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Dear students of Research Methodology,
I cordially invite you to read the synthesis of a research problem statement written by a candidate
student of the Bachelor in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Her name is Diana Benavides
and she gave me the authorization to share with you just a part of her project (since I am her
Evidences of the difficulties students of sixth graders at José Manuel Marroquín
School face, correspond to the situations I identified through classroom observation,
that besides provide sustainable arguments to define the research problem.
Observational data collected in appendixes (1A and 1B) puts into evidence how the
English learning process is focused on a guidebook; students just develop filling in the
gaps exercises almost every day, some classes make emphasis on translation and
Grammar aspects of the language and students express they do not like this type of
classroom environment. Teacher is still the center of the process and students’ role is
passive and receptive.
Thus, the needs analysis in sixth grade carried out by means of appendixes (1A) and
(1B) and allowed me to identify that:
Language learning is decontextualized of students’ reality. It means that students
are given patterns of the language in isolation.
There are few opportunities for students to interact among each other, since their
current teacher prefers students to work individually.
Students use mother tongue almost all the time in the English class, it is to say
that L1 is predominant in the development of the English classes, and there is a
tendency of translation when teacher speaks in English.
The materials in the English classroom do not go beyond notebooks and books.
Moreover, students do not feel involved in the development of the English lessons
since there is not a connection between the language learning process of this group
of sixth graders and their own interests as students and teenagers. Currently students
are exposed to repetitive English lessons and translation is the method to conduct
the sixth graders lessons in the foreign language. (See appendixes 1A and 1B).
Contrary to what happens on their technology class. Although these classes are
focused on repetitive drills, they feel a kind of freedom to get in contact with their
interests through the computer world (See Appendix 1C).
The student describes the specific
context where she identified her
The student provides evidences obtained
in the language classroom.
The student defines and describes clearly the arguments that support the research problem
statement. Such arguments provide evidences of a language research problem and justify the
development of a research project.
CLASSROOM OBSERVATION FORMAT
[Based on Language teaching observation scheme by Spada and Frohlich’s (1995)]
School: José Manuel Marroquín Grade: Sixth grade Date: April the 2nd
Teacher: Ana María Blanco. Number of students: 27 Observer: Diana Benavides López.
1. Time: 50 minutes
2. Activity type description: Listening and reading comprehension exercise from their guidebook “Introducing themselves”. Later, a filling the gaps exercise on their
notebooks about 10 sentences using the present of verb “To be” and self-Introduction information such as where are you from?, what is your nationality?
3. Participating organization:
Individually. Teacher expresses she dislikes students to work in groups due to students’ indiscipline in the English classroom.
4. Management of the class: (Discipline and procedure)
Discipline is acceptable. They pay attention to the teachers’ instructions and follow them quietly. Participation and English interaction are not promoted. Teacher expresses
she must work on students’ guidebook and notebook in order to have evidences on their progress. She also states interaction is a secondary factor, since the bimonthly
assessment is designed just focus on filling the gaps with multiple choice questions with only one answer. It explains the dynamic of the development of the activities in the
Language content: Present of verb “To be”.
Other topics: Introducing themselves and others.
Topic control: (who): Teacher X Student ___ teacher/student ___
6. Student modality:
There is a dependence on teachers’ feedback and guidance. Autonomy and collaborative work is not evidence. They are reluctant to write and do mechanic and repetitive
exercises on both their books and notebooks. Some of them expresses the class is not attractive or dynamic. The way they are organized in the classroom is linear, and
discipline is more important than interacting or sharing knowledge together. Teacher prefers they be quiet and silent.
Type: Guidebook, notebooks, CD Player.
Use: According to their English teacher, to practice the present of verb “To be”.
8. Annotations: There is a tendency to translation. They do not use the target language since L1 is predominant in the class in both the teacher and the students.: Students
ask questions in Spanish and teacher answers them in Spanish too. There is a passive role on students. They expressed their interest of including technology in their English
lessons and topics of their interest.
The student organizes evidences by
describing the school, the group of
participants and specific information about
the language classroom.
The student provides evidences
obtained in the language classroom.