CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION
This study has researched a new method of using literature in teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) to stimulate the social interaction among language learners. A bottom up approach based on the observation of the classroom interaction and the conducting of a questionnaire survey has been presented, combining qualitative observation results with statistical information from the survey. The methods of using literature circles to practice foreign language show encouraging results for both teenagers and young adults and are efficient compared to other conventional techniques in EFL classrooms.
This chapter starts with a summary of the problem and sums up the entire research revisiting the initial research questions and hypothesis. The chapter re-examines the main findings and the discussion presenting the conclusions reached and the results gained in the light of research questions presented before. The limitations and practical implications of the research, which I believe would be beneficial for the people working in the field of foreign language teaching, are also included in this chapter. Here I further discuss: exploration of possible future directions for the research, my thoughts about the overall impact of this research in the field, how the results may affect the EFL classroom and my suggestions for a further quantitative research.
The main rationale for this research was to find out the benefits of using literature circles in English as a foreign language learning environments. The study has set out to determine the effects of these student reading groups on language learning as most of the foreign language learners find extensive reading boring and those classes are the most challenging ones for the teachers as well.
One of the significant findings to emerge from this study was, if the literature circles help language learning through stimulation of the classroom atmosphere by having the teachers and students focus on the interaction patterns during the book discussion sessions. The suggested hypothesis with this research was that, the literature circles as a balanced element of the school curriculum can provide an exciting way to promote student engagement in extensive reading by means of cooperative learning and collaborative work and offer the potential to promote reading for enjoyment. The main focus of the analysis part was the contrast in interactions and classroom discourse taking place in literature circles and regular alternative extensive reading classes. The main concern was concentrated on how these variables affect the language development of English learners. The main variables observed were ‘classroom activities’ like, activity type, participant organization, content, student modality and materials and ‘classroom language’ like, the use of target language, information gaps, sustained speech, reaction to code or message, incorporation of preceding utterances, discourse initiation and relative restrictions of linguistic forms.
The results of the study presented in the findings chapter clearly show that the development of the classroom interaction assists language learning and literature circles is an effective way of bringing the classroom interaction to life. If we take the reflections of the student and the results of the observations into consideration, it is evident that the implication of literature circles is a rather different procedure compared to ordinary classroom instruction. Literature circles bring excitement and energy into the language classroom. During this study the participants enjoyed the sense of responsibility for their own learning and decided to improve their interaction skills to become better English language learners.
As for the benefits in EFL classes, it is also observed that literature circles facilitate learning by giving students an opportunity to share opinions in a specially designed classroom atmosphere, practicing situations very similar to real life experiences. I believe that the effectiveness of this method is greatly dependant on the teacher’s motivation. If the teacher manages to produce a collaborative learning environment with the suitable materials, I believe that the students will be readily eager to participate and support the shared experience and knowledge created in the classroom.
One of the more significant findings to emerge from this study is that the students were motivated to reading and by this means improved their foreign language skills during the process of this research. They experienced a different atmosphere of practicing language. They did similar assignments as they did before but this time for a more realistic purpose and in a more authentic environment.
I believe that the implications of this research for the EFL teachers would be appalling as the study promotes after class extensive reading and development of discussion skills through the encouragement of interaction patterns which many teachers are after. The limitations I encountered during the study were the small number of participants in a real school environment which is not appropriate for an experimental quantitative study. That is why I preferred a qualitative study built on observations and questionnaires. But I believe that the results derived from the classroom observations and participant questionnaires provide enough background for a further study. Other disadvantages were the high number of variables to be observed and again limited control over the instructional process and observing the learning outcomes in relation to the broadness of the issue.
Although this study is based on the classroom interaction as the criteria to be observed in literature circles, future studies may focus on some other variables like the development of reading and writing skills, or even grammar and vocabulary improvement through literature circles. Moreover, by using some other research methods, the results of this study may be compared with the findings of those other studies which will use different research methods. It would increase the validity and reliability issues in the findings. In addition to these points, the research could further explore the development of materials and procedures appropriate for different purposes or levels of competency in foreign languages.
It is my belief that this study has gathered supporting ideas related to the similar research projects. This impact, I hope will provide the language teachers to be interested in the subject more and try similar applications which will provide further evidence for future studies.
As a result, it is clear that the teachers and learners have problems regarding the usage of literary texts in EFL classes and the solution requires a new point of view on the teaching of literature both by teachers and by textbooks. The results of such a study can motivate the teachers to use the literature resources more effectively encouraging real life interaction in the classroom. For instance, in accordance with the findings of the study, it can be suggested that teaching with the help of reading texts should not be limited to only fiction literature. As well as the novels and short stories, some other texts like fact files should also be adapted for the discussion groups.
Originating from the results of this study further research can be done by collecting more quantitative data on the subject. Maybe, some experimental quantitative research designs would be suitable for this purpose.
As teachers and educators, there are many questions waiting to be dealt with in front of us like, “Are there more opportunities we can provide our students with for a better learning environment?” or “What are the contemporary modals of professional teacher development?” I strongly believe that this study has put another brick on the literature circle studies in the field, contributing to the growth of this collaborative work.