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Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou
Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master in English - 2018/2019

Discussion of teachers’ Interview, EFL students’

  1. Developing EFL students’ communication skills through collaborative visualization
  2. HADJEM LAMIA
  3. Collaborative Learning and collaborative Visualization
  4. Types of Communication Skills and Attitudes
  5. Research method and data analysis procedures
  6. EFL students’ & students’ communication skills: the findings
  7. Discussion of ELF Students’ Questionnaire Findings
  8. Discussion of teachers’ Interview, EFL students’

Discussion of teachers’ Interview, EFL students’

2. Discussion of teachers’ Interview

2. 1. Teachers’ Profile

The results indicate that the difference in teachers’ experiences with teaching English did not affect their attitudes toward adopting collaborative visualization to develop students’ communication skills.

The majority of respondents have taught English for more than 10 years and they all have faced difficulties with their students because they still have problems of communication and this is due to the lack of new strategies and techniques that cannot be implemented because of the lack of materials.

Most of them have been for a training period abroad and during their experiences; they have always encouraged new techniques to develop communication.

So, their experiences affected positively their attitudes, and this is an example of what is said in the definition of attitudes provided by Allport (1935: 810), an attitude is “A mental or neural state of readiness, organized through experience. ”

They all encouraged the implementation of collaborative visualization as a support to the traditional ways to develop students’ communication skills in English which goes with two of our hypotheses where we highlighted that teachers have positive attitudes toward the use of collaborative visualization to develop students’ communication skills and that Collaborative visualization promotes the exchange of information, encourages students to participate and lead them to discussions and debates which help them to develop their communication skills.

2. 2 Teachers’ Attitudes towards Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning refers to learning in groups which means students share learning activities and get knowledge together. According to Erkens et al. , (2005: 466), collaborative learning encourages three main processes: mutual activation, grounding and negotiation.

Question 3 of the interview, deals with the importance of mutual activation and share of knowledge among students.

All the six teachers agree with the fact that mutual activation is very essential in collaborative learning for developing students’ communication skills since students learn better because they have the opportunity to discuss their information and knowledge among them.

As mentioned in the explanation provided to the definition of Dillenbourg (1999) to collaborative learning, during collaborative activities, students are expected to interact with one another, to be mutually engaged in conversations, to coordinate their efforts to solve problems.

It is noticed that some students learn easily and better from their mates rather than their teachers because the way their mates give them the information fulfils their minds more and they feel at ease while working together.

Mutual activation should be in all classes, according to one teacher, through it; students who know more help students who know less and this facilitates the learning and make the understanding better. Therefore, such a process is essential and considered as a basic element of communication.

Students, when sharing the knowledge, foster dialogues and may find themselves in situations where they show agreement and disagreement, interact and discuss and this helps in developing their communication skills, as one teacher has said, “Learners should share information, and this can foster dialogue, leading to consensus and/or disagreement.

The student interacts with other students in group discussions and other team activities in the learning process, and this fosters more interaction and collaboration among students”.

This goes with the second condition of successful collaborative learning that Johnson and Johnson (1999) have mentioned, as explained in the literature review, namely; students must participate in important face-to-face interactions, in which they share knowledge, give constructive feedback, encourage each other to achieve cognitive activities. Students’ participation attracts the other members’ attention to listen and to reflect.

The second process that Erkens has mentioned is grounding that refers to creating a common frame of reference on which students can rely. “Grounding is the name given to the interactive processes by which common ground (or mutual understanding) between individuals is constructed and maintained” (Baker et al. , 1999: 33).

Question 4 focused on the importance of this process in collaborative learning as well as in the way in which it contributes to promoting students’ communication skills.

The findings of the question indicate that all the teachers we have asked, share the idea that this process is essential to communication since it makes it better.

As one of the teachers has argued, “a common frame of reference helps students to answer questions, solve problems, learn new things and understand better”, if two or more students are supposed to make a conversation in an oral expression exam about a given topic, how can they succeed it if they do not share a common ground, how can they coordinate to communicate on the topic if they do not rely on the same frame of reference? “ Grounding is a common ground of mutual understanding, knowledge, beliefs, assumptions, presuppositions, and so on, has been claimed to be necessary for many aspects of communication and collaboration”(ibid).

The results of question 7 dealing with the importance of negotiation during collaborative activities in developing students’ communication skills indicate that all of the teachers agree that it is important.

This is because, as the teachers explained, negotiation permits students to express themselves and to put their knowledge into practice and that it is a basic element in collaborative learning and communication as well.

Negotiation in collaborative learning can be seen as a process where two or more students with different needs and goals discuss an issue to find a mutually acceptable solution or as it was mentioned in Erkens theory.

In the same context, Morais et al, (2019: 216) say that, “The goal of students when participating in negotiation training should be [. . . ] becoming good negotiators and finding good agreements”.

Negotiating requires “give and take”; this means, interaction between students which is quiet essential in communication, and this proves the importance of this process in enhancing their communication skills.

Within these processes, we can distinguish three major activities and we have emphasised on two of them. The first is: Focusing by maintaining discussion in class, and concerning this, the findings of question 5 dealing with the strategies students use t maintain discussion in class reveal that all the interviewed teachers noticed that their students do try to maintain the discussion during a collaborative activity and the majority through asking questions and sometimes through other strategies like suggesting ideas, giving one’s opinion, clarifying and summarising what has been said and through providing feedback.

In this respect, Erkens et al. , (2005:466) say: “By focusing, students try to maintain a shared topic of discourse and to repair a common focus if they notice a focus divergence; students coordinate their topic of discourse by focusing”.

In addition to this, there is the second activity which consists of checking. The results of question 6 that deals with the ways teachers take to check their students’ understanding indicate that all of them do it by making use of the technique of asking verification questions to their students.

Concerning this, teachers have said that they ask their students questions such as: “Have you understood?” But generally, students do not say the truth. That is why teachers choose questions in direct relation to the topic being discussed.

Discussion of teachers’ Interview, EFL students’

About this activity, it is mentioned in the theory of coordination process that “(…) checking was found to be one of the major coordinating activities dialogues of collaborative problem solving (…)” (Erkens, Schmidt, Renshaw 2000, cited in Erkens et al. , 2005: 466) this to emphasise on the importance of checking in collaborative learning.

2. 3 Teachers’ Attitudes towards Developing Communication Skills through Collaborative Visualization

As it has been mentioned in the literature review, collaborative visualization may be considered as collaborative learning supported by visualization.

This technique that we have suggested as one solution to develop students communication skills, we have asked teachers on whether it can replace the traditional ways that already have been used.

So, question 8, which was asked to know whether collaborative visualization can replace the traditional ways of teaching, helped us to find that teachers do see that it is more a support rather than a replacement.

The idea to understand from this is that advancements in educational technology are not about replacing traditional teaching methods.

Instead, many of today’s modern teaching methods are simply an evolution of older techniques; in other words, such new techniques complete and support the old methods, the use of visual aids, then, supports learning and enriches traditional learning experiences, it does not totally replace them, we can make reference, here, to how visual aids are described by Kinder, (cited in Ghulam, 2015) where he has said that a visual aids are “any devices which can be used to make the learning experience more real, more accurate and more active”.

The results of question 9 dealing with teachers’ opinions on collaborative visualization, permits to know how important collaborative visualization can be, all the teachers focus on the fact that this technique is a good strategy that should be encouraged.

This is because any new technique that brings new things and supports the teaching and learning process has to be encouraged.

Collaborative visualization combines between two important elements: Collaborative learning which has a very good impact on students’ input and visualization, which is included in technology that all students like and use in their learning process.

This involves the use of different visual aids such as films, YouTube videos and pictures which have visual effects that help students to understand more and motivate them to comment on what they see together.

Thus, this helps them to promote their communication skills . as mentioned in the review of the literature; these visual effects draw the audience’s attention and make the learners feel confident (Hiral, 2015).

We infer from this, that this combination positively affects students’ outcomes and anything that helps students and facilitates learning and teaching for teachers as well is welcomed, that is why they all agree that it is good and it should be encouraged.

The findings of question 10 where we asked teachers whether they think that using collaborative visualization would improve students’ communication skills, to identify the importance of collaborative visualization in promoting students’ communication skills in English, indicate that teachers do all agree that this technique is important and help students to better communicate.

It enhances involvement, participation and interaction in the classroom and this promotes communication; it motivates students because making use of such techniques makes things to them clearer and they feel confident to participate and speak.

It also makes the class enjoyable and funny, and this helps them to freely communicate. They also become creative since they may suggest collaborative visualization activities they like, and this promotes the interaction between them and their teachers.

Students always welcome activities they do in groups using computers, data show presentations, videos, pictures because they better understand, easily assimilate and remember what they are learning because they have its image in mind.

We can refer to what has been mentioned in the review of the literature concerning this point; students have more chances to learn what they see, what they say and what they do (Cuban, 2001 cited in Ghulam et al,2015: 226).

Also, it is a technique that leads to debate, as it is explained in teachers’ answers to question 11, because, according to them, students when they see something together, they are most of the time motivated to debate it and this contributes in the development of their communication skills.

As a final point, we have directed a final question on the difficulties that can be faced if collaborative visualization will be implemented.

All the teachers who have been interviewed have agreed on the lack of materials because this kind of techniques requires appropriate technological devices to use it; like computers, televisions, data shows, large pictures, special rooms and not everything is available here in the Department.

But here, there is one possibility that teachers might miss which is the ability to implement this kind of techniques asynchronously, and this by giving students group activities to do at home through a shared network like wiki space from which the teacher can check to wither they accessed or not, or o ask their students to watch a film or a video at home and come in class and debate it, and other factors that we have suggested; like the lack of time because in short time, teachers can not complete all the task with the use of this technique, but one of them said, “A good planning and knowing how to systematize can make it successful”.

In addition to other factors like the lack of motivation of some students, we have also suggested the problem of large classes, in this respect, one of the teachers have said, “Here we do not have such problem, we do not have large classes. “We mentioned the difficulty in the assessment of students’ performance because they work in groups but, according to teachers, this is possible somehow and it does not matter.

Conclusion

This chapter has discussed the data collected from both students’ questionnaire and teachers’ interview, which we have conducted to analyze their attitudes toward the use of collaborative visualization to enhance students’ communication skills in English. The discussion of findings has provided us with clear answers for our research questions and confirmed two of hypotheses that we have suggested.

Based on the results obtained then, we can say that collaborative visualization promotes the exchange of information, encourages students to participate and lead them to discussions and debates which help them to develop their communication skills and both students and teachers have positive attitudes toward developing communication skills through collaborative visualization.

General Conclusion

This study has aimed at identifying students and teachers’ attitudes toward the use of collaborative visualization in the learning process in the Department of English at Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi Ouzou in order to promote students’ communication skills on one hand.

It also aims at exploring the extent to which collaborative visualization can help students to develop their communication skills in English; thus, this research is conducted using the Coordination Process Theory (2005).

It has been noticed that students still encounter difficulties in communication; therefore, in this investigation, we have suggested the implementation of collaborative visualization in order to help them to overcome their difficulties.

In addition, we have aimed at identifying their attitudes and the ones of their teachers toward the use of this technique to develop communication skills.

To realize this research work, we have adopted both the quantitative and qualitative approaches for data collection and analysis.

Our participants consist of University Master One Students of different options, and Teachers of different modules, at the department of English, Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi Ouzou. We have selected 220 students and 130 of them have answered the questionnaire.

To reinforce the validity of the data gathered from the questionnaire, we have adopted a second tool which is a structured interview conducted with six teachers to identify their perceptions and attitudes using collaborative visualization to enhance their students’ communication skills.

For the quantitative data analysis, we have used the rule of three while for the qualitative data, we have a descriptive analysis of qualitative data.

Based on the discussion of our research findings, quantitative data concluded that the majority of students have a positive attitude toward developing their communication through collaborative visualization. In addition, they have confirmed that it promotes the exchange of information and encourages them to participate and learn more.

Moreover, they agree that it develops their critical thinking and facilitates the understanding of presented information. Furthermore, almost all of them strongly agree with the fact that collaborative visualization may lead to debates, which help them to enhance their communication abilities.

The results obtained from the teachers’ interview have revealed that teachers have a positive attitude toward the use of collaborative visualization in their sessions. They agree that using collaborative visualization helps them to get their students motivated and make the lesson more enjoyable.

In addition, they see that it is a good strategy of teaching that complement the traditional ways of teaching and that needs to be encouraged through providing the needed materials.

This work has contributed to increase the awareness about collaborative visualization as a new technique to overcome difficulties that students face while communicating.

The results closely reveal that this technique facilitates the learning environment and motivates the students to develop their communicative abilities, and for teachers to make their class more enjoyable and the results more fruitful.

However, we cannot deny the fact that this study has encountered some limitations. Not all the participants we have selected have answered (130 out of 220). In addition to the lack of materials in the Department of English which did not allow us to make experiences or to conduct classroom observations.

Accordingly, further research on the same issue, can be conducted with the other levels and also by investigating the use of the same technique to develop not only communication skills, but also other skills. In addition, others investigations can be conducted using the experimental method if the necessary materials are provided.

List of Figures

Figure 1: Collaborative visualization can occur in many scenarios delineated according to space and time10

List of Tables

Table1. Distribution of Master I Students28

Table2. Students’ Experience Abroad29

Table3. Students’ Discussion Maintenance in Classroom31

Table4. Students’ Techniques for Maintaining Discussion32

Table5. Students’ Techniques for Checking their Understanding33

Table6. The Significance of Negotiation during Collaborative Activities34

Table7. Students’ Preferences in Learning35

Table8. Students’ Reasons of their Learning Preferences35

Table9. Collaborative Visualization and Promoting Communication Skills37

Table10. Promoting Communication Skills through Collaborative Learning with Visualization38

Table11. Debating through Collaborative visualization39

Table12. Effectiveness of Synchronous and Asynchronous Collaborating in PromotinList of Diagrams

Diagram1. Students’ Experience in English29

Diagram2. Students’ Opinions about Mutual Activation in Developing their Communication Skills30

Diagram3. The Importance of Grounding or Creating a Common Frame of Reference to Promote Students’ Communication Skills31

Diagram4. Students’ Techniques for Maintaining Discussion32

Diagram5. Students’ Techniques for Checking their Understanding33

Diagram6. Students’ Reasons of their Learning Preferences36

Diagram7. Collaborative Visualization and Promoting Communication Skills37

Diagram8. Students’ Attitudes toward Promoting Communication Skills through Combining Visualization with Collaborative Learning38

Diagram9. Promoting Communication Skills through Collaborative Learning with Visualization39

Diagram10. Students’Attitudes toward Developing Communication Skills through Collaborative Visualization40

Diagram11. Effectiveness of Synchronous and Asynchronous Collaborating in Promoting Students’ Communication skills41g Students’ Communication skills41

List of Tables

Table1. Distribution of Master I Students28

Table2. Students’ Experience Abroad29

Table3. Students’ Discussion Maintenance in Classroom31

Table4. Students’ Techniques for Maintaining Discussion32

Table5. Students’ Techniques for Checking their Understanding33

Table6. The Significance of Negotiation during Collaborative Activities34

Table7. Students’ Preferences in Learning35

Table8. Students’ Reasons of their Learning Preferences35

Table9. Collaborative Visualization and Promoting Communication Skills37

Table10. Promoting Communication Skills through Collaborative Learning with Visualization38

Table11. Debating through Collaborative visualization39

Table12. Effectiveness of Synchronous and Asynchronous Collaborating in Promoting Students’ Communication skills41

 

Bibliography and Appendices Bibliography and Appendices

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