An investigation into warm - up activities to motivate the 12th graders in English speaking lessons at Nghi Loc 3 high school

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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING VINH UNIVERSITY THAI THI KIM ANH AN INVESTIGATION INTO WARM - UP ACTIVITIES TO MOTIVATE THE 12TH GRADERS IN ENGLISH SPEAKING LESSONS AT NGHI LOC 3 HIGH SCHOOL MASTER’S THESIS IN EDUCATION NGHE AN - 2014 0 MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING VINH UNIVERSITY THAI THI KIM ANH AN INVESTIGATION INTO WARM - UP ACTIVITIES TO MOTIVATE THE 12TH GRADERS IN ENGLISH SPEAKING LESSONS AT NGHI LOC 3 HIGH SCHOOL Major: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Code: 60140111 MASTER’S THESIS IN EDUCATION Supervisor: NGÔ ĐÌNH PHƯƠNG, Assoc. Prof., Ph.D Nghe An, 2014 STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP I hereby declare that this thesis is my own work and effort and that has not been submitted anywhere for any award. I certify that the thesis “An investigation into warm - up activities to motivate the 12th graders in English speaking lessons at Nghi Loc 3 high school” is the result of my own study and that it has not been submitted to any other university or institution wholly or partially. i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am grateful to many people for their thoughtful help given to me in doing this study. Firstly, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor - Mr. Ngo Dinh Phuong for his insightful comments and suggestions on various parts of this thesis. My thanks also go to all my lecturers from the Post Graduate Studies Department, Foreign Languages Department - Vinh University for their useful and interesting lectures to finish the study. I am most thankful to all my teachers of English and students in Nghi Loc 3 high school for their support in data collection. Finally my special thanks go to my family, for their love and support throughout this project. Without their encouragement I could not have completed this thesis. ii ABSTRACT For some recent years, English has played more and more important part in Vietnam, therefore, it has been taught in Vietnamese high schools as a compulsory subject. So far, there have been remarkable changes in the way of teaching and learning English. However, English teaching in general and teaching speaking in particular still is far from satisfactory. How to motivate students to speak is really necessary, and is a big question to almost teachers in Vietnam now. It is also the question that has inspired me to investigate the use of language games in warm-up activities to motivate 12th grade students to speak in speaking lessons. In attempt to fulfill my thesis, the following process is made: Firstly, the theoretical background of language games speaking skill and motivation is presented. Then, the survey questionnaire for students was delivered to study the need of playing games in English speaking lessons. Besides, the interview teachers has been carried out to collect the information about the using language games in warm-up activities. In addition, the researcher has observed some speaking lessons to find out the fact of using language games in warm-up activities. From these methods, some suggestions have been drawn out to help use language games more effectively. It is hoped that this thesis will be found of value to those who have great interest in using language games in warm-up activities in speaking lessons. iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Page STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP......................................................................... ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.................................................................................... ABSTRACT............................................................................................................ TABLE OF CONTENTS....................................................................................... LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................. Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION................................................................................ 1. Rationale of the study........................................................................................ 2. The aims of the study........................................................................................ 3. Research questions............................................................................................ 4. Scope of the study............................................................................................. 5. Methods of study............................................................................................... 6. Organization of the study.................................................................................. Chapter 2. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND..................................................... 2.1. Speaking skill:............................................................................................... 2.1.1. Definition of speaking........................................................................... 2.1.2. The importance of speaking in language teaching programs................. 2.1.3. Factors affecting English speaking abilities......................................... 2.1.4. Problems with speaking activity........................................................... 2.1.5. What Makes Speaking a foreign Language Difficult?......................... 2.2. Teaching English Speaking Communicatively............................................. 2.2.1. An overview on Communicative Approach........................................ 2.2.2. Principles to teach speaking skill in C.A............................................ 2.2.3. Principles for Teaching English Speaking in CLT............................. 2.2.4. Communicative Activities for Teaching Speaking.............................. 2.3. Purpose of communicative activities............................................................ 2.3.1. Communicative activities improve motivation.................................... 2.3.2. Communicative activities allow natural learning................................ 2.3.3. Communicative activities can creat a context which supports learning................. iv 2.4. Speaking activities........................................................................................ 2.4.1. A successful speaking activity............................................................ 2.4.2. Problems with speaking activities...................................................... 2.5. Warm – up activities in speaking class......................................................... 2.5.1. Definition of warm – up activities....................................................... 2.5.2. Teaching aims of using warm- up activities........................................ 2.5.3. Disadvantages of warm – up activities................................................ 2.5.4. The role of the teacher in warm – up activities................................... 2.5.5. How to organize warm – up activities:............................................... 2.6. General characteristics of the 12th graders................................................... 2.6.1. The situation of using communicative activities in teaching speaking the 12th graders in high schools............................................ 2.6.2. Principles of using warm up activities in speaking class in high school.......................................................................................... Chapter 3. METHODOLOGY............................................................................. 3.1. The Context of the Study.............................................................................. 3.1.1. Description of the participants............................................................ 3.1.2. Desciption of the English 12 textbook................................................ 3.2. The Research Methodology.......................................................................... 3.2.1. The Participants.................................................................................. 3.2.2. The Instruments of the Study.............................................................. Chapter 4. DATA ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION........................................... 4.1. Finding......................................................................................................... 4.1.1. Questionnaires and Interviews for students......................................... 4.1.2. Questionnaire and Interviews for teachers.......................................... 4.2. The class observations.................................................................................. 4.3. Conclusion.................................................................................................... Chapter 5. CONCLUSION.................................................................................. 5.1. Findings........................................................................................................ 5.1.1. The benefits of using language games in warm-up activities in speaking lessons............................................................................. v 5.1.2. The frequency of using language games............................................. 5.1.3. Difficulties in organizing and playing language games....................... 5.1.4. Suggestions on using language games in warm-up activities in speaking lesson............................................................................... 5.2. Recommendations........................................................................................ 5.2.1. Takings the students’ personal factors and proficiency into consideration....................................................................................... 5.2.2. Using language games in a flexible and appropriate way.................... 5.2.3. Using variety of language games........................................................ REFERENCES...................................................................................................... APPENDIXES.......................................................................................................... vi LIST OF TABLES Table 4.1. Students’ view on speaking skill.......................................................... Table 4.2: Students’ participation in speaking activities....................................... Table 4.3: The frequency of using language games in warm-up activities............ Table 4.4a: The students’ attitude toward language games in warm-up activities........... Table 4.4b: Students’attitude towards teachers’ teaching speaking activities.......... Table 4.5: The effectiveness of language games in warm-up activities in speaking lessons................................................................................... Table 4.6: Students'difficulties in taking part in warm- up activities..................... Table 4.7: Solutions given by students to develop successful warm-up activities......... Table 4.8: Teachers’ attitude toward using warm – up in English speaking.......... Table 4.9: Teachers' frequent warm-up activities in speaking lessons................... Table 4.10: Teachers' solutions to develop sucessful warm – up activities............. vii Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION 1. Rationale of the study Nowadays, English is becoming more and more popular all over the world. It is not only considered as the mother tongue in many countries but also used widely in the world as an international language. It is the language of politics, science, technology, commerce, tourism, sports, ect. In Vietnam, English has become a compulsory subject in the curriculum at many secondary schools. In text-book, students have to learn four skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) among these skills speaking is a very important one for the purpose of communication. Nevertheless, speaking does not receive adequate attention from both teachers and students. In English classroom, teachers are mainly concerned with teaching what students are tested in the exams, which is known as teaching to the test phenomenon. As a result, after graduating from school, students are good at using grammar structures and vocabulary, but find difficulties to speak English naturally. In speaking lessons, students usually feel bored and frightened. To motivate and encourage students to learn speaking is not an easy task for teachers. At the beginning, to stimulate students to learn, warm-up activities should be stressed. Using language games in warm-up activities becomes a good choice. The main reasons above lead me to my choice of the subject: “An investigation into warm - up activities to motivate the 12TH graders in English speaking lessons at Nghi Loc 3 high school”. 2. The aims of the study The study will emphasize the main following purposes: 1. Providing the basic literature review in terms of speaking, motivation and language game. 2. Investigating the effectiveness of using language games in warm-up activities in speaking lessons of grade 12 in Nghi Loc high school. 1 3. Providing some suggestions and implications for the improvement of speaking teaching in Nghi Loc High School in terms of using language games in warm-up activities. 3. Research questions The research plans to address the following questions: Question 1: Are the students interested in taking part in warm – up activities in English speaking class ? Question 2: What are students’ attitudes towards their involvement in warm – up activities? Question 3: How do the teachers use language games in warm-up activities in speaking teaching? Question 4: What techniques should be used to improve speaking teaching in terms of using language games in warm-up activities? 4. Scope of the study Warm- up activities are varied, so for different skills at different levels we have different choices. That is why it is impossible for the author to cover all things related to the topic of the study. Only the most necessary knowledge about speaking skills and warm- up activities are mentioned in the thesis. With the above aims, this study is limited to the exploration of opportunities and constraints as perceived by the teachers and students of Nghi Loc 3 high school in Nghi Loc district in Nghe An with regard to the teaching and learning of English speaking skills and some recommendations. The study only focuses on 2 of 7 classes, where there are teachers and students who are implementing the two new English syllabuses for grades 12. What is more, special attention is paid to warm- up activities which are basically oral because they are the best to get students start talking –get ready for speaking class time. 5. Methods of study Due to the aims and scope of the study, the combination of quantitative and 2 qualitative methods is intended for the study:  The quantitative method has been obtained by survey questionnaires that were given to both teachers and students at the high school mentioned in the study. Those questionnaires are designed with variety of response options and thus are easy to answer.  In order to gain the most successful result, data will be collected through questionnaire . Collected data will be processed and analyzed.  The study employed qualitative approach. Data were collected via interviews and classroom observations: - Having classroom observations to get information about both teachers’ ways of teaching and students’ ways of learning in class as well as to ascertain the prevalent problems forwarded by the teachers during the interviews. 6. Organization of the study This study consists of five chapters: Chapter 1. Introduction - presents the rationale, the aims, the significance, the scope, the methodology, and the organization of the study. Chapter 2. Literature Review - provides a theoretical basis for the study. Chapter 3. Theoretical background - includes the methods and procedures used in the study, which consist of survey questionnaires, follow- up interview and classroom observation. Chapter 4. Data analysis and Discussion- deal with the findings drawn out from the analysis of data. The findings and discussion are based on describing English speaking classes in using warm – up activities among students and teachers in Nghi Loc 3 high school Chapter 5. Conclusion- draws some the conclusions of major findings, recommendations, limitations for the study, and suggestions for further studies. 3 Chapter 2 THEORETICAL BACKGROUND As a way of start, I will first provide the notions of speaking, teaching speaking, factors affecting English speaking abilities and what a good speaking learner should do. Then I will reexamine different types of stimulating activities the foreign teacher often uses to teach a speaking class. Detailed of these contents are presented in the sections that follow: 2.1. Speaking skill: 2.1.1. Definition of speaking There are many definitions of speaking. According to Brown (1994), Burn and Joyce (1997), speaking is “an interactive process of constructing meaning that involves producing and receiving and processing information”. In a related study, Bygate (1997) had a detailed definition which states that “speaking is the skill by which learners are most frequently judged and through which they make and lose friends. It is the vehicle par excellence of social solidarity, social ranking, of professional advancement and of business. It is also the medium through which much language is learnt”. According to Florez (1999) demonstated speaking was “ an interactive process of constructing meaning that involves producing and receiving and processing information.” (cited in Bailey, 2005, p. 2). It is “often spontaneous, open-ended and evolving”, but it is not completely unpredictable. In other words, “speaking consists of producing systematic verbal utterances to convey meaning.” (Balley, 2005, p 2) Bygate (1997) stated that speaking was a skill which deserved attention every bit as much as literacy skill. It is often thought of as a “popular” form of expression that uses the unprestigious “colloquial” register. Speaking is in many ways an undervalued skill. Perhaps this is because we can almost speak, and so take the skill to much for granted. In his own view, Mackey (1965) defines “Oral expressions involves not only the use of the right sounds in the patterns of rhythm and 4 intonation, but also the choice of words and inflections in the right order to convey the right meaning.” (cited in Bygate, 1997, p. 5). According to him, for the students who want to be good at speaking, he/ she has to choose the right forms, put them in correct order, sound it like native speaker and even produce the right meanings. Therefore, speaking skills generally have to be learnt and practiced carefully before giving a presentation. Brown (1994 ) and Burns & Joyce (1997) define that speaking is an interactive process of constructing meaning that involves producing, receiving and processing information. When participating in communicative activities, the speaker should choose the correct vocabulary to describe the things they want to say about, to rephrase or emphasize words to clarify the description to produce the expected pattern of specific discourse situations. Despite the definitional diversity, in the present study, speaking skill is defined as “the range of exercise types and activities with a communication approach is unlimited, provided that such exercises and activities enable learners to attain the communicative objectives of the curriculum, engage learners in communication and require the use of such communicative processes as information sharing, negotiation of meaning, and interaction”. (Richard and Rodgers, 1986, p. 165) Speaking is an interactive process of constructing meaning that involves producing and receiving and processing information (Brown, 1994, Burn and Joyce, 1997). Its form and meaning are dependent on the context in which it occurs, including the participants themselves, their collective experiences, the physical environment and the purposes for speaking . It is often spontaneous, open-ended and evolving. However, speech is not always unpredictable. Language functions that tend to recur in certain discoures situations, can be identified and charted (Burn and Joyce, 1997). Speaking requires that learners not only know how to produce specific points of language such as grammar, pronunciation, or vocabulary but also that they uderstand why, when, and 5 in what ways to produce language. In conclusion, speech has its own skills, structures and conventions different from written language. Speaking skill is one of the key modes of human communication, and one of the macro skills that language students should be helped to develop for their communicative purposes. For that reason, teachers should help their students to improve their speaking and overall oral competence. 2.1.2. The importance of speaking in language teaching programs In my opinion, those who think the major objective of the students is reading not speaking have ignored some obvious pedagogical facts: Firstly, people have the notion that learning English has something to do with oral English. When one says some students are good at English, people will naturally think he or she can speak English well. Secondly, oral English can be very useful for the development of reading and writing skills. Speaking plays an utmost important role among the four language skills since it helps to identify who knows or does not know a language. Pattison (1992) confirms that when people know or learn a language, they mean being able to speak the language. In language teaching and learning, speaking is a medium through which much language is learnt, and which is particularly useful for learning. The ability to communicate in a second language clearly and efficiently contributes to the success of the learners in school and success later in every phase of life (Kayi, 2006). More than this, speaking is regarded as the first step to confirm who knows or does not know a language. Ur (1996) shows that people who knows a language are referred to as “speaker” of that language as if speaking included all other kinds of knowing. To many language learners “ mastering the art of speaking is the single most important aspect of learning a second language or foreign language, and success is measured in terms of ability to carry out a conversation in the language”. (Nunan, 1991, p. 39). It can be inferred from Nunan’s view point that speaking is a very 6 important skill among the four basic ones. Therefore, having dealt with the importance of oral skills in language teaching and learning is essential that language teachers should pay more attention to teaching speaking skills. In order to carry out many of the most basic transactions, it is necessary for learners to speak with confidence. It is known that language is an effective means of communication through which we can convey our ideas, our thought, or our desires. Language helps us clarify what we mean. Without language, human beings have never achieved such developments as they have done these days. It is language that makes human beings distinctive from animals. Many language learners consider speaking ability the measurement of knowing a language. In other words, speaking skill is very important in language teaching and learning. If learners do not learn how to speak or not to get opportunities to speak, as many think, they may soon lose their interest in learning, and learning the language is the way how to speak the language. Bygate (1997, p. 5) stresses that speaking “is also a medium through which much language is learnt, and which for many is particularly conductive for learning”. Nunan (1991) states that success in an oral conversation is measured in terms of the ability to carry out a conversation in the target language. If a student doesn’t know how to speak and has no chance to speak in the language classroom, he will lose interest in learning. In the speaking class, on the contrary, if the teacher doesn’t organize right and positive activities, the speaking a language will become less and less boring. Sharing the same ideas, Richard (1991) cites that it is the speaking skill that helps learners to have communication which is the proper aim of language teaching. According to Byrne (1991), while listening and reading are regarded as receptive skills, speaking and writing are productive skill. Speaking not only helps students to communicate well and exchange information and culture with others but 7 also promote the integration of speaking, listening, reading and writing in the ways that reflect natural language use. Similarly, Brown, G and Yule, G (1992) point out that speaking plays an ever important role in a very transactional intention, that is, to make clear what they want to say. From those points, we can come to a conclusion that speaking skill is one of the most necessary skills in language teaching program. It suits the development rules of human beings as one can speak before he can read and write. That is the reason why speaking skill should be taught in the language room. 2.1.3. Factors affecting English speaking abilities There are many factors that influence the success or failure in learning English speaking. However, the three most important factors are motivation, attitude and learning strategies. Motivation is the first important factor affecting a language learner. According to Gardner (2001), motivation refers to the driving force in any situation. In the socio-educational model, motivation to learn the second language is viewed as requiring three elements. First, the motivated individual expends effort to learn the language. That is, there is a persistent and consistent attempt to learn the material by doing homework, by seeking out opportunities to learn more, by doing extra work and so on. Second, the motivated individual wants to achieve the goal. Such an individual will express the desire to succeed, and will strive to achieve success. Third, the motivated individual will enjoy the task of learning the language. Such an individual will say that it is fun, challenging, and enjoyable, even though at times enthusiasm may be less than at other times. Attitude is the second factor which has an influence on the language learning. Gardner and Lambert (1972) defined attitude as the persistence that a learner has to follow an object. Language learning attitude has a relationship to motivation. Language learners who have extrinsic or intrinsic motivation will have the more positive attitude than those without motivation or who consider language learning a compulsory subject. 8 Within second or foreign language education, a number of definitions of language learning strategies have been used by key figures in the field. Early on, Tarone (1983, p. 67) defined a language learning strategy as “an attempt to develop linguistic and sociolinguistic competence in the target language to incorporate these into one’s interlanguage competence”. Rubin (1987, p. 22) later wrote that language learning strategies “are strategies which contribute to the development of the language system which the learner constructs and affect learning directly”. In their seminal study, O’Malley and Chamot (1990, p. 1) defined language learning strategies as “the special thoughts or behaviours that individuals use to help them comprehend, learn, or retain new information”. 2.1.4. Problems with speaking activity Ur (1996) claims that a successful speaking ability should achieve a maximal student taking time, even participation among students, student strong motivation to speak and comprehensibility of students’ language. She points out some common problems existing in practicing speaking activities: Inhibition: learners often have a shy a nervous feeling while speaking, especially in front of class or other people; they worried about making mistake, fearful of losing face, criticism. Unlike reading, writing and listening activities, speaking requires some degree of real time exposure to an audience. Students are often inhibited about trying to say things in a foreign language in the classroom: worried about making mistakes, fearful of criticism or losing face, or simply shy of the attention that their speech attracts. Nothing-to-say situations: when learners do not have anything to say due to the lack of knowledge and low language proficiency or no motive to express themselves beyond the guilty feeling. Even if they are not inhibited, you often hear learners complain that they cannot think of anything to say. They have no motive to express themselves beyond the guilty feeling that they should be speaking. Low or uneven participation: when only a few participants dominate discussion at a time in a large group meanwhile others speak little or not at all. In 9 some cases, some students have not any chance, intentionally or unintentionally, to speak for a long time. Only one participant can talk at a time if he or she is to be heard. In a large group this means that each one will have only very little talking time. This problem is compounded by the tendency of some learners to dominate while others speak very little or not at all. Mother-tongue use: learners often share the same mother tongue and abuse it in second language learning class because they feel the native language is easier to use and it is not natural to speak to other in a foreign language. In classes where all, or a number of, the learners share the same mother tongue, they may tend to use it because it is easier. In addition, they feel unnatural to speak to one another in a foreign language and they feel less ‘exposed’ if they are speaking their mother tongue. If they are talking in small groups it can be quite difficult to get some classes, particularly the less disciplined or motivated ones, to keep to the target language. When preparing activities for a speaking class, teachers should pay much attention to above problems, so that the speaking activities will be successful and useful to students. 2.1.5. What Makes Speaking a foreign Language Difficult? 2.1.5.1. Characteristics of spoken language Speaking in a second or foreign language has often been viewed as the most demanding of the four skills. When attempting to speak, learners must concentrate their thoughts and encode their ideas in vocabulary and syntactic structures of the target language. According to Kathleen M. Bailey and Lance Savage (1993), depending on the formality and importance of the speech situations as well as their own personal linguistic propensities, the learners may also attend to monitor their output (speaking skill). These two linguists also add that in conversations and other interactive speech events, the speakers must attend to the feedback from their interlocutors and observe the 10 rules of discourse used in the target culture. Phonological considerations add to the difficulties to the task, especially for adult learners, as speakers strive to achieve “good” pronunciation. The speed of such interaction is also an issue because their may not be adequate time for processing either outgoing speech or incoming messages at the typical rate of native-speaker interactions. All of these factors combine to make speaking in a second or foreign language a formidable task for language learners. 2.1.5.2. Difficulties in learning to speak a foreign language Burn and Joyce (1997, p. 134) identify three sets of factors that may cause reluctance on the parts of students to take part in classroom tasks involving speaking. They suggest that this reluctance may be due to cultural factors, linguistic factors, and psychological factors. Cultural factors derive from learners’ prior learning experiences and the expectations created by these experiences. Students meet difficulties in communication when they are not familiar with the cultural or social knowledge of the target language which required to process meaning in communication. According to Burn and Joyce, the linguistic factors that inhibit the use of the spoken language include difficulties in transferring from the learners’ first language to the target language in term of the sounds, rhythms, and stress patterns. Difficulties in understanding the English grammatical patterns which are different from that of their mother tongue. Psychological factors include cultural shock, previous negative social or political experiences, lack of motivation, anxiety or shyness in class, especially if their previous learning experiences were negative. In language teaching and learning which mostly occurred in classroom setting motivation is seen as a key consideration in determining the preparation of learners to the communication to achieve the goal of learning the language plus favorable attitude towards learning the language. That is, motivation to learn a second language is seen as referring to the extent to which the individual works or strikes to 11
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