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Action Research Essay

Abstract
This research is conducted to find out whether the use of CALL can boost students’ level of confidence in learning English. CALL is one of the methods used by teachers to facilitate students learning. Quantitative approach is selected to conduct the study. Survey is distributed to form four 15 male and 15 female students of SMK Sultan Abdul Aziz. CALL is proven to help students increase their level of confidence in learning English. Therefore, teachers can maximize the use of CALL in their teaching. Keywords: Computer-assisted language learning, confidence, English Chapter 1:Introduction

1.1 Introduction
The development of technology has given huge impact to the advancement of instructional technology in education. Therefore, many researchers have been conducted to investigate the effectiveness of computer usage in teaching and learning process. In this 21st century, most of the teachers use Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) as one of the teaching pedagogy to facilitate students’ need in learning second language.

Students especially in rural areas have lack of confidence in using English as their second language. One of the major concern is they are afraid of making mistakes either in speaking or written language. So, teachers should use different kinds of approach to overcome this issue. One of the approaches is by using CALL during teaching and learning process. Therefore, the need of this study is to find out the usage of CALL in boosting students’ confidence level.

1.2 Background of the study
In learning second language, it is essential to have high confidence in using the language. According to a school teacher of SK Dato’ Laksamana Raja Mahkota in Teluk Intan, the biggest problem faced by her in teaching English is lack of confidence among students. Students are reluctant to communicate in English, especially in conducting activity that requires them to use the language. Without confidence, students may have difficulties in using English either in speaking or writing. Students with low confidence level need new methodology to motivate them do well in learning English. According to Liton Weili Xu (n.d), the usage of CALL indicates that second language students can benefit from greater confidence and motivation given the opportunity to communicate with varied audiences.

1.3 Statement of the problem

Many researchers have mentioned about the usage of CALL to boost students’ confidence level. However, there was little empirical study on the usage of CALL to boost confidence level among secondary school students. Advances in technology now allow students in secondary schools to be connected to one another beyond the four walls of the classroom. Students can interact through online discussion with other students from around the world. They can access huge amounts of information in seconds. They can share experiences through video, still image, online blogs, chat rooms and messaging sites by using English language. It is such a waste if teachers miss out on opportunities to motivate the students unless they take advantage of the use of technology in the classroom. The more students can share real experiences in the target language, the more their confidence will grow.

1.4 Research Objective

For this study, the objectives are as follows:
1. To identify preferred platforms used by the students in learning English. 2. To investigate the role of technology in boosting students’ confidence level in learning English. 3. To find out the difference between male and female students’ confidence level in using CALL.

1.5 Research question
For this study, the researchers seek to answer these research questions which are as follow: 1. What are the preferred platforms of technology used by students in learning English? 2. Do students find technology helpful in boosting their confidence in learning English? 3. Is there any difference between male and female students’ confidence level in using CALL?

1.6 Significance of the study
Many students find it hard to learn English because it is not their mother tongue. They are also not confident to use the language and participate in class activity. The teaching of English language should be in a way that can boost their confidence and interesting. Therefore, this study regarding the use of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) in teaching English might help students to build their confidence in using the language.

1.7 Limitations
The limitations of this study are as follows:
1) This study will involve limited number of students from one of the schools in Teluk Intan, Perak. 2) This study will be conducted in limited time which is only two months. 3) The questionnaire will be distributed online through Facebook message which may create a barrier between researcher and respondent.

1.8 Definition of terms
In this study, there are several terms that have been used which are: Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL)
Michael Levy (1997) defined Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) as “the search for and study of applications of the computer in language teaching and learning” (p. 1). CALL involves the use of computer as instructional technology to teach students. Jones and Fortescue (1987) also mentioned in their study that computer is a flexible classroom aid which is very useful for both teachers and learners (as cited in Nzh Gunduz, 2005). The usage of CALL in classroom can help students to learn the language better in a different environment. Teachers can apply interesting approaches or strategies while teaching with the help from computer.

Confidence
Sieler (1998) defined confidence as an individual’s feature (a self-construct) which leads a person to possess a positive view of themselves or situations that they are in (as cited in Maizam Alias &Nurul Aini Hafizah Mohd Hafir, 2009). Every student has different level of confidence in their learning process. Some of them may have high confidence and some have low. As mentioned by Stevens (2005), self-confidence refers to “a person’s expectation of his or her ability to achieve a goal in a given situation” (p.1). Therefore, in order to learn better, students need to have a good expectation of themselves which means to have great confidence. 1.9 Conclusion

This chapter elaborates background, objectives, significance and limitation of the study. This chapter also addresses on the importance of using CALL in language teaching and learning. It is hoped that the usage of CALL will help students to overcome their problems in gaining self-confidence in learning English language. The next chapter will discuss on the findings from previous researchers. Chapter 2: Literature Review

There are vast opportunities for the use of computer assisted language learning (CALL) to assist second language (L2) learners in the classroom. Lee (2000) noted that “Although the potential of the Internet for educational use has not been fully explored yet and the average school still makes limited use of computers, it is obvious that we have entered a new information age in which links between technology and TESL have already been established”(p.1).

Learning another language is a difficult task and advances in slow, steady increments. Almekhlafi (2006) investigated student attitudes with regard to the effectiveness of CALL. He found: CALL users had a positive attitude toward using CALL and had a high intention and satisfaction to use it in the future due to their perception of its utility and educational benefits. Results also showed a high self-perception of knowledge gain as a result of using CALL (p.134).

Furthermore, it is suggested by Trites (2006) that asynchronous communication activities such as email, blogs and key-pal activities can boost student confidence by providing them the opportunity to slow down oral-like exchanges. Students can self-correct, use dictionaries, and take time to search for the right words or for reflection. In addition, most language teachers face the same big problem, which is to get students to respond in a classroom, perhaps because they have no confidence in responding to the teachers and afraid of making mistakes. Therefore, CALL is used to enhance confidence level of the students. According to Ducate & Lomicka (2005), he concluded that shy students may feel more comfortable in the relatively anonymous and equalizing environment of blogs and may therefore be more willing to share their comments with classmates.

It is supported by Hata (2003), who claimed that CALL “allows collaborative learning activities, encourages participants to take active roles in communication, allows participants to have control over their learning, facilitates negotiation of meaning between students and encourages students to be less self-conscious of their language”(p.117). McIntosh (2005) experimented with an action research project designed to test whether techniques in information and communications technology (ICT) could provide more extension for stronger pupils, to stretch their abilities in language. McIntosh indicates, “Several new ‘social technologies’ can improve writing and reading skills, as well as encouraging higher order thinking skills” (Personal blog, September 30, 2005).

Studies have shown that students are comfortable using CALL technology and feel that it is beneficial to their learning. Many of the applications create an environment where language production and analysis are slowed down, thereby giving students more opportunity to self-pace and self-correct. Furthermore, CALL technology provides a venue where shy students have equal opportunity for participation and do not have to be aggressive to be heard. Students may be more likely to be active participants in the learning process. As a result, they will have more confidence in using English Language in their daily life.

Wen-chi Vivian Wu, Ling Ling Yen and Michael Marek (2011) mentioned in their research paper that technology such as computer helps people to interact wherever they are. It just depends on the willingness of people to either use it or not as for example in the world of education where educators can use part of technology as a learning tool. Fresen (2007) also supported the idea of using technology in teaching by stating that the choices of technology is one of the factors in fostering students’ active learning (as cited in Wen-chi Vivian Wu, Ling Ling Yen & Michael Mare, 2011). The use of computer assisted language learning (CALL) such as video conferencing can help students to have real communication which can make them use English regularly (Wen-chi Vivian Wu, Ling Ling Yen & Michael Mare, 2011).

This can make students to feel confident in using English language. It has been supported by Ortega (2009) in which he mentioned that the use of CALL for learning boost students’ confidence in using English (as cited in Wen-chi Vivian Wu, Ling Ling Yen & Michael Mare, 2011). As Reza Dashtestani (2012) said in his journal, there have been changes in educational context whereby students have great interest in the application of computers and technology. With the developments of educational tools, language teachers are trying new ways to integrate technology into teaching methodology. Over a certain period, computer assisted language learning (CALL) become one of the method to replace traditional method of teaching. However, the question is whether the use of CALL is beneficial to boost students’ confidence level. Many studies have examined CALL as an approach to second language instruction. Basically, learners are more motivated in learning when they the process or learning is enjoyable. Students’ confidence level can be seen whether they are willing to communicate in using English language.

Often time, learners refused to use English language because of embarrassed about making mistakes and lack of fluency. According to Lee (2000), Warschauer and Healey (1998) in research done by Ferit (2013), using CALL in teaching can support learning in variety of ways, enable pair and group work, promote global learning, enhance students achievement and confidence, create opportunities to treasure from various sources and motivate learners. However, to achieve positive result of using CALL, competent teachers that are equipped with skills and strategies were needed to integrate the used of CALL in the classroom.

In the research, the respondents got excited and motivated when the teachers introduced blogs and wikis to them in learning writing skills. They felt confident to write and express themselves using English language and willing to correct the mistakes done. The teacher used Voice Thread website by recording voice to teach speaking skills. This method encouraged the learners to speak rather than speaking in front of the class. They refused to use English language in front of their friends because lack of confidence and they think their friends will laugh at them. So, the teacher shifted to new method to boost their confidence in using English language.

As mentioned by Kung (2002), it has been recognized by educators that utilizing Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) programs can lead to independent and collaborative learning environments as well as allow students to have language experiences as they acquire their second language which consists of different stages. Computer technology or computer assisted language learning programs can be stimuli for second language learning where it can promote learning motivation (Lee, 2000; Taylor, 1980).

It was proposed by Cheng-Chieh Lai and Kritsonis (2006) that “through various communicative and interactive activities, computer technology can help second language learners strengthen their linguistic skills, affect their learning attitude, and build their self-instruction strategies and self-confidence” (p. 2). Computer technology nowadays provides many benefits for second language learning where it allows learners to become independent and work on their learning material by themselves (Rost, 2002). According to Robertson, Ladewig, Strickland, and Boschung (1987), participants who are involved with computer assisted language learning programs had significantly higher self-esteem ratings than regular students.

With the rapid development of technology in this globalized era, Cheng-Chieh Lai and Kritsonis (2006) also stated that:

Computers can capture, analyze, and present data on second language students’ performances during the learning process. As we know, observing and checking students’ learning progress are very important activities to help students achieve their second language acquisition (p. 3).

Furthermore, technology helps students to learn grammar and writing. According to Thanawan Suthiwartnarueput and Punchalee Wasanasomsithi (2012), the researchers claimed that the students in Thailand had positive attitudes toward using Facebook as a means of learning grammar and writing because Facebook provided them a convenient and attractive means to engage in discussions with the teacher and other users who had better grammatical knowledge. They also claimed that students can construct new knowledge after they interact with other people on Facebook. When students receive comments and suggestions, they can use the information given to improve their language skills.

But, as for Abeer H. Malkawi (2010), the students did not depend much on tape recorder to learn English language skills. According to the researcher, the presence of a teacher in a classroom is considered among the most important and they did not put technology as the main source of learning English. Moreover, Lenka Temerová (2007) claimed that the students did not feel confident to speak in English even after they listen to different accents of the language. The embarrassment is usually caused by students’ inability to adjust to native speakers’ speech.

Some studies were conducted to see the difference of level of confidence between male and female in using CALL. There is a study done by Comber, Colley, Hargreaves, and Dorn (1997) where they found out that male possessed more positive attitudes and confidence more than female.

Chapter 3: Methodology
3.1 Introduction
The purpose of this study is to find out the usage of CALL in boosting students’ confidence level. For this study, the researchers seek to answer these research questions which are as follow: 1. What are the preferred platforms of technology used by students in learning English? 2. Do students find technology helpful in boosting their confidence in learning English? 3. Is there any difference between male and female students’ confidence level in using CALL? 3.2 Research Design

This study will be conducted using quantitative method. Researches will distribute questionnaires to secondary school students to know whether the usage of CALL can increase their confidence level in learning English Language. Researchers plan to use this method because it involves numerical data which later can be calculated easily. 3.3 Population and sampling

The researchers use non probability sampling; which is convenience sampling. The sample of this study consists of 30 Form Four students of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Abdul Aziz, Teluk Intan Perak. 3.4 Method of data collection

The questionnaires were distributed through online, which is Facebook private message. Researcher used Facebook because it saves time, energy and cost. Besides, researcher found that it would be easier for respondents to answer the questionnaire through online.

3.5 Instrumentation

Researcher used a set of survey for this study. It was adapted from various researchers; Jenny Brooks, Jia-Chyi Chu, Laura Marquez, Leticia Parsons & Nan Zhang (n.d.) and Dogan Bulut & Ali Farhan Munify Abuseileek (2007). According to Moras (2001), as cited in research done by Sanja Seljan, Norbert Berger, Zdravko Dovedan, there are three phases of CALL. In this study, the researchers adapted questionnaires from various researchers that only focused on two phases, which were Communicative approach and Integrative approach. The Communicative approach focuses skill practice in a non-drill format, such as language games, reading, and text reconstruction. Meanwhile, the Integrative CALL approach is based on multimedia computers and the Internet that combine text, graphics, sound, animation and video.

The survey used consists of three sections which were demographic background, section A, and section B. Demographic background is a survey on respondent’s information. Items that had to be filled by respondents are age, school and gender. Section A consists of five general questions about Computer-Assisted Language Learning. Meanwhile, in section B, respondents were required to make a choice based on the level of their agreement. The level of agreement comprised of five stages, 1-strongly disagree, 2-disagree, 3-average, 4-agree, and 5-strongly agree. Section B consists of four questions for each skill in language (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). The questions in this survey were designed based on research questions.

3.6 Validity and Reliability
This research used a new developed questionnaire whereby the researchers look into few aspects which are listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The validity of the questionnaire was tested in terms of face validity. Face validity involves process of survey pre-testing to avoid misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the items. The pre-test was conducted and the result showed that the items do not violate face validity. This proves that the respondents did not misunderstand the questionnaire. So, this research survey was shown to have high validity.

Meanwhile, the reliability of the questionnaire was measured by conducting a pre-test survey to students. A set of questionnaires was distributed to examine the reliability of the items which consists of items that are similar but have different wording. The result of the pre-test was found to be incoherent because the respondents gave different answers for the similar items. Therefore, the items were reviewed and modified in order to increase the reliability of the items.

3.7 Pilot Study

The questionnaire was piloted to ten students from Kuliyyah of Engineering in IIUM. The respondents were briefed by researchers about the purpose and way to answer the survey. They were given 15 minutes to complete the survey. The survey was conducted at Kuliyyah of Architecture and Design cafe during lunch hour. The data collected from the survey was tabulated and analyzed using SPSS to determine the validity and reliability of the questionnaires. Due to small sample size of respondents, the Cronbach Alpha was found to be 0.6α

3.8 Data Collection Procedures and time frame
The research began in April until June 2014. It took approximately two months to complete this research. This research used survey as the instrument for data collection. It took several procedures which were getting consent from respondents, briefing about the details of the survey, distributing the survey through online and collecting the data.

3.9 Data Analysis Plan

This research consists of three research questions. The first research question is “What are the preferred platforms of technology used by students in learning English?” The data was analyzed by using Microsoft Excel to see the highest percentage of platform preferred chosen by the respondents. The data was visualized by using bar graph. The second research question is “Do students find technology helpful in boosting their confidence in learning English?” The items which addressed this research question were constructed using Likert scale ranging from one to five (strongly disagree to strongly agree). For this research question, the researcher focused on the answer from the respondents which range from four to five because the researcher want to know whether CALL helps to boost students’ confidence level in learning English.

The data was illustrated in bar graph by using Microsoft Excel. The third research question is “Is there any difference between male and female students’ confidence level in using CALL?” The data was analyzed according to gender to see the differences between male and female students ‘confidence level in using CALL. The researcher used the same result from second research question and observed if there is any difference between male and female respondents of their preference in answering the items given. The result that was shown in the bar graph will determine their level of confidence. Chapter 4: Findings

Research Question 1: What are the preferred platforms of technology used by students in learning English?

Figure 1 Figure 1 showed that 20 out of 30 respondents chose Facebook as their platform in learning English. That took up 66.67% of the respondents. Skype and other platform took up the least number of respondents, with one respondent respectively, which carried 3.33 % of the sample.

Research Question 2: Do students find technology helpful in boosting their confidence in learning English?

Figure 2
Figure 2 showed three items in the survey which addressed the research question two. The first item is “I feel confident to use tape recorders in listening classes”. As for the first item, 13 out of 30 which is 43.33% of the respondents agreed that tape recorders help them to be confident in listening class. That was the highest number of preferred answer by the respondents. Meanwhile only seven respondents did not feel confident using tape recorders in listening class that comprises 23.33% of the sample. The second item is “I feel confident to speak after listening to different accents from English movies”.

As for the second item, 20 out of 30 which is 66.67% of the respondents agreed that they feel confident to speak in English after listening to different accent of English native speakers. Meanwhile only four respondents did not feel confident to speak after listening to different accent of English native speakers that comprises 13.33% of the sample. The third item in the survey is “Chatting using social network helps me write better in English”. As for the second item, 24 out of 30 which is 80% of the respondents claimed that chatting helps them to write better in English. Meanwhile only eight respondents which is 26.67% disagree that chatting helps them to write better in English.

Research Question 3: Is there any difference between male and female students’ confidence level in using CALL?

Figure3
Figure 3 showed the difference of answers given by both respondents male and female. According to the figure, 27 male respondents agreed that they had high level of confidence in using CALL. Meanwhile, 7 of them did not have the confidence in using CALL. As for female respondents, there were also 27 of them who had high level of confidence in using CALL. Meanwhile, there were 6 female respondents who did not have the confidence in using CALL. So, the level of confidence between male and female was slightly different because there was more number of male respondents who disagreed that they had confidence in using CALL.

Chapter 5: Discussions
The research showed that the respondents’ preferred platforms of technology in learning English is Facebook. This result is parallel with the previous research done by Thanawan Suthiwartnarueput and Punchalee Wasanasomsithi (2012). They claimed that the students in Thailand had positive attitudes toward using Facebook as a means of learning grammar and writing because Facebook provided them a convenient and attractive means to engage in discussions with the teacher and other users who had better grammatical knowledge.

This research also proved that students find technology helpful in boosting their confidence in learning English. They felt confident to use tape recorder in listening class. This result contradicts with the previous research done by Abeer H. Malkawi (2010). According to her research, the dependence on tape recorder to learn English language skills is low. The author believes that these statistics are disappointing as the percentage of those using tape recorder should be higher since this method is easy to use, has low cost to own, and it can be easy moved from one place to another. Moreover, using the tape recorder can help students record their own statements and hear again. It is unfortunate that the methods of radio and tape recorder are not well-used although they have so many benefits in helping students improve their listening comprehension. The presence of a teacher in a classroom is considered among the most important.

Besides, the respondents felt confident to speak after listening to different accents from English movies. This result contradicts with the previous research done by Lenka Temerová (2007). According to the researcher, the students did not feel confident even after they listen to different accents of English. The embarrassment is usually caused by students’ inability to adjust to native speakers’ speech.

The respondents also agreed that chatting using social network helps them to write better in English. This result is parallel with the previous research done by Thanawan Suthiwartnarueput and Punchalee Wasanasomsithi (2012). According to the researchers, students can construct new knowledge after they interact with other people on Facebook. When students receive comments and suggestions, they can use the information given to improve their language skills.

The findings also suggested that there is a slight difference between male and female students’ confidence level in using CALL. There was more number of male respondents who disagreed that they had confidence in using CALL. This was contradicted with the previous study done by Comber, Colley, Hargreaves, and Dorn (1997) where they found out that male possessed more positive attitudes and confidence more than female.

Chapter 6: Conclusion
In conclusion, CALL is proven to be helpful in boosting students’ confidence level in learning English. Although this research was limited by the small convenience sample and time constraint, the information about the use of CALL could be important for educators who develop educational programs also for students to perform better in English language. The findings of this study suggest that additional works needs to be done on to replicate and extend the study on CALL and students’ confidence level in learning English in other schools. Even if the current finding was stronger, it would be difficult to generalize the finding to other schools.

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