Developing EFL students’ communication skills through collaborative visualization
Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou
Faculty of Letters and Languages
Department of English
People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
Domain: Foreign Languages
Branch: English Language
Option: Language and Communication
Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master in EnglishDeveloping EFL Students’ Communication Skills through Collaborative Visualization:
An Analysis of Teachers and Master One Students’ Attitudes in the Department of English at Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou
Board of Examiners:
Chair: Dr. YASSINE Souryana (MCA) Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou.
Supervisor: Mr. AOUINE Akli (MAA) Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou.
Co-Supervisor: Mr. CHERIFI Ahcene (MAA) Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou.
Examiner: Mr. CHETOUANE Madjid (MAA) Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou.
The present study is conducted to investigate teachers’ and students’ attitudes toward promoting EFL students’ communication skills through collaborative visualization.
This research has two main objectives, which consist in identifying Master one student’s and their teachers’ attitudes towards the use of collaborative visualization in the learning process to promote students’ communication skills.
In addition to exploring the extent to which collaborative visualization can help the students to develop their communication skills in English.
To do so, the coordination process theory of Erkens (2005) is applied. For the collection of data, 6 structured interviews have been conducted with teachers, 220 questionnaires have been distributed to Master I students but only 130 have been returned.
For the analysis of quantitative data, the rule of three is used; whereas, for the qualitative data, we relied on a descriptive analysis. The findings of students’ questionnaire have revealed that students have positive attitudes toward using collaborative visualization to promote their communication skills.
In addition, the results of the teachers’ interview have shown that teachers do encourage this kind of techniques to improve learning in general and to develop students’ communication skills in particular.
Key words: Attitudes, Collaborative Visualization, Communication Skills, Theory of Coordination Process
List of Abbreviations
* CL: Collaborative Learning.
* CS: Communication Skills.
* CSCL: Computer Supported Collaborative Learning.
* CSCW: Computer Supported Cooperative Work.
* CV: Collaborative Visualization.
* EFL: English as a Foreign Language
* H: Hypothesis.
* ICTS: Information Communication Technologies.
* MMUTO: Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou.
* Q: Question.
Table of Contents
List of AbbreviationsIV
List of FiguresV
List of DiagramsVI
List of TablesVII
* Statement of the Problem1
* Research Questions and Hypotheses2
*Aims and Significance of the Study3
* Research Design and Methodology4
* Structure of the Dissertation4
Chapter One: Review of Literature
I. Collaborative Visualization
1. Collaborative Learning7
1. 1. Conceptions of Collaborative Learning7
2. Collaborative Visualization9
2. 1. Computer Supported Collaborative Learning12
3. Importance of Collaborative Visualization in the Process of Learning13
4. Visual Aids13
4. 1. Definition of Visual Aids13
4. 1. 1. Types of visual Aids14
4. 1. 1. 1. Pictures14
4. 1. 1. 2. Films14
4. 1. 1. 3. YouTube Videos15
4. 1. 1. 4. Power Point Slides15
II. Communication Skills
1. Definition of Communication15
2. Types of Communication Skills16
3. Communicative Competence17
1. Definition of Attitudes19
1. 1. Importance of Attitudes to Study19
IV. Theoretical Framework
1. G. Erkens Coordination Process Theory (2005)20
Chapter Two: Research Design
1. Context of the Investigation and Sample Population23
2. Research Methods24
2. 1. Data Collection Procedures24
2. 1. 1. Description of the Students’ Questionnaire25
2. 1. 2. Description of the Teachers’ Interview25
2. 2. Data Analysis Procedures26
2. 2. 1. Quantitative Data Analysis26
2. 2. 2. Qualitative Data Analysis26
1. Presentation of the Results of the Students’ Questionnaire28
2. Presentation of the Results of Teachers’ Interview42
1. Discussion of Students’ Questionnaire Findings47
1. 1. Students’ Attitudes towards the Use of Collaborative Visualization in the Department of English47
1. 2. Students’ Attitudes towards Developing Communication Skills through Collaborative Visualization52
2. Discussion of Teachers’ Interview56
2. 1. Teachers’ Profile56
2. 2. Teachers’ Attitudes towards Collaborative Learning56
2. 3. Teachers’ Attitudes towards Developing Communication Skills through Collaborative Visualization59
Statement of the Problem
School education is one of the most important processes in an individual’s life. It has two parts, which are teaching and learning; and to succeed in teaching, teachers need to adopt many teaching methods.
For decades, before technology appears in human’ life, teachers have adopted the traditional way of teaching where they were the only source of knowledge.
In the traditional classroom, the teacher is the dominant entity, which has more opportunities to talk during lessons; whereas, the students primarily learn individually and rely exclusively on what the teachers say because of the lack of other resources and materials.
It is worth noting that the old way of teaching promotes memorization of knowledge neglecting the fact that students must develop their communication skills and go beyond what is said by the teacher.
Now, since the appearance of technology and since it is being integrated in school education, the teaching process has progressed. Teachers have started making use of several visual aids to support the teaching / learning process.
Researchers like Pathan and Alsied (2013) agree that technology helps both teachers and students in the classroom. In fact, visual aids make the students involved in the lesson and encourage interaction among them and with their teachers as well.
Development in EFL learning and teaching depends on the use of effective strategies, which are very important for students in order to succeed in their learning process. It is often argued that learners understand and perform in different ways because they have multiple intelligences (Gardner 1983: 59).
Indeed, there are some students who better learn through visualization activities like drawings, graphics, and watching videos, etc; and others who learn better through group activities i. e. in collaboration with others like role plays, debates, conversations, etc.
The current study, then, makes a combination of the two i. e. visualization and collaborative learning as a new teaching strategy of the XXI th century. In more precise terms, the research work deals with collaborative visualization in EFL contexts at university.
Through the teaching and learning processes, teachers may adopt appropriate strategies for an effective learning of communication skill which is defined in the Oxford Living Online Dictionary as “the ability to convey or share ideas and feelings effectively”.
During the university years, we experienced in our Department, we observed that teachers used to teach by judging their students more on their writings and dissertations. Students still encounter difficulties in communication.
We, then, propose the implementation of a different strategy in educational technology which is collaborative visualization, we have read on this technique which is mainly used in the scientific context and want to know if it is useful in EFL context.
Accordingly, our study is based on investigating students’ and teachers’ attitudes towards developing communication skills in English through collaborative visualization. This is a project that we suggest to take place at university.
Research Questions and Hypotheses
The Present study aims at answering these following questions:
Q1. In which way can the implementation of collaborative visualization promote Master I students’ communication skills in English at Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi Ouzou?
Q2. What are the teachers’ and students’ attitudes toward the use of collaborative visualization in promoting Master I students’ communication skills in English at Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi Ouzou?
This study is centred on two main hypotheses which state that:
H1. Collaborative visualization promotes the exchange of information, participation, discussions and debates which help Master One students at Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi Ouzou to develop their communication skills.
H2. Teachers and students have a positive attitude toward the use collaborative Visualization to Master I students’ communication skills in English at Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi Ouzou.
Aims and Significance of the Study
Since students always need to improve their communication skills and overcome their difficulties, we have suggested the implementation of collaborative visualization in order to help students’ develop their communication skills.
In short, the objectives of this study consist of identifying students’ and teachers’ attitudes towards the use of collaborative visualization in the learning process in the Department of English at Mouloud Mammeri University in order to promote students’ communication skills; and exploring to what extent can this strategy be effective in the EFL in general and in developing students’ communication skills in particular according to both teachers and students.
This study is significant in English Language Teaching because it has to do with a technique based technology. The idea is that using collaborative visualization in learning communication skills enhances and encourages collaborative learning.
In other words, it enhances group activities and organises them into academic and social learning experiences; therefore, it might raise students’ awareness of the importance of collaborative learning.
Collaborative visualization can be used as a teaching technique in EFL classroom, and using it may add variety to the teaching and learning environment and better attract learners’ attention. It is mentioned in Ahmadi (2018: 116) that the use of technology motivates students in EFL.
The results of this study are also significant to EFL learners as they may help in providing better understanding of the usage of collaborative visualization in independent learning; that is to say, students may use collaborative visualization to learn alone without being guided by a teacher.
Research Design and Methodology
In order to investigate the effectiveness of using collaborative visualization for developing communication skills in English, we have opted for the exploratory method.
Our participants consist of university Master one students of different options, and teachers of different modules in the Department of English, Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi Ouzou.
Concerning the students, we have selected 220 and only 130 of them have answered the questionnaire. For the teachers, we have had interviews with 06 of them.
This study has been conducted through structured interviews with teachers in the Department of English and questionnaires that have been submitted to students. The questionnaire is a set of questions or statements given in exactly the same form for a group of people.
The reason behind choosing this instrument is to gather students’ attitudes towards the use of collaborative visualization; whereas, the interview is the equivalent of a meeting or a conversation which involves asking a list of questions.
It is mainly used when the population is small. The purpose of having chosen this data collection tool is to know the experience of teachers in using technology.
Concerning the analysis of data, we have adopted the quantitative method which aims at quantifying the data and assessing it from the angle of numbers, and a descriptive analysis of qualitative data to get closer view and have a deeper understanding of the issue.
Structure of the Dissertation
The present work is designed following the traditional simple model of a dissertation. It is composed of “General Introduction”, “Review of Literature”, “Research Methodology”, “Discussion and Results”, and a “General Conclusion”.
First, the introduction presents the topic of the research in general and states the problem by establishing a niche. Second, the literature review presents the key terms that are used within the research as defined by scholars.
It has started with collaborative learning, collaborative visualization, and communication skills and finished with the theory of coordination process.
Third, the methodology chapter permits to state the theoretical framework. It involved the sample or respondents, the instruments to conduct the study, and the tools used to analyse the data.
Fourth, the results section is concerned with the data gained and their analysis. After that, the discussion section gives the opportunity to discuss and interpret the findings. Finally, the important points of the research are summarised in the “General Conclusion”.