Action Research on the Effects of an Innovative Use of CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) on the Listening and Speaking Abilities of Chinese University Intermediate Level English Students
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This research aims to explore the effective use of modern technology and the encouragement of learner autonomy in support of English language teaching and learning at a university in Northeastern China in order to address a number of learning and teaching problems, in particular, the so-called “time-consuming, low efficiency” and “deaf and dumb English” problems. Action research was employed as a research methodology in this study. The action research project consisted of three cycles: the teaching time of each cycle was six weeks, with two teaching hours each week in each class. The 102 research participants were the second-year undergraduate non-English major students who had (or had nearly) reached an intermediate level in terms of English proficiency. Research methods included questionnaires, pre-testing and post-testing, interviews, classroom observation, learning diaries and research journal. All the data were analyzed using qualitative and quantitative techniques as appropriate. SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) was used for statistical analysis. The research findings from the qualitative and quantitative data analysis show that the students made greater progress and improvements within a very short time (6 weeks) in each cycle in terms of listening and speaking skills by the effective use of modern technologies such as computers and the internet, which were used in ways designed to promote learner autonomy and effective learning strategies. More importantly, a more novel and more effective approach to teach listening from the intermediate level to the advanced level has been discovered from this project and a new teaching model using CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) environments in a Chinese context has come into being. On the whole, the students benefitted a great deal from autonomous learning by using modern technologies, dependent upon the quantitative data such as test score changes and qualitative data such as interview and learning diaries. In the meantime, the student learning experiences, my “teacher as researcher” teaching experience, and my professional development have been improved. This study is of great significance, particularly in the Chinese context, in contributing to the current literature on English teaching and learning research, CALL research and applications such as the novel listening teaching approach and the new teaching model using the CALL environments mentioned above. Finally, pedagogical implications are discussed and some suggestions on further research are also proposed.
Doctor of Philosophy in Education