UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Name of Author: 
Yeo, Kei Choo
Thesis (M.Ed.) National University of Singapore
Yeap, Lay Leng
Year of completion: 
Country of Research Data: 

The vast majority of Singapore students are non-native speakers of English. Their mother tongue is either Chinese or Malay or some other language. This has posed problems in learning the English Language and subjects taught in English. Aptitude-treatment intervention, the basis of this study, has enabled the researcher to match the learner's aptitude, that is, learning style in terms of hemisphericity preference, with treatment, in the form of classroom instruction augmented by the use of media: visual-auditory and audio and print to produce enhanced comprehension of Macbeth. Seventy-five students studying in the school the researcher was teaching volunteered for the study. Of these, two were hospitalized, one was transferred to another school and five opted out due to time constraints. The final sample comprised sixty-seven Secondary Two Express course students who have obtained 60% and below for English Language and Literature in English in their year-end final examination. In addition, they had obtained a range of T-score around 207 for their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) two years before promotion to the secondary express course (Appendix A, p. 128). These subjects were thus a group of low achievers by Yeap's (1987) definition. This sample sixty-seven students formed a non-randomized, intact group. The present research study had a quasi-experimental non-equivalent control-group design with the following independent and dependent variables. The independent variables were (a) the type of learners of the sixty-seven Secondary Two students, whether visual or right-brained dominant learners and the verbal or left-brained dominant learners as determined by the Cognitive Laterality Battery, CLB (Gordon, 1986) and (b) the teaching mode: one utilizing the chalk-and-talk method with audio-cassette recordings while the other, the chalk-and-talk method with video recordings and filmstrips. The dependent variables were achievement scores obtained by the students in the Macbeth Achievement Tests (MAT) after instruction of each scene using instructional modes that matched and mismatched the students' cerebral dominance. After determining the cerebral dominance of the students from their performance on the Cognitive Laterality Battery (Gordon, 1986), seventeen verbal learners and sixteen visual learners randomly formed Class A and were administered pre-tests, the MAT, for verbal and for visual learners. Another seventeen verbal and seventeen visual learners similarly formed Class B at random and were subjected to the same pretests. They also filled out the Student Profile Questionnaire, SPQ (Yeo, 1989). Six weeks later, Class A were taught three scenes of Macbeth in the verbal-audio mode while Class B, the same scenes but in the visual-auditory mode. After treatment, both classes took the post-test, the MAT. The achievement scores of the students were analyzed according to the Statistical Analysis System on the IBM mainframe computer using the T-test procedure. When the right-brained visual learners were taught in the matched visual-auditory mode, their achievement increased; likewise, when the left-brained verbal learners were taught in the matched verbal-audio mode. Conversely, when the right-brained visual learners were instructed in the mismatched, verbal-audio mode, their mean scores were lower. However, the achievement scores of the left-brained verbal learners subjected to the mismatched visual-auditory mode of instruction showed a higher mean, possibly due to additional visual inputs - video and filmstrip presentations. Also, at the three levels of cognition: namely, recall, interpretation and application, when the left-brained verbal learners were taught in the matched audio and print mode, they achieved higher mean scores than when they were instructed in the mismatched visual auditory mode. Similarly, higher means were obtained by the right-brained visual learners instructed in the matched visual-auditory mode than when they were taught in the mismatched audio and print mode. Interestingly, left-brained learners taught in the mismatched visual-auditory mode obtained higher achievement scores at the three levels of cognition probably due to additional input - the visual element in the video presentation of the scenes. On the other hand, at the three levels of cognition, the right-brained visual learners taught in the mismatched verbal audio and print mode scored significantly lower achievement means. With the advent of instructional technology, multi-media approaches should be exploited to match individual learning styles with teaching strategies to increase learning outcomes.

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