Adapting speaking tasks in the Text book Tieng Anh 11 to improve the 11th form students’ speaking achievement at Dai Mo upper-secondary school

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VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES FACULTY OF POST- GRADUATE STUDIES ***** HÁN THỊ VĨNH HÀ ADAPTING SPEAKING TASKS IN THE TEXT BOOK TIENG ANH 11 TO IMPROVE THE 11TH FORM STUDENTS’ SPEAKING ACHIEVEMENT AT DAI MO UPPER-SECONDARY SCHOOL Điều chỉnh các nhiệm vụ nói trong sách giáo khoa Tiếng Anh 11 nhằm nâng cao khả năng nói cho học sinh lớp 11 trường THPT Đại Mỗ M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS Field: English Teaching Methodology Code: 60140111 Supervisor: Assoc. Prof., PhD. Nguyễn Văn Độ HA NOI, 2015 DECLARATION I hereby certify the thesis entitled “Adapting speaking tasks in the text book Tieng Anh 11 to improve the 11th form students’ speaking achievement at Dai Mo upper-secondary school” is my own study in the fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts at University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam National University, Hanoi. Signature Hán Thị Vĩnh Hà i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I have benefited a great deal of support from a number of people during the time carrying out this thesis. I would like first and foremost to express my profound gratitude and appreciation to my supervisor, Dr. Prof. Nguyễn Văn Độ for his invaluable and insightful comments, his deliberate guidance and wholehearted supervision without which the thesis would not have been possible. My thanks are offered to all my respected lecturers in the M.A course, Assoc. Prof. Dr Lê Hùng Tiến, Prof. Dr. Nguyễn Quang, Dr. Lê Văn Canh, Dr. Kiều Thị Thu Hương, Dr, Lâm Quang Đông…., for their informative and valuable lectures that have enlightened my research path of the study. I also take this opportunity to express my gratefulness to the administrative staff of the Department of Post Graduate Studies, CFL,VNU-Hanoi, for their help, guidance and support. Special acknowledgement is also given to my students from classes 11A1 Dai Mo upper-secondary school for their participation in the lessons. My appreciation is also extended to my colleagues in the English division of Dai Mo upper-secondary school for their assistance and work sharing so that I could concentrate on doing the research. Last but not least, my heartfelt thanks go to my family and my close friends for their understanding, love, and support during the entire period of my study. ii ABSTRACT In the teaching context of Dai Mo upper-secondary school in Nam Tu Liem, Ha Noi, the adaptation of speaking tasks in the textbook Tieng Anh 11 is necessary because teaching and learning speaking is not usually efficient. The students could hardly take part in speaking tasks seriously because they had difficulty expressing their ideas though they have the desire to speak English. This mini action research was conducted in order to investigate how adapted tasks helped students of low level to get more involved in speaking, as well as improve their language accuracy, fluency and complexity. Oral tests together with survey questionnaire and observations was the main instrument of data collection. They were delivered to 40 grade-11 students to collect individual scores before and after each of the two cycles, their opinions about speaking tasks in the textbook and their behaviors while doing speaking tasks. Based on the data, the speaking tasks were adapted and speaking activities were implemented then pilot teaching was employed to check their effectiveness. The results indicated that most of the adapted tasks resulted in some clear improvement in the students’ participation and their language proficiency without omitting available textbook tasks or overloaded supplemented materials. Finally, some suggestions and implications for teaching speaking, task adaptation were offered to support students’ speaking skills at Dai Mo upper-secondary school. iii LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES Table 1: The students’ motivation in learning English speaking Table 2+3: The students’ opinions about English speaking skills in the textbook Tieng Anh 11 Table 4: The students’ general evaluation of their current speaking lessons Table 5: The students’ participation in speaking lessons. Table 6: Factors prevent the students from participating in speaking in the class. Table 7: The students’ opinion about the way their teacher taught English speaking Table 8: The students’ evaluation of their teacher’s task adaptation Table 9: The students’ scores in the Pre-test. Table 10: The students’ opinions about the vocabulary relating to the topics in the speaking tasks Table 11+12: The students’ opinions about the topics of speaking tasks Table 13+14: The students’ opinions about the speaking tasks Table 15: The students’ response to the adapted tasks for Unit 15 Table 16: The students’ response to the adapted tasks for Unit 16 Table 17: The students’ scores in Post-test in cycle 1. Table 18: The students’ scores in Post-test in cycle 2. Figure 1: The students’ motivation in learning English speaking Figure 2: The students’ opinions about the textbook’s topics in the textbook Tieng Anh 11 Figure 3: The students’ opinions about the textbook’s speaking activities in the textbook Tieng Anh 11 Figure 4: The students’ general evaluation of their current speaking lessons Figure 5: The students’ participation in speaking lessons. Figure 6: : Factors prevented the students from participating in speaking in the class. Figure 7: The students’ opinion about the way their teachers taught speaking Figure 8: The students’ evaluation of their teacher’s adaptation Figure 9: The students’ scores in the Pre-test. iv Figure 10: The students’ opinions about the vocabulary relating to the topics in the speaking tasks Figure 11: The students’ opinions about the topic’s familiarity of the speaking tasks Figure 13: The students’ opinions about the speaking tasks’ ease Figure 14: The students’ opinions about the speaking tasks’ interesting organization Figure 15: The students’ response to the adapted tasks for Unit 15 Figure 16: The students’ response to the adapted tasks for Unit 16 Figure 17: The students’ scores in the Post-test in cycle 1 Figure 18: The students’ scores in the Post-test in cycle 2 v MỤC LỤC DECLARATION .................................................................................................................................... i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .................................................................................................................. ii ABSTRACT .......................................................................................................................................... iii LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES ................................................................................................... iv PART I: INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................1 1. Rationale for the study .............................................................................................. 1 2. Aims of the study ....................................................................................................... 2 3. Research questions ...................................................................................................... 2 4. Scope of the study ........................................................................................................ 2 5. Methods of the study ................................................................................................. 2 6. Design of the study .................................................................................................... 4 PART II: DEVELOPMENT .................................................................................................................6 CHAPTER 1. LITERATURE REVIEW .............................................................................................6 1.1. An overview on the teaching of speaking ................................................................ 6 1.1.1. The speaking ...................................................................................................................6 1.1.1.1. The role of spoken English .....................................................................................6 1.1.1.2. Nature of spoken discourse .....................................................................................6 1.1.1.3. Functions of speaking .............................................................................................7 1.1.1.4. Implications for teaching ........................................................................................8 1.1.2. Related factors affecting students’ speaking................................................................9 1.1.2.1. Context .....................................................................................................................9 1.1.2.2. Teachers .................................................................................................................10 1.1.2.3. Learners .................................................................................................................10 1.1.2.4. Materials ................................................................................................................10 1.2. Tasks and task adaptation ...................................................................................... 11 1.2.1. Tasks in FL/SL learning and teaching .......................................................................11 1.2.2. Task adaptation in FL/SL learning and teaching......................................................11 1.2.2.1. The need of task adaptation ..................................................................................11 1.2.2.2. What is adaptation? ...............................................................................................11 1.2.2.3. Reasons for adaptation ..........................................................................................12 1.2.2.4. Approaches to task adaptation ..............................................................................12 1.3. Summary ................................................................................................................. 14 CHAPTER 2. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ...............................................................................15 2.1. Situation analysis ..................................................................................................... 15 2.1.1. Setting of the study ...............................................................................................................15 vi 2.1.2. The learners ..........................................................................................................................15 2.1.3. Speaking materials ...............................................................................................................15 2.2. Instrumentation and Procedures ............................................................................ 16 2.2.1. Instrument 1: Preliminary Survey ........................................................................................16 2.2.2. Instrument 2: Oral tests ........................................................................................................16 2.2.3. Instrument 3: Survey Questionnaire .....................................................................................17 2.2.4. Instrument 4: Survey for Response to Adaptation ...............................................................17 2.2.5. Instrument 5: Class Observation Sheets ...............................................................................17 2.3. The adaptation of speaking tasks in Tieng Anh 11 ................................................ 17 2.3.1. Unit 15 (Page 171, the textbook Tieng Anh 11) ............................................................18 2.3.2. Unit 16 (Page181, the textbook Tieng Anh 11) .............................................................19 CHAPTER 3: DATA ANALYSIS ......................................................................................................22 3.1. Data analysis of Preliminary Survey (See Appendix 1) .........................................................22 3.1.1. Personal information of the students’ taking part in the survey ...........................................22 3.1.2. The students’ awareness of studying English in general .....................................................22 3.1.3. The students’ opinions about English speaking skills in the textbook Tieng Anh 11 .........23 3.1.4. The students’ evaluation of their current speaking lessons ..................................................25 3.1.4.1. The udents’ general evaluation of their current speaking lessons .................................25 3.1.4.2. The students’ participation in speaking lessons and the reasons ...................................26 3.1.4.3. The students’ opinions about the way their teachers taught English speaking ............28 3.2. Data analysis from initial observations (see appendix 5) ...................................... 29 3.3. Data analysis of Pre-tests (see Appendix 2) ............................................................ 32 3.4. Data analysis of Survey Questionnaire (see Appendix 3) ....................................... 33 3.4.1. In terms of language (vocabulary)........................................................................................33 3.4.2. In terms of topic ...................................................................................................................34 3.4.3. In terms of speaking tasks ....................................................................................................36 3.4.4. The students’ suggestions for the teacher’s adaptation of speaking tasks ............................37 3.5. Data analysis of Survey for response to adaptation (see Appendix 4) ................... 37 3.5.1. Data analysis of response to task adaptation of Unit 15, delivered on April 17th, 2014. (Number of participants: 40) ..........................................................................................................38 3.5.2. Data analysis of response to task adaptation of Unit 16, delivered on May 14th, 2012. (Number of participants: 41) ..........................................................................................................39 3.6. Data analysis from while-observation ..................................................................... 40 3.6.1. While-observation ( See Appendix 5) ..................................................................................40 3.6.2. Reflection .............................................................................................................................40 3.6.2.1. Reflection on adaptation 1.............................................................................................41 3.6.2.2. Reflection on adaptation 2.............................................................................................42 vii 3.7. Data analysis from Post-tests .................................................................................. 43 3.7.2. Cycle 2 .................................................................................................................................44 PART III: CONCLUSION ..................................................................................................................46 1. Major findings and discussion ................................................................................... 46 3. Suggestions for further study ..................................................................................... 47 4. Implications: ............................................................................................................... 47 1.4.1. Problem-solving: ..................................................................................................................47 1.4.2. Re-written dialogues: ...........................................................................................................48 1.4.3. Games:..................................................................................................................................48 1.4.4. Pair interview: ......................................................................................................................48 REFERENCES .......................................................................................................................................49 Appendix 1 ............................................................................................................................................... I Appendix 2 ............................................................................................................................................ IV Appendix 3 ..........................................................................................................................................VIII Appendix 4 .............................................................................................................................................. X Appendix 5 ............................................................................................................................................ XI Appendix 6 ........................................................................................................................................... XX Appendix 7 ....................................................................................................................................... XXIII viii PART I: INTRODUCTION 1. Rationale for the study In the past ten years, teaching English speaking at school has earned a lot of attention and investment from both experts and teachers as well as learners and their communities. The three main reasons must be: first, the key practical role of English speaking has received the social awareness; second, tape-recording and the Internet has enabled learners to access to native speakers’ talks; third, many methodology courses sponsored by the government have helped teachers to approach some new teaching methods. As a result, students’ speaking ability has improved much in general. Despite all of the above advantages, I see no much progress in the case of Dai Mo upper-secondary school, class 11A1 in particular. By observing, I notice most of the students hesitate to participate in English speaking tasks. Even as the teachers have managed to engage them in, their talks show some problems of using accurate, fluent and complex language. Some researchers have been particularly interested in the same situation in teaching English skills and tried to improve it by adaptation (Phùng Thị Hoa Mơ, 2010; Nguyễn Thị Trang, 2012). However, most of them concluded that poor textbooks and students’ low motivation were the main reasons. Whereas the students in class 11A1 confirmed that they wanted to speak English much more than reading, writing, grammar, and they found almost all the topics interesting. Especially, to grant comparatively equal achievements among students from different schools, a set of compulsory textbooks have been published. The textbooks have several strong points, that is task-based contexts are available and communication practice is carefully guided. Considering their English scores at the beginning of the course, the writer realized that most of them were of low level, some were better but no one was advanced. Therefore, she did a preliminary research, searched the Internet and read ESL/EFL studies. She found that spoken discourse has its own characteristics and, thus, the teaching must be distinctive. She wondered if she could help them by providing them with more language input together with knowledge background, and by adapting some speaking tasks in the textbook Tiếng Anh 11. The writer did hope that these changes would help them to have such achievements as participating more in speaking activities and producing somewhat more accurate, fluent and complex language. 1 All of these above have inspired the writer to conduct the study titled “Adapting speaking tasks in the text book Tieng Anh 11 to improve the 11th form students’ speaking achievement at Dai Mo upper-secondary school.” 2. Aims of the study The study was designed to help the students of low levels in class 11A1 to participate more in speaking activities and produce more accurate, fluent and complex language through the adaptation of the textbook Tieng Anh 11. The study is aimed: 1. To find out approaches to adapt speaking tasks in the textbook Tieng Anh 11 for low-level students. 2. To investigate whether the adaptation increases the students’ participation and improves the accuracy, fluency and complexity of their language performance. 3. Research questions In order to achieve the mentioned aims, the following research questions guided the study: 1. In what ways can tasks be adapted to help the students improve their speaking skill? 2. To what extent does the adaptation increase the students’ participation and improve the accuracy, fluency and complexity of their language performance? 4. Scope of the study Task adaptation is such a broad topic that it cannot be wholly discussed within the framework of this paper; therefore, only one specific aspect will be central to the speaking tasks’ adaptation. With the focus on speaking tasks in the textbook Tieng Anh 11 (the basic textbook), the study was carried out to adapt them for the students. The study focuses on one class of grade-11 students, so the results of the study are not generated to all students at Dai Mo upper-secondary school. 5. Methods of the study The study in fact is an action research. According to Nunan (1992: 19), an action research includes seven steps. They are: initiation, preliminary investigation, hypothesis, 2 intervention, evaluation, dissemination and follow-up. The applied steps in details are as follows: Step 1- Initiation: In the process of teaching the textbook Tieng Anh 11, the writer observed that most of the students hesitated to participate in speaking tasks. Even as the teachers had managed to engage them in, their talks showed some problems of the accuracy, fluency and complexity of their language performance. The students confirmed that they want to speak English much more than reading, writing, grammar, and they found almost all the topics interesting, though. What should be done? Step 2- Preliminary investigation: the writer carried out the preliminary survey and did some initial observations to find out how speaking tasks were managed, how often the students took part in speaking activities and how the language produced was. Also, she searched the Internet and read academic studies on ESL and EFL. Step 3- Hypothesis: By collecting and reviewing the baseline data, the writer came to the hypothesis that the students’ speaking achievement was not high because they often encountered problems associated with language and background knowledge due to their low English speaking levels; and that the adaptation of some speaking tasks by ‘making accuracy-based practice meaningful’ and ‘adapting fluency-based activities’ can help them improve the accuracy, fluency and complexity of their language performance. Step 4- Intervention: The research had two cycles. First, the students were asked to take an oral pre-test. The students’ scores were counted into percentages by following students’ score intervals. Second, the writer conducted Cycle 1: Before the new speaking lesson, the writer asked the students to answer some questions to find out their opinions about the topic and speaking tasks in the coming lesson. After collecting the results, teaching plans for adapted tasks were delivered. She observed the class and took notes the teaching-learning activities and the students’ behaviors. When the students finished the tasks, she provided them with survey for response to the adaptation. Then, an oral post-test was delivered to the students. Data analysis, reflection and comparison were done to investigate the students’ speaking improvement in terms of participation, language accuracy and fluency. Because the successful result was not reached yet, it was needed to do another cycle. Final, Cycle 2 was conducted with the same procedure as that of cycle 1. 3 Though the students’ speaking achievement was not improved to advanced level, it was accepted in this case. Therefore, no more cycle was conducted. Step 5- Evaluation: Before adaptation, the students’ scores showed their low speaking achievement because of such problems as they did not have enough vocabulary, feeling shy when they spoke in front of others, they were still rigid to express their ideas. After cycle 1, the students found the adapted tasks less challenging and achievable. They responded in English more freely, had the feelings of being understood and took part in speaking lessons more actively. However, the complexity of theỉ language had not been achieved yet. After cycle 2, the students felt more confident in controlling their English language while speaking. They verified expressions, which were exchanged among partners. Though this improvement was considerable and valuable, it did not reach the goal of producing their own language. Step 6- Dissemination: the writer discussed the effectiveness of the adapted tasks to the students and colleagues. Step 7- Follow-up: the writer suggested some more adapted activities to teach other speaking lessons basing on the textbook Tieng Anh 11 to the students. 6. Design of the study The study titled “Adapting speaking tasks in the text book Tieng Anh 11 to improve the 11th form students’ speaking achievement at Dai Mo upper-secondary school.” consists of three main parts namely Introduction, Development and Conclusion. In the first part, Introduction, the reasons for the research, aims, research questions, scope and methods of the study are mentioned. The second part, Development, contains four chapters. - Chapter One focuses on theoretical background of the study, which is about features, and functions of spoken discourse, implications for teaching, and purposes as well as two main approaches of adaptations: accuracy-based practice and fluencybased activities. - Chapter Two not only describes the context of teaching and learning English at Dai Mo upper-secondary school but also presents the instrumentation of the study, the adaptation of speaking tasks. 4 - Chapter Three deals with a comprehensive data analysis. The last part, Conclusion, provides major findings, discussion, limitations and recommendations for follow-up action. Two cycles: 1. Cycle 1 1. 1. Initiation 2. Cycle 2 1.7. Followup 1.6. Dissemination 2.5. Evaluation 2.4. Intervention 1.2. Preliminary investigation 1.3. Hypothesis 1.5. Evaluation 1.4. Intervention 2.3. Hypothesis 5 5 PART II: DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER 1. LITERATURE REVIEW 1.1. An overview on the teaching of speaking In order to help students to develop their English speaking ability we need insights about the nature of spoken discourse, so we will be able to find a useful methodology to select and design appropriate classroom activities. 1.1.1. The speaking 1.1.1.1.The role of spoken English The mastery of English speaking skills plays a very important role for many foreign language learners. Consequently, learners tend to evaluate their success in language learning as well as the effectiveness of their English lessons basing on how well they feel they have improved in their speaking ability or proficiency. In addition, teachers and textbooks make use of a variety of approaches in the teaching of oral skills, which shows that “ oral skills have hardly been neglected in EFL/ESL courses” . Therefore, it is observed that “ how best to approach the teaching of oral skills has long been the focus of methodological debate”, Richards (2009:21). Reflecting on the textbook Tieng Anh 11, the writer thinks teachers can take a great deal of advantages in methodology. 1.1.1.2.Nature of spoken discourse According to McCarthy and Carter, 1997 (cited in Richards, 2009:21), it is recent advances in discourse analysis that have revealed the nature of spoken discourse and its differences from written discourse. Luoma, 2004 (cited in Richards, 2009:22) points out some of the following features of spoken discourse:  Conjoined short phrases and clauses  May be planned or unplanned  Employs more vague or generic words than written language  Employs fixed phrases, fillers and hesitation markers  Contains slips and errors reflecting on-line processing  Interactions are jointly constructed  Shows variation, reflecting speaker roles, speaking purpose, and the context Among them, the writer pays much attention to the two following features: 6 First, “spoken discourse is usually unplanned and often reflects the processes of constructions”, Richards (2009:2). Thus, errors must be carefully chosen to be treated in order that the correction does not ruin fluency. In my opinion, errors that impede communication should be directly corrected. Tricia Hedge (2000:289) gives an example of such error: “ They ate smoked worm” is not immediately apparent as “They ate smoked eel”, and “long trees” can be misunderstood as “tall trees”. Besides, the assessment of fluency should be much more flexible, which will be discussed in detail in the part of adaptation. Second, “interactions are jointly constructed”, which asks for shared background, active and intelligibility participation. It implies that in addition to fluency, accuracy must be put in consideration and speaking activities must be well designed so that engaging students in can be successful. Moreover, the topic of speaking tasks in textbooks should be familiar to students, or else some preparation must be made before each lesson. 1.1.1.3.Functions of speaking Richards uses a three-part framework, which is expanded from Brown and Yule’s one, to classify the interaction functions of speaking: talk as interaction, talk as transaction, and talk as performance. Their forms and functions are quite different and therefore they require different teaching approaches. a. Talk as interaction This refers to “conversation” which serves as primarily social function. The focus is more on speaker’s wish to present themselves other than on the message. Brown and Yule, 1983 (cited in Richards, 2009:25) describe its main features as follows:  Has a primarily social function  Is jointly constructed b. Talk as transaction The focus of this kind of talk is on what is said or done. The message and making oneself understood clearly and accurately are focused on rather than the participants and their interacting manner. Some main features are given by Richards (2009:29):  It has a primarily information focus  Linguistic accuracy is not always important c. Talk as performance 7 This type of talk refers to public talk transmitting information in front of an audience. According to Richards (2009:32), the main features of talks as performance are:  It reflects predictable organization and sequencing  Form and accuracy is important 1.1.1.4.Implications for teaching a. Talk as interaction Though mastering such skills is difficult and may not be the most important to most students at school, I think they should practice a wide range of topics to present good images of themselves in situations which call for interaction talks. Two simple activities Richards use to practice topic management are “in the hot seat” and “question time”. In the first activity, a student sits on a chair in front of the class and makes a statement about something he or she did recently. The other members of the class have to ask three or more questions about the topic which the student has to answer quickly. Then another student takes the hot seat. With the activity called question time, before students begin a lesson on a new theme, he prepares up to 15 questions related to the theme and put them on a handout. First, he asks students around the class to answer the questions quickly. Then students practice asking and answering the questions in pairs. b. Talk as transaction In terms of the level of linguistic accuracy that students achieve when carrying out tasks as transaction, some scholars like Thornbury,1998 and Kumaravadivelu,1991 state that practicing these tasks focuses on task accomplishment rather than grammatical practice and a gradual modification of their language output over time takes on more and more target-like forms. However, Higgs and Clifford, 1982 (cited in Richards 2009:37) claim that communication tasks often develop fluency at the expense of accuracy. Richards (2009:39) recognizes that low-level students often heavily rely on vocabulary and memorized chunks of language while carrying out communication tasks. Therefore, to improve the quality (accuracy and fluency) of language produced as students practice, he suggests:  Pre-teaching certain linguistic forms  Reducing the complexity of the task  Giving time to plan the task  Repeating performance of the task c. Talk as performance 8 According to Johns,1996 (cited in Richards, 2009:42), teaching this type of talk requires a different teaching strategy which involves providing examples or models of speeches, oral presentation, stories,etc through video or audio recordings or written examples. Guiding questions are:  What is the speaker’s purpose?  Who is the audience?  What kind of information does the audience expect?  How does the talk begin, develop, and end? What moves or stages are involved?  Is any special language used? 1.1.2. Related factors affecting students’ speaking Students’ participation in classroom speaking activities and their English output can be affected by a variety of factors originating from context, learners, teachers, materials and classroom activities. In the following sections, some of the major factors will be discussed. 1.1.2.1.Context Most of factors are “ outside the teacher’s control but they will bear heavily on decisions about choice of resources and classroom procedure” (Hedge, 2000:24). She mentions the following factors:  Social attitudes Social attitudes towards English learning partly determine teachers’ effort to motivate students and exposure to the language as well.  Educational system Whether educational system provides potential or constraint depends on: - The extent to which the materials in use train for public examinations - The hours available for teaching - The existence of institutional or departmental policies - The physical constraints of the classroom - Class size - The resources available - The cohesion that exists among English language teachers - The status of teachers in the hierarchy - The financial/contractual status of teachers - The interest of management in continuing professional development 9  Examination system Examination system is a heavily constraining factor where examinations are considered gatekeepers to higher education or good jobs. Teachers would be of high risk not to train students for these. 1.1.2.2.Teachers Harmer, 1991 (cited in Hedge, 2000:26) identify teachers’ roles “as controller in eliciting nationality words; as assessor of accuracy; as corrector of pronunciation; as organizer in giving instructions for the pair work, initiating it, monitoring it, and organizing feedback; as prompter while students are working together; and as resource if students need help”. All of these are common to a wide range of classroom methods. Hedge (2000: 22-31) says that they can be seen in lesson plans but only can the ability to manage activities and interactions put them in practice. Only when teachers have competence in management of interaction can the mentioned roles create beneficial conditions for language learning. 1.1.2.3.Learners Individual differences exist and play a significant role in language learning. However, they are just the useful distinctions to classify them in order to have some possible implications for teaching. Because there are not “certain attitudes, personality characteristics, emotional disposition, and learning strategies that somehow create the generically ‘good language learner’” (Hedge, 2000:24). Addition to individual differences, students in Dai Mo upper-secondary school share some common characteristics that affect their learning in general and speaking in particular. They are of low-level, which leads to limitations in language output (accuracy, fluency and complexity) and anxiety (participation). 1.1.2.4.Materials O’Neill, 1982 (cited in Hedge, 2000:36) outlines the benefits of textbook materials: “they can offer a grammatical and functional framework which provides for the common needs of a group of learners; they allow students to prepare in advance; they provide quality of presentation, and they do not necessarily prevent a creative spinning-off in the classroom into all kinds of other activities.” Nevertheless, because of all the factors of teachers and learners mentioned above, textbooks should be learning guides for students, and “good teachers have always taken a positively critical approach to appraising and developing their work”. 10 1.2.Tasks and task adaptation No course book will be total suited to a particular teaching situation. The teacher will have to find his own way of using it and adapting it if necessary. So we should not be looking for the perfect course book which meets all our requirement, but rather for the best possible fit between what the course book offers and what we as teachers and students need. Two approaches that guided this research were making accuracy-based practice meaningful and adapting fluency-based activities 1.2.1. Tasks in FL/SL learning and teaching Many linguists argue whether tasks can involve learners in working with particular kinds of language. Brumfit, 1984a (cited in Carter and Nunan, 2001:19) stresses that students should be provided the freedom to improve in fluency activities. Skehan, 1998 (cited in Carter and Nunan, 2001:19) believes that tasks can only provide conditions for influencing the level of learners’ complexity, accuracy or fluency. In contrast, Loschky and Bley-Vroman, 1993 (cited in Carter and Nunan, 2001:19) argue that tasks can target language features. Therefore, Carter and Nunan (2001:19) state that the key question is how tasks operate and how to make tasks operate effectively within classroom contexts. 1.2.2. Task adaptation in FL/SL learning and teaching 1.2.2.1.The need of task adaptation No certain set of activities can ensure that different groups of students practice the speaking and problems can be found around the activities. Hedge (2000:281-283) believes that whenever a problem occurs, which leads to students’ failure, they can feel frustrated to perform and they do not behave in them as the activities suggest they should. This usually obstacles the possible contributions to speaking activities and presents limitations to the development of English speaking ability. It suggests to us the need to create range and variety in language activities to adapt to the teaching and learning context. 1.2.2.2. What is adaptation? According to Tomlinson (1998: xi), adaptation is “making changes to materials in order to improve them more suitable for a particular type of learner.” In the aspect of adaptation techniques, Madsen and Bowen (1978: ix-xi) mentions adaptation as the action of employing “one or more of a number of techniques: supplementing, editing, expanding, personalizing, simplifying, modernizing, localizing, or modifying cultural/ situational content.” Differently, Stevick (1972), cited in Mc Donough and Shaw (1993: 83) emphasizes 11
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