In order to achieve the aims of the study, questionnaires, class observations and interviews were used to collect data and information from the teachers and students at Doluong 1 Upper-Secondary School (DL1USS)

1. Rationale In the context of Vietnam’s economic reform and global participation, English plays an extremely important role in helping its human resources to communicate with the rest of the world. Therefore, there has been a great demand for teaching and learning English all over the country for various purposes. However, how to teach and learn English in general and English speaking skill in particular effectively is a matter of controversy. Speaking skill should be kept in mind to be the most popular and affective way of communication. Being an English teacher at Doluong 1 Upper Secondary School (DL1SS) I realize that there are many students who are good at writing and reading find it difficult to speak English. For these reasons, in this study , I would like to investigate the recent reality of teaching and learning English speaking skill in DoLuong 1 Upper-Secondary School (DL1SS), a school in the countryside of Nghe An, a province in the Center Vietnam. The aim of the study is to identify the reasons for students’ poor oral competence so that appropriate solutions could be proposed to the question under investigation. 2. Aims of the study This study is aimed at: -investigating the recent reality of teaching and learning English speaking skill at Doluong 1 Upper-Secondary School (DL1USS). -identifying the opportunities for and constraints on developing students’ oral skills as perceived by the teachers and students at DL1USS . -proposing some solutions with the hope of helping English teachers improve their teaching speaking skill and students’ learning ability. 3. Method of study In order to achieve the aims of the study, questionnaires, class observations and interviews were used to collect data and information from the teachers and students at Doluong 1 Upper-Secondary School (DL1USS). 4. Scope of the study With the above aims, this study is limited to the exploration of opportunities and constraints as perceived by the teachers and students of Doluong1 Upper-Secondary School in Nghe An with regard to the teaching and learning of English speaking skills and some recommendations. The study only focuses on 26 of 43 classes, where there are teachers and students who are implementing the two new English syllabuses for grades 10 and 11, published by the Ministry of Education.

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PART ONE: INTRODUCTION 1. Rationale In the context of Vietnam’s economic reform and global participation, English plays an extremely important role in helping its human resources to communicate with the rest of the world. Therefore, there has been a great demand for teaching and learning English all over the country for various purposes. However, how to teach and learn English in general and English speaking skill in particular effectively is a matter of controversy. Speaking skill should be kept in mind to be the most popular and affective way of communication. Being an English teacher at Doluong 1 Upper Secondary School (DL1SS) I realize that there are many students who are good at writing and reading find it difficult to speak English. For these reasons, in this study , I would like to investigate the recent reality of teaching and learning English speaking skill in DoLuong 1 Upper-Secondary School (DL1SS), a school in the countryside of Nghe An, a province in the Center Vietnam. The aim of the study is to identify the reasons for students’ poor oral competence so that appropriate solutions could be proposed to the question under investigation. 2. Aims of the study This study is aimed at: -investigating the recent reality of teaching and learning English speaking skill at Doluong 1 Upper-Secondary School (DL1USS). -identifying the opportunities for and constraints on developing students’ oral skills as perceived by the teachers and students at DL1USS . -proposing some solutions with the hope of helping English teachers improve their teaching speaking skill and students’ learning ability. 3. Method of study In order to achieve the aims of the study, questionnaires, class observations and interviews were used to collect data and information from the teachers and students at Doluong 1 Upper-Secondary School (DL1USS). 4. Scope of the study With the above aims, this study is limited to the exploration of opportunities and constraints as perceived by the teachers and students of Doluong1 Upper-Secondary School in Nghe An with regard to the teaching and learning of English speaking skills and some recommendations. The study only focuses on 26 of 43 classes, where there are teachers and students who are implementing the two new English syllabuses for grades 10 and 11, published by the Ministry of Education. 5. Design of the study The study consists of three parts: Part One: Introduction presents the rationale, the aim, the method, the scope and the design of study. Part Two: Development consists of following chapters: Chapter 1: Literature Review aims at the basic theoretical background which consists of: Definition of Speaking skill, Positions of speaking in language teaching programs, Difficulties in and constraints on learning to speak a foreign language, and Factors affecting students’ participation in speaking activities. Chapter 2: Methodology focuses on the recent situation of English teaching and learning at Doluong 1 Upper-Secondary School and the Research methodology. The methodology includes the participants and instruments of the study. Chapter 3: Data analysis and discussion of the results of the questionnaires, class observations and the interviews will be conveyed in this chapter. Chapter 4: This chapter proposes the findings concluded from the results of the previous chapter and some recommendations for teachers and students at DL1USS in the hope of helping to develop students’ oral skill. Part Three: Conclusion summarizing all the issues in the research contains Limitation of the study, Recommendation for further study and Conclusion. PART TWO: DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW To begin with the study, in this chapter, the researcher will present some theoretical background so that the study will be based on. This chapter includes 4 small parts as follows: Definitions of Speaking skill, The position of Speaking in language teaching programs, What makes speaking a foreign language difficult, and Factors affecting students’ participation in speaking activities. Definitions of Speaking skill Speaking skill of a second or foreign language is regarded as a very complicated task. First of all, speaking is used for variety of purposes and each purpose involves in different skills. In a casual conversation, for instance, speakers’ purposes may be to make social contact with others, to establish sympathetic relationships or to spend time chatting harmlessly with someone. On the other hand, the purpose may be to find out or to express their opinions or to clarify information. On other occasions, speakers wish to give instructions, persuade people or get things done. They may want to describe things, to complain about people’s behaviors, to make requests or to entertain people with jokes. Each of these different purposes for speaking implies knowledge of the rules that account for how spoken language reflects the context or situation which speech occur in, the participants involve in, and their specific roles or relationships, and the kinds of activities the speakers are involved in. According to Brown and Yule’s (1983: 127), speaking skill consists of short, fragmentary utterance, in a range of pronunciation. There is often a great deal of repetition and overlap between one speaker and another and speakers usually use non-specific references. Brown (1994: 45) and Burns & Joyce (1997: 29) define that speaking is an interactive process of constructing meaning that involves producing, receiving and processing information. When participating in communicative activities, the speaker should choose the correct vocabulary to describe the things they want to say about, to rephrase or emphasize words to clarify the description to produce the expected pattern of specific discourse situations. Looking through the English language teaching methodology literature, we can easily see that there have been many different definitions of speaking skill proposed by linguists, but no definition is satisfactory. According to Fisk (1990:1) oral communication (speaking skill) is one of those human activities that everyone recognizes but few can define satisfactorily. Despite the definitional diversity, in the present study, speaking skill is defined as “the range of exercise types and activities with a communication approach is unlimited, provided that such exercises and activities enable learners to attain the communicative objectives of the curriculum, engage learners in communication and require the use of such communicative processes as information sharing, negotiation of meaning, and interaction”. (Richard and Rodgers, 1986: 165) In conclusion, speaking skill is one of the key modes of human communication, and one of the macro skills that language students should be helped to develop for their communicative purposes. For that reason, teachers should help their students to improve their speaking and overall oral competence. The position of speaking in language teaching programs It is known that language is an effective means of communication through which we can convey our ideas, our thought, or our desires. Language helps us clarify what we mean. Without language, human beings have never achieved such developments as they have done these days. It is language that makes human beings distinctive from animals. Many language learners consider speaking ability the measurement of knowing a language. In other words, speaking skill is very important in language teaching and learning. If learners do not learn how to speak or not to get opportunities to speak, as many think, they may soon lose their interest in learning, and learning the language is the way how to speak the language. Bygate, M. (1987: 5) stresses that speaking “is also a medium through which much language is learnt, and which for many is particularly conductive for learning” Nunan (1991: 279) states that success in an oral conversation is measured in terms of the ability to carry out a conversation in the (target) language. If a student doesn’t know how to speak and has no chance to speak in the language classroom, he will lose interest in learning. In the speaking class, on contrary, if the teacher doesn’t organize right and positive activities, the speaking a language will become less and less boring. Sharing the same ideas, Richard, A. (1991: 165) cites that it is the speaking skill that helps learners to have communication which is the proper aim of language teaching. According to Byrne (1991: 45), while listening and reading are regarded as receptive skills, speaking and writing are productive skill. Speaking not only helps students to communicate well and exchange information and culture with others but also promote the integration of speaking, listening, reading and writing in the ways that reflect natural language use. Similarly, Brown, G and Yule, G (1992: 256) point out that speaking plays an ever important role in a very transactional intention, that is, to make clear what they want to say. From those points, we can come to a conclusion that speaking skill is one of the most necessary skills in language teaching program. It suits the development rules of human beings as one can speak before he can read and write. That is the reason why speaking skill should be taught in the language room. What Makes Speaking a foreign Language Difficult? Characteristics of spoken language Speaking in a second or foreign language has often been viewed as the most demanding of the four skills. When attempting to speak, learners must concentrate their thoughts and encode their ideas in vocabulary and syntactic structures of the target language. According to Kathleen M. Bailey and Lance Savage (1993: 18), depending on the formality and importance of the speech situations as well as their own personal linguistic propensities, the learners may also attend to monitor their output (speaking skill). These two linguists also add that in conversations and other interactive speech events, the speakers must attend to the feedback from their interlocutors and observe the rules of discourse used in the target culture. Phonological considerations add to the difficulties to the task, especially for adult learners, as speakers strive to achieve “good” pronunciation. The speed of such interaction is also an issue because their may not be adequate time for processing either outgoing speech or incoming messages at the typical rate of native-speaker interactions. All of these factors combine to make speaking in a second or foreign language a formidable task for language learners. Sharing this idea, Penny Ur (1996: 120) shows the four following prerequisites of a successful speaking activity in the classroom: -Learners talk a lot: during speaking skill activities, learners should have chances to talk a lot to develop their oral skill. -Participant is even: all learners are involved in the activities and their distribution for speaking chance is the same. -Motivation is high: all the learners are interested in talking and positively participate in speaking activities. -Language is of an acceptable level: this means that the language used by teachers and learners to express their ideas and thoughts is understandable to others. Thus, from the characteristics of spoken language mentioned above, it can be inferred that teachers have an important duty to find out the appropriate methods to teach their students. Difficulties in learning to speak a foreign language In addition to the linguistic complexity which makes speaking a difficult skill to be acquired, there are pedagogical difficulties. These difficulties are understood as the learning environment such as the large size of classes, deficient facilities and difficult syllabuses. In large classes, students are usually different in levels of language proficiency, in learning style and even in general attitudes towards the language, which causes a lot of challenges and makes teachers feel troublesome and stressed to make effective classroom management. As Ur (1996: 303) says that teachers of large classes also face with the problems of discipline, creating effective learning environment for all, finding suitable materials, and activating all students, especially, silent ones. Teaching aids such as pictures, maps, photos, samples of real objects, and so on serve as a tool to maximize students’ opportunities to practice and help to make the learning environment better to carry out speaking activities. If facilities are not enough and not interesting, students will be de-motivated and the lessons will not be successful as expected. Syllabuses also play an important role in the success of speaking lessons. If the contents of the syllabuses are familiar, students will be excited and positively participate in the activities. In contrary, if the syllabuses are strange and difficult, students will be de-motivated or keep silent. Thus, in order to involve students in communicative activities, it is necessary for teachers to realize factors affecting students’ participation in communicative activities as well as to find out solutions to the problems. Constraints on learning to speak a foreign language Constraints on learning to speak a foreign language are thought to be socio-physical constraints. It means that these constraints come from inner students. It is often thought that the ability to speak a language is the product of language learning. Classroom activities play an important role in a language course because speaking activities in classroom can help develop students’ ability to express themselves. In fact, not all the speaking lessons take place as successfully as the teachers expected. Sometimes, teachers find disappointed by such problems as pointed out by Ur (1996:121): - The students are often inhibited about trying to say things in a foreign language in the classroom because they feel very shy of being paid attention to what they say, or fearful of losing face, or they are even worry about making mistakes. -The students have nothing to say. That is, students find it difficult to select suitable words from their store of language clustering to express their ideas and thoughts, and in some cases they lack knowledge of the matters being discussed. -Students’ participation is uneven and low. This problem often occurs in large classes, especially, in speaking activities. Stronger students tend to dominate the groups or class, whereas weaker ones tend to speak very little or keep silent. -Students tend to use their mother tongue instead of the foreign language. That is, while some students are very self-confident of their ability to speak English, others are anxious about speaking. Some may show their anxiety in silence for fear of making mistakes or being laughed at by their friends. Others show their anxiety in returning to using their mother tongue when they have to communicate something unfamiliar or complicated. In conclusion, teachers should try their best to understand the constraints on students’ learning to speak a foreign language and find out suitable methods to help their students to overcome the constraints as well as to encourage students to participate in speaking activities to help develop their speaking skill. Factors Affecting Students’ Participation in Speaking Activities 1.4.1. Teacher Variables In the traditional teaching method, a teacher plays the role of the controller or manager of the class. The teacher can teach anything they find necessary and students are only the listeners. Students have to do what their teacher tells them. Teacher can ask students questions and their students have to answer. Nevertheless, the traditional teaching method has many limitations and has been criticized recently. Different from the teacher in the traditional teaching method where the role of the teacher is considered the most important, the teacher in CLT classes has many different roles. At times, he is the controller or manager of the classes when establishing situations to promote communication; during the activities, he works as the facilitator and adviser, answering students’ questions; he is the co-communicator when involving in the communicative activities with students; he is the prompter when his students get lost or cannot think of what to say next; he is also the observer to observe what students do in oral communicative activities so that he can give their students useful group and individual feedback; furthermore, he is the feedback providers when his students have difficulty in the middle of a speaking activity and helpful and gentle correction may get students out of difficult. Wilkins (1974:53) states that the teacher himself is the one important variable in the learning situation. The important role of the teacher is also acknowledged by Kay & Christison (1978: 14), who argue that a teacher has to play different roles such as an instructor, a consultant, a supervisor, a communicator, and a controller. They should be able to give instructions clearly, encourage the students to actively participate in the learning process and to interact with each other. Where necessary, the teacher is supposed to help their students with their difficulties in linguistic matters as well as background knowledge. Sharing these opinions with Kay& Christison (1978: 65), Cross (1992: 54) adds that the teacher is the manager of the activity and must plan it, organize it, start it, monitor it, time it and conclude it. The teacher is active and, remaining sensitive to the atmosphere and pace of the group and noting persistent errors for remedial teaching. Should this task be seen to be going drastically wrong, the teacher will stop it and revert it to some form of practice before starting group work again. Obviously, the role of the teachers in CLT classes is very difficult but extremely important. So as to become good teachers, they always have to try their best to fulfill their duties. Teachers should always give students chances to express their individuality by asking them to share their ideas and opinions with others. Harmer (1996:1) suggests some generalization about good teacher qualities: “teacher needs to do everything possible to create a good rapport with their learners. Partly this happens by providing interesting and motivating classes; partly this comes from such things as treating all the learners the same … and acting upon their hopes and aspirations. Most of it depends on paying more attention to the learner than to the teacher”. According to Nunan (1991: 279), when teaching speaking skill, teachers should offer the five following features: -Emphasizing on learning to communicate though interaction in the target language. -Introducing authentic texts into the learning situations. -Providing opportunities for learners to focus, not only on languages but also on the learning process itself. -Enhancing the learners own personal experiences as important contributing elements to classroom learning. -Attempting to link classroom language learning with language activation outside the classroom. In conclusion, as it is proved above, the role of the teacher is extremely important for the process of teaching and learning languages. 1.4.2. Student Variables One of the most important variables which have a great influence on teaching and learning is students’ variable. Without students, there would be no class, no teaching and no learning. In class environment, students always have different relationships such as students to their teacher, students to students, and students to materials. It is considered that the relationship between students and their teacher is very important. Once students have good relationship with their teacher, they will always take part in the class activities, become involved in what is happenin