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FACULTY OF EDUCATION, ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

OPEN UNIVERSITY MALAYSIA

SEMESTER MAY 2005


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ABSTRACT

The main aim of this research is to determine the effectiveness of CALL in


teaching and learning vocabulary in Form One classroom. Specifically,
this research will investigate to what extent the effectiveness of the CALL
features, such as the content presentation and feedback system, contribute
to the development of students’ word knowledge. The research is designed
to find out whether CALL can be an effective tool in creating positive
attitude and motivation in language learners. The research will be
conducted through an experiment, in which the subjects in the
experimental group will be given the CALL treatment, while those in the
control group will be given the NON-CALL treatment. The research
instruments are questionnaire, observation, test and interview. The data
will be analyzed using frequency, percentage, mean and standard
deviation.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT ii

CHAPTER 1: RESEARCB PROBLEM

1.1 Introduction 1
1.2 Background of the Research 1
1.3 Statement of the Problem 1
1.4 Conceptual Framework 2
Purpose of the Research 3
1.5
1.5.1 Research Objectives 3
1.5.2 Research Questions 3
1.5.3 Research Hypotheses 4
1.6 Significance of the Research 4
1.7 Limitations of the Research 4
1.8 Definition of Terms 5
1.9 Summary 5

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction 6
2.2 Advantages of the Computers 6
2.2.1 The Computer 6
2.2.2 The Teacher 7
2.2.3 The Learner 8
2.3 Call in Reading and Vocabulary Learning 8
2.4 Call and Learning Motivation 9
2.5 Summary 9
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CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 Introduction 10
3.2 Research Design 10
3.3 Population and Sample 11
3.4 Research Instruments 11
3.5 Procedure for Data Collection 12
3.6 Procedure for Data Analyses 12
3.7 Summary 13

REFERENCES 14

APPENDICES 16
CHAPTER 1

RESEARCH PROBLEM

1.1 Introduction

This research attempts to investigate the effectiveness of a computer-assisted language


learning (CALL) software in vocabulary learning. It outlines the background of the
research, statement of the problem, purpose of the research, significance of the research,
limitations of the research and definition of terms.

1.2 Background of the Research

In developed countries, the application of CALL gains acceptance in education. However,


in Malaysia the application of CALL is still in the early stage of implementation.
Research conducted previously showed that CALL has a role to play, specifically in
second language learning. It also functions as a motivational tool that will help students
to learn the language in a more fun and enjoyable way.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

The teaching and learning of vocabulary is a rather neglected area within language
teaching. Scholars and educators are more interested in grammatical competence,
contrastive analysis, reading and writing. As for the vocabulary teaching, there are times
when words are taught in isolation and in this case, it is often become meaningless for the
learners as they face difficulties when using the language. This research investigates the
effectiveness of an innovative and sophisticated mode of instruction, CALL, to be used
an alternative teaching tool in presenting, reinforcing, applying and evaluating ideas and
rules in vocabulary learning. Besides that, it is used as a measurement to see how it can
minimize and improve existing problems such as motivation and attitude among language
learners.

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1.4 Conceptual Framework

The present research is an attempt to establish the effectiveness of CALL in vocabulary


learning compared to the traditional method of teaching vocabulary. The conceptual
framework of the research is shown in Figure 1. The research will be carried out using an
experimental design, in which the subjects will be divided into the experimental group
and control group. The subjects in the experimental group will be given the CALL
treatment, while those in the control group will be given the NON-CALL treatment. The
outcomes of the treatments will be students’ performance, preference toward method,
opinion on CALL feedback and attitude and motivation toward learning. It is assumed
that the CALL method will have a few advantages over the traditional method, since the
CALL method facilitates learning better than the traditional method. The advantages of
CALL method include step-by-step content presentation, the flexibility for students to
repeat the lesson and exercises, and the motivation created for learning due to
innovativeness in presenting the content and exercises.

CALL
Method
OUTCOMES
Performance
Preferred method
Feedback
Attitude & motivation
NON-
CALL
METHOD

Figure 1: Conceptual Framework of Research

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1.5 Purpose of the Research

The main purpose of this research is to determine the effectiveness of a CALL software,
namely, the GAP MASTER, in vocabulary learning. The research objectives, questions
and hypotheses are given in the following sections.

1.5.1 Research Objectives

This research intends to meet the following objectives:

(a) To examine whether CALL can be an effective means of instruction.


(b) To examine whether CALL is preferable in vocabulary teaching and learning
compared to traditional method (NON-CALL).
(c) To examine whether the feedback system in CALL can contribute to the
successful development of vocabulary learning.
(d) To examine whether CALL can solve attitude and motivation problems of the
students toward learning a language specifically in vocabulary area.

1.5.2 Research Questions

The following research questions are formulated in order to meet the research objectives:

(a) Can teaching using CALL be considered as an effective means of instruction?


(b) Which method (CALL or NON-CALL) is preferable in vocabulary teaching and
learning?
(c) How and to what extent the feedback system in CALL can contribute to the
successful development of vocabulary learning?
(d) How and to what extent can CALL solve attitude and motivation problems of the
students toward learning a language specifically in vocabulary area?

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1.5.3 Research Hypotheses

Four hypotheses are constructed to answer the research questions. They are:

(a) The number vocabulary items learnt through the activities in CALL and NON-
CALL will be different.
(b) CALL and NON-CALL will be given equal preference in vocabulary teaching and
learning.
(c) The feedback system in CALL will contribute more to the development of
vocabulary acquisition as compared to the feedback system of the NON-CALL.
(d) CALL activities can retain student's attention longer and create more motivation
toward learning a language as compared to the NON-CALL.

1.6 Significance of the Research

Vocabulary learning requires a very complex task. It has not been given enough attention
and emphasis to make the subject area the main focus in language learning. This research
hopefully will assist teachers to seek ways in reducing the problem of learning English
lexis among students and propose other alternative in teaching by using CALL. Besides
that, it will hopefully contribute to the lack of research in this area. This study would also
provide significant insight in explaining the promising role of CALL in language
teaching and learning in the context of Malaysian classroom.

1.7 Limitations of the Research

Some problems might arise when the research is conducted. They are:

(a) The experimental group, which will be selected randomly, may include those
students who are computer illiterate. This might affect their vocabulary learning
using computers.

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(b) Due to the lack of computer facilities, more learning sessions will be carried out
in order to complete the experiment. Since the conditions of each learning session
may differ, this may affect the learning outcomes.

1.8 Definition of Terms

The definition of some important terms used in this study is given below:

(a) Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL)

Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) is a form of tuition, in which the computer


is used as an aid of presentation, reinforcement and the assessment of material to be
learnt that usually include a major interactive element (Leech & Candlin, 1986). The
application of CALL in this research is for the purpose of teaching some aspects of
language, that is, vocabulary.

(b) Non-Computer Assisted Language Learning (NON-CALL)

Non-computer-assisted-language learning (NON-CALL) is a method that employs


teaching aids in establishing the clear meanings of words. They can appear in the forms
of chalkboard, pictorial and non-pictorial materials, word cards, projectors and tape
recorders. In other words, it refers to the conventional method of teaching.

1.9 Summary

The present research is an attempt to investigate the effectiveness of using CALL in


vocabulary learning. The objectives of the research are to determine whether CALL can
be an effective means of learning vocabulary and also fosters positive attitude and
motivation toward learning.

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CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction

This chapter presents the related literature and research in the use of computers in
language teaching and learning. It addresses the advantages of using computers in
teaching and learning, the use of CALL in reading and vocabulary learning and its
contributions to learning motivation.

2.2 Advantages of the Computers

Over the last two decades, the technological revolution has created a number of new
information technologies which include television, video-recording devices, laser disc
and microcomputers. Of these, microcomputers are the dominant technology in education
today. In fact, computers have come to be used in classrooms in many different ways.
There are two uses of this medium; as a supplementary material to the regular classroom
and as a substitute for other modes of instruction.

2.2.1 The Computer

With regards to the computer, its capability of managing a wide range of activities and
more powerful than any other technological aids, makes it a good impression in
educational setting. According to some researchers, the forms of well-constructed
activities provide learners with a rich and stimulating environment in second language
learning (Hudson, 1984; Wyatt, 1986). Besides that, one of the strongest points that can
be drawn upon the computer is its capacity to control presentation. In this case, "it can

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present fragments which add up to the whole...combine visual or graphic information
with text...[and] highlight features of the text using color and movement" (Cook, 1985:
22). In the instructional role, the computer presents materials and conduct practices and
activities authoritatively. It teaches students in a highly pre-planned manner and in this
way, they only have to follow the directions and work at producing the anticipated
language forms and functions.

From the perspective of social learning theory, Cook (1985), reiterates that
students discovery of the correct responses allows "the development of internal learner
control, by developing within the learner the self-efficacy judgment of 'can do'" (p:160).
In relation to the computer, it is capable of guiding students to discover appropriate
responses in a variety of ways. It may either locate or highlight the errors or correct
portions of the students' responses. However, such guidance may not suffice, if students
still do not know how to proceed further with the exercise. At this point, hints should be
provided to assist learners to make appropriate responses. The advantage of the computer
lies in the hints provided, where no other mediums of instruction will be able to present
such an effective “help”.

2.2.2 The Teacher

From the point of view of the teacher, there are several aspects worth mentioning about
the advantages of the computer. Its versatility in handling different kinds of materials is
very promising, whereby we can see its capability in managing not only a one-way
presentation of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and video; but also
questions and answer routines, simulated dialogues, hypothesis testing and many other
types of exercises (Wyatt, 1986). Besides that, the computer can record results, errors,
success rates and much more information for the teacher to view at a later date. Thus, it
benefits the teacher as the result of the information and the reactions gained from the
students enable the teacher to revise and refine the materials at any stage.

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2.2.3 The Learner

In relation to the learner, the computer can be a powerful motivating force for productive
learning. It is capable of creating learning environments in which the learner can interact.
Here, the opportunities for learning are enhanced whereby the learners are presented with
an environment which is continually modified by their actions. This is justified by the
fact that it offers a powerful self-access facility (Philips, 1986). In this case, it can
generate learner-centered, self-pacing activity. This is where the computer can be paced
to the individual learner. Hence, students can work at their own pace and they can take
the time they need to read and review instructions and other materials. He added that,
more importantly, the computer offers choice, whereby "programs can be called up by the
student at will, they can be sensitive to level of proficiency and in the future, self-
adjusting in real time in response to what they 'learn' about the student" (p:7). In other
words, this form of personalized instruction makes the learning session be more
concentrated than normal class sessions. Thus, the student has the exclusive attention of
the computer.

2.3 CALL in Reading and Vocabulary Learning

According to Wyatt (1986: 46), "reading/vocabulary is one of the areas of the curriculum
where computer assisted language learning holds the greatest promise". With regards to
language learning, reading by its nature is a highly individual and idiosyncratic process.
In this case, we can see that most of the reading class demands a more individualized and
student-centered approach. This is due to the fact that, though the proficiency level of the
students are quite similar, reading speed and comprehension abilities tend to vary quite
widely. Thus, it is necessary for the teacher to choose an average speed of presentation in
the class activities. This can be achieved through the use of computerized presentation. In
this way, a wide range of traditional and innovative activities can be provided in the area
of reading skills and vocabulary learning.

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2.4 CALL and Learning Motivation

With regards to CALL and learning motivation, there was a research conducted by
Robinson, Underwood, Rivers, Hernandez, Rudesill and Ensinat (1985) on high school
students studying first year Spanish in Oakland, California. They participated exclusively
in CALL activities each day during the two week of field study. An inventory on pre-
research and post-research attitudes of students toward CALL revealed that CALL
activities challenged and encouraged students to develop their own learning strategies.
Besides that, they could proceed at their own pace and they commented that the computer
was a very “forgiving” and “patient” tutor (Robinson, 1991).

2.5 Summary

In summation, most of the past research revealed that CALL holds a great promise in
educational setting. This is mainly due to its advantages and its motivational features that
can sustain student involvement in a particular computer learning activity. In this case, it
is usually found that most students consider computers an attractive gadget due to its
interactive, precise and consistent nature.

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CHAPTER 3

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 Introduction

The present research attempts to investigate the effectiveness of CALL, an innovative and
sophisticated mode of instruction. This chapter outlines the methodology employed in the
research which includes the research design, population and sample, research
instruments, procedure for data collection and the procedure for data analyses.

3.2 Research Design

In this experimental research, the researcher first will observe an on-going English
language teaching session in the classroom. After completing the classroom observation,
a set of questionnaire will be given to all the students involved in the research. Its main
purpose of the questionnaire is to obtain students' background information and their
learning processes which take place in language classroom. Later, the researcher will
administer the pre-test to both the control and the experimental groups. The main purpose
for its administration is to check for students' word knowledge. Then, both groups will
carry out the activities prepared by the researcher. After accomplishing the task, a post-
test will be given to both groups to determine their progress. Next, the questionnaire
forms will be distributed to the students in the experimental group to obtain information
regarding the effectiveness of CALL.

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3.3 Population and Sample

The subjects of this research will be drawn from Form One classes of Klang Convent
Secondary School. As for the experimental group, students will be randomly chosen from
the two classrooms consisting of high and low achievers. The ability levels of the learners
and the type of school chosen are simply to fulfill the requirements of the research, that
is, to see the effectiveness of using CALL in Form One classroom. The reason why these
learners are selected in such a way is simply because they are seen as those who needed
help in learning the language, specifically vocabulary. For the low achievers, they need to
be exposed to the new techniques that will hopefully facilitate their learning. The high
achievers are included in the research for the purpose of observing the effects of the
CALL method on them.

3.4 Research Instruments

Several instruments will be employed in this research, namely, observation, test,


questionnaire and interview. The first instrument to be used in the study is the
questionnaire. The first set of the questionnaire will be given out to all students that
participate in the research. The purpose is to gather their background information and to
seek out details on how they go about learning the language, especially in vocabulary
area. Another set of questionnaire will be distributed to the same students to elicit
information of the teaching technique used by their teacher. This is done to find out the
extent to which the technique to be used had motivated them in learning English
language. The final set of questionnaire is designed for the CALL students to seek out
some information about the effectiveness of the medium.

The next instrument to be used in the research is the test. There are two tests
designed, namely, the pre-test and the post-test. The aim of the pre-test is to determine
students' word knowledge in relation to the lesson designed for this research. Later, an
experiment will be conducted whereby CALL will be used for the experimental group.
Here, the purpose is to determine students' reactions toward CALL. In the CALL activity,

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a special program will be used, namely, the GAP MASTER. The GAP MASTER can run
on IBM-P/S2 and IBM family of personal computers. The next instrument to be
employed in the data collection is observation. The purpose is to observe the students'
attitudes and behaviors toward the approach used.

3.5 Procedure for Data Collection

As mentioned earlier, questionnaire, pre-test, post-test, observation and interview


techniques will be used to collect the data for this research. The details of the procedures
will be further explained in this section.

There are three types of questionnaire to be used in the research. The first set will
be given a day before the actual research is carried out (sample items are given in
Appendix 1). The second set of questionnaire deals with the learning processes that take
place in their language classroom (sample items are given in Appendix 2). The third set
of questionnaire will be distributed to the CALL students, after they have gone through
the experiment (sample items are given in Appendix 3).

The pre-test contains 3O words and their meaning (sample items are given in
Appendix 4). This test will take 30 minutes and will be administered in the two classes on
the same day. After the experiment, a post-test will be given to the students both in the
control and experimental groups. Here, they will be given 30 minutes to answer the 30
multiple choice questions (sample items are given in Appendix 5). Finally, after
completing the post-test, the researcher will proceed with personal interviews with the
CALL students.

3.6 Procedure for Data Analyses

The researcher needs five sets of information that will be used for writing the final report
of the research. The first set of information is required to describe the profile of
respondents and the other four sets are required to answer the four research questions.

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First, the researcher will make sure that all students answer all items in the questionnaire
forms and in the tests and that the data from interviews and observations are well
recorded. The procedure for data analyses is explained in the following section:

(a) Frequencies and percentages will be used to describe the profile of respondents.
(b) Means and standard deviations will be used to describe the performance of
respondents (Research Question 1).
(c) Frequencies and percentages will be used to determine respondents’ preference of
the method for teaching and learning of vocabulary (Research Question 2).
(d) Frequencies and percentages will be used to determine the extent the feedback
system in CALL can contribute to the successful development of vocabulary
learning (Research Question 3).
(e) Frequencies and percentages will be used to determine the extent the CALL
method can solve attitude and motivation problems in learning vocabulary
(Research Question 4).

3.7 Summary

This chapter explains the methodology used in the present research which include the
research design, population and sample, research instruments and the procedure for data
collection and analyses. It is hoped that the data obtained would allow the researcher to
examine the effectiveness of the CALL method, which the researcher considers it as an
innovative form of language learning.

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REFERENCES

Allesi, S.M. and Stanley, R T. (1991). Computer Based Instruction: Methods and
Development. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Ahmad Khursid et al. (1985). Computers. Language Learning and Language


Teaching,. London: Cambridge University Press.

Cook, .J. (1985). Bridging the Gap between Computers and Language Learning.
London: Longman.

Doughty, C. (1986). Relating Second Language Acquisition Theory to CALL


Research and Application. TESOL Quarterly. 20/2

Fox, J. (1982). Computer- Assisted Learning and Language Teachers. British Journal of
Language Teaching. 20:2

------ (1990). Computer-Assisted Vocabulary Learning. ELT Journal. 38:1

Gardner, RC and Lambert, W.E. (1972). Attitudes and Motivation on Second


Language Learning. Massachusetts: Newbury House. .

Hertz, R.M. (1987). Computers in Language Learning. London: Hazell, Watson and
Viney Ltd.

Hudson, K (1984). Introducing CALL - A Practical Guide to Writing Computer


Assisted Language Learning Programmes. USA: Chapman & Hall Ltd.

Jones, C. (1992). Gapmaster 2: An Authoring Program for Computer Assisted


Learning. London: Wida Software Ltd.

Jones, C. and Fortescue, S. (1987). Using Computers in Language Classroom. New York:
Longman.

Kemp, J.E. and Smellie, D.C. (1989). Planning. Producing and Using Instructional
Media. New York: Harper & Row Inc.

Kibby, M.R. and Mayes, J.T. (1988). Computers and Education. An International
Journal. 12/1

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Lieberman, D.A. and Krendal, KA. (1988). Computers and Learning: A Review of
Recent Research. Journal of Educational Computing Research 4/4

Marty, F. (1981). Reflection on the Use of Computers in Second Language Acquisition

System. . System 9/2

Nor Hanim binti Hamdan. The Application of 'CALL' Software in Teaching Vocabulary
at Form One Level. Unpublished Honours thesis of the National University of
Malaysia.

Nuttall, C. (1987). Teaching Reading Skills in a Foreign Language. London:


Heinemann Educational Books Ltd.

Nunan, D. (1991). Language Teaching Methodology: A Textbook for Teachers. New


York: Prentice Hall. .

Philips, M. (1986). CALL in Educational Context. In Leech, G. and Candlin, C.N. (eds)
(1986). Computers in English Language Teaching and Research. London:
Longman.

Robinson, G.R. (1991). CALL and Testing Research. Issues and Practice. New York:
Harper Collins Ltd.

Skinner, M.E. (1988). Attitudes of College Students Towards Computer Assisted


Language Instruction: An Essential Variable for Successful Implementation.
Educational Technology. 4/2

Watson, D. (1987). Developing CALL: Computers in the Curriculum. London: Butler and
Tanner Ltd.

Wellace, M.J. (1988). FLT: Teaching Vocabulary. Oxford: Heinemann Ltd.

Wilson, G.H. (1978). Curriculum Development and Syllabus Design for English
Teaching. Singapore: Singapore University.

Windeatt, S. (1986). Observing CALL in Action. In Leech, G. and Candlin, C.N (eds)
(1986). Computers in English Language Teaching and Research. London:
Longman.

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Wyatt, D.H. (1986). Computers and ESL. New York: Prentice Hall.

APPENDIX 1
QUESTIONNAIRE 1
This set of questionnaire is distributed in order to obtain information regarding
students' background. Your full cooperation is needed to answer the questions
designed. Please write all the information required in the blank spaces and circle
your choices in the options provided.

SUBJECT'S PROFILE
Name :………………………………………………………………
Form :………………………………………………………………
Gender :………………………………………………………………
Race :………………………………………………………………
Age :………………………………………………………………
PMR English Result:………………………………………………
Semester One English Result: ……………………………………
English Examination Result :……………………………………
Father's occupation:………………………………………………..
Mother's occupation:………………………………………………

1. Do you speak English?


A. Yes
B. No

2. Where do you usually use the language?


A. At home
B. In your English class
C. Everywhere

3. Who encourage you to speak the language?


A. Parents
B. Your English teacher

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C. Your friends
D. Yourself

THANK YOU!

APPENDIX 2

QUESTIONNAIRE 2
This set of Questionnaire is distributed in order to obtain information regarding
vocabulary learning that takes place in your English class. Your full cooperation is
needed in answering all the questions designed. Please write all the information
needed in the blank spaces and circle your choices in the options provided.

VOCABULARY LEARNING

1. Do you have an English dictionary?


A. Yes
B. No

2. How often do you use the dictionary?


A. Always
B. Seldom
C. Often
D. Never

3. Do your teacher encourage you to use dictionary during English lesson?


A. Yes
B. No

4. Do you use dictionary in your English class?


A. Yes
B. No

5. How do increase your word knowledge?


A. By reading magazines, storybooks, newspaper et.
B. By watching TV and hearing radio English programs
C. By communicating with your friends, neighbours or family members

6. Are you motivated and interested to learn new words in your English
class?
A. Yes
B. No

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THANK YOU!

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APPENDIX 3

QUESTIONNAIRE 3

This set of questionnaire is distributed in order to obtain information regarding


your responses toward the application of CALL. Your full cooperation is needed in
answering all the questions designed. Please write your response or circle your
choices in the options provided.

THE CALL STUDENT

1. Have you been introduced to CALL before?


A. Yes
B. No

2. What do you think of CALL?


A. Interesting
B. Useful
C. Fun
D. Boring

3. Is the use of CALL the same as the lesson that you receive in your English class?
A. Yes
B. No

4. Does the feedback system in CALL help to remember certain words better?
A. Yes
B. No

5. Do you find the feedback system in CALL contribute successfully to the


development of your word knowledge?
A. A lot
B. Not really
C. A little

6. Do you find CALL useful in learning new English words?


A. Yes
B. No

Why? State your reason(s).

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

………………………………………………………………………………………………..

THANK YOU!!

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APPENDIX 4
PRE-TEST
Match the words in Column A with their correct meaning in Column B.
A B
1. confine to do what one has tried to do or wanted
2. inspire to encourage someone by filling them with confidence
3. courage to keep within limits
4. succeed a quality of being a person who is caring about the feelings of
others
5. kindness the quality that makes a person able to control fear in the face of
danger
6. serious the performing of medical operations usually including the cutting
open of the skin
7. important to cause someone or oneself to become connected or concerned
8. difficult matters a lot; having or likely to have great effect, value or
influence
9. surgery as if thinking deeply about important or worrying matters
10. involve not easy, hard to do deal or deal with

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APPENDIX 5
POST-TEST
Circle the correct answer for each question

1. This is one of the ______________ paintings of the Renaissance period.


A. unruly B. Inspire
C. dedicated D. outstanding

2. GONE WITH THE WIND is a ________ film.


A. remarkable B. indiscipline
C. outstanding D. deter

3. He did not _________ in borrowing his father’s car.


A. serious B. courage
C. difficult D. succeed

4. Malaria can be cured by medicine, but a ruptured appendix requires


A. surgery B. kindness
C. sight D. illness

5. The doctor emerged from the patient's room with a _________ look in his face.
A. indiscipline B. rapid
C. serious D. succeed

6. I _________ that it would snow tomorrow.


A. achieve B. wish
C. restore D. confine

7. Wearing a pair of spectacles will help poor _________ .


A. deaf B. dumb
C. sight D. hearing

8. They do not _________ swimming at this beach.


A. confine B. dumb
C. allow D. connect

9. He soon learned that you cannot _________much without work.


A. achieve B. deter
C. graduate D. communicate
C. identify D. succeed

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