Tài liệu Skkn difficulty in teaching speaking in vietnamese high schools and suggested solutions.

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SỞ GIÁO DỤC VÀ ĐÀO TẠO ĐỒNG NAI Đơn vị: Trường THPT TRẤN BIÊN Mã số:..................... SÁNG KIẾN KINH NGHIỆM DIFFICULTY IN TEACHING SPEAKING IN VIETNAMESE HIGH SCHOOLS AND SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS Người thực hiện: TRẦN THANH TRÚC Lĩnh vực nghiên cứu: Quản lý giáo dục ................................................................. Phương pháp dạy học bộ môn tiếng Anh Phương pháp giáo dục Lĩnh vực khác Có đính kèm:  Mô hình  Phần mềm ............... ....................................................  .......................................................................  Phim ảnh  Hiện vật khác: CD Năm học 2012 - 2013 SƠ LƯỢC LÝ LỊCH KHOA HỌC .............................................................. I. THÔNG TIN CHUNG VỀ CÁ NHÂN: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Họ và tên: Trần Thanh Trúc Ngày tháng năm sinh: 06 – 07 - 1985 Nam,nữ: Nữ Địa chỉ: 14G, khu phố 6, phường Trung Dũng, Biên Hòa, Đồng Nai Điện thoại: 0916772819 Chức vụ: Giáo viên Đơn vị công tác: Trường THPT Trấn Biên – Biên Hòa – Đồng Nai. II. TRÌNH ĐỘ ĐÀO TẠO:  Học vị ( hoặc trình độ chuyên môn, nghiệp vụ ) cao nhất: Thạc sĩ  Năm nhận bằng: 2011 do Curtin University cấp  -Chuyên ngành đào tạo: Ngôn ngữ học ứng dụng & phương pháp giảng dạy tiếng Anh III. KINH NGHIỆM KHOA HỌC: Lĩnh vực chuyên môn có kinh nghiệm: giảng dạy tiếng Anh Số năm công tác: 6 năm Các sáng kiến kinh nghiệm đã có trong 6 năm gần đây: Using Games to teach English in Vietnamese High School (2011-2012) 1 SỞ GD & ĐT ĐỒNG NAI TRƯỜNG THPT TRẤN BIÊN CỘNG HÒA XÃ HỘI CHỦ NGHĨA VIỆT NAM Độc Lập - Tự Do - Hạnh Phúc -------Biên hòa, ngày 27 tháng 05 năm 2013 PHIẾU NHẬN XÉT, ĐÁNH GIÁ SÁNG KIẾN KINH NGHIỆM Năm học : 2012 – 2013 ĐỀ TÀI: “DIFFICULTY IN TEACHING SPEAKING SKILLS IN VIETNAMESE HIGH SCHOOLS AND SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS” Họ và tên tác giả: Trần Thanh Trúc Đơn vị (tổ) Ngoại ngữ Lĩnh vực: Quản lý giáo dục  Phương pháp dạy học bộ môn: Tiếng Anh  Phương pháp giáo dục  Lĩnh vực khác………………  1. Tính mới: - Có giải pháp hoàn toàn mới  - Có giải Pháp cải tiến, đổi mới từ giải pháp đã có  2. Hiệu quả - Hoàn toàn mới và đã triển khai áp dụng trong toàn ngành có hiệu quả cao  - Có tính cải tiến hoặc đổi mới từ những giải pháp đã có và đã triển khai áp dụng trong toàn ngành có hiệu quả cao  - Hoàn toàn mới và có áp dụng tại đơn vị có hiệu quả cao  - Có tính cải tiến hoặc đổi mới từ những giải pháp đã có và đã triển khai áp dụng tại đơn vị đạt kết quả cao  3. Khả năng áp dụng - Cung cấp được các luận cứ khoa học cho việc họach định dường lối chính sách: Tốt  Khá  Đạt  - Đưa các giải pháp khuyến nghị có khả năng ứng dụng thực tiễn dễ thực hiện và dễ đi vào cuộc sống: Tốt  Khá  Đạt  - Đã được ứng dụng trong thực tế đạt hiệu quả hoặc có khả năng áp dụng đạt hiệu quả trong phạm vi rộng: Tốt  Khá  Đạt  XÁC NHẬN CỦA TỔ THỦ TRƯỞNG ĐƠN VỊ CHUYÊN MÔN Nguyễn Thị Thanh Hồng 2 Contents I. Introduction..............................................................................................................4 II. Literature review......................................................................................................4 1. An overview on CLT...................................................................................................4 2. CLT in Asian schools..................................................................................................8 3. CLT in Vietnam & difficulties when using this approach in teaching speaking......9 III. Objectives............................................................................................................13 IV. Significance..........................................................................................................13 V. Methodology..........................................................................................................13 VI. Suggested solutions............................................................................................13 VII. Conclusion...........................................................................................................14 REFERENCES.................................................................................................................15 3 DIFFICULTY IN TEACHING SPEAKING SKILLS IN VIETNAMESE HIGH SCHOOLS AND SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS I. Introduction In the late 1980s, Vietnamese government decided to carry out economic reforms, commonly known as ‘Doi Moi’ (Renovation). The aims of Doi Moi were to restructure the economy of Vietnam and to raise the living standards of the people. From then on, people rushed to English language centers to get a certificate to the world workforce. After a decade, in 1990s, English became a compulsory and standard subject in every high school’s curriculum in Vietnam. A seven-year English program was widely applied in almost secondary schools to supply Vietnamese students with the knowledge of English to enter the global competitive workforce. However at that time, English learning was emphasized on learning vocabulary and grammar. Students become ‘dumb and deaf’ in English after graduating from High Schools. It was not until 2003 that The Ministry of Education and Training introduced the new series of textbooks with the first publication for grade 6. Until now, a new seven-year English program has been applied with four skills: reading, speaking, listening and writing. This new program aims to help students become perfect learners with the ability to listen and speak English. Unluckily, when applying this new series, teachers have faced a lot of difficulties, especially with speaking skills. What are their difficulties in teaching English? II. Literature review 1. An overview on CLT. As Nunan (1991) wrote,” success is measured in terms of the ability to carry out a conversation in a target language”. Supporting this belief, Yu (2001:195) quoted 4 Li’s idea in 1984 in “In Defense of the Communicative Approach”. Li stated that “language is communication & learning a language is learning how to communicate”. Having the same idea with Li, Applegate (1975:271) says “Knowledge of a second language should include more than just grammatical competence”. If one says he knows a language, he has to know how to communicate with others in that language. Knowing grammar & vocabulary is not enough. Grammar & vocabulary are only means of communicating. The most importance here is that students have to know how & when to say what to whom. Or as Applegate (1975:271) says communication can only be effective when the student is also sensitive to the social & cultural aspects of language use & how these differ between his first & second language”. Accordingly, in an article Canale & Swain (1980) gave the notion of communicative competence. In their points of view, communicative competence is understood as “the underlying system of knowledge & skills required for communication”. Canale (1983) states that a learner who is competent in communication has to obtain four competences: grammatical (linguistic) competence, sociolinguistics competence, discourse competence & strategic competence. Grammatical (linguistic) competence can be understood as the mastery of language codes, which is the features & rules of the language such as word formation, pronunciation, spelling & linguistic semantics. Canale (1983) states that it is related to the knowledge & skills that are used to express accurately the literal meaning of utterances. Acquiring grammatical competences does not make a learner be able to communicate. He has to possess sociolinguistic competences. Sociolinguistic competence is they way utterances are produced & understand appropriately is different contexts under the influence of factors such as the states of participants, 5 purposes of the interaction & the norms or conventions of interaction. (Canale, 1983). In short, it is the ability “to choose appropriate speech varieties to use in a particular social situation” (Black, 38). Learners “must know when to talk & when to keep silent, how loud to talk & with what intonation, what constitutes a polite request & what a refusal”, and so on. (Applegate, 1975:271). Another competence that learners have to obtain is discourse competence. It “concerns the mastery of how to combine grammatical forms & meanings to achieve a unified spoken & written text in different genies” (Canale, 1983). The last competence but not the least important one is strategic competence. It is “a more general ability to manage communication effectively, overcoming any mistakes or other difficulties in order to maintain a conversation, how to make a conversation interesting & attracting. Being able to obtain these competences, learners can feel confident in communicating. In order to attain those competences, learners have to learn from schools & daily life. That’s the reason why CLT approach (Communicative Language Teaching) was introduced. Although this approach appeared 30 years ago, it wasn’t applied in language teaching until recently. As first, there had been some suspicions about whether this method was better than traditional ones. With the curriculum innovation teachers were required to apply CLT approach when teaching. According to Richards & Rogers (2001), the aim of CLT in the acquisition of communicative competence vice student engagement is meaningful use of language at discourse level. To achieve this, the teacher facilitates communicative activities by managing the classroom environment, providing resources & acting as a communicator. Richards & Rogers (2001:165) added “classroom activities are often designed to focus on completing tasks that are mediated though language or involve negotiation of information & information sharing”. One of the methods in CLT in recent years is task-based 6 language teaching, a necessary feature of which is learner-centeredness. Mickan (179) in “ Teaching English language in Australia” edited by Colan also said, “CLT is based on the view that we learn language by using it : we learn to speak by speaking & to write by writing”. Compared with traditional methods, CLT outweigh good features. CLT emphasizes …. rather than …. Language use language knowledge. Fluency, appropriateness, spontaneity accuracy Oral communication written communication Interaction, informality formality (Hird, 1995) If in traditional methods teacher is the center of the process of teaching, in CLT students are the center. Teachers only play as facilitators, prompters, or providers. Students are considered as “communicators” (Freeman,129). In other words, they are subjects of their learning. “Learners are given opportunities to use language, to create & express their own meaning rather than simply repeating language models provided by others” (Klapper, 2006). When applying CLT in teaching, there are a lot of requirements from teachers & learners. However, teachers play the key role in the success or failure of a planned innovation (here, using CLT in teaching) because they are the decision makers in the actual setting- the classroom (Nunan, 1989). What qualities that a teacher needs to make a lesson successful? When asking the question “What makes a good teacher?”, Harmer(1998,1) found out various answers: “ They should make their lesson interesting so you don’t fall asleep in them”, “ A teacher must love their job” “ I like the teacher who has a lot of knowledge, not only of his knowledge”, so on. Harmer (1998,3) drew the conclusion based on idea of Sally Brown & Donald McIntyre in a book of research called “ Making sense of Teaching “ that good teachers are ones that “care more about their students” learning than they do about their own teaching”. 7 For years, methodologists have been arguing about the usefulness of coursebooks ( Harmer, 2007:181). Coursebooks have some real benefits. Good coursebooks are carefully prepared to offer a coherent syllabus, satisfactory language control, motivating texts … They provide teachers under pressure with the assurance that even when they are forced to plan at the last moment, they will be using material that they can have confidence in. Students like coursebooks because they can have the notion of what they are going to learn & they can look back for revision. Coursebooks are useful equipment for inexperience teachers. 2. CLT in Asian schools. As Le & Barnard (2009:21) said that CLT approach has been introduced into school systems in many Asia countries in recent years but the results haven’t always been successful. They give a lot of typical example. Among those example, there are South Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong & Thailand which are very powerful nations. They claimed that South Korea was one of the first Asia countries to apply CLT approach in its schools. However, teachers had some misconceptions about this approach’s. nature because of a lack of proper training opportunities. A lot of reasons for the failure to apply CLT were given. They are the low English proficiency of teachers & a lack of motivation on the part of the students, which lead to the difficulties for teachers. Having the same problem is Japan where CLT was also introduced. This nation support for learning, the teachers went on avoiding implementing innovation (Sato, 2002:80). Another reality is that because in university entrance exams, there are no spoken tests but only written ones, is it a waste of time for students & teachers to use communicative method in their teaching & learning? In other words, it is the testing system that forces teacher to apply “teach to test” principle, not “teach to communicative”. 8 China is another nation that has some obstacles when introducing CLT as well. Le & Barnard (2009:22), basing on ideas of some authors (Li, Liao, Rao), say that although CLT has been promoted by the government since 1992, there have been those who question its appropriacy for Chinese educational & cultural norms. Le & Barnard ( 2009:22) also extracted Wang’s idea (2008) that “a wide gap between the principles of textbook designers, which emphasize the adoption of a learner-centered approach & the entire use of English in instruction, and the classroom reality, where teaching remains textbook-based, test-oriented & teacher-centred, with extensive use of first language in instruction. Thailand is not a less typical example. Nonkukhetkhong et al (2006:6-7) said although they are supposed using activities such as role play & information gap, brainstorming & problem-solving tasks, “grammar explanation, vocabulary explanation, translation & whole-class drills & repetition “were commonly observed in their classes. All in all, in spite of knowing how to do with CLT, teachers still cannot find out the way to apply this approach on their teaching properly. 3. CLT in Vietnam & difficulties when using this approach in teaching speaking. According to Le & Barnard (2009:22) Vietnam introduced CLT into its school system rather later than its neighbours. Before the curriculum innovation, the method applied in language teaching is traditional one, that is Grammar Translation method (GTM). The focus of this method is the mastery of written language, not spoken one in CLT. Two aspects of English are focus: grammar & vocabulary. It is not wrong to say that Vietnam learners are the masters of English grammar. However, recently, realizing the power of English, the government decided to reform the Englishlanguage curriculum in Vietnam which educates people who can communicate effectively in English. 9 According to LE (2003:40), ‘English must be taught both as an integrative discourse and an empowering discourse through a curriculum that reflects the cultures, values & lives of students and provides them with knowledge of the cultural values & daily lives of the people with whom they are likely to interact”. Accordingly, the curriculum is renewed by the Ministry of Education & Training (MOET) & is applied for all grades & school types nation-wide from grade 6 to grade 12, with a weekly class time of 135 minutes, split into three lessons of 45 minutes each. A set of textbooks was written by teachers & lectures nationwide. Although a new textbook was introduced in 2002 for Grade 6, the new curriculum was not approved & institutionalized until 2006. (Le & Barnard, 2009:23). The textbook is theme-based & skill-based with the adoption of the “two currently popular teaching approach: the learner-centred approach & the communicative approach. A focus is on task-based teaching as the leading methodology” (Hoang et al, 2006:12). Hoang et al (2006) said “ learners are responsible for their learning & cooperatively”. Alike many other Asian countries, when adopting CLT in the curriculum renovation, Vietnam had to face a lot of obstacles. First of all, it was the uninterest of students in achieving communicative competence or working in groups, being more motivated to pass examination, according to a study of the implementation of CLT by teachers in Vietnamese universities & language centres, conducted by Bock (2000:25-26). Similar to schools in Japan, although teachers are asked to teach 4 skills & 3 linguistic aspects (grammar, lexis & phonetics), students are only tested in terms of phonetics, grammar, vocabulary & reading comprehension. Le (2009:23) also said that “ the Ministry has institutionalized multiple-choice tests as the only testing method for standardized high-stake tests. In these tests, pupils are tested in terms of phonetics, grammar, vocabulary & reading comprehension. Speaking & 10 listening are not tested”. That’s the reason why speaking skill is ignored by students and, sometimes, teachers. Students don’t have motivation to learn speaking because the aim of their language study is to pass exams, not to acquire communicative competence. Another factor against applying CLT is large class-sizes of mixed-level students (between 40 and 105). It is the reason which maintains the traditional teacher-centred approach to learning & prevents the implementation of any teamwork approach in Vietnamese classrooms (Pham, 2010:26). Consequently, Vietnamese teachers have no choice but have to adopt low level teaching strategies such as lecturing. Teachers become the only ones talking & instructing. If teachers use CLT, the low or uneven participation of students can take place. This is one of the difficulties that Ur (1996:20) mentions. Curricula also cause problems when teaching speaking. Biggs (1995:41) states that curricula in Asian schools are designed in a particular quantitative format which sees “any topic important as every other topic, so that everything is taught & the student is grossly overload”. Pham (2010:27) says that Vietnamese teachers just have enough time to go through all materials but not to investigate students’ deep understanding. Therefore, what students can do at the end of each semester is to try to memorize what is covered in the curricular or what teachers say in class so that they can pass the exams. As I’ve mentioned above, coursebooks play an important role in teaching & learning. When looking at English book 10,11, we can find those things in speaking sections that teachers find it difficult to apply. These tasks may be so easy that there’s nothing to say or so difficult that teachers don’t know how to teach. As a result, teachers have to design a new task in order to suit student’s level. Another problem is students’ inhibition. Vietnam is one of the countries influenced by Confucian philosophy. According to the Confucian philosophy, 11 teachers should always know better than students. They are considered the main sources enriching people’s knowledge. Confucian students only need to receive knowledge from teachers as a truth rather than try to think independently, contradict teacher’s knowledge & draw their own conclusions (Ruby & Ladd, 1999). From an early age, Vietnamese children are taught to respect their teachers and to be kind to their classmates. For a long time, students are familiar with teachercentred method. Teacher is supposed to be the only provider of knowledge. Everything he says is the truth. Students don’t dare to ask questions, to participate in speaking activities. Moreover, an important aspect, particular in Asian culture, is the preservation of “face” as Asians consider “face” as” a person’s social & professional position, reputation & self-image” (Gto & Mok, 1995). In schools, one is seen as losing face when he is unable to answer teacher’s or friends’ questions or even when he is just challenged on a point to confirm his knowledge (Burns, 1991). Because of this culture, students rarely state their own idea for fear of losing face, of their answer is incorrect or displeasing the teacher. These difficulties explain why applying CLT in speaking in Vietnamese high schools is so difficult. Some suggested solutions will be given to help teachers overcome these hardships. III. Objectives This research is conducted to evaluate the efficiency of applying CLT in teaching speaking in Vietnamese High Schools. Simultaneously, researcher wants to find out the obstacles of teaching speaking so that solutions can be given to help teachers overcome. IV. Significance 12 As a High School teacher of English, researcher wants to carry out this research. It contributes a lot to my teaching career, help researcher and other teachers deal with the problems in teaching speaking and then we can make our lessons better. V. Methodology In order to carry out this research, secondary research has been conducted by doing library research and literature reviews. VI. Suggested solutions To improve the weaknesses as I’ve mentioned above, the ideal solution would be to reduce class size, upgrade the library system, develop & libraries & redesign curricula. (Pham, 2010:27). It may take years but it seems completely feasible to do these changes. If students don’t talk or say anything because of their culture, their shyness, teachers can break this cultural barrier by creating and establishing their own classroom culture where speaking out loud in English is the norm. One way to do this is to distinguish their classroom from other classroom by arranging the classroom desks difficultly, in groups instead of in lines or by decorating the walls in English language and culture posters. From day one, teach students classroom language & keep on teaching it & encourage students to ask for things to ask questions in English. Giving positive feedback also helps to encourage & relax shy students to speak more. Another way to get students motivated to speak more is to allocate a percentage of their final grade to speaking skills & let the student know they are being assessed continually on their speaking practice in class throughout the term. Another reason for students’ silence may be that the class activities are boring or at the wrong level. In fact, some communicative speaking activities are not as interesting or as communicative as we think they are. In some tasks, all that students 13 are just required to do is answer “yes” or “no” which they do quickly and sit in silence. For this problem, teachers have a lot of choices to do: omit the lesson, replace the textbook lesson with one of the teacher’s own, add something to what in the book if the lesson is rather boring, or adapt the lesson, using the same basic material but doing it in his or her own style – as Harmer(1998: 111) quotes Neville Grant’ suggestions in Making the Most of Your Textbook VII. Conclusion Speaking is really vital in learning a language. It is the passport for everyone to be successful to enter the world workforce. Having and mastering communicative competence can help students feel more confident in their future careers. I hope that with this paper, teachers are able to find a suitable teaching method for their own. Therefore, teaching and learning English is not a pressure for both teachers and students. 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