A study on the adaptation of speaking activities in tieng Anh 11 at Nghi Xuan high school

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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING VINH UNIVERSITY ĐẶNG THỊ ANH PHƯƠNG A STUDY ON THE ADAPTATION OF SPEAKING ACTIVITIES IN “TIENG ANH 11” AT NGHI XUAN HIGH SCHOOL MASTER’S THESIS IN EDUCATION NGHỆ AN - 2014 0 MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING VINH UNIVERSITY ĐẶNG THỊ ANH PHƯƠNG A STUDY ON THE ADAPTATION OF SPEAKING ACTIVITIES IN “TIENG ANH 11” AT NGHI XUAN HIGH SCHOOL Major: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Code: MASTER’S THESIS IN EDUCATION Supervisor: NGÔ ĐÌNH PHƯƠNG, Assoc. Prof., Dr. NGHỆ AN - 2014 STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP I hereby acknowledge that this study is my own work. The data and findings discussed in the thesis are true, used with permission, and have not been published elsewhere. Author Đặng Thị Anh Phương i ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First of all, I would like to take this chance to express my deep gratitude to my supervisor, Assoc.Prof.Dr.Ngô Đình Phương, for his invaluable guidance and insightful comments, his deliberate guidance and wholehearted supervision throughout the process of carrying out the research paper. In addition, I would like to send my special thanks to all the teachers and students at Nghi Xuan high school whose contributions are very meaningful in the completion of this paper. Finally, I also wish to express my since thanks to my family and all my friends who have given me so much encouragement and support in conducting this research paper. ABSTRACT ii This study aims at investigating the reality of teaching and learning speaking activities with the English textbook for grade 11 at Nghi Xuân high school – Hà Tĩnh province, the necessity of adapting speaking tasks and suggesting some adaptions with the hope they can maximize the learner’s involvement in oral activities. In this study, quasi- experimental method was utilized to collect data, teachers' and students’ attitudes towards adapting speaking activities in “Tieng Anh 11” and the practicality of teachers' adaptation. The data in this research were collected from 6 EFL teachers and 90 students at Nghi Xuan high school. Data collection instruments are students’ questionnaires, teachers’ interviews and classroom observations. The findings of the research indicates that a majority of EFL teachers and students encountered many difficulties from “Tieng Anh 11” such as students’ low participation and limited vocabulary, large class-size and mixed ability, unsuitable and less communicative tasks, too difficult tasks and shortage of teachers’ experience in teaching speaking. Besides, the finding results reveal that teachers' perception on adapting “Tieng Anh 11” was positive. The research also conducts a pilot teaching and gets a feasible result. Hence, together with the research results, the implications and conclusion of the research were worked out to increase the effectiveness of teaching speaking sections in “Tieng Anh 11” at Nghi Xuan high school. TABLE OF CONTENT iii CONTENT PAGE STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP I ACKNOWLEDGMENTS II ABSTRACT III TABLE OF CONTENTS IV LISTS OF ABBREVIATION VII LISTS OF TABLES VIII CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION 1 1.1. Rationale 1 1.2. Aims and Objectives of the Study 2 1.3. Scope of the Study 2 1.4. Research Questions 2 1.5. Organization of the study 3 CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW 4 2.1. Previous Studies Related to the Topic 4 2.2. Theoretical Background 6 2.2.1. Communicative Language Teaching 6 2.2.2. Material Adaptation 10 Definition of Adaptation 10 The purpose of Adaptation 11 Techniques of Adaptation 12 Levels of Adaptation 14 2.2.3. Background of Speaking 15 Concept of Speaking 15 iv The Importance of Teaching English Speaking 16 Characteristics of a Successful English Speaking activity 17 Problems with English speaking and Speaking Activities 19 2.2.4. The English Textbook “Tieng Anh 11” 21 The Overall Design of the Textbook “Tieng Anh 11” 21 The General Features of the Textbook “Tieng Anh 11” 21 Description of the Speaking Section 23 CHAPTER 3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 26 3.1. The Teaching and Learning Situation in Nghi Xuan High School 26 3.2. Research Method 26 3.3. Participants 27 3.4. Data Collection Instruments 28 3.4.1. Classroom Observation 28 3.4.2. The Teacher Interviews 29 3.4.3. The Student Questionaires 29 3.4.4. Follow -up Student Interview 30 3.5. Procedure of Data Collection 30 CHAPTER 4. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION 31 4.1. Results of Students’ Participation from Pre-experiment Observation 31 4.2. Results from Student’s Questionnaire 34 4.3. Results from Teachers’ Interview 44 4.4. Results from the End of Experiment Observation 51 4.5. Students’ Participation in the Experimental and Control Group in Three Adaptation 61 v 4.6. Comparision of Students’ Participation before and at at the End of the Experiment 62 4.7. Follow-up student interview 63 CHAPTER 5. CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS 65 5.1. Conclusion 65 5.2. Limitation of the Study 66 5.3. Suggested Further Study 66 REFERENCE 68 APPENDICES LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS vi CLT: Communicative Language Teaching E.g: Exempli gratia (for example) EFL: English as Foreign Language ESL: English as Second Language Etc: et cetera MOET: Ministry of Education and Training No: Number STT: Student Talking Time TTT: Teacher Talking Time %: Percent LISTS OF TABLES AND FIGURES vii Page Table 1: Students' Background Information 28 Table 4.1: STT and TTT in control and experimental group before the experiment. 33 Table 4.2: Students’ reasons for learning English 35 Table 4.3: Factors prevent students from participating in speaking in 37 the class. Table 4.4: Students’ learning styles in both groups 37 Table 4.5: Students’ opinions towards the speaking tasks of the textbook 42 Table 4.6: Students’ opinion about the teachers’ way of teaching speaking 43 Table 4.7: Students’ evaluation on their teacher’s adaptation. 43 Table 4.8: Students’ assessment of their currents speaking lessons 44 Table 4.9: STT and TTT in the control group before the experiment 52 Table 4.10: Students’ participation in experimental and control group in three lessons at the end of the intervention 61 Table 4.11: TTT and STT in the two classes before and at the end of experiment. 62 Chart 4.1: Students’ self-evaluation of their participation in speaking lessons 35 Chart 4.2: Evaluation of speaking skill 38 Chart 4.3: The importance of speaking skills 39 Chart 4.4: Students’ interests in speaking lessons 40 Chart 4.5: Affecting factors of students’ interest in speaking class 41 Chart 4.6: Students’ opinions about speaking topics in “Tieng Anh 11” 41 Chart 4.7: Teachers' perception on which parts of speaking activities viii in “Tieng Anh 11” need adapting to increase students’ participation in speaking lesson 50 ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1. 1. RATIONALE In today’s global world, the importance of English cannot be denied and ignored since English is the most common language spoken everywhere. With the help of developing technology, English has been playing a key role in many sectors including medicine, science, tourism , engineering,… and education, which, in my opinion, is the most important arena where English is needed. In Viet Nam, it has become one of the major and compulsory subjects at schools and colleges. In order to improve Vietnamese learners’ competence to meet the demand of globalization , the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has also made great efforts to help students learn English better, among which the effort to search for new sources of materials has always beken encouraged. Especially, the introduction of new textbooks “ Tieng Anh 10,11,12” to school curriculum marks a dramatic change in the way of language teaching and learning from the traditional approach-grammar translation method to communicative approach. Among the four skills known as listening, speaking, reading and writing, it can be said that speaking seems to be the most challenging skill for most of the students at Nghi Xuan high school. Almost students only focus on learning the grammar without developing speaking skill while the goal of learning English is to communicate in it. Consequently, the students become accustomed to sitting and listening quietly rather than presenting orally. After 5 school years teaching the new textbook “Tiếng Anh 11” at Nghi Xuan high school, I find that there are some problems with some activities in the textbook . Some are too difficult for my students, some are not real communicative, some are too long …..All these reasons greatly contribute to the demotivation of students from in 1 the lessons at Nghi Xuan high school. In this case, it is necessary for teachers to adapt some activities to make it suitable and interesting for learners. There are many things that teachers can do to improve the unit such as looking for interesting extra materials from different sources, designing activities which can motivate learners in oral presentation The above mentioned reasons have inspired the writer to conduct a research titled “A Study on the Adaptation of Speaking Activities in “Tieng Anh 11” at Nghi Xuan High School.” 1.2. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY Aims: The present study is carried out with the aims to investigate the current situation of teaching and learning spoken English as well as how Students’ Oral presentation is improved in speaking lessons teachers at Nghi Xuan high school. Objectives: Firstly, the present study focuses on investigating the reasons why teachers at Nghi Xuan upper-secondary should adapt speaking activities in “Tieng Anh 11”. Secondly, it points out what speaking activities in “Tieng Anh 11” should be adapted. Finally, it determines the effects of the adapted activites in improving students’oral presentation in speaking lessons at Nghi Xuan high school 1.3. SCOPE OF THE STUDY There is a variety of aspects affecting students’ oral presentation in class activities so there exists a numerous methods to improve students’ involvement. However, it is not my attention to cover all of them because of time and length constraint of the study. Adaptation of speaking activities in “Tieng Anh 11” is focused on and tested in classes at Nghi Xuan high school. As the result, the samples of the study were restricted to 4 teachers and 90 students at 11th form at Nghi Xuan high school. 2 1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. Why should teachers adapt speaking activities in “Tiếng Anh 11”? 2. What speaking activities in “Tiếng Anh 11” should be adapted to improve students’ oral presentation? 3. To what extent do the adapted speaking activities in “Tieng Anh 11” increase students’ participation in speaking classes at Nghi Xuan high school? 1.5. ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY Apart from acknowledgements, abstract, table of contents and appendices, this thesis is structured in five main chapters: Chapter 1- Introduction includes: Rationale, Aims of the Study, Scope of the Study, Research Questions and Organization of the Study. Chapter 2- Theoretical Background focuses on the theory about textbook adaptation, speaking skill, and students’ oral presentation and gives out an overview of the curriculumn and the textbook “Tieng Anh 11”. The situation of teaching English learning at Nghi Xuân high school will be also presented in this chapter. Chapter 3 - Methodology describes the research method, settings and participants , data collection instruments and data collection procedures. Chapter 4- Findings and Discussion focuses on the results of investigation Chapter 5 – Conclusions summarises the study, implications , limitations and suggestions for further study. 3 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1. Previous Studies Related to the Topic Speaking is a crucial part of second language learning and teaching. Today’s world requires that the goal of teaching speaking should improve students’ communicative skills, because, only in that way, learners can express themselves and learn how to follow the social and cultural rules appropriate in each communicative circumstance. Because of its important roles, speaking has received a lot of attention from experts as well as methodologists in the world and in VietNam. One of the major early books on materials development, Harold S. Madson and Donald J. Bowen, did, focused on adaptation in language teaching, republished in Newbury House publisher in 1978. It made the important point that good teachers are always adapting the materials they are using to the context in which they are using them in order to achieve the optimal congruence between materials, methodology, learners, objectives, the target language and the teacher’s personality and teaching style. In this book, the authors said that it was not necessary to teach every drill, every section and every grammar point. Madson and Bowen set out and analyzed ways in which the language teachers can complement the textbook with his own ideas and modify the content to suit his own teaching style, the needs of his learners or the constraints and advantages of the circumstances. Concentrating on the practical aspects of language teaching, the author drew upon their considerable experience with the mainstream of foreign language teaching, both in United States and abroad. They covered the principles and techniques of adaptation exceptionally well. According to them, adaptation took three forms-individualizing, modifying and compensating- and utilized any of a wide variety of techniques: supplementing, editing, expanding, personalizing, simplifying, ect. 4 McGrath (2002) also devoted a chapter to discussing the objectives, principles and procedures of adaptation. He proposed “four evaluative processes” (p. 59) when basing a lesson on a course book and went on to discuss the issues and procedures involved in each process. Teachers may select the materials that will be used unchanged, reject either completely or partially sections of the material, add extensions or further exploitation of the existing materials and replace components of the materials. McGrath set a series of useful tasks for the readers to check their understanding of his suggested procedures and their ability to use them. Some of these tasks involved the reader adapting course book materials; others involved them in evaluating adaptations suggested by experts. Anson Yang and Chan-piu Cheung’s research (2003) was about adapting textbook activities for communicative teaching and cooperative learning in some speaking class in Hong Kong. According to them, one obstacle that most schools cannot overcome is the extensive language syllabus prescribed by the textbook. Actually, each level of a textbook is often a set of texts, which may include an allin-one textbook. In theory, teachers have to follow the rationale and sequence of each chapter; but in reality, for a variety of reasons, teachers skip items in the textbooks. If a teacher uses such an activity without any adaptation, English students will be distanced from the situation because the task won’t be meaningful to them. Communicative language teaching requires authentic communication, which includes a believable setting, a normal speed in speaking, a range of lexical items suitable for the students’ ages, and an overall promotion of learning. This research suggested small modifications of activities, so that even when teachers have to follow textbook tasks, they can easily adapt them for communicative teaching with minimal extra preparation for themselves or their students. Also, this research showed that a small change of task can make it more authentic for students and enhance the cooperative learning potential of a textbook activity. Another research conducted by Tran Thi Lan Anh (2010) was about challenges and solutions in teaching and learning speaking skill with the new 5 English textbook for grade 10 at Xuan Hoa high school, Vinh Phuc province. She mentioned the difficulties from teachers such as teachers’ insufficient communicative competence, teachers’ lack of training and difficulties from students were learners’ level of English, learners’ traditional features. She also suggested some solutions to those problems. Mai Thị Lan (2013) carried out a research on how to motivate the 10 grade students in speaking skill at Hoa Lu A high school in Ninh Binh province. An action research was planned and implemented with such data collection instruments as classroom observation, questionnaire and document analysis. This study set out to investigate the types of motivation possessed by students in speaking lessons at Hoa Lu A high school. It also focused and evaluated motivational techniques used by teachers at this school, students’ expectations of speaking teaching. Then, it suggested some recommendations for teachers to motivate students in speaking skill. In summary, it can be seen from the above review that researchers focused on adapting speaking activities to increase students’ participation and motivation in speaking class. However, not many researchers have conducted research on adaptation of "Tieng Anh 11" yet. Therefore, the author has decided to conduct the research with the aim of adapting some difficult speaking activities in “Tieng Anh 11” to increase students’ participation in speaking lessons and help improve teaching and learning English at Nghi Xuan high school. 2.2. Theoretical Background 2.2.1. Communicative Language Teaching It is known that the history of language teaching has shown the change on methods, which have reflected recognition of changes in the sort of proficiency learners needs. What has changed in a second language teaching is not the way we teach but in the aim of language teaching and learning (Le, 2004). According Mackey (1965) most teaching methods still exist both advantages and disadvantages, and it is difficult to say which method is the most appropriate without considering the background in which it is applied. Because of the limitation 6 in my thesis, I only spotlight on CLT which is considered as one of the most effective method to teach speaking skill in second language. Definition of CLT Perhaps the majority of language teachers today, when asked to identify the methodology.They employ in the classroom, identify “communicative” as the methodology of choice. However, when pressed to give a detailed account of what they mean by “communicative”, explanations vary widely. Does communicative language teaching (CLT) mean teaching conversations, an absence of grammar in a course, or an emphasis on open-ended discussion activities as the main features of a course? The origin of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) are found in the changes in the British language teaching tradition in the late 1960s.There are many definitions of CLT by different methodologists. Among the available definitions, the one given by Nunan (1989, p.194) seems to be the most widely-accepted and the most favorable one. As for him: "CLT views language as a system for the expression 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; they include 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. Materials promote communicative language use; they are task-based and authentic". Nunan also asserts that in communication process, learners are negotiators and integrators where as teachers are facilitators. According to Richards (1998), CLT can be understood as a set of principles about the goal of language teaching, how learners learn language, the kind of classroom activities that best facilitate learning, and the roles of teachers and learners in the classroom. The definitions above, as with any definitions of the language teaching method, represent a particular view of understanding and explaining language 7 acquisition. It is socially constructed and must be seen as a product of social, cultural, economic, and political forces. Canale and Swain (1980) expanded on the theoretical basis of CLT for both teaching and testing. In their reaction against an over emphasis on functions and a lack of emphasis on grammatical complexity, they pointed out that external oriental communication is not necessarily more essential than other proposes of language such as "self-expression, verbal thinking, problem solving, and creative writing". CLT is usually characterized as a broad approach to teaching, rather than as teaching method with a clearly defined set of classroom practices. As such, it is most often defined as a list of general principles of features that Nunan (1991) remarked: - 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 management process. - An enhancement of the learner’s own personal experiences as important contributing elements to classroom learning. - An attempt to link classroom language learning with language activities outside the classroom. Characteristics of CLT Language is not simply a system of rules. It is now generally seen "as a dynamic resource for the creation of meaning" (Nunan, 1989). This point of view is really supports CLT.  CLT is aimed at (a) making communicative competence the goal of language teaching and (b) developing procedures for the teaching of the four language skills that acknowledge the interdependence of language and communication (Canh, 2004). 8  CLT is grounded on a theory of language as communication. The goal of CLT is to create a realistic context for language acquisition in the classroom to order communicative competence (Hymes, 1972).  CLT is also associated with learner-centered and experienced based tasks (Richard & Rodgers, 1986, L.Tsang & Wong, 2000).  The focus of CLT is on functional language usage and learners' ability to express themselves. In other words, for CLT, developing learners' skills is more important than the content of the teaching and learning (Johnson, 1982).  There are three major principle of CLT: (1) communication principle: emphasizes activities that involve real communication promote learning. (2) task principle: supports that activities in which language is used for carrying out meaningful tasks promote learning. (3) meaningfulness principle: claims that language that is meaningful to the learners supports the learning process. (Canh, 2004)  In communicative classes, learners communicate with each other and learning tasks are completed by means of interaction between learners. It is clear that learners' completing a task is fore-grounded and communicating with each other is back-grounded. This may lead to considerable use of pair work, group work and mingling activities.  In ESL classes, teachers are facilitators and monitors, usually, without interruption and then to provide feedback on the success. However, CLT is not a perfect method. There still exist critical remarks on CLT as its inappropriateness to local contexts and cultures, its negation of rote-learning, memorization, displaying questions, teacher's talk, etc. In spite of limitations and shortcomings, no one can negate that Communicative Language Teaching allows teachers to incorporate motivating and purposeful communicative activities and principle into their teaching, which later results in the improvement of their learners' proficiency. For the reasons mentioned above, CLT has served as the dominant approach to language teaching since the demise of Audio-lingual Method. To summarize, CLT is characterized as: 9
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