An investigation into efl students’ perceptions and practices of english public speaking a case study at can tho university

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CAN THO UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES ENGLISH DEPARTMENT An investigation into EFL students’ perceptions and practices of English Public Speaking: A case study at Can Tho University B.A. Thesis Field of study: English Studies Supervisor: THAI CONG DAN, Ph.D. Can Tho, May 2014 Student: Nguyen Nhu Quynh Code: 7107004 Class: NN1054A3 Course: 36 ABSTRACT Many researches have showed that learning a foreign language means to learn how to use it in communication and to understand it in context-cased. A language is used to understand and being understood correctly, especially when we talk to other people. In that case, public speaking was born as an indispensable factor. The purpose of public speaking can be ranged from simply transmitting information to motivate people to act or to tell a simple story. A good orator should be able to change the emotions of the listeners, not just to inform them. Thus, people who learn English, especially that the students who learn English as a Foreign Language (EFL), have to be able to speak English in public fluently. As a matter of fact, “English Public Speaking” (EPS) is not only a very strange manner to EFL students and but also an important subject to be learned. Thus, this research aims to find out the EFL students’ perceptions and practices of this important subject at Can Tho University. The current research indicated that most of the EFL students have high perceptions and quite good practices of EPS. In addition, there is a strong correlation between these two terms of research. The sharing opinions and experiences in learning EPS were also showed to enhance the students’ awareness giving them the suggested scientific ways of learning EPS, as well as the recommendations for the learning strategies and teaching methods of EPS. i DECLARATION The thesis entitled: “An investigation into EFL students’ perceptions and practices of English Public Speaking: A case study at Can Tho University” is conducted under the supervisor of Dr. Thai Cong Dan, Dean of The School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Can Tho University. This thesis is done under my authorship as the requirements for my Bachelor’s Degree at Can Tho University. I assure that this study is the result of my own research, except the quotations from the reference document are cited. All the sources of information have used in my thesis have been indicated clearly in my references. This research has not been accepted previously for any other degree or diploma. Can Tho, May 2014 Researcher NGUYỄN NHƯ QUỲNH ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This thesis could not be completed without the support from my supervisor and the many others. Thus, I would love to take this opportunity to show them my deep gratitude. Firstly, I would like to express my deepest thanking and sincerest respect to my supervisor Dr. Thai Cong Dan, Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Can Tho University. He has spent a lot of valuable time and his worthy helps to support my research and give me so many remarkable ideas lighting up the uncompleted points in my thesis. He has spent not only his responsibility of a supervisor but also the generous and conscientious mind to help me whenever I need his intellectual comments, included his holidays’ time. It is a great honor for me to get his supervisions and encouragements for my thesis graduation. Without him, I think my research could never be done as well. Secondly, I want to give my thanking to the participants who give their valuable answers and opinions on my questionnaires and the EPS teachers’ permissions for me to deliver the questionnaires to the respondents who were sincerely paying their valuable time to share their worthy experiences, join in my interviews and answer my questions to support my own research. Without their indispensable opinions and sincere ideas, I think I could not have finished my work as this current study. Finally, I am so happy and lucky to get helps from my family, close friends who are always with me, give me good conditions to complete my work. Can Tho, May 2014 Researcher NGUYỄN NHƯ QUỲNH iii TABLE OF CONTENT ABSTRACT……………………………………………………………………........i DECLARATION…………………………………………………………………...ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS..……………………………………………………....iii TABLE OF CONTENT……………………………………………………………iv LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS..……………………………………………………vii LIST OF TABLES………………………………………………………………..viii LIST OF FUGURES……………………………………………………………….ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………...1 1.1 Background of the study………………………………………………....1 1.2 Research aims……………………………………………………………2 1.3 Research questions……………………………………………………….2 1.4 Research hypotheses……………………………………………………..2 1.5 Research significance…………………………………………………….3 1.6 Organization of the thesis……………………………………………….3 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW……………………………………………5 2.1 English Public Speaking…………………………………………………5 2.1.1 Definition of EPS……………………………………………………..5 2.1.2 Types of EPS (types of speech) …………………………………….6 2.1.3 EPS purposes……………………………………………………….9 2.1.4 Perceptions of EPS…………………………………………………..10 2.1.5 Practices……………………………………………………………..11 iv 2.1.6 The correlation between EFL students’ perceptions and practices….11 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY…………………………………………………12 3.1 Design…………………………………………………………………..12 3.2 Participants………………………………………………………..……12 3.3 Instruments……………………………………………………………..13 3.3.1 Questionnaire on EFL students’ perceptions and practices of EPS……………………………………………………………………………..13 3.3.2 Interview…………………………………………………………….14 3.4 Data collection………………………………………………………….15 3.5 Data analysis……………………………………………………...…….15 3.5.1 Analysis of questionnaire about EFL students’ perceptions……...…16 3.5.2 Analysis of EFL practices and interview questions…………………16 3.5.3 Analysis of the correlation between the perceptions and practices of EFL students……………………………………………………………………….17 3.6 Summary………………………………………………………………..17 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS…………………………………...……………………...18 4.1 Analyzing students’ perceptions……………………...…………...……18 4.2 Analyzing students’ practices…………………………………………..26 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS…………...………………31 5.1 Summary of the key findings………………………………...…………31 5.1.1 Students’ perceptions of EPS……………………………...………..31 5.1.2 Students’ practices of EPS…………………………………...……...33 v 5.1.3 The correlation between students’ perceptions and practices of EPS…………………………………………………………………………....37 5.2 Pedagogical implications……………………………………………….38 5.2.1 Disadvantages and advantages………………………………………39 5.2.2 Teaching methods and learning strategies………………………...42 5.3 Limitations and recommendations for further research………………45 5.4 Conclusion……………………………………………………………46 REFERENCES………………………………………………………………….....48 APPENDICES……………………………………………………………………..50 Appendix 1: Questionnaire……………………………………………….50 Appendix 2: Raw calculation results……………………………………….55 vi LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS EPS: English Public Speaking EFL: English as a Foreign Language CTU: Can Tho University MRU: Mykolas Romeris University PC: Portable Computer SPSS: Statistic Package for the Social Science vii LIST OF TABLES Table 4.1 Frequencies of statement number 1 “I think EPS is useful to EFL students” Table 4.2 Descriptive statistics of students’ general view with EPS Table 4.3 Descriptive statistic of students’ enjoyments viii LIST OF FIGURES Figure 4.1 Students’ perceptions of pre-speaking stage Figure 4.2 Student’s perceptions of while-speaking stage Figure 4.3 Students’ perceptions of post-speaking stage Figure 4.4 Describing figure for students’ ways of practices Figure 4.5 Aids to be used in presentations ix CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION 1.1 Back ground of the study For many students of Can Tho University who study English as a foreign language (EFL) as part of their general education requirements public speaking is one of the subject to invest their speaking skills to a higher and more professional level in the front of a large number of audience; however, there are many problems that preventing the learners to be good English Public Speakers. Moreover, students who are not good at public speaking usually have some anxieties in speaking in the front of such many audiences, so they may feel shy and do not know how to improve their public speaking skills and ways to overcome their anxieties. The questions: “what are EFL students’ perceptions of EPS (English Public Speaking)?”; “what are EFL students’ practices of EPS?”; and “Is there any correlation between EFL students’ perceptions and practices?” were risen. In fact, EPS is considered as an important skill that helps EFL students get more fluent pronunciation and more confident appearance in presentation and communication. By conducting this research, I would like to get the students’ perceptions and practices about EPS and its correlations to helps them overcome the anxieties, problems and give them some suggestion for being better English Public Speakers. 1 1.2 Research aims In this research, the author will aim to get the perceptions, practices and the correlations between these two in EPS of EFL students to support their EPS skills. 1.3 Research questions To achieve the research aims, the thesis tries to answer the research questions below: 1/. “What are EFL students’ perceptions of EPS (English Public Speaking)? 2/. What are EFL students’ practices of EPS? 3/. Is there any correlation between EFL students’ perceptions and practices? 1.4 Research hypothesis Based on the literature review, the research aims and the research questions, three related hypotheses are put forward: I. The EFL students at CTU have good perceptions and practices of EPS so they do not have many problems in EPS. The requirement is creating more opportunities and better conditions for them to reach the professional level. II. The EFL students at CTU have social perceptions and perceptions of EPS and they still have some problems (but not very serious). They need some helps to improve their EPS skills to a higher levels. 2 III. The EFL students at CTU do not have good perceptions and practices of EPS. In this case there should be suitable project from the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at CTU for improving their EPS skills. 1.5 Research significance “An investigation into EFL students’ perceptions and practices of English Public Speaking: A case study at Can Tho University” is a research to find out the perceptions and practices of the student for more understanding about how they feel and what they have done for EPS practices. For this, we can know how to give the suitable strategies, methods, and conditions for the students to improve their language soft skills. Together with this the teacher can understand more about the students’ perceptions and practices of EPS, then teach them with the better methods and fully exploit the latent potential or their passion of learning this major at CTU. 1.6 Organization of the thesis The thesis will be organized in five chapters:  Chapter 1: Introduction, presents the rationale, aims and significance of the study. The research questions and the hypotheses of the research are also mentioned in this chapter. 3  Chapter 2: Literature review, where the definitions and introductions of EPS and its real applications on EFL students are presented. Furthermore, this chapter also includes the relations between EFL students’ perceptions and perceptions of EPS as well as the related study about the term EPS.  Chapter 3: Research methodology, presents the research methodology and procedures of conducting this research.  Chapter 4: This is the chapter of Result and Discussion for the study throughout the result of processing the collected data. In addition, there will be some suggestion for gaining better EPS skill in EFL students, cased in CTU.  Chapter 5: Conclusion and Implication, summarizes the significant result of the study. By the end of this chapter, the implications, limitations and recommendations for this research will be shown. Finally, the attached references and appendices will close the current research. 4 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW In this chapter, you can find out the review of “what is EPS?”, “how it can help EFL students?”, “what are the EFL students’ perceptions and perceptions of EPS?” and the other relevant document about the correlations of students’ perceptions and perceptions of EPS. 2.1 English Public Speaking 2.1.1 Definition of EPS There are so many different definitions of EPS, but the simplest definition of this term can be known as “Public speaking is speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners.” – (Jam Condi (2009), Publicspeaking.co.nz, 14/01/2014). The clearer definition about EPS is that “Public speaking involves talking in front of a group of people, usually with some preparation. It can be in front of people that you know (e.g. at a family celebration) or a crowd of strangers. Unlike a presentation there normally isn’t a lot of opportunity for interaction between the audience and the speaker – the speaker speaks, and the audience (hopefully) listens.” – (Vilnius, Lithuania, Amy Lightfoot, British Council, India, 8 April, 2010). 5 Kelly Jane, English.answers.com (14/01/2014) has another eligible definitions that: “Basically, public speaking is the act or process of making a speech in public. You could also say it is the art of effective oral communication with an audience. The word "effective" implies that public speaking is much more than just talking at people. "Effective" means you are making a speech in a way that people understand and remember. To speak effectively, you need to define what you'll talk about, think about who will be in your audience (as it influences the tone and language of your speech), gather information, read and organize your research, choose tools to aid your delivery, prepare notes or a written copy of your speech, and practice the speech. The audience itself is generally defined as being more than one person. Additionally, although public speaking can be impromptu, it usually connotes a degree of structure and deliberateness to your delivery.” There is a related term that we need to define in this research about EPS that is “EPS skills”. So what EPS skills are, they are the skills for the speakers to present their presentations in public successfully with several strategies and visual aids in 3 main periods of a presentation: pre-speaking, while-speaking and post-speaking. 2.1.2 Types of EPS (types of speech) There are many types of speech and speech’s types are based on the purposes of the speeches and the ways that the presenters show their speeches. According to the purposes of the speeches, there are four main major types of speeches: informative speeches, demonstrative speeches, persuasive speeches and the special occasions. 6 (Learning book: Public speaking success in twenty minutes a day, including bibliographical references, learningExpress, LLC, New York) - Firstly, informative speech is known as the most popular kind of speech and it is important in almost all of the majors, especially in education, history, chemistry, advertising, presenting plant/project,… Informative speech is different from the how-to speech or persuasive speech because it is only intended to provide information. It is usually used to inform the unfamiliar topic to the audience, give them the new information or knowledge about the topic. In this kind of speech, the most importance to concern is the information in your presentation. “What the audience will do with the information they are provided?” “Is that realizable?”. For a good informative speech, you have to prepare so carefully, thoroughly and exactly for information, be confident in the way you express your speech to make certain that your speech is reliable. The things we have to avoid in this kind of speech are: giving to much information and complex statistics that are hard to follow; giving incredible information; showing speech without the stressed point (integral information to be concerned),… - Secondly, demonstrative speech is a kind of speech that is similar to informative speech, however, it is not drawing out the information for the audience like informative speech. It usually aims to lecture rather than 7 information speech. It means this kind of speech is usually used to explain rather than to provide information for the readers or the audience. So we can say that with this kind of speech, we have to answer the question for HOW and WHY instead of for WHAT. For example, an information speech about English speaking skill will show you what EPS skill is, what the techniques are, what kind of speeches,… but a demonstrative one will show you how to make a good EPS, how to give information to the audience, how to make your presentation more attractive,… We have to use visual aids for a more reliable demonstrative speech but we have to avoid making those visual aids become a source of distraction because there are too many things that colorful, hard to look at, too dazzling, too noisy,… And another thing to be concerned is paying attention to your audience, rather than to your visual aids because the audience themselves are listening to you. - Thirdly, persuasive speech is a related kind of informative speech. The information is also be used in your speech, but not only just to inform but also to persuade the audience that you give them your correct options, your view points that are good and suitable to believe. The comparisons are usually added in this kind of speech to expose the speaker theme and subpoints. In persuasive speech, a good speaker has to get strong reasons to believe and strong standpoints to hold audience’s voting to his or her site. Giving right opinions (your choices) in contrast with wrong opinions (the 8 opposite choices from yours) is very important as well as attracting their interests at first. If you want to persuade your audience, please do not give them the hollow instructions or the command, they can never persuade anyone. “It’s easier to attract flies with honey than with vinegar”, so your speech has to be flexible together with suitable emotional face and good body language and several supporting ideas and evidence. Remember that this is the most difficult kind of speech to compare with the 2 others above. - Finally, the most different type to the 3 mentioned before is special occasions. In some special cases, for example, in a party, a wedding, a meeting or an event, you are asked to be a speaker and share a few words with the audience. This case has 2 options: first, you are chosen before and you have prepared for this speech; second, you are picked up randomly and you have no preparation. It is called impromptu speech. 2.1.3 EPS purposes EPS is to show presentation in front of many people with the purposes of informing, persuading, demonstrating, and sharing something. EPS is usually used in meeting, workshop, seminar, teaching course, party,… Nowadays, English is the most popular language that is spoken all over the world, so EPS presentations are usually set up to show speeches in an interlingua environment. Especially for EFL students, English is not their mother language and they are learning English in the 9 environment where English communicating is not very popular. Together with this, the chances to talk with native speaker is limited at school, out of the school , they will have not many good chances to practice speaking skills. For this reason, EPS may be concerned as the best opportunity for them to practice oral skills well. – (Violeta Januleviciene, Galina Kavaliauskiene, English for specific purposes and public speaking, Mykolas Romeris University, Institute of Humanities, Department of Foreign languages, 21/07/2011) 2.1.4 Perceptions of EPS This term will focus on what the EFL students’ personal views of EPS are, how they understand EPS and what difficulties they may get throughout EPS learning process are,… According to a study about EPS for EFL students at Mykolas Romeris University, Institute of Humanities, Department of Foreign Languages, 21/07/2011, there are the results about EFL students’ perceptions of EPS that have been found by doing research on 83 students in MRU (Mykolas Romeris University). They found that most of EFL students in MRU feel that EPS is good, useful and important, but they still have some problems such as; having not very much time to prepare, afraid of forgetting something in the speeches, afraid of saying something incorrectly, having no PC at home,… Throughout this research I hope that I can find out the EFL students’ perceptions for helping them to practice EPS in better ways. 10
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