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I Introduction
Action research is a research which is done by the researcher or practitioner as a self-
reflection (McNiff, 2011) in this case, English language teaching in his/her context (in the
classroom). Action research can be a tool for personal development (Burns & Richards,
2009). Action research often called self-reflection practice because in action research, the
researcher do research on himself or herself. Action research begins with the idea that
practitioner develop (McNiff, 2011) in the context that the practitioner involved in.

This paper wants to investigate the strengths and weaknesses of the solution in an action
research entitled Action Research in the Language Classroom: Motivating Teenage
Learners, conducted by Carolyn Leslie. This paper also will give the solution of the
weaknesses of the solution given by the researcher. This paper will be divided into 3 parts,
introduction which consists the definition of action research and the purpose of this paper;
discussion which consists the brief summary of the action research, the strengths and
weaknesses of this action research and the possible solutions to cover the weaknesses, and the
conclusion.

II Discussion

This research used 4 theories of motivation: Trembley and Gardeners revised model,
Linguistic self-confidence, Attribution Theory, and Self-determination theory. The researcher
focused on increasing students motivation through students learning goals, improve
students self-confidence through teachers feedback and encourage students to be
autonomous learners through each student own goal, his/her own self-assessment whether
he/she has achieved the goal, and introducing students to learning strategies so they can learn
on their own. This research was conducted with 17 teenage students (between 13-16 years
old) which was on B1 level. This context was chosen because the students in this class was
not actively participate and they seemed did not know the reason they had to use English.

This action research tried to motivate students (in speaking and vocabulary builder) through
students learning goal. The result of this research showed that two third agreed that they
became more active because of the goals that they set. One reason why the researcher
conducted her research in that classroom was because the lack of participation from the
students. Through the questionnaire, it can be concluded that the students became more active
because they wanted to achieve their own goals. This means that this solution offered by the
researcher is successful. Asking the students to set their own goal in speaking motivate them
to talk English more in the classroom. It is because the students tried their best to achieve
their own goals. Xiao (2013) mentioned this technique in category Maintaining and
protecting motivation, unlike this research. But the basic is the same that in this part,
students are assisted to write their own goals in order to increase students motivation.

Another thing that should be noted that the result showed that the students felt more confident
using English. It is shown by the percentage increases in 3 rd term. It happened may be
because the students have more practice since they tried to use English more to achieve their
own goal. This point maybe as the result of the goal theory. The goal theory is an alias for
Trembley and Gardeners revised model which Drnyei (1998) called goal theory.

Self-assessment were used as assessing tool by the students to reveal the weakness and
strength of each of them in learning language. By knowing his/her weakness, the student can
focus to improve the weakness of him, turning it into not weakness but maybe strength
(Spiller, 2012). As mentioned before, this is the strength of action research. This research is a
reflective research. In this case, its not only the practitioner that can use this as reflection for
her teaching, this research also used as reflection for students learning. After the goal is set,
learner assess himself if he has met the criteria of his own goal. The weakness of his learning
style later can be handled by incorporating various strategies to minimize the weakness.

This self-assessments goal is to make the students become an autonomous learner. Self-
assessment make the students know their mistakes on their own and learn by themselves to
minimize such weaknesses. Student independently used their knowledge and resources to
solve his/her problem in learning. Self-assessment is indeed help to make students become
autonomous learners. The point is that this research did not give a proper evidence
(questionnaire) of how students learn independently, like a questionnaire of what student did
after finding his weaknesses, the way he handled his weakness, what learning strategies used
by the students independently to overcome his weakness. This is not provided in the research
because it seemed that the researcher thought that self-assessment itself is an act of
autonomous learner (although it did). But it is still better if these questionnaire also used to
measure how autonomous learners the students are.

Other benefit from this research is because it is an action research, the researcher directly
observe the habit of the sample. So, the lack of honesty of interview and questionnaire can be
minimized through direct observation (www.sjut.ac.tz/policies&Forms/Observation
%20checklist.pdf). Although there are also disadvantages of direct observation, such as
limited numbers of sample (only 17 teenagers), the observers bias and hawrthorne effect
(http://professionals.site.apic.org/files/2014/10/DM9-
Limitations_of_Direct_Observation_Whitepaper.pdf) The researcher has tried to minimize
the disadvantages of direct observation through questionnaire.

Although this research shown that the students confidence increased, they believed that this
was not happen because of teachers encouragement via feedback or their goal for
participation. This means that the researchers goal to motivate students via feedback failed.
This happened maybe as the researcher pointed out that it was because her lack of varieties of
feedback. Students were aware that the teacher as their facilitator and assessor should give
them feedback which help them improve their language performance, and give
encouragement to motivate them. It was shown to the percentage given at the beginning that
the students listened to the feedback. But after they noticed that the feedback were repetitive,
students attitude towards feedback decreased. They might be think since the feedback was
the same, they would know and predict the feedback. They thought the teacher maybe did not
read and just gave the same feedback from time to time Teachers feedbacks that should
encourage students might become the demotivating factor.

Teacher should give the students different feedbacks. The teacher could use synonymy words
to express similar meaning. Use thesaurus if the teacher is confused. The teacher also can
added his/her personal comment after giving feedback, encourages the students to do better.
If the feedback is the same with the previous feedback, use other way to express it. For
example, if the previous feedback was Great but you can challenge yourself more than your
goal in the previous meeting. Be more ambitious! Restate this feedback but keep the
meaning intact. For example, Excellent! You can do it! Give one difficult goals, and stated I
know you can do it. Its a piece of cake. The meaning is the same but this may motivate
students, and the use of synonymy expressions, can enrich teachers and students
vocabulary.

Another weakness is that the students thought that the participation goal did not help them or
motivate them to engage more in the learning process. This meant her solution to make
students actively participate in learning teaching process using participation goal failed
(although as mentioned earlier that goal setting is effective to increase students engagement).
This paradox showed that not all goal successfully implemented. Although setting goal made
the students morally bound to their own goal, the participation goal failed to do so. It might
be due to students awareness that they were engaged to meet their own goals, and they had
engage because of that. That means they did not see the importance of setting goal
specifically for participation since normal goal will lead them to that point.

The solution for this point is to make it integrative set of goals. The participation and usual
goals are one entity that cannot be separated. Rather than making different point for this goal
(participation), the researcher should ask the students to write their goal combining the
percentage of students engagement of this week with the goal (make the student stated their
goal with the degree of students engagement in it. For example the goal is to speak about
students campaign with 85 percent participation in learning and teaching process.

Another weakness in this research is this research failed to show the students improvement
in learning vocabulary. As stated in the research, this might happened because too much focus
given in the 2nd term. But this research also failed to explain various learning strategies (the
researcher only mentioned without any further information whether these strategies were
used and what the effects of each strategy in students learning were). This research only
mentioned various learning strategies, like take a note, make vocabulary record, guessing the
meaning from the context, etc. It is better if there is a percentage and questionnaire of what
learning strategies used by the students to improve their vocabulary.

One goal of this research is encourage students to be independent learners. But, aside from
setting their own goal and self- assessment questionnaire, this research is lack in the evidence
that her students have become autonomous learners. The evidence could be provided through
a questionnaire of what students did to overcome their weaknesses.

The biggest weakness is because this is an action research. Action research is very bound to
the context. So the solution given by the researcher is only applicable to that context. It is
better if the researcher conducted similar research in other level of English beside B1 level
and compare the result with this one to make her solution more reliable.

Conclusion

This research still can be developed by investigating more by applying on other classroom
with different levels, or investigate further related to motivation and goal setting. This
research also can be improved by discovering more theories that will cover the weaknesses of
this research
References

Burns, Anne & Richards (2009) Second Language Teacher Education. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press

McNiff, Jean (2012) Action research for professional development: Concise advice for new
action researchers 3rd Edition. New Zealand: The Waikato University

Zoltn Drnyei (1998). Motivation in second and foreign language learning. Language
Teaching, 31, pp 117135 doi:10.1017/S026144480001315X

Carolyn Leslie Action Research in the Language Classroom: Motivating Teenage Learners

Fu Xiao (2013). Motivational Strategies in Teaching English as Foreign


Language: Applying
Motivation plan in TEFL. International Journal of Humanities and Social
Science Vol. 3 No. 18; October 2013

Spiller, Dorothy (2012) Assessment Matters: Self-Assessment and Peer Assessment.


New Zealand: The Waikato University

http://professionals.site.apic.org/files/2014/10/DM9Limitations_of_Direct_Observation_Whit
epaper.pdf accessed on 26 Dec 2016 21.30

http://www.sjut.ac.tz/policies&Forms/Observation%20checklist.pdf accessed on 26 Dec 2016


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