The 34th
Thailand TESOL International
Conference Proceedings 2014
21st
Century English Language Education:
Towards Global ...
Welcoming Message
The 34th
Thailand TESOL International Conference in Chiang Mai early this year
was successful in creatin...
Proceedings Chair
Pragasit Sitthitikul Thammasat University
Proceedings Editor
Pramarn Subphadoongchone Chulalongkorn Univ...
Table of Contents
page
Teaching discussion skills at a Thai university through the annotation of videos
Christopher Willis...
Teaching Discussion Skills at a Thai University Through
the Annotation of Videos
Christopher Willis
Alexander Nanni
Mahido...
2 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
2012, para. 1), Mahidol University International College (MUI...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 3
precipitated further reforms, as the shortcomings of the educ...
4 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
perform independent research; however, the members of each di...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 5
further incorporated in the [English Language Program]” ( p. ...
6 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
times their students seemed to be reflecting on their discuss...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 7
information), a summary of the utterance, and comments about ...
8 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
few. Similarly, some groups provided mostly positive feedback...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 9
Alexander Nanni is the Director of the Preparation Center for...
10 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
Rian, J. P., Hinkelman, D., & McGarty, G. (2011). JALT2011 C...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 11
Appendix
This handout was provided to the students who parti...
12 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
 [Good use of transition phrase…]
 [very clearly explained...
Thai-Serbian A2 University EFL Learners’ Perspectives on Learning and
Teaching Oral English Communication Skills
David All...
14 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
Background of the Study
Amidst globalization in the informat...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 15
students measured by TOEFL- equated CU-TEP1
scores, Prapphal...
16 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
we believe, is necessary before any appropriate change can b...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 17
placement-test with the new group of students in the summer ...
18 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
were compared to determine item differences. Those items who...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 19
Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2-
tailed)
Raising awarene...
20 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
Sharing similar views overall on teaching methods and learni...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 21
Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2-
tailed)
Teachers' accen...
22 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
life communication and opportunities to speak English in cla...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 23
language group (i.e.,Tai-Kadai). In fact, for most Thais tod...
24 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
Table 3: Thai and Serbian students’ different perspectives o...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 25
Table 4: Thai and Serbian students’ different perspectives o...
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Table 5: Thai and Serbian students’ different perspectives o...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 27
Unlike the Thai students, who did not completely deny the pr...
28 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
Factors responsible for different perspectives and implicati...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 29
use English in meaningful ways. Additionally, as suggested b...
30 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
perform various actions in oral communication via various fo...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 31
approach makes teachers at any education level more inclined...
32 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
the classroom, diversity of varieties of English spoken by t...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 33
The Authors
David Allen Bruner has been a lecturer at the Fa...
34 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
Laksanavisit, J. (2009). Proclamation of 2009 the year of Th...
Effects of Classroom Praise on Student Engagement in Online Discussions
Matthew A. Carey
Qatar University
Abstract
With th...
36 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
Introduction
As the 21st
century progresses, language teache...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 37
Obviously few learners are completely extrinsically motivate...
38 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
chapter from their textbook, analyze what they had read, and...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 39
stand in contrast to potentially unattainable models of succ...
40 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
student responses, and student engagement with the topic. Th...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 41
Each dependent variable was then plotted on a line graph in ...
42 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014
continued and midterm grades came in, it is possible that a ...
Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 43
Average Content Score
The most dramatic change could be seen...
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ThaiTESOL2014

  1. 1. The 34th Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 21st Century English Language Education: Towards Global Citizenship January 17 – 18, 2014 The Empress Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand
  2. 2. Welcoming Message The 34th Thailand TESOL International Conference in Chiang Mai early this year was successful in creating an intellectually stimulating atmosphere, providing our participants with opportunities to present and discuss innovations, trends and concerns in TESOL. We are privileged to inform our readership and contributors that the Proceedings of the 34th Thailand TESOL International Conference 2014 are now available online. Under the conference theme of 21st Century English Language Education: Towards Global Citizenship, the proceedings feature an interesting assortment of seven articles in which contributors share their insights from their teaching and research experiences from a variety of socio-cultural contexts. This collection of articles offers our local and international communities of TESOL practitioners and researchers both pedagogical and theoretical insights on current trends in TESOL in order to keep them abreast of developments in the field. We therefore hope that our readership will find the articles both intellectually inspiring and pedagogically useful in their research and teaching milieu. We would like to take this opportunity once again to thank all of our conference participants, esteemed international partners, and devoted conference organizing committee members for their support of the conference. We appreciate having received a warm welcome and excellent coordination from site committee members in Chiang Mai. Our profound gratitude and appreciation also go to all authors, reviewers, and IT specialists for all their expertise, tireless work and dedication to bring the proceedings to fruition. It has been our pleasure working with true professionals. On a final note, we trust that Thailand TESOL will enjoy the continued support of its wide and varied audience and that we will join hands in making the mastery of the English language a more readily achievable goal for English language learners. We thus look forward to welcoming you again in our next year’s conference under the theme of English Language Education in Asia: Reflections and Directions to be held on January 29-31, 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. Unchalee Sermsongswad, Thailand TESOL President Pragasit Sitthitikul , Proceedings Chair Pramarn Subphadoongchone, Proceedings Editor
  3. 3. Proceedings Chair Pragasit Sitthitikul Thammasat University Proceedings Editor Pramarn Subphadoongchone Chulalongkorn University Reviewers Acharawan Buripakdi Walailak University Chaleosri Pibulchol Srinakharinwirot University Dumrong Adunyarittigun Thammasat University Ira Rasikawati Universitas Kristen Krida Wacana Janpanit Surasin Burapha University Jirada Wudthayagorn Chulalongkorn University Kittitouch Soontornwipast Thammasat University Miranda Lin Illinois State University Nopporn Sarobol Thammasat University Pattamawan Jimarkon King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi Phaisit Boriboon Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University Richmond Stroupe Soka University Sita Yiemkuntitavorn Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University Stephen M. Ryan Stamford International University Supakorn Phoocharoensil Thammasat University Watana Padgate Naresuan University
  4. 4. Table of Contents page Teaching discussion skills at a Thai university through the annotation of videos Christopher Willis Alexander Nanni 1 Thai-Serbian A2 university EFL learners’ perspectives on learning and teaching oral English communication skills David Allen Bruner Kemtong Sinwongsuwat Yaruingam Phungshok Shimray 13 Effects of classroom praise on student engagement in online discussions Matthew A. Carey 35 The perspectives of EFL Thai teachers on self-assessment Jittima Choopun Jirayu Tuppoom 50 The engineering phrases list: Towards teachable ESP phrases Dougal Graham 70 Abstracts writing: A case study of ScienceDirect top 25 hottest articles Adul K.laorr Wisut Jarunthawatchai 91 16, 18, 20, 24? Correlation between student contact hours and student achievement for English as a second or foreign language Learners Tom Alibrandi 111
  5. 5. Teaching Discussion Skills at a Thai University Through the Annotation of Videos Christopher Willis Alexander Nanni Mahidol University International College Abstract One goal of the language program at the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics at Mahidol University International College is for students to be able to discuss an academic topic in a small group. To interact successfully in this context, a student must be able to offer points of view, agree or disagree with other points of view, ask for clarification, switch topics, etc. In this pilot study, which involved a total of 40 students enrolled in language courses in the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics at Mahidol University International College, the researchers used a video editing program to illustrate these elements of discussion using videos of students’ own group discussions. The students were then instructed to use the editor to annotate subsequent discussion videos with the same elements. In this way, the researchers were able to encourage students to engage more deeply in self-assessment and peer assessment. Keywords: group discussion, video annotation, self-assessment, peer assessment Introduction Meaningful interaction is critical to liberal arts education. Blaich, Bost, Chan, and Lynch (2004) posit that one of the three factors supporting liberal arts education is “an institutional ethos and tradition that place a strong value of student-student and student- faculty interactions both in and out of the classroom” (p. 12). With the stated goal of “providing quality liberal arts education” (“A liberal arts education in an Asian setting,”
  6. 6. 2 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 2012, para. 1), Mahidol University International College (MUIC) subscribes to this theory. Accordingly, preparing students to interact with each other and with their teachers is important to the success of MUIC. Many students entering MUIC first study for one or more terms in the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics (PC), a program that readies students for the rigors of academic life at MUIC. Effective communication and meaningful interaction are the foci of the PC program. This paper will focus on one type of interaction, small group discussions. More specifically, it will describe a pilot study undertaken by two teachers at PC with the intention of improving student interaction in small group discussions. This paper will begin by briefly explaining the context in which the study was conducted. It will then ground the study in relevant research and describe the problem of practice that the study addressed. Next, it will report the procedure and results of the pilot study, which involved the use of video editing software to comment on recordings of students’ small group discussions. Finally, it will discuss the effectiveness of the methods used and suggest avenues for future research. Context Background information at the regional, national, and institutional levels is necessary to understanding this study. At the regional level, communication in English is of growing importance. The working language of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is English (ASEAN Secretariat, 2009). In 2015, the ASEAN Economic Community will become integrated, lowering barriers to trade and allowing greater labor mobility (ASEAN Secretariat, 2012), which will lead in turn to greater competition and interaction among the citizens of Southeast Asian countries. This will also stimulate regional educational exchanges. In Roadmap for an ASEAN Community, the ASEAN Secretariat (2009) states that in an effort to advance and prioritize education, ASEAN will “promote education networking in various levels of educational institutions and continue university networking and enhance and support student and staff exchanges and professional interactions including creating research clusters among ASEAN institutions of higher learning” (p. 68). For these reasons, development of effective means of teaching communication skills in English is becoming more important at the regional level. The focus on meaningful interaction is also relevant at the national level. Over the past two decades, the Thai government has made several attempts to reform the educational system. As early as 1996, the government announced the goal of modernizing the teaching methods used in the kingdom’s classrooms (Fry, 2002). The Asian financial crisis of 1997
  7. 7. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 3 precipitated further reforms, as the shortcomings of the educational system were offered as an explanation for the crash (Jungck & Kajornsin, 2003; Sangnapaboworn, 2003). The new constitution introduced after the crash explicitly mentioned education in several clauses (Terwiel, 2011), and the government announced sweeping changes to the educational system. These changes are evident in the National Education act, in which the government called for, among other things, a shift from teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning (Sangnapaboworn, 2003). For various reasons, this government directive failed to impact the classrooms of the kingdom. The change that did occur was “fragmented . . . [and] lacking in deep integration” (Hallinger & Lee, 2011, p. 154). While the ideas behind the reform efforts were educationally sound, the reforms may have been too ambitious to succeed within the given timeframe. In the small group discussions and video editing projects that constitute this study, the teacher plays the role of facilitator. These student-centered activities are conducted in the spirit of the educational reforms that have been ongoing in Thailand in the past two decades. Meaningful interaction is also essential at the institutional level. MUIC is an English- medium college within Mahidol University. As it has a “strong liberal arts focus” (“About MUIC,” 2013, para. 2), meaningful communication within the academic community is valued. Many international students attend MUIC either on student exchanges or as full-time students, so English communication is essential both in class and in the community at large. The Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics (PC) serves students who are seeking to improve their language skills before beginning courses at MUIC. The lower level courses at PC focus on the discrete skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. These courses serve students at the beginner and intermediate levels of English proficiency. The upper-level courses, which are designed for upper-intermediate students, take a more integrated approach. These courses are theme based, and students are expected to apply their knowledge of various themes across all of the relevant classes. At the end of each upper-level course in the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics, students complete an integrated test, which has two components. The first component is an argumentative essay based on two inputs, a written text and a recorded lecture. Students cite the two sources using the APA style, but they are not required to produce a reference list. The second component is a 20-minute discussion in a group of five or six students. Immediately after finishing their argumentative essays, students receive the discussion question. This question is related to the prompt given for the argumentative essay. The discussion takes place the day after the essay component, so students have time to
  8. 8. 4 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 perform independent research; however, the members of each discussion group are not announced beforehand. Two teachers observe each discussion and mark students based on their original contributions, interaction with others, and language skills. This study will address one method of preparing students for the small group discussion component of the integrated test. Literature Review As video devices have become cheaper and more prevalent and as video has become easier to store and edit, it is logical that video is increasingly used in the teaching of speaking; both for EFL and non-EFL students. Researchers have worked to measure and evaluate the benefit of video in speaking courses. Areas of possible benefit to students include motivation, use of discussion strategies, and ability to analyze their performance. Studies have shown that playing back videos of students’ presentations has motivational benefits, and there is some evidence that it also improves speaking performance. Rian, Hinkelman, and McGarty (2011) found that videotaping student presentations and making them available through the Moodle learning management system provided more motivation for students and allowed instructors to better assess them. They found that students had favorable attitudes towards peer assessment of videotaped presentations. Similarly, Yamkate and Intratat (2012) found that Thai University students taking an English course “had positive attitudes towards video recording their presentations, especially since this helped them to notice and identify their weaknesses in non-verbal language use” (p. 146). These researchers had students examine videotapes of their own presentations to assess their language, content, and body language. They report that the students “became aware of their verbal and non-verbal proficiency and mistakes after watching the videos” (p. 154). There is also evidence that video is helpful in a situation where students do not give individual presentations but rather perform group discussions. Group discussions, unlike presentations, involve interaction and discussion strategy. Nguyet and Mai (2012) found that showing students conversational strategies, such as asking for clarification, through the use of demonstration video resulted in greater use of those strategies. Christianson, Hoskins, and Watanabe (2006), videotaped group discussions and had students do self-assessment and peer-assessment by watching the videos. Students also made a transcript of their discussion. The authors found that “The self-assessment process engages students in the analysis and evaluation of their performance; this strongly suggests it may be something that should be
  9. 9. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 5 further incorporated in the [English Language Program]” ( p. 10). From these studies, video appears to be a useful tool in group discussion settings. Annotating video, as opposed to simply reviewing and analyzing video orally or on paper, is less common in the literature. However, there is research in specific non-EFL contexts. Bonaiuti, Calvani, and Andreocci, (2011) examined the benefit of video annotation as a reflection technique for novice teachers. They conclude that “we could argue that video annotation is a tool capable of guiding reflection, offering direct opportunities to increase both the number of comments and their analytic content and to improve self-analysis skills overall” (p. 9). In another study, Fu, Schaefer, Marchionini, Mu (2006) examined the use of video annotations for the training of foreign teaching assistants. Student presentations were videotaped and the other students as well as the instructor gave feedback by annotating the video. They found that “both the annotators and the recipients of annotations benefit from the annotation process” (p. 21). They found that the annotations “reinforce the presenters’ strong points and build their confidence and make them aware of their weaknesses” (p. 21). This research supports the idea that the annotation of student videos, whether by the instructor or students themselves, could provide benefits in the students’ ability to analyze their performance. Problem of Practice The purpose of this pilot study is to investigate the use video editing software to encourage students to engage more deeply with the discussion feedback process. This use of technology would have two additional benefits: allowing teachers to assess the students’ understanding of the different aspects of the group discussions and allowing students to self- assess their performance in specific areas. Success in small group discussions requires several distinct skills. In addition to language skills such as pronunciation and grammatical accuracy, students must be able to present new information to the group, agree or disagree with other group members, paraphrase other students’ points, etc. Teachers use a variety of techniques throughout the term in order to help students to develop these skills. Teachers generally record the discussions, and several methods involve the use of the video recording. For example, teachers show the recordings in class and provide comments or ask the students to watch the discussion videos for homework and write a reflection about their performance. Of course, these techniques are only effective to the extent that students actually engage in self-assessment and review. The teachers involved in this pilot study found that at
  10. 10. 6 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 times their students seemed to be reflecting on their discussions at a superficial level. The students did not seem to see the value in such an activity. Often, their students would not even watch the discussion videos shared with them. When the students did watch the videos, they did so in a passive manner. As a result, they failed to reap the benefits of the activity. This leads to the principal question that this pilot study seeks to address: how can students be encouraged to engage more deeply in self-assessment and peer assessment? Methodology In order to foster deeper reflection on small group discussions, the researchers designed a post-discussion activity that made use of Camtasia video editing software to comment on aspects of the discussions. This software was selected because it allows users to add annotation in two main ways: as subtitles and as callouts, which are graphics such as text boxes that appear in the video itself. The use of such an activity seems to offer several advantages: it ensures that students watch the discussion videos carefully, it is active rather than passive (i.e., students must do more than passively watch the videos), and it is engaging. Overall, this solution seems to be well suited to the problem of low student engagement with their discussion videos. The post-discussion activity comprised three components: an initial in-class component, a take-home assignment, and a second in-class segment in which the students shared their work with the rest of the class. During the initial in-class session, each discussion group is further divided into subgroups of two to three students. Each subgroup collaborates on a single computer. In the case of this particular pilot study, two classes of 20 students participated. Each discussion group contained six to seven students. The experimental activity had several stages. First, the teacher showed a segment of the discussion video that had already been annotated to illustrate targeted aspects of group discussions. The students were then given a video recording of a practice discussion in which they themselves had participated. Each discussion video was split into several shorter segments, and a subgroup was assigned to edit each of the segments. The length of each segment depended on the length of the video of the complete discussion and on the number of students in each discussion group. Additionally, they were given a digital handout (see appendix) that included the objective of the exercise, a detailed description of the task itself, and step-by step instructions explaining the video editing process. Students were instructed to create subtitles for their respective video segments. The subtitles were to include the name of the speaker, the purpose of his or her utterance (e.g., agreeing, disagreeing, contributing new
  11. 11. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 7 information), a summary of the utterance, and comments about the speaker’s contribution. Positive comments were to be placed in square brackets, whereas constructive criticism was to be placed in parentheses. Finally, students were to provide feedback about the speakers’ body language and nonverbal communication (e.g., eye contact or the lack thereof) using callouts. During this class, the role of the teacher was to explain the assignment and model the use of the video editing software then circulate around the classroom answering questions as students worked on the activity in groups. After the class dedicated to explaining and modeling the video editing activity, students were expected to complete the editing of their video for homework. In the case of this pilot project, students were assigned the task on a Friday and were expected to upload the edited video to Google Drive and to share it with the teacher before class on Monday. The student-edited videos were screened in class. Afterwards, the teacher provided comments on both the students’ editing and on their performance in the discussions. Preliminary Results In this particular instance, the activity was successful in encouraging students to engage more deeply in self-assessment and peer assessment. All of the videos were submitted on time, and the quality of the editing was generally quite good. When the videos were screened in class, students seemed to take pride in their handiwork. Importantly, they were also quite astute in assessing their own performance as well as their peers’. The students had spent a significant amount of time editing the videos, as evidenced by the quality of the editing. The results are sufficiently promising to merit the continued development of the activity. A few caveats are worth considering. The students involved in this pilot study were quite experienced with the use of technology. Their generally high skill level allowed the teacher to spend relatively little time explaining the actual use of Camtasia, as the students found its interface intuitive. Students with a lower level of technological competence might require a longer period of instruction. Furthermore, those students might find the activity less intrinsically motivating. Also, as the overall purpose of the activity is not to teach technology skills but rather to facilitate language learning, spending as little time as possible on the technical aspects of the activity is preferable. Additionally, this activity would have benefitted from additional structure in the form of a rubric. While the results were encouraging overall, a few videos were lacking in certain areas. For example, some groups employed many callouts, whereas others used relatively
  12. 12. 8 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 few. Similarly, some groups provided mostly positive feedback, whereas others focused almost exclusively on points that could be improved. Ideally, student’s editing would be relatively balanced in these areas, including callouts, positive feedback, and constructive criticism in fairly equal proportions. A rubric could be instrumental in achieving this balance. Discussion The preliminary results seem to indicate that video editing software can be used to increase student engagement in the analysis of their speaking performances. This is consistent with other studies that report positive motivation when student presentations (Rian et al, 2011) and group discussions (Christianson et al, 2006) are videotaped and made available to students for peer assessment and self-assessment. This study did not attempt to determine whether the quality of the assessment was also improved. Other works cited in the literature review do mention that videotaping results in “greater awareness of verbal and non-verbal proficiency” (Yamkate and Intratat, 2012), and that annotating video affects “self-analysis skills” (Bonaiuti et al, 2011) and makes students “aware of their weaknesses” (Fu et al, 2006). This suggests that the next phase of this project should be to see if we can confirm that such benefits can be obtained from the video annotation exercise presented here. Conclusion This pilot study sought to address the problem of how best to encourage students to engage productively in self-assessment and peer assessment of discussion videos. The solution investigated in this paper, the use of video editing software to promote deeper engagement, seems promising. Both teachers involved in the pilot study were satisfied with the results, and both plan to continue developing the activity in future courses. Just as our students must engage in deep reflection on their performances in order to improve their language skills, so too must we teachers reflect deeply on our methods to better facilitate our students’ learning. The Authors Christopher Willis is an instructor at the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics at Mahidol University International College. He has taught at the Preparation Center since 2007 and prior to that at Suan Dusit Rajabhat and Pibulsongkram Rajabhat Universities, also in Thailand.
  13. 13. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 9 Alexander Nanni is the Director of the Preparation Center for Languages and Mathematics at Mahidol University International College. He completed an M.Ed. in TESL at Rhode Island College in 2009 and is currently enrolled in the Ed.D. in Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership program at Northeastern University. References A liberal arts education in an Asian setting. (2012). Retrieved May 5, 2013, from http://www.muic.mahidol.ac.th/eng/?page_id=1071 About MUIC. (2013). Retrieved May 5, 2013, from http://www.muic.mahidol.ac.th/eng/?page_id=1061 ASEAN Secretariat. (2009). Roadmap for an ASEAN community, 2009-2015. Jakarta: Association of Southeast Asian Nations Secretariat. ASEAN Secretariat. (2012). ASEAN Economic Community. asean.org. Retrieved from http://www.asean.org/communities/asean-economic-community Blaich, C., Bost, A., Chan, E., & Lynch, R. (2004). Defining liberal arts education. Wabash College Center of Inquiry. Bonaiuti, G., Calvani, A., & Andreocci, B. (2011). Improving self-reflection with video annotation. Evaluation of a new practice in teacher training. In World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (2011), 3265–3274. Christianson, M., Hoskins, C., & Watanabe, A. (2009). Evaluating the effectiveness of a videorecording based self-assessment system for academic speaking. Language Research Bulletin, 24, 1–15. Fry, G. W. (2002). Synthesis Report: From crisis to opportunity, the challenges of educational reform in Thailand. Fu, X., Schaefer, J. C., Marchionini, G., & Mu, X. (2006). Video annotation in a learning environment. Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 43(1), 1–22. Hallinger, P., & Lee, M. (2011). A decade of education reform in Thailand: Broken promise or impossible dream? Cambridge Journal of Education, 41(2), 139–158. Jungck, S., & Kajornsin, B. (2003). “Thai wisdom” and glocalization. In K. Anderson-Levitt (Ed.), Local Meanings, Global Schooling: Anthropology and World Culture Theory. Palgrave Macmillan. Nguyet, N. T. M. (2012). Teaching Conversational Strategies Through Video Clips1. Language Education in Asia, 3(1), 32-49.
  14. 14. 10 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Rian, J. P., Hinkelman, D., & McGarty, G. (2011). JALT2011 Conference Proceedings, 416- 425. Sangnapaboworn, W. (2003). Higher education reform in Thailand: Towards quality improvement and university autonomy. In A paper presented at the Shizuoka forum on approaches to higher education, intellectual creativity, cultivation of human resources seen in Asian countries (pp. 12–14). Terwiel, B. J. (2011). Thailand’s Political History: From the 13th Century to Recent Times. River Books. Yamkate, K., & Intratat, C. (2012). Using Video Recordings to Facilitate Student Development of Oral Presentation Skills. Language Education in Asia, 3(2) 146-158.
  15. 15. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 11 Appendix This handout was provided to the students who participated in the video editing activity. It begins with brief instructions about how to create a new project in Camtasia and then provides guidelines about the types of annotation that students should provide. Discussion Video Editing Exercise Objective of the Exercise The purpose of this exercise is to get you to think about how people communicate in group discussions, and what is effective in these discussions. Task You are going to work in groups to annotate a short video clip of your fellow students.  You are going to use captions for the content that is spoken: the points that the group makes and the responses to those points.  You are going to use callouts to make comments on non-verbal communication. Note: Comments don’t have to be all positive. Your classmates can learn if you point out for example where they might be off-topic, their point is not clear, or they are speaking too quietly. Step 1: Create a new project and add the video clip your group is working on. 1. Start Camtasia 2. Select File menu -> New project option 3. Drag your video clip into the Clip Bin (the upper left portion of the screen) 4. Now right click on the video clip icon and select “Add to Timeline at Playhead”. 5. The video is “track 1” Step 2: Edit the video  For input add a one line summary of the speaker’s point. Also give the speaker’s name.  Also add any comments about the input. o Use square brackets, to highlight things you feel they did well:  [reference to text/video]  [supported with example]
  16. 16. 12 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014  [Good use of transition phrase…]  [very clearly explained] o Use round brackets to highlight aspects that need improvement:  (speaks too soft)  (off topic)  (not sure what the argument is)  (should refer to text to support)  (throwaway line: “something like that”)  For responses to another speaker’s point try to show what kind of response it is. For example: expands on ... adds support to ... clarifies ... disagrees with ...  Use callouts for body language and eye contact comments. Step 3: Publish the video. Step 4: Upload the video to Google Drive and share it with your teacher.
  17. 17. Thai-Serbian A2 University EFL Learners’ Perspectives on Learning and Teaching Oral English Communication Skills David Allen Bruner Kemtong Sinwongsuwat Yaruingam Phungshok Shimray Prince of Songkla University Abstract This research investigated perspectives on learning and teaching oral English communication skills of A2 students, the majority of EFL undergraduate students, at two partner universities in countries in Kachru’s “Expanding Circle”, namely Prince of Songkla University, Thailand and University of Novi Sad, Serbia. A questionnaire survey explored the students’ perspectives on their teachers’ teaching methods and styles, and their own learning styles, motivation and difficulties. Overall, Thai and Serbian A2 students had different perspectives on their teachers, learning styles and learning difficulties, but similar perspectives on teaching methods and learning motivation. The differences pointed to Thais’ lower oral English proficiency, limited exposure to English outside the classroom, diversity of varieties of English spoken by teachers, commonality between English and the students' L1, cultural disparities between teachers and students, Thai cooperative learning, different economic and social needs, and different class facilities. Keywords: university learners' perspectives, learning and teaching oral English communication skills, Expanding Circle, Southeast Asia, the Balkans, Thailand, Serbia
  18. 18. 14 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Background of the Study Amidst globalization in the information era, the unprecedented rapid spread and the pivotal role of English as the language of global and even local or personal business cannot be overstated. Today, in many countries, especially those in Kachru’s (1985) Expanding Circle, where English has long been embraced as an important language for international communication, the language has transcended from being just an important foreign language to an international or a global language that everyone receiving formal education has to learn at an early age. In fact, as many of the countries in these traditional EFL contexts both in the East and in the West are striving to compete in the fast-growing world economy and to enter into some sort of economic union, English has undeniably become an essential part of human capital to invest in to produce human resources capable for successful competition and transition into desirable economies. Given the considerably fast expansion of economies in Asia, CEOs of many companies have come forth stressing how important it is for people to possess strong English language skills if they want to progress in their career and capitalize on the increasing foreign investment pouring into these countries in this era (see e.g., Byrne, 2010). Speaking English has in fact become an even more essential goal as free trade and economic cooperation are promoted among both Asian and European countries. In the integration of the ASEAN economic community which takes effect on December 31, 2015, English becomes the only official language, marking its importance for international communication in the region where in the vast majority of countries, English is not the native language. A large number of companies have already put forth hiring policies which require employees to have a good command of English. For university students and academics in the ASEAN region, English becomes essential not only for communication but for publication purposes. Likewise, with the European Union Council’s endorsement of accession negotiations with Serbia by January, 2014, a workforce with high English language ability is becoming even more critical in the Balkan region. Given the urgent need for human resources with strong English communication skills in all parts of the world, it has become especially crucial for language educators to reexamine the current English language teaching approaches adopted to see whether they really produce desirable students. In her study which examined the general English proficiency of ASEAN
  19. 19. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 15 students measured by TOEFL- equated CU-TEP1 scores, Prapphal (2001) found that the average English proficiency of Thai and Laotian students was lower than that of students from other ASEAN countries. Almost a decade later, Thai students' English proficiency remained the lowest among Southeast Asian countries (Khamkhien, 2010). In a more recent study conducted by an international language training company using data from online English tests, Thailand was even ranked one of the Asian countries on the lowest end of English Proficiency Index (Education First, 2012; WhereisThailand.info, 2012). In response to this, it has been suggested that certain changes be made in the components of the course syllabus adopted in Thailand such as goals and objectives, materials, methods of teaching, as well as testing and evaluation. While Thailand is infamous for low English proficiency, Serbia, by contrast, has a much higher English proficiency ranking according to the Business English Proficiency index (Global English Press Releases, 2012). It seems obvious that their advantage over the South East Asian nation of Thailand is that Serbia is in the middle of Europe where English is the most spoken language and that Serbian is also in the Indo-European language family like English. Serbs also have apparently much easier access to a variety of English media and are mobile in traveling, going to school, and working in other European countries and global businesses. However, given that Serbia is a country in the Expanding Circle planning to integrate into an economic union and teaching English as a foreign language like Thailand, their classroom practices related to the majority of learners merit comparative investigation. With emphasis on developing oral communication skills of university students, this paper was written based on a study taking a step back to examine the course syllabi currently adopted by universities in Thailand and Serbia in order to determine what they are attempting to achieve, what is really going on in the classroom where they are implemented and whether these syllabi are well-received by parties involved, particularly teachers and students. Instead of trying to lay claim on changes to be made to the syllabus adopted in Thailand, it tries to explore the perspectives of the majority of learners at partner universities in both regions regarding the syllabi adopted, especially the learners' own views on learning and improving their oral English communication skills. Using international perspectives, the paper hopes to shed light on classroom practices and learners-related factors that possibly contribute to success or failure of oral English communication education in the respective countries. This, 1 Chulalongkorn University Test of English Proficiency
  20. 20. 16 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 we believe, is necessary before any appropriate change can be made, especially to the Thai syllabi. Research Questions This paper, in particular, examines the perspectives of the majority of university EFL learners at the partner universities in their respective regions regarding learning and improving their oral English communication skills, and if they differ, how do they differ and what factors may account for these differences. The following research questions have accordingly been addressed: 1. What is the overall picture of learning and improving oral English communication skills based on the perspectives of the majority of EFL university learners at the chosen universities in the respective regions? 2. Do the learners in the two universities differ in their perspectives and, if so, how are they different and what factors can apparently account for such differences? Methodology Research settings, population, and samples The research sites were the Faculty of Liberal Arts (FLA), Prince of Songkla University (PSU)-Hat Yai, Thailand and the Faculty of Philosophy (FP), University of Novi Sad (UNS)-Serbia. The population included the majority of PSU and UNS undergraduate students enrolled in English courses aimed primarily at developing oral English communication skills in the Academic Year 2011 and 2012 respectively. Selected through the purposive sampling method, PSU student samples consisted of 439 2nd - 4th year students with the majority level of English proficiency, Elementary (A2), who took the courses in the summer semester of the same academic year. Determined by the Cambridge Quick Placement Test, out of 557 2nd - 4th year PSU students taking the elective courses oriented towards developing oral English communication skills in the summer semester of the Academic Year 2011, March-May 2012, the majority (n=439) were of the Elementary (A2) level of English proficiency according to the Council of Europe Levels (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, 2001). The rest of the students (n=92 and n=26) were of the Beginner (A1) and the Lower Intermediate (B1) levels of English proficiency respectively. This proportion remained intact based on our rerun
  21. 21. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 17 placement-test with the new group of students in the summer semester of the following academic year. The students with the majority level of English proficiency, A2, were therefore the suitable focus group for the questionnaire analysis. Serbian participants, on the other hand, included the undergraduate students taking English language courses in the academic year 2012. These students took the same placement test at the beginning of the academic year in order to be placed in appropriate groups and the majority of them, who were A2 students, were examined in this paper. Instruments Questionnaires were given to the majority of the EFL undergraduate students at both universities in order to capture the holistic picture of oral English language teaching and learning from the students’ perspectives. Developed around the issues that typically are of central concern to language teachers, the whole questionnaire is divided into five relatively equal sections; however, this paper only discusses the findings obtained from two main sections of the questionnaire. The first one is concerned with the participants’ demographic data, and the second section with the learners' perspectives on oral English language teaching and learning. The students provided written responses to the questionnaires in their native language while the researchers were present for explanation and clarification. To analyze the first part of the questionnaire concerned with the demographic data of research participants, descriptive statistics such as mean and standard deviation were employed. The aim was to arrive at the profile of the research participants concerning their background and learning experience, which were believed to affect their perspectives on language learning and teaching. As for the other parts of the questionnaire that comprise statements with the Likert scale, statistical correlations and interval-scale analysis were performed comparing the answers of Serbian and Thai students to find statistically significant sets of data. Findings and Discussion The perspectives of the majority of students from both universities on learning and improving oral English communication skills were elicited via an itemized Likert scale. The results obtained from Thai and Serbian A2 students were interpreted based on the following interval scale: 4.51 – 5.00 (strongly agreed), 3.51 – 4.50 (agreed), 2.51 – 3.50 (moderately agreed), 1.51 – 2.50 (disagreed), and 1.00 – 1.50 (strongly disagreed). Additionally, they
  22. 22. 18 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 were compared to determine item differences. Those items whose differences between the two groups not only were statistically significant but also fell between different intervals are described as very different, whereas those with only statistically significant differences are considered moderately different. The rest of the items whose differences were not statistically significant were considered similar or the same between the two groups. Overview of A2 students’ perspectives on oral-English communication teaching and learning It was found that overall, Thai and Serbian A2 students had rather similar perspectives on teaching methods and learning motivation, but very or moderately different perspectives on their teachers, learning styles and learning difficulties.As shown in Table 1 below, A2 students, the majority of students at both universities, were satisfied with the oral English communication courses offered; they found the content provided in the course books used interesting. The courses allowed them to engage in communicative tasks related to real-world uses of English, balancing accuracy- with fluency-focused activities and making them aware of varieties of English spoken in the world. They had opportunities to work with their classmates and felt comfortable doing so. Their course teachers also made them feel free to volunteer their answers in class and helped them learn to take control of their own learning. They adopted adaptive teaching styles and were receptive to the students’ view of learning. Furthermore, the teachers were attentive to their learning progress. Table 1: Thai and Serbian students’ similar perspectives on teaching methods and styles Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2- tailed) Providing interesting course content Serbian 107 4.08 0.92 1.45 0.15 Thai 439 3.95 0.74 Engaging in real-world communicative tasks Serbian 107 3.64 1.14 -0.51 0.61 Thai 436 3.69 0.8 Balancing accuracy and fluency-focused activities Serbian 105 4.1 0.88 1.69 0.09 Thai 438 3.96 0.77
  23. 23. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 19 Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2- tailed) Raising awareness of world Englishes Serbian 106 3.96 1.32 -0.01 0.99 Thai 438 3.96 0.83 Learning cooperatively Serbian 107 3.83 1.33 -1.41 0.16 Thai 439 4.02 0.79 Fostering peer support Serbian 106 3.79 1.61 -1.21 0.23 Thai 439 3.99 0.76 Participating voluntarily Serbian 107 3.66 1.82 0.81 0.42 Thai 438 3.52 0.95 Nurturing autonomous learning Serbian 107 4.24 1.64 0.74 0.46 Thai 438 4.12 0.74 Teacher's adaptive teaching styles Serbian 106 4.56 2.02 1.92 0.06 Thai 439 4.18 0.70 Teachers' being receptive to students' view Serbian 105 4.46 2.18 1.67 0.10 Thai 439 4.10 0.68 Teachers' being attentive to students' progress Serbian 104 4.38 2.33 1.03 0.31 Thai 439 4.15 0.72 Additionally, it was revealed that both groups of students were in fact highly motivated to learn English. They claimed that they attended class regularly and participated actively in the classroom. They similarly wanted to be able to speak with native speakers and learn about speakers of other cultures through the English language. They also found the target language beautiful and essential for consuming pop culture.
  24. 24. 20 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Sharing similar views overall on teaching methods and learning motivation, the Thai and Serbian A2 students were however very different on their views towards their teachers' teaching styles, as well as their own learning styles and difficulties. Table 2 displays the statistical results related to the students' different perspectives on their teachers and teaching styles. Table 2: Thai and Serbian students’ different perspectives on teachers and teaching styles Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2- tailed) authentic examples of spoken English* Providing sufficient Serbian 107 4.45 0.84 4.68 0.00 Thai 439 4.03 0.75 Frequency of teachers' speaking English Serbian 107 4.94 0.33 16.25 0.00 Thai 438 4.12 0.81 Frequency of teachers' speaking students' L1 Serbian 105 4.66 0.95 15.71 0.00 Thai 438 2.96 1.16 Giving opportunities for speaking English in class Serbian 106 4.98 0.57 11.52 0.00 Thai 439 4.22 0.75 Providing essential learning opportunities Serbian 107 4.39 1.16 3.71 0.00 Thai 439 3.95 0.76 Assessing students' performance Serbian 106 4.70 1.25 8.24 0.00 Thai 438 3.92 0.75 Being communication facilitators Serbian 106 4.56 1.50 2.50 0.00 Thai 438 4.18 0.76 Giving feedback* Serbian 107 4.84 1.55 3.34 0.00 Thai 438 4.51 0.67
  25. 25. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 21 Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2- tailed) Teachers' accents Serbian 107 4.89 1.60 2.90 0.00 Thai 439 4.43 0.74 Teachers' understanding of what they are teaching Serbian 107 5.07 1.62 5.29 0.00 Thai 439 4.22 0.77 Teachers' awareness of learners' ethnic diversities Serbian 107 4.80 1.83 6.93 0.00 Thai 438 4.04 0.70 Teachers' provision of input* Serbian 105 4.48 2.18 2.35 0.02 Thai 437 3.97 0.76 *moderately different As shown in Table 2, the Serbian students were more content with the frequency of their class teachers' English use, while the Thais preferred more Thai spoken by their teachers. The latter were apparently more used to studying English with Thai teachers often speaking Thai in the classroom; their first experience with oral English teaching at the university level in fact reinforced their previous experience. Most Thai university students had Thai English teachers in their first year of fundamental English courses, often using Thai to a high extent as the medium of instruction. When they reached the second year or higher at the university, they were abruptly exposed to native or near native English speakers in oral communication class with little Thai spoken. Such an abrupt change may have made their learning experience more difficult and challenging. In fact, some of the students surveyed reported having problems following their course teachers' fast English speech. By contrast, throughout their high school and university, the Serbs have Serbian teachers with primarily American accents who apparently can strike a balance of L1/L2 use in the classroom for the benefit of their low-proficiency learners. While wanting their teacher to speak their native language more, the Thai students nevertheless expected more English-speaking opportunities for themselves and more exposure to authentic examples of spoken English for real-life communication in class more than the Serbian students did. Apparently, for the Thais, examples of spoken English in real-
  26. 26. 22 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 life communication and opportunities to speak English in class mattered more than having English-speaking teachers teach the course given the fact that few English-speaking opportunities exist outside the classroom. The Thais were actually yearning for more opportunities to practice speaking English in class; they came to class expecting their teachers to help them learn to communicate effectively in the target language. In fact, they reportedly also tried more to find the opportunity to speak English with native speakers and speakers of other languages after class. Despite the increasing number of international students on campus, the students of other languages were spread out mainly among graduate programs, allowing little contact with the undergraduate student majority. The Thai students thus needed to put more effort to find the opportunity to use English. The Serbians by contrast have more opportunities to speak English not only outside the classroom, but also in the university oral communication classroom than they did at the primary and secondary school level. In addition, while both groups of students liked their class teachers in several aspects such as accent, styles of teaching, teaching abilities, and awareness of learner diversities, the Serbian students preferred their teacher’s English pronunciation more than the Thais. The Serbians apparently were more satisfied with the fact they were continuously exposed to English teachers whose accents were closer to those of the speakers in the Inner Circle. In Serbia, teachers mostly have homogenous American English accents. The Thais, on the other hand, were familiar primarily with British or American English accents mainly via commercial oral communication textbooks, but at university they learned English with foreign teachers from all the different circles speaking in a greater variety of English accents. At the time of the survey, the Thai A2 students were taught by American, British, Canadian, German, Indian, Sri Lankan, and Thai teachers, while the Serbian students were taught exclusively by Serbian teachers influenced by American English accents. Such a drastic change may have been unsettling for a number of the Thai A2 students who had had only limited exposure to so many varieties of spoken English. This corresponds in particular with the fact that the Thais rated lower on their satisfaction with their teachers’ speaking English and with the comments they gave on their teachers’ giving feedback and their understanding of the teachers’ talk and the input provided. Furthermore, the Serbians, whose native language is in the Eastern branch of the Indo-European group, appeared to be more accustomed to English, which is in the Western branch of the Indo-European language family, by contrast with Thai belonging to a different
  27. 27. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 23 language group (i.e.,Tai-Kadai). In fact, for most Thais today, English is the only Indo- European language that they are exposed to. Additionally, the Serbians also reported more teachers’ awareness of learner diversity than the Thais. This was apparently related to the fact that Serbian class was more ethnically diverse than the Thai class, and the Thais may have perceived that teachers not sharing their native tongue may not completely understand them. The Thai cultural value with respect to the power distance between them and their teacher seemed to also influence their perception of their teachers' understanding them (Thomgprasert, 2008). Concerning the students' views on themselves, Tables 3, 4, and 5below show the statistical results related to the students' different perspectives on their learning styles, motivation and difficulties respectively. Regarding learning styles outside the classroom, both groups of students reportedly spent time on self-study activities required by the course rather than on any other English activities not part of the course. However, unlike the Serbians, the Thais reportedly spent time with their English classmates not only working on class assignments but also socializing with them. They also preferred more to do other extracurricular English activities not part of the course requirements with their peers. Apparently, the Thais’ learning styles were influenced by their group-oriented native culture; they seemed to prefer cooperative to individual learning, and group to individual work. In fact such a learning style was also reinforced in their English classroom, which mostly involved them in group work. Because of such a collectivism cultural value, the Thais are more likely to excel through group work rather than individual assignments. In fact, unlike the Serbs, most Thai students confirmed that they were able to fulfill in-class group activities more easily than self-study or individual exams. They thought that they could accomplish class activities more easily with their classmates, and preferred to be assessed by means of group rather than individual work. From their perspectives, group activities were more manageable and useful as they can assist and learn from each other.
  28. 28. 24 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Table 3: Thai and Serbian students’ different perspectives on learning styles Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2- tailed) Socializing with peers out of the classroom Serbian 105 2.41 1.29 -8.23 0.00 Thai 439 3.50 0.85 Working on assignments with peers out of the classroom Serbian 106 2.13 1.25 -10.82 0.00 Thai 436 3.52 0.84 Doing required self-study English activities out of the class* Serbian 106 3.86 1.19 2.72 0.01 Thai 437 3.53 0.83 Doing extra English activities out of the class* Serbian 106 2.86 1.41 -3.70 0.00 Thai 436 3.39 0.85 Trying to find opportunities to speak English with native speakers outside the classroom Serbian 105 2.38 1.33 -8.06 0.00 Thai 437 3.47 0.85 Taking the opportunity to speak English even with speakers of other languages* Serbian 105 3.11 1.45 -2.06 0.04 Thai 435 3.42 0.87 *moderately different With respect to English learning motivation, as indicated in Table 4, the Thai students reportedly were much more driven than the Serbians by their desire to get a better job, work for a foreign company at home and abroad, and satisfy their parents. They were driven less by their desires to consume English media.
  29. 29. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 25 Table 4: Thai and Serbian students’ different perspectives on learning motivation Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2-tailed) To get a better job Serbian 106 4.28 1.07 -2.38 0.02 Thai 438 4.54 0.75 Not to disappoint other people Serbian 106 2.42 1.49 -8.19 0.00 Thai 438 3.67 0.97 To travel abroad Serbian 106 4.75 0.65 5.16 0.00 Thai 438 4.38 0.78 To work for a foreign company Serbian 106 3.08 1.47 -7.87 0.00 Thai 438 4.25 0.80 To be able to enjoy English media* Serbian 106 3.75 1.41 -3.73 0.00 Thai 438 4.28 0.84 *moderately different Unlike the Thais, parents apparently did not influence the Serbians’ learning English as much. The latter group’s English learning was more driven by their desire to travel. They were more influenced by individualistic culture than the Thais, where groups and communities are paramount in society. English media are also more readily accessible in the society, thereby influencing the learners’ motivation to learn the target language more. As for learning obstacles, shown in Table 5, while overall the A2 students from both universities similarly denied that they were experiencing difficulties learning English, there were certain differences in discrete items reported.
  30. 30. 26 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Table 5: Thai and Serbian students’ different perspectives on learning obstacles Topics Students N Mean SD t Sig. (2-tailed) Class size too big Serbian 106 2.14 1.28 -6.07 0.00 Thai 439 2.95 0.97 Problems with teaching equipment Serbian 106 1.25 0.69 -12.63 0.00 Thai 438 2.29 1.03 Lack of ones' own study desks Serbian 106 1.25 0.81 -10.96 0.00 Thai 434 2.27 1.03 Lack of ones' own room to study* Serbian 106 1.50 1.22 -5.49 0.00 Thai 435 2.14 1.05 Having disturbing roommates and/or neighbors* Serbian 106 1.60 1.10 -5.64 0.00 Thai 435 2.26 1.07 Other subjects taking away too much time* Serbian 106 3.41 1.37 5.13 0.00 Thai 436 2.68 1.04 Getting no support from family members* Serbian 106 1.47 1.06 -6.11 0.00 Thai 436 2.18 1.20 Getting no support from peers* Serbian 106 1.55 0.96 -5.85 0.00 Thai 438 2.17 1.08 No easy access to English media Serbian 106 1.26 0.68 -13.33 0.00 Thai 437 2.35 1.01 Other learning difficulties Serbian 106 0.06 0.23 -35.31 0.00 Thai 292 2.53 1.13 *moderately different
  31. 31. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 27 Unlike the Thai students, who did not completely deny the problem with class size, Serbian students rejected the statement that their English class size was too big. Compared with typical classrooms at PSU, those at UNS were generally smaller, and this inevitably constrained the number of students in each class. Some classrooms at LA in contrast can hold as many as 150 students, possibly contributing to the class size problem. Additionally, the number of students enrolled in oral English communication classes at the faculty is increasing every year. The Serbian students also reportedly had fewer problems with classroom teaching equipment than the Thai students. Unlike classroom facilities at PSU, approximately 40-50% of the classrooms in Serbia were equipped with a blackboard, chalk, and an overhead projector; this apparently did not pose as many challenges to users as more advanced equipment such as computers and LCD projectors provided in every classroom at PSU. The Serbians also more readily rejected the problems with private facilities to study, disturbing roommates and/or neighbors, support from family and peers when studying. This did not seem to be a surprise given the fact that unlike the Thais most of whom lived in dormitories, the Serbian students mostly were local, living at their own homes. However, unlike the Thais, the Serbians did not quite deny the problem of other subjects taking too much of their times. Most Serbian students at the Faculty of Philosophy, UNS, are required to take EFL or foreign language courses, which unlike other compulsory courses, offer only practice classes with no hours of lectures and allow the students to gain at most 3 credits. This may apparently have led the students to give higher priorities to those courses with hours of lectures and more credits. Additionally, the Thai A2 students reportedly had more problems with access to English media, thus lowering their motivation to learn English to consume the media as previously discussed. Outside the classroom, a typical Thai student would be exposed more to Thai than English media; the majority of popular TV and radio channels are still in Thai. English TV programs are often dubbed into Thai. The Serbians are on the other hand exposed to a greater variety of English media such as news, movies, and music because the country is literally in the middle of Europe. While English TV and films are subtitled, the students reportedly enjoyed them without subtitles and preferred English music. Finally, while Serbian students reportedly had no other learning difficulties, two per cent of Thai A2 students (sum=439) announced that they had problems learning other languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Apparently, Thai students were more concerned with learning languages other than English more than the Serbian students.
  32. 32. 28 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Factors responsible for different perspectives and implications for oral English teaching in Thailand There appear to be a number of factors contributing to the different perspectives between the Thai and Serbian A2 students, and these factors lead us to some implications for oral English communication teaching in Thailand. 1. Lower oral English proficiency of Thai students and reinforcement of previous teaching methods at the university level Although both groups of students investigated were A2 level based on the paper Cambridge Quick Placement Test, it is likely the Thai students had lower oral English proficiency than their Serbian counterparts based on the findings and the literature previously discussed. Therefore, they preferred to have their teachers’ speaking more Thai in the classroom in the belief that it would improve their understanding and learning efficiency. In fact, most Thai university students have Thai English teachers in their first year teaching fundamental English courses and speaking Thai in class. However, using an abundance of Thai in the classroom may be counterproductive and will not prepare them well for elective courses with non-Thai teachers in later years. Therefore, it is recommended that at the outset of students’ university career, teachers endeavor to make sure the majority of in-class communicative activities are conducted in English and the students are encouraged to use their English with speakers of other languages outside the classroom through interactive assignments. 2. Limited exposure to spoken English outside the classroom In the Thai context, students mostly share the same Thai language and culture with limited exposure to cultures of English-speaking teachers. Their exposure to native or near native English speakers may be limited to their teachers and few opportunities exist for them to communicate with speakers of English outside the classroom. Given Thai students’ having more limited exposure to English than the Serbians, Thai teachers, administrators, and policy makers should be responsible for creating more opportunities for the students to engage in English extracurricular activities outside the classroom, which they preferred according to the research findings. In fact, as previously reported, the Thais yearned for more English- speaking opportunities; therefore, in the classroom teachers should aim to adequately provide them with activities simulating real-life communicative situations in which they can really
  33. 33. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 29 use English in meaningful ways. Additionally, as suggested by Bell (2011) EFL students with limited exposure to the target language in real-life situations may demand different teaching strategies to accommodate their communication needs. Especially, in the Thai context in which students also have limited exposure to English media, the learners may need to be taught not only where they can use their English outside the classroom and with incentives but by increasing their motivation to learn English by tying their personal interests with the language (through virtual classrooms, blogs, social media, etc.), rather than mainly letting them navigate without intervention in the entertainment-driven world of music, TV and movies. 3. Diversity of varieties of English spoken by teachers At the time of the study, non-Thai English teachers at Liberal Arts, PSU came from a variety of nationalities and language backgrounds and in the majority of cases, the teachers’ L1 was not English. Not surprisingly, the students were exposed to a variety of English accents in the oral communication classroom. Even among native English speakers, accents also vary, proving to be challenging for the Thais with limited previous exposure to world Englishes. However, with continuous incentive-driven exposure to English activities both in and outside the classroom with native and non-native speakers of English, it is likely they will become more familiar with greater varieties of English, having fewer problems with the English-speaking teachers from different circles. And, in fact, as noted by Kessler (2003) international or multilingual English teachers having learned English as L2 learners themselves may benefit students through greater empathy, language learning knowledge and sharing cultural experiences. Native English speakers are just as prone to speak too quickly or not to pronounce words clearly. Having teachers whose English is not their native tongue can therefore be advantageous to the students especially as English speakers in the Inner Circle are rapidly being outnumbered by those from the other circles. 4. Commonality between English and the native language Negative L1 interference may be felt more acutely among the Thai EFL students than Serbian students given the fact that Thai is from a different language family than English and Serbian. So, as teachers, we need to be cognizant of the essential linguistic differences between Thai and English. Specialized training may be required for non-Thai teachers. Students, on the other hand, should be made aware of the contrastive features between the two languages, especially in pronunciation, grammar and expression use as needed to
  34. 34. 30 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 perform various actions in oral communication via various focused, awareness-raising activities. And the teaching aim should be to train students to start thinking in English rather than relying on translation aids without awareness of linguistic differences. When performing oral activities, they should be encouraged to speak spontaneously. The majority of communicative tasks used such as role-play, discussion, and public speaking should require non-scripted speech, bearing in mind the students’ language level so that the students will not be over-influenced by negative L1 transfer. 5. Cultural disparity between teacher and students Studies have suggested that L2 learning is greatly influenced by cultural values of the parties involved (Thongprasert, 2008). Very different cultural values of non-Thai teachers may hinder student learning in the classroom. Because of their high power distance cultural values, Thai students prefer the direction and control of their teachers because they see them as superior in both status and education. So, the students are inclined to be passive in the classroom. They are also often reluctant to ask questions, volunteer answers or come up with original ideas for fear of losing face. If their teachers are from very different cultures, cross- cultural misunderstandings between teacher and student seem unavoidable. Non-Thai teachers therefore need cultural-awareness through training or self-study. Given that Thai students are inclined to stay quiet in class and keep distance from their teachers owing to such high power distance and risk avoidance cultural backgrounds, teachers need strategies to get students to volunteer, ask and answer questions, and express opinions without the perception of being disrespectful or losing face. In the case of Thai teachers, they should understand their own culture and how it can affect the classroom dynamics. While raising the students’ awareness of the target language culture, the teachers may at the same time need to make effort to avoid reinforcing aspects of the L1 culture that could diminish the students’ ability to acquire oral proficiency. For example, Thai teachers should encourage students to proactively participate in all classroom activities. 6. Reinforcement of group culture via cooperative learning Thongprasert (2008) suggests that Thai students are more likely to learn by group work because of their collectivist cultural orientation. This coupled with the promotion of cooperative learning in an ESL/EFL classroom via the Communicative Language Teaching
  35. 35. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 31 approach makes teachers at any education level more inclined to assign group work than individual tasks. At the university level, this reinforces cooperative learning that the students experienced prior to university. However, if there is no balance between group and individual communicative assignments, Thai students may fail miserably when confronted by the latter. For example, in oral English communication courses at PSU, more than 60% of the requirements are based on individual achievements. 7. Different economic and social needs The findings show that the Thai students are already instrumentally motivated to learn to communicate in English. They know that English as a global language will enhance their job prospect after graduation. With the AEC on the horizon, teachers should use motivation- teaching strategies to keep them focused on the fact there will be intense competition in the ACE job markets, particularly for positions in multinational companies. As suggested by Saraithong (2013), teachers should engage the students in activities that allow them to effectively improve skills essential in the workplace, in particular, listening and speaking. 8. Different classroom facilities and learning environment PSU and UNS are located in very different environments. Given that PSU is in the Asian tropical zone and UNS is in central Europe, this may account for differences in the universities’ different layouts and infrastructures. With respect to LA-PSU, the policy of the university is for all core English language training subjects to be centralized in one faculty. This results in challenges to the faculty given annually increasing enrollments, which may affect class size. As well, at present the Faculty of Liberal Arts can accommodate very large classes, which could affect their students’ perspectives on class size and facilities. It is recommended that the oral English communication classroom size has a rigorously- encouraged upper limit in accordance with the students’ learning needs. Consideration should also be given to hiring more English teachers given the increasing enrollment. Conclusion This research aims to highlight perspectives on learning and teaching oral English communication skills of A2 university students in Thailand and Serbia. It was found that Thai and Serbian students had similar perspectives on teaching methods and learning motivation, but different perspectives on their teachers, learning styles and learning difficulties. The differences reflect Thais’ lower oral English proficiency, limited exposure to English outside
  36. 36. 32 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 the classroom, diversity of varieties of English spoken by teachers, commonality between English and the students' L1, cultural disparities between teachers and students, reinforcement of group culture via cooperative learning, different economic and social needs, and different class facilities and environments. To enhance oral English communication teaching in Thailand, it was recommended that real-life, in-class communicative activities are conducted in English and the students are encouraged to use their English with speakers of other languages outside the classroom through interactive assignments with incentives and tied to personal interests, in order to familiarize students with greater varieties of English. Effort should be made to acquaint both teachers and students with the contrastive aspects of Thai and English via various focused, awareness-raising activities for students and specialized training for teachers. Moreover, in order for teachers to encourage students to think in English, rather than translate from Thai, and to counter negative L1 interference, the majority of communicative tasks in the classroom should be non-scripted. Greater cultural awareness between teacher and student needs to be fostered so that ingrained Thai cultural values such as high power avoidance and risk avoidance will not act as barriers to the communicative process and oral proficiency. Team teaching between native and non-native teachers, if possible, probably will also help the students to overcome the cultural and linguistic barriers from having solely native teachers in class. This merits further research despite its logistical complexity. Finally, teachers should encourage oral skills essential to the workplace and class size and teacher- student ratios should be conducive for this purpose. Acknowledgements This paper emanates from research project no. L1A 560297S, “Comparative study of approaches to the development of oral English communication skills adopted by universities in EFL contexts,” as the result of a research grant by Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai Campus, Thailand. The authors acknowledge the input of other project members: Dr. Biljana Radic-Bojanic, Jagoda Topalov, Viktoriia Krombholc, Maja Bjelica and Ana Halas. Special thanks to Professor Dr. Ivana Zivancevic-Sekerus, Vice-Dean for International Relations and Science, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad, Serbia.
  37. 37. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 33 The Authors David Allen Bruner has been a lecturer at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Department of Languages and Linguistics since 2008 and teaches English to both graduate and undergraduate students. His interests include English programs in Thailand and legal English. Kemtong Sinwongsuwat (Ph.D.) is an assistant professor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Prince of Songkla University-Hat Yai, Thailand. She has a special interest in Conversation Analysis (CA), interactional linguistics, corpus linguistics, and the development of Thai EFL learners’ oral communication skills. Yaruingam Phungshok Shimray joined Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai campus in 2009 as a lecturer at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Department of Languages and Linguistics. He regularly conducts leadership trainings, seminars, professional growth workshops to PSU students, staff, and teachers in and off the campus. References Bell, K. (2011, July). How ESL and EFL classrooms differ. Retrieved from oupeltglobalblog.com/2011/…/how-esl-and-efl-classrooms Byrne, M. (2010). Strong English language skills essential to capitalize on increasing foreign investment in Thailand. Retrieved Jan 1, 2012, from http://english-click.com/strong- english-language-skills-essential-to-capitalize-on-increasing-foreign-investment-in- thailand/ Education First (2012).The EF EPI 2012 Report. Retrieved Aug 23, 2013 from http://www.ef.nl/__/~/media/efcom/epi/2012/full_reports/ef-epi-2012-report-master- lr-2 Kachru, B. (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: The English language in the outer circle. In R. Quirk & H. G. Widdowson (Eds.), English in the world: Teaching and learning the language and literature (pp. 11-30). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Kessler, M.(2003).Equal opportunity and diversity: The handbook for teachers of English. Retrieved from www.britishcouncil.org/eod_handbook.pdf Khamkien A. (2010) Teaching English speaking skills and English speaking tests in the Thai context: A reflection from Thai perspective. English Language Teaching, 3, 184-190.
  38. 38. 34 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Laksanavisit, J. (2009). Proclamation of 2009 the year of Thai higher education quality enhancement: Quality graduates for sustainable development. The National Conference. July 2-3, 2009. The Impact Convention Centre, Impact Areana, Muang Thong Thani. Retrieved Jan 10, 2012, from http://inter.mua.go.th/main2/article.php?id=18. Prapphal, K. (2001). Globalization through distance education via Inter- and Intranet pedagogy. PASAA, 31, 75-81. Saraithong, W. (2013).The economic perspective of labor’s English language proficiency in the AEC era.WEI International Academic Conference Proceedings, January 14-16, 2013, Antalya, Turkey. Retrieved fromwww.westeastinstitute.com/…/ANT-335- Wuthiya-SARAI Thongprasert, N. (2008). Classroom environments: A case study of Thai students in Thai and Australian universities. Proceedings of the EDU-COM 2008 International Conference Sustainability in Higher Education: Directions for change; Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, November 19-21, 2008. Retrieved from N Thongprasert JM Cross-2008-ro.ecu.edu.au University of Cambridge-Local Examinations Syndicate. (2001). Quick placement test: paper and pen test : user manual. UK: Oxford University Press. WhereisThailand.info. (2012, July 25). Where is Thailand in English Proficiency? Retrieved August 17, 2013, from http://whereisthailand.info/2012/07/english-proficiency/
  39. 39. Effects of Classroom Praise on Student Engagement in Online Discussions Matthew A. Carey Qatar University Abstract With the recent push towards blended learning and independent learning tasks, the need to increase student engagement in learning activities outside of the classroom has become more important. While assigning grades to homework can be extrinsically motivating, many educators envision the development of greater intrinsic motivation within their students. Indeed, it can be argued that this is one of the primary goals of education itself. Dörnyei (2001) suggests that to motivate students teachers should, 1) “Promote the learners’ language-related values by presenting peer role models,” 2) “Raise the learner’s intrinsic interest in the L2 learning process,” and 3) “Provide learners with regular experiences of success.” Following the strategies indicated by Dörnyei, this paper presents the results of an action research that explored the effects of giving praise in the classroom on student engagement in online discussion board tasks. Results of this action research suggest that in-class praise had little effect on students who were not already involved in completing the task. However, results also indicated that in-class praise may have served as feedback to help already motivated students become more engaged in the task thus helping them to increase content scores through repetition of the online task. Keywords: student engagement, motivation, praise, blended learning environments
  40. 40. 36 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 Introduction As the 21st century progresses, language teachers and learners are finding that learner independence is becoming increasingly important. In addition, with recent technological advances, the language classroom is becoming an increasingly blended environment incorporating both in-class and online tasks. The current shift in classroom culture to this more blended model necessitates that students become motivated, independent learners and that teachers seek the best ways to motivate their students to become independent learners equipped with the necessary tools to thrive in this new era of learning. To successfully motivate students to take control of their learning, teachers must have a clear understanding of current theories of motivation. From the behavioral perspective motivation could be defined as simply “the anticipation of reward” (Brown, 2007, p.168). However, upon more deeply examining the concept of motivation, it becomes clear that other perspectives must be taken into account. Ausubel (1968) introduced a more cognitive perspective on motivation positing that individuals have cognitive needs for exploration, manipulation, activity, stimulation, knowledge, and ego enhancement. Upon further examination of Ausubel’s cognitive perspective on motivation, it appears that individuals will have varying levels of need for the rewards of interacting within one’s environment. With the 1970s the constructivist perspective on motivation began to appear in educational psychology literature. The constructivist view of motivation posits that while individuals may have varying levels of need for intrinsic or extrinsic rewards, these needs are influenced and contextualized by external social factors. One of the most frequently cited examples of this constructivist perspective of motivation is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow (1970) presented several levels of the hierarchy based on safety, belonging, and esteem. These three levels do focus on individual psychological needs. However, these needs are influenced and contextualized by one’s social environment. Another way of looking at motivation is to view it from simply intrinsic and extrinsic perspectives. Extrinsic motivation can be defined as motivation that is “fuelled by the anticipation of reward from outside and beyond the self” (Brown, 2007, p. 172). Sometimes in the classroom teachers may give chocolate to students who perform well on a class exercise. This would be an example of purely extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation can be defined as “behaviors that are aimed at bringing out certain internally rewarding consequences, namely feelings of competence and self-determination” (Deci, 1975, p.23). Intrinsically motivated learners often complete tasks because simply completing the task makes them feel a sense of accomplishment.
  41. 41. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 37 Obviously few learners are completely extrinsically motivated or completely intrinsically motivated. However, most educators see that a significant part of their role in the classroom is to help students develop their intrinsic motivation for learning. A growing amount of research also suggests that intrinsic motivation is preferable for students’ long- term retention of knowledge (Wu, 2003; Noels et al. 2000; Noels, Clément, & Pelletier, 1999; Dörnyei 2001, 1998; Dörnyei & Csizér, 1998; Crookes & Schmidt, 1991; Brown, 1990). By encouraging students to become more intrinsically motivated learners, teachers help students to become more self-sufficient, independent learners. An intrinsically motivated learner is more likely to independently develop questions about the world around the learner, and thus, seek out answers to satisfy his or her curiosity. With regard to stimulating intrinsic motivation in students, researchers and teacher educators have constantly looked for ways to help teachers develop students’ intrinsic motivation. Piaget (1972) suggested that incongruity, uncertainty, and disequilibrium are universally motivating for students. More recently Dörnyei (2001) published a list of 35 strategies for increasing students’ levels of intrinsic motivation in the classroom. Dörnyei categorized his list of 35 strategies under the subheadings of: 1) Creating the Basic Motivational conditions, 2) Generating Initial Motivation, 3) Maintaining and Protecting Motivation, and 4) Encouraging Positive Self Evaluation. While it might seem impossible to incorporate 35 strategies into classroom teaching within one class period or even over the course of a few weeks, teachers should be aware of the strategies advocated by Dörnyei (2001) and seek to incorporate whatever strategies are possible depending on their individual classroom’s circumstances. For this action research three of the motivational strategies advocated by Dörnyei (2001) were utilized in the classroom. To generate initial motivation with regards to the independent learning task the researcher sought to: 1) Promote the learners’ language-related values by presenting peer role models, and 2) Raise the learner’s intrinsic interest in the L2 learning process. To maintain and protect motivation in the classroom the researcher sought to: 1) Provide learners with regular experiences of success. How each of these motivational strategies was implemented in the classroom will be discussed following an explanation of the online discussion task. The Online Discussion Task Over the course of a 14 week semester, 30 female students were given eight critical thinking questions based on course readings. Each question required that students read a
  42. 42. 38 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 chapter from their textbook, analyze what they had read, and post a detailed answer to the question using the class’s online course management system. Students were given questions which required the use of higher order thinking skills to be able to successfully answer the question. An example of one of the eight questions that was given can be found below. Reading 6: Do Animals Have Rights? (pgs. 207-209) Discussion Question: As stated in the reading, in 1997 the European Union recognized the status of animals as “sentient beings.” What are sentient beings? Do you think that animals are sentient beings in the same way that humans are? Why or why not? Explain. (Bloom Level, Verb: Knowledge, Define: Evaluation, Appraise, Argue) Questions like the one above required students to define a concept as it was introduced in the reading and then create an argument, in this case, based on their own values. Other questions given to students required them to argue from a point of view that the student might not necessarily agree with. In this way students were encouraged to consider and critically analyze multiple points of view on somewhat controversial topics. All of the questions utilized in the online task, along with the level on Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956) that they correspond to, can be found in Appendix 1. Students were not shown the notes on where the task fell in Bloom’s Taxonomy when the questions were given to them. Method With regard to extrinsic motivation students were given 5% towards their final grade for providing a response to each of the eight questions. As there was a total of eight questions, only 4% of each student’s total grade was determined by the completion of all eight online discussion tasks. In addition, if the student wrote anything in response to the question, the student was given 5%. With such a low point value for each online discussion question it could be argued that extrinsic motivation for completing each individual online task had been minimized. To generate intrinsic motivation the researcher implemented three of the strategies suggested by Dörnyei (2001). The first strategy advocated by Dörnyei (2001) is to promote the learner’s language related values by presenting peer role models. This strategy specifically related to giving praise in the classroom as peer role models demonstrated attainable models of success for all learners in the classroom context. These peer role models
  43. 43. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 39 stand in contrast to potentially unattainable models of success that are often demonstrated by sources coming from outside of the classroom such as prewritten solutions found in textbooks. Every two weeks, after the completion of the task, the classroom instructor featured three students’ responses to each question. When the instructor praised each response, he made sure to demonstrate how each response was successful by showing how the content provided by the student corresponded with measures of success on the class’s summative essay writing rubric. Praise, in this case, specifically focused on how student produced content related to the descriptors of Content, Relevance, and Idea Development on the class’s summative essay writing rubric (See Appendix 2). The second strategy from Dörnyei (2001) that was implemented by the researcher was to raise the students’ intrinsic interest in the L2 learning process. Although this requirement was not necessarily fulfilled by giving praise to successful students in class, it was assumed that given existing theories of intrinsic motivation the reasonable challenge presented by each critical thinking question should in itself be somewhat engaging. In addition, as much as possible, questions were localized to have students reflect on how the readings for each question reflected their own experiences in Qatar. For example, question one asked students to consider the effects of Gehry’s museum on Bilbao, Spain and give their opinion on whether the Museum of Islamic Art had had similar effects on Doha, Qatar. By creating localized critical thinking questions, the researcher aimed to encourage deeper student engagement with the assigned reading material and discussion board questions. Furthermore, each question required student-centered input. Questions often asked for students’ individual opinions, or asked students to put themselves into the shoes of another person. A third strategy from Dörnyei (2001) suggests that teachers provide learners with regular experiences of success. Frequency of the giving of praise was controlled for in this action research by providing two critical reading questions in two week intervals throughout the course of the fourteen week semester. As a result, four times throughout the course six students’ work was highlighted and praised at the beginning of the class period. Also, if a student’s response had already been featured as a “student of the week’s response,” that student’s future responses would not receive public praise. There were eight tasks, and for each question, three responses were chosen. Therefore, a total of 24 different student responses were featured throughout the semester. Three dependent variables were measured throughout the course of this action research. They were the number of students responding to each question, the length of
  44. 44. 40 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 student responses, and student engagement with the topic. The number of students responding was measured by counting the number of students that responded to the question. The length of student responses was measured in words. An average number of words was calculated for responses to each question. “Motivation to learn refers primarily to the quality of students’ cognitive engagement in a learning activity, not the intensity of the effort they devote to it or the time they spend on it” (Brophy, 2004, p.16). Brophy’s definition of motivation to learn was implemented in measuring student engagement with the topic. It was assumed that if students were more cognitively engaged with the prompt that they would provide more developed responses as based on the class’s summative essay scoring rubric. To quantify student engagement with the topic student responses were assigned a score for each response based on the Content, Relevance, and Idea Development section of the rubric in Appendix 2. These scores did not count towards students’ grades nor were they communicated to students during the course. Results Results for each of the dependent variables of the number of students responding to each question, the average length of student responses, and student engagement with the topic as measured by average content score were calculated and recorded throughout the course of the semester. The table below shows the weekly totals for the three measured dependent variables corresponding to each critical reading question (CR). Number of Completed Assignments Average Word Count Average Content Score CR1 19 88.79 3.01 CR2 17 56.24 3.28 CR3 17 80.82 3.38 CR4 16 63.00 3.22 CR5 20 104.60 3.44 CR6 18 69.61 3.48 CR7 21 84.76 3.60 CR8 22 94.09 3.61
  45. 45. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 41 Each dependent variable was then plotted on a line graph in an effort to better examine change over time with repeated applications of praise in the classroom. Number of Completed Assignments Over the course of the semester the number of completed assignments did increase. However, this increase was rather small. At CR1 it can be seen that 19 students completed the assignment. By CR8 a total of 22 students completed the assignment. This is only a gain of four students total throughout the course of the semester. A total of 30 students were required to complete each assignment, yet only a maximum of 22 students successfully completed one assignment. One may conclude from this data that students who did not have a strong intrinsic motivation for completing the task to begin with may not have been persuaded to complete future assignments despite the application of in-class praise. These findings support Tileston’s (2010) claim that teachers cannot motivate students; motivation comes from within the student. In addition, Tileston (2010) suggested that teachers’ actions are still critical in creating the conditions in which a student becomes motivated, and teachers play an important role in educating students about learning strategies. With regard to Tileston’s (2010) assertions, it could be that for the eight students who did not complete the online discussion questions the task in itself was not particularly engaging. It can also be seen that from CR5 to CR8 there was an increase in the number of completed assignments. This increase could be attributed to factors of intrinsic or extrinsic motivation. With regard to intrinsic motivation, it is possible that as students saw their peers praised publicly for completing their assignments that they too had a desire to receive praise and began to complete the bi-weekly assignments. Another explanation for this change in classroom behavior could be related to more extrinsic factors of motivation. As the semester
  46. 46. 42 | Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 continued and midterm grades came in, it is possible that a point value of .5% became more important for students who wanted to improve their grades. Average Word Count As can be seen from the line graph average word count varied throughout the semester. Initially, it would seem that CR1 had a relatively high average word count, but there was a comparative drop in the average word count for CR2, CR3, and CR4. Possible reasons for this could be that students were initially interested in the task, but over time it became something that they “had to do.” However, from CR5 there is a sharp increase in the average number of words written by the students. The question for CR5 had to do with differences in communication styles between men and women, and it could be that the students in this all female class were particularly interested in this question. As a result they may have needed more words to explain their opinion on the topic at hand. In general it can also be seen that more students responded to CR5 through CR8. With the increasing number of student responses, the average word count for student responses may also have increased. This increase in average word count towards the latter half of the semester could also be explained by potential increases in students’ writing fluency and general language proficiency. It could be that as their proficiency improved, writing became easier for them. Thus, they wrote more. Another possible explanation for the increase in average word count from CR5 is that students could have become more interested in the online discussion exercise. This could have been the result of praise over time, but as there was no extrinsic reward for writing more, this increase in average word count is evidence of an increase in students’ intrinsic motivation to write.
  47. 47. Thailand TESOL International Conference Proceedings 2014 | 43 Average Content Score The most dramatic change could be seen in the average content score. This change could be attributed to the in-class praise given by the instructor. It may be the case that as each students’ responses were read and explained in front of the class that this caused an in increase in some students’ desire to appear intelligent in front of their classmates. Another possible explanation is that as the instructor was explaining what each “student of the week” did well students became more familiar with the assessment criteria and the class’s summative essay writing rubric. As a result, students changed how they responded to subsequent online discussion questions in an effort to better conform with the requirements of the rubric. Furthermore, it would seem that the combination of informative praise based on the criteria presented in the summative essay writing rubric provided valuable feedback to students. Ultimately, it seems that the online discussion task became a rather informative formative assessment for the students. Students who continued to respond to the assigned online questions from CR 1 to CR8 seemed to become more engaged with the questions with practice over time. These findings seem consistent with Bialystok’s (1985) assertion that strategies-based instruction requires repetition for students to begin to adopt new learning or communication strategies. Summary of Findings It should be noted that all three dependent variables did increase with the regular application of praise. Results of this action research suggest that there is an important relationship between praise and intrinsic motivation. However, it should be noted that increases in the dependent variables were not immediate. The most significant gains in the

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