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Effects of Socio–affective Strategies Training on Speaking Ability and Anxiety Reduction among Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners By Mehrdad Moloudi, PhD.

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Presentation on theme: "Effects of Socio–affective Strategies Training on Speaking Ability and Anxiety Reduction among Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners By Mehrdad Moloudi, PhD."— Presentation transcript:

1 Effects of Socio–affective Strategies Training on Speaking Ability and Anxiety Reduction among Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners By Mehrdad Moloudi, PhD Parisa Haji Mohamad Ebrahim Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch (Iran) The topic of the present study is Effects of Socio–affective Strategies Training on Speaking Ability and Anxiety Reduction among Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners. In the field of second language acquisition research, curiosity in discovering and revealing information about successful strategies and techniques has had a long history. From the mid 1970s, many researchers have been trying to find out teaching methods, strategies, and techniques that can promote learners’ language skills (Brown, 2000; Cohen & Macro, 2007; O’Malley & Chamot, 1990; Oxford, 1990; Rubin, 1975). Oxford (1990) indicated that “learning strategies are specific actions taken by the learner to make learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, more self directed, more efficient, more transferable to new situations” (p.8). One of these strategies is socio-affective strategies which were defined by many researchers.

2 Background of the Study: What are Socio-affective Strategies?
Cooperating with others Taking your emotional temperature Asking for questions What are Socio-affective Strategies Lowering your anxiety Encouraging yourself According to Oxford (1990), socio-affective strategies include: Cooperating with others, asking for questions, empathizing with others, lowering your anxiety, encouraging yourself, and taking your emotional temperature. Cooperating with others: Working with other language learners to improve language skills. This strategy can involve a regular learning partner or a temporary pair or small group. Asking for questions: Asking the speaker to repeat, paraphrase, explain, slow down ,give examples, or asking someone for correction in a conversation. Empathizing with others: Trying to empathize with another person through learning about the culture, observing the behaviors of others as a possible expression of their thoughts and feelings, and when appropriate, asking about thoughts and feelings of others. Lowering your anxiety: Using the technique of relaxing all of the major muscle groups in the body or technique of breathing deeply. Encouraging yourself: Saying or writing positive statement to oneself in order to feel more confident in learning the new language, Pushing oneself to take risks in a language learning situation, even though there is a chance of making mistake or looking foolish ,and Giving oneself a valuable reward for a particularly good performance in the new language. Taking your emotional temperature: Paying attention to signals given by the body. These signals may be negative, reflecting stress, and fear; or they may be positive, including happiness, interest, and calmness. Moreover, talking with another person (teacher, friend, relative) to discover and express feelings about language learning. Empathizing with others

3 Background of the Study: Why Socio-affective Strategies?
Problems associated with traditional way of teaching Socio-Affective Strategies Problems associated with traditional way of teaching: Although many researchers have shown a great interest in learners and learning rather than teachers and teaching, some foreign language classes still teach based on the traditional way. In the traditional way of teaching, teacher talks during the class most of the time and there is no group work activity among students. Those learners who are more confident usually take part in the activities while those who are less confident or anxious prefer to keep quiet and passive during the class. Moreover, all these learners are not autonomous and they are always relying on their teacher. According to Oxford (1990), most of the language learners are passive, accustomed to being spoon fed, and they like to be told what to do. These attitudes and behaviors must be changed and learners should rely more on themselves (Oxford, 1990). In addition, Habte-Gabr (2008) does not agree with traditional lecture based classes, for in these classes students were able to follow a lecture for no more than fifteen minutes. In her opinion, by cooperating between students and group work activity, teacher is able to simultaneously focus on skills in content and language. Acknowledged benefits of socio-affective strategies: The existence of socio-affective strategies can help learners to become the autonomous speakers. As mentioned earlier, learners should not be spoon fed and rely on their teachers. They should try to be more autonomous. Thus, there is a need for suitable strategies in order to make autonomous speakers. Habte-Gabr (2008) mentions that, socio-affective strategies allow students to learn how to learn themselves and help them to be autonomous learners. Socio-affective strategies help learners to solve their own problems by cooperation with each other and asking questions from peers. The existence of socio-affective strategies help learners in removing or at least reducing their anxiety. Despite the fact that many learners have the ability to speak, some barriers prevent them to perform their knowledge. These barriers, such as anxiety and shyness, should be removed by some techniques. According to O’Malley and Chamot (1990), socio-affective strategies solve learners’ problem by teacher-student or peer interactions and reduce the anxiety of learners through some mental techniques. Acknowledged benefits of socio-affective strategies

4 Lack of effective strategies
Statement of the Problem: Current Problems in Research and Practice in Iranian Context Lack of effective strategies Learners’ anxiety English language has become a major medium for communication in all over the world. Many students try to learn this language in order to communicate or speak with each other and Iranian students are not exceptions. In general, Iranian students have 3 major problems in learning speaking which are: 1.Lack of effective strategies 2.Learners’ anxiety 3.Lack of motivation. It is obviously accepted that learning begins with the learner. This reality reminds us that, with the best teachers and techniques, students are those who can actually do learning. These facts reveal the importance of using language learning strategies. Socio-affective strategies are one of the strategies that are useful for speaking ability. Learners can feel more comfortable when they cooperate with each other and try to share their experiences. Researchers in foreign and second language learning have considered the existence of anxiety as common phenomena among students. They have indicated that anxiety is factor that affect foreign and second language learning. Speaking is one of the skills that cause a lot of anxiety among students. “speaking a foreign language in public, especially in front of native speakers, is often anxiety provoking” (Shumin,1997, p.9). So, some learners prefer to keep quiet during English lesson and they are afraid of saying something. These anxious learners may think about negative evaluations of other people when they make a mistake. In order to overcome this problem, teachers should make classroom less stressful for learners and use suitable strategies that help students to reduce their anxiety. Another problem may be lack of motivation and interest on the part of language learners. Dornyei (2001) believes that “motivation is one of the key issues in language learning and that skills to motivate learners are crucial for language teachers” (p.1). Learners should enjoy the times that they spend in the classroom and it is the teachers’ duty to provide suitable activities in order to motivate students. Those learners who do not enjoy their lessons may prefer to keep quiet or sometimes switch their English speaking to their mother tongue. Thus, it is essential for teachers to improve learners’ interest and motivate them by providing some effective strategies or techniques. Lack of motivation

5 Objectives of the Study
To investigate the effects of socio-affective strategies training on speaking ability of Iranian intermediate EFL learners To investigate the effects of socio-affective strategies training on anxiety reduction of Iranian intermediate EFL learners The objectives of this study are as follows: 1. To investigate the effects of socio-affective strategies training on speaking ability of Iranian intermediate EFL learners. 2. To investigate the effects of socio-affective strategies training on anxiety reduction of Iranian intermediate EFL learners.

6 Methodology: Research Design and Procedure
Number of Sessions Activities Session1 Proficiency test Session2 Pretests Session3-19 Treatment Session20 Posttests Among the three types of experimental design, quasi experimental design was selected for this study. Because of the difficulty of random selection of samples, researcher decided to choose quasi experimental non randomized, pre test post test design. Both control group and experimental group was selected among already formed groups. The current study was conducted in total 9 hours for 6 weeks. First of all, students took a proficiency test that is TOEFL PBT test. In order to have an estimate of the participants’ speaking ability, another test that was the speaking section of TOEFL IBT was conducted by two experienced teachers of the institute. All of the 44 participants of the study sat for the speaking test. The pretest was conducted at the beginning of the semester. In addition, learners filled two questionnaires one for socio-affective strategies by Oxford (1990) and the other for anxiety by Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope (1986). After that, students were randomly divided into two groups. In the experimental group, learners used socio-affective strategies while in the control group conventional teaching procedures were followed. After a seventeen-session treatment and placebo, learners took part in another speaking test which was another speaking section of TOEFL IBT. Moreover, at the end of the semester, the learners filled two questionnaires one for socio-affective strategies and one for anxiety. Design: quasi-experimental Approach: quantitative method

7 Socio-affective Strategies
Variables Socio-affective Strategies Independent Variable Variables Speaking ability Anxiety reduction Dependent Variable This study consists of three variables. One independent variable that is socio-affective strategies and two dependent variable that are speaking ability and anxiety reduction. The aim of this study was to find whether socio-affective strategies have any effect on speaking ability and anxiety reduction of Iranian intermediate EFL learners. Socio-affective strategies. According to O’Malley and Chamot (1990), socio-affective strategies are strategies that assist learners to control their emotions, attitudes, motivations, reduce their anxiety by using some mental techniques, and solve their problems through teacher-student or peer interactions. Speaking ability. Brown (1994), Burns and Joyce (1997) define speaking as an interactive process of constructing meaning that involves producing, receiving, and processing information (as cited in Florez,1999). Anxiety. According to Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope (1986), foreign language anxiety is “a distinct complex of self perceptions, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors related to classroom language learning arising from the uniqueness of the language learning arising process” (p.128).

8 Proportion of the Target Population to the Accessible Participants
All intermediate learners enrolled in fall semester in 2013 in English Language Institute (N=80) Target Population Sample Intermediate learners who were accepted to take part in the study after proficiency test (N=44) The target population of this study was 80 intermediate learners enrolled in fall semester in 2013 in English Language Institute. After conducting a homogenizing test of TOEFL PBT, the 80 prospective participants were reduced to 44 participants. In addition, The sampling technique that was used for the present study is non random convenience sampling. Sampling Technique: Nonprobability convenient sampling

9 Instrumentation Speaking section of TOEFL IBT Anxiety questionnaire
Pretests Speaking section of TOEFL IBT Anxiety questionnaire Socio-affective questionnaire Treatment Socio-affective strategies practice The instruments which were used in this study consisted of: pretests, treatment, and posttests. The pretests included Speaking section of TOEFL IBT ,anxiety questionnaire, and socio-affective questionnaire. Treatment included socio-affective strategies practice, and posttests consisted of Speaking section of TOEFL IBT, anxiety questionnaire, and socio-affective questionnaire. Posttests Speaking section of TOEFL IBT Anxiety questionnaire Socio-affective questionnaire

10 Data Collection X1 X2 Week
Treatment (half an hour) and data collection X1 X2 1 TOEFL PBT 2 TOEFL IBT (Speaking), Anxiety and Socio-affective questionnaires TOEFL IBT (Speaking), Anxiety and Socio-affective questionnaires 3 SAS NSAS 4 5 6 7 8 To answer the research questions of this study, quantitative data was collected using a) a proficiency test b) a pretest and a posttest and c) two questionnaires. After homogenizing the participants using a TOEFL PBT in the first session of the semester, TOEFL IBT oral test prompts were used as a pretest. Learners responded the examiners and their responses were recorded for scoring. Their responses were scored based on Independent Speaking Rubrics (Scoring Standard) retrieved from (www.ets.org). Then, two closed ended questionnaires evaluated the participants’ level of anxiety and the usage of socio-affective strategies. The researcher preferred to use direct method of distributing the questionnaires. The participants asked to read statements and answer them based on the five-point Likert scale. The questionnaires were answered by both experimental group and control group. Afterwards, the experimental group received treatment based on socio-affective strategies. However, the control group received no treatment and was taught following conventional procedure. The treatment period and placebo took a seventeen-session semester.

11 TOEFL IBT (Speaking), Anxiety and Socio-affective questionnaires
9 SAS NSAS 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 TOEFL IBT (Speaking), Anxiety and Socio-affective questionnaires TOEFL IBT (Speaking), Anxiety and Socio-affective questionnaires Finally, at the end of the semester both groups sat for the posttests of speaking ability, anxiety questionnaire, and socio-affective questionnaire.

12 Data Analysis RQ1 (quantitative) Mixed within-between groups ANOVA
In order to investigate whether socio-affective strategies have any effect on speaking ability and anxiety reduction of Iranian intermediate learners, the following research questions were formulated: 1. Do socio-affective strategies training affect speaking ability of Iranian intermediate EFL learners? 2. Do socio-affective strategies training affect anxiety reduction of Iranian intermediate EFL learners? In order to answer the first research question, Mixed Within-Between Group Analysis of Variance was to compare mean scores of both experimental group and control group. Moreover to answer the second question, Mann-Whitney U test and Wilcoxon test were used by the researcher through SPSS V.21 to measure the responses to the anxiety questionnaire. Wilcoxin test and Man-whitney U test

13 1. Socio-affective strategies improved the speaking ability of Iranian intermediate EFL learners.
Mean Std. Deviation N Experimental Pretest Posttest Total Control Pretest 1.6818 3.4091 2.5455 1.7955 2.1591 1.9773 .45107 .68376 .64842 .80750 .74673 22 44 Table shows that the experimental group averaged on the pretest and on the posttest. The mean difference of experimental group was The result presented that the experimental group improvement was statistically significant. Moreover, This table shows the pretest and posttest results of the control group. As can be seen from the table, control group scored on the pretest and on the posttest. The mean difference of control group was and this difference is not a significant level.

14 In line with the literature:
Ikala.R.(2010); Hamzah, M., Shamshiri, K., & Noordin , N. (2009) ; Habte-Gabr.E (2008) Based on the above figure, it can be seen that the two groups had significantly different performance on the posttest of speaking ability. Comparing the mean of the two groups makes it clear that the experimental group performed better than the control group. In another word, it can be said that socio-affective strategies training affect Iranian intermediate EFL learners’ speaking ability.

15 2. Socio-affective strategies reduced the anxiety of Iranian intermediate EFL learners
Group N Mean Rank Sum of Ranks 1 2 22 15.98 29.2 351.50 638.50 anxiety Mann-Whitney U Wilcoxin W Z Asymp. Sig.(2-tailed) 98.500 -3.374 .001 The Mann Whitney U test results revealed that the control group was significantly more anxious than experimental group. The mean rank of experimental group was while the mean rank of control group was Moreover, the P value was equal .001 that is less than .05. Therefore, based upon this test results, a conclusion can be drawn that there is statistically significant difference between the anxiety level of experimental and control groups.

16 In line with the literature:
Saeidi, M., Khaliliaqdam,S. (2013); Phillips, E.M. (1992). Based on the above figure, it can be seen that the two groups had significantly different performance on the posttest of anxiety questionnaire. Comparing the mean of the two groups makes it clear that the experimental group was less anxious than the control group. In another word, it can be said that socio-affective strategies training affect Iranian intermediate EFL learners’ anxiety.

17 Result of Socio-affective Strategies Questionnaire
Group N Mean Rank Sum of Ranks 1 2 22 30.25 14.75 665.50 324.50 Anxiety Mann-Whitney U Wilcoxin W Z Asymp. Sig.(2-tailed) 71.500 -4.014 .000 As shown in the above table, Mann Whitney U test results displayed that the experimental group used socio-affective strategies more than the control group. The mean rank of experimental group was while the mean rank of control group was 14.75; in addition, the P value was equal .000 that is less than Therefore, based upon this test results, a conclusion can be drawn that there is statistically significant difference between the use of socio-affective strategies in the experimental and control groups.

18 Pedagogical Implications
Help identify effective language learning strategies and materials or reflect the curriculum that is actually being implemented in the classroom. Help learners to develop their group work activity. In another words, they can share their experiences, cooperate with each other, asking for clarification, and encouraging each other before start speaking in front of the teacher and other students.

19 Help learners to control and reduce their anxiety by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, making positive statement, and discussing their feeling to someone else. Provide information on the strength and weaknesses of each individual student.

20 Suggestions First Second Third Fourth
Focusing on another strategy such as cognitive or metacognitive. Second Focusing on another skill such as listening or reading. Third Focusing on another affective factor such as motivation and self-steem. Fourth Focusing on gender, proficiency level and age of the students.

21 Thanks For Your Attention


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