare involved, every effort is made to indicate this clearly, with due reference to the literature, and acknowledgement of collaborative research and discussions. The work was done under the guidance of my supervisor, Dr Duong Duc Minh, at the University of Languages and International Studies, VNU. Student‟s signature Nguyen Thi Ha In my capacity as supervisor of the candidate‟s thesis, I certify that the above statements are true to the best of my knowledge. Hanoi, August 18th 2014 Supervisor Duong Duc Minh, Ph.D. i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Writing a thesis, especially in such a limited time, was one of the most challenging things I have ever gone through. In this demanding process, I was lucky enough to have the support of several people. First and foremost, I would like to express my deep thank to my advisor, Dr. Duong Duc Minh for all his efforts, for not only being a very hardworking advisor, but also an understanding counselor. He never left me without an answer to my never-ending questions; he was always so quick to give feedback that I could finish my thesis on time thanks to him. I also would like to thank the Faculty of Post Graduate Studies, University of Languages and International Studies, Hanoi National University for granting me the opportunity to pursue my studies and my research. I am grateful to my collegues and my friends, who are always willing to share with me any kinds of work, documents or experience in doing a thesis. They also symphathize with with my difficulties as well as my fault in life. Last but not least, I owe my genuine, deepest gratitude to my family for their everlasting belief in me, for always encouraging me. They have been the strongest motivation for me to pursue my degree. I am indebted to my family, especially my parents who are always ready to look after my little daughter. Without the support from my family members, I would not have finished my thesis. ii ABSTRACT The purpose of the current study was to examine the frequency of listening strategies use by Advanced Program students at Thai Nguyen University of Technology and the relationship between listening strategy use and their language proficiency level. A total of 40 students were involved in this study. The results of TOEFL test were employed to identify the learners‟ listening proficiency levels and a survey was developed and administered in which questionnaires were used to investigate the frequency of listening strategies use by Advanced Program students. The reported listening strategies use for this study are limited to metacognitive, cognitive, social and affective strategies. The findings of this study show that Advanced program students reported employing meta-cognitive strategies more frequently and actively; followed by cognitive and socio-affective listening strategies. The results of the A nalysis of Variance (ANOVA) showed that there was significant difference between listening strategy use and language proficiency levels of students. Based on the results obtained from the study, it is recommended that teachers should aware of listening strategies and should have effective teaching methods to help students improve their listening skill when doing TOEFL listening test. iii LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ANOVA : Analysis of Variance AP : Advanced Program SPSS : Statistical Package for Social Sciences TNUT : Thai Nguyen University of Technology TOEFL : Test of English as a Foreign Language iv LIST OF CHARTS AND TABLES CHARTS Chart 1: TOEFL score obtained by AP students ....................................................... 22 TABLES Table 1: Content Validity of the Listening Strategies verified by 5 experts.............30 Table 2: Pre-listening Planning Strategies ................................................................34 Table 3: While-listening Monitoring Strategies........................................................35 Table 4: Post-listening Evaluation Strategies ...........................................................35 Table 5: Cognitive Formal Practicing Strategies ......................................................36 Table 6: Bottom-up Strategies ..................................................................................37 Table 7: Top-down strategies ....................................................................................37 Table 8: Social Strategies ..........................................................................................38 Table 9: Affective Strategies .....................................................................................39 Table 10: Variation in Frequency of Use of Listening Strategies According to Language Proficiency Level ....................................................................40 v TABLE OF CONTENTS DECLARATION ......................................................................................................... i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ........................................................................................ii ABSTRACT .............................................................................................................. iii LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS .................................................................................... iv LIST OF CHARTS AND TABLES ............................................................................ v TABLE OF CONTENTS ........................................................................................... vi PART A: INTRODUCTION .................................................................................... 1 1. Rationale of the study ......................................................................................... 1 2. Aims of the study ................................................................................................ 2 3. Research Questions ............................................................................................. 2 4. Scope of the study ............................................................................................... 3 5. Methods of the study.......................................................................................... 3 6. Design of the study ............................................................................................. 3 PART B: DEVELOPMENT..................................................................................... 5 CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW ................................................................ 5 1.1. Learning Strategies............................................................................................... 5 1.1.1. Definition of Learning Strategies ................................................................. 5 1.1.2. Classification of Learning Strategies ............................................................ 6 1.1.2.1. O'Malley's (1985) Classification of Language Learning Strategies ..... 6 1.1.2.2. Rubin's (1987) Classification of Language Learning Strategies ........... 7 1.1.2.3. Oxford's (1990) Classification of Language Learning Strategies ......... 8 1.1.2.4. Stern's (1992) Classification of Language Learning Strategies ............ 9 1.2. Listening Strategies ............................................................................................ 11 1.2.1. Definitions of Listening by Different Researchers ..................................... 11 1.2.2. The importance of listening ........................................................................ 12 1.2.3. Overview of listening strategies ................................................................. 13 vi 1.3. Previous studies in the world and in Vietnam.................................................... 16 CHAPTER 2: METHODOLOGY ......................................................................... 21 2.1. Participants and setting of the study .................................................................. 21 2.1.1. Participants.................................................................................................. 21 2.2.2. Setting of the study ..................................................................................... 23 2.2. Data Collection................................................................................................... 24 2.2.1. Data Collection Instruments ....................................................................... 24 2.2.1.1. Interview .............................................................................................. 24 2.2.1.2. Classroom observation ........................................................................ 25 2.2.1.3. Think-aloud Protocols ......................................................................... 26 2.2.1.4. Diary studies ........................................................................................ 26 2.2.1.5. Written Questionnaire ......................................................................... 27 2.2.2. Data Collection Procedures ........................................................................ 31 2.2.3. Data analysis ............................................................................................... 32 2.2.3.1. SPSS Software ..................................................................................... 32 2.2.3.2. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) ......................................................... 32 2.2.3.3. The post-hoc Scheffé Test ................................................................... 32 CHAPTER 3: FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION ................................................... 34 3.1. Findings .............................................................................................................. 34 3.1.1. Frequency of Strategy use from the results from questionnaire ................. 34 3.1.1.1. Metacogitive Strategies ....................................................................... 34 3.1.1.2. Cognitive Strategies ............................................................................ 36 3.1.1.3. Social/ Affective Strategies ................................................................. 38 3.1.2. Variation in Frequency of Use of Listening Strategies According to Language Proficiency Level ................................................................................. 40 3.2. Discussion .......................................................................................................... 42 3.3. Pedagogical Implications ................................................................................... 43 PART C: CONCLUSION....................................................................................... 46 vii 1. Conclusions ........................................................................................................... 46 1.1. Research question 1: What is the frequency of listening strategies reported by AP students at TNUT? ..................................................................................... 46 1.2. Research question 2: Do students‟ choices of listening strategies vary significantly according to their levels of proficiency? If they do, what are the main patterns of variation?.............................................................................. 47 2. Limitations of the study ........................................................................................ 47 3. Suggestions for further study ................................................................................ 48 REFERENCES .......................................................................................................... 49 APPENDICES............................................................................................................. I viii PART A: INTRODUCTION 1. Rationale of the study Nowadays, when the world has become increasingly global and information technology has developed with rapid speed, English is considered as an indispensable means of international communication. On this basis, since an opendoor policy was adopted in Vietnam, the focus of teaching has been promoting oral skills in order to meet the students‟ needs of mastering English for effective communication. It is English that becomes a compulsory subject at high schools as well as universities throughout the country. Among these universities is Thai Nguyen University of Technology (TNUT), Thai Nguyen University. TNUT is one of the educational institutions in Vietnam which uses the results of Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in evaluating English proficiency of lecturers as well as students, especially students studying Advanced Program (AP). AP is the program that TNUT is granted from Vietnamese Government to offer two Bachelor of Science programs, major in Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. The two courses are implemented in English, with the same syllabus, curricular and training method as in the University of New York at Buffalo and the University of Oklahoma, the United State. AP is set of engineering courses in English, established to meet the increasing trends of globalization on engineering items. As language instruction of AP is English, students have to obtain TOEFL score according to the regulation of the program before they get the Degree of Engineer. However, that most students were taught focus too much on grammar, structures and vocabularies when they were at high school makes it difficult for them to do the listening test. Despite teachers‟ efforts to help students develop their communication skills, effective listening teaching and learning is still a challenge to both teachers and students in Vietnam. Researchers showed that listening skill is employed the most frequently among four language skills. Hence, strategies for listening and the ability to use them effectively are particularly significant in language learning. As a lecturer at TNUT, I would like to do a research in the hope of improving listening skill for AP students and as a result, the thesis title goes as: “Applying learning 1 strategies to improve TOEFL listening skill of Advanced Program students at Thai Nguyen University of Technology”. 2. Aims of the study Difficulties in listening are challenges for Vietnamese learners in general and for second year AP students in particular if they do not find the suitable study methods for themselves. In order to develop this skill, many different methods have been applied and various activities have been employed in classrooms. Teachers have sought ways to teach foreign language learners strategies to adopt. In addition to applying strategies, researchers and teachers have designed and tried to follow different techniques. Nevertheless, listening has remained one of the most difficult skills due to certain reasons. Applying strategies into the listening learning and teaching process has become a mounting concern for both teachers and learners. The aim of this study is to investigate listening strategies that AP students reported employing when doing TOEFL listening tests then draw out some tips for teaching processes. Hopefully, this research will be useful for second year AP students in improving listening skills as well as for teachers in finding new teaching methods. This study has three specific aims: - Finding out the frequency of listening strategies used by AP students. - Investigating the relationship between listening strategy use and language proficiency level of AP students at TNUT. - Pointing out some suggestions for English teachers and students to help students improve listening skill. 3. Research Questions This study will find answers to two questions: * What is the frequency of listening strategies used by AP students at TNUT? * What are the main patterns of variation of listening strategies choices according to their levels of proficiency ? 2 4. Scope of the study Due to the limitation of page number of the minor thesis, the author can only conduct a survey on the frequency of listening strategies use and the relationships between listening strategy use and proficiency level of second year AP students at TNUT. After that, researcher will give some suggestions for English teachers to help students better in improving listening skill. 5. Methods of the study To seek answer to the research questions, following tasks have to be done: - Collecting TOEFL test results of AP students to investigate their language proficiency levels. - Doing a survey on the use of listening strategies by AP students by delivering questionnaires. - Using SPSS software to analyze the frequency of strategy use and the relationships between listening strategy use and proficiency level of AP students. - Evaluating the techniques that are most suitable for students to improve their listening skill. 6. Design of the study This minor thesis consists of three parts: Part A, “Introduction”, presents the rationale, aims, method, subject and design of the study. It expresses the reason why the author decided to choose this study and the methods for the fulfillment of the study. Part B, “Development”, is divided into three chapters: - Chapter one: Literature review presents the concepts relevant to the research topic such as different point of views of listening, the importance of listening, definition of learning strategies and listening strategies. The previous studies in the world and in Vietnam are also presented in this chapter. - Chapter two: Methodology presents the participants and setting of the study. 3 Also in this chapter there is a focus on data collection, data procedure and data analysis. - Chapter three: Findings and discussion finds out the relationships between listening strategy use and proficiency level as well as the strategies of TOEFL listening skills by AP students at TNUT by analyzing data collected from the questionnaire. Also in this chapter, researcher will give out pedagogical implication. Part C, “Conclusion” summarizes the key issues in the study, points out the limitations and provides some suggestions for the further study. This chapter presented the background of the present study, the statement of the problem, the research questions, method and design of the study. The next chapter will introduce the review of the previous literature on learning strategies and listening strategies. 4 PART B: DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter mainly focuses on the review of related literature concerning language learning strategies. It starts with some brief discussion on how previous scholars define and classify language learning strategy. Then, the researcher reviews the related literature and research works conducted in both Vietnam and other countries with regards to the characteristics of participants, focal points of the studies, methods of data collection, methods of data analysis, and results of the study. 1.1. Learning Strategies 1.1.1. Definition of Learning Strategies Apart from what are defined in learning strategy, the term language learning strategy has been defined by key figures in the field of foreign language education as the followings: Oxford (1990) defines learning strategies as “specific actions taken by the learner to make learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, and more self - directed, more effective and more transferable to new situations”. Tarone (1983, p.67) defined a language strategy as "an attempt to develop linguistic and sociolinguistic competence in the target language -- to incorporate these into one's interlanguage competence". Wenden and Rubin (1987, p.19) define learning strategies as "... any sets of operations, steps, plans, routines used by the learner to facilitate the obtaining, storage, retrieval, and use of information." As Wenden (1987) says: “Learning strategies are the various operations that learners use in order to make sense of their learning” Rubin (1987, p.22) later wrote that learning strategies are “strategies which contribute to the development of the language system which the learner constructs and affect learning directly". Rigney (1978) and Rubin (1987) defined language learning strategies as behaviors, steps or techniques that language learners apply to facilitate language 5 learning. Moreover, the definition be Oxford (1990) also included cognitive, emotional and social aspects of language learning strategies that enhance learners‟ language learning proficiency and self - confidence (Oxford, 1990; Ehrman & Oxford, 1990) O'Malley and Chamot (1990, p.1) defined learning strategies as "the special thoughts or behaviors that individuals use to help them comprehend, learn, or retain new information". Therefore, when language learners encounter language learning tasks, they can apply the several different strategies to complete the task. Language learners will be successful in the tasks due to use of an appropriate language learning strategies (Richard, 1994). Oxford (1990, p. 9) claims that language learning strategies have the following features: - Contribute to main goal, communicative competence. - Allow learners to become more self-directed. - Expand the role of teachers - Are problem-oriented - Are specific actions taken by the learners - Involve many aspects of the learners, not just the cognitive - Support learning both directly and indirectly - Are not always observable - Are often conscious - Can be taught - Are flexible - Are influenced by a variety of factors In short, language learning strategies are applied by language learners as a means to acquire and to use information that learners have acquired, stored or recalled, and can also promote autonomous learning (O‟Malley & Chamot, 1990,; Nisbet & Shucksmith, 1986) 1.1.2. Classification of Learning Strategies 1.1.2.1. O'Malley's (1985) Classification of Language Learning Strategies O'Malley et al. (1985) divide language learning strategies into three main 6 subcategories:  Metacognitive Strategies: According to O'Malley et al, metacognitive is an expression to indicate an executive function, strategies which involve planning for learning process as it is taking place, observing of one‟s production or comprehension, correcting your own mistakes, and evaluating learning after an activity is completed. Therefore, he stated that major metacognitive strategies included advance organizers, directed attention, selective attention, self-management, functional planning, selfmonitoring, delayed production and self-evaluation.  Cognitive Strategies: It has been stated (Brown, 2007) that “Cognitive strategies are more limited to specific learning tasks and they involve more direct manipulation of the learning material itself” (p.134). Repetition, resourcing, translation, grouping, note taking, deduction, recombination, imagery, auditory representation, key word, contextualization, elaboration, transfer and inferencing are among the most important cognitive strategies.  Socio-affective Strategies: have close relationship with social-mediating activity and interacting with others. The main socio-affective strategies include cooperation and question for clarification (Brown, 2007) 1.1.2.2. Rubin's (1987) Classification of Language Learning Strategies Rubin made a distinction between strategies contributing directly to learning and those contributing indirectly to learning. Direct strategies include metacognitive and cognitive strategies and indirect strategies include communicative and social strategies. According to Rubin, there are three types of strategies used by learners used by learners that contribute either directly or indirectly to language learning. They are learning strategies, communication strategies and social strategies. a. Learning strategies: Learning strategies are divided into two main types: Cognitive Learning Strategies and Metacognitive Learning Strategies * Cognitive Learning Strategies: refer to steps or operations used in learning or problem - solving that require direct analysis, transformation, or synthesis of 7 learning materials. Rubin identified 6 main cognitive learning strategies contributing directly to language learning:  Clarification / Verification  Guessing / Inductive Inferencing  Deductive Reasoning  Practice  Memorization  Monitoring * Metacognitive Learning Strategies: These strategies are used to supervise, control or self-direct language learning. They involve various processes as planning, prioritizing, setting goals, and self-management. b. Communication strategies Communication strategies are not as much of directly related to language learning since their emphasis is on the process of communication through conversion and getting meaning across or clarifying what the speaker intended. Communication strategies are exploited by speakers when they are faced with some troubles regarding their communication and conversion or when confronted with misunderstanding by a co-speaker. A usual communication strategy is to make use of one‟s linguistic or communicative knowledge to remain in the conversation. c. Social strategies Social strategies are activities in which learners are exposed to the opportunities that can be a great help to practice their knowledge. Even though these strategies offer exposure to the target language, they contribute to learning indirectly since they do not lead directly to the obtaining, storing, retrieving and using of language (Rubin, 1987). 1.1.2.3. Oxford's (1990) Classification of Language Learning Strategies Oxford's (1990) divided language learning strategies into two main categories: direct and indirect strategies which are also subdivide into six classes.  Direct strategies o I. Memory 8  A. Creating mental linkages  B. Applying images and sounds  C. Reviewing well  D. Employing action o II.Cognitive  A. Practicing  B. Receiving and sending messages strategies  C. Analyzing and reasoning  D. Creating structure for input and output o III. Compensation strategies  A. Guessing intelligently  B. Overcoming limitations in speaking and writing  Indirect strategies o I. Metacognitive Strategies  A. Centering your learning  B. Arranging and planning your learning  C. Evaluating your learning o II. Affective Strategies  A. Lowering your anxiety  B. Encouraging yourself  C. Taking your emotional temperature o III. Social Strategies  A. Asking questions  B. Cooperating with other  C. Empathizing with others 1.1.2.4. Stern's (1992) Classification of Language Learning Strategies According to Stern (1992, pp. 262-266), there are five main language learning strategies. These are as follows:  Management and Planning Strategies 9  Cognitive Strategies  Communicative  Interpersonal  Affective - Experiential Strategies Strategies strategies a. Management and Planning Strategies: These strategies are actually connected with the learners’ purpose to control his own learning. The learner must - Decide what dedications to make to language learning - Set reasonable objectives - Decide on a suitable methodology, select proper resources, monitor progress - Evaluate his success based on previously determined objectives and expectations b. Cognitive strategies: These strategies refer to procedures and activities which learners apply to improve their ability to learn or remember the material, and solve the problems, especially those actions which learners use with specific classroom task. According to Stern, the cognitive strategies include Clarification/Verification, Guessing/Inductive Inferencing, Deductive Reasoning, Practice, Memorization and Monitoring. c. Communicative - Experiential Strategies Communicative strategies, such as gesturing, paraphrasing, or asking for repetition and explanation are methods employed by learners to keep the conversation going. In other words, communicative strategies involve the use of verbal or nonverbal instruments for useful transfer of knowledge. The purpose is to avoid interrupting the course of communication. d. Interpersonal Strategies According to Stern (1992), interpersonal strategies monitor the learners‟ development and evaluate their performance. Learners need to have communication with native speakers and cooperate with them. Learners need to get familiar with the culture of the target language. 10
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