Motivational Patterns And Critical Thinking Skills Education Essay

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With Bachmans Organizational Competence model as basis, this study looked into the English Language Competence of the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST) tertiary freshmen students. It looked into the Organizational Competence levels of the students in two categories: grammatical competence and textual competence. Bachman's Language Competence is composed of two major components: organizational competence composed of grammatical competence and textual competence and pragmatic competence composed of illocutionary competence and sociolinguistic competence. In this study, only organizational competence is considered and thereby extending the theory that the students' English Language Competence is influenced by their levels of Motivational Patterns and Critical Thinking Skills and other variables such as gender, residence, mother tongue, and tri-media exposure to the English language.

The sample consisted of 192 respondents selected from among the 368 freshman students of the BS courses of ZSCMST. The study revealed that the freshmen students are modest user or average in grammatical competence, competent user or above average in textual competence, and limited user or below average in paragraph writing sub-skills. The students' levels of motivational pattern and critical thinking skills had significant influence on the language competence of the students. Other variables such as gender, residence, mother tongue, and tri-media exposure to the English language also showed significant difference in the students' English language competence.

Introduction

Poor in English language communication both oral and written among students has remained an unresolved and a prevailing problem in all levels of our educational system. According to Cuevas (1996) some experts claimed that some students cannot communicate effectively in the language classroom for the following reasons: (1) Students cannot understand spoken English because they never had the opportunity to hear it. (2) Some students are suffering from what Earl Stevik calls "Lathrophobic Aphasia" which means unwillingness to speak for fear of mistakes. (3) Most English instructors tend to emphasize on grammar, reading, writing, and translation. (4) Teachers take a great deal about English, but they seldom speak English. (5) Classroom activity is monopolized. And (6) Emphasis is on parroting, questions and statements patterns instead of communicating ideas.

In Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology, teachers in all areas complain of poor performance both in the oral and written communications of students. Students hardly participate orally in class and if they do so, they suffer from poor grammar, phonology, and vocabulary skills and their ideas are limited. Their written works are defective in grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and syntax. They have also poor comprehension skill and reasoning ability. They can only answer simple and factual questions.

These conditions may account on the difference in their degree of motivation and also different critical thinking abilities. Their performance in class particularly in English could be influenced by their level of motivation, their attitude towards the English language and their critical thinking skills. Tucker (1981) stated that the attitude towards the language and the intensity of motivation to learn the language are necessary and sufficient factors in achieving competency on the language. Likewise, the student's thinking ability could also contribute to his performance in the classroom. Along with his motivation and attitude towards the language, it is necessary that the learner can readily think, reason out, judge, or accomplish specific mental tasks (Bayer, 1987). Rabago, et al (2000) stressed that students of the 21st century have to be equipped with skills to process incoming information and learn continuously. Thus, students' poor reasoning ability could have something to do also with their poor competence of the language.

Along this line, this study aimed to determine the influence of motivational patterns and critical thinking skills on the English Language of the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology freshmen students. To do that, the study first described the levels of motivational patterns, critical thinking skills, and English language competence of ZSCMST college freshmen. The critical thinking skills included (a) inference, (b) recognition of assumptions, (c) deduction (d) interpretation, and (e) evaluation of arguments. The English language competence was measured in terms of Organizational Competence: (a) grammatical, and (b) textual. Then, it tried to correlate the motivational patterns with critical thinking skills and with English language competence. Lastly, it purported to find out significant differences in students' levels of English language competence according to: (a) gender, (b) residence, (c) mother tongue, and (d) exposure to L2 in the tri-media: print, radio and television.

This study was mainly anchored on Bachman's (1990) Schematization of Language Competence. Bachman considers language competence to have two major components: organizational competence and pragmatic competence. He places grammatical and discourse (textual) competence under one mode, organizational competence while pragmatic competence is broken into two separate categories: functional aspects of language (illocutionary competence, or, pertaining to sending and receiving intended meanings) and sociolinguistic aspects (which deal with such considerations as politeness, formality, metaphor, register, and culturally related aspects of language).

In this study, language competence was considered a major variable. However, only one component of language competence was undertaken, the organizational competence broken down into grammatical and textual competence. Other variables were hypothesized to have significant influence on language competence. The bases of considering these variables were the research studies pointing out that motivation and attitude are necessary and sufficient factors in achieving English language competence by Castillo (1979) and Tucker (1981). Hence, in this study, the first variable being explored to have significant influence on language competence is motivational patterns categorized into two areas: motivation and attitude of the students. Motivation was limited into two types: integrative and instrumental motivation and in the same manner, attitude was also limited into two attitudinal factors: classroom participation and ambiguity tolerance.

Another important variable posited to influence second language learning was critical thinking skills. This has supported the claims of Galdon (1997) and Villamin (1999) and the study of Cuevas (1996). In this study, five (5) test exercises were used to examine the levels of critical thinking skills of the respondents. The five sub-tests were on: inference, recognition of assumption, deduction, interpretation, and evaluation of arguments. Moreover, other variables such as: gender, residence (rural or urban), mother tongue, and exposure to the English language in the tri-media (print, radio and television) were included in the study. These variables were also posited to influence students' English language competence.

The above conceptual framework which this study sought to gain support is summarized in the diagram below:

Motivational Patterns

Motivation

Attitude

English Language Competence

Organizational

Competence

Grammatical

Textual

Critical Thinking Skills

Inference

Recognition of Assumption

Deduction

Interpretation

Evaluation of Argument

Gender

Residence: Rural/Urban

Mother Tongue

Exposure to L2 in Tri-Media: Print, Radio, TV

The Interplay of the Variables

Method

The Descriptive - Correlational Design was used as means of generating, diagnosing, analysing, and interpreting the data. The subjects of the study were composed of the BS freshman students of Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology enrolled in school year 2000-2001. The respondents were chosen through stratified proportionate random sampling design. The total sample size was one hundred ninety-two (192) out of the three hundred sixty-eight (368) students enrolled during the second semester of school year 2000-2001 of ZSCMST. The population came from the BS courses namely: 20 BSE major in General Science, 13 BSE major in Technology and Home Economics, 36 BS in Aquaculture, 75 BS in Marine Technology, 53 BS in Fish Processing, 23 BS in Food Technology, 23 BS in Marine Biology, 72 BS in Marine Transportation, and 53 BS in Marine Engineering.

The instruments used in the study were the Motivational Pattern Questionnaire-Checklist, Critical Thinking Skills Appraisal, and English Language Competence Test. The Motivational Pattern Questionnaire - Checklist consisted of two sets, Set 1 is Personal Information Sheet and Set II consisted of two checklists: the Instrumental Motivation and Attitudinal Pattern Checklists. To determine the levels of the students' motivational patterns and attitudinal patterns, scales of scoring were devised and validated. The Critical Thinking Appraisal was patterned after Watson-Glaser's Critical Thinking Appraisal Test which had been applied to United Kingdom setting. A new set of test was prepared to suit to the level of the present users or the respondents of the study. To determine the levels of critical thinking skills a scale of scoring was devised and validated by a panel of specialists. The English Language Competence Test consisted of two sets. Set I was on grammatical competence and Set II was on textual competence. To determine the level of English language competence, a scale of scoring was devised which was an adaptation and modification of the International English Language Test System (IELTS) and validated by panel of specialists.

The tests underwent pilot testing, item analysis, and revision twice to establish reliability. The statistical tools used in the study were as follows: (a) Percentage to answer questions 1, 2, and 3; (b) Multiple Regression and Beta coefficient Test to answer question 4; and, ANOVA, Scheffe Test, and t-test to answer question 5.

Results

Students' Levels of Motivational Patterns

As shown in Table 1, on the average, the levels of motivational patterns of the ZSCMST freshmen students in both instrumental and integrative motivation can be described as strongly motivated to learn the English language. They also had favorable or positive attitude in classroom activities like submitting assignments on time, paying attention to the teacher in class, getting involved in classroom discussion and others. This has confirmed the findings of several studies (Sartain, et al 1979; Munn, 1974). On the other hand, the students showed fair or neutral attitude in terms of ambiguity tolerance or in terms of the ability to function rationally or calmly in a situation.

Table 1. Motivational Pattern Scores of the ZSCMST Freshman Students

Motivational Patterns

HPS

Scale of Scores

N

%

Levels

Motivation

1. Instrumental

65

13 - 30

31 - 48

49 - 60

1

67

124

.52

34. 90

64. 58

Poorly Motivated

Moderately Motivated

Strongly Motivated

TOTAL

192

100. 00

2. Integrative

65

13 - 30

31 - 48

49 - 65

0

71

121

0

36.98

63.02

Poorly Motivated

Moderately Motivated

Strongly Motivated

TOTAL

192

100.00

Attitude

Classroom

Participation

39

13 - 21

22 - 30

31 - 39

1

92

99

.52

47.92

51.56

Negative Attitude

Fair Attitude

Positive Attitude

TOTAL

192

100.00

Ambiguity

Tolerance

39

13 - 21

22 - 30

31 - 39

0

141

51

0

73.44

26.56

Negative Attitude

Fair Attitude

Positive Attitude

TOTAL

192

100.00

HPS - Highest possible Score N - Frequency of Score/Level

Students' Critical Thinking Skills

The Critical Thinking Skills test analysis as shown in Table 2, revealed that the ZSCMST students' levels of competence on critical thinking were generally average particularly in inference and in recognition of assumption. This proved that they had limited background on these higher- order thinking skills.

Table 2. Critical Thinking Skills Scores of the ZSCMST Freshman Students

Critical Thinking Skills

HPS

%

Scale of

Scores in %

N

%

Levels

A. Inference

10

100

1 - 20

21 - 40

41 - 60

61 - 80

81 - 100

19

77

84

12

0

9.90

40.10

43.75

6.25

0

Very Poor

Poor

Average

Good

Very Good

TOTAL

192

100.00

B. Recognition of

Assumption

10

100

1 - 20

21 - 40

41 - 60

61 - 80

81 - 100

2

38

105

34

13

1.04

19.79

54.69

17.71

6.77

Very Poor

Poor

Average

Good

Very Good

TOTAL

192

100.00

C. Deduction

10

100

1 - 20

21 - 40

41 - 60

61 - 80

81 - 100

4

15

95

66

12

2.08

7.81

49.48

34.38

6.25

Very Poor

Poor

Average

Good

Very Good

TOTAL

192

100.00

D. Interpretation

10

100

1 - 20

21 - 40

41 - 60

61 - 80

81 - 100

0

11

51

91

39

0

5.73

26.56

47.40

20.31

Very Poor

Poor

Average

Good

Very Good

TOTAL

192

100.0

E. Evaluation of

Argument

10

100

1 - 20

21 - 40

41 - 60

61 - 80

81 - 100

0

30

78

65

19

0

15.62

40.62

33.85

9.90

Very Poor

Poor

Average

Good

Very Good

TOTAL

192

100.00

HPS - Highest Possible Score N - Frequency of Scores/Scale

Organizational Competence Levels

In organizational competence, the test analysis showed that the students were modest user or average in grammatical competence, competent user or above average in textual competence and limited user or below average in paragraph writing sub-skills (Table 3).

Table 3. Scores in English Language Competence Among ZSCMST Freshman Students

Language Competence

Scale of

Scores in %

N

%

Levels

Grammatical

tical

91 - 100

81 - 90

71 - 80

61 -- 70

51 - 60

41 - 50

31 - 40

21 - 30

11 - 20

1 - 10

0

4

20

48

73

36

10

1

0

0

0

2.08

10.42

25.00

38.02

18.75

5.21

.52

0

0

Expert User

Very Good User

Good User

Competent User

Modest User

Limited User

Extremely Limited User

Intermittent User

Non User

Didn't Attempt the test

TOTAL

192

100.00

Textual

91 - 100

81 - 90

71 - 80

61- 70

51 - 60

41 - 50

31 - 40

21 - 30

11 - 20

1 - 10

0

9

29

37

54

45

16

2

0

0

0

4.69

15.10

19.27

28.13

23.44

8.33

1.04

0

0

Expert User

Very Good User

Good User

Competent User

Modest User

Limited User

Extremely Limited User

Intermittent User

Non User

Didn't Attempt the test

TOTAL

192

100.00

C. Paragraph Writing

91 - 100

81 - 90

71 - 80

61- 70

51 - 60

41 - 50

31 - 40

21 - 30

11 - 20

1 - 10

0

0

4

17

57

63

33

18

0

0

0

0

2.08

8.85

29.69

32.81

17.19

9.38

0

0

Expert User

Very Good User

Good User

Competent User

Modest User

Limited User

Extremely Limited User

Intermittent User

Non User

Didn't Attempt the test

TOTAL

192

100.00

HPS - Highest Possible Score N - Frequency of Score/Level

The Influence of Motivational Patterns and Critical Skills on

the English Language Competence of the Students

Table 4 shows that, taken collectively, the F-ratio of 2.144 is significant at p=.028 which means that motivational patterns and critical thinking skills had significant influence on the English language competence.

Table 4. Regression Summary Table on the Motivational Patterns and Critical Thinking Skills As

Independent Variables and English Language Competence as Dependent Variable

Independent Variables

Dependent Variables

Multiple R

R-Square

F value

Sig.

Motivational Patterns

Critical Thinking Skills

ELC

.30961

.09576

2.14402

.028*

When taken separately, the B coefficient of 0.134 for motivational patterns had t-value of 2.011 and significant at p=.046 and the B coefficient of .374 for critical thinking skills had a t-value of 5.609 and significant at p=.000. This meant that motivational patterns had a meaningful influence on the English language competence, and critical thinking skills had significant influence on the English language competence (Table 5).

Table 5. Beta Coefficient Table: Dependent Variable English Language Competence Scores

Independent V.

B

T - Value

Significance

Mot. Patterns

.134

2.011

.046*

C.T.S.

.374

5.609

.000*

* Significant

The Contribution of Gender, Residence, Mother Tongue and Tri-Media

Exposure to the Students' English Language Competence

As reflected in Table 6, gender has contributed significant difference on the English language competence of the students in favor of the females as indicated by the computed t-value of 3.19 with a level of significance of .002.

Table 6. Comparison Result between Males and Females as

Indicated in Their English Language Competence

Gender

N

% Mean

SD

t-value

Significance

Males

128

55.9

10.7

3.19

.002*

Females

64

60.9

9.2

*Significant

As shown in Table 7, residence has contributed a significant difference on the English language competence of the students in favor of the rural students as indicated by the computed t-value of 3.19 with a level of significance of .002.

Table 7 Comparison of Results between Students Coming From the Rural and

Urban Areas in Terms of Their English Language Competence

Location of Res.

N

X

SD

T - value

Significance

Urban

158

56.5

10.1

3.19

.002*

Rural

34

62.7

11.2

* Significant

Likewise, mother tongue showed a meaningful contribution on the English language competence of the students in favor of the Bisayan and Chabacano as indicated by the F-value of 2.06 which is not significant but is meaningful since p-value of 0.080 is between p>.05 and p<.20 (Table 8).

Table 8. Comparison Results of Students' English Language Competence

When Their Mother Tongue was Considered

Mother Tongue

N

X

Sd

F-value

Significance

Tagalog

11

55.0

10.8

2.06

(0.080)

Bisayan

57

59.5

10.1

Chabacano

91

58.1

10.5

Tausug

23

52.6

8.6

Others

9

56.7

15.1

( ) Meaningful

As shown in Table 9, tri- media exposure contributed a significant difference on the students' English language competence in favor of print, print and radio, print and television, and radio and television as indicated by the computed F-value of 2.874 which is significant at p=.369. Those who had media exposure such as print and any combination of at least two media tended to be better performers.

Table 9. Comparison Results of Students' English Language Competence When Their

Exposure to the English Language in the Tri-Media Was Considered

Tri-Media

N

X

SD

F-value

Significance

(2) Radio

23

54.1

11.0

2.8470

0.0389*

(3) TV

115

56.8

9.7

(7) P, R, TV

31

60.5

11.6

(1) Print

(4) P, R

(5) P, TV

(6) R, TV

23

61.1

11.1

* Significant

Discussion

The ZSCMST students were strongly motivated to learn the English language, and this has confirmed the studies of Gazzaniga (1980), Brown (1994), Noss (1996), and Wen (1994). They also had positive attitude in classroom participation and a fair attitude in ambiguity tolerance, and this has supported the studies of Sartain, et al (1979), Munn (1974), Brown (1994), and Lambert (1980). This implied that their positive motivation and positive attitude were necessary and sufficient factors in achieving their English language competence.

On critical thinking, the result showed that the ZSCMST students were average in their critical thinking sub-skills particularly in inference and in recognition of assumption. This has confirmed the findings of Rabago et al. (2001) and of Deauna (2000). This implied that they had limited background on these higher - order thinking skills, so they lacked the skill to perform competently in the test.

The findings which showed that the students were mostly average in grammatical competence, above average in textual competence, and below average in paragraph writing indicated that the students were generally weak in paragraph writing which includes grammar, vocabulary, mechanics and form next to grammatical competence. This has supported the studies of Cuevas (1996), Tan (1980), Yap-Aizon(2000), and Gole (1983).This implied that the language teachers need to give more attention to students' language weaknesses. Their inadequacy in grammar may also be attributed to the status of their native language in which the grammar of the native language is never exactly the same as the target language as confirmed by the studies of Corder, (1967), John (1986), Fishman, et al (1977), Saville-Troike (1976), and Omaggio (1983).

The study also revealed that motivational patterns and critical thinking skills had significant influence on the English language competence. It implied that attitudinal and motivational factors affected language learning success. This confirmed the studies of Gardner and Lambert (1980), Castillo (1979), and Wen (1993); while the inadequate training in the development of critical thinking made students unable to develop this form of intelligence; thus, language use has not also been developed which strengthened Watson and Glaser (1990), Zohar, et al (1984) and Cuevas (1996).

Lastly, gender, residence, and tri-media media exposure contributed a significant difference on the English language competence of the students while mother tongue contributed meaningful difference on their English language competence. (1) Gender contributed a significant difference in the language proficiency of the students favoring the females. This result confirmed the findings of Lindis (1986) and of Cuevas (1996). This implied that the ZSCMST female students did more language use and practice than the male students did. (2) Residence contributed a significant difference on the language proficiency of the students favoring the rural residents. Those students whose residence is located in the rural areas posed better English competence than those coming from the urban center. This finding is a reverse of the findings of Malbago (2000) and Kelly (1968) showing that urban students were better performers. This could be partly due to the fact that there were students who came from the rural areas and were recipients of scholarship grants; they were required to enroll in Fisheries courses only. They were poor but deserving students. (3) Mother Tongue contributed meaningful difference in the students' language proficiency in favor of the Bisayan and Chabacano. This finding has confirmed the Interlanguage theory which posited that the native language or mother tongue affects or interferes with second language learning. This has supported the studies of Brown (1994), Yap-Aizon (2000), Martinez (1988), John (1986), and Richard (1986). This implied that mother tongue does interfere with the learning of the target language. (4) Exposure to the English language in the tri-media (print, radio, TV) contributed a significant difference on their English language competence in favor of print or to any combinations of at least two media: print, radio and TV. This has supported the studies of Baker (1993) and Ordonez (1987). This implied that when students have exposure to the English language at home to at least two media at the same time or to print alone, they can achieve high level of English proficiency or competence in the English language.

In summary, the findings of this study have given empirical support to Bachman's Organizational Competence model that through the employment of test items categorized into grammatical points and textual items, students' language competence can be evaluated, and one can discriminate the performing students from the non-performing. The findings have also given empirical support to the extension of the theory which posited that motivational patterns and the levels of critical thinking skills would have significant influence on the students' English language competence, and that the levels of the students' English language competence would differ when data would be classified according to gender, residence, mother tongue, and their tri-media (Print, Radio, and Television) exposure to the English language. Moreover, the results have also drawn empirical support for the extension of this theory which posits that students' motivational patterns and levels of critical thinking skills would significantly influence their English Language Competence and that their levels of English language competence would significantly differ when data would be classified according to gender, residence, mother tongue, and tri-media (print, radio, TV) exposure to the English language.

In the light of the findings of the study, it was recommended: (a) that the language teachers conduct review, revision, and modification of their English syllabi in order to give more emphasis on functional drills; writing long sentences using various coordinating and subordinating tools, and on the usage of linking devices; and on the use of English in interacting with students inside and outside the classrooms; (b) that every teacher incorporate critical thinking skills approaches in classroom exercises and tests to reinforce higher order thinking skills in the teaching and learning experience in his/her respective field and attend seminar- workshops on critical thinking approaches; (c) that the school administrators utilize the results as one of the bases in conducting needs analysis of their faculty and students, so that, appropriate seminars and facilities can be provided; (d) that curriculum planners give weight on the results when conducting curriculum revisions in the different BS and Diploma offerings for the English courses; and (e) that other researchers conduct similar study to confirm the current results.

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