The design and evaluation of a tutorial program for teaching the correct production of English vowels to beginning chorus students in a multicultural situation
Jordan, Carol Morgan
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The purpose of the study was to design and test an English Vowel Tutorial for beginning choral students in a multicultural situation. Specifically, the following questions guided the study: (1) Will there be a difference in the sung production and placement of the English pure vowels between students who used the tutorial and those who did not? (2) Will gender be an influential success factor? (3) Will ethnicity be an influential success factor? (4) Will fluency in the English language be an influential success factor? (5) Will amount of practice be an influential factor? (6) Will there be a difference in self-perception of success and enjoyment of the learning experience between those students who used the tutorial and those who did not? The study employed a two-group pretest-posttest design. Subjects were 50 beginning chorus students, ranging from ages 14-18. The students were randomly placed in experimental (Treatment A) and control (Treatment B) groups. The pretest-posttest consisted of a recording of each student singing a familiar song using a modified text which included all the vowels addressed in the tutorial. Both classes were given identical classroom instruction pertaining to vowel production. In addition, the experimental group (Treatment A) studied the vowels via a research-authored interactive CD-ROM three times per week for a 30-minute period for four weeks. Each student’s pretest and posttest recordings were assessed for vowel production errors and the scores were compared. An attitudinal assessment was given to both groups to determine student perception of success and enjoyment of the unit. The findings were analyzed via Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Findings indicated that (1) students in the experimental group made significantly (p < .0001) fewer errors in the posttest assessment than those in the control group; (2) gender was not an influential success factor; (3) ethnicity was not an influential success factor; (4) English fluency was an influential success factor; (5) amount of practice was not an influential success factor. The Attitudinal Assessment indicated that students in the experimental group perceived their efforts to be significantly more successful and enjoyable than did those in the control group.