English Is Spreading From Time To Time Education Essay

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English is spreading from time to time in Cambodia and also considering as the international language to use both in local and international communication. As my own observation, nowadays most of companies in Cambodia prefer to interview in English and most of the documents are in English also. The most preferred foreign language in today's Cambodia is English which is in both international business and education (Igawa, 2008). As a result, many people start studying it in order to get a well-paid job or to fulfill in their own business. Similarly, in the 2000s, Cambodians who speak English have been more job opportunities (Igawa, 2008). Clayton (2007) (as cited in Igawa, 2008) pointed out that there are two political events: the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) (1992-1993) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (1999) which recently promoted the English using in Cambodia. Clayton (2007) (as cited Igawa, 2008) observed that during the 2-year mission of the UNTAC, totally more than 60, 000 Cambodians worked this and some degree of English proficiency needed for most of them to complete their tasks. Moreover, the economic in Cambodia has been developed rapidly in recent years. This change in economic market has promoted the English studying and using in Cambodia (Igawa, 2008).

Despite the spread of English, some students of English in one class-where I teach English Literature Studies subject, there are 18 adult students (7 females) and they are from Multi-Skills Program in promotion 6 (MSP 6)-of the two classes base on my own recent personal observation, I have noticed that most of my students are reluctant to speak English in the class. For instant, when I ask them to volunteer to stand up and answer my questions or summary the chapter of story, there are some of them raise up their hands to do that. The other people never do that they just wait until I ask their names and do that, and they could not speak English well and the answers are always short. What's more, I have found that most of the staff-at a Phnom Penh training institute-said that the way of students' learning in this institute are not the same as the others. Therefore, in order to find out the fact and avoid from wrong ideas, I would like to conduct research about "The changes occur as the result of the researcher's use of some new strategies in promoting the use of spoken English by English as second language students at a Phnom Penh training institute. An action research study."

This research study will use an action approach in my own use of new strategies in my teaching which will speak to improve the use of spoken English among some of my students. One of the key strategies I will use is positive reinforcement. Studies from many countries, both developed and developing, found that there are many positive reinforcements which can have an impact on their learning. These include both mental and physical supports from their families, friends, teachers, communities, and society. Students themselves can provide their own self-motivation, providing the good feedback, assisting the students to build up their intrinsic motivation and so on. The students, teachers, parents, peer-group, and counselors are required to get involved with underachieving learners in order to achieve the concerted efforts of the stakeholders (Chukwu-Etu, 2009). Students themselves, self motivation, will be extended to affect their performance at school. Besides this, underachieving learners can be helped by considering the crucial role of motivation and counseling (Chukwu-Etu, 2009).

In this study I will investigate on some of the key terms: positive reinforcement, action research and learner autonomy. Positive reinforcement will focus on the situation or environment in the classroom which let the students learn well and it will include both intrinsic and extrinsic positive reinforcement. Action research which it will find out the changes of the student improvement base on the researcher's observation on the students behaviour in his own classroom. Learner autonomy will investigate on the student commitment on their studying whether they have tried their best in their classroom with some help from the teachers or other people to achieve their goals. And all of these key terms will explain more in the next chapter.

Problem Statement

The positive reinforcement is very important in the students learning in the classroom. Using the deep approach in the class, the students are allowed to interact and engage with each other by the activities (Ramsden, 2003, as cited in Chen, 2009; Blumenfeld, 1992 & Roggers, 1961; as cited in Chukwu-Etu, 2009). However, there are many negative results if absent the positive reinforcement from the classroom: The students could achieve the educational goals, nothing change in the educational system, dropout and so on. They are reluctant to speak English in the class if they do not get some encouragement and good feedback from their teachers.

As my own observation and I have read many books, documents and journal articles; I have learnt that in the international countries they have studied about this, positive reinforcement, in their classroom. I want to find out the ways to increase student autonomy, the right group of student who well organize themselves for their studying, and problem of cultural background in Cambodia. Therefore, I would like to investigate this in Cambodia context, at a training institute XX.

Research Question(s)

The light of both international and recent Cambodian study will answer to the following question:

What changes occur in students' usage of spoken English as the result of the researcher's use of some new strategies in promoting the use of spoken English by English as second language students at a Phnom Penh training institute?


This study will inform and hopefully improve my own performance as a teacher. The findings of this study could shed light on how to achieve a better quality of education in the Department of Education or Academic Office at institute XX. The study might provide insight into the real factors or problems which cause or solution might help to inform specific actions to be taken to efficiently and effectively address the correct performance within this institute.

This study will not only assist the Department of Education, Academic Office, and Institute Management Team of the institute XX to improve its level of performance, but it will also provide strategies to guide the educators of institute how to improve the performance of learners to a level that would allow them to gain the educational goals. Finally, it can discover the good methods, how to learn and teach better, to apply in the people lives or to be the example for the other schools, institutes, and universities to strengthen the quality of education in theirs. In short, I strongly believe that it is really good research question to investigate.

After I have read some articles and started thinking about the research topic, at last I have come up with some reasons to conduct this action research. First of all, I can evaluate and reflect on my teaching skills from this action research and also it can be the sample for the others. Then, I want to know about the fact why the people said in institute XX is the good place to learn and better than other schools, institutes, and universities. And I want to contribute this to the next promotions to be followed. Moreover, I would like to improve and strengthen the teachers' performance in order to better the quality of education in this training institute by using action research.

Chapter 2

Literature Review

In this chapter I review and discuss the literature review which includes both national and international sources. I am going to discuss about action research, Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), learner autonomy, and positive reinforcement. The sources were found in: the Hun Sen Library of Roayal University of Phnom Penh, Google scholar, Jame Cook University's Journals.

Action Research

There are many definitions of action research: Sagor (2000) defined it as self-control of the process of those who behave in a particular way to take the action. To help the "actor" in bettering and/or elaborating his or her actions is the main reason for combining in the action research. New South Wales Department of Educational and Training (2010) it is the rule which depicts the incorporate of action (enforcing a plan) with research (Originating an empathizing of the effectiveness of this enforcement).

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is a scope of activities which are focused on learner interaction rather individualistic methods to learn (Richards, 2006 as cited in Aubrey, 2011). In order to increase the student interaction within classroom by using this approach, I will study on: group cohesiveness, communicative anxiety, and topic relevancy. All of these are described below:

Group cohesiveness.

The best way to influence the East Asian students' willing to communication (WTC) in the class might be the peer-group cohesiveness (Aubrey, 2010; Kim, 2010; Wen & Clement 2003 as cited in Aubrey, 2011). There are at least two ways to encourage the group cohesiveness: encourage them to work in group better than individuals and may facilitate the student connections to know every student within the class (Aubrey, 2011).

Communicative anxiety.

Sometimes people always have low self-esteem when they learnt that their friends can listen and speak English well, they dare not to speak because of they feel afraid of their friend will judge them or laugh at them. A fear experience or risk of being judge by friends who may aware of the mistakes is the central part of the L2 anxiety (Aubrey, 2010; De Saint Léger & Storch, 2009; Donato & McCormick, 1994; Young, 1990 as cited in Aubrey, 2011).

In order to decrease the anxiety teachers better ask the students to stand and speak out or answer the questions in English. During this teachers should not care about mistakes, just try to let them speak out as much as they can. Similarly, Aubrey (2011) stated that teachers may need to limit the quantity of mistake experience to equip the students with confident to increase their WTC.

Topic relevancy.

To rise up students' WTC by designing the lesson topic to be interested and personal related to students (Aubrey, 2010 as cited in Aubrey, 2011). Students may not get involve if they do not find the lesson is interesting, even though it is the compulsory subject in the curriculum (Aubrey, 2011). There are at least two approaches to enhance the topic relevance: 'knowledge of students interest' which teachers need to know about the students levels and 'giving students some content control' which they are promoted the learner-centered classroom where they can decide the way of learning to make the lesson relevancy (Aubrey, 2011).

Learner Autonomy

Learner autonomy is not a clear term. It does not mean 'learner independence, self-direction, autonomous learning, or independent learning' (Palfreyman, 2003 as cited in Xioa & Luo, CamTESOL selected papers from 2009, p. 240), but learners are considered as being covered on their own learning steps ( Xioa & Luo, CamTESOL selected papers from 2009). Moreover, it focuses on the product of interdependence rather than interdependence (Littlewood, 1999 as cited in Xioa & Luo, Cam TESOL selected papers from 2009). However, Smith (1997) (as cited in Xioa & Luo, Cam TESOL selected papers from 2009) argued that autonomy is important for both interdependence and independence. Therefore, learners autonomy do not come from the learners alone, sometime they need to interact with the other people to achieve their particular goals.

Positive Reinforcement

'Positive reinforcement is an event that, when presented immediately following a behavior, cause the behavior to increase in frequency (or likelihood of occurrence)', (Martin & Pear, 2003, p. 29). Also, motivation refers to physiological conditions, interests, attitudes and aspirations which is related to influences behavior and gives directions of the internal state or condition. It enforces the individuals to commit behavior toward a particular goal (Zulueta & Maglaya, 2004). However, motivation cannot stay forever (Igoudin, 2008). Jacques (2001) (as cited in Igoudin, 2008) argued that non-challenging learning activities within a university requirement cause low motivation among students. In this section I will look into two components: intrinsic and extrinsic positive reinforcement. Similarly, Zulueta and Maglaya (2004) there are two kinds of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic positive peinforcement.

Intrinsic positive reinforcement refers to self-motivation of an individual to complete the task. As intrinsic motivation is a performance to a particular task from an individual's internal dire (Zulueta & Maglaya, 2004).

Extrinsic positive reinforcement.

Extrinsic positive reinforcement refers to encouragement from the environment or surrounding components which let the individuals to achieve a particular thing. Likewise, Zulueta and Maglaya (2004) stated that extrinsic motivation is external factors which promoted the individual to an uncorrelated task being done by using the reward.

Students can be encouraged and motivated by providing the good feedback to clear up confusion, misunderstanding, and improve the students' performance (Brown, 2007; as cited in Chen, 2009 & MS 2002, as cited in Chukwu-Etu, 2009). These positive reinforcements have influenced on their future of continuing their studying or finding a job. Moreover, theories about positive reinforcement and student motivation can be useful in practical situation. In terms of motivational theory, the expectation of success is also high if the value is high, therefore being a teacher should assist the students to build up their intrinsic motivation, which refers to be interesting in and enjoy doing something and the goals will be achieved through this. As a result, deep approaches to learn should be promoted to the students to choose through teaching (Biggs, 2003 as sited in Chen, 2009).

Chapter 3

Research Methodology

In this chapter describes the sampling methods and data collection methods. It includes a description of some limitations of various methods and a discussion of ethical issues that may occur in conducting the study.

Qualitative research defines in different ways: It is a character of scientific research which an investigation is comprised to look answers to a question, gather proof, find out the result which were not predictable and so on (Mack, Woodsong, Macqueen, Guest, & Namey, 2005). The three most common methods in the qualitative methods are: participant observation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. In this research I will be using participant observation, which is suitable for gathering data on their circumstance of normally occurring deportment (Mack, Woodsong, Macqueen, Guest, & Namey, 2005).

In order to facilitate this study, I have decided to choose the qualitative research method to collect data and use purposive sampling methods to select the participants to get involved in this study.

Sampling Methods

In qualitative research, three of the most common sampling methods are purposive sampling, quota sampling, and snowball sampling. Therefore, in my research project I prefer to use the first one, purposive sampling, which groups participants depend on the preselected standard related to particular research questions where the sample size can be depended on the resources and time available (Mack, Woodsong, Macqueen, Guest, & Namey, 2005).

Sample size and participant.

I am going to select two groups of students from Multi-Skills Program (MSP) which one class is from promotion 6 (MSP 6) and the other is from promotion 7 (MSP 7) to be the sample as you will see in the table 1 below. Moreover, in adapting this sampling method where participants who are all volunteer to have the face-to-face interview. In qualitative research the sample size is not too big otherwise this makes it very hard to interpret the rich data. And also it should not too small which it is not easy to accomplish data impregnation (Flick, 1998; Morse, 1995 as cited in Onwuegbuzie, & Leech, 2007).

The strengths of this sampling method are easy to find the samples that are related to my studying area and spend less time to collect data related to the research questions. The samples which I have chosen are comfortable to access and spend less money.

The limitations of this method is one of the often asked question is "Are the data provided reliable without bias?" Sometimes the participants felt they should not comment or feedback something bad about themselves or about their teacher's performance, they would feel shy or think they will have some problems if they comment or provide negative feedback about their teacher.

Data Collection Methods

In order to collect data in this study I will use different methods-observation, introduce new methods and self observation, outside observer, and face-to-face interview-to make sure the data which is collecting from this study are more reliable.

The strengths of these methods, the data, which will be collected, will be more reliable and valid. If I use only one method, I think that I will not find out what are the different or changes within my teaching sessions.

The limitation of these, it will be time consuming and more cost in these processes. The data will be collected from these will be hard to analyze; therefore, I will spend more time in analyzing the data and it can be confused.


During the research period, I will observe student behaviour in my own teaching sessions in the two classes by creating a checklist about the frequency and duration of listening and speaking in English which another staff member can fill in.

The strengths of observation, we can identify the current behaviour and knowledge of the participants which is easy to evaluate whether they have changed or developed their listening and speaking at the end of this research. Moreover, it can help the researcher to save time to teach and observe at the same time and easy to access to the data.

The limitation of this method relates to questions "Will the researcher can observe and evaluate all of the participants effectively at the beginning? How will data which will be collected be measurable and comparable at the end of the study?"

Introduce new methods and self observation.

In this step, I will introduce a new teaching methodology, Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) which let the students can learn English from the real communication, to the students in both classes to get involve and practice their listening and speaking through the variety of techniques which I will bring to the class. To get the students involve in the CLT approach, teacher have to try to sell their CLT methodology to students from the first day of the class by showing them the benefit of this approach (Aubrey, 2011). Then, I will observe it by myself about my use of them and the students' effectiveness within my teaching. Also, I will create the observation record about each student in this study.

The strengths of this step the students will be able to change their behaviour and get involve in listening and speaking more effectively. When I apply this new method, I will find out the changes within my teaching sessions. Also, I will be able to find the better ways to let students to participate in my teaching in my future professional teaching classes.

The limitation of this the students can ignore this new methods because they are familiar with other teaching approaches rather than this CLT. Moreover, they have a very long time habit which is very hard for them to change or adjust themselves into new environment. Sometimes, we can say when they believe or follow something which they think it is right, we cannot change their concepts easily we will probably spend a lot of time to apply this new method for them to be followed.

Outside observer.

Within this step, I will invite my colleagues in this institute to go in my class and observe the students behaviour and their listening and speaking skills by asking them to use the observation checklist which I will create for them to fill in.

The strengths of participant observation include insight into the complexity of common occurrences, specific concrete details to guide understanding in a particular setting, insight into the "local" meanings that activities and practices have for participants (Anderson, 2005).

One limitation of this method relates to an often asked question is 'Will different observers get the same results?' Different observes have different perspectives and this can have an impact on observes interpretations of events (Anderson, 2005).

Face-to-face interview.

In the final step, I will use interview sheets which will include close-ended and open-ended questions in which I can choose the best answers and comment on their performance. I will bring them to the library or conference room hard copy of the interview sheets and/or I will do it by myself or ask my colleagues to help and coordinate in this interview.

The strengths of this step I will have a chance to understand about the participants' feeling through their face expression. I will be able to demonstrate whether their answers are true or not. And I will get the answers for all of the questions and the data will be easy to read and analyze because I have recorded them by myself or my colleagues.

The limitations of this relate to an often asked question "Will the students (participants) provide the real answers?" Sometimes some students may feel scare or afraid of providing the real answers to the particular questions, especially the questions which let them to provide the feedback to their teacher. Therefore, they will try to answer only the good things about their teacher. One more thing, it will take time to interview them one by one.

Ethnical Consideration

In order to conduct this research study effectively and productively, the researcher will demonstrate some ethical issues. First of all, the researcher will set up purposes of this study clearly which is easy for the researcher to understand and get the agreement from the participants. Then, the researcher will observe the students behavior and their speaking and listening skills during the teaching sessions by using behavioral checklist. In each checklist will be anonymous by using code number instead their real name and all of the data in this section will be kept in confidential. Moreover, I will do the face-to-face interview which I will interview them by myself or ask my colleagues to help and do this in order to get the reliable and valid data. And in this step I select 20 students to be my sample and all of them volunteer to join in this study and they have right to stop or reject to join at any time before or within the interview. I will explain them very clearly whatever they answer they will be safe (No thread, fail their examination, or lose any marks and so on). What's more, the interview would be conducted in the library or in the conference room and the time would be during their break time, therefore it will not affect their studying time. In the interview sheets will not put the name by using the code number, student A, student B, student C…; instead of their real names. Finally, all of the data which will be collected from this study will keep in confidential.