Focuses on the application of teaching based on contrastive analysis in teaching speaking skill to non-English majored students at Vietnam Forestry University under the light of communicative teaching

It is obvious that communication among countries has greatly improved and become more important, and that one of the factors has contributed for this process and development is language. Vietnam is not an exception for this, since the open door policy has been carried out especially, at the time of integration into the global development. People and the government have been aware of the significance and necessity of foreign languages, especially English, an international language. Teaching and learning of English in Vietnam has undergone changes to find the efficient ways for the language learners. It is also realized that there are many teaching methods, and it seems that no specific one has proved the bestfor all learners, and nowadays, the combination of different methods has been suggested for language teachers. There is also the fact that, although Vietnamese learners of English now have many good opportunities to acquire this language, they still are not very successful, this can be clearly seen in their speaking skill. This problem has raised a question for many linguists and teachers to find the best solution to the language acquisition in general and speaking learning in particular. It is also said that one of the problems that cause difficulties for the learner is that there exist the difference among languages and these are what the contrastivists are concerned with. And contrastive analysis (one of the linguistic branch) has proved its influence in language teaching.

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 1 PART A: INTRODUCTION 1. Rationale It is obvious that communication among countries has greatly improved and become more important, and that one of the factors has contributed for this process and development is language. Vietnam is not an exception for this, since the open door policy has been carried out especially, at the time of integration into the global development. People and the government have been aware of the significance and necessity of foreign languages, especially English, an international language. Teaching and learning of English in Vietnam has undergone changes to find the efficient ways for the language learners. It is also realized that there are many teaching methods, and it seems that no specific one has proved the best for all learners, and nowadays, the combination of different methods has been suggested for language teachers. There is also the fact that, although Vietnamese learners of English now have many good opportunities to acquire this language, they still are not very successful, this can be clearly seen in their speaking skill. This problem has raised a question for many linguists and teachers to find the best solution to the language acquisition in general and speaking learning in particular. It is also said that one of the problems that cause difficulties for the learner is that there exist the difference among languages and these are what the contrastivists are concerned with. And contrastive analysis (one of the linguistic branch) has proved its influence in language teaching. 2. The scope of the study This study focuses on the application of teaching based on contrastive analysis in teaching speaking skill to non-English majored students at Vietnam Forestry University under the light of communicative teaching. Because of the limit of the thesis, it will mainly concentrate on how to apply contrastive analysis effectively as a supporting method to develop the student’s speaking skill in particular. 3. Aims of the study With the knowledge and experience of language teaching, and in an effort to find out an appropriate approach and relevant techniques to help non-English majored students at the  2 VFU to be successful in learning speaking. The researcher will go into the application of Contrastive Analysis on Teaching Speaking with theoretical background and practical techniques and activities. Furthermore, the study also provides suggestions and recommendations for the teachers and learners at the university for the improvement of English language teaching. 4. Significance of the study This study may be useful to the teacher who teaches at the university and other institutes. It is also helpful to those interested in this field of study. In order to achieve this aim, there will a brief analysis of different teaching approaches to second language teaching by highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches, and then an overview of contrastive analysis study and the application of contrastive analysis on teaching speaking under the light of communicative language teaching (CLT). Finally, the research result of this application and recommendations and suggestions for teachers and learners for further study and research will be provided. 5. Methods of the study The major method of the study is qualitative, based on academic research and practical experience, the observation, survey questionnaire and discussion. Besides, specific procedures are also taken into account, along with the valuable comments and suggestions and advices from my experienced and enthusiastic supervisor, my colleagues and friends have helped me a lot to carry out this thesis. 6. Design of the study The thesis consists of three parts. Part A is the introduction which presents the rationales, the focus, the objectives, the scope, the method and the design of the study. Part B has three chapters Chapter I will give an overview of the local situation such as the course, the objectives of the course, physical setting, the learners and teachers and time allocation of the course.  3 Chapter II contains a brief analysis on different teaching approaches and language learning, an attention will be put on the communicative approach. And then the study on contrastive analysis with the definition, the relationship between two branches of linguistics (microlinguistics and macrolingustics) and contrastive analysis, Contrastive Analysis (CA) and Error Analysis (EA). Further focus is on teaching based on contrastive analysis, its specific application on teaching speaking; this will be illustrated with different procedures and treatment of errors. In chapter III, the detailed study on data analysis, research result and comment on the application of teaching speaking based on contrastive analysis to non-English majored students at Vietnam Forestry University will be presented, accompanied by the recommendations and suggestions for the teacher and the student. Part C ends with a conclusion, which tells all issues in the research, the appendix with the survey questionnaires is also included, then a bibliography listing all reference books and materials used for this research paper.  4 PART B: DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER I: BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY In this chapter, the general information about the current situation of English learning and teaching in Vietnam Forestry University (VFU) will be presented with the purpose of providing sufficient data for understanding the problems, and situation analysis of teaching speaking. The information ranges from the description of the course, the teacher and the student, the objectives, physical setting and the time allocation of the course. 1. Description of the course Like many other colleges and universities in Vietnam, in which English is non- majored, English learning is a compulsory subject for all full time students (except part time students) here. All students have to learn English in the first three semesters of 300 periods, allocated as follows: 120 periods for the first semester, 90 each for the two last. A few classes learn totally 150 periods (divided as 60; 45; 45), after finishing these courses of General English, a few classes will learn English for specific purposes (ESP). The text book used to teach General English at the moment is “New Headway”, which aims to develop students’ four skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. The ESP textbooks such as English for Forestry Students, English for Economics and Business etc. are designed by the local teachers and some are taken from other university in the country. These textbooks focus mainly on reading, writing and translation, a little on speaking. 2. The students and teachers Many students in the university are from rural or mountainous areas, and some of them are from urban areas, their English is so different. Some have learnt English for about more than 6 or 7 years, some have never studied it before, while a major number have learnt it for about 3 years. In general, almost of them are beginners and they mainly acquire grammar, and other skills are not very good, especially, their speaking. The teacher, the most significant factor in teaching process and at the tertiary level in Vietnam their role is even more important, because of the fact that many students ignore their foreign language learning at school or they were taught under the light of Grammar – Translation Method at school. In VFU, there are 11 teachers in the Foreign Language  5 Department, three of them used to be teachers of Russian and French, the rest all graduated from Vietnam National University – College of Foreign Languages. And the methods of language teaching mainly, used are Grammar-Translation Method and Audio-lingual method. Luckily, most of them show a great desire to acquire knowledge of communicative teaching and claim to apply it, but there seems to be difficulties. 3. Description of the Physical Setting “Setting” mentioned here in the sense of class arrangements, the task of the lesson and activities inside and outside the classroom. In VFU, learning and teaching activities are almost carried out in the classrooms. Most of the lessons are performed in such fixed condition, so it is very difficult for the teachers to apply new ideas of language teaching. The class size is usually of more than forty five students in each class, this is a big problem for the teachers, especially, when teaching speaking skill. The available teaching facilities mainly consist of an overhead projector, overhead transparencies, a cassette recorder, but the cassette is preferable, because there are few classes equipped with projectors and some teachers are not interested in using it, it is not convenient and available when the teachers want to use it and speaking skill is not much of attention, there is only a written test at the end of each semester. The material for reference and self study is often designed and given to the student by the teachers, there are not many reference books available for the student, the students also do not have many opportunities to read magazines or newspapers in English, and chances to expose to the language they have studied. All of the classrooms are designed for lecture lessons with the seating, which is orderly arranged in front of the teacher and classroom equipment is just a chalkboard. 4. The objectives of the course After graduating from VFU, the students will work in forestry field such as institutes, companies, factories or farms etc... And for them English is just a “tool” to support their work. So the requirements for the graduates may be: - To acquire the general knowledge of English and a certain amount of vocabulary. - To be able to read the specific materials and documents in English of their specialties.  6 - To be able to translate related documents and material into and from English at an intermediate level. From the objectives of the course and the student’s needs, it implies that speaking skill is not much of attention, and there exists the fact that the student pronunciation and speaking is not very good. So it is important to realize this problem in language teaching and learning in the university. CHAPTER II: LITERATURE REVIEW 1. An overview of language learning In an effort to help the teacher understand about the language learning, one of the important point in language teaching, because it is the understanding how language is learned, there will be a study of different views of language learning. It is said that language theory doesn’t draw any significant distinctions between human learning in general and language learning in particular. Language learning can only be properly understood as a reflection of human thought process. It is conditioned in the way in which the mind observes, organizes, and stores information. In other words, it is important to acquire the structure and processes of the mind for the successful learning and teaching. Although the fact that there is still little understanding how a person learn. What we can do is to make our teaching efficient should be based on principles of learning. 1.1 Behaviorism. There have been a number of language learning theories, but in this section, we will have a look at some of these views of language acquisition which are foundation for the approaches in language teaching. One of these is behaviorism, behaviorists thought that language acquisition is a product of habit formation. Habits are constructed through repeated association between some stimulus and some responses, which would become bonded when positively reinforced. And second language learning is viewed as a process of replacing those habits of the mother tongue by a set of new habits of the target language, as the result, the old L1 ( mother tongue) interfere with this process, either helping or inhibited it. This view led to the belief that contrastive analysis of languages is invaluable in language teaching, the learning will be easy if the structures in the L2 (target language) are similar to those in the L1.  7 However, it will be difficult if the structures in L2 and L1 are different. Emphasis is therefore paid on the need to regulate the stimuli by grading the input into a series of steps so that each step forms a suitable and appropriate level of difficulty for the learner. 1.2 Cognitivisim The second one is cognitivism, which views the learner as a passive recipient of information and portrays the learner as an active processor of information. Learning is not just behaviour, but involves mental processes in which the learner learns by thinking about and trying to make sense of what he or she hears, sees and feels. (Canh, LV, 2004, p37). Cognitive psychologists are therefore interested in the mental processes that are involved in learning. Cognitive psychology is based on the assumptions that: people develop at different rates; development is relatively ordered; and development takes place gradually. So the basic teaching technique which they are most interested in is problem solving. With this approach, the teacher selects learning tasks according to the learner’s developmental level, and elicits learner reasoning in relation to those tasks. 1.3 Contructivisim Constructivism is the third one, which characterizes learning as sense – marking and the learner as an actor, not a passive recipient of information. Cognitive constructivist theories emphasize the exploration and discovery on the part of each learner as explaining the learning process. Another theory is the interactionist view, which takes the learner as an active processor of information, and considers the language acquisition is the result of an interaction between the learner’s mental abilities and the linguistic environment. The learner’s processing mechanisms both determine and are determined by the nature of input. Learning, then, is a process in which the learner actively tries to make sense of data, and learning is said to take place when the learner tries to impose some sort of meaningful interpretation or pattern on the data. Moreover, it is significant to realize the affective factors in language learning, it is said that the age of the learner determines the rate of learning, and motivation to learn, individual differences in aptitude for language learning, personal intelligence and learner’s preferences  8 are also contributed to the success of language learning. Among those factors, motivation to learn is very important, it involves the attitudes and affective states that influence the degree of effort that learners make to learn second language. And according to Brown (1981), there are three types of motivation: global motivation (always motivated to do things); situational motivation (depended on the time); task motivation (tasks to do). Or as Gragner and Lambert (1972) stated, there are two types of motivation: Integrative motivation (the learner wants learn to a language just for personal development); instrumental motivation (the learner studies for economic reasons: for a job, higher study etc...). In some situations, an integrative motivation may be more powerful in facilitating successful second language learning, but in other situations, instrumental motivation may do better, so level and type of motivation is strongly influenced by the social context in which learning takes place. 2. Approaches to language teaching Through the history of language teaching in the world in general and in Vietnam in particular, there have been changes in the recognition of theories and practice of teaching methods towards the proficiency of the learner. There have been some methods, which have proved their remarkable roles in language teaching, although there still exist controversies about their advantages and disadvantages, and there is a continue to find appropriate and effective methods. So I will briefly look at the different methods with the comment on some influenced ones and their advantages and disadvantages. 2.1. The Grammar –Translation Method The method is characterized by an emphasis on memorization of verb paradigms, grammar rules, vocabulary, and translation of literary texts. It was based on the written word and texts, since the ability to read literature to be the goal of studying foreign language. The medium instruction is the mother tongue, which is used to explain conceptual problems and to discuss the use of a particular grammatical structure, central to this method is accurate use of language items. This method is characterized by presenting the rules of a particular item of grammar and the use of the item is illustrated several times in a text. Then opportunities are given to practice using the item through writing sentences and translating it into the mother  9 tongue. The text is often accompanied by a vocabulary list. Reading of difficult texts can be early introduced in the course with little emphasis on speaking, listening and pronunciation. The advantages of this method are easy to apply and cheap to administer, it also requires not many resources. This is why it is still used by many teachers. However, the Grammar Translation method concerns itself primarily with the written language of classical literature and ignores authentic spoken communication and the social variation of language. In other words, it overemphasizes the rules and neglects the communicative skills, as a result, students learn rules of grammar and vocabulary without much feeling of progress in the mastery of the target language, which will lead to lack of motivation in learning because they have little opportunity to express themselves through it. 2.2. The Direct Method The Direct method is characterized by the use of the target language as a mean of instruction and communication in the classroom, and by the avoidance of the use of the first language and translation as a technique (Stern, 1983). The lessons often begin with a dialogue in the target language, the language items are introduced orally with actions or pictures without translation, grammar is taught inductively with rules being generalized from the practice and experience with the target language. There is an emphasis on correct pronunciation and grammar. With this method, students are exposed to target language situations, so their ability to think in target language will be developed; it is also an interesting way of learning a language through activity (River, 1981, p33). But the development of the student’s thoughts in the target language may lead to the inaccurate fluency if they are not properly guided, this originated from their trying to express them in the target language with insufficient knowledge about the language 2.3. The Audio-lingual Method As Stern (1983) claimed Audio- lingual Method was the first language teaching method that was derived from linguistics and psychology. It reflects descriptive, structural and contrastive linguistics and the behaviors principles of psychology. It was based on the principle that language learning is a process of habit formation through repetition and  10 imitation and drills in term of stimulus and response. Rivers (1964) summarized the principles of the method as follows: (p19). - Foreign language learning is a process of mechanical habit formation. Good habits are formed by providing correct responses rather than making mistakes. - Language skills a