A survey on the impact of presentation performance on enhancing speaking and listening skills of english-majored students in can tho university

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CAN THO UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES ENGLISH DEPARTMENT A SURVEY ON THE IMPACT OF PRESENTATION PERFORMANCE ON ENHANCING SPEAKING AND LISTENING SKILLS OF ENGLISH-MAJORED STUDENTS IN CAN THO UNIVERSITY B.A. Thesis Supervisor: Lưu Bích Ngọc, M.A Student: Nguyễn Ngọc Phi Yến Code: 7107055 Class: NN1054A4 Course: 36 Can Tho, 2013 1 DECLARATION The thesis entitled “The impact of presentation performance on enhancing speaking and listening skills of English-majored students” is conducted under the supervision of M.A. Luu Bich Ngoc, an instructor of English at English Department, Can Tho University. I declare that the information reported in the current paper is the result of my own work, except where due to reference is made. The thesis has not been accepted for any degree and is not concurrently submitted to any candidature for any other degree or diploma. Can Tho, December 2013 Supervisor Signature Lưu Bích Ngọc Nguyễn Ngọc Phi Yến 2 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS After 3 months of conducting this research, I would like to say the great thanks to the very enthusiastic and valuable contribution of my teachers, family and friends… All of them have helped me a lot during the research process. Without them, my thesis could not be completed successfully. First of all, from the bottom of my heart, I would like to express my profound thanks to my supervisor, Ms. Luu Bich Ngoc for her valuable comments and instruction. Thanks to her great guidance and responds, my study was completed in advantage. She was an extremely big help and played an important role in my mind. Besides, I would like to show my sincere thanks to Mr. Nguyen Hai Quan for his helpful advice. Thanks to his help and guidance, my study can be progress in a convenient way. Secondly, my best regard is respectfully to all teachers in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Can Tho University. Especially, I would like to give my thanks to my academic advisor Ms. Ho Phuong Thuy, she introduced to me a lot of necessary knowledge not only about my studying but also social skills and awareness. Next, I am also thankful to ten teachers who took part in my study as participants. They were willing to spend their time answering the interview. Besides, I also give my thanks to English Majored sophomore because of their cooperation in answering the questionnaire. They made a very positive contribution to my study. Without their help during the data collection process, this research could not have good result. Additionally, I would like to show my thanks to all my friends for their great helps. They sent me a lot of useful material which was related to my thesis. Besides that, they also helped me solve and deal with some problems and difficulties which I did not understand well. Finally, the wholehearted thankful appreciation was given to my family for their understanding, supports and love. My parents always encourage and motivate my mind at the time I felt so bored. Whenever I got troubles they always gave me advice and helped me solve these issues. 3 All above people, I owe them a large debt. Their helps, encouragement and supports have been invaluable. Thank you all for helping me to reach one of the major aims of my life! All the best, 4 TABLE OF CONTENTS Declaration .................................................................................................. Page i Acknowledgements .............................................................................................. ii Table of contents................................................................................................. iv List of tables and figures ................................................................................... vii Abstract ............................................................................................................ viii Chapter 1 Introduction .............................................................................. Page 1 1.1. Rationale ......................................................................................................... 1 1.2. Aims of the research ....................................................................................... 2 1.3. Significance of the research ............................................................................ 3 1.4. Thesis organization ......................................................................................... 3 Chapter 2 Literature Review .............................................................................. 4 2.1. Definitions of terms ........................................................................................ 4 2.1.1. Speaking skill ...................................................................................... 4 2.1.1.1. What is speaking skill .............................................................. 4 2.1.1.2. Elements of speaking skill........................................................ 5 2.1.1.2.a. Accuracy...................................................................... 5 2.1.1.2.b. Fluency ......................................................................... 6 2.1.2. Listening skill...................................................................................... 7 2.1.2.1. What is listening skill? ............................................................. 7 2.1.2.2. Differences between listening and hearing ............................... 7 2.1.3. Oral Presentations ............................................................................... 8 2.1.3.1. Definition of oral presentations ................................................ 8 2.1.3.2. The importance of oral presentations........................................ 9 2.1.3.3. Characteristics of a good presentation .................................... 10 2.1.4. Relations between oral presentations and speaking skills................... 10 2.1.5. Relations between oral presentations and listening skills ................... 11 2.2. Research questions ....................................................................................... 12 2.3. Research hypotheses ..................................................................................... 12 Chapter 3 Research Methodology .................................................................... 13 3.1 Research design ............................................................................................. 13 3.2 Participants .................................................................................................... 13 3.3 Data collections ............................................................................................. 14 3.3.1 Measuring instruments ....................................................................... 14 5 3.3.1.1. Questionnaire for students ...................................................... 14 3.3.1.2. Interview for teachers teaching English speaking and listening classes ..................................................................... 15 3.3.2 Data Collection Procedure .................................................................. 16 3.4. Data analysis ................................................................................................ 16 Chapter 4 Results .............................................................................................. 17 4.1. Teacher‟s objectives ..................................................................................... 17 4.2. Students‟ experience in making presentations ............................................... 18 4.3. Students‟ speaking skills ............................................................................... 19 4.4. Students‟ listening skills ............................................................................... 20 4.5. The improvement of students‟ speaking and listening skills .......................... 21 4.6. Students‟ suggestion to enhance speaking and listening skills through presentations ................................................................................................. 23 Chapter 5 Discussions, Conclusions, Limitations and Recommendations ...... 25 5.1. Discussions of the data ................................................................................. 25 5.1.1. Teacher‟s objectives .......................................................................... 25 5.1.2. Students‟ experience in making presentations.................................... 26 5.1.3. Students‟ speaking skills ................................................................... 27 5.1.4. Students‟ listening skills ................................................................... 27 5.1.5. The improvement of students‟ speaking and listening skills............... 28 5.1.6 Students‟ suggestion to enhance speaking and listening skills through presentation ......................................................................... 29 5.2. Conclusions .................................................................................................. 30 5.3. Limitations ................................................................................................... 30 5.4. Recommendations ........................................................................................ 30 References .......................................................................................................... 32 Appendices ......................................................................................................... 36 Appendix 1: Questionnaire on the impact of presentation performance on enhancing speaking and listening skills of English-majored students .......................................................................................... 35 Appendix 2: Interview questions for teachers ..................................................... 39 6 LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES Table 3.1. Alpha Correlation Coefficient of the pilot questionnaire Reliability ...... 15 Figure 1. Students‟ self-evaluation of successful level ........................................... 19 Figure 2. Students‟ speaking skills ........................................................................ 19 Figure 3. Mean score of accuracy group ................................................................ 20 Figure 4. Factors distracting students‟ listening skill during the presentation ......... 20 Figure 5. Mean score of presenter‟s group ............................................................. 21 7 ABSTRACT In an attempt to develop speaking and listening skills for the second-year English majored students at Can Tho University through oral presentations, this study addresses 2 issues: (1) To find out teacher‟s objectives when they ask students to make presentations; (2) To verify whether making presentation enhances students‟ speaking and listening skills. To collect the data for the thesis, two instruments were employed: the questionnaire for 100 English majored sophomores and the interview with 10 teachers teaching speaking and listening classes. The data were analyzed by using descriptive approach. Research findings showed that the main objectives of teachers developed students' speaking and listening skills. Besides, through presentations, teachers also want to enhance some sub skills that are helpful for students. Besides, the result also showed that oral presentations can enhance students‟ speaking and listening skills. However, listening skills were not enhanced as much as speaking skills. Based on the result, some recommendations will be given for both teachers and students. 8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION This chapter will present in details (1) the rationale of this research, (2) the research aims, (3) the significance of the study, and (4) the organization of the study. 1.1. Rationale Courses in listening and speaking skills have a prominent place in language programs around the world today. The demand for the fluency in speaking English is increasing because of the role of English as the world‟s international language. In recent years, speaking and listening have also been examined in relation not only to comprehension but also to language learning. The teaching of speaking and listening has attracted a greater level of interest than it did in the past. Many international examinations often include speaking and listening component, acknowledging that speaking and listening skills are a core component of secondlanguage proficiency, and also reflecting the assumption that if speaking and listening is not tested, teachers will not teach it. Good speaking and listening skills are a key aspect of employability such as getting a job, maintaining employment and progressing at work. Therefore, one of the aims that English-majored students at Can Tho University want to achieve is to communicate fluently and accurately in English. To do that, they need to practice. Oral presentation which is one of the effective ways to helps students enhances their speaking and listening skills. In an oral presentation students give an individual talk or present in group in front of the audience about a topic based on their readings or research. The audience then joins the presentation to discuss and give the questions related to the topic, or give feedback about the presentation. Presentations, therefore, becomes a very important skill to share students‟ knowledge. Realizing its importance, presentation skill is regarded as an effective tool in teaching speaking and listening skill in many universities. However, the presentation is not a simple task. It requires presenter deliver their tasks fluently and accurately. Nevertheless, although students make 9 presentations many times in many classes, especially in speaking and listening classes, they still do not make a successful presentation. In many classes, students sometimes get difficulties in speaking in front of many people. They are afraid of speaking in front of a lot of people and they are also lack of confidence in speaking. That is the reason why they cannot give a successful presentation. Besides, audience is not attracted by the presenter; the audience cannot improve their listening skill because of the presenter‟s performance. Many studies indicate that there are several goals for students to make presentation, one of which is improving students‟ speaking and listening skills. It is still a question whether presentations are really helpful for students majoring in English at Can Tho University. Otherwise, most students are not interested in making oral presentations because they do not really understand the goals that teachers want them to achieve after the presentations. Therefore, students do not try all their best to make the presentation, or just do with a perfunctory way. That is the reason why students cannot achieve teacher‟s objectives. Meanwhile, teachers who teach speaking and listening classes use presentation as an assignment to measure students‟ speaking and listening skills. Thereupon, this study “The impact of presentation performance on enhancing speaking and listening skills of English-majored students” is conducted to check whether making oral presentation can enhance speaking and listening skills. Besides, I also find out teacher‟s objectives when asking students to make presentations through this study. 1.2. Aims of the research The study aims to verify whether making presentation enhances students‟ speaking and listening skills, and to find out teacher‟s objectives when they ask students to make presentations. The study also aims to provide students with suggestions to make best use of oral presentations to enhance their speaking and listening skills. 1.3. Significance of the research 10 This study is significant with English-majored students. It helps students understand about the objectives that teachers want them to achieve after making an oral presentation. Then, students will have a proper understanding about making oral presentations. And use presentation as an effective way to improve their speaking and listening skills. Thus, students will have a positive attitude about presentations. Moreover, students also have become more interested in making presentation, which is helpful for their study. 1.4. Thesis organization This current study consists of five chapters, including (1) Introduction, (2) Literature Review, (3) Research Methodology, (4) Result, and (5) Discussions, Conclusions, Limitations and Recommendations. Chapter 1 presents background information and reasons for conducting the research. Besides that, this chapter also introduces the research aim, hypothesis, significance of the research as well as the organization of the study. Chapter 2 reviews related literature as the previous knowledge to the present research. Chapter 3 focuses on the research methodology including participants taken in, instruments used in the study, the research design and procedures of data collection for the study. Chapter 4 analyzes and shows the results of the study. The data from questionnaire are first reported in table and bar chart. Then, the data from interview and essay samples are stated. Chapter 5 summarizes the findings of the study. The findings are compared with the previous studies. This chapter also presents the limitations as well as the recommendations for further research related to the current research. 11 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter presents on (1) speaking skill, (2) listening skill, (3) oral presentation, and (4) the relation between oral presentation and speaking and listening skills. The research question and hypothesis are also shown in this chapter. 2.1 . Definitions of terms 2.1.1. Speaking skills 2.1.1.1. What is speaking skills? In the opinion of Konstantin (2010), speaking is the action of conveying information or expressing one‟s thoughts and feelings in spoken language. Chaney (1998:13), however, considered “speaking is the process of building and sharing meaning through the use of verbal and non verbal symbols, in a variety of context”. Sharing the same viewpoint, Quianthy (1990) defined “Speaking is the process of transmitting ideas and information orally in a variety of situations”. In Oxford Advanced Dictionary (1995:13) the definition of speaking “is to express or communicate opinions, feelings, ideas by or as talking and it involves the activities in the part of the speaker as psychological, physiological (articulator) and physical (acoustic) stages”. Speaking is one of the skills needed in learning a language. The forms and meanings of speaking depend on context, including experiences of speakers and listeners, physical environment and purposes of speaking. In language teaching and learning, speaking is considered a skill to practice and master. In this light, Bryne (1998:8) said that, "speaking is a two way process between speaker and listener and involves the productive skill of speaking and the receptive skill of understanding". Sharing the same opinion with Bryne, Nunan (2003) agreed that speaking is the productive oral skill, and it consists of producing systematic verbal utterances to convey meaning. 12 According to Chastain (1998), speaking is a productive skill and it involves many components. Speaking is the ability of making the right sounds, choosing the right words or getting the constructions. From these definitions, it can be inferred that speaking is the action of conveying information or expressing our thoughts and feelings in a variety of contexts. In general, speaking skill is the ability to use a given language in the actual communication. So, in the light of these highlighted definitions, the writer can define an operational definition of speaking skill in this study as a skill of comprehending, pronouncing, and being fluent and accurate in using grammar and vocabulary. That is to say speaking is an important skill which deserves more attention in both first and second language because it reflects people‟s thoughts and personalities. 2.1.1.2. Elements of speaking skills According to Harmer (2001), to speak the second language fluently and accurately, learners need to know two elements which are very important to develop speaking skills. 2.1.1.2.a. Accuracy Recognizably, accuracy is one of the most important criteria to measure one‟s linguistic ability. According to Richards (1992:31), accuracy concerns “the ability to produce grammatically correct sentence”. In other words, accuracy in language means grammatical accuracy only. Nevertheless, in Thornbury (2000), the terms “accuracy” seems to cover more than that. Specifically, speaking English accurately means doing without or with few errors on not only grammar but also vocabulary and pronunciation. He also set the clear scale for assessment of the accuracy. The scales consist of three elements grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. +Grammar: Students use correct words order, tenses and some other aspects. Students do not leave out articles, prepositions, or difficult tenses. 13 + Vocabulary: Students have a range of vocabulary that corresponds to the book that they have studied and use words that teachers have taught. + Pronunciation: Students speak with correct pronunciation and most people understand. 2.1.1.2.b. Fluency Fluency is also used as a criterion to measure one‟s speaking competence. Hughes (2002) defined fluency as the ability to express oneself in an intelligible, reasonable and accurate way without too much hesitation; otherwise, the communication will break down because listeners will lose their interest. Speaking fluently means being able to communicate one‟s ideas without having to stop and think more about what one is saying. More specifically, Thornbury (2000) pointed out the criteria for assessing fluency. The first criterion he pointed out is lack of hesitation. He explains lacking of hesitation that students speak smoothly and naturally, they do not speak with too much hesitation, and it is easy to follow what they are saying. Secondly, he mentioned length as second criteria. He clarified length that students can put ideas together to form a message or an argument. They can make not only the simplest of sentence patterns but also complex ones to complete the task. Lastly, he listed independence as the criteria for assessing fluency. Independence means students are able to express their ideas in a number of ways or keep talking and ask questions to keep the conversation going Many second language speakers think fluency as the ability to speak fast. This is why they start speaking rapidly without pauses. Thornbury (2005) argues that pausing is an important factor in fluency also because speakers need to take breath. Native speakers also need to pause from time to time in order to let the interlocutors catch what they have said. 14 2.1.2. Listening skils 2.1.2.1. What is listening skill? Definitions of listening, ranging from the simple to the expansion, have been proposed by various scholars. Johnson (1951:58) developed the definition to be "the ability to understand and respond effectively to oral communication". Jones (1956:12) defined listening as "a selective process by which sounds communicated by some source are received, critically interpreted, and acted upon by a purposeful listener". Nichols (1974:83) shortened the definition of listening to "the attachment of meaning to aural symbols". Underwood (1989:1) simplified the definition of listening to "the activity of paying attention to and trying to get meaning from something we hear". Purdy (1997:8) defined listening as "the active and dynamic process of attending, perceiving, interpreting, remembering, and responding to the expressed (verbal and nonverbal), needs, concerns, and information offered by other human beings". In short, in the aspect of second language learning, listening is a process of paying attention to and trying to get the meaning from something we hear from other people. Based on the study of Tran (2011), she stated that listening is one of the fundamental language skills in the development of the second language competence. Therefore, in general, listening skill is the ability to understand English presented in oral form. 2.1.2.2. Differences between listening and hearing According to Hirstwood (2009:8), “there is a difference between listening and hearing. When we „listen‟ we are focusing on the sound. Sounds we „hear‟ are often placed in the background it but not ignored”. He also explains that, when we listen to a sound we may need to react, evaluate and rationalize the sound. Our brain will receive the sound, and we can understand their meaning and the effectiveness on us. While we hear a sound, we can evaluate: • How loud is it? 15 • Is it high pitch or low pitch? • Where is it coming from? • Is the sound moving? • Is there more than one sound? • Is it a friendly or unfriendly sound? • Will it affect me? • Do I need to do anything about it? Sage (2003) also emphasized that hearing is a natural process that happens without planning to it, so one may hear randomly. While Millrood (2001) defined listening as an act of interpreting speech that one receives through the ears. He distinguished between listening and hearing that hearing is an act of receiving the language through the ears without interpretation; on the contrary, listening is an act of interpreting speech that one receives through the ears. One may hear something, but actually he may not listen to what is being said. In conclusion, we can distinguish between listening and hearing based on the characteristics of each type. Hearing pertains to the physical reception of sound and is an involuntary act; listening relates to the perception of meaningful sound and is a voluntary act. 2.1.3. Oral presentations 2.1.3.1. Definition of oral presentation Oral presentation is an activity through which the presenters communicate with the audience. It is defined as brief discussions of a focused topic delivered to a group of listeners in order to impart knowledge or to stimulate discussion. According to John Herzig (1997), an oral presentation is a formal talk in a clear, structure way to audience. Actually, oral presentations in public are consider as an art. If we follow a few rules, giving presentations is not difficult. 16 Besides that, Marianne Raynaud (2010) also defined the presentations is the ability to speak effectively as crucial as the ability to write effectively. From these studies, we totally agree to define the oral presentation as a formal talk to the audience with clear idea or information in correct structure way. 2.1.3.2. The importance of oral presentations There are a considerable number of researches which confirm that presentation skills are essential skills that need to be explicitly taught at tertiary level. Murphy (2001) identified communication skills as a key skill in higher education. It is important that universities equip students with necessary skills to deliver oral presentations effectively. Morley (2006) pointed out that oral presentation skills are essential for employability and academic study as they lead students to enter into debate and sustained reasoning. Oral presentations are defined as important outcomes in many courses at Can Tho University and worldwide. Oral presentation tasks enable students to show their ability to their teachers. Along with that, they can also review their knowledge and develop competencies in their future work. There are a number of reasons why oral presentation skills should be developed. Emden & Becker (2004: 1) hold the idea that the “ability to speak well enough to interest, influence or persuade other people is a major asset for whatever they want to do in the future”, and it may change them in ways that they did not expect. That idea is right as oral presentation skills can bring many benefits for the learners. Oral presentations often provide practice in speaking for presenters, and presentations develop the ability to speak to audience. People will need to develop and use this skill throughout their life; for example, when they attend to interviews, or present a paper to a group of colleagues in a meeting. When people speak clearly, concisely, and convincingly, they will gain enormous confidence. Emden and Becker (2004: 2) stated “the newfound confidence may affect other areas of your work”. 17 For all reasons, giving oral presentations is one of the essential skills that students have to acquire in learning a foreign language 2.1.3.3. Characteristics of a good presentation According to Quade Ronald (2010), the good presentation must have typical features as followed: Firstly, a good presentation must be short and simple. A good presentation is devoided of excessive amount of text matter. Preparing a presentation in accordance to a theme is better, and video theme should be included in presentations. Too many bullet points should not be included. Presentations‟ content should contain information that people really need. Secondly, the structure of a presentation should be logical. It must be sequenced and paced so that audience can understand it. Thirdly, graphics should have high qualities. Pictures of clip arts should be avoided. A presenter must avoid overuse of animations while preparing a good presentation. Lastly, a good power point template includes graphs and charts. It gives attractive look to the presentation. It is also important to choose appropriate font and font size, in accordance with the template used and the purpose of the presentation. 2.1.4. Relations between oral presentations and speaking skills In presentations, there is a rule about repetition: (1) Say what we are going to say, (2) say it, (3) then says what you have just said. So, we can see that the presentation and speaking skills have the interaction with others. Speaking fluently will help students have a successful presentation. Students‟ speaking skills will be enhanced as students have to prepare and rehearse their presentation. “Successful presentations need thoughts and practice a priori. The relationship between the efforts for the delivery of presentation and those for its preparation can be described as a tip of iceberg shown above the water level and its hidden and much larger part below the surface”( Amaratunga. D.). Hence, it can be said that students' 18 speaking skills are developed proportional to the success of the presentation. When students have a good preparation and practice, everything becomes easier. “Rehearsal of your presentation several times with yourself (and also possibly in front of your family and friends) would help you gain confidence.” (Amaratunga.D.). Amaratunga also stated that “as a researcher, I think this aspect (practicing) is very important. The only way of improving is by practice”. Therefore, presentations are one of the most effective ways to help students practice speaking. The speaking skills in the presentation need to consider as solemnly. When students present, they must ensure that they can present the information fluently to the audience. Taking time to practice is the best method to gain fluency in presentation. The more comfortable they feel with the words they use in the presentations, the more naturally they can speak. That is the reason why good speakers need to “practice, practice and practice again”. There is no doubt that from practice, students have a great knowledge bank of vocabulary in their mind, and then their fluency increases along with their vocabulary and practice. Good speaking skills help presenters gain more confidence and make the presentation become lively and interesting. 2.1.5. Relations between oral presentations and listening skills Presentations obviously develop speaking skills for students. However, presentations only improve listening skills if students - as audience - pay attention to the presentations. Niemantsverdriet (2000:2) stated that there are many reasons why an audience gets distracted from the presentation, “some may be outside your control, such as inadequate sound systems, poor overhead projectors, or noisy conference centers”. Some of the reasons come from the audience such as being distracted by others, not paying attention to the presentations, preparing for their turn and some other factors. He also listed common mistakes that may preven audience from listening. Those mistakes fall in two categories: speaker‟s errors and presentation errors. 19 There are two main errors in presentation. Firstly, the structure of the presentations is unclear. Consequently, it lead to the reason is hard to follow. Secondly, visual aids (transparencies, slides) are inadequate, confusing, unreadable, too small or too crowded. Speakers‟ errors are shown in four ways. Firstly, they believe that all the background information needed to appreciate the meaning of his work is common knowledge. Secondly, they use long and complicated sentences; they use unnecessary jargon, abbreviations or uncommon words. The third reason is when the speakers read their speech from paper, they forget that written language is usually more formal and complicated than language used in everyday conversations. Speaking either too fast or too slow, lacking of emphasis, or pronouncing unclear makes it difficult for listeners to stay attentive. Some speakers turn their back to the audience and watch the screen while they are talking, instead of trying to make eyes contact with the audience. This may prevent the audience from listening to the presentations. 2.2. Research questions This study is conducted in order to answer the following questions: 1. What are the objectives that teachers want their students to achieve through presentations? 2. Does making presentations enhance students‟ speaking and listening skills? In what ways do the presentations enhance students‟ speaking and listening skills? 2.3. Research hypotheses It is hypothesized that making presentations can enhance students' speaking and listening skills; and teachers expect their students improve speaking and listening skills as well as some other sub skills. 20
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