عنوان مقاله [English]
The present study sought to investigate the effects of employing the intervention provision framework put forward by John Heron, entitled Six-Category Intervention Analysis, on EFL learners' willingness to communicate. This model of intervention provision, having its genesis in clinical supervision, can regulate the verbal behavior and actual sentences used by teachers to intervene in language learning contexts. The Preliminary English Test (PET) as an English language proficiency test was administered to 60 participants. Based on the results obtained, 36 participants were selected and assigned to two groups of 18. The first group was authoritative intervention group in which the teacher suggested what had to be done, provided information, or confronted the learners. The second group was facilitative intervention, in which the teacher drew out ideas, solutions, or self-confidence. The participants in both groups completed Willingness to Communicate questionnaire before and after the treatment, as well as in the follow-up period. The findings indicated that the application of Six-Category Intervention Analysis brought about significant changes in the performance of the facilitative group that outperformed the authoritative intervention group.This research could carry some important implications for all stakeholders in the realm of foreign language teaching
There has been a strong movement in the field of foreign language learning and pedagogy towards increasing emphasis on meaningful communication. As a consequence of this development, the concept of willingness to communicate (WTC) has become progressively more significant in second language learning studies and, therefore, an increasing number of studies have been conducted on the different variables that might affect second and foreign language learners’ willingness to communicate (e.g. Alemi et al. 2013, Cao & Philip 2006, MacIntyre et al. 2011, Wen and Clement 2003). Despite the growing interest in WTC, teachers’ influence on learners’ WTC is a variable that needs to be scrutinized thoroughly. Most of the studies that have looked into teachers’ effect on learners’ WTC regarded it as one of several variables and therefore have not given the matter a central attention in order to provide substantial information. Furthermore, there have been few studies on this issue in an Iranian EFL context. Hence, additional research is needed to determine whether teachers actually have an effect on their learners’ WTC in the classroom and if so, what the pedagogical consequences of their interventions are.
The classroom language, teachers’ verbal behavior and interaction within the class are key components that contribute to success of language learning. Despite their importance, it is not known why, to date, no structured oral/verbal framework has been put forward to provide learners with intervention and classroom language conducive to learning. Language learning and teaching contexts tend to be replete with intervention and mediation. Ellis (2008) believes that language teaching is comprised of direct intervention referring to “attempts to actually teach learners specific linguistic properties” (2), and indirect intervention referring to the conditions built to facilitate language learning. Additionally, research has shown that being exposed to linguistic input is not, per se, sufficient to develop language proficiency (Lantolf & Throne, 2006; Swain 2000). Hence, provision of valid pedagogical and non-pedagogical intervention is a pressing need for nurturing the process of learning (Lai, 2012; Negueruela & Lantolf, 2006; van Compernolle, 2012). Furthermore, classroom climate is believed to be markedly determined by the dynamics of the learning group and its development over time (Dornyei & Murphey, 2003; Hadfield, 1992, as quoted in Galadja, 2012). In line with this, Widdowson (1990, p. 182) states " The classroom provides the context for the enactment of these roles: but the classroom should not just be perceived as physical surroundings but also conceived as social space. The difference is important and can be marked by a terminological distinction: setting for the physical context, scene for socio-psychological one". Farrell (2002) notes that communication in the classroom influences learners’ perception and willingness to take part in classroom activities. To consolidate this, and within the scope of classroom interaction, Edwards & Westgate (1987, p. 6) maintain" all normal human beings are expert in the practical interpretation of talk. Most of our everyday life depends on skills in talking and making sense of the talk of others, as we work or trade or simply pass the time of day".
Six-Category Intervention Analysis (SCIA) has been put forward by Heron (1976). This conceptual framework, being originally based on counseling and clinical supervision studies, has been employed to educate and train professionals in health-related arenas. Recently, however, it has been used in various fields including management, medical education and counselling to promote interpersonal skills. (Chambers & Long, 1995; Cutcliffe & Epling, 1997; Fowler, 1996;). Intervention in its both direct and indirect forms constitutes a major portion of the process of education. In language learning and teaching arenas, intervention has been attended to mostly in its former form. Indirect intervention, however, has not been considered in detail and with the necessary heed it deserves. The present study discusses intervention from Heron’s (1976) point of view and tries to elaborate on its two major categories, and their respective six types.
Intervention is “an identifiable piece of verbal and/or non-verbal behavior that is a part of the practitioner’s service to the client” (Heron, 2001, p. 3). Despite the significance of non-verbal aspects of intervention, Heron (1976) refers to intervention as a practitioner’s verbal behavior. SCIA is proposed as a conceptual framework to understand interpersonal relationships and to analyze interactions between a client and a helper.
Whereas there exist a number of intervention models (Sloan & Watson, 2002), SCIA has been frequently used in fields that need to promote interpersonal skills (Ashmore, 1999; Chambers & Long 1995; Cutcliffe & Epling, 1997; Fowler, 1996; Sloan & Watson, 2001). For practitioners, it can be used to improve the effectiveness of their communication skills in mentoring relationships. The two main categories of SCIA include authoritative and facilitative interventions which are briefly introduced here.
1.1.1 Authoritative Interventions
In this category, the practitioner suggests what should be done, provides information, or confronts the other person. This category includes three types: 1) Prescriptive: “…seeks to direct the behavior of the patient/colleague, client” (Heron, 2001, p. 5). For example, I would like you to discuss this issue with your classmates. In this intervention, the teacher or practitioner directly advises, proposes, recommends, or suggests the client what to do due to a gap in their knowledge or skill when they are badly needed (Maggioli, 2012), 2) Informative: “…seeks to impart knowledge, information and meaning to the other person” (Heron, 2001, p. 5). For example, “It would be useful for you to know that….” Maggioli (2012, p. 112) notes that “these interventions present relevant information, provide personal interpretations, feedback or self-disclosure with the aim of helping the aspiring teacher cope with a specific situation, and 3) Confronting: “…to raise the awareness of the patient/colleague/person about some limiting attitude or behavior of which he/she is relatively unaware” (Heron, 2001, p. 5). For example, I notice this is the third time we have talked about this—and you have still not been able to act—I wonder what is going on. These are employed in cases where the clients “need to be pushed to reassess their actions, beliefs or attitudes because they are acting against the benefits of themselves, or the learners, and they are unable to see it” (Maggioli, 2012, p. 112).
1.1.2 Facilitative Interventions
In these, the mediator or the helper draws out ideas, solutions, self-confidence, and so on, from the other person, helping him or her to reach his or her own solutions or decisions (Heron, 2001). They include: 1) Cathartic: “… to enable the other person to discharge and express painful emotion, usually grief, anger or fear”. For example, I notice that whenever you speak about your research, you look rather anxious, why don’t you tell us your problem? 2) Catalytic: “…to elicit self-discovery, self-directed learning, and problem solving”. For example, “What would you do in this situation?” 3) Supportive: “…to affirm the worth and value of the other person, their qualities, attitudes and actions”. For example, “It sounds like you handled that in a very mature and confident way, well done!” (Heron, 2001, p. 6).
Regarding intervention efficiency, Heron (2001) suggests that a valid intervention is “one that is appropriate to the client’s current state and stage of development, and to the developing practitioner-client interaction” (Heron, 2001, p. 10). Heron further continues that …to say that it is appropriate, is to say that: (a) it is in the right category; (b) it is the right sort of intervention within that category; (c) its content and use of language are fitting; (d) it is delivered in the right manner; and (e) it is delivered with good timing.
A degenerate intervention is one that “fails in one, and usually several, of these respects, because the practitioner lacks personal development, or training, or experience, or awareness or some combination of these” (Heron, 2001, p. 10). On the other hand, “a perverted intervention is one that deliberately malicious, that intentionally seeks to do harm to another person”.
Within a helping paradigm, Heron (1976) proposed a framework for delivering interventions. Whereas the SCIA, mainly based upon studies on counseling and clinical supervision, has been employed to train health education professionals, it has also been utilized by managers, supervisors, coaches, consultants, and educators to promote intervention within interpersonal relationship frameworks recently (e.g., Chambers & Long, 1995; Cutcliffe & Epling, 1997; Fowler, 1996; Johns & Butcher, 1993). Keeping in mind the vast usage scope of this framework including education, the researchers utilized it in the language instruction contexts to promote the interpersonal relationships so as to make language learning a more successful experience through provision of valid interventions. Employing such interventions as facilitative ones tend to enable teachers to create authentic dialogues between teachers on the one hand and the learners on the other throughout the interaction processes. The rationale behind employing such interventions in the educational psychology is that teachers adopting facilitative interventions are expected to provide learners with an opportunity to actively participate in these interactions which could lead to their higher willingness to communicate in the classroom setting.
Given the importance and the dearth of research on the effect of teachers' intervention on learners' WTC, the present study attempted to explore the effect of authoritative and facilitative interventions on the promotion of Iranian EFL learners’ willingness to communicate (WTC) in the short and long runs. To this end, the following research questions were posed:
1. Is there any statistically significant difference in Iranian EFL learners receiving authoritative and facilitative interventions in terms of WTC level in the short run?
2. Is there any statistically significant difference in Iranian EFL learners receiving authoritative and facilitative interventions in terms of WTC level in the long run?
To answer the above - mentioned research questions, two null hypotheses were formulated as follows:
Hypothesis one: There is not any significant difference between immediate posttest of willingness to communicate for the authoritative intervention group and facilitative intervention group.
Hypothesis two: There is not any significant difference between delayed posttest of willingness to communicate for the authoritative intervention group and facilitative intervention group.
The participants of this study were selected from a sample of 60 male and female EFL learners aged 20 to 45 at Farhangian University. Sixty subjects took the Preliminary English Test (PET) at the beginning of the study. Based on the results of the PET, those participants whose scores were within one standard deviation below and above the mean were selected as a homogenous sample for further data collection. The selected participants were randomly divided into two groups categorized as authoritative intervention group and facilitative intervention group.
The researcher utilized the Preliminary English Test (PET) to assess the language proficiency level of 60 sophomores at Farhangian University. It is a Cambridge ESOL exam for the intermediate level learners. The test consists of four sections. Section one is composed of 35 reading test items. Section two is made up of 5 writing test items. Section three includes 25 listening test items, and section four is a speaking test during which a picture is given to each participant and he or she is required to reflect and explain about it.
The WTC Questionnaire developed by MacIntyre et al. (2001) was employed to examine the participants' willingness to communicate (see Appendix one). It contains a total of 27 items, all of which refer to the learners’ willingness to engage in communication tasks focusing on four skills of speaking, writing, reading, and listening. The learners were required to indicate on a scale from 1 to 5 how willing they would be to communicate (where 1 = almost never willing, 2 = sometimes willing, 3 = willing half of the time, 4 = usually willing, and 5 = almost always willing). It should be noted that the questionnaire was piloted before the experiment and its reliability was 0.81. The textbook they were studying was American English File (OUP) level 2.
The PET was administered to 60 subjects. Based on the results of the test, those participants who scored within one standard deviation above and below the mean were selected as a homogeneous sample, and then divided into two groups, each consisting of 18 learners. The researcher himself first made it explicit to the participants about the major objective of the course. Prior to the treatment, WTC questionnaire was administered to measure the participants' level of willingness to communicate. The results were later compared and contrasted with the results and possible gains from the application of Heron’s authoritative and facilitative interventions on WTC.
The application of the intervention, based on Heron’s six-category model, comprised the most important stage of this research, i.e., the treatment. According to Heron’s (2001) model, there were two main categories of intervention including authoritative and facilitative types. The authoritative domain would include 3 main sub-categories including prescriptive, informative and confronting interventions. The other major category, facilitative interventions, included cathartic, catalytic, and supportive intervention types. While many examples of each of these two main categories and their subsequent six categories could be mentioned, Heron (2001) notes that “….there is not just one way of stating an intervention: it can have many verbal forms.” (p.4). He intended not to confuse an intervention with a verbal formula or a particular set of words. The reason is that an intervention is a person to person intention that can have many variations of verbal form, and the right variation depends on who those persons are and what is going on between them. However, some examples of different types of verbal interventions are as follows:
Having mentioned some sample sentences used in each type of interventions, the researchers need to mention that the treatment lasted for eight sessions in each class. Since the experiment was intended to be conducted on speaking skill, the feedback delivery would be primarily focused on the Heron’s interventions. The feedbacks were provided during speaking practices or lectures. Teaching the course book, The American File Two, was done based on the standards of the course while feedback were being delivered based on Heron’s (2001) intervention analysis.
Based on the types of the feedback which were supposed to be provided by the researchers, a specific lesson plan was carefully designed for each session according to which some steps were taken in all sessions (see Appendix Two). The steps taken in one specific session are provided in details as an Example here:
1. A number of thought-provoking warm-up questions will be asked regarding the topic of unit entitled "last weekend" in order to both introduce the topic and make the participants actively involved.
2. A short lecture will delivered to introduce the topic.
3. The students will required to discuss the topic in pairs.
4. The students were asked to put forward their own ideas and viewpoints about different aspects of a topic.
5. Some appropriate feedbacks (verbal behaviors) on the part of the researchers was provided in accordance with the type of the mistakes made by the students or the utterances produced by them.
6. In order to encourage the students to discuss the topic more deeply, they were required to work on diverse topic-related exercises and discuss them in the classroom.
7. Whereas a friendly atmosphere was created by the researcher for the facilitative group to eradicate the psychological barriers between the teacher and the students, the atmosphere of the class for the authoritative group was not as friendly due to the nature of the interventions.
8. While prescriptive, informative, and confronting interventions were made for the authoritative group, cathartic, catalytic, and supportive interventions were made for the facilitative group.
In this session the students were talking about their last weekends, the relative pronoun "whose" was mistakenly used by one of the students in the following dialogue:
Student: Last weekend I bought a car which name was Ford.
Teacher: "Which" is not used to show possessions. "Whose" is the right choice here?
Teacher's feedback in the above-mentioned dialogue was used as an informative intervention which is one of the authoritative interventions
As another example the researcher likes to mention another dialogue below in which he used cathartic intervention as a feedback to a mistake made by one of the students in the facilitative group.
Student: I can speak English Fluently with a native speaker in the museum last weekend.
Teacher: Don't worry. Many other learners have this problem. I know that you forgot to change the tense of "can" to" could ".
This section puts forward the statistical analyses of the data along with the discussions to the findings of the study based on the research questions mentioned in the introduction part
3.1. Results of the PET with the Initial Participants
The sixty participants who had initially accepted to take part in the study were given the PET as the standard English language proficiency test appropriate for their level. The purpose of the test was to select a homogeneous group in terms of English language proficiency. Table 3.1 shows the descriptive statistics for the PET scores.
Descriptive Statistics; PET General Language Proficiency Test
As it is indicate in Table 3.1, the mean score of the test was 59.27 and the SD was 14.376. The decision was to select the participants whose scores were within the range of one SD above and below the mean. Therefore, the participants whose scores were between 45 and 73 were selected as the homogenous sample for further data collection. The selected group included 36 participants who were randomly divided into two experimental groups to receive two treatments during the study.
3.2. Comparison of WTC scores between two groups on the pretest
To compare the participants in two groups in terms of WTC before the treatment, the researchers gave the WTC questionnaire to