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Action Research in the South Asian Language Classroom. Sally Sieloff Magnan University of Wisconsin-Madison firstname.lastname@example.org. Goals of the workshop. To introduce you to the concept of action research To give you notions about how to do action research
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Action Research in the South Asian Language Classroom Sally Sieloff Magnan University of Wisconsin-Madison email@example.com
Goals of the workshop • To introduce you to the concept of action research • To give you notions about how to do action research • To work closely on what makes a researchable question and show you data from several research projects • To talk about disseminating results (reports, publication) • To talk about getting funding to further research and teaching innovation • To brainstorm with you areas you might research to inform your teaching or other efforts in language learning
Private reflection: 2 minutes • 1. What language learning matters do you want to know more about? • 2. What problems with your teaching might you like to investigate?
What is Action Research? • Method of investigating problems in their naturally occurring contexts. Its process is: • Progressive • Iterative • Reflective
What are the goals of Action Research? • It attempts to understand problems in real-life situations, i.e. non-laboratory settings • It aims to improve how people address issues and to solve problems.
How does Action Research differ from Empirical Research? • Empirical research tests theories • Action research balances problem-solving actions with data-driven research to inform future action
Who participates in action research? • Researchers • Instructors • Students or other learners • Administrators • Observers or others who interact in the learning community
Human Subjects approval needed for use beyond instructional situation Review aims to • foresee how findings might be used and limit their use appropriately • ensure understanding by participants • protect against power status relationships • provide anonymity
Human subjects review committees • You will need to specify how you will conduct the research, including all questionnaires, etc. • This review takes time and generally requires revisions. Leave a couple of months, ideally. • If more than one institution is involved, need to go through review by each institution • If participants are under 18, need to clear with parents.
Outline of Workshop • Consider a series of researchable questions involving: • Student goals for studying South Asian languages • Relationship of student goals for South Asian languages to National Standards • Language learning during study abroad (French) • A communicative Hindi language lesson • An online Urdu lesson • Chat interaction in class (Italian) • Talk about writing research notes, articles and grants • Brainstorm your ideas for action research
Researchable Questions • Why do students take this language? • What do they want from the class?
More specifically • What are their language learning goals? OR • What reasons do students give for foreign language study?
Student survey from the Language Institute, UW Madison • RQ: What reasons do students give for foreign language study? Written survey done in class early in semester 1821 students, all languages UW Madison
Questionnaire 7. What are your motivations for taking this beginning language course? (Mark ALL that apply) 0. degree requirement 1. personal interest and enjoyment 2 curiosity 3. small classes and making friends 4. societal responsibility 5. family background 6. use in my future career 7. to strengthen application for graduate or professional school 8. future travel 8. What is your primarymotivation for taking this beginning language course? (Mark only ONE) 0. degree requirement 1. personal interest and enjoyment 2 curiosity 3. small classes and making friends 4. societal responsibility 5. family background 6. use in my future career 7. to strengthen application for graduate or professional school 8. future travel
n=1,821 Language Institute, UW Madison
Secondary question • Is there a difference between the reasons students study LCTLs and CTLs?
N=1,710, nLCTL=1,166, nCTL=544 chi-square Pr =. 000 Language Institute, UW Madison
In groups by language • 1. Review what the data says • 2. What researchable question would you ask of the data? • 3. Find a way to present the data for your language only to the whole group (chart, table, oral report, etc.) • 4. Select a group member to do the presentation
Keeping track of data • Limit amount of data you collect to what is most important • Spread sheets, use hide column liberally to juxtapose data sets • Consider labels very carefully. Keep key for any code names • Be consistent between instruments (survey) and data displays: words and numbers • Binder with dated entries • Back it all up !
Researchable Question • What do students want to learn? • Do the National Standards reflect this?
Student survey from Language Institute, UW Madison • Do students have language learning goals that are represented in the National Standards for Language Learning? • How do students’ goals correspond with each of the 5 Cs?
Sorting data • How might we look at the data to answer the question “How do student goals correspond with each of the 5 Cs?” • How might we use the data to compare across languages? • In language groups, work with the data and prepare to present it to the whole group.
How could you organize this data for analysis? Work in groups of three to make 2 suggestions.
Researchable Question • What factors are related to students improvement in speaking when studying abroad? • What background information might you need from students? • What might you do with students to answer this research question?
Pre and Post OPI scores Wilcoxon signed ranks test: 136 Z: -3.624 p-value (2-tailed): .002* (significant at α=.05)
Can-Do Scale Increase in means: • Students felt more confident in their interactions with native French speakers • Can-Do Category: Interacting in French (sustaining everyday casual and polite interactions) ANOVA F: 2.54, p-value: p-value: .023*
Doing the analysis • Which factors might you compare with which other factors?
Prior Coursework and Improvement Increase in means: Major level Sixth semester Fifth semester Fourth semester Mann Whitney U Test: 35 Z: -2.268 p-value: .038
Living arrangements and improvement on OPI Increase in means… …but no statistical significance. Mann Whitney U Test: 58.5 Z : -.80 p-value: .295 ns
Researchable Question • What is really most important for students in study abroad, in their opinions? • When students look back, what do they think study abroad did for them?
Email Letter of request Dear Former Participant on UW Madison Study in France, You will remember that during your study abroad in Paris and Montpellier in 2003, Professor Sally Magnan gave you an oral interview and asked you to fill out some questionnaires. She and I are doing a follow up on that information. Could you please answer the 5 questions below, as briefly or in as much detail as you wish? It is better to do the questionnaire now and quickly than to put it off and not get back to it. We truly appreciate your time. Your reflections will assist us greatly. If you have any questions, feel free to email me, or contact
Questions to participants • 1. Looking back on your time in France, what "encounters" with French do you think were the most helpful in developing your speaking ability (e.g., meeting French speakers in stores, having French friends, living with a French family or roommates, reading novels, watching TV, etc.) 2. After finishing your study abroad program, did you continue to use French and to have contact with native French speakers (either while you were outside or inside the United States)? In what ways? 3. If you could redo your study abroad experience, what would you change? What would you keep the same? 4. Today, nearly two years after your study abroad experience, what is France and its culture for you? How did your time in France influence these perceptions? 5. How did your study abroad experience help shape who you are today?
Finding themes Work in groups of 4. For your assigned question (1-5), study the answers to deduce themes for the analysis. Be prepared to report your theme(s) to the group.
Keeping track of data 2 • Color coding • Numerical coding for themes, with KEY • Store in shelf or file cabinet ? • Back it all up on web space, USB hard drive, CD or DVD, send yourself data attachment in email (if you have a lot of storage!)
Documenting Teaching Innovation • Purpose • To improve teaching • To build teaching dossier • To offer as teacher training materials • As data for grants and future projects • For publication • Textbooks • Newsletters • Journals
Lesson plan: Hindi Mingling activity: Students will be provided a sheet, using this they will need to collect the information from their classmates. WHO WANTS TO DO WHAT? After collecting the information they will be asked randomly (5 minutes) (2-3 people about their findings) Brajesh Samarth, UW Madison
Hindi class: Consider research possibilities • What might we like to know about this lesson? • What research questions could we ask to get at this information? • How might we know when we have answered these research questions or not?
Hindi class slide 1 • Video to be played during the workshop
Hindi class slide 2 • Video to be played during the workshop
Hindi class: Consider the lesson • What type of activity is being done? • How is the room set up? • How does the instructor interact with students? • What standards are students practicing? What modes?
COMMUNICATION INTERPERSONAL. Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions. INTERPRETIVE. Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics. PRESENTATIONAL. Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics