MA ELT Research Methodology (Eng518)
Assignment No. 1
Total Marks: 20
Lectures: 23-40 Instructions:
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In semester –IV, you will be required to conduct a complete research (proposal leading to thesis) as a compulsory component of 6 credit hours. Assignments of Eng518- Research Methodology would be hands on practice of proposal writing for you. In this first assignment, you will write some aspects of the research proposal.
Thesis writing is a serious task; therefore, you are expected to attempt this activity with full focus/ concentration involving your very own original efforts as this work will be carried forward while writing your MA thesis.
You are required to select a research problem from your area of interest and write a research proposal on that topic. Study the sample research proposal (given below) carefully and attempt the following aspects of the proposal. Instructions on writing them have been mentioned below. You are advised to study your course lectures to attempt this activity.
The Title (Note: Some sample research topics are also provided below for your facilitation)
(Yours title should give a clear indication of your proposed research approach or key question).
You should include:
The background and issues of your proposed research A short introduction of the topic
A summary of key debates and developments of the topic
Rationale of the Study
The research purpose is a statement of "why" the study is being conducted, or the goal of the study. The goal of a study might be to identify or describe a concept or to explain or predict a situation.
Objectives of the Study
Objectives always are set to explain or answer the research question. Objectives are usually headed by infinitive verbs such as:
The objectives could be as follow:
To compare the unemployment rate among all European countries.
To analyze the unemployment rate evolution from 2002 to 2012.
To identify the factors associated with high unemployment rates.
The research Question/ Hypothesis
You should formulate research questions very clearly, by clearly mentioning that what actually needs to be explored and why they are worth exploring. Research questions need to be:
o Clear oResearchable
o Connected with already established theory and research
o Linked with each other
o Capable of making contribution to research
Statement of the Problem
State the problem in two to three sentences. It should clearly establish the aims of the research and the relationship sought between the variables/concepts of the study.
Significance of the Study
This section describes the importance or potential benefits of the research. It specifies how your study will improve, modify or broaden the knowledge pool in the field under exploration. Make a note that such improvements/modifications may have significant implications also.
When you are taking into account the importance of your study, pose yourself the following questions.
What will be the outcomes of this research study?
Will the results of this research contribute to the solution or development of anything related to it?
What will be improved or changed as a result of the proposed research?
How will results of the study be implemented and what innovations will come out?
The purpose of a literature review is to provide a review of writings on the given topic in order to establish the reviewer’s own position in the existing field of scholarship on that topic. A literature review provides a reader with a comprehensive look at previous discussions prior to the one the reviewer will be making in his/her own research paper, thesis, or dissertation. In short, a literature review shows readers where the reviewer is entering the academic conversation on a particular topic in the context of existing scholarship.
The methodology section describes actions to be taken to investigate a research problem and the rationale for the application of specific procedures or techniques used to identify, select, process, and analyze information applied to understanding the problem. It allows the reader to critically evaluate a study’s overall validity and reliability. The methodology section answers two main questions: How was the data collected or generated? And, how was it analyzed? The writing should be direct and precise and always written in the past tense.
Some major headings that must be a part of your methodology are:
Instrumentation—instruments/ tools used for the data collection
Validity and reliability of the tools/ questionnaires Sample Proposal:
A sample research proposal has been given in the following: https://www.academia.edu/2192933/Research_Proposal_Investigatin g_the_Effectiveness_of_Pronunciation_Instruction_for_Intelligibility
Here are some sample topics for your guidance. You can take similar topics for your thesis but you are advised not to select exactly the same topics.
ENG518 Assignment 1 Fall 2020 Solution idea:
LANGUAGE TEACHING AT PRIMARY LEVEL IN FAISALABAD
The aim of the study is to highlight the language teaching at primary level in Faisalabad, Pakistan, and further to find out whether or not the students have compatible knowledge of English language skills according to the objectives of their respective grade level in the government schools at primary level in Faisalabad, Pakistan. The study investigates about teachers’ qualification as well as application of their pedagogical skills in the teaching of English with reference to the textbook, and the methodology to find out as to what extent they cater to the needs of the students in the learning of English language at the primary level. Before the introduction of the recent education reforms in Faisalabad, Pakistan, English had been taught from grdae-6 and onwards in the government schools. As majority of the parents send their children to the government run schools, this old practice was not fulfilling the modern-day requirement of a large number of learners to have the communicative competence in English, it was decided by the provincial government in 2002 to start the teaching of English from grade-1 as a compulsory subject with the revised textbooks prepared in the light of the curriculum objectives set by the curriculum wing of the Ministry of Education, Pakistan. Hence, after the implementation of this decision, so far, no study has been conducted in this particular area to investigate the language teaching at the primary level. Keeping in view the government’s decision regarding the introduction of English as a compulsory subject from grade 1 in 2002 (Appendix: A), the main area of the study is primary classes focusing grade 4 as it is the most senior class at the time of data collection according to the year wise work plan approved in the research proposal. The study investigates to what extent students of the primary classes (grade 4) have compatible knowledge of English language skills keeping in view the following broad areas:
The primary school teachers are refreshed through the in-service teachers’ training and are generally expected to provide students exposure to English language through the textbooks, supplementary material, interesting activities, and meaningful tests with an understanding of the English language teaching/learning process at the primary level. Barry Jones is of the opinion that these aspects may not complete all the requirements of English language teaching, but they do raise some questions on the teaching techniques 3 adopted by the teachers to teach English. He further states: “In general, students may be expected to learn L2 by: (a) direct exposure to authentic use of language in L2 (b) direct exposure to specially selected spoken utterances and texts (c) exposure to content and participation in activities negotiated according to students’ needs” (Jones, 2003, pp.1-2). In order to highlight the above areas, the study focuses the randomly selected primary schools, students of grade 4, teachers teaching English to grade 4 and the textbook, English Step 4, prescribed by the Faisalabad Textbook Board for the grade 4 students.
The main objectives of the study aim to observe to what extent:
The research questions of the study are as follows:
The study intends to survey the language teaching at the primary level with respect to the teachers’ qualification as well as the application of their pedagogical skills in the teaching of English, the textbooks/curriculum and the 4-methodology adopted by the teachers for the teaching of English in the government primary schools in Faisalabad, Pakistan, by focusing grade
English has been enjoying importance not only in our curriculum but also in all the spheres of life in our society and has become more important as a result of globalization. In Pakistan, English is always in the prime focus but during the recent past year’s significance has been added by making it a compulsory subject at the primary level in the government primary schools, which was not in practice previously. Keeping in view its significance the study intends to investigate whether this one of the important international languages is taught according to the modern techniques or not. Considering this, the study may be significant for:
8. LITERATURE REVIEW
In Pakistan, English language is considered both as a foreign and second language. Officially it has the status of second language, and culturally it is taken as a foreign language.
Hence, in our education system, both the terms are used for the teaching/learning of English language. Majority of the population of Pakistan chooses the government schools for primary education of their children both in rural and urban areas. As Faisalabad is the biggest of four provinces of Pakistan in terms of population, there are currently 44255 male and female primary schools having 156714 primary school teachers (Faisalabad EMIS Centre, 2003). Before the introduction of the education reforms in Faisalabad, English used to be introduced in grade-6 i.e., after the primary classes. After years it was realized that the learners counted English one of the difficult subjects and showed poor performance while using it. The possible reasons could be the late introduction of English as a compulsory subject, traditional and monotonous methodology adopted by teachers, dearth of qualified teachers for the purpose, lack of motivation both for teachers and learners, shortage or absence of basic teaching resources, etc. Considering the sad state of this subject and the learners’ performance, the Faisalabad government revised its policy, which resulted in the introduction of English as a compulsory subject in grade-1, and its implementation started in April 2002.
Millions of children in the Faisalabad study in primary schools belonging to such families in which English is not the language of the home. This presents before teachers a big challenge of instructing children who have very limited exposure to English language. It enjoins upon the teachers to know about how children learn a second language. The general idea like second language learning is very complex and difficult task may be harmful for children if teachers have unrealistic and inaccurate understanding of the process of second/foreign language learning. In other words, a lot depends on teachers to know that at the early-stage children perform as better learners than the adults if their qualities are channelized properly. The argument is that children are superior to adults in learning second languages because their brains are more flexible (Lenneberg, 1967; & Penfield & Roberts, 1959). However, experimental research in which children have been compared to adults in second language learning has consistently demonstrated that adolescents and adults perform better than young children under controlled conditions. Even when the method of teaching appears to favor learning in children, they perform less well than do adolescents and adults (Asher & Price, 1967). One exception is in the area of pronunciation; even here some studies show better results for older learners. Similarly, research comparing children and adults learning second language as immigrants do not support the notion that younger children are more efficient at second language learning (e.g., Snow & Hoefnagel-Hoehle, 1978). But there are some researchers who think, if foreign language teaching starts at the age of eleven, the learners perform better than adults. For example, a study of 17,000 British children learning French in a school context indicated that, after five years of exposure, children who had begun French instruction at age eleven performed better on tests of second language proficiency than children who had begun at eight years of age (Stern, Burstall, & Harley, 1975). The investigators in this study concluded that older children are better second language learners than younger ones. Similar results have been found in other studies by European investigators: studies of Swedish children learning English (Gorosch & Axelsson, 1964) of Swiss children learning French (Buehler, 1972) and of Danish children learning English (Florander & Jansen, 1968). While teaching English language it is expected that there may be habit, on teacher’s part, to develop a lot of initiative and should try to use new ideas to motivate and involve the students in the use of English language. The teacher should be bold enough not to rely entirely on the course book, but be able to adopt the course material and supplement it. At the same time teacher’s lesson plans should incorporate all the four skills of English language through different methods. The teacher should not unilaterally decide as to what is to be taught nor should s/he deny the pupil as an individual. He should understand that a pupil always tries to protect himself from failure, competition, and punishment (Jesa, 2005).
Some methods are totally dependent on the teacher as a source of knowledge and direction; others see the teacher’s role as catalyst, consultant, guide, and model for learning; still others try to “teacher proof” the instructional system by limiting teacher initiative and by building instructional content and direction into texts or lesson plans (Richards & Rodgers, 1988, p.23). The present changes in Pakistan’s education system put great responsibility on the main vehicle of education namely the teachers by making them an important part of the national developmental enterprise. As an agent of change, he/she has to be flexible and ready to change as a reflective practioner. We believe, however, that a teacher informed choice is, after all, what teaching is all about (Stevick, 1982; Larsen-Freeman, 1983a, 1983b). An English language teacher has to shoulder a variety of roles and is supposed to be careful so far as the progress of students is concerned; therefore, the teacher has to manage record of all students of all the activities related to grammar, vocabulary, tenses, and language skills, etc. Tidy man and others (1959) have put forth certain principles of language learning. They propose that training in language is training in living, in understanding and getting along with people. It is this very role that can enable the teacher to plan lessons according to the needs of each student. The teachers can possibly complete the course work in the light of the set time but the problems of the students shall remain unchecked if the teacher does not keep record of the requirement of different students.
Three things that a teacher needs for his/her language lessons are: knowledge of the best and most effective methods to use, an understanding of the purpose and aim of each method he/she uses, and confidence and skill in his/her handling of them, with perseverance and courage to carry on the work with good humor and enjoyment. At the same time, the teacher is expected to have awareness of the curriculum objectives without which he/she, perhaps, may not be successful in ensuring students’ communicative competence in the language skills. An English language teacher’s role may be classified in the following broad areas: Teacher’s Characteristics
The prescribed textbooks by Faisalabad Textbook Board are taught at the government primary schools in the light of aims and objectives (English) in national curriculum for grade I-V (Appendix: E). The government of Faisalabad designed the current textbooks after introducing English as a compulsory subject from grade 1 in the year 2002. There was no formal curriculum in the preliterate societies, but the formal school curriculum, however, has been designed to provide a separate reality from that of the home. It concentrates on academic skills and knowledge that are cumulative and increasingly complex. In this context the teacher must provide substance and structure. Branden, an advocate of the formal approach, notes that the teacher provides the context and gives the children experience- not random experience, which is endless, but experience that is in search of meaning (1969).
Primary grades’ English in some Non-English-speaking countries A comparative study was done of the textbook English Step 4 with the textbook of other non- English-speaking countries. For example, ‘Password’ is an exciting seven level course for Anglophone primary schools in Cameroon. It introduces the structures and functions of English through a variety of stimulating and enjoyable activities. The early levels focus on building vocabulary, listening and speaking, as well as introducing reading and writing (Primary School Materials, 2000). Macmillan Education Books for primary and junior secondary levels in Gambia meet the criteria of the Gambia syllabus for English. The lower levels are highly illustrated in color and focused on oral work. Book uses traditional methods and the new communicative approach to develop and improve pupils' oral, reading and writing skills and gives them a firm foundation in grammar. Accompanied by supportive Teacher's Books, the course provides:
A modern course which provides a complete response to the requirements of students and teachers at the junior and senior secondary level in Sierra Leone includes the following features:
By giving this detailed review of the teachers’ qualification, the textbook material and the steps involved in the hierarchy of pedagogical choices i.e., theories, approaches, methods, techniques, skills practice, teaching-support considerations and the ways to gauge the learning of students, the researcher has tried to discuss some of the relevant but important areas with reference to the teaching of English at the primary level. It has been tried to give a view of the teachers’ qualification required in some non-English speaking countries having language diversity like Pakistan as well as of some English-speaking countries including the criteria proposed by the government of the Faisalabad, Pakistan for the selection of primary school teachers. The researcher also discussed about the material taught in some non-English speaking countries at early grades and analyzed the current textbook of grade 4 being taught at the government primary schools in the Faisalabad. The researcher tried to analyses the roles a teacher has to play while teaching English in the classroom as a foreign/second language in the light of endeavors made by other researchers in ESL by presenting references to other researchers conducted on a variety of methodologies used for the teaching of English which include assessment of English language skills and other aspects of English language teaching/learning. The researcher reviewed and discussed different methods of teaching English and their possible outcomes without suggesting any particular or best method for the teaching of English language at the primary level by leaving onto the teachers to choose whatever they deem fit to achieve the curriculum objectives. From the reviewed literature a reader can see that extensive literature is available in each of the areas of English language teaching and learning with a focus on primary classes but there is a need to pursue further research as lots of questions always remain to be answered. The current study aims to contribute to the literature on the problem areas mentioned in the introductory chapter regarding the status of English language teaching with respect to teachers’ qualification as well as application of their pedagogical skills in the teaching of English, textbook and methodology adopted by the teachers for the teaching of English language at primary level in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Mercer and Swann state: “Where teachers and pupils are using English as a second or other language, other distinctive patterns of language use in the classroom also emerge. Teachers and pupils may ‘codeswitch’ between languages in class, and the content of the talk may reveal teachers’ concern with the learning of English as well as the learning of the curriculum subject being taught through English” (Mercer & Swann, 1996, p.141).
A methodology is the logic of scientific procedure after the selection of a problem, which is based on the selection of sampling and data collection to get results.
The researcher trained 20 research assistants to assist in gathering data, after the departmental permission from the DPI (SE) Government of the Faisalabad (Appendix: G-H), and according to the training guidelines given in the training manual prepared by the researcher (Appendix: O). The study is a descriptive research having randomly selected two hundred government primary schools out of 44255 male and female primary schools, 5000 students of grade 4 and 200 teachers teaching English to grade 4 out of 156714 primary school teachers in Faisalabad (Faisalabad Education Scenario Schools & Higher Education 2003, Faisalabad EMIS Centre).
Twenty schools were randomly chosen, and out of twenty schools ten male and ten female schools further randomly were chosen.
For pre testing the researcher distributed the questionnaire among 8 teachers. After pre testing some changes were made on the basis of responses. There were some questions that did not work. These questions were modified in a manner that might work in the actual research. Some other questions were felt to be repeated. These questions were excluded. Some more questions were added; the order of some questions was also changed to make it more logical and systematic, so that it could match the observational points given in the checklist. Finally, 22 questions were selected for the final questionnaire along with a subheading regarding qualification. This made total 23 questions.
During the course of data collection, first of all an achievement test for 25 students of each sample school was arranged. The research assistants used classroom observation checklist in the classes of the same teachers whose students were given achievement test, and after observing classroom teaching the same teachers filled in the questionnaire. The research assistants used the following research tools for the data collection.
Finally, after the administration of the achievement test and the observation of the teachers, the research assistants have to administer a questionnaire on the same teachers to know about their qualification, application of their pedagogical skills in the teaching of English, their subject knowledge, the opportunities for in service training, the medium they use for teaching English and classroom interaction as well as the use of teaching resources and activities in their classes. The researcher and the research assistants have to spend almost two and half months to gather all the data. The entire study is self-financed, and the research has ensured to make for facilitating all the research assistants and the material needed for the purpose.
Graves, M., & Graves, B. (1994). Scaffolding Reading Experiences: Designs for Students Success. Norwood, MA: Christopher Gordon.
Gurney, P. (1955). Teaching English as Foreign Language. London: Longman. Harvie, O. (1978). The importance of teacher questions in the classroom. Educational Research, 20 (2): 87- 102.
Harley, B., & M, Swain. (1984). The interlanguage of immersion students and its implications for second language teaching. In A. Davies, C. Crisper and A.
Howett. (eds) Interlanguage. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Harley, B., J. Howard, & D. Hart. (1995). Second language processing at different ages: Do younger learners pay more attention to prosodic cues than sentence structure? Language Learning 45, 1: 43-71.
Harmer, J. (2001). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Essex: Longman Press. p.51.
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