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PHẠM THU HÀ
11th FORM STUDENTS’ MOTIVATION FOR DOING ENGLISH HOMEWORK AT NGUYEN GIA THIEU HIGH SCHOOL
SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF THE BACHELOR OF ARTS (TELF)
Hanoi, May 2011
VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES FACULTY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHER EDUCATION
PHẠM THU HÀ
11th FORM STUDENTS’ MOTIVATION FOR DOING ENGLISH HOMEWORK AT NGUYEN GIA THIEU HIGH SCHOOL
SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF THE BACHELOR OF ARTS (TELF)
SUPERVISOR: PHAM MINH TAM, M.Ed.
Hanoi, May 2011
I hereby state that I: Pham Thu Ha, from 07.1.E1, being a candidate for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (TEFL) accept the requirements of the College relating to the retention and use of Bachelor’s Graduation Paper deposited in the library. In terms of these conditions, I agree that the origin of my paper deposited in the library should be accessible for the purposes of study and research, in accordance with the normal conditions established by the librarian for the care, loan or reproduction of the paper. Signature
May 23rd, 2011
To complete this graduation paper, I owe profound indebtedness to many people, without whose enthusiastic support I would not have accomplished it. First of all, I would love to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor Ms. Pham Minh Tam, M.Ed. who has guided and encouraged me during the conduct of my research. Not only has she been my academic supervisor providing professional guidance for this graduation paper, but she has also been a friend and a mentor sharing with me her valuable experience in doing research. Besides, I would like to send my heartfelt thanks to Mr. Le Van Canh, Ph.D. for his generous help with my thesis. Thanks to his critical comments, I was sufficiently orientated towards both the methodology and the substance of this study. Next, I would love to give my sincere thanks to the school board and teachers of English at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School for their assistance so that the data collection procedure of my research was facilitated. Moreover, my words of thanks are also sent to the 11 th form students at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School for their participation in the surveys. Without their cooperation, I would not have been able to complete this thesis. I also own a great debt of gratitude to my beloved parents and friends, who have constantly encouraged me during the time I carried out this research. Last but not least, I would like to thank my readers for their interests and comments on this thesis.
In the light of the 11th form students‟ motivation for doing English homework at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School, this study investigates the extent to which the students are intrinsically and extrinsically motivated and also examines the demotivating factors to the students‟ homework completion. One hundred and thirty six students of grade 11 participated in completing a questionnaire reflecting their motives for doing English homework and what negatively affected their motivation. Follow-up interviews with two students were also conducted to deepen understanding and interpretation of the study. Results showed that the 11th form students in the three surveyed classes had a higher degree of intrinsic motivation than extrinsic one. Contrary to the findings of other related studies, it was the nature of homework but not the teacher that was in the first place in terms of affective factors to the students‟ motivation. On the basis of the findings, some pedagogical implications and recommendations which are of significance to educators, policy makers, researchers as well as teachers and parents were provided. Most broadly, the study suggests that it is necessary that homework tasks be not only relevant to what students have learned in class but also be various and suitable with students‟ levels. Besides, teachers‟ instructions, feedback and grading as well as parents‟ involvement are also important for an effective approach to homework. At last, the results of this study could be hopefully of great benefits for developing teaching and learning English at Nguyen Gia Thieu High Schools as well as other ones in Vietnam.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................... i ABSTRACT .......................................................................................................... ii LIST OF TABLES, FIGURES AND ABBREVIATIONS.............................. vi CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION 1.1. Statement of the problem and rationale for the study..................................... 1 1.2. Aims and objectives of the study .................................................................... 3 1.3. Significance of the study................................................................................. 3 1.4. Scope of the study ........................................................................................... 4 1.5. Organization of the study................................................................................ 5 CHAPTER 2 - LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1. Learner‟s Motivation in Language Learning ................................................ 7 2.1.1. Definitions of Learner‟s Motivation .................................................. 7 2.1.2. Classification of Learner‟s Motivation .............................................. 8 2.1.3. Roles of Learner‟s Motivation in Language Learning ..................... 11 2.1.4. Factors Demotivating Language Learning ....................................... 13 2.2. Homework in Language Learning ............................................................... 15 2.2.1. Definitions of Homework ................................................................. 15 2.2.2. Classification of Homework ............................................................. 16 2.2.3. Roles of Homework.......................................................................... 20 2.3. Motivating Students to Do Homework ........................................................ 23 2.3.1. Characteristics of Motivating Homework ........................................ 23 2.3.2. Factors Affecting Student‟s Motivation for Doing Homework ....... 26 2.4. Related Studies ............................................................................................. 29 2.5. Conclusive Remarks .................................................................................... 32
CHAPTER 3 - METHODOLOGY 3.1. Research Context .......................................................................................... 34 3.2. Research Questions ....................................................................................... 37 3.3. Research Approach ....................................................................................... 37 3.4. Participants.................................................................................................... 38 3.4.1. Population .......................................................................................... 38 3.4.2. Sampling Strategy .............................................................................. 38 3.4.3. Detailed Descriptions of the Participants........................................... 39 3.5. Research Instruments .................................................................................... 40 3.5.1. Questionnaire ..................................................................................... 40 18.104.22.168. Reasons for Choosing Questionnaire .................................. 40 22.214.171.124. Instrumental Development ................................................... 40 126.96.36.199. Questionnaire Content and Format ....................................... 41 3.5.2. Interviews ........................................................................................... 42 188.8.131.52. Reasons for Choosing Interview........................................... 42 184.108.40.206. Instrumental Development ................................................... 43 220.127.116.11. Interview Content and Format .............................................. 43 3.6. Data Collection Procedure ............................................................................ 44 3.7. Data Analysis Procedure............................................................................... 46 3.8. Conclusive Remarks ..................................................................................... 47 CHAPTER 4 – RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 4.1. Research Question 1 .................................................................................... 49 4.2. Research Question 2 .................................................................................... 57 4.3. Conclusive Remarks ..................................................................................... 62
CHAPTER 5 – PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATIONS 5.1. Well-designed English Homework ............................................................... 63 5.2. Teachers‟ Motivating Approach ................................................................... 65 5.3. Parents‟ Appropriate Involvement ................................................................ 66 5.4. Conclusive Remarks ..................................................................................... 69 CHAPTER 6 – CONCLUSION 6.1. Summary ....................................................................................................... 70 6.1.1. Summary of the Findings ................................................................... 70 6.1.2. Summary of the Implications ............................................................. 72 6.2. Limitations of the Study ............................................................................... 73 6.3. Suggestions for Further Studies .................................................................... 74 REFERENCES................................................................................................... 76 APPENDICES Appendix 1A: Survey Questionnaire – Vietnamese Version .............................. 81 Appendix 1B: Survey Questionnaire – English Version ..................................... 85 Appendix 2A: Interview Schedule – Vietnamese Version .................................. 89 Appendix 2B: Interview Schedule – English Version ......................................... 90 Appendix 3: Transcriptions of the Interviews ..................................................... 91
LISTS OF TABLES, FIGURES AND ABBREVIATIONS
Tables Table 1. Homework Classification (Adapted from PVNCCDSB, 2005) Table 2. Importance of homework (Cowan and Hallam, 1999, cited in Hallam, 2004, p.10) Table 3. Table 4. Importance of homework (Cooper, 1989, p.86) Characteristics of a motivating task (To and Nguyen, 2010, p.29) Table 5. A model of factors influencing the effectiveness of homework (Cooper, 1989, p.87) Table 6. Re-established model of factors affecting motivation for doing homework. Table 7. Table 8. Table 9. Detailed Description of Participants Data collection Procedures The frequency distribution and mean scores of the 10 items on intrinsic motivation (n=136) Table 10. The frequency distribution and mean scores of the 10 items on extrinsic motivation (n=136) Table 11. The mean scores of demotivating factors 60 53 39 44 50 29 27 22 24 21 Page 18
Figures Figure 1. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation (Harter (1982, cited in Spolsky, 1989, p.124) Figure 2. Burden & Byrd's Classification of Homework (2007, adapted from Hunt & Touzel, 2009, p.141) Figure 3. The overall means of students' intrinsic and extrinsic motivation Figure 4. Factors Affecting the Students' Motivation
Abbreviations ELT L2 MoET PVNCCDSB English Language Teaching Second Language Ministry of Educational and Training of Vietnam Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board
CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION
1.1. Statement of the problem and rationale for the study In language teaching and learning, there is no doubt that in-class activities play an essential role in facilitating learner‟s language acquisition through teachers‟ instructions to the target knowledge. However, teacher‟s guidance on learning strategies would not be sufficient for learners to achieve both academic and social skills as long as their self-study outside classroom environment was not guaranteed. It is, therefore, crucial for students to integrate self-study into their learning process. Described as “the intersection between home and school” by Goldstein (2001), it is homework that contributes to establish the significant connection between students‟ self-study and in-class learning. However, homework would not be likely to fulfill any purposes if students did not complete their assignments. In other words, “nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” This famous saying of the American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) leads teachers as well as students to one of the most appealing and complex issues in education, namely motivation. As a basic ingredient of second language (L2) acquisition, motivation has been considered significant since Gardner and Lambert (1972, cited in Gardner, 2010) release a comprehensive summary of the results of a more than ten-year long program. The results of the program show that success in language acquisition depends largely upon the learner‟s affective orientation toward the target culture (Gardner, 1976, cited in Gardner, 2010). Due to its fundamental roles, motivation has been a central area for empirical research and theoretical work within the context of language
learning for decades. Nevertheless, when it particularly comes to the issue of students‟ motivation for doing English homework, few studies are available to address its notion. While the great importance of homework to students‟ achievement has been recognized, students “often exhibit poor motivation and avoidance of academic tasks outside of the school setting” (Anesko & O‟Leary, 1982, as cited in Olympia et al., 1994). In order for homework to “fulfill its place in the learning cycle” (Painter, 2003, p. 11), the need to foster student‟s motivation for doing homework becomes particularly important. In Vietnam, the society has witnessed a heated discussion of the homework issues, however heavily focused on the homework of the elementary education. Many criticisms have been leveled at the homework policy for elementary students while the same issue in the upper secondary education has appeared to be surrounded by silence. In 2008, the Ministry of Educational and Training of Vietnam (MoET) issued the guideline No. 7720/BGDĐT-GDTH indicating that elementary students who were attending the full-day curriculum were not required to do homework. This is the only document regarding homework policy for Vietnamese elementary schools, and no official document of this aspect for high schools can be found in Vietnam. Having said that, the potential benefits of homework remain clearly recognizable to schools, teachers, students and parents in achieving educational goals at the high school level. All the conditions, henceforth, have stimulated the researcher to conduct a study on “11th Form Students’ Motivation for Doing English Homework at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School”. First of all, this study is a serious attempt to carry out an investigation into the 11th form students‟ motivation for doing English homework designed by the teachers in a
specific high school in Vietnam. In addition, this study also aims at seeking a better orientation for high school teachers and parents to strengthen the students‟ motivation for doing homework. If these principal aims could be achieved, the findings from this research would hopefully facilitate further studies into this relatively unexplored topic in Vietnam. 1.2. Aims and objectives of the study First, this research paper is expected to find out to what extent different patterns of the students‟ motivation are expressed when they do their English homework assignments. Next, a closer look will be taken at the demotivating factors to the students‟ homework completion. Finally, the researcher would like to pave the way for several pedagogical implications for a more effective exploitation of homework at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School. In brief, these objectives could be summarized into two research questions as follows: 1. To what extent are the students intrinsically and extrinsically motivated to do their English homework? 2. What are the factors demotivating the students to do their English homework? 1.3. Significance of the study Once completed, this research would serve as one of the initial studies on the 11th form students‟ motivation for doing English homework at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School. Therefore, it might be particularly useful for students, parents, teachers, school administrators as well as researchers who develop an interest in the topic.
To be more specific, since the study delves into homework as a vital part of self-study, its findings hopefully would contribute to build up better strategies of independent learning for 11th graders. As parents play important role in their children‟s learning process, particularly their selfstudy at home, the research is expected to bring parents a general view of homework and their children‟s motivation, so that a complete support for their learning will be offered in appropriate time. Regarding teachers, the study would raise their awareness of designing effective homework and provide them with useful pedagogical suggestions to enhance the students‟ motivation in dealing with homework. As for school administrators, the study would reveal to them major obstacles to a motivating approach to homework and thus, could suggest ways to make full use of homework in language teaching and learning. Finally, with regard to researchers, those who happen to share the same interest in the topic could find reliable and useful information in this study for their related ones in the future. 1.4. Scope of the study First, since “students’ motivation for doing English homework” has been generally set as the title of the whole study, this research places a strong focus on the patterns of student motivation (intrinsic and extrinsic) and suggests some strategies to arouse students‟ motivation to do their homework. Consequently, the overall strategies to motivate students to engage in various activities in a language classroom, which might require more in-depth and systematic studies, are not discussed in detail in this research. Furthermore, this study is not to evaluate which pattern of motivation is more important, but to point out the extent to which each pattern is displayed.
Second, the matter of homework amount which is normally measured by time spent on doing homework is also not thoroughly mentioned in this research. Since the amount of time spent on doing homework varies from student to student and depends on the length of homework assignments at different times, to study how much time is suitable and motivating enough for high school students to do homework needs a widespread agreement among educational administrators, teachers, parents, psychologists, students and other related-individuals and groups in a certain country. As a result, a framework of homework amount should be discussed in more systematic studies about homework and educational policies. Finally, it is noteworthy that the samples of the study is restricted to 136 students of grade 11 at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School. The results, therefore, is not highly representative for the whole population of 11 th graders at this school. 1.5. Organization of the Study This paper consists of six chapters as follows: Chapter 1 provides a brief introduction to the subject and an overview of the paper. Chapter 2 presents the background of the study, including definitions of key concepts, descriptions of a motivating homework task and demotivating factors, and discussions of related studies. Chapter 3 describes the research context, research questions, research approach, participants, instruments of the study as well as the procedure employed to carry out this study.
Chapter 4 analyzes and discusses the findings revealed from the data collected according to the four research questions. Chapter 5 offers some implications for better homework practice. Chapter 6 summarizes the main issues discussed in the paper, presents the limitations of the research and suggests ideas for future studies. Following this chapter are the Reference and Appendices.
CHAPTER 2 – LITERATURE REVIEW
In this chapter, definitions of key terms and some theoretical frameworks are provided to pave the way for better understanding of the whole paper. Moreover, with a view to seeking for consensus and finding out gaps to fill, related studies are introduced and compared to each other. 2.1. Learner’s Motivation in Language Learning 2.1.1. Definitions of Learner’s Motivation To ensure the consistency of this research which is put in the context of language teaching and learning, the term “motivation” is considered as it pertains to learners in particular, not to human being in general. Motivation is not only one of the key issues in language teaching but also “the most complex and challenging issue facing teachers today” (Scheidecker and Freeman 1999, cited in Dornyei, 2001, p. 1). Gardner, a specialist in the psychology of foreign language learning, defines motivation as the learner‟s orientation with regard to the goal of learning a second language. Specifically, he looks at motivation from a broad psychological perspective which includes four elements – “goal, willing behaviour, desire to reach the goal and positive approach towards the activity” (Gardner, 1985, cited in Dornyei, 2003, p. 11) As a result, it can be understood that when an individual is motivated, he or she does something with a certain goal and puts a lot of effort into it. The effort is associated with a desire and willingness to reach the goal and also with a positive attitude towards the activity the individual intends to do. Skinner and Belmont (1991) share the same opinion with Gardner that, student motivation “refers to a student‟s willingness, need, desire and
compulsion to participate in, and be successful in the learning process” (cited in Brewster and Fager, 2000, p. 4). Besides, Bomia et al., (1997) develops the definition further, noting that students who are motivated to engage in school “select tasks at the border of their competencies, initiate action when given the opportunity, and exert intense effort and concentration in the implementation of learning tasks” (p.1). Besides, Skinner and Belmont also indicate students‟ positive emotions expressed when they are motivated, including “enthusiasm, optimism, curiosity, and interest” (cited in Brewster and Fager, 2000, p. 4). To clarify the definition of student motivation, Skinner and Belmont (1991) even describe less motivated or disengaged students, on the other hand, as “passive, do not try hard, and give up easily in the face of challenges” (cited in Brewster and Fager, 2000, p. 4). Also based on the principles of attitude and emotion, Ellis (2000) gives a general definition of motivation as “the attitudes and affective states that influence the degree of effort that learners make to learn an L2” (cited in To et al., 2010, p. 28). No matter what explanation is given to the term, the researcher perceives that student motivation is responsible for determining student behavior by energizing it and giving it direction to help students achieve their goals in language learning. 2.1.2. Classification of Learner’s Motivation In 1959, Gardner and Lambert introduce a classical distinction of two types of students‟ motivation: integrative and instrumental motivation. Here, on the one hand, motivation is built by the students‟ desire to identify
with or to integrate with the target culture, and on the other hand, it is connected to the prospects of their school or career growth (Gardner, 2010) To be more specific, Gardner defines integrative motivation as “a high level of drive on the part of the individual to acquire the language of a valued second-language community in order to facilitate communication with that group” (Gardner, 2010, p. 6). In other words, students‟ integrative motivation refers to a desire to learn the language in order to relate to and even become part of the target language culture. For the second type of motivation, Garner (2010) describes instrumental motivation as the learner‟s interest in learning a language when this interest reflects pragmatic benefits such as a better job or a higher salary. In this way, L2 acquisition is associated with some “economic reward or functional goals” (Gardner, 2010, p. 13) or literally, the language is used as an instrument by the users. Another division of motivation patterns is suggested by cognitive psychologists who distinguish intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. According to them, intrinsic motivation stems from factors such as interest or curiosity. It is the natural tendency for students to seek out and conquer challenges as they pursue personal interests and desires (Deci & Ryan, 1985). On the contrary, extrinsic motivation comes from the desire to get a reward or avoid punishment; the focus is therefore on external to the learning activity itself. A student can be described as extrinsically motivated when he or she engages in learning “purely for the sake of attaining a reward or avoiding some punishment” (Dev, 1997, cited in Brewster, C., Fager, J. 2000, p. 4), whereas an intrinsically motivated student actively engage themselves in learning out of curiosity, interest, or enjoyment, or in order to achieve their own intellectual and personal goals. Dev (1997) also emphasizes that a
student who is intrinsically motivated “will not need any type of reward or incentive to initiate or complete a task.” (cited in Brewster, C., Fager, J. 2000, p. 4). As a result, this type of student is more likely to complete the chosen task and be excited by the challenging nature of an activity. In order to offer a clear image of the intrinsic-extrinsic dichotomy, Spolsky (1989) borrows Harter‟s model (1982) and represents it in the following way:
Intrinsic Preference for challenge Curiosity/interest Independent mastery Independent judgment Internal criteria for success vs. vs. vs. vs. vs. Extrinsic Preference for easy work Pleasing a teacher/getting grades Dependence on teacher in figuring out problems Reliance on teacher‟s judgment about what to do External criteria for success
Figure 1. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation (Harter, 1982, cited in Spolsky, 1989, p. 124)
Following this model, it comes out clearly that the greater the value the individuals attach to the accomplishment of an activity, the more highly motivated they will be to engage in it and later to put sustained effort until they achieve their goal. This distinction also tells us that both internal and external factors have an important role to play in motivating learners. It should be noted here that some researchers even object to describing students; motivation as either intrinsic or extrinsic. Sternberg and Lubart (as cited in Brewster & Fager, 2000) for example, argue that this division is too simple to reflect the many complex and interrelated factors that influence students‟ motivation to succeed in school. They point out that most successful people are motivated by both internal and external factors,
and suggest that educators build on both types when working to engage students more fully in school. Generally, in the light of the views from different branches of psychology, student motivation is classified into two types: integrative and instrumental motivation, initiated by Robert Gardner and Wallace Lambert (1959); or intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, proposed by cognitive psychologists. Despite the comprehensive explanation of each school of educational psychology, there are few differences between the two ways of motivation classification. Intrinsic motivation or integrative one refers to the inner factors which stimulate students to learn an L2 and likewise, both extrinsic and instrumental motivation involve the outer factors. In the attempt to study the students‟ motivation for doing their homework, the researcher based on the cognitive psychologists‟ views of two types of motivation in order to establish a theoretical framework for this study. Correspondingly, intrinsic motivation and extrinsic one are deeply reflected in the investigation and analysis afterwards. 2.1.3. Roles of Learner’s Motivation in Language Learning For the individual learners, “given motivation, anyone can learn a language” (Meara, P. & Skehan, P., 1989, p. 19) and for the teachers, “without student motivation, there is no pulse, there is no life in the class” (Rost, M. 2006, p. 1). These sayings demonstrate how powerful student motivation is in language acquisition. It is motivation that produces effective second-language communicators by planting in them the seeds of selfconfidence. It also successfully creates learners who continuously engage themselves in learning even after they complete a targeted goal.
Motivation is considered as one of the major determinants of L2 learning achievement since it “provides the primary impetus to initiate learning foreign language and later the driving force to sustain the long and often tedious learning process” (Dornyei, 2003, p. 117). Dornyei also believes that without sufficient motivation no other factor on its own can ensure student achievement (Dornyei, 2001). In accordance with Dornyei‟s strong belief, it is plausible to understand that whether the learners are early language learners or adult learners, whether learning takes place in a formal or informal environment, motivation for language learning will boost interest while creating an enjoyable learning atmosphere for both the teachers and the learners. To draw a detailed picture of the role of motivation in language learning, looking at each type of motivation provides the researcher with a more comprehensible approach. It has been found intrinsic motivation and extrinsic one are not opposite ends of a continuum. Instead, they are positively related and both are affectively loaded goals that can sustain learning. They both may be in return enhanced by better proficiency and higher achievement in the target language (Dornyei, 2001). As clarified in the previous part, extrinsic motivation refers to the desire to learn a second/foreign language because of some pressure or reward from the social environment (such as career advancement or a course credit), internalized reasons for learning an L2 (such as guilt or shame), and/or personal decisions to do so and its value for the chosen goals, whereas intrinsically motivated students learn an L2 because of the inherent pleasure in doing so; they are expected to maintain their effort and engagement in the L2 learning process, even when no external rewards are provided. With such significant influences of these two motivation types, it
is clear that if a learner has no extrinsic or intrinsic goals for learning a language, de-motivation will arise. Consequently, the learner may quit learning the target language at the earliest convenience. In conclusion, both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations contribute to the learning of L2. Nevertheless, students in different contexts may be motivated to learn an L2 by different orientations. This is why the issue is still worth further exploration in situations with different groups of learners. 2.1.4. Factors Demotivating Language Learning In addition to motivation, the problem of demotivation is also a feature shared in most language classroom where the language in question is a required school subject. The following behaviors of a demotivated student, described by Chambers (1993), will be familiar to many foreign language teachers: “poor concentration, lack of belief in own capabilities, no effort made to learn; lack of cooperation; disruptive; distracted, distracts other pupils, produces little or no homework; fails to bring materials to lessons” (cited in Hui, 2009, p. 2). However, the weakness of English language learners in general has been attributed to various factors such as teaching methodology, lack of the target language environment and the learners‟ demotivation. Therefore, it is important for the teachers at least to be aware of the possible factors that may be affecting their students‟ motivation. With those factors in mind, they may be able to develop strategies to help solve the problems related to students‟ motivation for learning English as a foreign language. Numerous studies have been conducted on language learning motivation but fewer on the demotivating factors in learning the second language. Dornyei (2001) does not perceive motivation and demotivation as
static phenomena. On the contrary, they are considered as dynamic, increasing and declining, affecting language achievement and being affected because of negative external factors. From the results of a study conducted on secondary students in Budapest who were identified as demotivated, Dornyei (2001) categorizes nine demotivating factors in order of most common to least: i. The teacher: personality, commitment, competence,
teaching method; ii. Inadequate school facilities: group is too big or not the right level; frequently change of teachers‟ iii. success; iv. v. vi. vii. viii. ix. Negative attitude towards the L2; Compulsory nature of L2 study; Interference of another foreign language being studied; Negative attitude towards L2 community; Attitude of group members; Course book. (Dornyei, 2001) Gorham & Christophel (1992) investigate the factors that students perceive as motivators/demotivators in college classes in West Virginia University. The study compared students‟ perception of the demotivating and motivating factors. As to demotivating factors, the factors related to teacher‟s behavior were the most frequent - 43% those under partial control of the teacher were second in frequency (e.g. assessment and choice of text books) - 36%, and only 21% related to contextual factors over which the Reduced self-confidence: experience or failure of lack of
teacher has little control. In terms of data as a whole, the teacher behavior contributed equally to both motivation and demotivation. However, the researchers conclude that motivation is perceived as a student-owned state, while lack of motivation is perceived as a teacher-owned problem. Chambers (1993, in Dornyei, 2001), investigates demotivation in language learning in four schools in the United Kingdom. The study was conducted on the school students and their teachers. Students placed most blame on teachers and learning materials. While the teachers claimed that the students‟ motivation caused by psychological, social and attitudinal reasons. Generally, most studies conducted in the field of motivation and demotivation as its flip side found out that the personality of the teacher, teaching methods, learning context in addition to the learners‟ attitude toward L2 could play a vital role in the students‟ motivation or demotivation toward learning languages. 2.2. Homework in English Language Teaching For the sake of clarity and consistency, the concept of homework used in this research is adhered to the context of only English language teaching. In other words, although homework of other subjects shares certain similarities to that of English, the former is excluded from the perception of homework in this study. 2.2.1. Definitions of Homework „Homework‟, as its name suggests, is “works that teachers give students to do at home” (Oxford Advanced Learner‟s Dictionary, 7th edition, p. 716). This brief definition shows that „homework‟ is not supposed to be completed at anywhere else but at home. However, „homework‟ is
understood in a broader sense by Cooper (1989), as he defines „homework‟ as "tasks assigned to students by school teachers that are meant to be carried out during non-school hours" (cited in Jha, 2006, p. 33). The phrase “nonschool hours”, as specified by Cooper, means that students may complete their homework assignments during “study hall, library time, or even during subsequent classes” (Cooper, 2006, p. 1). In addition, Cooper clarifies his definition by indicating three principles explicitly excluded from this definition, which are: “(1) in-school guided study, (2) home study courses delivered through the mail, television, audio or video cassette, or the Internet, and (3) extra-curricular activities such as sports and participation in clubs” (Cooper, 2006, p. 1). Cooper‟s viewpoint of homework is also supported by Kidwell (2004); however, she adds to the definition of „homework‟ that it is “any work or activities which pupils are asked to do outside school time, either on their own or with parents or carers” (p. 6). Kidwell, in her definition, refers to the responsibility taken by learners when they do homework. Specifically, it is learners‟ autonomy to deal with homework by themselves or with the support of their parents or those who concern that homework. To approach homework as a major focus in this research, this researcher will refer to Cooper‟s definition combined with Kidwell‟s. This means that whenever the term „homework‟ is mentioned in this paper, it is recognized as school-related tasks which are assigned by teachers for students to complete in their own time. 2.2.2. Classification of Homework In order to motivate students to complete their homework, it is important for teachers to fully understand different types of homework
before assigning to their students. Although assigning different types of homework may vary from teacher to teacher, there are common frameworks to recognize the basic categories of homework. According to Burden and Byrd (2007), there are four types of homework assignments, as shown in the following chart:
Figure 2. Burden & Byrd's Classification of Homework (2007, adapted from Hunt & Touzel, 2009, p. 141)
Regarding this classification, Burden and Byrd indicate four different purposes of homework which teachers want to focus on when they assign homework to their students. This classification is then totally supported by Whitney (2009); however she gives a different name for the type of creative homework, that is “integration homework” (p. 4). According to Whitney, in the integration homework which “requires students to apply many different skills to a single task” (p. 4), students‟ creative and critical thinking are also expected.
Another classification which is ratified in the homework guidelines by the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board (PVNCCDSB) (Canada) also offers four main types of homework as follows:
TYPE Completion REASON EXAMPLES
- Anything not completed in class - Completing classroom assignments such as responses, notes, exercises, - To keep up-to-date with pieces of writing classroom work - Home preparation for the next day‟s class work - Collecting information, reading background materials, or studying for quizzes, tests, and exams. - Completing extra questions in a textbook - Writing a letter after being taught the components of a thank-you letter - Reviewing and drilling of sentence structures or troublesome spelling words. - Working on projects and research - Creating designs, stories, drama
Practice and - To develop, review and reinforce specific skills Application presented in class - To transfer skills or concepts into new situations
Extension and Creative
- To enrich classroom experiences and enhance students‟ understanding - To provide opportunities for problem-solving and critical thinking - To integrate skills
Table 1. Homework Classification according to PVNCCDSB (2005)
On reflection, this viewpoint of classification largely resembles Burden & Byrd‟s (2007) and Whitney‟s (2009) in the sense that homework reflects four most common purposes which are to complete class work, to prepare for the next lesson, to practice skills and materials presented in class, end to extend the skills into new or creative situations. It could be seen that
the purposes of homework serve as a clear principle to classify various homework tasks. Most recently, Darn (2010), in the noted website
„www.teachingenglish.org.uk‟ contributes a more specific classification of homework tasks with six different categories. i. Workbook-based tasks: students are assigned to do exercises in the workbook or practice books in order to achieve a separation of what is done in class at home. ii. Preparation tasks: students are asked to find and bring materials which are relevant to the next lesson. iii. Extensive tasks: students are encouraged to read, listen and watch in various sources such as audio materials, radio and TV broadcasts, podcasts, songs, newspapers or magazines and then share their useful experiences in class. iv. Guided discovery: students are asked to notice language and make deductions for themselves at home and then share knowledge and even peer-teach in the classroom. v. Real-world tasks: involves seeing, hearing and putting language to use in realistic contexts. After that, students may be required to collect their experiences in a formal or informal portfolio. vi. Project work: based on topics from a course book, the locality, interests and hobbies or selected individually. Students are often required to submit their projects at the end of course or term. (Adapted from Darn, 2010) With those six categories, Darn describes different types of homework specifically. However, there is a considerable overlap among those types.
For example, extensive, guide discovery and real-world tasks share two common characteristics which are the authentic materials that teachers expect students to work on and the sharing section in class after homework is complete. Besides, those three types of homework as well as project work can be described as creative tasks since they expect great effort and various skills from students. In general, different researchers or educators share the same view that homework is not limited to the academic knowledge related to in-class lessons; on the contrary, it is as diverse as social skills and background knowledge which require students to put more effort on to acquire. Accordingly, a variety of homework tasks can be seen in the descriptions above. 2.2.3. Roles of Homework Homework has been a heated topic for many researchers, teachers and school administrators. Despite different opinions towards the role of homework, homework is widely recognized as “an important part of most school-aged children‟s daily routine” (Cooper, Robinson, Patall, 2006, p. 2). Therefore, the importance of homework should be placed into a great emphasis. Since homework is considered “the intersection between home and school” by Goldstein (2001), its importance should be targeted to three involved subjects: students, schools and parents. First of all, homework assignments are most beneficial to students as both their academic achievements and generic skills can be improved thanks to homework. To be specific, Cowan and Hallam (1999) show the significant importance of homework to students Table 2 on the following page.
Homework can promote academic learning by increasing the amount of time students spend studying providing opportunities for practice, preparation and extension work assisting in the development of a range of intellectual skills
Homework can assist the development of generic skills by providing opportunities for individualized work fostering initiative and independence developing skills in using libraries and other learning resources training pupils in planning and organizing time developing good habits and self-discipline encouraging ownership and responsibility for learning
Table 2. Roles of Homework (Cowan and Hallam, 1999, cited in Hallam, 2004, p. 10)
As for schools, Cowan and Hallam (1999) also appreciate homework through: Easing time constraints on the curriculum and allowing examination demands to be met Allowing assessment of pupil‟s progress and mastery of work Exploiting resources available in school Fulfilling the expectations of parents, pupils, politicians and the public Enabling accountability to external inspection agencies (Cowan and Hallam 1999, cited in Hallam, 2004, p. 10) Regarding parents, Kidwell (2004) claims that homework “promotes family communication” (p. 24) because it “encourages parents and children work together” and consequently, “promotes joint family activity” and creates “a learning ethos in the home” (p. 24) Moreover, as homework is assigned by teachers, they are also one of the targets involved in the importance of homework. According to Darn (2010), homework may be used to help teachers “shift repetitive,
mechanical, time-consuming tasks out of the classroom” and guarantee the “continuity between lessons”. In addition of this way of recognizing the importance of homework, which is targeted at students, teachers, schools and parents, Cooper (1989) suggests four noticeable advantages of homework as follows:
(1) Immediate achievement and learning Better retention of factual knowledge Increase understanding Better critical thinking, concept formation, information process Curriculum enrichment
(2) Long-term academic Learning encouraged during leisure time Improved attitude toward school Better study habits and skills
(3) Non-academic Greater self-direction Greater self-discipline Better time organization More inquisitiveness More independent problem-solving
(4) Greater parental appreciation of and involvement in schooling Table 3. Roles of Homework (Cooper, 1989, p. 86)
Among the suggested advantages of homework, the most obvious is that it will have immediate impact on the retention and understanding of the material it covers. Less directly, homework can improve students‟ study skills and their attitudes toward school. In Cooper‟s viewpoint, there are many potential non-academic benefits as well, most of which relate to fostering independent learning and self-discipline. Finally, homework can
involve parents in the school routines by enhancing their appreciation of education and allowing them to control their children‟s performance at school. In sum, the important role of homework can be summarized in the following five points. Firstly, homework is good for students to enhance their awareness of discipline, irrespective of any learning that may result from it. This view holds that the sense of students‟ responsibility engendered by homework assignments is a valuable end in itself. Secondly, homework can ease time constraints on the curriculum which is often so demanding that without substantial home study, it would be impossible to cover meaningful amounts of materials. Thirdly, homework fosters student‟s initiative and independence. As they learn how to budget time to fit homework in among their other activities, students learn valuable lessons that will serve them for the rest of their lives. Fourthly, homework reinforces and supplements school learning experiences. By providing the necessary integration, practice and application, homework facilitates and improves learning. Finally, homework brings the school and the home closer together. If parents effectively engage in the educational process by helping their children with their homework assignments, the link between school and home can be even strengthened. 2.3. Motivating Students to Do Homework 2.3.1. Characteristics of Motivating Homework Since homework, which is defined as "tasks assigned to students by school teachers" (Cooper 1989, cited in Jha, 2006, p. 33) is the major subject of this study, it is necessary that the researcher should first review the literature of the features of a „motivating task‟.
To and Nguyen (2010) suggest some characteristics of a motivating task as presented in the table below.
Characteristics Clear goal Varied topics and tasks Making learning visual Tension and challenge Making learning Fun Descriptions Explaining exactly what is expected on tasks. Using a variety of tasks to keep students involved Using drawings, diagrams, pictures, charts or even threedimensional objects to help students anchor the idea to an image Using games or activities in form of competition to arouse students‟ interest Do not use tasks which are too difficult to avoid adverse effects. Learning should not always be serious. Games, competitions, acting, etc. can be helpful. One side has a certain thing that must be shared with the other to solve a problem, gather information or make decisions. Students are more likely to produce in target language and a more natural way. Tasks or activities should be relevant to students‟ interest and needs.
Information gap activities
Table 4. Characteristics of a motivating task (To and Nguyen, 2010, p. 29)
As „homework‟ is basically understood as a „task‟, the characteristics of motivating homework should be considered in the light of a motivating task at first. Accordingly, Painter (2003) finds that homework tasks need to meet the criteria below in order for students to do and benefit most from the work. - Make it fun: Think about what students are interested in, what they do outside class.
Then think about how their activities can be turned into homework tasks. - Make it relevant: Need to communicate the aims behind homework Convince students of the necessity and importance of the work - Match students’ learning preferences Assign homework which promotes students‟ preferred ways of learning Encourage students to do activities which are successful for them (Adapted from Painter, 2003, p. 8-9) Recently, Darn (2010) describes more characteristics of effective homework which can motivate students to do. In his opinion, the following principles should be observed in order for homework to be motivating tasks. - The purpose of both of homework in general and of individual tasks must be clearly explained so that students could see their usefulness. - Tasks should be relevant, interesting and varied. - Different tasks may be assigned to different ability groups. Individual learning styles should be taken into account. - Homework should be manageable in terms of time as well as level of difficulty. Teachers should remember that students are often given homework in other subjects and that there is a need for coordination to avoid overload. - Homework should be incorporated into an overall scheme of work and be considered in lesson planning.
- Homework tends to focus on a written product to serve as a visible evidence that the task has been done. - Learner involvement and motivation may be increased by encouraging students to contribute ideas for homework and possibly design their own tasks. - While homework should consolidate class work, it should not replicate it. Home is the outside world and tasks which are nearer to real-life use of language are appropriate. - If homework is set, it must be assessed in some way, and feedback given by the teacher. Also, peer and self-assessment can help encourage learner independence as well as reduce the teacher‟s workload. (Adapted from Darn, 2010) On reflection, Darn‟s description of motivating homework task shares the common features of a motivating task with To and Nguyen‟s (2010) in terms of aims and variety of homework as well as interest and learning styles of students. However, he adds two principles to make homework motivating, which are students‟ contribution to homework design as well as teachers and peers‟ feedback. In order to make pedagogical recommendations for a motivating approach to English homework, this study will base on the criteria and principles which are combined from To and Nguyen‟s (2010) and Darn‟s (2010). 2.3.2. Factors Affecting Students’ Motivation for Doing Homework Before homework assignments are given to students, it is important for teachers to consider not only the quality of the homework itself but also
the other factors which can affect students‟ motivation in doing homework. Cooper (1989), in his synthesis of research on homework, concludes that homework involves “the complex interaction of more influences than any other instructional device” (p. 87). He also provides a thorough model of factors affecting the utility of homework. His model is depicted in Table 5 below.
Exogenous Factors Student characteristics Ability Motivation Study habits Subject matter Grade level
Assignment Characteristics Amount Purpose Skill area utilized Degree of individualization Degree of student choice Completion deadlines Social context
Initial Classroom Factors Provision of materials Facilitators Suggested approaches Link to curriculum Other rationales
Out-of-school Factors Competitors for student time Home environment Space Light Quiet Materials Others‟ involvements Parents Siblings Other students
Classroom Follow-up Feedback Written comments Grading Incentives Testing of related content Use in class discussion
Table 5. A model of factors influencing the effectiveness of homework (Cooper, 1989, p. 87)
characteristics, subject matter and especially grade level will influence the homework value. Regarding the grade level, it is elaborated in his synthesis of research on homework that “the more homework high school students do, the better their achievement” (p. 88). For other grade level, “junior high school students also benefit from homework, but only about half as much”
and “the effect of homework on achievement is negligible” for elementary school students (p. 88). In Cooper‟s opinion, homework does have positive effects on students‟ achievement, but the effects vary dramatically with grade level. In addition to homework characteristics and classroom factors which play explicitly important roles in determining the homework value, Cooper suggests out-of-school environment as one factor. Specifically, when assignments go home, students‟ time commitment, home environment and other involvement will affect how those assignments are carried out. Finally, how teachers treat homework assignments when they are returned also affects homework‟s utility. For example, some teachers may simply collect assignments while others go over them in class and provide written feedback, evaluative comments or grades. Other teachers even permit students to correct homework as a way to review lessons. To set a theoretical framework for investigating the factors which affect student‟s motivation for doing homework, the researcher bases on Cooper‟s model of factors affecting the effectiveness of homework combined with Chambers‟s views on demotivating factors as mentioned in Part 2.1.4 of this chapter (p. 12). Accordingly, a re-establishment of the factors affecting students‟ motivation for doing homework is presented in Table 6 on the following page.
Nature of Homework
Student’s Attitude Subject
Student’s Psychology Pressure from
Relevance Material Variety Difficulty level
Subject matters Workload of provision interest Parents other subjects Enticement Teachers Feedback Homework Friends Competition interest Extra classes Grade among students TV, Internet, Self-confidence games Home Ability environment Space Light Quietness
Table 6. Re-established model of factors affecting motivation for doing homework.
2.4. Related Studies As motivation represents one of the most complex variables associated with individual differences in language learning and homework occupies a large part of teachers‟ and students‟ routines, these two aspects have been appealing topics of a number of educational and psychological studies. However, numerous studies have been carried out on the issues of homework and motivation separately while others concerning the correlation between students‟ motivation and homework completion were heavily outnumbered. Having said that, the researcher finds meaningful studies which discuss the significant benefits of homework and the factors affecting student motivation for doing their homework assignments. In 2002, Kelly and Mainard reported their study on the motivational correlation between school and homework at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. First, this study confirms the previous work showing that high school students have various reasons for
attending school and doing homework. Second, findings of the study indicate that “achievement motivation across both school work and homework appears consistent” (Kelly & Mainard, 2002, p. 41), which is more intrinsic than extrinsic. Third, a number of factors such as grades, rewards or students‟ self-determination that influence student motivation for going to school and doing their homework are also described in this study. In sum, this study can be effectively used to inform future research on the same topic, especially the parallels between motivation for school and homework in adolescents. There is a general consensus in educational literature that homework does have a positive effect on students‟ learning. In “Synthesis of Research on Homework”, Cooper (1989, p. 86) indicates various benefits of homework, including improvements in factual knowledge, understanding, concept formation, attitudes, study skills, self-discipline and problemsolving. The research findings, he concludes, provide clear evidence that homework improves academic achievement for high school students, though the effects are reduced at lower levels. He comments, however, that research has focused almost entirely on academic achievement, and has largely ignored other suggested benefits, such as improved attitudes and study skills. Although the great value of homework is clearly seen, students themselves often fail to appreciate the fundamental role that homework can play in their education; consequently, their motivation for doing homework is weakened. Sarah North and Hannah Pillay (2002), in their ELT Journal article “Homework: Re-examining the routine”, report findings from a survey of Malaysian teachers of English. The teachers were asked about the efficacy of homework, both in terms of how they dealt with homework and about the performance of their students. The results show an interesting
discrepancy, with many teachers reporting satisfaction with their own performance, but not with their students‟. North and Pillay quote the following comments from one of the teachers: “Students don‟t want to do their homework. They would rather copy, or get scolded by me.” The results found out in North and Pillay‟s survey lead to a widely concerned issue: how to motivate students to do homework. In search of a rational answer to this question, Painter (2003) suggests a communicative approach for teachers in her book “Homework: Resource Books for Teachers” (p. 8). According to her, in order to motivate students to do and benefit from homework, it needs to meet three criteria: being fun, being relevant and matching students‟ learning preferences. Painter also gives specific examples for teachers to design effective homework. For instance, to make homework fun, teachers need to think about what their students are interested in or what they often do outside class. If students enjoy watching movies or going out with friends, then teachers can consider how these activities can be turned into homework tasks. Another argument by Painter (2003, p. 11) is that homework set by teachers needs to be not only motivating, worthwhile and enjoyable but also manageable in terms of time. Accordingly, if too much or too often homework is assigned after a class, even a motivating task can become “a lengthy chore” (p. 11). In her book, Painter (2003) makes a convincing conclusion that “if homework is to fulfill its place in the learning cycle, we first and foremost have to make sure our students do it, by making it reflect their interest and preferences, and fit with their time constraints” (p. 11). Regarding the criterion of matching students‟ learning preferences, two scholars Eunsook Hong and Roberta Milgram (2004) not only agree
with Painter (2003, p.8) but also elaborate on this aspect as main subject in their book “Homework: Motivation and Learning Preference”. Unlike many researchers of the same topic, who have focused on homework as viewed from the nature of homework itself, Hong and Milgram study homework as viewed from students who do it. In order to help students become autonomous learners through homework practices, teachers need to understand their students‟ learning styles. Hong and Milgram also argue that it is even more important for teachers to make students aware of which types of activities they prefer and encourage them to do what works for them. “If students can find out their preferences, they should be better able to facilitate their own learning outside class” (p. 26). Painter (2003) clarifies this point by providing tips for different learning styles. For example, if students enjoy reading, teacher can ask them to bring in some books they have read and describe the contents in English. In a way, students can learn English through “preparing projects on their favorite authors and presenting information in class” (p. 9). Briefly, a look at these related studies brings to light the fact that student motivation for doing homework, either intrinsic or extrinsic, may vary from student to student but generally be influenced by major factors involving homework materials, teaching method and especially students‟ autonomy. It is, therefore, essential for any language teacher to consider these factors when assigning homework to their students. 2.5. Conclusive Remarks In this chapter, key terms including motivation, homework, characteristics of motivating homework and factors affecting student motivation for doing homework have been clarified. After that, a review of
several studies related to the current research is described. Generally, the theoretical framework presented in this study manifests the importance of student motivation and homework in language learning and it is also apparent that student motivation for doing English homework is a significant part of student motivation in L2 acquisition.
CHAPTER 3 - METHODOLOGY
In the preceding chapter, the literature on the research topic was briefly reviewed for the theoretical basis of the whole study. Turning to the practical side, this research was carried out with strict adherence to justified methods of data collection and analysis in order to maximize its validity and reliability. This claim would be substantiated in this chapter as the research context, the research questions, the research approach, the participants, the instruments as well as the procedure of data collection and analysis are discussed in detail. 3.1. Research Context In this part, the contexts which led the researcher to conduct this study are clarified from different perspectives. In the world, homework, with both its advantages and
disadvantages, has been a highly controversial topic in education since the mid-19th century, capturing special attention of researchers, educators, school administrators as well as parents. In some countries such as the United States, Britain, Japan or Australia, not only is there a national guideline of homework policy but each school also owns ones for teachers and students to follow. However, the situation is different in Vietnam. Specifically, only one guideline on homework policy for primary schools could be found in the document No. 7720/BGDĐT-GDTH issued by Ministry of Education and Training in 2008, whereas the same guideline for secondary and high schools were not mentioned. This gap acts as one of the stimuli for the researcher to conduct this study on homework in a high school in Vietnam.
Next, looking at the context of language teaching and learning, it has been proved that learners‟ motivation has a profound impact on their language acquisition. Nevertheless, when it comes to learners‟ motivation for doing English homework, few studies are available to address its notion. As the benefits of homework are widely recognized, the need to foster learners‟ motivation for doing homework becomes particularly important. Consequently, the impetus for the researcher to carry out this study arose. Last but not least, considering the context of assigning English homework to 11th graders at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School would offer the researcher an exhaustive understanding on the students‟ English homework practices and their motivation for dong the assignments. According to the MoEt in 2009, the majority of high school students in Vietnam choose English as their foreign language. At Nguyen Gia Thieu High School, English is a compulsory subject for all students and it is also the only foreign language to be taught in the curriculum. Strictly adhered to the MoEt‟s requirements, English teaching for 11th graders at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School has several basic characteristics as follows: For the mainstream classes and the ones specializing in Natural Sciences (i.e. Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology), English is taught in 3 periods per week (45 minutes for each period). For the classes specializing in Social & Humanitarian Sciences (i.e. Literature, English, History, Geography), there are basically 3 periods per week for English subject, plus one optional period. It means that in this optional period, the teachers of English are supposed to provide
the students with both intensive and extensive practice instead of giving textbook-based lectures as what they do in the other 3 periods. As a result of such differences in the number of period for English, the assigning with English homework may vary from class to class. Moreover, as the MoEt has not issued any document or guideline for homework policy used in high schools in Vietnam, it is the teachers of English who decide the issues of what and how much homework should be assigned to their students. This leads to the situation in which different teachers have different ways to give homework to their students. To be more specific, the teachers design the homework assignments or choose the materials as homework by themselves and then, they have their own rights to decide whether to assess the students‟ works or just to have them complete the tasks. However, the teachers of English at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School share some same approaches when they assign homework to 11th form students. As the researcher was provided with some background information, the assigning with English homework in this school has been integrated in the daily routines of almost every class although there is no fixed framework for homework policy here. For the teachers, 5 to 10 minutes is the average amount of time they spend on assigning or checking homework in a 45minute period. In addition, the textbook and the workbook of English subject are the most common sources of homework materials that the teachers want their students to work with. In sum, all the aforementioned conditions (regarding homework policy in Vietnam, learner‟s motivation in language learning and the assigning with homework at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School) have urged the researcher to conduct this study in order to investigate the 11th form students‟ motivation for doing English homework at Nguyen Gia Thieu
High School and also to seek better orientation for teachers and parents to maximize the benefits of homework for their students and children. 3.2. Research Questions As the objectives of this study are to identify the extent to which different patterns of the students‟ motivation are expressed when they do English homework and to examine the factors that demotivate their homework completion, the research questions which “operationalize the objectives” (Merterns, 2010, p. 115) are formed as follows: 1. To what extent are the students intrinsically and extrinsically motivated to do their English homework? 2. What are the factors demotivating the students to do their English homework? 3.3. Research Approach In accordance with the research objectives mentioned earlier, a survey design with questionnaires and follow-up interviews was identified as the approach of this research in order to present a picture of the students‟ motivation for doing English homework at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School. According to Brown (2001), language surveys are any studies that “gather data on the characteristics and views of informants about the nature of language or language learning through the use of oral interviews or written questionnaires” (p. 2). In other words, the researcher believed that a survey was a desirable approach to conduct this study as it can provide factual, behavioral and attitudinal information (Dornyei, 2003), which were effective means for the researcher to achieve the objectives of this study.
3.4. Participants 3.4.1. Population The target population of this study involved the 11th graders at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School. The students‟ participation played a fundamental role in this study by providing the information related to motivation for doing English homework. In addition, the selection of students in grade 11 had certain reasons. In comparison with 10th graders, 11th graders were expected to be more familiar with homework practices in English class routines and more highly aware of the important role of self-study so that they hopefully could give relatively exact reflection on their motivation for doing homework. For 12th graders , as most of them were likely to have a busy schedule for extra classes of various subjects due to the preparation for the Graduation Exam and the National Entrance Exam, their homework practices for English might not be sufficient for them to give an overall reflection on the motivation for doing English homework. Hence, surveys into the 11th form students would provide the best picture of students‟ motivation for doing English homework assigned by their teachers. 3.4.2 Sampling Strategy In the light of the convenience sampling which means “the selection of individuals who happen to be available for study” (Mackey & Gass, 2005, p. 122), the process of selecting students to take part in this minor study was divided into two steps. Firstly, the researcher went to Nguyen Gia Thieu High School and studied the timetable of all the classes in grade 11. Since the researcher used to be a student at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School, it was a great
convenience to have such relationship with the school. As a result, the research had been equipped with certain understanding on the class divisions at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School, which facilitated the researcher‟s plan. Secondly, the researcher chose the classes, the timetable of which matched the researcher‟s own schedules. Despite its disadvantage in generalizing the findings, this way of sampling guaranteed that the classes were accessible and the students were willing to take part in the survey. After one week of questionnaires delivery, two students were deliberately chosen from three classes to participate in the interviews. 3.4.3. Detailed Descriptions of the Participants The participants were 136 eleventh graders, who came from three different classes at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School. Although these classes belonged to different departments divided on the basis of their focused subjects, they shared the same number of periods for English per week. Table 7 below presents the more detailed information about the participants of this study.
Class Size 48 45 43 Gender Male 21 4 20 Female 27 41 23 Number of periods for English 3 3 3
Class A1 D B1
Department Natural Sciences Social & Humanitarian Sciences Mainstream
Table 7. Detailed Description of Participants
3.5. Research Instruments For a collection of sufficient, reliable and valid data for the study, questionnaires and interviews as methods of the qualitative approach were fully employed. 3.5.1. Survey Questionnaire 18.104.22.168. Reasons for Choosing Survey Questionnaire To collect the data for this study, one survey questionnaire for the students was utilized. The researcher believed that the questionnaire was the desirable instrument for this research because of the following reasons. First of all, since every respondent saw exactly the same wording, the researcher could collect the data which were “more likely to be standardized, uniform and consistent across subjects” (Brown, 2001, p. 77). This advantage of questionnaires would contribute to facilitate the data analyzing process at the later stages. Second, using the questionnaire was a quick and efficient way for the researcher to conduct a survey with over 130 participants. In brief, due to its great effectiveness, the researcher decided to choose questionnaire as a major instrument for collecting data in this study. 22.214.171.124. Instrumental Development The questionnaire was developed in four steps namely
brainstorming, drafting, piloting and final editing. The first step, brainstorming, was carried out based on a careful consideration of the research questions and the literature review to find out what issues needed to be covered in the questionnaires. Then, this first step
was ended by identifying what types of questions would be suitable to provide the data. In the second step, preliminary versions of the questionnaire were drafted. Specific items were written down and grouped according to the focused contents. After that, the researcher proceeded to revise, format, proofread these drafts before printing and making some photocopies for the piloting. The third step was to get the supervisor‟s feedback on the draft questionnaire and to see if the respondents had any “ambiguities, confusion, or other problems in the questionnaire content.” (Brown, 2001, p. 62). Two students were chosen to take part in the piloting. The last step involved analyzing the pilot results carefully and incorporating what learned from the supervisor and the pilot respondents into a final, polished version of the questionnaire. For final editing, checking for spelling, grammatical, typographical, punctuation and other mechanical errors was paid great attention to since if any of these errors was made, it might affect the validity of the questionnaire. For a full version of the questionnaire, see Appendix 1A (p. 81) and Appendix 1B (p. 85) 126.96.36.199. Questionnaire Content and Format The questionnaire for students consisted of two main parts. The first part including 20 items was to ask the students to select the given descriptions that best matched their views on the motivation for doing English homework. The second part was tailored by the researcher to explore the demotivating factors to students‟ doing English homework.
The researcher generated 10 possible factors based on the literature review of this issue. Regarding the format, all the questions were closed-response ones in order to provide more uniformity “in terms of the types and specificity of data that are obtained” (Brown, 2001, p. 37). In addition, it would be convenient for the researcher to code, analyze and interpret the data collected from the closed-response questions since they were expressed numerically. To be specific, these closed-response questions were designed according to the format of Likert-scale questions which “are effective for gathering respondents‟ views, opinions about various language-related issues” (Brown, 2001, p. 41). The scale ranged on the basis of the level of agreement or disagreement to measure to what extent students were motivated intrinsically and extrinsically and investigate the factors which demotivate students to do homework. Each value (i.e. strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree and strongly agree) was assigned a number from 15 so that the respondents could circle the one that best described their views. In order to avoid possible misunderstandings and thus, the inaccuracy of the outcomes, the questionnaires were all written in Vietnamese. Moreover, the researcher‟s contact information were included so that the respondents would be able to get in touch when needed. 3.5.2. Interviews 188.8.131.52. Reasons for Choosing Interviews In addition to the questionnaires, the follow-up interviews were employed as the second instrument of this research since the data obtained in an interview is “relatively rich and spontaneous” (Brown, 2001, p. 76).
Accordingly, two students were deliberately chosen for the interviews in order to provide the researcher with an in-depth picture of homework practice at their classes, which they had not had a chance to mention in the questionnaires. 184.108.40.206. Instrumental Development Before the interviews were administered, the interview instruments had been developed in three main steps: preparing the interview schedule, piloting and adapting. For the first step, once the research objectives had been established, the researcher translated these into interview questions. However, the issues covered in the questions were taken into careful consideration so that the researcher could collect richer data instead of duplicating what were mentioned in the questionnaires. In this step, the researcher also identified the type of questions to be used and in what form to be collected and analyzed. The second step, piloting, was carried out with the help of one volunteer students. As a result, it gave the researcher the opportunity to find out if the questions were yielding the kind of data required and to eliminate any questions which might be ambiguous or confusing to the interviewees. After the piloting was conducted, the final adjustments to the interview questions were made so that they could get ready for the administration. The detailed schedules of the interview can be found in Appendix 2A (p. 89) and Appendix 2B (p. 90) at the end of this paper. 220.127.116.11. Interview Content and Format
The interviews were conducted with two students to know more about their motivation for doing English homework. In addition, their sharing about the demotivating factors to their homework completion could help answer the second research questions and contribute to the pedagogical implications intensively. Related to the format of the interviews, all of them were standardized open-ended, which meant that the same open-ended questions were asked to all interviewees. Besides, the interviews were semistructured so that the interviewer was provided with a great deal of flexibility while the interviewees were offered “adequate power and control” throughout the interview. (Nguyen, Pham and Luong, 2007, p. 52). It should also be noted that all the interviews were done in Vietnamese to avoid potential misunderstandings. 3.6. Data Collection Procedure Broadly speaking, the process of data collection was put into three major phases as follow:
Phase Approaching the participants Administering the surveys Gathering the data Activities Asking for the school‟s permission to conduct the survey Informing the participants of the survey Delivering questionnaires Conducting interviews Counting the results of questionnaires Transcribing the interviews Time Place Nguyen Gia Thieu High School Nguyen Gia Thieu High School The researcher‟s house
2 weeks Half a week Half a week
Table 8. Data Collection Procedure
Phase 1: Approaching the participants In order to have the students participate in the survey, the researcher first asked for the school‟s permission by clearly presenting the aims of the study and ensuring the participants‟ confidentiality in any circumstances. After that, the researcher went to the chosen classes to inform them of the survey in which they would take part. A very brief introduction of the researcher and the study was given. Phase 2: Administering the surveys After the final version of the interview schedule and the questionnaire were finished, the real surveys were conducted on 136 students of grade 11 within two weeks. First, the researcher went to each of the classroom and asked the teachers to spend the 10 – 15 minutes necessary for all the students to fill out the questionnaires together. To conduct the surveys effectively, the researcher also guaranteed to clarify the format, content and any point that the students found unclear in the questionnaires. The confidentiality was also reconfirmed orally to boost the participants‟ belief. With the researcher‟s presence while the respondents were filling out the questionnaires, the return rate of the questionnaires were at maximum of 136 students. Follow-up interviews were conducted on a one-to-one basis soon after the basic results from the questionnaire had been obtained. Such individual interviews with three students allowed the researcher to “collect the data privately” and helped “lead to the true views of the respondents” (Brown, 2001, p. 5). Before starting the interviews, the researcher spent some time getting to know more about the interviewees as well as to create
a friendly and comfortable atmosphere for the interviews. During the interviews, the researcher managed to apply the appropriate interview technique so that the interviewees were oriented to give necessary information and reduce the amount of irrelevant details. By the end of the interview, the researcher could collect quite a rich amount of information and also asked for post-interview contact when necessary. In addition, to facilitate the data analysis afterwards, the researcher recorded the contents of the interviews. Note taking was also exploited to note down any facial expressions or body gestures of the interviewees so that a more detailed and precise interpretation would be ensured in the data analysis procedure. As tape-recorder and notes might cause the interviewees to feel less comfortable, confidentiality and anonymity were re-emphasized to reassure them. Phase 3: Gathering the data Having administered the questionnaires and interviews, the researcher spent one week to count the results of the questionnaires and transcribe the interviews to make them convenient for the analysis and quoting afterwards. 3.7. Data Analysis Procedure After the data had been collected, they were processed in three steps: classifying, coding and decoding. Classifying data Initially, the collected data were classified according to the two research questions. The quantitative data collected from the questionnaire
were put in tables and graphs for better illustration and explanation. This step also made the study more concise and scientific. Coding and decoding data All the data from the questionnaire were related to ranking scales; thus, with the values assigned to the items, the researcher calculated the mean of the values, which is believed by Allison (2002) to be “a good measure of central tendency” (p. 230). By using this statistical device, the researcher aims at exploring the extent to which the items are expressed. To answer the first research question, the data collected from the first part of the questionnaire was analyzed in separate groups of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Then, the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation were compared to each other. Similarly, for the data collected from the second part of the questionnaire regarding the demotivating factors, the items were put into five categories of the factors namely the nature of homework, the teacher, the students‟ psychology, the students‟ attitude and the society. After that, these five factors were also compared to each other to decode which types of factor most demotivated the students. Meanwhile, the data from the interviews was mostly short answers, which were almost impossible to put into charts or graphs; hence, the researcher often quoted the interviewees‟ ideas to support the points when necessary. The respondents‟ facial expressions were read and the languages they used were taken into consideration too. After the results were summarized, interpretations of the results were made and some conclusions were drawn accordingly.
3.8. Conclusive Remarks So far, the research methodology with all related elements has been justified in this chapter. Questionnaires and interviews were flexibly combined to elicit data from 136 students of grade 11. Table and graphs were fully exploited to demonstrate trends, proportion, comparison and contrast if necessary. Also, quotations of the students‟ ideas significantly contributed to the data analysis procedure.
CHAPTER 4 – RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The previous chapter shed light on the methodology that the researcher employed to explore the insights of the issues. Next, it is this chapter that the data collected from surveys are delineated and interpretations to the data are also presented based on the data. It should be noted that the information from questionnaire and interviews are analyzed at the same time to support each other in answering the research questions. Furthermore, based on the research questions, this chapter is divided into two parts providing answers to each of the research question. 4.1. Research Question 1: To what extent are the students intrinsically and extrinsically motivated to do their English homework? 4.1.2. Intrinsic Motivation A close examination of the frequency distribution and mean scores of the responses to the 10 intrinsic items indicated that students had a positive and high degree of intrinsic orientations for doing their English homework. Table 9 presented on page 50 shows the ranking of the items on the basis of the mean scores. As clearly presented in the table, two thirds of the items had their mean scores which were higher than 4 and the rest was also relatively high with the lowest mean of 3.27 (item 10). Among various reasons for doing English homework, most students agreed that the two most important reasons were to reinforce the basic knowledge of English (item 2, M=4.86) and to enhance the English skills (item 3, M=4.63). The high rates of these items were likely to result from the students‟ awareness of the roles of
homework in promoting their academic learning. Like homework of other subjects, English homework were
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Item I do the English homework because No. 2 3 1 7 6 9 4 8 5 10 S.D D 0 1 4 3 2 4 9 7 6 7 N 4 5 6 21 18 32 19 49 89 88 A S.A Mean
I want to reinforce the basic knowledge of English. 0 I want to enhance my English skills 0 I enjoy learning English. 1 I want to learn how to manage time effectively. 0 I want to develop the skill of independent learning. 2 I want to make full use of reference materials. (e.g. 0 dictionaries, grammar books, handouts, etc.) I want to know more about the culture of English0 speaking nations. I want to strengthen the learning discipline and 0 responsibility. I want to broaden social knowledge introduced in 0 those tasks. I want to develop the skill of using library, 0 computer, Internet or other learning resources.
11 121 36 94 56 69 42 70 47 67 66 97 69 32 38 34 11 11 9 3
4.86 4.63 4.38 4.31 4.28 4.24 3.81 3.62 3.32 3.27 4.07
Overall mean score
Table 9. The frequency distribution and mean scores of the 10 items on intrinsic motivation (n=136)
first given for students to practice what they have just learned in class, then an extension of activities or materials could also be provided by the teachers for students to do outside the class time so that they could develop their English skills. In this sense, most of the respondents realized homework as an effective tool to help them to acquire a good knowledge of English at their current level; and thus, they might “actively engaged themselves in learning […] in order to achieve their person goals” (Brewster &Fager, 2000, p. 2). The third place in the rank of the items is item 1 (I enjoy learning English, M=4.38). None of the students disagreed that the high interest in
English motivated them do the homework assignment of the subject. It was clear that those who enjoyed learning English would take a positive attitude toward doing English homework. In fact, one interviewee said that “I like English and I intend to take an exam of Group D1 in the Entrance Exam next year, so I learn English very hard and take any chance to do more English exercises both in class and at home” (line 20-23, p. 92 ). In such a way, this student as well as the others who shared the same interest in and goals for English were intrinsically motivated to persist in and complete the assigned homework tasks. Taking the fourth and fifth ranks among the items, the strong desire for learning how to organize time effectively (item 7, M=4.31) and develop independent learning (item 6, M=4.28) also acted as the major intrinsic factors to motivate students to do homework. As indicated by Cowan and Hallam (1999, in Hallam, 2004), homework helps not only to promote academic learning but also to develop students‟ generic skills such as working independently, managing time, or fostering self-discipline. It was even more specific when an interviewee reported that “I try to complete all the homework assignments so that I can test myself how effectively I handle both classwork and homework” (line 107-109, p. 95). It could be interpreted that the students were intrinsically motivated to do English homework in the way that they wanted to train themselves to become “lifelong learners, continuing to educate themselves outside the formal school setting long after external motivators such as grades and diplomas are removed” (Kohn, 1993, cited in Brewster & Fager, 2000, p. 5).
Group D – the group involving Literature, Mathematics and a Foreign Language as three targeted subjects in the Entrance Exam. (There are also Group A, Group B, Group C, etc. with different sets of targeted subjects.)
The two items standing at the back of the table referred to the least affective factors to students‟ motivation for homework completion. With the lowest mean, item 10 (M=3.27) explained that the students‟ intrinsic motivation for doing homework was not closely related to their desire for developing the skills of using computer, library, Internet and other learning resources. In fact, only 30% of the respondents agreed that they did homework in order to develop the skills mentioned earlier. There might be several reasons for this situation. For example, the homework tasks were simple enough for the students to do on their own without a need to seek further information in the library or on the Internet. It was also likely that the students did not have time to go to the library for borrowing reference books or they were not provided with computer and Internet access at their houses. Whatever the reasons were, the students did not evaluate this orientation as highly as the others, whereas developing the aforementioned skills is also one of the significant purposes of homework (Cowan and Hallam, 1999, in Hallam, 2004) Similarly, the item 5 with the mean score 3.32 showed most of the students kept the neutral opinion towards the desire for broadening social knowledge through doing homework. This was not a high internal motivating factors for students since their homework tasks mainly covered the academic knowledge such as English grammar, pronunciation or vocabulary; as a consequence, the students did not have chances to be exposed to various aspects of social knowledge when doing their homework. To justify this issue, the real classroom context should be taken into consideration. With a limited amount of time in class, the teachers found it hard to give the students the homework assignments that required them to spend much time on finding the related social knowledge. The teachers‟
main approach, meanwhile, was to help the students revise the knowledge which they had just been taught in class. That was the reason why one interviewee said that “For most of the time, we just do the multiple choice exercises on grammar and pronunciation. If sometimes we had a project in English, for example, preparing for a role-play, making presentation, etc., we would be much more excited to complete the tasks.” (line 64-67, p.93) In general, with the overall mean score of 4.07, it could be concluded that most of the surveyed students had relatively high intrinsic motivation for doing their English homework assignments since they might be fully aware of the benefits that homework could bring about. 4.1.2. Extrinsic Motivation The students‟ responses toward the first 10 items measuring the extrinsic motivation for doing English homework are shown Table 10.
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Item I do the English homework because: No. 13 19 15 11 16 17 20 12 18 14 I want to get a mark for the English subject. I want to receive teacher’s feedback on my work. I want to avoid being punished by my teacher Those tasks are interesting to me. I want to show my teacher that I am a hardworking student. I want to show my friends that I am a hardworking student. I want to have further discussion on those tasks with my friends. Those tasks are easy for me. I want to show my parents that I am a good child. My parents ask me to do those tasks. S.D 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 15 17 D 0 2 9 0 12 7 20 N 11 13 25 40 35 98 93 A 85 97 84 89 80 31 20 S.A Mean 40 24 19 7 9 0 3 4.21 4.05 3.83 3.75 3.63 3.17 3.04 2.93 2.72 2.11
19 102 12 1 27 79 11 4 91 23 5 0 Overall mean score
Table 10. The frequency distribution and mean scores of the 10 items on extrinsic motivation (n=136)
With the overall mean score of 3.34, we can see that the students in the surveyed classes had an average level of extrinsic motivation for doing English homework. As seen from the table above, most of the extrinsic items had the mean scores which were below 3. The lowest mean in this category was 2.11 concerning the parents‟ request for their children to do English homework (item 14). It can be understood from this figure that the students‟ completion of homework did not depend much on their parents‟ compulsion. Conversely, it might negatively affect the children‟s motivation if their parents forced them to do what they might not want to or be interested in. Even though the students‟ extrinsic motivation for doing English homework was indicated at an average level (M=3.34), the figures still saw some factors which highly motivated the students. The highest mean scores fell into the three items mentioning the students‟ desire for a mark for the English subject (item 13), the one for teachers‟ feedback on their work (item 19) and the avoidance of teacher‟s punishment for not doing homework (item 15). Among these three items, the first (M=4.21) and the third one (M=3.83) reflected exactly the distinctive characteristics of an extrinsically motivated student who “engages in learning purely for the sake of attaining a reward or for avoiding some punishment” (Dev, 1997, cited in Brewster & Fager, 2000, p. 4). For most of the students, encouraging marks given to their homework completion were perhaps the most fitting and expected reward. Besides, in regards to the interview, one student suggested that it would be much more interesting and motivating if the teacher sometimes gave the students some gifts for their homework completion. According to this student, “the gifts are not necessarily of big value. For example, they can be some pens, notebooks or even a box of candy” (line 71-72, p. 94)
With a relatively high mean score (4.05), the item numbered 19 relating to the students‟ desire for the teacher‟s feedback on their work also proved to be a strong motivating factor to students‟ homework completion. Nearly 90% of the students showed their agreement on this factor as one of the external stimuli for them to do homework. In this case, whether the students completed their homework assignment sufficiently or not, they somehow expected to hear their teacher‟s comments on what was displayed in their work; otherwise, the homework completion would not be hardly taken serious. In addition, it was also noteworthy that the item 11 (Those homework tasks are interesting to me, M=3.74) which ranked the fourth among the extrinsic motivating factors made a positive contribution to stimulate students to do English homework. An interesting homework task could be the one that was designed with new contents and in an attractive format so that the students might be excited to do these tasks even if they were a bit challenging. It could be inferred that the nature of homework played a very important role to motivate students to do. As presented in Table 9, there was a significant difference between the mean of item 16 (M=3.63) and item 17 (M=3.17). These results showed that students‟ motivation generating from their teacher‟s evaluation was stronger than that from their peers‟. Specifically, in doing English homework, the students would like to show their efforts to their teachers rather than to their peers so that they could strengthen the positive relationship with their teachers. Once again, the factor associated with the teachers had a profound impact on students‟ motivation for learning language in general and doing homework in particular.
In brief, from the results of this part, not only were the extent to which the students‟ extrinsic motivation depicted but also the most and least affective factors to the students‟ motivation were revealed. Accordingly, the teachers’ involvement (included mark/rewards, feedback and punishment) and the nature of homework were the strongest external motivating factors, whereas the parents’ compulsion and the showing off to their peers were the weaker ones. 4.1.3. Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation Comparing the overall mean scores of the items in intrinsic motivation (M=4.07) to that in extrinsic one (M=3.34), it was seen that the respondents had a higher intrinsic motivation for doing English homework. The chart below describes these overall results.
Figure 3. The overall means of students' extrinsic and intrinsic motivation
As mentioned earlier, one of the aims of this study is to explore to what extent the students are motivated to do English homework extrinsically or intrinsically, but not to evaluate which pattern of motivation was more effective than the other. However, the collected data appeared to be in accordance with the previous studies. While any kind of motivation seems preferable to none, there is compelling evidence that “students who are more intrinsically than extrinsically motivated fare better”. (Brooks et al., 1998, cited in Brewster & Fager, 2000, p. 4). In fact, some research demonstrates that using extrinsic motivators to engage students in learning can “both lower achievement and negatively affect students‟ motivation” (Lumsen, 1994, cited in Brewster & Fager, 2000, p. 4) because the external factors like grades or rewards cannot maintain students‟ productivity for a long term. As the role of each pattern of motivation is conditioned by various personal and social factors, it should be reclaimed that the findings of this research were not to evaluate the effectiveness of each pattern. 4.2. Research Question 2: What are the factors demotivating the students to do their English homework? According to the responses collected from the questionnaire, the five categories of factors had different levels in affecting the students‟ motivation. The overall mean scores of each type of factor are presented in Figure 4 below.
Figure 4. Factors Affecting Students' Motivation
It was revealed that demotivating factors related to the nature of homework was the most dominant. Its mean score is valued at 4.32, showing a general agreement that the factors involving the relevance, the variety and the difficulty level of the homework tasks, if not properly approached, would strongly demotivate students to do English homework. Taking the second place among the affective factors was the teacher with the overall mean of 3.84. This finding was different from that in Dornyei‟s study since he ranked the teacher factors to be the most dominant one to students‟ motivation. It was likely that the nature of homework had more direct influence on the students‟ success than the teachers had. Following the teacher factors, the attitudinal and social ones had the overall mean scores of 3.60 and 3.56 respectively. There was no big
difference in the mean scores of these two categories since the students‟ attitude towards the English subject and the social factors were both in a close relationship with students‟ motivation. In doing homework, the students‟ attitude involved their interest in doing homework in particular and learning English in general. For the social factors, the physical environment at students‟ houses together with the attraction of entertainment, extra classes and friends‟ invitation were recognized as the specific factors affecting students‟ motivation. The lowest mean score fell into the factors of psychology (M=2.99). This figure implied that most students did not see clearly the relationship between some expressions of their psychology and motivation for doing homework. As a result, the respondents reflected a neutral opinion (value = 3) to the psychological factors. In order to provide a detailed picture of the demotivating factors to student‟s doing English homework, the researcher delineates the mean scores of all items in Table 11 which is presented on page 60. In respect of the „nature of homework‟ factor which was the most dominant to affect students‟ motivation, the respondents agreed that if the homework tasks were not relevant to what the students had learned in class (item 4) and the types of the tasks were repeated (item 3), the students would be strongly demotivated to do those tasks. It could be implied that the content and the patterns of homework tasks most affected the students’ motivation. Since the students expected that the homework given by their teachers would help them reinforce what they had been taught in class, the contents of homework needed to be closely related to the lessons. Having said that, it was still possible for the teachers to expand the knowledge
I think the factors demotivating me to do homework are: ‘Nature of Homework’ Factors 1. Homework tasks are too difficult for me. 2. Homework tasks are too easy for me. 3. Types of homework tasks are repeated. 4. Homework tasks are not relevant to what I have been taught in class. Overall mean score Teacher Factors 5. 6. 7. 8. I do not have enough reference materials to do homework. I am not instructed by the teacher to do homework. I am not given feedback to their homework completion. I am not given a mark for their homework completion. Overall mean score Attitudinal Factors 9. I do not enjoy doing homework. 10. I do not enjoy learning English. Overall mean score Psychological Factors 11. My parents do not force me to do homework. 12. My parents put high pressure on my performance at school. 13. I am afraid that my weaknesses in learning English will be recognized by my teachers through my homework completion. 14. I am afraid that their weaknesses in learning English will be recognized by my classmates through my homework completion. 15. My competence in English is limited. Overall mean score Social Factors 16. Physical environment in my house is limited. (e.g. small room, noises, lack of light, etc.) 17. I am busy going to extra classes. 18. I am busy doing exercises of other subjects. 19. I am attracted by computer games, TV programs or the Internet. 20. My friends invite me to go out with them. Overall mean score
Mean 4.29 3.47 4.73 4.78 4.32 3.47 3.62 4.48 3.82 3.84 3.47 3.74 3.60 2.27 2.53 3.07 2.72 3.75 2.86
2.05 4.17 4.37 3.99 3.24 3.56
Table 11. The mean scores of the demotivating factors (n=136)
included in the homework tasks as long as it did not go beyond the students‟ ability. For the types of homework, a lack of a variety of homework tasks
might bore the students and thus, their motivation for doing the tasks would be decreased. That was the reason why the item related to the types of homework tasks was rated as highly as 4.73 for its mean score. Next, the teacher factors involving teachers‟ instruction (item 6), feedback (item 7) and grade (item 8) had relatively high mean scores ranging from 3.62 to 4.48. Since it was the teachers who assigned homework to the students, their involvement in the students‟ homework completion played a crucial role. Regarding the attitudinal factors, it was clarified in Table 11 that an interest in the subject (item 10) also determined the positive or negative attitude towards the homework tasks of that subject. With the mean score of 3.74, the respondents agreed that if they found uninterested in learning English, they would also found less motivated to do homework of the subject. Next, the category of the social factors had the overall mean of 3.56, the highest of which belonged to item 17 (I am busy going to extra classes, M=4.17) and the lowest of which fell into item 16 (Physical environment in my house is limited, M=2.05). One possible explanation was referred to the students‟ busy schedules for extra classes of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry or Literature. Consequently, the students had fewer chances to access English and even made little effort to do English homework. Besides, not only were the students busy going to extra classes, but they were also required to do many compulsory exercises of other subjects. The mean score of the item about this issue (item 18) was as high as 4.37, showing that the heavy workload of other subjects might discourage the students to spend time on English homework. Other social factors such as TV, Internet (item 19) as well as the plans of going out with friends (item 20) were also
potential de-motivating factors while the limited physical environment at home (item 16) was not considered as a strong demotivating factor. Perhaps, in order to complete the homework assignments, the students did not have to depend much on how small their rooms were or whether there was a lack of light or not since it could be flexible for the students to choose the place and time to finish their English homework. Finally, as clearly seen in Table 11, 2.99 was the overall mean score of the 5 items displaying the psychological factors. Although this was the lowest overall mean, the item 15 (The students’ English competence is limited.) still saw a quite high mean of 3.75. It was apparent that when the students regarded themselves as not good learners of English, their confidence in the ability would be affected and hence, the motivation for doing English homework would be too. Also recognized as a psychological factor, the parents’ compulsion on their children to do English homework, however, was not as a strong demotivating factor as the others. It was possible that completing homework depended mainly on the students‟ independence and self-discipline; therefore, whether their parents forced them to do homework or not, their motivation was not much affected. On the contrary, the students could decide themselves what, when and how to cope with those assigned tasks. 4.3. Conclusive Remarks In this chapter, the findings of the study were revealed and some related discussions were made after the findings presented. Two most important points to remember are that: (1) The surveyed students were more intrinsically than extrinsically motivated to do their homework and;
(2) The most dominant demotivating factors to students‟ homework completion was associated with the nature of homework and the teacher. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that the collected data about demotivating factors in this study was different from that in Dornyei‟s (2001) as he ranked the teacher as the most dominant factor while it was the nature of homework in the present study.
CHAPTER 5 – PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATIONS
As revealed in the previous chapter, the findings of the study showed that when doing English homework, the surveyed students were more intrinsically than extrinsically motivated. It was also found that the factors associated with the teachers‟ involvement and the nature of homework tasks could have great impacts on the students‟ motivation while the factors concerning the parental involvement in the students‟ homework practice was not appreciated as highly as the others. On the basis of these findings, the researcher would like to make some pedagogical suggestions for a more motivating approach to homework practice. Accordingly, this chapter is divided into three parts making recommendations about the following issues: well-designed English homework (including relevance, variety and difficulty), teacher‟s effective approach (including instruction, feedback and grade) and the parents‟ appropriate involvement. 5.1. Well-designed English Homework There are three distinct characteristics that any teacher should pay great attention to when they design the English homework tasks for their students, namely the relevance, the variety and the level of difficulty. First, it is necessary for the teachers to guarantee the relevance of English homework because the findings of this research indicated that most students evaluated the relevance of homework to what they had learned in class was one of the most affective factors to their motivation. It was not until the teachers had taken this into full consideration when designing homework tasks, their students could realize the value of what they were asked to do. In other words, if homework can help the students reinforce the knowledge and the skills what they have just learned, it will undoubtedly
become an effective tool for students‟ learning. Otherwise, demotivation for doing homework may arise. Second, the variety of the tasks also needs considering. As a matter of fact, the very nature of most homework policies is that homework will be set regularly. This is beneficial in that the students will find it easier to organize their time; however, unless homework tasks are varied, they will quickly become drudgery – for teachers as well as students. Therefore, it would be better if the students could be assigned with various tasks instead of doing one type of task for a long period. For instance, teachers can sometimes ask their students to work in groups to prepare for a role play or doing small projects with the topic mentioned in their books. Another example can be the task in which the students are encouraged to integrate modern technology (i.e. computer, camera, Internet) into their homework performances. If such homework tasks can be carried out and presented in class, they will definitely bring a lot of funs to students and then motivate them to spend time and effort on those tasks. Third, it is advisable for the teachers not to assign homework that is beyond the students’ current abilities. Theoretically, teachers expect their students to learn something when they complete challenging tasks but practically, if the learners are presented with a task that is too hard to complete, they will either complete the assignments incorrectly, cheat by having their friends help them or totally ignore the assignments. Although the teachers‟ intentions are good, they should take the students‟ English level under consideration so that the level of difficulty of the assigned tasks are appropriate.
In short, in order to design good English homework, the characteristics of the homework task including the relevance, the variety and the level of difficulty should be the first to be carefully considered by the teachers. 5.2. Teacher’s Motivating Approach Closely related to the student‟ motivation for doing English homework is the teacher‟s approach to student‟s homework practice since the importance of teachers‟ providing both instruction and feedback for all homework efforts has been verified. First of all, it would be much beneficial to the students if the teachers could make every effort to explain how the assigned homework will be useful for the students‟ learning. If the students know exactly how the homework will help them, it may become more motivating for them. Without understanding how homework relates to in-class work, homework could become frustrating for both students and parents. Hence, it is strongly recommended that the teachers should state the objectives of the homework before having their students do the assignments. For example, to ask students to memorize the new words, teachers may signpost the work by saying: “At home, you are going to learn these words by heart because they will help you when you need to write a letter”, or to ask students to watch a movie at home, a teacher may say “I‟d like you to do this because it‟s fun, and because the lexis is up-to-date and useful.” Also, it would be a good idea for teachers to take the time to post the goals and objectives for each homework assignment somewhere in the room for the students to see them more often.
Second, once the teachers assign any task as homework to the students, it is important for them to clarify what the students have to do. Specifically, the teachers should take time to provide clear instructions for the students and give them an opportunity to ask questions by the end of class. Besides, in case the teachers can manage in-class time well, it is possible to give the students a certain amount of time to get started on homework assignments in class so that the teachers can ensure their students understand what they are being asked to do. Third, an evaluative feedback on the students’ effort can increase their motivation for complete homework. When the assignments are just checked off as completed, the students will perceive them as unimportant, which leads to frustration and low-quality work. As for the effects of feedback, it is suggested that a combination of oral and written comments on homework papers can positively affect students‟ motivation. It needs to be guaranteed that the comments should be encouraging and informative rather than controlling; otherwise, students may lose their motivation. Another form of feedback is giving grades, which can strongly encourage students to do homework. However, to avoid the problem that the students get satisfied only in the desire for obtaining the rewards rather than in learning itself, it is the teachers‟ responsibility to motivate the students by emphasizing mastery of specific goals whether the grades are good or not. Generally speaking, in the variety of teachers‟ motivating strategies for language learners, a rational approach to giving instructions, feedback and grades to the students‟ homework completion would be of great help to enhance the students‟ motivation for doing their English homework. 5.3. Parents’ Appropriate Involvement
Although the findings of this study revealed that the parent factor did not much affect the students‟ motivation for doing English homework, it would be of valuable experience for both teachers and students if parents were appropriately involved in their children’s homework practice. By that way, they would become a part of the formal education process. When it comes to homework, the parents‟ involvement can take many different shapes. First, it is vital the parents understand what role teachers expect them to play. What parents views as helping out, a teacher might perceive as interference or cheating. And for what a teacher might take for granted that parents can do such as signing off on homework or checking spelling words, a parent may not have the skills or the time to follow through on. Clearly, parents need to communicate with teachers to find out the most effective ways to help the children learn. In addition, it is equally important to be clear with parents about what kinds of involvement are actually beneficial to students. Studies have shown that parents who offer rewards for grades, or who punish students for poor performance, may actually decrease students‟ motivation to do well (Brewsters & Fager, 2000). Fear of punishment, anxiety about meeting parents‟ expectations and worry about being compared with siblings not only cause stress for students, but also detract from their intrinsic motivation and interest in learning. This is not to say that parents should not be involved in how their children are doing at school; nonetheless, it suggests that there are more productive ways for them to show their interest in students‟ progress. To assist children to succeed at home and at school, Brewster and Fager (2000) suggest some more ways for parents to follow in their
children‟s homework practices. To be more specific, it would be effective if the parents could: Create a place at home that is conducive to studying. A well-lit and quiet room will be a good study environment which keeps students away from distractions. Show positive attitude towards homework. Parents are role models, therefore, if their attitude to homework is negative, so will the child‟s. It is only through a positive attitude, by the part of parents, that the child‟s attitude will change Find out ahead of time what kinds of resources – such as tutors or services for second language students – are available to students if they need help. Set aside a specific time for homework each day. This might involve limiting television-watching or phone calls until homework is finished. Parents should be careful, though, not to pit homework against activities students enjoy, or to create situations in which students rush through their work in order to get back to other activities. Be available if students have questions. Parents can support their children by looking over their homework, signing completed tasks, but should not do the homework for them. Minimize the connection between rewards or punishment and school performance. While it is important for parents to recognize students‟ achievements, they should avoid external motivators for performance. Like teachers, parents should put an emphasis on the value of learning and show they appreciate their child‟s hard work.
(Adapted from Brewster & Fager, 2001) 5.4. Conclusive Remarks In this chapter, specific pedagogical suggestions for a more motivating approach to homework have been made. Well-designed homework, teachers and parents‟ involvement are proved to have great impact on students‟ motivation. Therefore, in consideration of these important factors, homework, if properly exploited, will be most effective and motivating to students.
CHAPTER 6 – CONCLUSION
With a view to drawing a conclusion for this study, this chapter includes a brief summary of the findings and the implications, the limitations of the research as well as some suggestions for further studies on related fields. 6.1. Summary 6.1.1. Summary of the findings Supported by the data collected from the survey questionnaire and the interviews, the study has thoroughly answered two questions. In response to the first research question which focuses on the extent to which the students‟ motivation patterns for doing English homework were expressed, the findings confirmed that the students were more intrinsically than extrinsically motivated to do their English homework. For the intrinsic motivation, the students did their English homework mostly due to its importance in reinforcing their basic knowledge of English and enhancing the English skills. Besides, the interest in learning English, the benefits of the English homework in developing the students‟ time management skills and independent learning were also the powerful motivators for the students to do their homework. Meanwhile, the desires for strengthening the learning discipline and responsibility, broadening social knowledge and developing the skill of using library, computer or the Internet did not act as the high motives for doing the English homework. Regarding the extrinsic motivation, the results of the study indicated that the respondents did their homework mainly for the motives of getting a mark for the English subject and receiving the teacher’s feedback on their
work. Also, the students‟ extrinsic motivation came from the interesting content of the homework tasks and their desire for not being punished by their teachers. It should be noted that the easy level of the homework tasks was not considered as a strong motive behind the students‟ homework completion. Next, major factors that demotivated the respondents to do the English homework were detected with reference to the second research question. Among five categories of the demotiving factors, the ones concerning the nature of English homework and the teachers’ approach were the most affective. Specifically, the students‟ motivation for doing homework would decrease if their assigned tasks were not suitable for their level or the tasks lacked a variety or relevance to what the students had been taught. The teachers would also negatively affected the students‟ motivation for doing homework if they did not give sufficient feedback or encouraging marks for the students‟ performances. Other factors related to the students’ attitude and psychology as well as the social factors were also revealed in the study. Regarding the attitudinal factors, that the students did not enjoy learning English would lead to more decreased motivation than that the students did not enjoy doing homework. Next, the students’ awareness of their limited competence in English was the strongest demotivator among the psychological factors, whereas the parents‟ involvement again did not have much impact on the students‟ motivation for doing English homework. Finally, the most influential social factor was associated with the busy schedules for extra classes and homework of other subjects. It was also interesting to find out that the limited physical environment at the students‟ houses such as small
room, noises or lack of light were not the reasons for the students‟ demotivation. 6.1.2. Summary of the implications First of all, to make homework practice more motivating to students, homework itself should be effectively designed in regard to the relevance, the variety and the level of difficulty. It is most effective for the homework tasks to be closely related to what students have been taught in class so that they can benefit from their homework completion. Besides, instead of giving the same types of homework tasks all the time, teachers need to vary the tasks to arouse students‟ interest in doing homework. In addition to the relevance and the variety of the homework tasks, it is necessary for teachers to carefully consider their students‟ level before designing homework in order to avoid the too challenging assignments. Secondly, after designing and assigning homework to students, teachers need to adopt a motivating approach to giving instructions, feedback and even marks for students‟ work. Therefore, a thorough explanation of what students have to do, evaluative comments and sufficient grading given to students‟ completion are not redundant if teachers want to increase their student‟s motivation for doing the English homework they assign. Finally, it is believed by the researcher that if the parents can closely collaborate with teachers and school, the involvement will make the students‟ homework practice more effective and motivating. Some suggested ways for parents to consider could be: create a supportive physical environment at home, show positive attitude towards homework, set a
specific time for homework every day, minimize the connection between rewards or punishment and school performance, etc. 6.2. Limitations of the study Despite considerable efforts of the researcher, this study has some limitations that should be acknowledged in terms of methodology and content. The first limitation relates to the convenience sampling method which was not to choose the participants as highly representative as possible. As the findings revealed in the study were valid for only the three surveyed classes, the generalizability of the statistics for all of 11th form students at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School was unachievable. Another limitation in the methodology lies in the use of survey questionnaire. With a limited number of the items describing the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation as well as the different demotivating factors, the questionnaire for the students could not describe an exhaustive expression of the motivation patterns and factors. Regarding the investigation of the factors demotivating the students to do their English homework, although the researcher attempted to combine the different ways of classifying the factors, it was still difficult and confusing sometimes to put the factors into five basic groups (i.e. nature of homework, teacher, students‟ attitude, students‟ psychology and society). As few related studies on this issue were reviewed, the classification received less thorough theoretical backup than expected. Next, due to the researcher‟s limited time and experience, the pedagogical implications for the current study just focused on three aspects involving the well-designed homework tasks, the teachers‟ motivating
approach and the appropriate involvement of parents. The reliability of these implications could be maximized if the researcher could cover more strategies. Furthermore, it could be better if the research could specify the students‟ views on which types of homework were motivating to them and which way of teachers‟ feedback they preferred. If such goals could be achieved, this research would really serve as a proposal for setting the homework policy not only at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School but also the others in Vietnam. 6.3. Suggestions for further studies The future researchers who are interested in motivation and homework may want to conduct further studies on a large scale. For instance, it is highly recommended that the future researchers expand the population to both the elementary and secondary school students and even university ones. Then, differences in the motivation patterns of students at different levels can also be detected. In this direction, the random sampling method would be applicable to bring a high representativeness of the participants. In order to collect data for such studies, in-depth interviews can be used together with survey questionnaires to bring a more detailed picture of the students‟ motivation for doing English homework. Besides, future researchers also can develop systematic studies to evaluate the motivational level of English homework tasks assigned to the students at high schools or universities. Accordingly, not only are the questionnaires and interviews basic instruments but the classroom observation, students‟ documentations related to their homework
completion are also necessary to make an evaluation on homework as one of the teaching and learning materials. Such a study is hoped to explore how
much homework is enough, what specific types of homework are preferred by the students or what types of teachers‟ feedback are most beneficial. Another line of research which should be further explored is the relationship between students‟ English homework completion and their achievements in studying. However, it will be hard to make a thorough evaluation of the impact of homework completion on the students‟ achievements if a large population take part in this study; therefore, a case study will be an appropriate approach to be employed in this research. To be more specific, it is most effective for the future researchers to make a systematic observation on their own children or relatives before, while and after they do homework. Then, a qualitative analysis is carried out to check whether homework completion helps to enhance the students‟ achievement or not.
Allison, D. ( 2002). Approaching English Language Research. Singapore: Singapore University Press. Amanda, J., et al. (2003). Running head: Validity Evidence for the Academic Motivation Scale. James Madison University. Retrieved April 1st 2011 from www.jmu.edu/assessment/wm.../Validity_Evidence_AMS.pdf Bộ Giáo dục và Đào tạo. (2008). Công văn 7720/BGDĐT-GDTH - Hướng dẫn thực hiện nhiệm vụ năm học 2008-2009 đối với Giáo dục tiểu học. Retrieved November 9th 2010 from
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http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICS ervlet?accno=ED418925 Brewster, C., Fager, J. (2000). Increasing Students Engagement and Motivation: From Time-on-Task to Homework. Northwest Regional Education Laboratory. Retrieved November 9th 2010 from
http://www.nwrel.org/request/oct00/textonly.html Brown, J.D. (2001). Using Surveys in Language Programs. New York: Cambridge University Press. Cooper, H. (1989). Synthesis of research on homework. Educational leadership. Retrieved December 4th 2010 from
http://www.addison.pausd.org/files/addison/homework/Synthesis%20of %20Research%20on%20Homework.pdf Cooper, H., Robinson, J.C. & Patall, E.A. (2003). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987-2003. Review of Educational Research, 76(1), 1. Retrieved December 4th 2010 from http://classtap.pbworks.com/f/Does+Homework+Improve+Achievemen t.pdf Darn, S. (2010). Homework. Retrieved November 10th 2010 from http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/homework Deci, E. L. & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum. Dornyei, Z. (2001). Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dornyei, Z. (2003). Attitudes, orientations, and motivations in language learning. Language Learning Research Club. University of Michigan. Blackwell Publishing, Ltd. Dornyei, Z. (2003). Questionnaires in Second Language Research: Construction, Administration and Processing. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers. Gardner, R.C. (2010). Motivation and Second Language Acquisition: The Socio-Educational Model. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. Goldstein, S. (2001). The Importance of Homework in Your Child's Education. Retrieved November 10th 2010 from
Groham, J. & Christophel, D.M. (1992). Students‟ Perceptions of Teachers‟ Behaviors as Motivating and Demotivating Factors in College Classes. Communication Quaterly, 40, 239-252. Retrived April 10th 2011 from http://professoryates.com/Gorham92StudentPerceptionsOfTeacherBeha viors.pdf Hallam, S. (2004). Homework: the evidence. Institute of Education University of London. Hammond, P. (1998). Helping your students with homework – A Guide for Teachers. Retrieved December 4th 2010 from
http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/HelpingStudents/index.html Hinkel, E. (2011). Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning, vol.2. Routledge - Taylor and Francis Group. Hong, E. & Milgram, R.M. (2004). Homework: motivation and learning preference. Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. Hoover- Dempsey et al. (2001). Parental Involvement in Homework. Educational Psychologist’s Journal, 36 (3), 201-203. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Retrieved April 1st 2011 from
http://www.vanderbilt.edu/peabody/familyschool/papers/homework.pdf Hornby, A.S. et al. (2005). Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. 7th ed. China: Oxford University Press. Hunt, G.H., Touzel, T.J. (2009). Effective Teaching: Preparation and Implementation. Charles C Thomas Publishers, Ltd.
Jan, H. (2009). Student and Teacher Demotivation in SLA. Asian Social Science Journal, (5), 1. Retrieved April 10th 2011 from
http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/ass/article/download/544/525 Jha, A.K. (2006). Homework Education: A Powerful Tool of Learning. India: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors. Kelly & Mainard, C. (2002). Why Go to School? Why Do Homework? Motivational Correlates for School and Homework in High School Students. New Orleans: Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Retrieved March 31st 2011 from
http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED468054.pdf / Kidwell, V. (2004). Homework. Great Britain: Continuum. Mackey, A. & Gass, S.M. (2005). Second language research: methodology and design. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers. Meara, P. & Skehan, P. (1989). Individual differences in second language learning. London: Edward Arnold. Mertens, D.M. ( 2010). Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology: Integrating Diversity With Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods. SAGE Publications, Inc. Nguyen, T.T.M., Pham, M.T., and Luong, Q.T. (2007). Research Methodology – Course book for third year students. University of Languages and International Studies – Vietnam National University, Hanoi. Olympia, D.E., Sheridany, S.M. & Jensonz, W. (1994). Homework: A Natural Means of Home-School Collaboration. School Psychology Quarterly, (9), 1, 60-80. Retrieved January 9th 2011 from
Painter, L. (2003). Homework: Resource Books for Teachers. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board (Cananda) (2005). Homework Guidelines. Retrieved November 27th 2010 from
http://www.pvnccdsb.on.ca/parents/homework.asp Rost, M. (2006). Generating Student Motivation. Retrieved April 1st 2011 from http://www.pearsonlongman.com/ae/worldview/motivation.pdf Spolsky, B. (1989). Conditions for Second Language Learning. Oxford University Press. To et al. (2010). ELT Methodology II. Unpublished course book. College of Foreign Languages, Vietnam National University. Whitney, J.D. (2009). Homework Help Guide. Free Federal, Military and Family Publications.
APPENDIX 1A – SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE (Vietnamese Version) C UH I H OS T
ĐỘNG LỰC CỦA HỌC SINH LỚP 11 TRONG VIỆC LÀM BÀI TẬP VỀ NHÀ MÔN TIẾNG ANH TẠI TRƯỜNG THPT NGUYỄN GIA THIỀU
Ch o c c em học sinh! Tôi t n l Ph m Thu H – sinh vi n năm th đ t i “Động lực của h c sinh l p ph a dưới. C c t i tr ng H hoa Sư ph m Ti ng Anh – Trư ng gu n Gia hi u trong việc làm
Đ i học Ngo i ng – Đ i học Quốc gia H N i. Tôi đang thực hiện kh a lu n tốt nghiệp với bài tập v nhà môn tiếng Anh”. Tôi r t mong c c em gi p đ b ng c ch tr l i c c c u h i ki n c nh n c a c c em đ u đư c đ nh gi cao v mọi thông tin c nh n s đư c đ m b o gi b m t trong b t k ho n c nh n o. Mong c c em đưa ra c c c u tr l i m t c ch ch n th t v đi u đ s đ ng g p to lớn v o th nh công c a nghi n c u n y. C m n sự gi p đ c a c c em. PHẦN I – ĐỘNG LỰC CỦA HỌC SINH KHI LÀM BÀI TẬP VỀ NHÀ MÔN TIẾNG ANH Để ho n th nh ph n n y, c c em h y ch ra dưới đ y b ng c ch khoanh tr n số ki n c a m nh đối với m i c u n i ng ho c h ng ng ô th ch h p nh t với m c đ
c a c c em, dựa theo thang đo dưới đ y. R t c m n sự c ng t c c a c c em 1 2 3 4 5
Hoàn toàn không đồng ý
Không đồng ý
Hoàn toàn đồng ý
Động lực bên trong Em làm các BTVN môn tiếng Anh 1. 2. 3. 4. ợc giao bởi vì: 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Em thích học tiếng Anh. Em muốn củng cố kiến thức cơ bản của môn tiếng Anh. Em muốn nâng cao các kỹ năng tiếng Anh. Em muốn tìm hiểu thêm về văn hóa của các nước nói tiếng Anh. 5. Em muốn mở rộng kiến thức xã hội được để cập trong các bài đó. 6. Em muốn phát triển kỹ năng học độc lập. 7. Em muốn học cách quản lý thời gian hiệu quả. 8. Em muốn nâng cao kỷ luật và trách nhiệm học tập. 9. Em muốn tận dụng tối đa các tài liệu tham khảo (từ điển, sách ngữ pháp, phiếu bài tập, v.v.) 10. Em muốn phát triển kỹ năng sử dụng thư viện, máy tính, Internet và các nguồn tài nguyên học tập khác.
Động lực bên ngoài
Em làm các BTVN môn tiếng Anh 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.
ợc giao bởi vì: 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Các BTVN đó thú vị đối với em. Các BTVN đó d đối với em. Em muốn lấy điểm cho môn tiếng Anh. Bố mẹ em bắt em làm. Em không muốn bị phạt bởi giáo viên. Em muốn thể hiện với giáo viên rằng em là học sinh chăm chỉ. Em muốn thể hiện với các bạn rằng em chăm chỉ Em muốn thể hiện với bố mẹ rằng em là một người con ngoan. Em muốn nhận được các ý kiến nhận xét của giáo viên. Em muốn có cơ hội thảo luận thêm với các bạn về các bài tập đó.
PHẦN II – C C ẾU T
C N TRỞ ĐỘNG LỰC CỦ HỌC SINH
HI L M BTVN
Dưới đ y l c c c u mi u t nh ng y u tố đư c coi l cản trở ến ộng lực của h c sinh trong việc l m BTVN môn tiếng Anh. C c em h y ch ra c u n i đ b ng c ch khoanh tr n số ki n c a m nh đối với m i ng ho c h ng ô th ch h p nh t với m c đ
ng c a c c em dựa theo thang đo dưới đ y. R t c m n sự c ng t c c a c c em.
1 Hoàn toàn không đồng ý
2 Không đồng ý
3 Trung lập
4 Đồng ý
5 Hoàn toàn đồng ý
Em nghĩ các ếu tố cản trở ộng lực của em khi làm BTVN là: 1. BTVN quá khó với em. 2. BTVN quá d với em. 3. Các dạng BTVN l p đi l p lại. 4. BTVN kh ng li n quan đến những g em được dạy tr n lớp. 5. Em kh ng có đủ tài liệu tham khảo để làm được các BTVN. 6. Em kh ng được hướng d n để làm BTVN. 7. Em kh ng được nhận x t những BTVN đ làm. 8. Em kh ng được chấm điểm cho các BTVN đ làm 9. Em kh ng th ch làm BTVN. 10. Em không thích học tiếng Anh. 11. Cha mẹ em kh ng y u cầu em làm BTVN. 12. Cha mẹ em đ t áp l c cao l n em về kết quả học tập ở trường. 13. Em cảm thấy ngại nếu s yếu kém về môn TA của em bị thầy cô phát hiện th ng qua việc làm BTVN. 14. Em cảm thấy ngại nếu s yếu kém về môn TA của em bị bạn bè phát hiện th ng qua việc làm BTVN. 15. Khả năng TA của em còn hạn chế. 16. M i trường học ở nhà em bị hạn chế (v dụ: ph ng học nh , tiếng ồn ào xung quanh, thiếu ánh sáng, v.v.) 17. Em bận làm bài tập của các m n học khác. 18. Em bận đi học thêm các môn khác. 19. Em bị l i cuốn bởi tr chơi điện tử, phim ảnh, Internet, v.v. 20. Em được bạn bè rủ đi chơi. 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
PHẦN III – THÔNG TIN THÊM 1. Mong các em ho n th nh th ng tin d hợp Giới tính: Nam Nữ i â bằng cách ánh dấu X vào ô thích
Ban mà các em đang theo học: Khoa học T nhiên Khoa học Xã hội & Nhân văn Cơ bản ợc
2. Nếu các em quan tâm ến kết quả của nghiên cứu này và mong muốn nhận nó, các em có thể cung cấp tên v Tên: Địa chỉ: Email (nếu có): ịa chỉ ể tôi có thể liên l c v i các em v sau.
3. Nếu các em có bất kỳ câu hỏi nào v nghiên cứu này, các em có thể liên l c v i tôi qua số iện tho i 0978 357 389 ho c ịa chỉ email: email@example.com. M i câu hỏi của các em u ợc hoan nghênh.
Cảm ơn sự giúp ỡ của các em
APPENDIX 1B – SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE (English Version)
11TH FORM STUDENTS’ MOTIVATION FOR DOING ENGLISH HOMEWORK AT NGUYEN GIA THIEU HIGH SCHOOL
Hello everyone! My name is Pham Thu Ha, a fourth-year student at Vietnam National University, Hanoi University of Languages and International Studies – Faculty of English Language Teacher Education. I am conducting a graduation paper titled “Student Motivation for Doing English Homework at Nguyen Gia Thieu High School”. I would like to ask you to help me by answering the following questions concerning your motivation for doing English homework. This is not a test, thus there are no “right” or “wrong” answers. Your personal opinions are highly appreciated and your confidentiality is assured in any circumstances. Please give your answers sincerely as only this will guarantee the success of the investigation. Thank you very much for your help. PART I – STUDENTS’ MOTIV TION FOR DOING ENGLISH HOMEWORK To complete this part, please indicate your opinion about each statement by circling a number in the box that best describes the extent to which you agree or disagree with that statement, based the scale below. Thank you.
1 Strongly disagree
5 Strongly agree
Intrinsic Motivation I do the English homework tasks given by my teacher because: 1. 2. 3. 4. I enjoy learning English. I want to reinforce the basic knowledge of English. I want to enhance my English skills I want to know more about the culture of English-speaking nations. 5. I want to broaden social knowledge introduced in those tasks. 6. I want to develop the skill of independent learning. 7. I want to learn how to manage time effectively. 8. I want to strengthen the learning discipline and responsibility. 9. I want to make full use of reference materials. (e.g. dictionaries, grammar books, handouts, etc.) 10. I want to develop the skill of using library, computer, Internet or other learning resources. Extrinsic Motivation I do the English homework tasks because: 11. Those tasks are interesting to me. 12. Those tasks are easy for me. 13. I want to get a mark for the English subject. 14. My parents ask me to do those tasks. 15. I want to avoid being punished by my teacher 16. I want to show my teacher that I am a hard-working student. 17. I want to show my friends that I am a hard-working student. 18. I want to show my parents that I am a good child. 19. I want to receive teacher‟s feedback on my work. 20. I want to have further discussion on those tasks with my friends. 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
PART II – DEMOTIV TING F CTORS TO STUDENTS’ HOMEWORK COMPLETION Following are a number of statements which describe the demotivating factors to students’ homework completion. Please indicate your opinion after each statement by circling a number in the box that best describes the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement, based on the scale below. Thank you.
1 Strongly Disagree
5 Strongly agree
I think the factors demotivating me to do homework are: 1. 2. 3. 4. Homework tasks are too difficult for me. Homework tasks are too easy for me. Types of homework tasks are repeated. Homework tasks are not relevant to what I have been taught in class. 5. I do not have enough reference materials to do homework. 6. I am not instructed by the teacher to do homework. 7. I am not given feedback to their homework completion. 8. I am not given a mark for their homework completion. 9. I do not enjoy doing homework. 10. I do not enjoy learning English. 11. My parents do not force me to do homework. 12. My parents put high pressure on my performance at school. 13. I am afraid that my weaknesses in learning English will be recognized by my teachers through homework completion. 14. I am afraid that their weaknesses in learning English will be recognized by my classmates through homework completion. 15. My competence in English is limited. 16. Physical environment in my house is limited. (e.g. small room, noises, lack of light, etc.) 17. I am busy going to extra classes of other subjects. 18. I am busy doing exercises of other subjects. 19. I am attracted by computer games, TV programs or the Internet. 20. My friends invite me to go out with them. 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
PART III – ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 1. Please fill in the information by putting a tick in the appropriate box Your gender: Male Female
The department you belong to: Natural Sciences Social & Humanitarian Sciences Mainstream
2. If you are interested in the report of this research and would like to receive it, would you please provide your address so that I can contact you later. 3. Your name: Your address: Your email address (if any) If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via phone number 0978 357 389 or email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you very much for your help!
APPENDIX 2A – INTERVIEW SCHEDULE (Vietnamese Version)
1. Động lực l m của h c sinh
- Khi được giao các BTVN m n tiếng Anh, những động l c nào khiến em thấy cần phải làm những bài tập đó .......................................................................................................................... - Động l c nào có tác động lớn nhất đối với em Tại sao .......................................................................................................................... 2. ác ếu tố l m giảm ộng lực l m giao, l do là g .......................................................................................................................... - L do nào có ảnh hưởng lớn nhất Tại sao .......................................................................................................................... 3. Gợi ể t ng c ng ộng lực của h c sinh hi l m : của h c sinh:
- Nếu em kh ng muốn làm ho c kh ng làm đầy đủ các BTVN được
- Theo em, BTVN của m n Tiếng Anh có cần thiết cho việc dạy và học m n tiếng Anh hay kh ng .......................................................................................................................... - Liệu có bất k s điều chỉnh nào li n quan đến chất lượng BTVN, hoạt động của giáo vi n ho c s tham gia của cha mẹ mà cần được th c hiện nhằm nâng cao động l c của học sinh trong việc làm BTVN? ..........................................................................................................................
APPENDIX 2B – INTERVIEW SCHEDULE (English Version)
1. Student’s Motivation for Doing English Homewor : - Once being assigned the English homework, what motivates you to do those homework assignments? .......................................................................................................................... - Among those motives, what is the strongest one? Why? .......................................................................................................................... 2. Demotivating Factors to Students’ Homewor ompletion
- If you do not do any homework assignments or complete them insufficiently, what are the factors that demotivate you? .......................................................................................................................... - Which factor is the most affective? Why? .......................................................................................................................... 3. Suggestions to Increase Student’s Motivation for Doing English Homework - Do you think that English homework is necessary for English language teaching and learning? .......................................................................................................................... - In your opinion, what can be done to increase students‟ motivation for doing English homework, in terms of the nature of homework, teachers‟ activities or parents‟ involvement ..........................................................................................................................
APPENDIX 3 – TRANSCRIPTIONS OF THE INTERVIEWS
In the interviews, each interviewee was asked the same set of questions given in Appendix 2 and other related ones to gain a complete understanding of the students‟ views. It is notable that: All the interviews were originally in Vietnamese. Provided below are the English translation. I is abbreviated for Interviewer; S is for Student INTERVIEW 1: With student 1 (S1) I: Hello! Thank you for joining this interview. Can you introduce yourself? S1: […] ..................................................................................................... I: Thank you. Well, in this interview, I‟m going to ask you some
questions related to what have been mentioned in the questionnaire to have more in-depth information. The interview will last about 20 minutes. If there is anything that you find unclear, feel free to ask me. Also, I will a recorder to record the whole content of this interview, so I hope that you won‟t feel being disturbed. Last but not least, you can be
sure that your identity will be kept confidential in any circumstances. S1: Alright, I‟m ready now. I: Thanks. First of all, can you tell me what motivates you to do the English homework assigned by your teacher? S1: Well, it depends. I will definitely do the compulsory assignments,
otherwise I may get a bad mark or be punished by my teacher. In case the
homework assignments are just optional…uhm… I mean the completion of those assignments will not be checked by my teacher, I still manage to finish it. I: So can you tell me why?
S1: Ah it is because I myself enjoy learning English very much. I intend to take an exam of Group D in the Entrance Exam next year, so I learn English very hard and take any chance to do more English exercises both in class and at home. That‟s why I am not afraid of doing English homework.
I: Oh, I‟m very glad to hear that. Is there any other reasons for your homework completion? S1: Uhm… sometimes I want to receive my teacher‟s feedback on what I have completed so that I can recognize if I make any mistake. I: I see your point. In your opinion, which motive is the strongest one for
you to do homework? S1: I think my self-awareness of the importance of homework is the strongest motive for me to do homework. I: Now, in case you do not do any homework assignments or complete them insufficiently, what can be the factors that demotivate you?
S1: Oh I think it can be resulted from the teacher first. I: Can you specify this factor? S1: Yes, if a teacher assigns homework to students but won‟t check the students‟ completion, the students won‟t take homework serious.
I: How about the nature of homework. Is there anything you want to say
about it? S1: Yeah. The quality of homework itself is also worth considering. For me, if the tasks are not closely relevant to what we have been taught in class. Having said that, an expansion is still possible sometimes to interest the students.
I: Among the factors that you‟ve just mentioned, what is the most affective one? S1: It should be the teacher factor. It is the teacher who assigns the homework therefore, if he/she doesn‟t care about the students‟ homework completion, the students‟ attitude will easily affected in a negative way.
I: Ok. Generally speaking, do you think that English homework is necessary for English language teaching and learning? S1: Absolutely. I strongly believe that doing homework often will help students strengthen the basic knowledge of English and then enhance the English skills.
I: In order for the students to most benefit from homework, what can be done to increase students’ motivation for doing homework? Can you make some suggestions related to the teacher‟s activities, the nature of homework and even the parents‟ involvement S1: Well, firstly, I think that a teacher should design the homework
assignments which are relevant to what has been taught in class. Besides, the types of the tasks need to be varied so that students won‟t find boring and discouraged to do homework?
I: What kind of homework task do you find interested in and want to do? S: For most of the time, we just do the multiple choice exercises about
grammar and pronunciation. If sometimes we had a project in English, for example, preparing for a role-play, making presentation, etc., we would be much more excited to complete the tasks. I: Regarding the teacher‟s activities, what do you think S1: There is a very practical and simple way that many teacher can do, I
think. That is to give us some small gifts as a stimulus for completing homework. The gifts are not necessarily of big value. For example, they can be some pens, notebooks or even a box of candy. [Smiling] I: How do you think about the parent factor even though you have not mentioned the parents‟ involvement as one of the affective factors to students‟ doing homework S2: For the parents, I just think that it‟s better if the parents also show positive attitudes towards homework so that their children can learn from them I: Yes, I see. Is there anything you want to add?
S1: Nope. Just want to wish you great success and good luck with your research. I: Thank you very much. If you are interested in the results of this study, you can contact me via my email or phone number….. Once again, thanks a lot.
S1:You‟re welcome. Good bye. See you again.
I: Ok. Good bye. Take care. INTERVIEW 2: With student 2 (S2) I: Hello! Thank you for joining this interview. Can you introduce yourself?
S2: […] ................................................................................................................. I: Thank you. Well, in this interview, I‟m going to ask you some questions related to what have been mentioned in the questionnaire to have more in-depth information. The interview will last about 20 minutes. If there is anything that you find unclear, feel free to ask me.
Also, I will a recorder to record the whole content of this interview, so I hope that you won‟t feel being disturbed. Last but not least, you can be sure that your identity will be kept confidential in any circumstances. S2: Yes. We can start now. I: Alright. First, I would like to ask you a question that once being
assigned the English homework, what motivates you to do those homework assignments? S2: Well, my teacher often assigns homework as a way to giving ongoing assessment. Specifically, my teacher calls some students randomly and asks them to submit the homework so that she can mark them. As a
result, I do the English homework in the hope that I will get a good mark. I: How about other reasons? Is there any? S2: Uhm…I think…yes. I also try to complete the homework assignments so that I can test myself how effectively I handle both
classwork and homework. In my opinion, homework can help students to
learn time management skills. Ah, more important, I do homework because I want to practice the lessons I have just learned in class. I think that‟s also the teacher‟s major aim of giving homework. I: So you mean that your desire to reinforce the basic knowledge of English acts as the strongest motive to do English homework, doesn‟t it
S2: You‟re right. That‟s exactly what I mean. I: Uh huh, I see your point. But now, if you do not do any homework assignments or complete them insufficiently, what can be the factors that demotivate you? S2: Well, sometimes I feel demotivated to do the homework assignments
which are too challenging for me. I think such assignments will especially demotivate the students whose competence of English is somehow limited. I: Do you want to add some more factors? S2: Yes, actually, I think one of the most common problems among
students is the workload of other subjects. We have to do many exercises required by the teachers of other subjects, so it is difficult for us to spend much time on English homework. Moreover, nowadays, students are often busy going to extra classes of some subjects such as Math, Physics, Chemistry or Literature to prepare for their Entrance exam to university. This issue also contributes to the students‟ demotivation for completing English homework.
I: Well, I can see those factors are justifiable in the current context. So among the factors you‟ve just talked about, which one do you consider to be the most affective? And please tell me why?
S2: Ah before discussing the most affective factor, I have one more idea to add. That is about the external attractions that can demotivate students to spend time on homework. Specifically, many students, especially boys, are often attracted by computer games or friends‟ invitations to go out, etc. Such factors certainly takes away the students‟ time spent on
self-study at home. I: Oh, you are right. That‟s called social factors. S2: Yep, the social factors. However, I think the most affective factor to students‟ motivation for doing English homework should be the quality of homework tasks and the teacher‟s approach because these have more direct impacts on the students‟ homework practice. I: Uhm I agree with you. Another question for you is that do you think that English homework is necessary for English language teaching and learning? S2: Oh yes, of course. Sometimes I may be a bit lazy to do English
homework; nevertheless, I never underestimate its importance in the teaching and learning process. I: In your opinion, what can be done to increase students‟ motivation for doing English homework, in terms of the nature of homework, teachers‟ activities or even parents‟ involvement
S2: I think that it would be most effective if the homework task could be not too difficult or too easy. Otherwise, the students don‟t want to do it. About parents, I think the spiritual and even material support that parents give their children in their homework practice would be the most effective involvement. Regular encouragement and the timely presents
sometimes would be very practical. I: Do you want to make some recommendations about the teacher‟s activities when they assign homework? S2: Well, I would appreciate if the teacher could clarify the aims of the homework they are assigning and then give us some instructions to deal
with the tasks. Such approach will make us feel that the teacher really cares about the students. Accordingly, the students‟ motivation for doing English homework will arise. I: Allright. Thank you very much for your sharing today. Wish you good results this semester.
S2: thanks. Good luck to you. Hope to see you again. I: Yeah, me too. If you want to know more about this study, don‟t hesitate to contact me via my email or phone number…