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In the Malaysian educational context, the main purpose of English language instruction is to prepare learners for effective and efficient communication in English in their social and professional situations (Chitravelu et al, 1995, p.4). In many organizations, English is the main language of communication and one needs to be competent in English in order to succeed and advance in the respective organization. The importance of English language as a global language has always been a major motivating feature in the learning and use of the language in Malaysia especially as a medium to gain information in science and technology, commerce and trade as well as for entertainment and media. In April 2000, there was an issue highlighted in the mass media about the reasons behind the inability of some 39,000 graduates in the country to get a job. Tan Sri Musa Mohamad the Minister of Education at that time as quoted in the New Straits Times stated that, "â€¦ employers did not just look at one's qualification but also factors like personality, potential, English proficiency and experience." This implies that job seekers should try to achieve certain level of mastery of English to help them secure appropriate jobs particularly in private sector. Besides, job interviews for professional vacancies in critical fields like Law, Accountancy and Engineering are generally understood to be conducted in English (Hanapiah, 2004)
In many contexts where English is regarded as a foreign as opposed to a second language, there are many problems in developing real communicative competence in learners including the ability to listen and comprehend properly. Brown and Yule (1983) believe that many language learners regard speaking skills as the criteria for knowing a language. They defined fluency as the ability to communicate with others much more than the ability to read, write and comprehend oral language. However, learning to talk in the foreign language is often considered to be one of the difficult aspects of language learning for the teacher to help students with. Unlike written language, it is also not easy to provide good models of spoken language for the foreign learners.
According to Bygate (1987), one of the basic problems in foreign-language teaching is to prepare learners to be able to use the language. How the preparation is done and how successful it will be, are very much depending on how the teachers understand the aim of teaching the language (p.3). The main features of speaking which can be traced to the processing conditions of communication involve the time factor in which the words are being spoken as they are being decided and understood. The fact that the language is being spoken as it is being decided affects the speakers' ability to plan and organize the message, and to control the language. Thus, mistakes often occur in the message and in the choice of words during a conversation (ibid. p12).
The objective of the study is to investigate the effects of task-based listening activities on the speaking performance of FELDA's EFL learners. The difference in students' speaking performance before and after undergoing the Task -Based Listening activities would be one of the main concerns in this study. A comparison will be drawn between the TBL and non TBL classes to see whether there is any difference in students' speaking performance.
Besides, students' confidence to speak is another area of interest to be investigated in this study. It is hoped that the study will be able to identify any significant difference in students' level of confidence to converse in English after undergoing the Task- based listening activities as compared to those who have not been exposed to the activities.
Another objective of the study is to investigate FELDA's EFL learners' attitude towards the implementation of the task-based listening activities. Expressions of either positive or negative feelings towards the task-based listening activities will reflect impressions of the effectiveness of the activities in enhancing students' speaking skill.
1.2 Problem Statement
Speaking is considered one of the most difficult language skills to acquire among English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students. In rural setting schools, particularly in the FELDA (Federal Land Development Authority) scheme, there is a lack of exposure and communicative use of the English language. Most students regard English as serving very limited function once they leave the classroom and as such they hardly see the need to use it in their daily life.
As in the classroom setting most EFL learners rather remain silent or resort to rote learning when they are required to respond to a speaking task. As such, it is a demanding task for language teachers to provide sufficient inputs for students to be competent speakers of English (Bygate, 1987). Students usually feel insecure about their level of English and face problems communicating as well as expressing themselves in the target language. As a result, they rather remain silent as they are in fear of making mistakes and do not show active participation in speaking lessons. Ian G. Malcolm (1987) refers to the guarded and taciturn behavior of students who refuse to speak as the "shyness syndrome" and that this problem has been reported of Polynesians in New Zealand, various American Indian groups, Hispanics in the United States, Black Americans and Southeast Asians. Malcolm quoting Tan (1976) and Salleh (1981) says that many pupils in Southeast Asian classrooms are bilinguals whose use of the classroom language is hesitant. Yap (1979) also quoted as saying that the frequent complaint mainly in secondary schools is that learners do not respond or take too long to respond, or speak too softly (cited in Gaudart ,2003, p.2)
Emphasis should thus be given to address this problem as speaking is an important element in mastering English language. Therefore, it is important to explore new methods of teaching in order to enhance students' speaking performance and confidence to use the language.
1.4 Research Questions
The study attempts to answer the questions that follow:
1) What is the speaking performance of FELDA learners after undergoing task-based learning activities?
2) Do task-based listening activities enhance EFL students' confidence to speak in English?
3) What are the attitudes of the FELDA EFL learners towards task-based listening activities in enhancing their speaking performance?
1.5 Significance of study
The findings may provide language teachers with specific language teaching procedures to enhance ESL learners' ability and confidence to communicate orally in English. Besides, in a wider scope, the study can also be used as the yardstick in designing supplementary materials to assist teachers in teaching speaking skill more effectively in the Malaysian classrooms.
1.6 Definitions of terms
The following terms are significant in this study:
1.6.1 Task-based Listening Activities
Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT) or Task-based Instruction (TBI) makes the performance of meaningful tasks central to the learning process. The Task-based listening activities which will be used are based on authentic materials used in teaching second language. Nunan (1999) defines authentic materials as spoken or written language data that has been produced in the course of genuine communication, and not specifically written for purposes of language teaching. The materials are based on the real world context outside classroom in situations in which they really occur.
Gebhard (1996) suggested some examples of the authentic materials that may serve as source for lesson planning including for listening and speaking class. The authentic listening- viewing materials include TV commercials, quiz shows, cartoons, news clips, comedy shows, movies, soap operas, professionally audio-taped short stories and novels, radio advertisements, songs, documentaries and sales pitches. In this study, the task based listening activities will include the use of audio CDs on selected stories and songs. Throughout the implementation of the activities students are required to respond to certain tasks related to the selected materials following the framework for task-based learning proposed by Jane Willis (1996) which comprise of pre-task, task cycle and language focus. Among the tasks suggested include listing(e.g. brainstorm/ fact finding), ordering or sorting (e.g. sequencing/ ranking), comparing (e.g. matching/ finding similarities or differences), problem solving (e.g. analysing real situation/ decision making), sharing experience (e.g. narrating/opinions) and creative tasks which includes all the tasks mentioned.
1.6.2 Speaking Performance
Speaking in a second language involves the development of a particular type of communication skills. Because of its circumstances of production, oral language tends to differ from written language in its typical grammar, lexical and discourse patterns (Tareq Mitib, 2009). A person can be considered to be able to perform well in speaking skill when he is able to speak a language using the components correctly for example by making the right sounds, choosing the right words and getting the constructions grammatically correct. Pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary tasks will focus on the need for practice in language accuracy. At the same time, one also needs to get a clear message across and this involves choosing appropriate content or ideas to suit a situation, e.g. deciding what is polite or what might appear rude, how to interrupt or how to participate in a conversation. (http://www.britishcouncil.org/languageassistant/pdf/Unit4.pdf )
1.6.3 School Based Oral Assessment
Previously the English SPM examination had an oral examination component which was graded based on the candidate's comprehension of a dialogue text and the ability to respond to a pictorial stimuli. However, the test was considered to be inadequate since students' proficiency in English language continued to drop to the point where prospective employers in private and government sectors complained about the inability of graduates to converse in even the most rudimentary situations (Vinodini Murugesan, 2003).
In 2002, the School-Based Oral Assessment (SBOA) was implemented for the first time on Form Four students who will be sitting for SPM in 2003 to replace the old oral assessment and this time it is considered to be in line with the communicative language teaching approach adopted in Malaysian schools. The School-Based Oral Assessment (SBOA) consists of 4 Models. The models are Model 1:'Individual', Model 2:'Student-Prompter', Model 3:'Pair work' and Model 4: 'Group work'. Students are to be assessed twice in Form Four (using Model 1 and 2) and once in Form Five (using either Model 3 or Model 4). Marks are given based on students' ability to converse on a topic effectively with appropriate responses, speak fluently using correct and acceptable pronunciation, speak coherently, speak the language using a wide range of appropriate vocabulary within context and speak using correct grammar. In some cases, students can actually request to repeat the test if deemed necessary especially when they are not satisfied with their mark. The total mark for each assessment is 30. When the students are in Form 5, the best mark among the three assessments will be taken and submitted together with other School Based Assessment Marks for SPM examination to the Malaysian Examination Board (Lembaga Peperiksaan Malaysia).
Confidence can be defined as a belief in one own ability to do things and be successful (Oxford Advance Learner's Dictionary, 7th ed., 2005, p.318). It is one's perceptions of one's own abilities to achieve a stated outcome. ARCS Model of Motivational Design developed by John M. Keller of Florida State University identified "Attention", "Relevance", "Confidence" and "Satisfaction" as the four steps for promoting and sustaining motivation in the learning process. According to Keller, confidence helps students to understand their likelihood for success. If they feel they cannot meet the objectives or that the cost (time or effort) is too high, their motivation will decrease. Besides, confidence also provides objectives and prerequisites that help students to estimate the probability of success by presenting performance requirements and evaluation criteria. It allows for small steps of growth during the learning process, provide feedback and support internal attributions for success. Not only learners should feel some degree of control over their learning and assessment, they too should believe that their success is a direct result of the amount of effort they have put forth (Keller, 1983 and 1987 cited in http://www.learning-theories.com/kellers-arcs-model-of-motivational-design.html.).
Confidence in speaking involves ability to speak the target language fluently using the right rules and appropriate choice of words. In speech situation, thinking, listening and speaking go on almost simultaneously and people expect feedback on or response to what they have said almost as soon as they stop speaking (Chitravelu et.al, 1995). Anxiety of making mistakes is one of the major obstacles that learners have to overcome in learning speaking because most of the time learners are reluctant to be judged by listeners. Of all the four language skills, speaking skill is probably the one most affected by personality features. Students who are confident and have experienced success are likely to be more motivated and more willing to try harder. Therefore, teachers have an important role in building up students' confidence to speak by being sensitive, sympathetic and encouraging as well as selecting material that is motivating and within the ability of the students (ibid).
Attitudes refer to a person's way of thinking or feeling about somebody or something; the way that he or she behaves towards somebody or something actually shows how the person thinks or feels (Oxford Advance Learner's Dictionary, 7th ed., 2005, p.85). The measurement of language attitudes provides information that is useful in teaching and language planning (Richards, Platt and Platt, 1997 cited in Tareq Mitib, 2009). In this study the EFL learners' attitudes towards the Task-based listening activities will be measured through the use of a questionnaire which will be developed from the findings from focus group discussions. The questions will comprise of an adaptation of Gardner's (1985) Attitude/ Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) and Rossett' (1982) Needs Analysis questionnaire.
1.7 Limitation/ Delimitation
Since this study will be carried out within a relatively short period of time on students with average to good proficiency of English, it would thus be interesting to see if using task-based listening activities on a lower English-proficiency group of EFL students with varying time spent would have a different effect on the results. Thus, this study might not be able to represent the whole FELDA scheme students' speaking performance because only two groups of students from a school will be selected. Further studies need to be conducted in order to seek similarities or differences on this issue.
Chapter 2: Review of Literature
2.1 Relationship between listening and speaking
Speech involves communication between people and the rules that apply to all forms of interpersonal behaviour also apply to speaking behaviour (Chitravelu et.al, 1995, p.59). Graham-Marr (2004) mentioned many reasons for focusing in listening and speaking in EFL classroom and one of them is the fact that speaking skills have been found to be a fundamental skill necessary to succeed in life. The ability to speak in the target language has always been associated with the success of learning the language. Before a person can speak the language he learnt, he should first be able to listen and understand the language. Listening should be the first and foremost skill to be acquired in learning a new language because understanding spoken words is prerequisite to speaking, reading and writing; and that comprehension should precede reproduction. Listening skill transfers to other skills and promoting listening skills before focusing on oral skills can result in increased second language acquisition. (Cheung, 2010).
The relationship of listening and speaking skills was further elaborated by Goss (1982) who claimed that listening is a process of taking what you hear and organizing it into verbal units to which you can apply meaning. Applied to speech processing, listening requires that you structure the sounds that you hear and organize them into words, phrases, sentences, or other linguistic units. Bowen, Madsen and Hilferty (1985) (ibid) defined "listening as attending to and interpreting oral language. The student should be able to hear oral speech in English, segment the stream of sounds, group them into lexical and syntactic units (words, phrases, sentences), and understand the message they convey" (p. 73).
Gary (1975) cited in Ghazali, (2003) said that giving pre-eminence to listening comprehension particularly in the early stages of second language teaching and learning contributes advantages of four different types, namely cognitive, efficiency, utility and effective. As such, Doff (1988) added that "speaking skills cannot be developed unless listening skill is also developed. In order to have successful conversation, students must understand what is said to them because later on the ability to understand spoken English may be very important for studying, listening to the radio or understanding foreign visitors. To develop this ability, students need plenty of practice in listening to English spoken at normal speed" (p.163).
A listening lesson gives students the opportunity to listen to native speakers' conversations if the related materials are well-chosen, and, listening to the target language a lot can help the students improve in their pronunciation (Gethin and Gunnemark, 1996). Bruton (1997:14-15) argues that students need to listen to prepare themselves for their future listening. They need to listen in order to know how to produce. The better students understand what they hear, the better they will take part in spoken interactions. Although students usually face difficulties to understand the language produced by the native speakers in the listening activities, teachers have to be creative to tackle the problem by exposing students to more of the materials. At the beginning of the listening activities, teachers' help may still be needed to explain to the students what is required from them. However, the dependency on teachers can slowly be eliminated later on when the students are working on the activities or in their groups.
In order to measure the effectiveness of any speaking lesson, students need to be tested. The two main aspects of direct procedures for testing speaking according to Nation and Newton (2009) are the way in which the person who is being tested is encouraged to speak and the way in which the speaker' performance is assessed. The first procedure can include interviewing, describing something for someone to draw and discussing while the latter can include rating scale, communicative result and assigning marks for the parts of an outcome (p.171).
2.2 Task-based Instruction in Language Classroom
In task-based language teaching (TBLT), syllabus content and instructional processes are selected with reference to the communicative tasks which learners will (either actually or potentially) need to engage in outside the classroom and also with reference to theoretical and empirical insights into those social and psycholinguistic processes which facilitate language acquisition. Among the features identified by Nunan (1991) for this approach is the emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction in the target language, the introduction of authentic texts into the learning situation, the provision of opportunities for learners to focus, not only on language, but also on the learning process itself, an enhancement of the learner's own personal experiences as important contributing elements to classroom learning and an attempt to link classroom language learning with language activation outside the classroom.
According to Brown (2001), Task- based Language Teaching (TBLT) puts tasks at the centre of the methodological focus. The learning process is viewed as a set of communicative tasks that are directly linked to the curricular goals they serve. The main characteristics of TBLT according to Ellis (2003) include the natural or naturalistic use of language, learners-centred activities rather than teacher-centred, focus on form and tasks serve as the means for achieving natural use of language. Ellis also claimed that the traditional approach of Present, Practice and Produce (PPP) are inadequate. Some critics also supported this and viewed PPP as clearly being teacher-centred and therefore sits uneasily in a more humanistic and learner-centred framework (Harmer, 1988, p.66).
Task can be defined in various ways. Nunan (1999) in Bahrami (2010) for example, defined a task as "a piece of classroom work that involves learners in comprehending, manipulating, producing or interacting in the target language while their attention is focused on mobilizing their grammatical knowledge in order to express meaning, and in which the intention is to convey meaning rather than to manipulate form. The task should also have a sense of completeness, able to stand alone as a communicative act in its own right with a beginning, middle and an end". (p. 25).
Long (1985a) as cited in Nunan (1991) suggests that "a task" is nothing more or less than the things people do in everyday life like for examples buying shoes, making reservations, finding destinations, and writing cheques". Breen (1987) similarly suggests that "a task is any structured language learning endeavour which has a particular objective, appropriate content, a specified working procedure, and a range of outcomes for those who undertake the task. 'Task' is therefore assumed to refer to a range of work plans which have the overall purpose of facilitating language learning-from the simple and brief exercise type, to more complex and lengthy activities such as group problem- solving or simulations and decision making" (p. 23).
Prabhu (1987) stands as the first significant person in the development of Task-based instructions in language classrooms. He defines a task as "an activity which required learners to arrive at an outcome from given information through some process of thought, and which allowed teachers to control and regulate that process" (cited in Tareq Mitib ,2009). Nunan (1989) further defines a task as "a piece of classroom work which involves learners in comprehending, manipulating, producing or interacting in the target language while their attention is principally focused on meaning rather than form" (p.10). He suggests that in all definitions of tasks, one can see communicative language use where the learner focuses on meaning instead of linguistic structure.
Many people have studied the implementation of Task-based instruction in language classrooms and have advised using tasks in language classrooms because students' motivation rises through assigned tasks. On looking at the positive results that the use of tasks may bring about in the EFL classroom, it can be said that using a variety of tasks in class gives positive results (Ruso, 2007). Bahrami (2010) examined the influence of four specific types of task-based activities of matching, form-filling, labelling and selecting on the listening ability of 90 senior EFL learners of Sadra English Institute of Darood .The data for the quasi-experimental study included two task-based tests of listening comprehension and a test of language proficiency. The result shows that there was a significant relationship between the three tasks of matching, labelling and form filling on the other hand and listening comprehension on the other. However, there was no relationship observed for the task of selecting and listening comprehension. In conclusion, not only the listening-comprehension skill of the EFL students tended to improve through exposure to task-based input; it is also proven to be suitable for students of various levels.
Similarly, Tareq Mitib (2009) who also adopted a quasi experimental design to study the effects of Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT) on developing speaking skills among the Palestinian Secondary EFL students from two schools in Israel concluded that the method succeeded in improving the students' speaking skills and develop students' attitude towards English language. It was found that girls' speaking skill improved more than the boys' when classroom practice was organized and authentic as in the case of TBLT. Boys on the other hand, did better in the conventional teaching situations. Tareq therefore claimed that task-based language teaching can be the solution for the lack of exposure to authentic English as it enabled students to practise using the language through different activities in real world tasks and in a stress free atmosphere. This finding conforms to Underwood, (1998); Gethin and Gunnemark, (1996) and Kenworthy's, (1987) claims, that, exposing students to native speakers of English Language through listening gives them the opportunities to acquire the correct model of English pronunciation which will eventually leads to intelligibility (cited in Ghazali, 2003).
Awang and Md. Supie (2011) stated that, one of the main issues in second language learning is ESL learners who are less proficient in the language opt to avoid speaking in English language classes. Some learners might find speaking English in front of the class as very intimidating. In a way it implies that regardless of how many English classes students have attended, if they do not practise the language, they will not be able to improve their communication skills as well as their self-confidence. Both researchers proposed that task-based speaking activities would enable students to communicate easily as the activities are usually conducted in pair work or group work. As such, a study was conducted in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia(UTM) on 30 second year students from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering enrolled for the Advanced English for Academic Communication course in semester 2, 2007/2008. A set of questionnaire was designed and distributed to find out the students' perspectives on task-based speaking activities in fostering their communication in English. This study also seeks to find out which types of Task-Based Speaking Activities (TBSA) that highly promotes learners' communication in English. The types of task-based speaking activities used in the study were problem-solving, information-gap, and sharing personal experience or feelings. Results show that all the 30 participants agreed that task-based speaking activities improved their communication in English because the activities offered opportunities to practise the language. It was also found that students with low level of proficiency in English also participated in the TBSA during English classes and they were not intimidated by their low level of proficiency. As for the activities, problem-solving is found to be the most preferred type of TBSA that encouraged participation and use of English language.
Other study related to the use of TBL includes an exploration of the implementation of TBLT in three primary classrooms in Hong Kong by Carless (2001). The subjects of the case study were three female English teachers who implemented task-based innovation over a seven months period in their primary one and primary two classrooms with children aged six to seven. Results reveal that there was a certain amount of interplay between different issues studied like for example, the more positive the teacher's attitude towards TBLT, the more likely she was to take time doing the preparation of the supplementary materials for her class or to allocate time for carrying out activities (cited in Tareq Mitib, 2009).
Despites many positive feedbacks of using TBL on EFL and ESL students, there are also evidences of sceptical perceptions on its implementation. One of them is in a case study conducted by In-Jae Jeon and Jung-won Hahn on EFL teachers' perceptions on the practice of TBLT in Korean secondary School Classroom in 2005. Data were collected through questionnaires from 228 teachers at 38 different middle and high schools in Korea. The overall findings of the survey show that even though majority of the respondents have a
higher level of understanding about TBLT concepts, teachers still retain some fear of adopting TBLT because of perceived disciplinary problems related to classroom practice. Other reason for teachers' fear to adopt TBLT is related to their lack of confidence. Hence, much consideration should be given to overcome the potential obstacles such as on the part of the teachers before TBLT can really be successfully implemented.
2.3 Theoretical Framework of TBL
Task-based learning (TBL) seems to gain currency since the publication of Jane Willis' Framework for Task-Based Learning in 1996. N. Prabhu originally popularizes TBL in early 80's and since then has influenced subsequent models of Task Based Teaching such as Willis (1996) who developed a framework for task-based learning. Prabhu (1987) used a task-based approach with secondary school classes in Bangalore, India in his Communicational Teaching Project beginning 1979. Reports on the Bangalore project indicated that a syllabus organized around problem solving tasks and feedback can effectively accomplish and in many ways improve on what a traditional linguistic syllabus provides (cited in Tareq Mitib, 2009, pp. 53). In Framework for Task-Based Learning (1996), Willis proposed a three stages process of carrying out TBL. The stages include: pre-task (introduction to topic and task), task cycle (planning and reporting) and language focus (analysis and practice).The framework can be illustrated as below:
FRAMEWORK OF TBL (Jane Willis, 1996)
Introduction to topic and task instruction
Use & expose to tasks (6 tasks
Types), planning (prepare to report
outcomes), reporting, post
Focus on forms
Analysis: learners focus on form,
Ask about language features
Practice: teacher conduct activities
(Introduction to topic/ task)
Task /Planning /Report)
In the Pre-Task stage, the learners and teachers explore the topic and the teacher may highlight useful words and phrases while helping students to understand the task instructions. The purpose of pre-task is to prepare students to perform the task in ways that will promote acquisition. As for the Task Cycle stage, the students perform the task in pairs or small groups while the teacher monitors or facilitate the lesson from a distance. During this stage students will also plan on how to report or present to the class what they have done and how they do it. At the same time teacher should encourage students to communicate in the target language while helping students to prepare what they want to say. Students will later present or report on the task either orally or in writing. Finally, in the last stage or during Language Focus students examine and discuss specific features of any listening or reading text which they have looked at for the task or the teacher could also carry out some form of practice of the specific language features which the task has provoked (Harmer, 2009, pp. 71-72)
One of the examples provided in Willis' (1996) TBL procedure is about a woman's phobia to spiders. The woman lived with her husband but could never be left alone because of her fear of spiders. Harmer (2009) has slightly amended and shortened the procedure as below:
The teacher explains about the woman situation and asks students in pairs to brainstorm three consecutive steps they might take to help cure her from the phobia.
2) Task Cycle
Task: Pairs list possible ways to help the woman to overcome her phobia
Planning: Pairs rehearse how to explain the steps they recommend and justify the order they are in
Report and Reading: The pairs tell the class and justify their recommendations. The class listen and count how many ideas they come up with. The teacher lets the class decide and vote on which three steps might be similar to those in a newspaper report about the phobic woman's dilemma. Teacher writes these on the board for others to see. The teacher gives out the text and asks students to read and see whether their steps were included in the report. Finally, she asks which pair had the most steps that were similar.
3) Language focus
The teacher helps students with any mistakes she heard during the task. She then directs back students to the article and they analyse it for topic vocabulary, time expressions, element of syntax and so on (ibid. pp 72-73).
Besides examples of the procedures, Willis (1996) also suggested six types of tasks that can be used when adopting TBL in the classroom. There are:-
1) Listing (e.g. brainstorm/ fact finding)
2) Ordering or sorting (e.g. sequencing/ ranking)
3) Comparing (e.g. matching/ finding similarities or differences)
4) Problem solving (e.g. analysing real situation/ decision making)
5) Sharing experience (e.g. narrating/opinions)
6) Creative tasks (includes all the tasks mentioned and the outcome can be appreciated by wider audience)
Chapter 3: Research Methodology
A mixed method data collection based on a quasi-experimental research design will be adopted involving qualitative and quantitative data collection. The qualitative data collection will comprise of focus group discussion and journal entry, while the quantitative data collection will comprise a set of questionnaire and Malaysian School-Based Oral Assessment (SBOA). This triangulation of data collection is important due to the fact that a single approach of understanding the teaching and learning process may result in an inadequate or sometimes, deceiving data (Cohen & Manion, 1998).
Both classes (treatment and control group) will follow the same lesson plan and will be taught by the same teacher. The only difference will be the use of TBL listening activities for the treatment group while the control group will undergo non- TBL listening activities.
Based on convenient sampling, about forty secondary four students with similar level of English language proficiency from two classes will participate in this study. The school which is a co-ed school located in a FELDA scheme in Maran district of Pahang state consists of less than 380 students with four Form Four classes. One class is allocated for students taking science subjects, two classes for students taking Arts and the last class is for students taking Vocational subject. Participants will be selected from the first two classes because they are considered to be having similar average to good level of language proficiency.
3 .2.1 Focus Group
In order to further understand students' attitudes towards the effectiveness of the implementation of task-based listening activities in enhancing their speaking performance, the researcher plans to adopt focus group discussion as one of the means to collect data. This can encourage participants to freely discuss their feelings and concerns about the activities that they have gone through. The focus group discussion will be tape- recorded to capture as much information as possible regarding participants' experience with the TBL listening activities.
The researcher hopes to gain a deeper understanding of how the participants perceive the activities and the development of their speaking skills throughout the study. Besides saving time, focus group is also particularly effective in determining underlying issues and concerns that can later be addressed in broader data gathering efforts such as in questionnaires. In addition, focus group discussion allows participants to build on each others' ideas and experiences and enables participants to share learning and ideas. It may provide an opportunity to build communication and trust among participants in a school community.
(Retrieved from http://www.neirtec.org/evaluation/PDFs/PreparingtoCollect2.pdf.)
3.2.2 Journal entry
Participants from the experimental group will be required to keep a journal and write their entries after every class that involve task-based listening activities. The purpose of the journal is to allow students to express their opinion pertaining to the task-based listening activities that they have gone through for that particular day. A guideline on what to be written in their journal will be given at the beginning of the study. The guideline is essential to help students to focus on what they are supposed to write on. In addition, the researcher will also keep a journal to assist in her classroom observations and to provide further information on the research. At the end of the study, both the students' and the researcher's journal entries will be used as a reference to explain about any existing matters related to the implementation of the TBL listening activities.
A set of questionnaire will be developed from the data obtained from the focus group discussion. The questionnaire will be administered to the participants of both experimental and control group at the end of the study to gain their insight pertaining to their speaking performance and their attitudes towards the listening activities. Rossett's (1982) Needs Analysis and Gardner (1985) Attitude/ Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) survey questionnaires will be used as guidelines for setting the questions. The Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) is for use with secondary school students studying English as a foreign language to assess various individual difference variables based on the socio-educational model. The AMTB has been translated and used in Brazil, Croatia, Japan, Poland, Romania, and Spain (Gardner, 2004). By using SPSS, descriptive statistics like mean, median, mode, range and frequency as well as inferential statistic from t-Test will be used to interpret the data from the questionnaire.
3.2.4 Pre- Test and Post- Test
Both groups of samples will be given a Pre-Test and Post-Test to gauge their speaking performance. Two of the models (Model 1: Individual and Model 2: Student-Prompter) outlined in the School Based Oral Assessment (SBOA) will be used in both tests. The pre-test will be conducted to both groups at the beginning of the study while the post-test will be conducted after the completion of the task-based listening activities. In order to see the difference achieved by both group, a comparison of two means of the scores gained by both groups will be taken into consideration. Similar to the interpretation for the questionnaire, the paired t-test will also be used to see whether the difference of the scores for both treatment and control groups is statistically significant and can be generalized on a wider population.