Talking Points June 2014

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3 Responses

  1. Andy says:

    Kay and Robert, Thank you for this conversation (and Kay and Rachelle, thank you for the preceding ones too). I read it very quickly at the start of the week when I was wondering whether to formalise some very informal explorations I had already been doing with students this semester about their vocabulary histories and development. Your conversation nudged me towards thinking through the process a little more and starting to make a nascent research project take further shape. Today I explained to students in a couple of classes that I would like to explore with them different ways of learning and using vocabulary and to develop the exploration with them each week – and that I wanted to ask for their agreement ton take part or not.

    I then gave out a consent form in English (see further below; headings not included – perhaps it should be bilingual?) and asked them to read it through. In the first class one of the students summarized some points in Japanese, which I then confirmed with the class in English. In the second class (higher in proficiency) the students had some questions about how much time this would take in class; whether it would require them to do extra work or not; whether they could get a better grade by taking part or not. We discussed these, and I explained further how the research was intended to benefit them directly as we would be exploring some vocabulary-related issues together. I felt their interest was clarified and heightened by this consent process. It helped me at the same time clarify my responsibilities to them.

    I’ve put the consent form I used below – as far as I know, I don’t think my institution formally requires such consent, and I am not sure whether this kind of consent form is what teachers in other contexts use. It may be a bit rough at the edges, although I felt today it fulfilled a very important purpose. Any comments or feedback you or others have would be very welcome. Many thanks again, Cheers, Andy

    This is a consent form for taking part in research with me. It explains basic information about the project. It also explains what you can expect if you agree to take part.

    Explanation: I’m interested in exploring with you your history of learning and using English vocabulary, and what you consider to be successful or unsuccessful ways of learning and using English vocabulary. I want to understand how to help students move from memorization and translation of individual words to learning and using vocabulary as phrases (or combinations of more than a word).

    The project would involve discussions in the class each week for about 10-15 minutes and some note-taking by you. Later I would like to photocopy some of your vocabulary notes and reflections about vocabulary learning.

    Risks and benefits of this project: There is no known risk for you in taking part in this project. There are several known benefits if you take part in this project: (i) you develop your understanding of different ways of learning and using English vocabulary; (ii) you become more informed about different types of English vocabulary; (iii) you become able to make better decisions about how to learn and use English vocabulary.

    Sharing of information: As the researcher, I will share with you what I discover and I will present this information to you so that you may directly benefit from taking part in this project.

    Confidentiality: Unless you give me written permission, your real name will not be made public (for example, if I were to give a presentation or publish a report about this research project).

    Participant rights:
    1. If you take part in this study, your decision will not affect your grade for this course.
    2. You may refuse to participate in this study without any negative effect. Your decision will not affect your grade for this course.
    3. If you choose to participate in the study, you may stop your participation at any time without any negative effect. Your decision will not affect your grade for this course.

    (Please circle one) I AGREE / DON’T AGREE to take part in this research project.

    Your first and family name ______________________________

  2. Kay says:

    Thanks Andy for your post and sharing your practice with us. I think it is great that you used the consent form like that – which is very similar to the one I had to create to pass the ethics review board. I haven’t done any classroom research for a while but I find it important but at the same time difficult to share the results with students. If it is about the particular class, I feel obliged to deliver the results by the end of the semester. Of course I can always share it online or by email after the course is finished but I feel the benefit is not as great as sharing it in the class. I am curious to know how you are sharing or planning to share the results for your research with the students and when.

  3. Andy says:

    Kay hi Thanks for your question. I just wrote quite a long response and then pressed the wrong key and it disappeared (argh!), so this reply will be a little shorter!

    I’m trying to feedback to the class each week some observations from the previous class about their vocabulary recording practices, so that they have some basic question or puzzle to think about for developing their practices. I’m planning to look in greater detail at their practices at the end of the semester when I collect in their notebooks, and then feedback insights from that to them at the start of the autumn semester. Things are going OK with this kind of approach so far as it involves small steps.

    How will you share results with your students by the end of the semester – that must be quite a challenge, time-wise?

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