A study on improving english speaking skills to 10th-Form minority students at gia phu high school in the new set of english textbook

I. Rationale of the study. It is undeniable that English is an international language. English is considered as the medium of communication in many different fields such as: science, technology, aviation, international sport, diplomacy, and so on. English is also the official language of many international organizations, such as: ASEAN, WTO, WHO, UN, etc. With the spread of globalization and the rapid expansion of informational and technologies, there has been an explosion in the demand for English worldwide. In Vietnam, in recent years, the study of English has gained momentum. Because it is partly the change in education policies of our government, and partly the people’s need. English has been widely taught in schools, universities, companies as well as in organizations. There are also many different English teaching programs available on radio, television and internet. It is widely accepted that one of the main purposes of studying English is to use it for communications. Being able to speak English is an important criterion to assess a learner of English. However, it is a common issue at my school that the students rarely speak English, even in English classes, though they have been learning English since they started at the lower secondary school. Being a teacher of a high school, within my minor thesis, I would like to investigate the reasons of the students’ inhibition and unwillingness to speak English, and I hope to be able to make some recommendations that can help the students overcome their inhibition and unwillingness, and thereby improve their speaking skills. This actually drives the researcher to the study thesis, namely “A study on improving English Speaking skills to 10th-form minority students at Gia Phu High School in the New Set of English Textbook”. II. Aims of the study. The study is aimed at: • Investigating the current English speaking teaching and learning situations of grade 10 at Gia Phu High School. • Identifying the factors which make the students inhibited or unwilling to speak English in class. • Making some suggestions for the teachers at Gia Phu High School with the hope of helping the students overcome their inhibition and unwillingness, and thereby improve their speaking skills. • Suggesting some realistic and appropriate class teaching techniques with the hope that they can enhance the learners in speaking skills. III. Scope of the study. To improve speaking skills for the students at Gia Phu High School, various activities can be used, and a number of things should be done. However, the researcher only intends to overview a brief of the current situations of teaching and learning English speaking skills of grade 10 at Gia Phu High School, and to identify the factors which make the students inhibited and unwilling to speak English, and to make some recommendations to motivate students to speak English more. IV. Method of the study. To realize the aims of the study, quantitative and qualitative methods have been used. The data collected for the study came from two sources: the 10th- form student respondents and the teacher-respondents at Gia Phu High School, Son La province. Two questionnaires, one for students and the other for teachers, and an interview of teachers are going to be used to collect information and evidence for the study. All the comments, remarks, recommendations and conclusions provided in the study are based on the data analysis.

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Part one: introduction Rationale of the study. It is undeniable that English is an international language. English is considered as the medium of communication in many different fields such as: science, technology, aviation, international sport, diplomacy, and so on. English is also the official language of many international organizations, such as: ASEAN, WTO, WHO, UN, etc. With the spread of globalization and the rapid expansion of informational and technologies, there has been an explosion in the demand for English worldwide. In Vietnam, in recent years, the study of English has gained momentum. Because it is partly the change in education policies of our government, and partly the people’s need. English has been widely taught in schools, universities, companies as well as in organizations. There are also many different English teaching programs available on radio, television and internet. It is widely accepted that one of the main purposes of studying English is to use it for communications. Being able to speak English is an important criterion to assess a learner of English. However, it is a common issue at my school that the students rarely speak English, even in English classes, though they have been learning English since they started at the lower secondary school. Being a teacher of a high school, within my minor thesis, I would like to investigate the reasons of the students’ inhibition and unwillingness to speak English, and I hope to be able to make some recommendations that can help the students overcome their inhibition and unwillingness, and thereby improve their speaking skills. This actually drives the researcher to the study thesis, namely “A study on improving English Speaking skills to 10th-form minority students at Gia Phu High School in the New Set of English Textbook”. Aims of the study. The study is aimed at: Investigating the current English speaking teaching and learning situations of grade 10 at Gia Phu High School. Identifying the factors which make the students inhibited or unwilling to speak English in class. Making some suggestions for the teachers at Gia Phu High School with the hope of helping the students overcome their inhibition and unwillingness, and thereby improve their speaking skills. Suggesting some realistic and appropriate class teaching techniques with the hope that they can enhance the learners in speaking skills. Scope of the study. To improve speaking skills for the students at Gia Phu High School, various activities can be used, and a number of things should be done. However, the researcher only intends to overview a brief of the current situations of teaching and learning English speaking skills of grade 10 at Gia Phu High School, and to identify the factors which make the students inhibited and unwilling to speak English, and to make some recommendations to motivate students to speak English more. Method of the study. To realize the aims of the study, quantitative and qualitative methods have been used. The data collected for the study came from two sources: the 10th- form student respondents and the teacher-respondents at Gia Phu High School, Son La province. Two questionnaires, one for students and the other for teachers, and an interview of teachers are going to be used to collect information and evidence for the study. All the comments, remarks, recommendations and conclusions provided in the study are based on the data analysis. Design of the study The minor thesis consists of three parts: The first part is an introduction to the thesis which presents the factors as plan of the study such as the rationale, aims, scope, methods and design of the study. Part two comes the second, in which a theoretical background, research methodology, presentation of statistical, results and discussions were presented. The final part focuses on the summary of the findings, the limitations of the study and future directions for further research are also mentioned in this part. Part two: development Chapter I: literature review Any study should have theories as its background. In my minor thesis, I base the study on the theories which are the views from the famous linguists and methodologists on the concepts concerning language and methodology. I. Communicative Language Teaching. The history of language teaching has shown a lot of changes in approaches and methods, which reflects the recognition of changes in the sort of proficiency learners need. Teaching a second language used to be aimed at enabling learners to read and appreciate class of literature. Therefore, any teacher who was able to reach this aim was thought to be a good teacher (Le Van Canh, 2004). Most learners of English recently desire to be able to communicate with others in the language they learn. Parallel with this change in the aim of learning English, methods of teaching have been changed. For a long time, many language teaching methodologists have constantly looked for the most appropriate way to teach English effectively. As a result, many language teaching methods and approaches have come into being such as: Grammar-translation method The Direct method The Audio-lingual method The Audio-visual method Communicative Language Teaching. Mackey (1965) remarks that most of the methods which have ever been developed still continue to exist in one form or another as each method has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, grammar-translation method is easy to implement and cheap to administer, which makes it still be used in many classroom situations. In this thesis, the author just focused on Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) as it is considered one of the most effective approaches to teach learners to communicate in a language they learnt. Accordingly, CLT has become an “umbrella” term which covers a wide range of classroom practices. 1. Definition of CLT So far, CLT has been viewed differently by different authors such as Wilkins (1972), Nunan (1989), etc. According to Nunan (1989:194), “CLT views language as a system for the expressions of meaning. Activities involve oral communication, carrying out meaning tasks and using language, which is meaningful to the learners. Objectives reflect the needs of the learners including functional skills as well as linguistic objectives. The learner’s role is as a negotiator and integrator. The teacher’s role is as a facilitator of the communication process.” It is thought that this definition contains aspects that are common to many other definitions. Margie S. Barns (1984:5), an expert in the field of CLT, writes in explaining Firth’s view that “language is interaction; it is interpersonal activity and has a clear relationship with society. In this light, language study has to look at the use (function) of language in context, both its linguistic context (what is uttered before and after a given piece of discourse) and its social, or situational, context ( who is speaking, what their social roles are, why they have come together to speak)” (Ann Galloway. “Communicative Language Teaching: An introduction and Sample Activities”. Cal.org). In this approach teachers often downplay accuracy and emphasize students’ ability to convey their messages (Hammerly, 1991). In fact, the communicative approach does stress the importance of both the forms and the uses of language. But it does not specify under what circumstances it may be more appropriate to teach the forms through the uses, or to attach the uses to the forms, or to integrate them for communicative purposes. Perhaps it is the teacher’s responsibility to judge and decide which priority is relevant in his own condition. 2. Characteristics of CLT The communicative approach can be said to be the product of language educators and linguists who became dissatisfied with the Audio-lingual and Grammar-Translation, Methods, which could not enable learners to communicate in the culture of the target language. David Nunan (1991) points out five features of CLT: An emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction in the target language. The introduction of authentic texts into the learning situation. The provision of opportunities for learners to focus, not only on language but also on the learning process itself. An enhancement of the learner’s own personal experiences as important contributing elements to classroom learning. An attempt to link classroom language with language activities outside the classroom. All features above are claimed by practitioners of CLT to show that they are very interested in the needs and desires of the learners as well as the connection between the language as it is taught in their classroom and as it is used outside the classroom. Under this broad umbrella definition, any teaching practice that helps students develop their communicative competence in an authentic context is deemed an acceptable and beneficial form of instruction. Thus, in the classroom CLT often takes the form of pair work and group work requiring negotiation and cooperation among learners to develop their confidence, role plays in which students practice and develop language functions as well as judicious use of grammar and pronunciation focused activities. 3. Communicative Competence. In the history of English language teaching, there have been two definitions of communicative competence which is currently considered the primary goal of language teaching. Many teachers, methodologists and linguistics who work on foreign language teaching tend to define communicative competence simply as interaction in the target language ( Sagvinon, 1983; Rivers, 1987). However, others who work in ESL tend to be in favor of Hymens’ theory of communicative competence. In Hymes’s theory (adapted from Dash, B.K 1985), communicative competence includes not only the linguistic forms of the language but also its social rules, the knowledge of when, how and to whom it is appropriate to use these forms. It means that the socio-cultural rules for language use are also included in the teaching process. In fact, Hymes coined this term in order to contrast a communicative view of language and Chomsky’s theory of competence. In Chomsky’s view, linguistic theory is concerned primarily with an ideal speaker-hearer in a completely homogeneous speech community who can use its language perfectly and is unaffected by such grammatical irrelevant conditional as memory limitation, distractions, shifts of attention and interest and errors in applying his knowledge of the language in actual performance. (Chomsky, 1965-adapted from Le Van Canh 2004). This mean that, Chomsky’s linguistic view focuses too much on the “correctness” but does not pay adequate attention to the socio-culture of language. It is clear that Hymes’s theory of communicative competence offers a much more comprehensive view than Chomsky’s theory. Canale and Swain (1980) consider communicative competence as the combination of the competences of five areas: rules of grammar (Grammatical competence), rules of discourse (discourse competence), sociocultureral rules of use, probability rules of occurrence and communication strategies. Grammatical competence “Grammatical competence is the mastery of the linguistic code, the ability to recognize the lexical, morphological, syntactic and phonological features of a language and to manipulate these features to forms words and sentences”. (Sagvinon, 1983:37). 3.2. Discourse competence It includes the ability to produce and recognize coherent and cohesive text. Discourse competence is dependent on the knowledge shared by speaker/writer and hearer/reader: knowledge of the real word, knowledge of the linguistic code, knowledge of the discourse structures and knowledge of social setting. 3.3. Sociolinguistic competence The competence of sociocultural rules of use is the ability to interpret and express functional and social meaning of language, depending on degrees of formality, setting, topic, channel and purpose of communication. Sociocultural competence is an understanding of the social context in which language is used. 3.4. Probability rules of occurrence This competence is the ability to recognize what communication functions are likely to be expressed in a given context and what are not. A person can acquired more of this competence through using the language in real communication than in classroom practice. According to Canale and Swain (1980), a learner can not have a satisfactory communicative competence if not any of his knowledge of probability of occurrence of grammatical forms and communicative functions is developed. 3.5. Communicative strategies According to Richard’s opinion (ELTJ V37 N2, 1983), communicative strategies include: Speaker’s repertoire of verbal and visual gestures which signal interest in what the partner is saying. Speaker’s stock of topics and formulaic utterances which are produced at relevant points in discourse such as a small talk which is required to make brief encounters with acquaintances comfortable and positive. Awareness when to talk and what to talk in an appropriate use of turn-taking conversations. Communicative strategies also include the ability to adapt when one’s message is not taken, and to sustain communication by paraphrase, circumlocution, repetition, hesitation, avoidance and shift in register and style. The learner is expected to master not only the transactional skills but also interactional skills, which are an important component of communicative competence. II. Nature of language skills and oral communication 1. Nature of language skills It has known that language communication involves some skills which consist of four micro inter related skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. That is the reason why learners of English are required to have an adequate mastery of the four skills. Nevertheless, the degree of fluency of each skill, which is a learner requires, depend on the course purposes. As for Byrne (1991), among the four skills, listening and reading are considered as the receptive skills, speaking and writing as the productive skills. They are also divided according to the manners by which they are formed. The skills in connection with manual script including reading and writing are called literacy skills. The ones which are related to articulator organs are called the oral skills consisting of listening and speaking. Of the four skills, speaking plays a very important role since it is the step to identify who knows or does not know a language. Anyone who knows a foreign language can speak that language. Pattison (1992) confirms that when a person speaks of knowing or learning a language they mean being able to speak the language. 2. Oral communication It is the view from Byrne opinion (1991:9), with regard to the relation between speaking and listening. it has seen that speaking and listening skills in communication are complementary. From a communicative, pragmatic view of the language classroom, speaking and listening skills are closely intertwined. The interaction between these two modes of performance applies especially strongly to conversation, the most popular discourse category in the profession. Speaking always necessitates at least two participants speaker(s) and listener(s). When the speaker starts the message, the listener decodes, and responds to the message in turns. Therefore, nature of oral communication is comprehended as a two-way process between the speaker and listener. Oral communication is effective only when the learners are supplied with oral skills”(Byrne, 1991:9). Hence, that is why teaching listening is always associated with teaching speaking skills. Martin Bygate (1991:22) divided oral skills into negotiation skills and production skills in which the former are divided into interaction management and negotiation of meaning with two sub skills. Agenda management refer to the right of participants, choice of the topics and how they are developed and of how much time the conversation should be prolonged. Turn taking (McCarthy, 1993:127), means that the speaker has to discern (perceive clear when to take the floor and when to leave at another the speaker take turn.) Production skills takes that the speakers are always overwhelmed by time pressure from the moment they decide what to say, how to state to the time they say it out. This excuse helps them protect themselves by using instrument so as to expedite production and compensate for difficulties. Production skills are divided into two sub-skills, as follows: Facilitation skills as opinion of Bygate (1991:15) suggested that the use of simple structures, ellipsis, customary expressions and fillers or halting devices such as you know, you see, ok. Compensation skills comprise self, correction, false start, recitation and rephrasing. As stated above, these provide conditions to enable learners’ speaking ability. However, to obtain a good speaking ability, according to Bygate, learners of English are required to have background relevant to the on-going communication. They need to understand what they are going to talk and also to master some particular grammar points and language skills. The procedures that learners have to undergo to make themselves orally understood are the steps the teachers can interfere to develop learners’ speaking ability. III. Nature of speaking skills and development of teaching speaking skills. Speaking is in many ways an undervalued skill. Perhaps this is because we can almost speak, and so take the skill a lot for granted. speaking is often thought of as a popular form of expression which uses the unprestigious ‘colloquial’ register: literary skills are on the whole more prized. This negative neglect may also facile, superficial, or glib. Could it be that the negative aspects of behaviorist teaching techniques which focused largely on the teaching of oral language have become associated with the skill itself. Martin Bygate (1997:1) argues that speaking is a skill which deserves attention every bit as much as literary skills in both first and second language. Our learners often need to be able to speak with confidence to carry out many of their most basic transactions. It is the skills by which they are most frequently judged and through which they may make friends or lose friends. It is the vehicle par excellence of social solidarity, of social ranking, of professional advancement and of business. It is also a medium through which much language is learned, and which for many is particularly conductive for learning. Perhaps, then the teaching of speaking merits more thought. to be the most vital skill of the four language skills. In order to find the techniques to improve speaking skills we must be aware of nature of this skills. One of the basic problems in foreign language teaching, as Martin Bygate’s (1997:3) is to prepare students to be able to use the language. How this preparation is done, and how successful it is, depend on how teachers understand their aims. For example, it is obvious that in order to be able to speak a foreign language, it is necessary to know a certain amount of grammar and vocabulary. Part of a language course is therefore generally devoted to this objective. But there are other things involved in speaking and are important to know what this might be. For instance, to test whether students can speak, it is necessary to get them to actually say something. To do like this, they must act on knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. By giving students ‘speaking practice’ and oral exams, we recognize that there is a difference between knowledge about a language and skills in using it. This distinction between knowledge and skills is crucial in teaching and speaking. Martin Bygate adds that when we speak, we do not merely know how

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