Fitzgerald Keys And Apple Tree Language Education Essay

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The objective of this study was to determine the effect of Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE Language approaches on the English achievement and retention level of the hearing-impaired pupils. The intermediate hearing-impaired pupils were chosen as subjects who included (3) grade levels, namely: Grade V, Grade VI and Grade VII of Western Mindanao State University Laboratory Elementary School enrolled for the school year 2007-2008.

To pursue with its objective, the study made use of the quasi-experimental design, where the Grade Point Average (GPA) was used to create the two groups. In this design the intermediate SPED pupils were the subjects. They were divided into two groups. In group A, the teacher utilized the "Fitzgerald Keys" language approach while in group B the "APPLE TREE" language approach was used. After a month of teaching the targeted lesson of five different topics, the Achievement Test was administered to both groups. Then, a week after, both groups were given the same test to determine the subjects' retention level on the acquired knowledge.

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The result of the analysis showed that both groups who were taught using Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE language approaches had good achievement and retention levels. Based on this result, it was concluded that the APPLE TREE and the Fitzgerald Keys language approaches are both effective for the hearing-impaired pupils and can further enhance the activities suited to the needs of the pupils. It was recommended, then, that teachers continue to use the Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE language approaches.

Introduction

Everyone is capable of learning, regardless of strengths and weaknesses. Deaf learners are the same with the hearing children; they have their unique potentials in which educators and parents need to identify in order to provide them with appropriate educational reinforcement.

Hence, deaf children are not exempted from being an important part of the school environment. The Department of Education stressed that education must be accessible to all including the differently-abled people. Thus, Western Mindanao State University Laboratory Elementary School created a special education program. It was in 1997 when Special Education started to offer elementary education based on the initiative of former WMSU President, Dr. Eldigario D. Gonzales in coordination with special education teachers where Special Elementary Education was conceived.

In educating the hearing-impaired pupils, it requires a designed approach to produce best result in the learning process. There are some factors that can hinder learning. One researcher, Marschark (1996) described the hearing-impaired learners as having "shorter memories" than hearing people. These manifestations could lead to poor academic retention of the learners. There will be less absorption of the lesson. Nevertheless, many deaf people are able to make use of their residual hearing to complement their visual perception of English words, but often their complete acquisition of English lags behind hearing individuals, who have full access to both auditory and visual input (Lylak, 2002).

The fact that the academic retention of the hearing-impaired pupils is poor due to short memory span, educators should make use of the different approaches to develop the learning process of the hearing-impaired pupils. Deaf learners could hardly communicate by means of audio and oral approach; they rely more on visual representations. However, if visual representations are not presented clearly, such unfavorable conditions occur. Hearing-impaired learners find difficulty in associating the instruction with the visual aid/materials; as a result they become confused of the lessons, and they forget some significant concepts most especially rules, significant figures and events and sequential concepts. Learning is useful and meaningful if the teacher utilizes appropriately designed approach with proper visual aids and presents it in an experiential-based manner. Moreover, to attain success in the learning process of the hearing-impaired pupils, the concerned teacher should take into consideration the needs of the child and the suited approach to be utilized in teaching.

According to Moores (2001), much of the academic difficulty observed in schools should be interpreted as relating to what the children do not do rather than what they cannot do. Teachers should find ways how to let these children do what they have not been doing by helping them overcome the difficulty they experience since teacher's manner of teaching contributes greatly to the child's learning. It controls the child's mood in the class, holds attention span during discussion and facilitates absorption of the lesson. Teacher's manner of teaching also influences the child's retention of the acquired lesson.

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To support the hearing-impaired in language learning, several proponents introduced different approaches like natural and structured approaches. The Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE language approaches are among the structured language approaches. These commonly aim to help the hearing-impaired pupils in language learning. Both advocate clear visual representations with integration of naturally occurring situations. However, there are distinct principles stating the differences of the said approaches in language teaching.

With these notions, the study was conceived to find out the performance of the hearing-impaired pupils of Western Mindanao State University Laboratory Elementary School and to determine which of the two English language approaches, Fitzgerald Keys or APPLE TREE language approach, would suit better in teaching the hearing-impaired pupils considering their achievement and retention levels. Mainly, this study hypothesized to have significant differences in the English achievement and retention levels of the hearing-impaired pupils using Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE language approaches. It also hypothesized the existence of significant relationship between English achievement and retention levels of the hearing-impaired pupils using Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE language approaches. Lastly, the moderator variables of age, grade level and sex were included to determine significant differences in the English achievement and retention levels of the hearing-impaired pupils using the two approaches.

The results of this study may serve as feedback to mentors who are teaching hearing-impaired pupils as well as point of reference for BEED practicum students, administrators and future researchers. For the teachers or mentors, the result of the study may help them in making decision as to the type of approach in teaching language to the hearing-impaired pupils that would help enhance their achievement and retention levels. The results of the study may also serve as teachers' point of reference to develop the academic skills of the pupils, so that these pupils would have good learning foundation. Having good foundation can be used later to support their secondary and tertiary education. Likewise, for the BEED practicum students major in SPED, they may be guided by the result of the study, as they do their practicum. Eventually, they can utilize their experience in the different approaches in their actual teaching to the hearing-impaired, specifically how the two approaches (Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE language approach) are executed and made effective to the pupils. Proper teaching practices will reduce the incidence of low performance among hearing-impaired pupils. Moreover, school administrators, who manage and support school affairs, may have an idea as to what programs and school activities can be integrated and provided to enhance the academic performance of the hearing-impaired pupils. Lastly, to the researchers, the result of the study may stimulate them to be involved in the educational planning of activities for the hearing-impaired pupils. They may further enhance the study and try out other approaches that are relevant and appropriate to the hearing-impaired pupils' language performance.

As to the scope of this study, it was delimited in terms of the respondents, variables and time frame. The respondents were limited to ten (10) intermediate hearing-impaired pupils; they were chosen based on their GPA from the (3) grade levels namely, Grade V, Grade VI and Grade VII at Western Mindanao State University Laboratory Elementary School, Special Elementary Education during the school year 2007-2008. The variables included only the achievement and retention levels in one subject area which is English specifically on language components of personal pronouns, possessive pronouns, verbs, regular and irregular verbs, adjectives and comparison of adjectives - the subject matter covered from January to February 2008. The study was conducted for duration of one year, 2007-2008.

Method

The study made use of the quasi-experimental design, where the Grade Point Average (GPA) was used as point of comparison in assigning subjects to the two groups. In this design five (5) the intermediate SPED pupils were placed in Group A and another five (5) in Group B. In Group A, the teacher employed the "Fitzgerald Keys" language approach while in Group B, the "APPLE TREE" language approach was used. The two groups were taught the same five topics, namely: personal pronouns, possessive pronouns, verbs, regular and irregular verbs, adjectives and comparison of adjectives - the targeted lesson for the month of February 2008. After the different topics had been discussed, the Achievement Test was administered to both groups. Then, a week after, both groups were given the same test to determine the subjects' retention level on the acquired knowledge.

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In order to increase the internal validity of the experiment, the following extraneous variables were neutralized: the researcher taught both classes to minimize experimenter's bias; the schedule of the classes was made one at a time in such a way that class in one group was held right after the other to eliminate contamination: that is, there would be no chance for the students to share notes and ideas about the lesson because classes were held one after the other. Topics for discussion as well as visual aids were identical for both classes. Different language approaches were used in teaching the two groups. Also, the type, length and content of test were equally the same, and classes for both were held in the same language room.

The experiment used the Language Achievement and Retention Tests as instruments to measure the levels of achievement and retention of the hearing-impaired pupils in language. A two-way Table of Specifications and the corresponding teacher-made test were constructed. Items in the Achievement Test were taken from the Grade IV English language books. The researcher used two instruments with similar content. One instrument was prepared for the Fitzgerald Keys and the other for the APPLE TREE language approach. Content of the instrument to measure the retention level of the hearing-impaired was the same with the content of the Achievement Test. Before administering the tests, these were presented for validation to three (3) SPED experts. Suggestions were given and incorporated for face validity. To measure reliability, these were pilot tested using a comparable sample of intermediate hearing-impaired pupils from Tetuan Central School SPED Class. Using KR21 r value is 0.72 which means that the questionnaire has high reliability index. The WMSU rating scale was used to interpret the achievement mean scores, as follow: 41 - 45 score would be described "Excellent"; 37 - 40 would mean "Very Good "; 32 - 36 would be "Good"; 28 - 31 would be considered "Fair"; 23 - 27 would be "Passing" and 0 - 22 would mean "Failure".

The tools used for analyses were the t-test, Pearson Product Moment Correlation (Pearson r) and One-Way ANOVA. T-test was used to determine the significant difference in English achievement and retention level using the two approaches when the variables were categorized according to sex and age. To determine the significant relationship between the English achievement and retention level using the two approaches, Pearson Product Moment Correlation was used. To answer problem number four, T-test and One-Way ANOVA were used. Lastly, One-Way ANOVA was used when data were categorized according to grade level.

Results

Significant Difference in the English Achievement Level of the

Hearing-Impaired Pupils using Fitzgerald Keys and

APPLE TREE Language Approaches

As presented in Table 1, the hearing-impaired pupils who were taught using the Fitzgerald Keys approach got a mean Achievement score of 35.6 which was interpreted as good. Likewise, those who were taught through the APPLE TREE language approach had a mean score of 34.8 which was also good. When this difference in terms of the figures was statistically tested at alpha 0.05, the observed value of 0.43 was lesser that the critical value of 2.30. Therefore, there was no significant difference between the means of the two groups in the English Achievement Test using the two approaches. This implied that both Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE are both effective approaches in teaching language. This further implied that the hearing-impaired pupils understood the lessons very well when the teacher utilized these approaches.

Table 1. English Achievement Scores of the Hearing-Impaired Pupils Using

Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE Language Approaches

Strategies

Mean

Interpretation

tob

tcrit

Interpretation

Fitzgerald Keys

35.6

Good

0.43

2.30

Not

Significant

APPLE TREE

34.8

Good

Legend:

Excellent - 41 - 45 Fair - 28 - 31

Very Good - 37 - 40 Passing - 23 - 27

Good - 32 - 36 Failure - 0 - 22

Difference in the Retention Level of the Hearing-Impaired Pupils Taught

using Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE Language Approaches

Taught through the Fitzgerald Keys approach, the pupils obtained a mean score of 34.2 in the retention test which was lower than the mean score of 35.6 in the achievement test. In addition, those who were taught using the APPLE TREE approach got a mean score of 33.8 in the retention test which was also lower than the mean score of 34.8 in the achievement test. However, when the differences between the pupils' achievement and retention scores through the Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE approaches were statistically tested at alpha 0.05, the t observed values of 0.57 and 0.53, respectively, were lower than the t critical value of 2.30. Therefore there were no significant differences between the mean scores in the achievement test and in the retention test. This implied that Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE approaches are both effective strategies for retention purpose (Table 2).

In the retention test, the pupils taught through the Fitzgerald Keys had higher mean (34.2) than those taught using APLLE TREE approach (33.8). However, when this difference was statistically tested at alpha 0.05, the t observed value (0.43) was lower than the t critical value (2.30). Therefore there was no significant difference between the means in the retention test for the two approaches. This implied that the Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE approaches are effective strategies for retention purpose (Table 2).

In summary, pupils absorbed the lessons that were mentally stored. In other words, the Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE language approaches can promote good language retention for the hearing-impaired pupils.

Table 2. Difference in the Retention Level of the Hearing-Impaired Pupils Taught

using Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE Language Approaches

Strategies

Achievement Test

Retention Test

tob

tcrit

Interpretation

Fitzgerald

Keys

35.6

34.2

0.57

2.30

Not Significant

2.5

4.96

N

5

5

APPLE

TREE

34.8

33.8

0.53

2.30

Not Significant

3.34

4.43

N

5

5

b

0.43

tcrit

2.3

Interpretation

Not Significant

Significant Relationship between English Achievement and Retention

Levels of the Hearing-Impaired Pupils Taught Using Fitzgerald Keys

and APPLE TREE Language Approaches

In using the Fitzgerald Keys, data showed a negligible negative relationship between pupils' achievement and retention scores as evidenced by the value of r of -0.15 at p= 0.05. This implied that in using Fitzgerald Keys, the retention level of the hearing-impaired pupils cannot be predicted. Pupils with low scores in the achievement test may have high or low scores in the retention test or vice-versa. However, in using the APPLE TREE approach, pupils' achievement score was positively and moderately related to their retention score. This was supported by the value of r of 0.65 at alpha 0.05. Thus, pupils with high achievement level tended to have also high retention level, and those with low achievement level would also have low retention level (Table 3).

Table 3. Relationship between English Achievement and Retention Levels of

the Hearing- Impaired Pupils Taught using Fitzgerald Keys

and APPLE TREE Language Approaches

Language Approaches

N

Value of r at 0.05 level

Interpretation

Fitzgerald

Keys

5

-0.15

Negligible

APPLE

TREE

5

0.65*

Moderate

Relationship

Significant Differences in the English Achievement and Retention Levels of the Hearing-Impaired Pupils Taught using the Two Approaches When Variables were Categorized According to Age, Grade Level and Sex

Data showed that pupils belonging to the ages 16-19 had higher mean score (36.5) than the pupils belonging to the age 13-15 (34.33). However, when the difference was statistically tested at alpha 0.05, the t observed value of 1.29 was less than the critical value of 2.30. It showed no significant difference in the achievement level of the hearing-impaired pupils. This implied that the pupils from the two groups of ages had similar performance in the achievement test. This further implied that the two approaches are effective in teaching the hearing-impaired pupils who belong to the two different age levels (Table 4).

Table 4. English Achievement Level of the Hearing- Impaired When Variables were

Categorized According To Age

Age

N

tob

tcrit

Interpretation

13 - 15

6

34.33

2.94

1.29

2.30

Not Significant

16 - 19

4

36.5

2.38

Data showed that the hearing-impaired pupils belonging to the ages 13-15 and 16-19 had the same retention mean score of 34 and showed no significant difference between the two in the retention level. This was evidenced by the t observed value of 0 which was less than t critical value of 2.30 at alpha 0.05. This implied that the pupils who belong to the different age categories have the same performance in the retention test. This further implied that lessons learned were still absorbed by the pupils (Table 5).

Table 5. English Retention Level of the Hearing- Impaired When Variables were

Categorized According to Age

Age

N

tob

tcrit

Interpretation

13 - 15

6

34

4.73

0

2.30

Not Significant

16 - 19

4

34

4.69

In the same way, when the difference was statistically tested at p= 0.05, the observed value of f (0.22) was less than the critical value (4.74). Hence, it showed no significant difference in the achievement levels of the pupils as they were categorized according to grade level using the two approaches. In addition, when the difference in the retention level was statistically tested at alpha 0.05, the observed value of f (0.74) was less than the critical values (4.74). It showed no significant difference in the retention levels of the pupils as they were categorized according to grade level using the two approaches. This implied that grade level did not influence the achievement and retention levels of the pupils. This further implied that Grade V, VI and VII hearing-impaired pupils had the same English Achievement and Retention levels (Table 6).

Table 6. English Achievement and Retention Level of the Hearing- Impaired When

Variable were Categorized According To Grade Level

Test

Grade Level

V

VI

VII

English

Achievement

Test

34.66

36

36

 ∑X

208

108

36

 ∑X2

7252

3914

1296

n

6

3

1

Squares of Variance

dF

SS

Variance

Fob

Fcrit

Interpretation

Among Groups

2

4.26

2.13

0.22

4.47

Not Significant

Within Conditions

7

67.34

9.62

English

Retention

Test

33

36.6

32

 ∑X

198

110

32

 ∑X2

6612

4102

1024

n

6

3

1

Squares of Variance

dF

SS

Variance

Fob

Fcrit

Among Groups

2

31.33

15.66

0.74

4.47

Within Conditions

7

146.67

20.95

More so, when the data were statistically tested at alpha 0.05, the observed value of t (0.65) was less than the critical value (2.30); thus, it showed no significant difference between the English achievement level of the pupils as they were categorized according to sex using the two approaches. This implied that both males and females had similar performance in the achievement test. This further implied that male and female hearing-impaired pupils had the same level of knowledge acquired through the two approaches (Table 7).

Table 7. English Achievement Level of the Hearing- Impaired When Variables were

Categorized According to Sex

Sex

N

tob

tcrit

Interpretation

Male

5

35.8

3.56

0.65

2.30

Not Significant

Female

5

34.6

2.07

In addition, when the data were statistically tested at alpha 0.05, the observed value of t (1) was less than the critical value (2.30); thus, it showed no significant difference between the English retention levels of the pupils as they were categorized according to sex using the two approaches. This implied that both males and females had similar performance in their retention test. This further implied that both groups had the same level of retention by using the two approaches (Table 8).

Table 8. English Retention Level of the Hearing- Impaired When Variables were

Categorized According to Sex

Sex

n

tob

tcrit

Interpretation

Male

5

32.6

4.82

1.0

2.30

Not Significant

Female

5

35.4

4.03

DISCUSSION

The study was undertaken to determine the effects of the Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE language approach on the English Achievement and Retention Level of the hearing-impaired pupils in Western Mindanao State University Laboratory Elementary School. The study aimed to determine if teaching language using the Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE language approaches would significantly improve the achievement and retention levels of the hearing-impaired pupils.

It was found out that the two groups using Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE language approaches had the same performance in the English achievement which was interpreted as good. This finding confirmed the theory of Wolff in Moores (2001) that deaf children have intact cognitive machinery. Likewise, Graham Bell (n.d.) in Moores (2001) reported that deaf child develops language in the same manner as hearing children do.

Another finding was that both groups taught through Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE language approaches had good retention level. This somehow contradicted the idea of Marscharck (1996) describing hearing-impaired learners as having "shorter memories" than hearing people.

Based from the results in the achievement and retention tests of the pupils, it was shown that scores cannot be predicted as high and low when using Fitzgerald Keys. However, there was moderate relationship in the pupils' scores in the achievement and retention test when they were exposed to the APPLE TREE language approach. Both approaches are effective in teaching language to hearing-impaired pupils; however, there are some discrepancies between the two approaches which contribute to the results mentioned. It was clearly explained by Mc Anally (1987) that Fitzgerald did not suggest a specific order in which to present language structures. Whereas APPLE TREE language approach utilized 10 successive sentence patterns, introduced to hearing-impaired learners in sequential, spiralling system. This somehow has influenced the hearing-impaired pupils' mastery of the lessons.

Lastly, it was revealed that there was no significant difference in the English achievement and retention levels of the hearing-impaired pupils taught using the two approaches when the data were categorized according to age, grade level and sex. These results have confirmed the claim of Karchmer and Belmont (1976) as supported by Moores (2001) that deaf students perform at a lower level than the hearing students do. However, after teaching appropriate strategies to deaf students, Karchmer and Belmont found that those deaf children could function at the same level as hearing children. They concluded that the lower initial performance of the deaf students was not due to a cognitive deficit but due to teacher's lack of knowledge as to which strategy to apply.

In so far as the findings of this study were concerned, the following conclusions were drawn: The two language approaches, the Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE language approaches are effective in teaching the hearing-impaired pupils as shown in their good English achievement and retention levels; the hearing-impaired pupils' English achievement level could predict their retention levels when they were taught using the APPLE TREE language approach; the age, grade level and sex of the hearing-impaired pupils did not affect their English achievement and retention levels when they were exposed to the two approaches, Fitzgerald Keys and APPLE TREE language approaches.

Hence, it was recommended that teachers should continue to use these approaches in teaching language to hearing-impaired pupils. Since there was a moderate degree of correlation between subjects' achievement level and their retention level when they were exposed to the APPLE TREE language approach, it was suggested that this approach be used continually for a better retention level of the hearing-impaired pupils. In view of the fact that primary pupils need a good foundation of learning, it was recommended that this study be replicated to determine where the approaches can be more effective.