Luận văn Using IT in teaching and learning Reading English for Biology for 2nd-Year students at HNUE

The researcher has collected data by two ways:

- students’ questionnaires

- teachers’ interviews

The students’ questionnaire has got 10 multiple choice questions. There are three parts in the questionnaire: personal information, teaching and learning. The questionnaire was designed to facilitate later data analysis.

The students’ questionnaire is the more important because it is the main way to evaluate the efficiency of teaching and learning reading ESP with IT. The students themselves assess the efficiency of teaching and learning ESP truthfully.

The teachers’ interviews contribute to the efficiency assessment of teaching and learning reading ESP with IT. The teachers or lecturers who have taught reading English for Biology were interviewed about the efficiency of teaching and learning reading ESP with IT. If the efficiency is very good, the teachers should teach reading ESP with IT; if the result is not very good, they should manage to make it better. The teacher is the first factor for the success of the lessons. She prepares the lesson and does the teaching in class with her own method of teaching.

Both the students and teachers were asked so that the research is done objectively and the result is right for common situations

 

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sk for each group through email. The students, responding the teacher’s requirements, email her/ him the texts they have collected so that she/ he checks whether their texts are appropriate or not for the coming lesson. Email exchanging is, indeed, an effective tool of information exchanging between ESP teachers and students. * Microsoft Encarta Microsoft Encarta 2006 This software is updated yearly so that the information is the latest and varied. It is considered as an encyclopedia since it contains information (in some languages) of all fields. The information is in the form of articles, photos, maps, exercises and games. A teacher or student only needs to type some key words to search the information they want. The information is simplified for all readers to understand easily. Thus, ESP teachers and students can copy quite a vast amount of information from Microsoft Encarta if they know how to exploit it. Then, the information can be used as extra reading texts or designed with reading exercises. * Word processor The uses of word processor have been discussed by Scott (1996), Cunningham (2000), Harmer (2001), Jones, C and Sue Fortescue (1991), Keiser (1999), Morgan (1997), Johnson (2004), etc. This software helps us show our thoughts on the screen with words and documents. We can easily move around the document, edit, change and add as thoughts occur. These things seem impossible with pen and paper or even with a typewriter. For ESP teachers and students, they can use word processor to type texts, exercises and answers for required tasks. This software is especially useful to the teachers who teach ESP reading. To prepare for their lectures, they type reading texts and accompanied exercises on Microsoft Word or Microsoft Powerpoint documents. In class, they show the lectures on a big screen with a LCD projector. Importantly, they can edit the documents anytime they want. * Microsoft Powerpoint. This is the most common software used in teaching and studying nowadays in Vietnam. The teachers who are good at IT often use the software to prepare their lectures. Instead of writing on the blackboard, teachers type what they want the students read and note down on the screen of Microsoft Powerpoint, then show it with a LCD projector. If the teacher knows IT well, his/ her lecture on Microsoft Powerpoint is vivid, colourful, realistic and informative. He/ she can type words of all types and colours, insert pictures, add films to make the lecture easily understood. Students, therefore, find the lecture extremely fascinating and understandable. ESP teachers can do the same as other teachers with Microsoft Powerpoint. If they take time to search pictures and films, their lectures naturally interest students. They have such a vast source of materials – ESP texts, photos, films from the Internet, Microsoft Encarta, etc. I.2.3.1.3. Advantages of using computers in reading ESP teaching and learning Using a computer with a LCD projector brings about a lot of advantages for those who teach and learn ESP reading. It has continually proved to be advantageous for the past few years. Teachers do not have to write a lot on the blackboard while teaching. Instead, they show their lectures for students to look and note down important points. Their main job is to explain about the points appearing on the screen. As a result, they have much more time to explain because they do not waste time writing a lot on the blackboard anymore. Apart from this, teachers’ computer skills are much better when they often use computers to prepare their lectures. The skills are word processing, searching information, pictures and films, displaying ideas in the documents (Microsoft Word or Microsoft Powerpoint). For example, they change the font face, font style, font colour, highlight key words, etc for the documents. Additionally, exercises for ESP reading are designed variedly and fascinatingly on the computer. A task is the combination of words, pictures, sounds or even films. The exercise, thus, looks more attracting and understandable. Last but not least, students tend to be especially interested in the lectures. Instead of looking at the blackboard, they look at the screen of a computer with colour, vivid pictures and films. They will become more hard-working and understand the lectures easily and positively. I.2.3.2. Variables that can affect computer-aided ESP reading In order that a lesson of computer-aided ESP reading is done effectively, some factors should be noticed. Pennington (1993) said there are three variables affecting the effectiveness of computer-aided writing. I have read and found that these factors also affect ESP reading. The factors are the students, the teacher and the setting. Firstly, it is the student. The students need to get used to the new method of teaching: Instead of looking at the board, they now look at the computer screen shown in front of them with a LCD projector. If they want to take note, they need to be very quick because the words on the screen can run very fast. Secondly, the teacher is the most important variable. The teacher can only have a computer-aided ESP reading lesson with a LCD when he/she owns good knowledge and skills of computers. He/she has to apply a new method of teaching, too. He/she not only shows their prepared lecture on the computer screen but also explains for the points to make students interested in the lesson and understand the lecture more quickly and easily. Thirdly, the setting contributes to the success of a computer-aided ESP reading lesson. The computer and LCD projector needs to work well during the lesson. All the softwares used for the lesson have to be checked in advance in case there are sudden mistakes. I.2.3.3. Considerations of computer-aided ESP reading teaching and learning There are some considerations to be borne in mind for teaching and learning ESP reading with a computer. For teaching, the teacher should be dynamic, flexible and knowledgeable of computer skills so that he/she can deal with all the unexpected incidents during the lesson. A common incident is the technical errors with the computer or the LCD projector. Moreover, the teacher should know how to interest students to cooperate with the teacher properly and effectively. The teacher can instruct them how to learn with IT in class in advance. For learning outside the class, the teacher should guide students about working with the Internet, searching information and assign them tasks to do. Then, students know what they have to do outside the class. The students should ask the teacher questions if they do not know how to do the tasks at home. They should also improve their computer skills to be able to accomplish at-home tasks with computers. CHAPTER TWO. THE STUDY II.1. The setting of the study II.1.1. Information technology in FL education at HNUE For the past few years, the Faculty of English and the Faculty of French have been established at Hanoi National University of Education. Even though these are such new faculties of HNUE, they have always taken part in all the movements and activities organized by the university. The Faculty of English has recently established for about 5 years now. However, the lecturers and students of this faculty have always kept up with other faculties on IT in education. Recently, HNUE has launched the movement of teaching with the assistance of IT or of innovating the methods of teaching. The managing board of HNUE has supplied each faculty with modern equipment including LCD projectors and computers to innovate the methods of teaching. The lecturers from the Faculty of English have taken advantage of the equipment so that students are able to have interesting lectures with IT. Two classrooms are equipped with LCD projectors. Thus, the two rooms are frequently occupied by lecturers and students from the Faculty of English. On the contrary, students from other faculties rarely have chances to study FL with IT for the absence of LCD projectors. There is a LCD projector available for HNUE activities; however, it cannot meet the needs of all faculties including FL faculties. Only for short-term time of some competitions, lecturers from the Faculty of English and the Faculty of French teach non-English-major students with IT. Naturally, the students feel extremely excited with such lectures. As a result, to lecturers from the Faculty of English, teaching non-English-major students with IT is not as frequent as teaching English major students. II.1.2. ESP teaching and learning at HNUE It is increasingly necessary to study ESP for individuals’ occupation. People need ESP to understand English documents so that they can update the latest information. For that need, HNUE started teaching ESP two years ago. Lecturers from ESP group, the Faculty of English have been responsible for teaching ESP for non-English-major students. They have collected and edited appropriate ESP materials to teach students. They do not have much experience in teaching ESP; they have little professional knowledge of other subjects – natural or social sciences. They, consequently, have had to study quite a lot about other subjects before they taught ESP. They sometimes ask their students about the students’ professional knowledge if they do not understand. It was really difficult at first for both lecturers and students. Students had to accept the fact that their lecturers do not know everything; the students sometimes became their lecturers’ teacher to explain their professional knowledge. Later, everything got easier. One advantage of teaching and studying ESP is that students have felt interested in the subject. They have a thirst for acquiring ESP to facilitate their future job. They have worked hard when learning ESP. They have chances to discuss their professional knowledge in English class. They love their professional knowledge, indeed. Noticeably, the lecturers have worked as guides to students when they teach ESP. ESP has been taught to supply students with basic ESP vocabulary; having mastered the ESP course, students then can read ESP materials for their own research. For the years to come, the lecturers need to reedit their ESP materials so that ESP is becoming an interesting subject at HNUE to all students. II.1.3. Using computers in ESP teaching and learning at HNUE As a lecturer of ESP group from the Faculty of English, the researcher has taught ESP for two years. Therefore, the author knows the real situation of teaching and learning ESP with IT at HNUE. Although IT has been applied in teaching and learning at HNUE for certain time, ESP has not been taught with IT. It is because it takes time and money to prepare ESP lectures with IT. The cause is partly the shortage of LCD projectors. A lecture with IT cannot be done without a LCD projector. Lecturers can borrow laptops but it is hard to borrow LCD projectors. ESP should be taught with IT because lecturers can show students colorful photos or films related to their professional topics to make the lectures much more exciting and up-to-date. The writer, thus, has done this short research for the future. Nowadays, almost all students know how to surf the Internet. Internet has been used for various purposes including learning. Students can learn ESP by searching and collecting professional information on the Internet. Then, they read and translate the materials to update professional information. However, it is a little difficult for non-English-major students to collect and translate ESP materials because of their limited proficiency of English. At HNUE, the non-English-major students rarely search ESP information on the Internet for study; they often search their professional information in Vietnamese. Hopefully, the students at HNUE are becoming interested in searching ESP materials with their lecturers’ assistance and ESP lectures are being taught with IT. Then, ESP is likely to be an attracting subject. II.2. Procedure II.2.1. Research methodology II.2.1.1. A descriptive case study The writer has taught reading English for Biology with IT for 2nd-year students at the Faculty of Agro-biology as a case study. Two lessons were prepared on the computer and taught with a LCD projector in class. Forty-five students were present at the lessons. To prepare for the lectures, the writer collected photos and films and typed her lectures with Microsoft Powerpoint software. The materials sources were the Internet, newspapers, magazines and books. The students were assigned to search and collect information of the two topics (Animals and Human heart) in groups in advance. Then, they took the collected materials to class for discussion. After the two lessons, the students were asked to answer some survey questions so that the result and efficiency of the lessons are then evaluated. II.2.1.2. Methods of data collection The researcher has collected data by two ways: students’ questionnaires teachers’ interviews The students’ questionnaire has got 10 multiple choice questions. There are three parts in the questionnaire: personal information, teaching and learning. The questionnaire was designed to facilitate later data analysis. The students’ questionnaire is the more important because it is the main way to evaluate the efficiency of teaching and learning reading ESP with IT. The students themselves assess the efficiency of teaching and learning ESP truthfully. The teachers’ interviews contribute to the efficiency assessment of teaching and learning reading ESP with IT. The teachers or lecturers who have taught reading English for Biology were interviewed about the efficiency of teaching and learning reading ESP with IT. If the efficiency is very good, the teachers should teach reading ESP with IT; if the result is not very good, they should manage to make it better. The teacher is the first factor for the success of the lessons. She prepares the lesson and does the teaching in class with her own method of teaching. Both the students and teachers were asked so that the research is done objectively and the result is right for common situations. II.2.2. Data analysis II.2.2.1. Data analysis of the students’ questionnaire The students’ questionnaire was for collecting students’ opinions of teaching and learning reading English for Biology with IT. II.2.2.1.1. Students’ personal information The total number of students in this research was 45 and all of them were in the same class. Among them, only 6 were male; the other 39 were female. Their ages were from 20 to 23. They had from 2 to 11 years experience in learning English. The following are the tables with details of the students’ gender and learning experience. Of 45 students, only 6 students were male with 13%. 39 students (87%) were female. The rate of gender was not balanced. It is the common situation among the universities training teachers. Male Female 6 39 13% 87% Table 1. Respondents’ gender A bigger number of students (58%) had 6 to 11 years of learning English; 42% of the students had 2 to 5 years of learning English. Most of them had learnt English before they entered HNUE. That is a big advantage for teaching and learning ESP. 2-5 years 6-11 years 19 26 42% 58% Table 2. Respondents’ learning experience The researcher asked the students’ ages, gender and learning English experience in order to analyze the data collected basing on these categories. II.2.2.1.2. Teaching evaluation The second part of the questionnaire is Teaching. There are 6 questions designed for this part. Question 1. When studying ESP, which skill is the most important in your personal opinion? A. reading B. speaking C. listening D. writing Chart 1. The most important skill As it can be seen from the chart, the students have different opinions about the most important skill when they study ESP. It means that some of them do not know exactly what skill ESP develops most. Nearly half of the students (49%) thought reading is by far the most important skill. A smaller number (22%) believed it is writing. 16% thought it is listening; whereas 13% said it is speaking. However, it is lucky that nearly half of the students could recognize what they were taught in ESP. The Faculty of English designed the ESP course mainly for developing students’ reading skill. Question 2. Which form of the presentation of an ESP reading lesson applied by the teacher do you prefer to study? A. A lesson with a blackboard and pieces of chalk B. A lesson with a computer and a LCD projector If the answer is B, why? (More than 1 answer can be circled.) The screen is colourful. The lesson is illustrated with a lot of pictures. I don’t have to write a lot. The lecture is more understandable. Question 2 has only two answers, A or B. Surprisingly, a large number of students chose B. The proportion is 93%. That means that most of them would like to learn ESP with IT. Only 7% said they liked the traditional form of presentation, with a blackboard and pieces of chalk. Chart 2. Form of presentation The students liked to learn ESP with IT for some reasons. Here is the data of the reasons. B D A,B,D B,D A,B A,D A,B,C,D 6 4 11 12 3 3 1 15% 10% 27.5% 30% 7.5% 7.5% 2.5% Table 3. Reasons for learning ESP with IT The students liked learning ESP with IT mainly because the lesson is illustrated with a lot of pictures and the lecture is more understandable and the screen is colourful. The researcher is happy when the 77.5% of the respondents said that the lecture was more understandable when it is taught with IT. It is the researcher’s real aim of teaching ESP with IT. Question 3. What do you like most about an ESP reading lesson with a computer and a LCD projector? The screen is colourful. The lesson is illustrated with a lot of pictures. I don’t have to write a lot. The lecture is more understandable. Some students could not determine what the main reason that they liked learning ESP with IT, so they chose 2, 3 or 4 answers for this question. It is glad to see that 31.1% said it was because the lecture was more understandable. However, more than the above mentioned figure of students (33.4%) liked the lecture only because it was illustrated with a lot of photos. Thus, it can be inferred that sometimes students like learning only because they have a chance to look at photos or see films during the lecture. Those students thought understanding the lecture is not as important as satisfying their eyes and ears with photos or films. 17.8% liked the lecture because of both its efficiency and illustration with photos or films. One common opinion can be drawn: “Students like to learn when the lecture is vivid and understandable”. The teachers who teach ESP should know this opinion to improve their methods of teaching with IT. A B C D A,B,D C,D B,D A,B,C,D 2 15 2 14 2 1 8 1 4.5% 33.4% 4.5% 31.1% 4.5% 2.2% 17.8% 2.2% Table 4. The main reason for learning ESP with IT Question 4. In your opinion, how effective is a reading-English-for-Biology lesson with IT? A. very effective B. not very effective C. effective D. not effective More than half (60%) of the respondents thought a reading-English-for-Biology lesson is effective; 29% believed the lesson is very effective. It means that 89% thought the lesson is effective. Only 11% said it is not very effective. The data has reflected the real efficiency of teaching ESP reading with IT. If all the lectures of teaching ESP reading are taught with IT, the efficiency will be much higher. Chart 3. Efficiency of a reading-English-for-Biology lesson with IT For the number of learning-English years, more students (18) with more learning experience (6-11 years) found a reading-English-for-Biology lecture effective; while only 9 with fewer learning-English years (2-5 years) thought the lecture is effective. The same number of students (7 with 2-5 years and 7 with 6-11 years) believed the lecture is very effective. Much fewer students thought the lecture is not very effective: 3 with 2-5 years and 2 with 6-11 years. It can be seen that students with more learning-English years found a reading-English-for-Biology lecture more effective. Chart 4. Efficiency of a reading-English-for-Biology lesson with IT (years’ learning English) Question 5. Do you find it more understandable when the ESP reading text is recorded and read loudly in class from the computer? A. Yes B. No One good point is that the teacher can make use of the computer to prepare an ESP lecture. The reading text can be read and recorded before the teaching performance, then be played in class for students to listen to and read at the same time. As a result, students are able to develop listening comprehension skill, as well. They can learn the pronunciation and intonation simultaneously. Most of the students (80%) thought the lecture will be more understandable when they listen to the recorded reading text from the computer. The others (20%) did not think so. Perhaps they believed that it is not important whether the reading text is recorded and played or not. Chart 5. Playing recorded ESP reading text Question 6. What skills does a teacher need to have if (s)he wants to teach ESP reading with IT? (More than 1 answer can be circled.) A. (S)he must know how to use ESP studying softwares B. (S)he must know how to operate a computer and a LCD projector C. (S)he must know how to search information on the Internet D. All A, B and C E.Other:…………………………………………………………………... …………………………………………………………………………… Most of the students (64%) chose D as the answer. They believed that a teacher needs to know how to use ESP studying softwares, how to operate a computer and a LCD projector and how to search information on the Internet. It means that the teacher should have comprehensive skills of computers and technique if (s)he wants to teach with IT. 11% thought, besides the above said skills, the teacher should have other skills such as: having good knowledge of ESP and professional vocabulary, having good communication skills, having a creative method of teaching or being good at instructing students to get used to the new method of teaching with IT. Obviously, the students expect their teacher to be good at all the necessarily demanded techniques, ESP and communication skills. In other words, the teacher should be good, creative and dynamic. Hence, the teacher needs to learn and improve his/ her knowledge and skills quite a lot before applying the new method of teaching ESP with IT. The good news is that almost all the teachers from the Faculty of English are literate at computer skills. They are always ready to acquire new technology and innovate their methods of teaching. Moreover, most of them are young, so it is easy for them to study new knowledge. B C D E A,B,D D,E A,B A,D A,C 1 2 29 1 2 5 2 1 2 2.2% 4.5% 64.4% 2.2% 4.5% 11% 4.5% 2.2% 4.5% Table 5. The teacher’s skills II.2.2.1.3. Studying evaluation The third part in the questionnaire is Studying. The researcher aims at finding out how ready the students are for the new method of teaching ESP with IT. The data collected shows surprising information of the students’ study. Question 7. Do you often search information on the Internet? A. Yes B. No Chart 5 shows that 38% of the students often search information on the Internet; whereas 62% said they don’t. 62% surf the Internet, but for other purposes such as chatting, checking e-mail, entertaining themselves by listening to music, watching movies, reading stories/ e-newspapers, etc. The Internet is an enormous source of information, so the students should make a full use of the information. Therefore, the teacher should assign them tasks of collecting ESP information for the lectures. Chart 6. Frequency of searching information on the Internet Question 8. Do you often search information from articles in English on the Internet? A. Yes B. No It is really bad news that only 13% of the respondents chose A as their answer. The students rarely look for information from articles in English. Maybe they are not good at English, so they find it difficult and uninteresting to search such kind of information. It is the common situation among non-English-major students. 87% said they don’t often search information from articles in English on the Internet. To the teachers of English, this is sad news. It means that the teachers have to make effort to instruct and encourage students to form steadily the habit of searching information in English on the Internet. Chart 7. Frequency of searching information in English on the Internet Question 9. How difficult is it to search information about an ESP

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