Students To Truly Learn Information Education Essay

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Student centered learning is something I am interested in learning about. I always enjoyed Student centered learning ever since I have been a student. I believe that in order for students to truly learn information it has to be meaningful to them as well as the lesson should be fun to be learned. In schools, students are normally exposed to textbooks as well as they have to listen to the lecture for ours which in my opinion is not meaningful as well as its not a effective process of learning. I believe project-centered learning is the best type of instructional teaching method. This Bachelor Degree Research Project examined the effectiveness of role-playing. None of the teachers I had throughout my school experience used this method. Most of the teachers are using the teacher centered method whereby the teacher speaks and the students listen. This type of learning is very boring and the students would not learn as well as the students might hate the subject. Teachers should think out of the box in order to make the lesson more effective as well as interesting for the students to learn and understand the lesson. Role play is one of the best methods that can be used to teach the students as interesting and fun. Students will enjoy this type of activity in class and it would be a successful learning, students will gain the information way better than the teacher centered method.

Background of Research

Students now days are scared to communicate in English language. This is because they are scared as they will do some mistakes while speaking in English language. Further more they are not exposed to speaking English in the class. Its all teacher centered learning in the classroom where by the students listen and the teacher speaks. With this students are not given the chance to communicate in English, with this they are lacking of confident level in speaking English in class as well as in their daily life. Students should be encouraged to speak in English language as it is a important language and its spoken world wide. Students should be educated about the importance of English language as they will be using it in the higher education. School is also trying to solve this problem. Teachers should think out of the box on how to create a fun learning mode so that the students will learn effectively as well as use language in their daily life.

1.3 Statement of Research Problem

The literature on improving the students' English language shows that fun learning activities should be introduced to the students so that the students will have interests in communication in English language and will use English Language in their daily communication. Different method should be introduced in order to make the students to communicate in English. Teachers should motivate as well as support the students to speak and communicate in English. By trying a different teaching approach will also determine the results of their speaking skills. Students are lack of the confident levels on speaking in public as they are scared as they will tend to do mistakes while speaking. This normally happens in rural schools. Students in rural areas are not exposed to English language as they normally speaks in their native language which is Bahasa Malaysia/Melayu without knowing the importance of the English Language in future. English language is spoken world wide and the students should understand the importance the the English Language. Of of the most effective method that can be used to improve their English language as well as ti make the students speak in English would be Role Play.

1.4 Purpose of Research

The purpose of this research was to determine the effectiveness of Role Play in improving the English Language skills of the students as well as to install the confidence level of the students to speak in English Language without any hesitation or fear. The objectives of this research were:

1.4.1 Research Objectives

This research was carried out with the following objectives:

To determine the effectiveness of the role play in building up the confidence level of the students.

To work with students communication skills by role play.

1.4.2 Research Questions

This research was carried out to answer a few research questions:

What is the effect of Role Play in students' communication skills?

What is the effect of the new teaching method upon the students?

1.4.3 Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated to answer the research questions:

There is no difference between students with low and high proficiency in English Language.

There is no difference between students who has good exposure to English Language as well as those who are not exposed to the English language.

Importance of Research

The findings of this research hopefully will create awareness among school administrators and English Language Teachers teachers of the necessity to prepare students with English language skills and proper teaching method before teaching new language content. The findings also will help Language teachers to choose appropriate English Language teaching method to improve students' and to increase the students' confidence level in speaking English in their daily life.

Limitation of Research

There are limitations to my research. The first one is because of the location of the Research. My research was conducted at SMK Bidor. The school is located in the state of Perak, in Batang Padang District. The students who participated are all the upper secondary students form this school. There are only 75 students in all. I conducted this research only on two classes as I have thought on these two class and this is why the number of students are small. It is up to the reader to decide whether to use the findings of or not. All of the students are mix in race, there are Malay, Indian Chinese, and Punjabi students. The student population is not diverse at all. The school is located in a rural area and the majority of the students live in rural areas. Many of the students come from a low socio-economic status family. Unfortunately, many of the students with a lower socio-economic status seem to not care as much about learning as students with a higher socioeconomic status. Students vary so much from year to year and their prior knowledge and educational experiences may affect their opinions on role-playing. If the students have had teachers they enjoyed in the past who have made them role-play, they may be more apt to like it. Also, the student's personalities have a big part in whether or not they enjoy role-playing. Students who are shy and soft-spoken did not enjoy it as well as others. Another limitation is the fact that I was only with the students for 14 weeks. 14 weeks was not much time to implement many role-playing projects and get true feedback. The students needed to grow comfortable with me first before they wanted to answer my questions honestly. The research was conducted in the subject area of government which could be a limitation because many students do not care about government and do not think it is important for them to learn about. Teacher was very helpful to help me to conduct this research by providing relevant information.

Definition of Terms

The followings were the key terms used in this research and their constitutive and operational definitions:

There are numerous definitions of role-playing. The definition used for this study

Is from Aronson and Carlsmith who "described the role playing study as 'an |as-if'

Experiment in which the subject is asked to behave as if he [or she] were a particular

Person in a particular situation' (1968, p. 26). This definition precisely describes what the participants of this study were asked to do.

Summary

This research was carried out to increase the confidence level of the students speaking ability. The purpose of this research was to determine whether Role Playing is a affective method to improve Students speaking abilit, teaching method and English language skills affect the English language speaking Ability. The research, which was conducted in SMK Bidor in Pearea, used teacher-made tests to collect the required research data.

Chapter 2

Literature Review

2.0 Introduction

There have been numerous articles written and studies done on the topic of teaching methods for social studies. The problem is there are not as many that cover the specific topic of role-playing. The rest of this chapter will focus on literature written about role-playing and other social studies methods as well as some issues social studies teachers face.

To begin, an interesting fact is that history did not become a school subject until the late 1880's (Ravitch, 2007, p 74). During the late 1800's and early 1900's, the history taught was extremely Eurocentric and "mostly involved memorization and recitation" (Ravitch, 2007, p 74). Throughout the late 1900s items other than just history began to be taught transforming the subject of history into the broad spectrum title of social studies.

"When the National Assessment of Educational Progress tested students' knowledge in 1994 and 2001, high school seniors did worse in history than in any other subject," (Ravitch, 2007, p 75). This statistic is extremely disturbing. What can be done to change this trend? To begin with the way history and other social studies subjects taught need to get a makeover. So many social studies teachers only teach by lecturing and expect rote memorization from their students. This happens often because of the "overwhelming amount of material contained in a typical state social studies curriculum framework" (Vogler and Virtue, 2007, p 55). The teachers have so much information they are required to cover that they "have trouble getting beyond the 'just the facts' content coverage and into higher-level, critical historical thinking, especially because of the limited class time available" (Vogler and Virtue, 2007, p 55).

One main reason teachers have to cover so much information is because of high stakes testing. Researchers have found "that teachers under the pressure of high stakes tend to increase their dependency on teacher-centered instructional practices (e.g. lecture) and the superficial coverage of content driven textbooks" (Vogler and Virtue, 2007, p 56). High stakes testing has caused teachers to move away from student-centered approaches "such as discussion, role-play, research papers, and cooperative learning" because they need to learn "just the facts" because that is what the tests cover (Vogler and Virtue, 2007, p 55).

What is disturbing about these facts is that research has shown that students learn more from student centered approaches. The information becomes more meaningful to them; therefore, they retain it for longer periods of time. "Brain research has found that the brain searches for patterns and connections as its way of building meaning," if students are not actively engaged in their learning, then they are unable to make the connections necessary to make learning meaningful (Cuthrell and Yates, 2007, p 22). Cuthrell and Yates (2007) found that social studies content should be in depth with lessons and activities (22). The type of lessons an educator teaches is based on his/her own personal philosophy of teaching and learning. Each teacher should possess their own philosophy which "provides guidance and direction in choosing objectives, learning activities, and assessment procedures" (Ediger, 2007, p 18). Educators who have an active learning philosophy are the ones who believe role-playing is a useful and effective teaching method. Role-playing exercises come in many forms and educators should not be reluctant to experiment with their style and structure (McDaniel, 2000, p 357). McDaniel (2000) says there are four basic elements that are essential for the success of any role-playing activity (p 357). The first element is that the activity builds on knowledge the students already possess about a particular historical context (McDaniel, 2000, p 357). A teacher cannot expect students to role-play about something they have no prior knowledge of. The second element is to design the roles yourself to maximize student involvement and student conflict. Having conflicting perspectives is a must (McDaniel, 2000, p 358). The third element is to set up a specific situation. Do not let the students go without giving them a focal point for debate (McDaniel, 2000, p 359). The last element is the instructor's limited involvement and willingness to be flexible. The instructor needs to guide the students along, but not overbear the conversation and let the students take their own path to understanding (McDaniel, 2000, p 360). By following these four basic elements, any educator can have a successful role-playing activity.Role-playing activities help introduce student to "real-world" situations (Oberle, 2004, p 199). Van Ments (1983) identified three general advantages to role-playing activities: they are positive and safe in dealing with attitudes and feelings, they provide a safe venue for expressing personal and sometimes unpopular attitudes and opinions, and role-playing is highly motivating as the majority of students enjoy these types of activities and become more inspired learners (24).

Because of these advantages, universities have started using more role-playing than ever before. Role-playing is becoming particularly common in college geography classes (Oberle, 2004, p 200). "Geographers have had great success incorporating roleplaying activities into their class structure," (Oberle, 2004, p 200). In his case study printed in the Journal of Geography, Alex Oberle (2004) follows an undergraduate college geography class through a role-playing activity (199). The professor as well as the students evaluated the effectiveness of the role-playing activity. The results demonstrated that the activity increased the students understanding of the topics of the project, fostered their awareness about the topic and enhanced their academic skills and abilities (Oberle, 2004, p 204). In his conclusion Oberle (2004) explains how the roleplaying activity is transferable to other types of geography classes and can easily be modified for high school geography classes (209). Overall Oberle found that role-playing is an effective teaching method and should be used to help actively engage students in their learning. Oberle is just one person who has found role-playing to be effective. Ronald Morris (2003) wrote about a type of role-playing for history classes that is also effective. Morris (2003) says "when students act out history, they act engage the subject matter," (p 44). The rest of his article gives suggestions for how to create social studies lessons using drama or in other words role-playing. In order to come up with a good role-playing lesson, the teacher must have first read extensively on the subject being covered and then "summarize the information and convert the material into a meaningful story with a setting, characters, and conflict," (Morris, 2003, p 44). The next step is for the teacher to convert the summary of the lesson into objectives and put them up in the form of questions somewhere in the classroom that is highly visible to the students to enable the students to see what they should be learning from the lesson (Morris, 2003, p 45). Morris's (2003) idea for the actual lesson is to have the students divided into groups and have them go around to different stations where they participate in something from the time period they are studying (p 45). An example would be to have one station with where they listen to music of the time period and learn a dance. Another station would be a meeting of farmers talking about their crops and how they get them to grow.

By having station such as these, the students get an idea of what it was like to live during that time period. They get to learn about the culture as well as the economy within the time period. After the students go through the stations they then go back to their seats and get into another group and answer the lesson objective questions together. By answering the questions to together they get to discuss and reflect on what they each have learned and help each other review (Morris, 2003, p 46). Morris (2003) states "because they have learned both background knowledge and conceptual tools by acting out history, all students can experience success," (p. 47). For an the assessment, Morris (2003) has the students answer questions by writing a paragraph or two for each question; "the task can seem daunting, but the students are equipped to handle it because the material has become part of them." (p. 47). Morris studied his seventh grade students who completed the acting out history project and found several positive things. The first one is "students feel empathy regarding events in the past when they act out the situation, and make connections between the character they play and real situations," (Morris, 2003, p 48). Morris (2003) states, "empathy is one of many tools historians use to help determine, interpret, and understand meaning," (p. 48). Because of this, empathy is vital for students to feel in order to make what they learn meaningful. Secondly, he found that the role-playing helped the students engage in perspective taking at multiple times and places (Morris, 2003, p 48). They students also "used drama to make connections from past to present and form present to past," (Morris, 2003, p 48). In his conclusion, Morris (2003) states "acting out history holds great potential for students" because experiencing empathy and making connections between time and places are vital to learning and making the material stick (p 49). An article in The Social Studies with no said author, also focuses on the benefits of role-playing. "Students ability to identify with individuals from the past is critical to their understanding of historical events" and what better way is there to do just that than role-playing (The Social Studies, 2003, p 271). By "breathing life into history" with drama and by "raising questions of what could have happened," students come to see history "not as dead and gone, but as living and unfolding before them," (The Social Studies, 2003, p 271). The role-playing example the article talks about is having students study historical figures of a time period with major problem. The students pretend to be the person and read primary documents and decide how to handle the problem as their historical figure. "As students learn what actually happened, they can compare the decisions of the historical figures with their own thinking, which allows them to make connections across different time periods and fosters historical thinking," (The Social Studies, 2003, p 271). Another type of role-playing activity is mock trial and moot court. Ringel (2004) states, "moot court is an extremely pedagogical tool which can be used for more than learning about the law or the judicial process; it has been used in a variety of disciplines including political science, media, history, sociology, etc.," (p. 459). Ringel co-authored a moot court handbook for educators. Ringel (2004) states students can benefit from moot court in many ways; here are a few:

• They gain self-confidence

• They learn about the law and the judicial process

• They improve their critical/analytical thinking skills and improve legal

Research/writing skills

• They gain a greater sense of empathy for how the law treats individuals

(p. 460).

All of these benefits are not found in traditional lectures about laws and courts. Active learning helps students grasp what the educators are trying to teach them. By roleplaying, the students get a real feel for what a court room is actually like. Any teacher can try a moot court activity and can use the handbook for guidance on how to have a successful one. Moot courts have been used in high school classes as well as college classes. Andrew Schaap (2005) found that "role-playing is more likely to promote active learning amongst undergraduate students than a traditional university lecture," (p. 46). He found that role-playing has been used effectively in disciplines such as history and others (Schaap, 2005, p. 46). There is not much difference between high school seniors and college freshman; therefore, the findings can be relevant to high school role-playing as well. Schaap's (2005) study focuses on using role-playing to understand political theory (Schaap, 2005, p. 46). He gives an example of a role-playing activity he had his students do to learn about political theory. At the end he merits the use of role-playing because of how his students did. By using the role-playing technique, his students had a high level of energy and excitement, they were encouraged to express ideas and they were able to get immediate feedback on ideas (Schaap, 2005, p. 50). His students thoroughly enjoyed the activity and he is definitely going to use it again and encourages other educators to try it as well (Schaap, 2005, p. 50).

Another educator by the name of Sydney Duncombe uses a role-playing strategy to make his class more interesting. Duncombe teaches American government right after lunch and decided he needed to find a way to stimulate his students (Duncombe and Heikkinen, 1990, p. 33). The strategy he uses is called the two-hat technique. What he does is debate himself in front of the class by role-playing as different characters. He wears one hat when he is on one side of the debate, and the wears a different hat when he is arguing the other side. The hats enable to students to follow him when he switches characters. He found that the students displayed a level of knowledge and insight about the two-hat topic that far exceeded their efforts on other test questions (Duncombe and Heikkinen, 1990, p. 34). The key to being successful at using the two-hat technique is to "thoroughly research the views presented and throw oneself completely into each role one is playing," (Duncombe and Heikkinen, 1990, p. 34). This technique allows students to ask questions and give their honest opinions about the topic because they feel as if they are arguing with someone other than the teacher (Duncombe and Heikkinen, 1990, p. 35). The instructor responds to the student's feedback as the character he or she is portraying, not as the instructor, which allows the instructor to demolish a position without putting the students down (Duncombe and Heikkinen, 1990, p. 35). The two-hat method can add a variety to teaching, but will lose its effectiveness if used too often (Duncombe and Heikkinen, 1990, p. 35). Role-playing is definitely effective, but like any one teaching method, should not be used too often. The key to being an effective teacher is to use a variety of teaching methods. Traditional teaching methods such as lecturing does not help students makes connections or feel empathy towards the material like role-playing does, but is necessary at times. For some material there is no other way to teach it than to lecture. The key to not making lectures so mundane and boring is to add activities and projects in between the lectures. Alan Marcus (2007) suggests taking students to museums, historic sites and memorials to enhance and build on the material taught (p. 105). Marcus (2007) says. "the artifacts they display, narratives they tell, and re-creations of the past they exhibit potentially engage students with content in ways unavailable in a classroom setting or by reading a textbook," (p. 105). Going to places like this help students develop historical empathy by allowing them to experience history and make personal connections to people in the past (Marcus, 2007, p. 105). Going to museums, historic sites and memorials helps students make connections and feel empathy just like role-playing does. This method is a nice alternative to role-playing and produces similar outcomes. Another teaching method that can produce a similar outcome as role-playing is having students write narratives. Once a teacher is done lecturing on a topic, each student could be assigned to pretend to be a person in that time period and write a story about that person, including, how they feel , what they are doing and what their life is life in general (Harris, 2007, 111). Harris states, "stories resonate with life experiences and remind people of how they fit into their culture and connect to others' culture," (p. 111). By writing stories, students get to use their own life experiences and compare and contrast them to a person of the past. Storytelling enables them to connect to the material and feel empathy to the person living in that time period (Harris, 2007, 111). Storytelling also encourages creativity and helps students practice their language arts skills. Writing narratives is often done in English classes, but should be done more in social studies classes as well. Akmal and Ayre-Svingen (2002) say "allowing students to construct a biographical narrative of figures of interest to them enables them to make sense of their biographical subjects' lives and connects their lives to those who went before them," (p 272). Writing narratives in social studies classes has been tested and proved effective at helping students learn about historical figures in a challenging and enjoyable way (Akmal and Ayre-Svingen, 2002, p 272). Group discussion is another teaching method that can be effective because they can be challenging, promote learning and encourage tolerance. Social studies teachers are charged with giving students an understanding of what democracy entails, and accepting other ideas and opinions different than the majority is a key aspect of democracy (McMurray, 2007, p 49). McMurray states "meaningful discussion should be promoted in a manner to ensure that learning is occurring, beliefs are substantiated by evidence, and minority opinions are protected," (p 49). Discussions can make learning meaningful like role-playing does if they are done correctly. Cooperative learning has been found to be an effective strategy for social studies classes. Several studies have linked cooperative learning to improved student achievement across grade levels and subject areas (Edvantia, 2007, p 90). Several of the methods mentioned earlier are types of cooperative learning activities. Role-playing itself can be a cooperative learning activity.

2.1 Summary

As proved by the literature reviewed, role-playing is an effective teaching method. It should be used with a variety of other methods as well. If any one method is used too often, its effectiveness is diminished. Social studies teachers face specific challenges that other content areas do not face thanks to high stakes testing. Social studies teachers need to use other methods even though the fastest and easiest way to get through material is by lecturing. There are other methods that have similar outcomes as role-playing, but role-playing is unique and should be a vital part of any social studies curriculum.

Chapter 3

Research Method

3.1 Participants

I conducted my research at SMK Bidor, Jln Teluk Intan, 35500 Bidor Perak. All 78 Participants were secondary school students. The students that was involved in this research was upper form students which was form 4 Waja Students as well as form 6 L1 students. The classes that I have chosen to do my research on were the classes that I have taught. Both these classes have multi racial students from different background.

Prior to conducting the study, I have written a letter to the school principal to ask for permission before I can conduct my study . The letter explained the purpose of my research and that the school would be required to complete the same assignments as the non-participating students.

The principal have given me the green light to conduct my study in the school. All the students participated in my study .The students participated in my study during their English language class for form 4 and MUET period for form 6. There were three different academic levels of students that participated: smart, moderate and poor.

3.2 Data Collection

My methodology to collect data was multi-faceted. My students were asked to fill out a questionnaire about role-playing after they returned their consent forms and before they were given a role-playing project. They were also asked to fill out a survey at the end of their project. In addition, a total of 18 students were chosen randomly from the class roster to be interviewed about their thoughts on role-playing and their preferred 17 teaching methods. The number of students interviewed from each class period depended on class size.

Students in each class period completed my first questionnaire about role-playing. The questionnaire asked them to define role-playing and whether they had ever done it before. If they had role-played before, they were asked in what class and whether they enjoyed the activity.

After reading the responses to the questionnaires, I offered the students my definition of role-playing, so they all would understand my interpretation. The definition I gave them is from Aronson and Carlsmith who described role playing as "an |as-if' experiment in which the subject is asked to behave as if he [or she] were a particular person in a particular situation' (1968, p. 26). This definition precisely describes what the participants were asked to do.

Next, I gave them a role-playing project assignment. The project required them to role-play about human rights. I divided the students into conservatives and liberals based on a survey they all took.

If the number of times a student agreed was higher than the number of times he/she disagreed, he/she was labeled as liberal. Likewise, if the number of times a student disagreed was higher than the number of times he/she agreed, he/she was labeled as conservative.

The assigned liberal students randomly chose a democratic presidential primary candidate while the assigned conservative students randomly chose a republican presidential primary candidate. Next, the students were given time to research their candidate in class. In addition, they were given two library research days. On those days, the students worked in the computer lab completing their research as I walked around available to answer questions and be of assistance. The students also had to allocate time outside of class to finish their assignments and were encouraged to watch the televised debates.

They were required to write a paper about their candidate as well as give a presentation or conduct a debate. The traditional classes gave presentations as their candidate and were given the liberty to choose the kind of presentation. They worked with one partner. One person was assigned to be the candidate, while the other was to be the campaign spokesperson. I offered them ideas on how to present such as to create a news program, organize a political rally and make a video infomercial. Their presentations were graded using a presentation rubric. The presentation rubric was divided into content knowledge, visuals, creativity, eye contact, delivery, and organization.

I did not partner the students who were in the smart category and moderate for their research. In order to make the debates more challenging the students were required to role-play their candidate in a debate with a candidate from the opposite party. I randomly paired these students with a debate partner by drawing names out of a box. Next, I gave them one day to work with their partners in class on their arguments and rebuttals. The student's debates were graded on an individual basis with a rubric. The debate rubrics took into account the creativity, the accuracy of information, respect, the knowledge of topic and the use of statistics in their debates.

The traditional students were given the presentation rubrics during the day they were allowed to work on their presentations in class. The moderate and smart students were given the debate rubrics during the day they worked on their debates with their partner in class. The cooperating teacher and I both filled out one and then talked about them and came to an agreement on a score.

After they finished their presentations, all students filled out a Likert-scale type survey consisting of five statement. Four of the five statements were about role-playing specifically. The statements consisted of: I enjoy role-paying, I prefer projects with role-playing, role-playing helps me retain information better than lecture learning, I enjoy working with others during role-play projects. The last statement was I prefer hands-on activities compared to lecture note learning.

After the projects were completed, I randomly chose 2-4 students from each class by counting every 3rd person from each class roster (a total of 18 students) to interview about his or her thoughts on and feelings about the project and role-playing in general. I interviewed a total of 18 students interviewed. Because the classes ranged in size from 20 to 17 students and because time was limited, I was not able to interview all students in each class. Table 1 lists the number of students interviewed by class period.

Table 1. Number of Student Interviewed by Class Period

Class Period

Total Students

Interviewed

2

7

2

3

13

2

4

12

3

5

17

4

6

16

4

7

13

3

Prior to each interview I explained that their responses would not affect their grade in the class in any way and would benefit my future students. In general, the students were very open and spoke freely. I asked all of the students the same questions. They were asked whether or not they enjoy role-playing and whether it makes learning more meaningful. They were asked about their preferred way of learning and to explain what types of teaching methods their teachers use and what they type they prefer and why.

The interviews were conducted during class time after a test. I called students individually to the back of the room while the rest of the class was given a essay topic so that they can work on their writing skills rather than sitting and doing nothing. After the interview session, I divided the form 6L1 class into groups. Then I instructed them to do a role play in the class. They can do a role play on whatever that they one because I want them to feel comfortable doing the role play. Each group was given 20 minutes to discuss and prepare about the role play that they wants to do. I then recorded their role play that they had done in the class.

3.3 Data Analysis

All participants in this study completed two written instruments: a questionnaire and a survey. In addition, 18 students participated in an interview. I read through all questionnaires while and keeping track of how many students had role-played before and in what classes. The questionnaire only contained three questions hat were given before the actual assignment. The questions asked what role-plying is, if they had done it before and what classes they have role-played in. I looked to see if the students gave a similar definition of role-playing or if they were different. I also compared the responses to what types of classes they had previously role-played in.

The surveys were more detailed and easier to analyze. The surveys suggested separating the students into three categories: those who enjoyed role-playing, those who were indifferent to role-playing and those who did not enjoy role-playing. The surveys were also separated by the academic level of the students. I broke them into smart, moderate and poor categories. Each individual question was analyzed separately in order to obtain an accurate analysis.

I categorized the interviews on a question by question basis as well as an overall basis of whether role-playing is beneficial or not. The survey and interviews were most helpful in the data analysis process as they were completed immediately after the project hand ended. In addition, they were more 22 detailed than the original questionnaire. The findings of this research project will be present in Chapter Four.

Chapter 4

Research Findings

4.1 Introduction

This chapter presents the Research Findings which is divided into the Backgrounds of Respondents and the Results of Data Analyses and Research Findings. A total 78 students participated in this study. All were between 16-18 years old and are in form 4 as well as form 6 lower class in SMK Bidor. There were three academic levels: smart, moderate, and week students. This chapter presents the analysis of the questionnaires, project scores, surveys, and interviews the students completed. Each data collection method is analyzed and presented separately. The results are broken down by academic level in order to discern differences.

4.1 Questionnaires

The students completed the questionnaires prior to the actual role-playing project and consisted of three question items. The first item asked the participants to define role playing. Their responses revealed that all students had a similar concept of what constitutes role-playing as all included the words 'act' or 'pretend' in their definition.

The second question asked whether they enjoyed role-playing. Their answers revealed that more students enjoy role-playing than those who do not. About one third of the students indicated they liked role-playing, whereas about one fifth of the students indicated that they did not. About one fifth of the students indicated were indifferent while about one fourth said they enjoy role-playing depending on the project. The answers indicated no clear difference in academic levels.

This test shows that there is different perception of the students towards the role play. This perception is clearly stating that students are not exposed to these type of learning in school which is role playing. And according to this survey, most of the students like to do role play as it is interesting as well as a fun method to learn as well as it encourages students to communicate in English language.

The third question asked the students whether they had ever role-played before and, if so, in what class. About 70% of the students indicated they had role-played before while nearly had not. Among those who indicated they had role-played before did so mainly in their English classes while practicing the speaking. Only 15 percent of the students said they had role-played in their Bahasa Malaysia class before. The answers to this question also revealed that while some students consider a certain projects to be role-playing others do not. Students from each academic level of class indicated they had role-played before. All 78 students had different teacher for English Language. Normally these teachers would give them materials to read but these students are not being exposed to how to read the material given with using different tone as well as using the correct punctuation. This should be exposed as well as students should be educated on how to read the materials that is given to them.

4.2 Surveys

The students also completed a Likert-type survey after they finished their presidential primary role-playing project. They were asked to rate the following statements ranging from 1 [strongly disagree] to 5 [strongly agree]:

1) I enjoy role-playing projects.

2) If given a choice, I prefer to do tests/quizzes that include a role-playing activity.

3) Role-playing helps me remember information better than traditional methods.

4) I enjoy working with others during role-playing activity.

5) I prefer hands-on activities compared to lecture note learning.

The surveys were separated into three categories: those who enjoyed role-playing, those who were indifferent, and those who did not enjoy the method. The surveys were also separated by the academic level of the class as presented in Table 3.

Table 3:Preference for Role Play by Academic Level

Academic Level

Yes

Indifferent

No

Total

Smart

24

13

5

43

Moderate

16

7

0

23

Poor

9

3

0

12

Total

50

23

5

78

For the purpose of analysis, the ratings of 4 [agree] and 5 [strongly agree] were combined into a single percent. About 65% of all students indicated they enjoyed roleplaying. When breaking the responses down by students' academic level about 60% of the Smart students, 70% of the moderate students, and 75% of the week students enjoyed role-playing. A greater percentage of week and moderate students 27 enjoyed role-playing. About 30% of the combined students were indifferent. Only 12% of the students indicated that they did not enjoy role-playing. These findings do not correlate with the responses to the questionnaires mentioned earlier.

On the questionnaire, 16 students indicated they did not enjoy role-playing, whereas only five did on the survey. The difference in numbers could be because the survey was taken after the actual role-playing project was completed and the students had something fresh on their minds to take into account when completing the surveys. Another reason for this could be that the role-playing project was different than previous role-playing the students had completed and they might have liked this style more. Table 4 presents the findings of whether the participants enjoyed role-playing.

Table 4: Statement 1 by Academic Level

Rating

1

2

3

4

5

Total

Smart

1

4

12

21

5

43

Moderate

0

0

7

10

6

23

Week

0

0

3

5

4

12

Total

1

4

22

36

15

78

Statement 1: I enjoy role playing activity

1 (Strongly disagree)……. 5 (Strongly agree)

According to the responses on statement number one, 65% of all the students enjoy role-playing projects. 60 % of the smart students, 70% of the moderate students and 75% of the week students indicated that they enjoy role-playing projects. Only 6% of the students did not like role-playing and all were smart students. Overall, question one revealed that week and moderate students were more likely to enjoy role-playing activity than the smart students did. It also reveals that 29% of the students, when combined, are neutral on the topic of role-playing activity.

The participants were asked, if given a choice, whether they prefer to do learn using a role-playing activity. The findings are presented in Table 5.

Table 5:Statement 2 by Academic Level

Rating

1

2

3

4

5

Total

Smart

2

4

12

19

6

43

Moderate

0

0

7

10

6

23

Week

0

1

2

9

0

12

Total

2

5

21

38

12

78

Statement 2: Given a choice, I prefer to have my language lesson by having role playing activity.

1 (Strongly disagree)……. 5 (Strongly agree)

Fifty-eight percent the week students, 70% of the Smart students, and 75% of the moderate students indicated they prefer Learning that include a role-playing activity, if given a choice. Twenty-eight percent of the Week students, 30% of the smart, and 17% of the moderate students were neutral on the topic. Fourteen percent of the week students would prefer not to have role-playing activity while none of the smart students and only 1 moderate student answered the same way.

The findings revealed that the majority of the students, regardless of academic level, prefer role-playing activities. They also revealed that more moderate and smart students preferred role-playing activity than the week students. More week students indicated they prefer not to have exams/quizzes with role-playing than smart and moderate students did.

The students were asked whether role-playing helps them to better remember information than traditional methods do. The findings are presented in Table 6.

Table 6:Statement 3 by Academic Level

Rating

1

2

3

4

5

Total

Smart

0

4

10

11

18

43

Moderate

0

0

6

9

8

23

Week

0

0

2

7

3

12

Total

0

4

18

27

29

78

Statement 3: Role-playing helps me remember information better than lecture as well as note taking method.

1 [strongly disagree] … 5 [strongly agree]

67% of the week students indicated that role-playing helps them retain information better than lecture and note taking teaching methods, while about 75% of the smart students and 83% of the moderate students agreed. 23% of the combined students were neutral on the topic. Only 5% of the all the students indicated role-playing does not help them retain information. All 4 were Smart category students.

This score indicates that most of the students prefer role playing as a teaching method as it will help students to communicate better as well as increase the confidence level to speak in English language. This also will help students to retain information better rather than using the old school method which is the chalk and talk. With this new method students will enjoy the lesson more and will have the interest to communicate better in English language.

Students were also asked whether they enjoy working with others during roleplaying activities. The findings are presented in Table 7.

Table 7: Statement 4 by Academic Level

Rating

1

2

3

4

5

Total

Smart

2

4

12

15

10

43

Moderate

0

1

6

8

8

23

Week

0

0

2

6

4

12

Total

2

5

20

29

22

78

Statement 4: I enjoy working with others during role-playing projects.

1 [strongly disagree] … 5 [strongly agree]

58 % of the Smart students, 70% of the Week students, and 83% of the moderate students indicated they enjoy working with their group members during role-playing activities. 28% of the smart students, 26% of the smart students, and 17% of the moderate students were neutral on the subject. 14% of the Smart students, 4% week of the students and none of the moderate students indicated they do not enjoy working with others during role-playing activities.

This finding reveals that the week and moderate students suggested they enjoy working with their group members more than the smart students did. It also reveals that more smart students did not enjoy working with their group members than week and moderate students.

The last thing the students were asked is whether they prefer hands-on activities compared to lecture note learning. The findings are presented in Table 8.

Table 8: Statement 5 by Academic Level

Rating

1

2

3

4

5

Total

Smart

1

3

11

18

10

43

Moderate

0

0

5

10

8

23

Week

0

0

3

7

2

12

Total

1

3

19

35

20

78

Statement 5: I prefer hands-on activities compared to lecture note learning

1 [strongly disagree] … 5 [strongly agree]

65% of the Smart students, 78% of the week students, and 75% of the moderate students indicated they enjoy hands-on activities compared to lecture and note taking learning. All together 24% students indicated they had no particular preference. Only 4 students, all smart students, indicated that they do not enjoy hands-on activities as much as they enjoy lecture learning.

In conclusion, the survey responses indicate that few students do not like roleplaying activities at all. The student's responses to the survey suggest that they believe role-playing is beneficial as well as enjoyable. In addition, the findings suggest the academic level does matter: the lower the academic level, the more students indicated they liked role-playing.

4.3 Interviews

The interviews added in-depth information as it came directly from the students. I interviewed a total of 18 students: ten were smart students, six week students and two moderate students. All 18 students that were interviewed were asked the same questions and informed that their answers would not affect their grade in any way. By saying this students would be able to answer all the questions that is being asked without hesitation. Cause sometimes if we as teacher don't say like that the students would not answer the questions that are being asked truthfully.

The responses to the question what they thought about the role play activity were varied, yet similar. 16 of the 18 students said it was time consuming, but they learned a great deal of information. Ten students said they really enjoyed the project because it was different than previous ones. 15 students said the idea to contribute to the role play was the hardest part of the activity. Only 5 students, all smart students, said they did not like the activity because it was "too complex," perhaps due to the fact that they were not used to doing as much work as was required for the activities. Most of the smart students do not like to work in groups as they like to be individual and do things by them selves.

The responses to what they learned from role playing were nearly same. All students claimed to have learned the most about the learning of the Subject and topic that is being learned in the class. All of them mention that they did not only learn about the lesson but also learn how to cooperate with each other in the groups as well as learn how to contribute ideas as well as share information with each other. Students had mention that they prefer to work in groups rather then working individually cause the students can share ideas as well as information to get the work done more efficiently. By working in groups, the students will fell more motivated to do their homework rather than doing it alone.

When asked to explain why they liked or disliked role-playing, two students said they did not enjoy the activity because they get extremely nervous speaking in front of the class. However, one of them said he would rather role-play than takes notes. Four students said they did not care one way or the other. The other twelve students said they enjoy role-playing because it is nice "to do something different" and they learn more by doing it.

Except for one, each student suggested he or she believed that role-playing made learning more meaningful. They suggested it helped them put themselves in someone else's place and truly understand who the person is, what they believe, and why they should or should not be president. The student who suggested role-playing as not meaningful did so because he "was so nervous about getting up in front of the class that [he] did not take time to really get anything [he] was saying."

Only the Week and moderate students were asked to explain whether they believed role-playing was helpful in understanding how debates was helpful? The two moderate students replied that it "sort of" did because they already had a pretty good idea of how debates work and had watched some already. The four Week student said it did because they had never paid attention before to the debates and were able to get an understanding of what the candidates go through.

Thirteen students said that they would enjoy a similar activity in the future because they learned a lot. Four students said they would probably enjoy something similar if there were no or a less written paper requirement. One student indicted he would much rather learn from book than role-play. A smart level student, he was excellent at memorizing information which made book learning easy for him.

All eighteen said their teachers mainly use lecture and note taking. All said their teachers sometimes use worksheets and group work, but not often. All said they had done some type of role-playing before.

Twelve students said "doing activities" was their favorite way to learn, whether it included role-playing or not. Two students said that role-playing was their favorite type of teaching method because they learn more when they are fully immersed in a activity. Three students said they like having a variety of methods. They like all types of methods as long as one is not used all of the time. One student said that lecture and book learning are his favorite.

In conclusions, the students that were interviewed suggested that role-playing is beneficial. Only one of the students that were interviewed did not like role-playing at all. All of the students indicated they learned a lot by having role play. Twelve students said they learn more from role-playing than other teaching methods. Even the students who were indifferent to enjoying role-playing indicated that they learned something from the activity. 17 of the 18 interviewed said they believe role-playing makes their learning more meaningful because they are able to put themselves in some else's place.

4.4 Cooperating Teacher Interview

Based on many years of classroom experience, my cooperating teacher started out by stating she had a philosophy of education that differs from many of her colleagues. She believed there is a time and a place for lecture and note taking, but it should be broken up with other types of methods. She believed there are too many teachers out there who only lecture because they are "too lazy to be creative and grade large portion of activities."

She uses a variety of methods. Although she uses lectures, they are more discussion than lecture. She asks questions while she is lecturing to get the students involved and draw from their prior knowledge. She has students go through the book after class and take notes. She gives them credit for their notes as an incentive.

For every two - three chapters from the book she plans a activity. She believes this is a way to get students actively involved in what they learn. Her advice to all teachers is to use a variety of teaching methods. She believes role-playing is definitely a good thing, but cautions, as with any teaching method, not to use it too often lest it become ineffective. She strongly believes that if more teachers were to use creative ways to teach, students would be much better off. She tries her best to introduce students to all types of teaching methods. The problem she faces is that she only teaches seniors and by that time in their public education, students often have a developed a negative attitude toward learning because many of their previous teachers only used a lecture approach.

4.5 Conclusion

The data revealed certain patterns about students and their views on role-playing. The questionnaires offered a good starting point to make sure each participant understood what role-playing is. The scores provided an insight into how serious the students were about the project. The surveys gave a general idea of how each participant felt about roleplaying in general. The interviews added more insight to individual students' thoughts and opinions about role-playing and teaching methods. Finally, interviewing the cooperating teacher added further insights by her suggestion to use a variety of methods, including role-playing.

The findings of this research project suggest that role-playing is beneficial and should be used. However, the data also suggest that role-playing may perhaps be more beneficial to moderate and week students than smart students. The research literature suggests that role-playing should be used and helps students learn material better. The findings of this study confirm this suggestion.

Chapter 5

Conclusions

5.1 Introduction

This chapter presents the Conclusions that include the brief summary of the present research, the conclusions based on research questions and the results of data analyses, the discussions on research findings, the implications of research findings to the practitioners, and the recommendations for further research.

5.2 Summary of Research

The review of the literature suggested several common themes. Morris (2003) has suggested that "students feel empathy regarding events in the past when they act out the situation, and make connections between the character they play and real situations". In addition, he/she Morris has argued that "empathy is one of many tools historians use to help determine, interpret, and understand meaning". Because of this, empathy is vital for students to make learning meaningful.

Another theme suggested in the literature is that role-playing is effective, "but will lose its effectiveness if used too often" (Duncombe & Heikkinen, 1990). Any teaching method used too often will become ineffective. The key to being an effective teacher is to use a variety of teaching methods.

This literature tells us that old school method is no longer effective at this era of globalization which is lecturing and note taking method. It's no longer effective teaching method as students tends to get bored with the old boring method. Students' wants something new whereby the students will get indulge in what they are learning. With role play students does not only learn to cooperate with each other but as well learn new skills as well as adapt the knowledge easily as well as they will speak confidently as they are given a chance to speak and with this student will not hesitate to speak in public.

5.3 Findings

78 students form two different class has participated in this research. Those students are from form 4 as well as lower 6 from SMK Bidor. The students completed the questionnaire form as well as cooperated in doing well in the role play which was assigned to them as well as they had answer well during the interview. The surveys suggested that the majority of the students enjoyed role-playing. There were only five students who indicated they did not like role-playing at all. These findings affirm findings in the research literature. Andrew Schaap (2005) taught a class using a role-playing technique. He found that his students thoroughly enjoyed the activity and he encourages other educators to try the method as well.

Among other questions, the survey asked the students whether they retained more information from role-playing than other types of teaching methods. 72 % of the students said they did. Morris (2003) has argued that "students feel empathy regarding events in the past when they act out the situation, and make connections between the character they play and real situations,". When students feel empathy they are more likely to retain information because they made a personal connection with the material.

The interviews revealed this connection as well. 17 of the 18 students interviewed agreed that role-playing made their learning more meaningful because they were able to put themselves in someone else's place, in other words, they felt comfortable. The interviews with the students revealed other interesting issues as well. Many of the interviewees commented that their previous role-playing was different from the role play that they was assigned to do and they completed for this study. They indicated they enjoyed it more than what they had previously considered role-playing in their English classes which consisted of reading plays as a certain character. After completing the role play that was assigned to the students, the students realized how in-depth role-playing can be and indicated that they liked in-depth role-playing much better. What they did in English class could be considered role-playing because they were pretending to be someone else, but they were not as fully engaged as they were in the project they completed as part of this study. The literature suggests role-playing exercises come in many forms and educators should not be reluctant to experiment with their style and structure (McDaniel, 2000).

One of the major findings of this study was that the moderate and week students were more likely to enjoy role-playing than the smart students. The majority of the smart students indicated they enjoyed role-playing, but the number was not as high as the moderate and week students. At the college level, Schaap (2005) found that "role-playing is more likely to promote active learning amongst undergraduate students than a traditional university lecture," (p. 46). Smart category students most of them want to join the university as well as college and same goes with the moderate and week category students. Although moderate category students as well as week students has the learning disability and have a low socioeconomic status in comparison to students that are in the smart category.

Similar to Duncombe and Heikkinne (1990), he argued that role-playing should be used with a variety of methods because if any one method is used too often it becomes ineffective. Likewise, he also suggested using projects and activities to break up the monotony of lectures.

5.4 Recommendations

This study was conducted in a secondary school in rural state of Perak. School with similar as well as more diverse student populations should use the findings of this study. The research literature indicates that role-playing is beneficial, which was confirmed by this study. Regardless of their subject area, teachers should use some form of role-playing. While this study strictly focused on secondary school children, other studies have suggested the same benefit of role-playing as there are in form 1.

Morris (2003) studied a seventh grade social studies class and found that the students felt empathy regarding events in the past when they acted out the situation and made connections between the character and real life situations. While the editor gives no parameters on what age or grades to use role-playing, he highly suggests using role-playing and those teachers should decide for themselves whether they are ready for the experience. Consequently, especially primary and secondary school teachers should use a variety of teaching methods, including role-playing. Finally, they should be

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