The Effects of Using Complex Language in Teaching and Learning Student`s

TheEffects of Using Complex Language in Teaching and Learning

TheEffects of Using Complex Language in Teaching and Learning

Abstract

Thecomplexity or simplicity of language is relative, on many occasionsentirely being dependent on the recipient of the message. Whilesimple language is deemed to refer to the use of straightforward andcommon words that the reader readily understands, complex language isthe use of words that are less common to the reader. Both simple andcomplex languages are used in all aspects of life since language isthe basic component of communication.

Learninginstitutions are the heart of this research which seeks to establishthe effects of using complex language in the processes of learningand teaching. In order to successfully perform the study, anempirical research that includes face to face interviews shall becarried out with selected participants. One hundred participants havebeen identified from different backgrounds to provide their opinionson the subject. They include teachers, students, the general public,curriculum developers and corporate executives. A two partquestionnaire that includes both close ended and open ended questionsshall be personally administered to the participants to ensure 100percent participation. Once the interviews are complete, the datacollected shall be analyzed to come up with the true picture of thesituation at hand.

Thehypothesis on which the research is based is “Anidea, thought or feeling is more effectively and easily expressedusing simple and clear language as opposed to using complexlanguage”. In addition to the above, the research proposal also highlights onthe possible implications, both practical and policy, that theresearch findings could have on the users as well as policy makers.

Whatis Language?

Inconventional terms, language could be described, or rather viewed, asa code used in communication. It comprises words and a series ofrules that connect these words together. However, viewing language onthese terms would place the art of learning language in a very narrowperspective that involves understanding vocabulary and the rulesgoverning the art of constructing sentences. This, as stated earlier,is a narrow perspective since it depicts language as finite andrigid, failing to discover the complexities involved in language as atool of communication.

Languageis at the heart of teaching and learning. This makes it necessary forteachers to frequently reflect on what constitutes the language thatis appropriate for their students (Shohamy, 2007).

Understandinglanguage as a personal, open, energetic, dynamic, and constantlyevolving concept presents the rich complexities of communication. Theexpanded view ensures that the student’s educational experience ismore engaging. Naturally, language is less of a study subject butmore of a means through which students see, understand andcommunicate about the world. Every individual makes use of theirdifferent language to achieve these goals. They make use of languagefor purposes of purposeful communication. That is the reason whylearning a new language incorporates learning how to use new words,and the rules that govern its use, thus making it easier tocommunicate with other users of the language. This understandingdepicts language as a social tool that everyone can participate in,as opposed to simply referring to it as a body of language forknowledge. It is something that human beings do in their day to daylives, using it in expressing, creating and interpreting meaningswhile at the same time establishing and maintaining social andinterpersonal relationships (Svalberg, 2007).

Toeducators, the understanding of language forms part of theprofessional stance thereby influencing curriculum, planning and allclassroom pedagogies. Teachers whose view of language is coding makethe acquisition of vocabulary and grammar as the primary goal oflearning. As stated earlier, this is a finite and rigid perspectivethat forces students to engage language as an intellectual tool, asopposed to viewing it as a tool of communicative reality.

Withinthe margins of a professional environment, educators must ensure thattheir learners are opened up to opportunities that allow them topursue issues beyond their current boundaries. This opens to them thepossibilities of learning how to engage with aspects that are bothunpredictable and unplanned. Therefore, learning language as acomplex and personal system of communication incorporates recurrentinvestigation to understand its dynamic systems and the manner inwhich it works in creation and conveyance of meanings. This literallymeans that the learner continuously analyses and analytically talksabout language. Learners need skills that provide them with theindependence to use and analyze language, irrespective of itssimplicity or complexity.

Complexityvs. Simplicity of Language

Terminglanguage as complex or simple is quite relative, and is fullydependent on the reader. However, under general circumstances, simplelanguage is deemed to refer to the use of straightforward and commonwords that help the reader to readily understand the message that thewriter intends to pass across. In less complex terms, the words usedin such comprehensions are easily understandable and are meant to beunderstood by all audiences. Complex language, on the other hand, isthe use of words that are less common to the readers. In mostinstances, such language is used to pass specific information tospecific audiences and readers, for instance persons in a similarline of profession. In most cases, the message could still beunderstood by any other reader. However, some specific wordingsrequire additional consideration in order to understand the writer’s/sender’s intended message.

Distinguishingbetween complex and simple language is more or less determined fromthe recipient’s point of view. This is especially due to the factthat specific writers possess different styles when using words.However, it is unfortunate that in a bid to use complex and“sophisticated” language, some individuals tend to incorporateirrelevant wording in different contexts leading to dysfunctionalcommunication. One student, while asked to write an article in theirhistory class regarding the Russian Revolution and Alexander II’sreformation inserted lots of complex words with the view of making animpression on the History teacher. In the student’s view, it wouldbe the most outstanding piece in the class and he would receive thebest grades. However, the shock came after his parents critiqued thepaper, making reference to all the long, complex and drawn outwording, all the while pointing out the need to replace them withmuch simpler and common words. The criticism pushed him to read thepiece again and in utter shock, he found the words to be rathermeaningless and misplaced. At this juncture, it seemed more advisableto use simpler common and easier to understand language as opposed tothe complex words.

Complexlanguage though, as stated earlier is relative it is complex tosome, and simple to other users. Zwiers, O’Hara and Pritchard(2014), state that complex language incorporates features thatinclude the organization of the message, the density of ideas,registration and coherence of ideas. Students must realize thatacademic messages comprise an idea, support for the idea and anexplanation of the support.

Theproposed study seeks to establish the effects that the use of complexlanguage has on teaching and learning. As stated, language is a toolof interaction between human beings in a number of settings, be itsocial or formal. A teaching and learning environment is a formalsetting involving dissemination of knowledge from teachers to theirstudents. Information passes from teachers to students in form ofteachings, questions and instructions while students pass informationto teachers in form of answers, questions, ideas, comments anddiverse feedback on issues. The forms of communication are bothverbal and written.

TheProposal Hypothesis

Theinformation in the introduction section forms the basis of theresearch proposal that seeks to establish the effects of usingcomplex language in teaching and learning. As stipulated, complexlanguage has its advantages and disadvantages, a fact that theproposal seeks to explore.

Theresearch is based on the hypothesis that “Anidea, thought or feeling is more effectively and easily expressedusing simple and clear language as opposed to using complexlanguage”.

Practicaland Policy Implications of the Research

Carryingout the research aimed at finding out the effects of using complexlanguage in teaching and learning will have implications for theusers as well as the policy makers. Users of language includeeducators and learners, while the policy makers comprise thegovernment and the educationists charged with the responsibility ofcreating, implementing and supervising educational curricula.

Ifthe study establishes that the effects of using complex language arepositive, certain effects are likely to be felt. The users shallincorporate the use of complex language in their teaching andlearning activities. As much as this may be implemented, care shouldbe taken to ensure that the effectiveness of communication is notaffected. This is due to the fact that the use of complex languagemay sometimes be misused, thus causing ambiguity in messages. Thismay further complicate communication. When used effectively though,it raises the standards.

Onthe other hand, policy makers may re-evaluate the school syllabus,making recommendations and amendments for introduction of the use ofcomplex language at the appropriate levels. This will ensure thatduring examinations and tests, students are also graded according totheir use of complex language.

Method

Participants

Theresearch study seeks to establish the effects of using complexlanguage in teaching and learning. This requires the independent,personal and expert opinions of different stakeholders. As part ofthis exercise, these stakeholders are referred to as theparticipants, charged with the responsibility of airing their viewson the subject. They shall include learners, educators, curriculumdevelopers representing the government, members of the general publicand corporate executives who shall be representative of the jobmarket.

Toensure uniformity in representation, there shall be one hundredparticipants in total, twenty from each category.

Educatorsand Students

Thisgroup shall comprise educators from all levels of education beingkindergarten, elementary, high school and institutions of higherlearning. As stated above, the total number of teachers to beinterviewed is twenty. Talking to educators and getting theirprofessional and personal views as the end users shall provide usefulinformation into the research. First hand information from them sendsa clear picture on the direct effects of applying complex language inthe curriculum.

Educatorsshall be asked whether the application of complex language adds valueto the learning content than simple language. They shall also beasked whether the use of complex language allows students tounderstand the content better, express themselves better or performbetter in their exams. The exercise will also establish whether usingcomplex language makes it easier to grasp and comprehend concepts forstudents, or whether it makes it easier to pass information tostudents as opposed to the use of simpler language. The same kind ofinformation shall be sought from the students.

Collectingdata using participants from the various educational levels willprovide a clear view regarding the level at which it is necessary touse complex language. For instance if the educators and learners atthe high school level advocate for it, then all levels above that areassumed to be comfortable. It shall be difficult to conduct separatethe interviews for students and students since they take place duringofficial working hours when both are at their respective schools.Despite the fact that the open ended questions shall be different,the interviewing exercise shall be conducted simultaneously.

CurriculumDevelopers/ Government Officials

Inany given country, provision of education is the prerequisite of thegovernment of the day. The government, through the Ministry ofEducation, is fully responsible providing a conducive learningenvironment for students by building schools, employing teachers,providing learning materials and tools and supervision of theinstitutions. Due to various reasons, though, the private sector hascome in and assisted the government in providing education to thepublic by putting up private schools and running them. However, it isimportant to note that these institutions are supervised by thegovernment, and must run them according to the guidelines set out bythe government. One of these guidelines is the school curriculum.

Curriculumdevelopers are educational experts who recognize the educationalneeds of students, and come up with a guideline on the things thatshould be taught in schools. The concepts are then gauged andguidelines are set out to establish the levels at which they shouldbe introduced, their content, and the manner in which they should betaught and examined. The research shall require the expert opinion ofthe curriculum developers who shall analyze on the need to usecomplex language and the effects at all the educational levels.Gauging the needs of students at different levels, they will be in aposition to analyze whether the use of complex language has anyeffects, both negative and positive.

TheGeneral Public

Thegeneral public is also part of the stakeholders whose opinion isrequired for the study. This is due to the fact that the value ofeducation impacts the public too. The general public will incorporateparents selected randomly, random persons doing business, religiousleaders, sportsmen and other randomly picked individuals. Despite thefact that some of the people interviewed may lack professionalknowledge in regards to educational matters, they would have a viewof the effects of using complex language in teaching and learning.

Intheir day to day lives, these individuals come into direct contactwith students and teachers at different levels. They also have somepast experiences in the education sector either as students, parentsor management boards. For this reason, their input on the subjectmatter is quite relevant for the study. It will show whether theiruse or lack of complex language in their school days has had anyeffect on their current lives. In addition, they will present theirview on whether the students they encounter currently as parents,family, sponsors, guardians or citizens need complex language intheir curriculum and the effects this is likely to have on them.

CorporateExecutives

Uponsuccessful completion of their studies, it is the dream of everyindividual to successfully enter the job market and make an equallysuccessful career for a bright future. Employers always make use ofeducational background credentials as part of the benchmarks againstwhich potential candidates are evaluated. On most occasions, goodacademic background accompanied by exemplary performance is oftenrewarded with the best paying jobs in the market. Employers have thetendency to pick the best performers in the hope that the exemplaryperformance shall extend to the workplace, translating to goodprofits for the organizations.

Theresearch shall source for twenty executives from variousorganizations, preferably from an array of sectors including thefinancial sector, the manufacturing sector, the hospitality industry,the building and construction and the government sector. These willfurther be subdivided to incorporate different levels of managementfrom the top executives to the lowest cadre of line managers. It iscrucial to evaluate the effects of incorporating complex language onthe corporate world, owing to the fact that it is a crucial componentof the nation’s economy. The ability of employees to communicateeffectively, make decisions and implement policy are highly dependenton the value of education received. With this in mind, they willprovide their opinion on the use of complex language in teaching andlearning, and the effects this may have on the future runners of theeconomy and the country at large.

Howto Conduct the Research

Theresearch shall be conducted using face to face interviews that willincorporate open and close ended questions. The close ended questionsshall be uniform across all the questionnaires administered toparticipants while the open ended questions shall be differentiatedonly seeking specific opinion in regards to their current status inthe community as stated earlier in the participants’ section. Openended questions are more detailed, and provide more information sincethey offer room for the participant to offer additional explanationof ideas and views.

Thereare a number of reasons behind administration of face to faceinterviews. To start with, sending out emails would leave out someparticipants particularly in the general public category. Some of theparticipants in this category may not necessarily be veryenthusiastic users of the internet, a factor that would leave themout of the exercise. They do not have email addresses while othersrarely keep a tab on the latest communication.

Theresearch questions shall be presented to the participants at anearlier date while setting up an appointment for the actualinterview. Setting up appointments is fundamental as it allows theparticipant time to prepare for the interview, while at the sameensuring 100 percent participation of the selected candidates.Gauging from prior experience, administering questionnaires throughemail provides room for non-participation because some are too busyto respond while others tend to disregard the interviews. This causesa problem for the researcher who ends up failing to meet the basicrequirements by collecting inadequate and incomplete data.

Onceappointments have been made, the researcher will make out a scheduleto ensure the smooth running of activities and at the same time avoidoverlapping.

AnalyzingData

Thequestionnaires shall be designed in a way that makes it easy toseparate between the opinions that support the use of complexlanguage in learning and those that are against the use of complexlanguage in learning and teaching. All the positive effects shall belisted alongside the negative effects from the participants, afterwhich a comparison shall be made.

Inaddition to this, there shall be a list of recommendations collectedfrom the views of the participants.

Discussion

Theresult of a research of this nature is instrumental in transformingthe country’s educational sector. This is especially if it isconducted at higher levels and the results are presented toinfluential parties, preferably policy makers.

Carrying out the research is aimed at finding out the effects ofusing complex language in teaching and learning will have. As aresult, the findings are bound to have implications on the users aswell as the policy makers. Users of language include educators andlearners, while the policy makers comprise the government and theeducationists charged with the responsibility of creating,implementing and supervising educational curricula.

Ifthe study establishes that the effects of using complex language arepositive, certain effects are likely to be felt. The users shallincorporate the use of complex language in their teaching andlearning activities. As much as this may be implemented, care shouldbe taken to ensure that the effectiveness of communication is notaffected. This is due to the fact that the use of complex languagemay sometimes be misused, thus causing ambiguity in messages. Thismay further complicate communication. When used effectively though,it raises the standards.

Onthe other hand, policy makers may re-evaluate the school syllabus,making recommendations and amendments for introduction of the use ofcomplex language at the appropriate levels. This will ensure thatduring examinations and tests, students are also graded according totheir use, or lack of complex language.

Qualifications

Carryingout the project is of utmost importance to me as an individual, aswell as to the education sector and the country at large. Futuregenerations are currently in the making and they are in institutionsof learning undergoing molding to ensure that the future of thiscountry, this world is safely taken care of. It is for this reasonthat their education is of paramount importance to the stakeholders,I included. This perception has served to create an insatiableinterest in me. I believe that education is key to a bright future.Innovativeness, creation of ideas, making of sound decisions,effective communication, and sound implementation of ideas andpolicies are some of the benefits that come with learning andeducation. Language is especially crucial since it acts as a meansthrough which human beings express, create and interpret meaningswhile at the same time establishing and maintaining social andinterpersonal relationships. This happens in day to day lives.

Forthe past few years, I have acquired academic knowledge that has notonly presented me with the ability to read and write but also grantedme the ability to effectively communicate, collect ideas and analyzethem to produce concepts. With this knowledge, I believe that Ipossess adequate academic qualifications to enable me conduct theproposed study. This, coupled with my advanced negotiation,persuasive and investigative skills place me at an advantage whentalking to my participants as I conduct the interviews. In additionto these, I have participated in a number of research studies in thepast that have offered me the exposure necessary to conductsuccessful projects.

References

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