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Inclusive strategies to optimize english teaching and learning for students with interpersonal relationship problems

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Inclusive teaching strategies have been shown to promote teaching and foster students’ full participation and learning in language classrooms. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine if inclusive strategies have the same impact on students with difficulties establishing and maintaining close interpersonal relationships. The impact of these strategies was examined in 32 participants by using experimental research. The experimental group (16 students) received instruction with inclusive teaching strategies (Cooperative Teaching, Learning, and Peer Tutoring) for three months. The control group (16 students) received traditional, behaviorist instruction. The findings suggest that the proficiency levels of students with interpersonal relationship problems raised to 24.73%. The control group showed 5.2% growth. Implications suggest that immersion in an inclusive school environment can optimize the students` language acquisition, and contribute to the solution of interpersonal relationship problems.

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Inclusive strategies to optimize english teaching and learning for students with interpersonal relationship problems

  1. 1. 1 Rodrigo Guerrero Segura Universidad de Guayaquil Facultad de Filosofía, Letras y Ciencias e-mail: rodrigo.guerreros@ug.edu.ec INCLUSIVE STRATEGIES TO OPTIMIZE ENGLISH TEACHING AND LEARNING FOR STUDENTS WITH INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS Abstract Inclusive teaching strategies have been shown to promote teaching and foster students’ full participation and learning in language classrooms. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine if inclusive strategies have the same impact on students with difficulties establishing and maintaining close interpersonal relationships. The impact of these strategies was examined in 32 participants by using experimental research. The experimental group (16 students) received instruction with inclusive teaching strategies (Cooperative Teaching, Learning, and Peer Tutoring) for three months. The control group (16 students) received traditional, behaviorist instruction. The findings suggest that the proficiency levels of students with interpersonal relationship problems raised to 24.73%. The control group showed 5.2% growth. Implications suggest that immersion in an inclusive school environment can optimize the students` language acquisition, and contribute to the solution of interpersonal relationship problems. Keywords: Strategies, Inclusion, Teaching, Learning, English I. INTRODUCTION Teaching strategies are an essential tool to support, facilitate, and optimize the daily work of teachers. These strategies also favor the teaching process and encourage full participation and learning of students. Inclusion, on the other hand, aims to identify and eliminate barriers created by beliefs, knowledge, conflicts or infrastructure that prevent students' learning and participation, with some type of special needs or problem. Karina Moreno Rodríguez Universidad de Guayaquil Facultad de Comunicación Social e-mail: karina.morenor@ug.edu.ec
  2. 2. 2 However, observations made at Unidad Educativa Fiscal Veintiocho de Mayo, helped to identify a selective and exclusive school environment where the students with interpersonal relationship problems have been relegated from the educational process. This is due to the fact that school environments are usually governed by inefficient methods of teaching and learning and because the teachers’ knowledge about the use of inclusive educational practices, that guide integration in class, is limited. In this context, the aim of this study is to determine the impact of inclusive strategies on the English level of the students with difficulties establishing and maintaining close interpersonal relationships by using experimental research. II. DEVELOPMENT Llorent and López (2012) in their work, "Study of interpersonal relationships in classrooms with different students", emphasize the importance of positive interpersonal relationships to reduce discrimination between peers, modify behavior, and raise their academic performance. The authors also propose to use globalized didactic units that include students with specific educational needs where cooperative teaching and learning strategies can be applied to achieve integration into the classroom. They also mention the need for integration of the teaching staff, authorities, and families in order to contribute with the improvement process. (p. 90-105) Regarding this, the inclusive strategies suggested in this work, intend to optimize the teaching and learning of the English language in students with interpersonal relationship problems by recognizing the differences in the classroom and promoting awareness, respect, and tolerance towards others. The first strategy used was Class-Wide Peer Tutoring where two students with different academic abilities are brought together and then a task is assigned. Both of the students have the chance to be tutors or leaders of the activity. In this way, the participation of both members is guaranteed and they both received recognition for completing the activity, which favors their self-esteem. The second strategy used was the Peer Assisted Learning Strategy, where both members play an active role during the development of a task. The difference is that they both match the same level of English, but with different language skills. For
  3. 3. 3 example, a student who is able to write in English correctly is mixed with another student who is an expert in oral presentation. In this way, they both contribute to the development of an integrated task efficiently. Llorent and López (2012) also state that teaching these types of strategies, create an atmosphere of self-confidence and cooperation where the students can interact and participate in activities of their interest (p.107). For the implementation of the inclusive strategies, in the first exploratory phase, the Department of Students Counseling at Unidad Educativa Fiscal Veintiocho de Mayo provided information from a diagnostic test implemented at the beginning of the school year. This test included a questionnaire with sections covering the following areas: Listening Skills, Verbal Communication, Emotional Intelligence, and Working in Groups and Teams. The results of this test were used to identify the students with interpersonal relationship problems. In the second phase, the English level of the students was measured by using a cross-sectional study carried out with a written instrument validated by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Cambridge, 2002). Individuals with the most basic level in language, 32 in total, were selected to be part of this study. Then, these students were divided into two groups: The experimental group (16 students) and the control group (16 students). It was observed that both groups had individuals that maintained standard grades to avoid discussing alternative variables, regarding the level of English as shown in the following table below: Table No. 1 Fuente: Investigación SPSS Elaborado por: Guerrero R. y Moreno K.
  4. 4. 4 After the selection process, the treatment group (16 students) received instruction with inclusive teaching strategies which involved the use of Class-Wide Peer Tutoring and Peer Assisted Learning Strategy for three months. The control group (16 students) only received traditional, behaviorist instruction. At the end of the sessions, the students were submitted to a new evaluation, and a comparative study between the two groups was achieved in order to identify the impact of the strategies on the English level of the individuals. The following results were obtained: Table No. 2 Fuente: Investigación SPSS Elaborado por: Guerrero R. y Moreno K The results show that the proficiency level of the experimental group who received instruction with inclusive teaching strategies, raised to 24.73%, while the control group only showed 5.2% growth. The analysis of this research demonstrates that the experiment was carried out with a comprehensive selection of possible deviations and hidden variables, so that nothing is random and imprecise in its interpretation. This study, however had some limitations in regards to the experimental research. First, the study was only limited to 32 students, and not to a normal average class size of 45 students. Another limitation was the study only focused on the students with a low level of English (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, students are A1). Perhaps the results would be different if higher level English students were selected. The study only focused on students that also had interpersonal relationship problems and did not include any other type of problems,
  5. 5. 5 including physical limitations or other learning disabilities. The study was only done at Unidad Educativa Fiscal Veintiocho de Mayo, which is considered a big school, and does not take into account other types of school settings, like smaller schools, Millennium schools, or private institutions. II. CONCLUSIONS The inclusive strategies had a significant impact on students' level because they strengthened the motivation to learn and improved the attitudes towards the different groups of a community. Peer tutoring implemented in a diverse group, help to share responsibilities, achieve specific learning goals, and raise self-esteem. Learning with the support of peers allowed the students to participate actively and strengthened the cognitive and socio- emotional area of learning. The hypothesis of the researchers was demonstrated and with this, it can be affirmed that the strategies influenced the students' learning system and contributed to the solution of interpersonal conflicts. The results will be used for the following studies, where researchers will relate other types of inclusive strategies, such as task-based learning and project-based learning in a different educational context. V. BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES Cambridge. (2002). COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK. Obtenido de http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Source/Framework_EN.pdf Llorent, V., & Rafael, L. (2012). Estudio de las relaciones interpersonales en aulas con alumnos “diferentes”. Campo Abierto, 90,105. Recuperado el 29 de Noviembre de 2016, de http://mascvuex.unex.es/revistas/index.php/campoabierto/article/view/1491/939 Molina de Colmenares, N., & Pérez de Maldonado, I. (2006). El clima de relaciones interpersonales en el aula: un caso de estudio. Paradigma, 27(2), 31. Recuperado el 29 de Noviembre de 2016, de http://www.scielo.org.ve/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1011-225120060002

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