The Teacher Use of ET for Motivating English Majors in EFL Speaking Class at Bentre College

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The Teacher Use of ET for Motivating English Majors in EFL Speaking Class at Bentre College

  1. 1. Faculty of Arts, Education & Human DevelopmentASSIGNMENT COVER SHEET Family Name: Phan First Name: Đình Tuấn Student ID Number: 3902491 Unit Code: AED5009 Unit Title: INNOVATION Assignment Title: THE TEACHER USE OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY FOR MOTIVATING ENGLISH MAJORS IN EFL SPEAKING CLASSES AT BENTRE COLLEGE IN VIETNAM: A CASE STUDY Name of Lecturer: Marilyn Hubner Tutorial Group (Day & Time): Student Contact Telephone No./Student Email Address: Date Submitted: 3. 1. 2012 Telephone No. +84908.999.466 Email address: tuanphandinh@yahoo.comPLAGIARISM AND COLLUSION CONSEQUENCES OF PLAGIARISM AND COLLUSIONPlagiarism is a practice that involves the using A student found guilty of plagiarism will be subject toof another person’s intellectual output and some or all of the following:presenting it as one’s own’. This includes the Referral to Course Coordinator for: counseling;presentation of work that has been copied, in whole or submission of further work; use of the services ofpart, from other sources (including other students’ Student Learning Unit; the placing of a record of thework, published books or periodicals, or unpublished alleged infringement on the student’s file.works or unauthorized collaboration with other Referral of the matter to the Head of Schoolpersons), without due acknowledgement. for: issuing of written warning; re-submission of work for assessment or the undertaking of another form of assessment such as an oral or unseen examination; allocation of a fail grade to part or all of the assessment; allocation a fail grade to the subject. Referral of the matter to the Dean for: suspension from the course; official disciplinary action by the University Disciplinary Committee STUDENT DECLARATION I DECLARE THAT THIS ASSIGNMENT IS ORIGINAL AND HAS NOT BEEN SUBMITTED FOR ASSESSMENT ELSEWHERE. I DECLARE THAT THIS ASSIGNMENT IS MY OWN WORK AND DOES NOT INVOLVE PLAGIARISM OR COLLUSION. I GIVE MY CONSENT FOR THE ELECTRONIC VERSION TO BE EXAMINED BY RELEVANT PLAGIARISM SOFTWARE PROGRAMS. I HAVE MADE A PHOTOCOPY OR ELECTRONIC COPY OF MY ASSIGNMENT, WHICH I CAN PRODUCE IF THE ORIGINAL IS LOST FOR ANY REASON. SIGNED: DATED: 3. 1. 2012
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACT ……..……………………….……………………..………...…….. 5INTRODUCTION ……………………….……………………..………...…….. 6LITERATURE REVIEW.………………….….…………………………....….. 8 What is ET? ………………………………………………….……………..... 8 How does ET affect EFL teaching and learning? ………...…………..…… 9 1. Positive Et impacts on EFL learner learning ………….……………..….. 10 2. Positive Et impacts on EFL learner speaking skill …….….……………...12 3. Challenges to EFL teachers and students …………………………….…. 15METHODOLOGY ……………………………………………………..………16Participants …………………………………..…………………..……..……. 16Instruments and Procedures …………………………………….….………. 17Data Analysis …………………………………………….……..……….…… 19RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ………………………………………………. 19Classroom Observations…………………………………………….……….. 19 1. Student Attitudes in EFL Speaking Classes……………………………... 20 2. The Effectiveness of ET Teaching Tools in EFL Speaking Classes…….. 20 3. ET challenges to EFL teachers and learners………………………………21A Beneficial Motivation for English Majors in EFL Speaking Classes..…. 21 1. Have better speaking outcomes ………….………………………….…... 21 2. Change in student learning attitudes and roles ………………...….…….. 24 3. Create a new learning environment ………………………………….…. 28 2
  3. 3. Challenges to EFL Learners and Teachers ………………………………... 30CONCLUSION …………….……………………………………..…………… 32REFERENCE …………………………………………….……………………. 34APPENDICES………………………………………………………………….. 37Appendix 1: Questionnaire Form…………..…………………..……..…….. 37Appendix 2: Scanned Student Answer Sheets……………………………….39Appendix 3: Questions for the Interviews……………….……..……….….. 69Appendix 4: Notes on the Interviews ……………………………………….. 70Appendix 5: Pictures ………………………………………………………… 73 1. Pictures of the trip to Cambodia ………………………………………….. 73 2. Pictures of the trip to Singapore ………………………………………….. 75 3. Pictures of the participants from Class K7 ……………………………….. 76 3
  4. 4. THE TEACHER USE OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGYFOR MOTIVATING ENGLISH MAJORS IN EFL SPEAKING CLASSESAT BENTRE COLLEGE IN VIETNAM: A CASE STUDY 4
  5. 5. ABSTRACT Much has been said about the educational technology (ET). Jhurree (2005,p. 468) points out that both developed and developing countries are aiming theirefforts at education reforms by applying technology in education and training inorder to gain greater economic, social, educational achievements. Vietnam is notan exception. Education reforms in Vietnam make positive changes. In parallelwith recent changes in course books, teacher training, testing systems andevaluations, great changes in teaching methods by using ET are considered as keystrategies. This research aims at obtaining an in – depth understanding of ETadvantages and disadvantages of teaching and learning English as a foreignlanguage (EFL). This paper is a qualitative case study carried out at BentreCollege in Bentre Province, Vietnam. It is based on data collected throughsurveys, research reviews, observations and discussions. The data are qualitativelyanalyzed to show how ET affects EFL teaching and learning, especially Englishmajors’ speaking skill at Bentre College. Indications are given with regard to EFLteaching and learning at Bentre College. 5
  6. 6. INTRODUCTIONEducation is the motivation and goal for development. Most countries in the worldwould like to boost their social and economic developments through educationreforms. Like other countries, Vietnam has confirmed the roles of education in thesociety, especially, in the period of global integration and development. It hasbeen realized that the national growth, prosperity and glory derive frominnovations in education. That is why Vietnam has been carrying out reforms ineducation to meet these new requirements.In Vietnam educational reforms, educational technology (ET) has played a biggerand bigger role in teaching and learning English as foreign language (EFL). Tointegrate itself into this trend in the national education, Bentre College of BentreProvince has made special efforts to implement ET as one of the key strategies toupgrade the provincial educational outcomes. However, the benefits of ET in EFLteaching and learning at Bentre College have not been seen clearly and have notbeen convincing enough for further investment in new ET. Some teachers whoapply ET in their teaching call for more attention to ET and ask for moretechnological facilities. Some others who do not use ET hold the view that ET isquite useful but expensive. Others who lack skills and knowledge of ET think it awaste of time and money while administrators prefer building more new 6
  7. 7. classrooms to equipping the old ones with modern technologies due to theincreasing number of new students and financial difficulties. All of them seempartially rational and logical and thus leave a gap for arguments for or against theuse of ET at Bentre College. It is also because there has not been any research onthis in the context of Bentre Province, one of the poorest provinces in Vietnam.And even though much research on ET impacts, EFL learning and teaching, andtheir relationship has been carried out all over the world, researchers have still hadpoints of difference in pedagogical benefits (Jhurree, 2005, p. 467). Some claimthat ET has shed light on these positive changes which improves EFL studentslearning outcomes (Dix, 2005, p. 15). Others, however, think ET may hinder EFLteaching and learning on account of students’ stress and the lack of technologicaltools such as computers, relevant hardware and software, and overhead projectors(Abbas, Z. & Abbas, S., 2010, p. 14).Attempts to make these clear and to reach a public agreement about the teacheruse of ET in the Vietnamese context of EFL classrooms at Bentre College have ledme to a study on the ET impacts on EFL learning, particularly on students’speaking skill, and some possible challenges which EFL teachers and studentsmay face due to the lack and weakness of facilities, technological infrastructures,knowledge of information and communication technology (ICT)…. In this paper,however, I would like to deal with only two questions: 7
  8. 8. a. How does the teacher use of ET motivate English majors in EFL speakingclasses at Bentre College; and b. What do the results of this study imply for teachers of EFL, English majors,and administrators at Bentre College?In order to unpack the two research questions above, I would like to get a fullunderstanding of the research questions and useful methods which are oftenemployed in a qualitative case study. This paper is based on data collected throughsurveys, research reviews, classroom observations and discussions. The data arequalitatively analysed to show how ET affects EFL teaching and learning,especially English majors’ speaking skill and some possible ET challenges to EFLteachers and learners at Bentre College. Finally, suggestions are given to improvethe EFL teaching and learning at Bentre College. LITERATURE REVIEW What is ET?There are various definitions of ET. According to Wikipedia (2011), a freeencyclopedia, ET is “… most simply and comfortably defined as an array of tools that might prove helpful in advancing student learning and may be measured in how and why individuals behave. Educational Technology relies on a broad definition of the word "technology." Technology can refer to material objects of use to humanity, such as machines or hardware, but it can also encompass broader 8
  9. 9. themes, including systems, methods of organization, and techniques.” (retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_technology on 5th August, 2011) Besides, Abbas, Z. and Abbas, S. (2010, p. 14) consider it as a set ofeducational tools used in the classroom. They go into details that ET relativelyrepresents new electronic media such as computers, overhead projectors, internet,hardware and software. In different study areas of technology in education, other researchers use otherwords such as new technology (García, 2009), ICT (Eng, 2005), computer –assisted language learning (CALL) (AbuSeileek, 2007), information technology(IT) (Anderson, 2005), multimedia (Liu, 2010), artificial intelligence (Yang,2007), or learning technology (Dix, 2005) to refer to the integration of technologyinside and outside the classrooms at different levels. In brief, ET is a set of tools of technologies used inside and outside classrooms.Some of them are computers, hardware, software, websites, wikis, wirelessclassroom microphones, mobile devices, interactive whiteboards, LCD oroverhead projectors, online media, digital games, and podcasts. How does ET Affect EFL Teaching and Learning?Anderson (2005, p. 1) and Bahrani (2011, p. 162) state that technology haschanged the world considerably for some last decades. In the field of education,though some researchers have doubts about the effectiveness of ET, mostresearchers agree that ET has good effects on EFL teaching and learning (Abbas, 9
  10. 10. Z. & Abbas, S., 2010, p. 13). In particular, ET has positive impacts on EFLstudent learning (Dix, 2005, pp. 15-17; Eng, 2005, p. 635) and especially learnerspeaking skill (Bahrani, 2011, p. 162; Yang, 2007, p. 5) in a new learningenvironment (Jhurree, 2005, p. 467; AbuSeileek, 2007, p. 510). However, ET hasbrought EFL teachers and students some challenges which may hinder learnerlearning (Liu, 2010, p. 193).1. Positive ET impacts on EFL learner learningMost researchers conclude that ET has positive impacts on EFL learner learning.They have points of similarity and difference in the level of the impacts of ET onEFL learner learning, in study areas and in study scales. The levels of ET impacts on EFL learner learning are reported differently.Some previous works show that the use of ET is “something vital” in the Englishclassroom (García, 2009, p. 84), main educational investment in improving studentlearning outcomes (Dix, 2005) and “a need for a change” in language teaching -leaning methods (García, 2009, p.90; Anderson, 2005, p. 3). They all explain thatET is a key educational tool of innovation which makes great progress in learnerlearning. However, some others downgrade the effects. Eng (2005, pp. 646-648)has found that ET has “a positive although small effect on the learning ofstudents” because, in the conclusion, he emphasizes the fact that 10
  11. 11. “There will be a time of adjustment and adaptation by the principals, teachers and students as each seeks to find its place in the new learning environment and interacts with the new technology.” (p. 649) The focuses on study areas of ET are various. Dix (2005) has a more particularlook at changes in learning attitudes that ET brings to learners. These learningattitudes are towards school and school learning, motivation, gender differences,computers… Whereas, Anderson (2005) focuses on how each type of IT plays itsrole in teaching – learning. By analyzing the changes in learning attitudes and ITroles into their related parts which are explained and proved with diagrams andminute detail evidently, Dix (2005) and Anderson (2005) make ET effects onstudent learning clearer and more specific. In other words, their different focusesand approaches make the understanding of good ET impacts on learning complete. Researchers do their studies on different scales. Bahrani (2011) compares ETroles in ESL context with ET roles in EFL one. AbuSeileek (2007) notices theindividual versus cooperative learning in one ET setting. Moreover, Bahrani(2011), Yang (2007) and AbuSeileek (2007) centre their studies on particular ETeffects on student learning such as good ET effects on speaking fluency, oralskills whereas Eng (2005) centres his study on a general one such as ICT impactson learning. In spite of these differences, all of them come to the same conclusion:ET benefits EFL learner learning. 11
  12. 12. In brief, these differences in choosing the study areas or scales and inevaluating the levels of ET impacts on EFL learning result from researchers’different methods and educational settings of research including time, places,technical infrastructures, the degree of ET integration, and the amount andfrequency of ET use in teaching and learning process.2. Positive ET impacts on EFL learner speaking skillOne of the biggest problems that EFL learners face is how to improve speakingfluency in the EFL context where English is not spoken dominantly and where theEFL students lack motivation and social interaction (Bahrani, 2011, pp. 162-164).Researchers admit that speaking skill is difficult to be acquired due to the lack ofpractice time, materials... With the teacher use of technology, EFL leaner speakingskill is promoted. Findings prove that ET helps motivate and develop EFL learnerspeaking skill. First, the EFL learning environment can be changed by the use of ET. Rogersclaims that in English as a second language (ESL) context, English is “the officiallanguage where language learners acquire English through social interaction”, thatthere is not such social interaction in the EFL context, and that thanks to ET, EFLlearners have this kind of interaction (2004 cited in Bahrani, 2011, pp. 162-163).Therefore, ET brings EFL learners a new EFL context with another languageinput. Social interaction through the use of different technologies has positiveinfluences on English speaking fluency. It encourages informal language learning. 12
  13. 13. This kind of language input enhances speaking fluency and motivates EFLlearners to speak English freely in different social contexts (Bahrani, 2011). AbuSeileek (2007), second, reports that students’ speaking ability aremotivated and improved as a result of the teacher use of ET in EFL classrooms. Inhis view, ET provides learners with a plenty of chances to “use languageinteractively in authentic situations such as watching movies, listening to andchatting to native speakers”. In this case, EFL learner speaking skill issignificantly motivated. They are more involved in language practice than usualbecause most of their EFL teachers are non – native speakers. This is one ofYang’s strongest findings (2007). Third, ET offers EFL learners psychological benefits. Hata notices somestudents are shy, passive and afraid to speak in class (2003 cited in AbuSeileek,2007, p.495). Language learners of this kind need a friendlier environment whichmotivates learners to express orally in English without the fear that their identitiesare uncovered. In this case, a computer is an excellent tool which gives immediatefeedback and which is more patient and non – judgmental. This makes EFLlearners feel free from fear of teacher and peer judgment when they makemistakes, and thus enhance their motivation and engagement. AbuSeileek (2007)stresses that students can get help electronically and that they are “not worried inface to face debate” (p. 495). 13
  14. 14. “Thus, students would be less embarrassed to participate or ask because their identities are not disclosed. Using this technique would provide the learners the opportunity to interact in a non – threatening atmosphere.” (p.495)This ethic impact is always highly appreciated. Not every researcher cares for thatmatter. Furthermore, ET is not only important to shy learners’ speaking skill butalso to all learners’ one. ET creates a new cooperative environment enabling alllearners to work in pairs and in groups of different learners interactively. Whenother kinds of learners work interactively in an ET environment, “the effectivenessof performing a language task” upgrades (AbuSeileek, 2007, p.494). All learnersequal in ET benefits in a particular way. ET, finally, contributes to teacher development leading to an innovativeteaching methodology. EFL teachers need to update their teaching methodology.And there is evidence that EFL learners need their teachers to change teachingmethods. Obviously, the student need for new teaching methods is appropriate notonly because “The traditional methods are not very motivating for present – students, since they have grown up surrounded by ICT” (García, 2009, p. 84)but also because “Present – day teenagers are so stimulated by all kinds of means of communication that we need to adapt our methods to this fact, if we, as teachers, want to motivate them.” (García, 2009, p. 90)The teacher use of ET which shifts pedagogical methods from teacher –centredness to student – centredness (Anderson, 2007) meets this learner need. 14
  15. 15. From that, learners are provided with more opportunities, time, learning activities,resources available online and interact computer programs to boost their speakingskill in a communicative way (Yang, 2007, p. 5).3. Challenges to EFL teachers and studentsAlthough ET does help EFL learners facilitate their learning and gain muchprogress, ET challenges EFL teaching – learning process. ET challenges to EFLteachers and students are visible and sometimes negative effects have been found(Eng, 2007, p. 648). The lack of teacher training is a real challenge. Teachers do not have enoughproper training of ICT, technical support, and computer lab technicians (Abbas, Z.& Abbas, S., 2010, p. 14). This results in the lack of ET skills and knowledge ofICT which may decrease the effectiveness of teacher use of ET and hinder studentlearning. One difficulty of the use of ET is the lack of a good infrastructure. Schools donot have enough software, hardware, keyboarding, computer labs, andprojectors… due to the high cost of technology (Abbas, Z. & Abbas, S., 2010, p.14 & Wikipeadia, 2011). This affects the amount and frequency of teacher ET use,and thus limit student learning. 15
  16. 16. Another disadvantage is the cause of both physical and mental healthproblems. Long hours of focusing on the screen with pictures, graphics, videoclips, sound and animation tire students’ eyes and stress them (Liu, 2010, p. 193).These health problems also result from the overuse of ET. Finally, with the support of the electronic resources from the internet, bothteachers and learners seem to lose their direction. They feel lost or do not knowwhat to choose (Liu, 2010, p. 193). He explains that the teachers make lessonplans or compile the teaching materials according to their interests and thus thelearners turn out to be rather passive in the so – called new learning environment. METHODOLOGY ParticipantsThe participants of this study were 15 English second – year - students of a three –year – college and one speaking teacher in the Social Sciences and HumanitiesDepartment of Bentre College in Bentre Province, Vietnam. Most of them livedand finished their high school in rural districts where the living conditions weredifficult and ET was not applied much in education. The students were from classK8 of 42 students. They were studying English speaking skill in the third semester(Speaking 3), using a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation in group of five everyweek to talk about one topic in the textbook “Well Spoken”. It is written byGaynor Ramsey and Hilary Rees – Parnall and published by Longman Singapore 16
  17. 17. Publishers Pte Ltd. in 1992. In the classroom, there was a computer, an overheadprojector, speakers, and internet access. Specific ways in which ET was used inspeaking classes at Bentre College include: making teacher or student MicrosoftPowerPoint presentations, watching films in the target language and showingimages to prompt discussion. These students had spent the first year studying theirspeaking skill without ET tools. Another participant was a speaking teacher who was teaching English majorsfrom many different speaking classes including the first, the second and the lastyear students at Bentre College. Each class was held three 45 - minute - periods aweek. Each semester lasts 15 weeks and each course has six semesters. Thespeaking skill is taught from semester 1 to semester 5 called Speaking 1, 2, 3, 4and 5 respectively. Instruments and ProceduresFirst, a questionnaire was handed out to each student to get the students’information and ideas about the teacher use of ET in teaching EFL at BentreCollege. It was conducted after they started Speaking 3 for ten weeks. Thequestionnaire with nine questions (see Appendix 1) focuses on what is their needfor motivating their speaking skill and how they think of the teacher use of ET inspeaking class. These questions are of both open – ended and close – ended onessuch as multiple choice, Wh-questions and short answer questions. 17
  18. 18. To make sure that the students had enough time to think of the answers well,the questionnaire would be returned three days later. Moreover, because I wantedto encourage the students to present all what they know and they feel, I asked themto write the answers in either English or Vietnamese or both. And in order toincrease the participants’ motivation and honesty, I copied Gracía’s lines (2009) ina questionnaire: In this questionnaire there are not correct or incorrect questions. It is completely anonymous. Please answer with honesty. (Gracía, 2009, p.86) In the context of Bentre College, this statement, which helps the participantsfeel free, is considered ethical. It is completely comfortable when respondentsknow they are safe, free and unviolated.The interviews, secondly, with the speaking teacher were carried out twice in thefifth and the tenth week of the third semester. Besides the questions (see Appendix3), we shared almost everything about teaching speaking classes with and withoutET tools at Bentre College. We also discussed the ways to motivate Englishmajors to speak English more and more in the class. Because both of us have beenworking at Bentre College for years, the conversations are open and comfortable.Last, I paid a practical trip to Singapore for 4 days (from 24th to 27th November2011) to see the SFL context where English is the official language and theapplied technology in life and education in this high technology country. From 18
  19. 19. that, it helps me appreciate the difficulties of EFL context of Vietnam. Theknowledge from this trip and another one to Cambodia in July, 2011 has greatlyaffected my view on EFL teaching and learning, especially the EFL teaching andlearning environment in Vietnam. Data AnalysisAfter collecting all the data, I grouped the answers of the student questionnaireinto two groups to serve the two research questions. In that way, answers toquestion 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9 were mainly for the first research question. Theother answers and the findings from the first research question were basically forthe second one. All the answer sheets were marked from student 1 to student 15 inwhich some phrases were translated into English because most of the participantspreferred Vietnamese in their answers. Information of the interviews was done inthe same way. The raw data from the questionnaire, interviews and myobservation were carefully scanned and typed into a file and analyzedqualitatively. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Classroom Observations 19
  20. 20. I had many chances to observe English speaking classes because I was teachingspeaking skill to the first and second year English majors. I have experienced thesefollowing things:1. Student Attitudes in EFL Speaking ClassesI asked myself whether my students were passive or not. Sometimes, I would say“No, they were absolutely not passive”. On some days, students were eager,active, and energetic. Other days, it seemed like nothing I did could get students towillingly participate in class. I asked a question, and no one was willing to answer.However, if I called on a specific student, he or she was often more than able toprovide a thorough reply. This gave me the impression that students were perhapsnot used to being expected to participate voluntarily, and were instead only used tobeing called on by teachers.2. The Effectiveness of ET Teaching Tools in EFL Speaking ClassesIn some periods, what was seen and heard indicated that ET tools motivated everysingle student to speak and got the students engaged in speaking activities throughvideo clips or pictures. They were willing to do that. But in some other periods,because the topics might be out of student interest or there was nothing impressiveto show on the screen, they kept silent or reverted to using Vietnamese duringgroup activities. They used Vietnamese as a crutch rather than built their Englishcommunication skills. It might be difficult for them to express what they wanted in 20
  21. 21. English at that time. But, surely, it would not get any easier if they continued toavoid the challenge.3. ET challenges to EFL teachers and learnersI do not perceive any specific difficulties related to language education with ET.However, if students are expected to generate materials using ET, likepresentations, it may be challenging for students with minimal knowledge of oraccess to the necessary technologies. Regarding student presentations using ET, iftheir presentations have grammatical errors, it may reinforce the same errors intheir peers’ English. A Beneficial Motivation for English Majors in EFL Speaking ClassesAccording to the survey results and my classroom observations, the teacher use ofET does motivate English majors in EFL speaking classes greatly because EThelps students:1. Have better speaking outcomesFirstly, there is a need for ET tools to improve English majors’ speakingoutcomes. All of the answers to question 1 are yes. The students needed theteacher use of ET in speaking classes. They explained in the answer to question 2that ET generally made their learning outcome better and motivated them to speak 21
  22. 22. English more. What the participants thought about the teacher use of ET in EFLspeaking classes were as follows: Student 2: ET motivates me to speak more. We can find information byourselves. All group members can speak more confidently. Student 4: Many things are improved. Student 7: ET helps students learn more in speaking classes. With ET, studentscan widen their knowledge much more than usual (with textbooks). Student 8: We know how to learn by ourselves. Student 10: ET can help students speak more because they can learn and playat the same time. … Based on the answers to question 1, 2 and 3 (see Table 1 below), therefore, thefinding is that ET tools help the students learn better because they are motivated somuch to engage more in the EFL speaking classes. In other words, the teacher useof ET is necessary and helpful. Table 1: The importance of ET in improving English majors’ speaking skill Question 3 How important is ET in improving your speaking skill? Answer A. Very important B. Important C. Not important Results 53,3% 40% 6,7% 22
  23. 23. Secondly, the speaking teacher who I interviewed was also sure about manyvisible advantages of ET in EFL speaking classes. When “Is it better to teachspeaking skill with ET tools than without ET tools?” was asked, she emphasizedthe importance of language sources, saying that “I think ET can only helplanguage education. The more resources at a teacher’s and student’s disposal, thebetter.” She also claimed that ET facilitated the incorporation of teaching aidssuch as presentations, visual aids, and videos, which could increase studentinterest and participation, and enabled the teacher to expose students to a varietyof language resources.From what I observed the class, thirdly, I have recognized that students made goodprogress in their pronunciation and intonation. They could speak English withaccuracy and fluency due to authentic language input through watching videos andlistening to native speakers. In other words, learning EFL with native – speakersthrough ET also renews their long – term motivation and helps EFL learners keepand adjust it for a long time. Yang (2007) emphasizes the importance of keepingthe motivation going. He believes that it is easy to see how to motivate learners,but it is a big problem for teachers to maintain the motivation. In EFL teachingprocess, to motivate learners is an important element and to keep motivating themis a decisive one.In brief, the teacher use of ET brings EFL learners enough good conditions so thatthey can develop their speaking skill well. 23
  24. 24. 2. Change Student Learning Attitudes and Roles All students agreed that students at Bentre College are passive ( see Table 2)due to two main reasons: 1. They are shy, unconfident and uncomfortable to present their ideas in English in class or to communicate with others. 2. They think that they are not good enough at speaking, scared of making mistakes and lacking vocabulary to express ideas in English. Table 2: The teacher use of ET makes students more active 4. Are Bentre College students 5. Does the teacher use of ET make Question passive? you more active? Answer Yes No Yes No Results 100% 0% 93,3 6,7 Student 14 added that Bentre College students were quite passive, but it was acommon characteristic of all Vietnamese students. These reasons are relevant towhat I have learned about Vietnamese culture in general. As far as I know thoughVietnam is a place where many cultures from east to west meet, the Vietnameseare most strongly influenced by the Confucian code of ethics and Buddhism. ForConfucianism, the man - to - man relationship is based on five bonds in which theseniors are the decision - makers: 24
  25. 25. 1. Ruler to Ruled 2. Father to Son 3. Husband to Wife 4. Elder Brother to Younger Brother 5. Friend to Friend (“Confucianism”, 2011) Today, Vietnamese people in some big cities like Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh arenot influenced very much by Confucianism any more because here traditionalvalues have been mixed with western ones. However, Confucianism in otherplaces like Bentre Province – a province of three islets in a rural place is stillstrong. That is why the following things usually happen in Vietnamese classes: Influenced by Confucianism, students feel rude if they interrupt, question, or argue with their teacher. Language activities like role plays, problem solving tasks, or information gap activities are strange to their culture. When they fail to understand something, they are not daring enough to ask for clarification in public for fear of losing their face. They are not pro – active enough to initiate reaction, either. In the classroom, they are expected to sit in silence unless the teacher calls them individually to speak. When a particular student is called upon to speak in class, her response tends to be very brief in the form of either a phrase or a short sentence…If the student makes a mistake, the teacher intervenes immediately because she has to make sure that the students do not make mistakes. (Le, 1999) For Buddhism, the five precepts below are training rules for a better life inwhich people can have happiness and meditate well: 1. To refrain from taking life (non-violence towards sentient life forms). 25
  26. 26. 2. To refrain from taking that which is not given (not committing theft). 3. To refrain from sensual (including sexual) misconduct. 4. To refrain from lying (speaking truth always). 5. To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness (drugs and alcohol…) (“Buddhism”, 2011) Both Confucian and Buddhist beliefs encourage Vietnamese people to be shy,passive and modest. These are truly traditional values which have been sharedfrom one generation to another. And this can hinder learners much from beingactive. These religious concepts and beliefs have been transmitted through the generations to produce an attitude towards life that may be perceived as passive. Self-control is another traditional value of the Vietnamese. Emotions are typically kept to oneself. They may be painful, distraught and unhappy, yet they suffer in silence and in privacy and rarely complain except perhaps to friends or relatives (Nguyen, D. 1985, p. 410).The teacher use of ET made a change in student attitudes and roles. The teacherparticipant agreed to this view and almost all of the participants confirmed that ETmade them more active (see Table 2). In the answers to question 2 and 9, theparticipants clarified this. Student 2: All group members can speak more confidently. Student 3: Because the use of ET is new and interesting, all students support it. Student 6: It makes us feel interested in studying more. Student 8: ET helps me show what I know and how I learn to work in a group. 26
  27. 27. Student 9: We are more creative. Student 14: ET shifts student roles from passive to active ones. We are self -confident. Dix (2005, p. 16) also demonstrates that ET makes positive changes in studentattitudes towards school learning and school motivation. These changes makestudents arouse their interests, increase their motivation and adjust their learningattitudes in a progressive way. In other words, the EFL learner roles changeresulting from ET integration. They shift from teacher – centredness to learnercentredness (Anderson, 2005). He describes the change in the following summary(2005, p. 3): Teacher – centred Learner – centred Student role Student role  Passive recipient of  Active participant in the information learning process  Reproduces knowledge  Produces knowledge,  Learns as a solitary participates as at times expert activity  Learns collaboratively with others Moreover, “The real potential of ICT is the way it changes learners”(Anderson, 2005, p.4). As presented above, the learners are more active. One ofthings EFL teachers should remember to do in order to develop student oralcommunication skills is to encourage the learners to “open up and participate inthe classroom activities” (Vitthal, 2010, p. 9). 27
  28. 28. In the past, I thought the best ways to get students engaged were first to create alesson plan with an exciting topic and, second, to make activities that could forcestudents to participate. Now, in summary, the teacher use of ET is a realinnovation at Bentre College. With the use of ET, every single student speaksEnglish willingly, and they speak naturally and organically rather than read ormemorize some prepared reply. I do not force them to do it any longer. ET hasmade positive changes in student learning attitudes and roles.Create a New Learning EnvironmentAll participants pointed out that ET created a new learning environment. This newlearning environment allowed them space and time and supplied them with newand wider material resources to interact during the process of English learning andteaching. It also made English learners become independent and active. With ET,EFL students at Bentre College are in such a supportive environment. Student 1: ET makes students feel comfortable, creative and confident. Student 2: There are various pictures. Student 8: ET widens students’ knowledge. Student 10: ET creates an interesting learning environment. Student 12: I spend more time studying and get more information.Without ET tools, the EFL context of Bentre Province would be not supportive.Under my observation, EFL students at Bentre College only spoke English in 28
  29. 29. class. Students would be said to be ridiculous and stupid if they spoke English inpublic places where there were not any foreigners. English songs were rarelyheard. There were no local TV programs and newspapers in English. A fewposters, banners and electronic signs were in English. No social interactions weresurely in English. According to Dang (2006, p. 599), EFL instruction must be in such a largecontext from “the physical environment, the emotional environment”, and “thewhole school ethos”, to “the wider social environment, the political environmentand the cultural setting”. Dix (2007, p. 117) confirms that “The context includedall those factors outside the classroom that might influence teaching and learning.”(See Figure 1) Figure 1. The transactional model of the teaching and learning process (McIlrath and Huitt, 1995, as cited in Dix, 2007, p. 117) 29
  30. 30. If we regard to the history of Vietnam wars, the current political system,Confucius influences as presented above…, the EFL context of Vietnam does notbring EFL learners as many advantages as the one of the neighboring country –Cambodia where US dollars are used popularly and most of the signs, posters, andbanners include English. Thanks to ET, the EFL context of Bentre Province is improved. ET can createa virtual learning environment where EFL learners can enjoy psychologicalbenefits, social interaction and a friendlier learning atmosphere as the literaturereview has stated above. It is proved that ET helps EFL students at Bentre Collegespend more time studying and be active. When I asked them to make questions orgive their ideas about a topic in class, they kept silent. But when I asked them tosend their questions and ideas via email, half of the class did it. ET enhanced theEFL context of Bentre Province. Challenges to EFL Learners and TeachersThe ET challenges to EFL learners and teachers at Bentre College mainly resultrather from the lack of ET tools and of knowledge of computer science than theuse of ET tools. Six English classes at Bentre College have one room equipped with oneoverhead projector, one desktop computer with internet access and two speakers. 30
  31. 31. The participants explained that they did not have computers and each class neededmore ET tools. Student 1: The College should provide more equipment such as TV, overheadprojectors. Student 4: There should be one computer for each student. Student 5: There should be one desktop computer for the teacher in theclassroom The result also showed that ET implementation at Bentre College was hard dueto the lack of knowledge of ICT. Students did not have enough practice time withcomputers when they were asked to make student PowerPoint presentation.Teachers were not well – trained. The interviewee claimed that “ET is as effectiveas the teacher makes it. In other words, it depends on the teacher.” Therefore,lacking proper training of ET is serious because ET training is essential. “Similar to learning a new task or trade, special training is vital to ensuring the effective integration of classroom technology. Since technology is not the end goal of education, but rather a means by which it can be accomplished, educators must have a good grasp of the technology being used and its advantages over more traditional methods.” (Wikipedia, 2011) Besides, learning how to use ET effectively takes a lot of time, especially,when ET is changing rapidly. If the teacher is not well – trained in using ET, the 31
  32. 32. teacher use of ET will have negative effects such as wasting time, causingtechnical problems, decreasing student learning outcomes… These difficulties may hinder EFL learner learning, but they also imply anotherthing: if ET preparations are made properly, it will work. CONCLUSIONDoherty (2011) states that “There are many approaches to educational research”and that researchers use various methodological approaches to serve different aimsof the study (p.381). Among educational research methodologies is a case studyproven to be effective for the research purposes. I have found this truth in myresearch on ET impacts in the context of Bentre Province.What I have also found are relevant to the previous research. The findings are notsurprising but convincing enough for teachers and administrators to pay moreattention and to invest more ET tools in teaching and learning EFL at BentreCollege. ET is shown to improve more educational goals. In my study, I can see that theteacher use of ET motivates Bentre College English majors in EFL speakingclasses greatly because it helps students gain better student learning outcomes,especially, EFL speaking outcomes, a new learning environment, and positivechanges in student learning attitudes, in the student roles, and in an EFL learning 32
  33. 33. context. Although there are still difficulties of ET use at Bentre College, I agree towhat Jhurree (2005) confirms Hence, it is no longer a question of if technology should be integrated in the school setting, but a question of when and how to integrate technology so that it benefits all the parties concerned – students, teachers, administrators, parents and the community. (p. 468)From that point of view, I would like to give some suggestions. First, the Collegeshould have a systematic plan for ET integration at “the strategic, managementand operational levels” (Jhurree, 2005, p. 476) based on student real needs and theCollege funds. This ensures there will be gradual and well - planned ETintegration. To change a current teaching and learning practice takes a lot of timeand teachers and learners need time to get used to it. Short and long term goals ofthe ET uses should be distinguished clearly and considered carefully. Second, the College should have good policies to support the plan for ETintegration such as policies on supporting teachers and students in buyingcomputers, appraising and motivating teachers for their ET uses at work, buildingan e – library for the College... In order to have good policies, other researchshould be done. There will be plenty of room for further research on student needs,the levels of ET impacts on EFL learning and teaching. Jhurree (2005), finally, emphasizes that “It is not technology thatrevolutionizes education, but rather the way in which it is used by teachers andstudents.” Thus, ET training is very important. Then, teachers and students canmake further and more effective uses of ET tools. 33
  34. 34. REFERENCEAbbas, Z. & Abbas, S., 2010. Comparative Study of ICT in English Teaching- Learning Processes. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, vol. 11, no. 2, pp.13-22.AbuSeileek, A.F., 2007. Cooperative vs. Individual Learning of Oral Skills in a CALL Environment. Computer Assisted Language Teaching, vol. 20, no. 5, pp. 493-514.Ahmed, M., Alginahi, Y. M., Tayan, O., Siddiqi, A.A., Sharif, L., Alharby, A., & Nour, R., 2009. ICT Students, Stress and Coping Strategies: English Perspective – A Case Study of Midsize Middle Eastern University. Trends in Informatiom Management (TRIM), 5(2), pp. 111-127.Anderson, J., 2005. IT, E-learning and Teacher Development. International Education Journal, 5(5), pp. 1-14.Bahrani, T., 2011. Speaking Fluency: Technology in EFL Context or Social Interaction in ESL Context? Studies in Literature and Language, vol. 2, no. 2, pp.162-168.Dang, H.V., 2006. Learner-centeredness and EFL instruction in Vietnam: A case study. International Education Journal, 7 (4), 598-610.Dix, K., 2005. Are Learning Technologies Making a Difference? A Longitudinal Perspective of Attitudes. International Education Journal, 5(5), pp. 15-28. 34
  35. 35. Dix, K., 2007. DBRIEF: A Research Paradigm for ITC Adoption. International Education Journal, 8(2), pp. 113-124.Doherty, I., 2011. Evaluating the Impact of Educational Technology Professional Development upon Adoption of Web 2.0 Tools in Teaching. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 27(3), pp. 381-396.Eng, T.S., 2005. The Impact of ICT on Learning: A Review of Research. International Education Journal, 6(5), pp. 635-650.García, C. I. L., 2009. The New Technology in the ESL Classroom: Some Evidence from Spain. Annals of Language and Learning: Proceeding of The 2009 International Online Language Conference, pp. 84-90. Florida, USA: Universal Publishers.Jhurree, V., 2005. Technology Integration in Education in Developing Countries: Guidelines to Policy Makers. International Education Journal, 6(4), pp. 467-483.Le, C.V., 1999. Language & Vietnamese pedagogical contexts. AIT Hannoi.Liu, J., 2010. An Experimental Study on the Effectiveness of Multimedia in College English Teaching. English Language Teaching, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 191-194.Nguyen, D., 1985. Culture shock: A review of Vietnamese culture and its concepts of health and disease. West J Med, 142:409-412 35
  36. 36. Pinar, K., 2010. Using Educational Technology Tools to Improvre Language and Communication Skills of ESL Students. Research on Youth and Language, 4(2), pp. 225-241.Vitthal, G., 2010. Techniques for Developing Speaking Skills and Fluency. The IUP Journal of Soft Skills, vol. 5, nos. 1-2, pp. 7-17.Wikipedia, 2011. Buddhism, retrieved on 19th November 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BuddhismWikipedia, 2011. Case study, retrieved on 5th September 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_study.Wikipedia, 2011. Confucianism, retrieved on 19th November 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ConfucianismWikipedia, 2011. Educational technology, retrieved on 5th August 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_technologyWikipedia, 2011. Questionnaire, retrieved on 5th September 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Questionnaire.Yang, S., 2007. Artificial Intelligence for Integrating English Oral Practice and Writing Skills. Sino-US English Teaching, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 1-6. 36
  37. 37. APPENDICESAPPENDIX 1: QUESTIONNAIRE FORM QUESTIONNAIRE In this questionnaire, there are not correct or incorrect questions. It is completely anonymous. Please answer with honesty. 1. Should teachers apply educational technology (ET) in speaking classes? A. Yes B. No 2. What do you think about the teacher use of ET in EFL speaking classes inBentre College? (Does it motivate you to speak more? How does it motivate you?) …………………………………………………………………………………... ……………………………………………………………………….………….. ……………………………………………………………………….………….. 3. How important is ET in improving your speaking skill? A. Very important B. Important C. Not important 4. Are Bentre College students passive? Why or why not? …………………………………………………………………………………... ……………………………………………………………………….………….. ……………………………………………………………………….………….. 5. Does the teacher use of ET make you more active? A. Yes B. No 6. What difficulties do you have when you learn English with ET tools? …………………………………………………………………………………... ……………………………………………………………………….………….. 37
  38. 38. ……………………………………………………………………….…………..7. What are ET tools that you want to have in EFL speaking classrooms?…………………………………………………………………………………...……………………………………………………………………….…………..……………………………………………………………………….…………..8. Does ET create a new learning environment? A. Yes B. No9. If yes, how does it change your way of learning English?…………………………………………………………………………………...……………………………………………………………………….…………..……………………………………………………………………….………….. THANK YOU! 38
  39. 39. APPENDIX 2: SCANNED STUDENT ANSWER SHEETS 39
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  69. 69. APPENDIX 3: QUESTIONS FOR THE INTERVIEWS 1. Should teachers apply educational technology (ET) in speaking classes tomotivate students to speak English in the classroom? 2. What do you think about the teacher use of ET in speaking classes at BentreCollege? 3. What (other) changes should teachers at Bentre College make to motivateEnglish majors to speak English in the classroom? 4. Are Bentre College students passive? Why or why not? 5. How effective is ET in teaching and learning speaking skill? 6. What difficulties do students have when they learn English with ET tools? 7. Can you see any differences between class K8 (learning with ET tools) andanother class (not using ET tools) in the speaking subject? What are they? 8. What should the college do to improve the technical infrastructure at BentreCollege? 9. Is it better to teach speaking skill with ET tools than without ET tools? 69
  70. 70. APPENDIX 4: NOTES ON INTERVIEWS1. Should teachers apply educational technology (ET) to motivatestudents in speaking classes? Yes, of course.2. What do you think about the teacher use of ET in speaking classes at BentreCollege? I think the uses of ET are effective. However, some examples of ET use inlanguage classes includes: making student presentations and showing videos. Inmy Russian class the professor would give us the transcript of a short video clip,and we would read along while we watched the video. At the bottom of thetranscript she would often include definitions of new words. We would watch,listen, and read several times until we understood the clip. Outside of theclassroom, we had a language lab, a computer lab dedicated solely to languagelearning, where students were required to spend a certain number of hours persemester practicing their listening and speaking skills using specialized computerprograms. I think the use of ET in language classes in Ben Tre and my experiencesin the Russian class are quite similar.3. What (other) changes should teachers at Bentre College make to motivateEnglish majors in speaking classes? Class sizes should be smaller to make it both easier and more necessary forthe entire class to participate. The ideal class size for a language class (or any 70
  71. 71. other participation-based teaching) is under 20 students. As it is at present, if eachstudent is given equal speaking time in a 135 minute class, that amounts to justover 3 minutes per student. When you factor in teaching time and studentpreparation, that amount of time is significantly reduced. A student can notdevelop speaking skills when he or she speaks English for one minute per week.It is excellent that English teachers teach almost exclusively in English, rarelyusing Vietnamese for clarifications, but students should also be required to onlyspeak English during English class.4. Are Bentre College students passive? Why or why not? Yes, they are. It may be because the relationship between teachers andlearners are so formal. The students need more activities. One of my mostsuccessful lessons was when I had the students interview each other. Half of theclass was assigned the role of interviewer, and the other half of the class wasassigned a character, such as a tourist or chef or doctor, etc. Interviewers had toprepare questions and characters had to think about their character’s history.However, they didn’t know what questions they would be asked. Then, each pairof interviewer and character came to the front of the class to conduct theinterview.5. How effective is ET in teaching and learning speaking skill? I think ET is as effective as the teacher makes it. In other words, it depends onthe teacher. 71
  72. 72. 6. What difficulties do students have when they learn English with ET tools? Lack of knowledge of ICT and lack of modern equipment and software.7. Can you see any differences between class K8 (learning with ET tools) andanother class (not using ET tools) in the speaking subject? What are they? K7 students presumably already had the same experiences as the current K8students. Naturally, the K7 students are more advanced than the K8, but this isbecause they have been studying English longer. I think a more adequate analysis,which I cannot provide, would be to compare two classes at equal levels, butwhere only one has been taught using ET tools.8. What should the college do to improve the technical infrastructure at BentreCollege? Every classroom should be set up with a projector so that teachers can makeuse of the many ET teaching tools. Students have mentioned to me that thereshould be more language labs where students can use computer programs that helpthem practice their listening and speaking.9. Is it better to teach speaking skill with ET tools than without ET tools? I think ET can only help language education. The more resources at ateacher’s and student’s disposal, the better. 72
  73. 73. APPENDIX 5: PICTURES 1. Pictures of the trip to Cambodia 73
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  75. 75. 2. Pictures of the trip to Singapore 75
  76. 76. 3. Pictures of the participants from Class K11 76

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