Tài liệu Skkn using group work to enhance students’ participation in speaking activities

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Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai I. 1 Trường THPT Tân Phú THÔNG TIN CHUNG VỀ CÁ NHÂN 1. Họ và tên: Đỗ Duy Dương 2. Ngày tháng năm sinh: 3. Nam, nữ: 4. Địa chỉ: 5. Điện thoại: 6. Fax: 7. Chức vụ: 8. Nhiệm vụ được giao: 9. Đơn vị công tác: II. TRÌNH ĐỘ ĐÀO TẠO - Học vị (hoặc trình độ chuyên môn, nghiệp vụ) cao nhất: Cử nhân - Năm nhận bằng: 1999 - Chuyên ngành đào tạo: Cử nhân Tiếng Anh sư phạm III. KINH NGHIỆM KHOA HỌC - Lĩnh vực chuyên môn có kinh nghiệm: Sư phạm tiếng anh - Số năm có kinh nghiệm: - Các sáng kiến kinh nghiệm đã có trong 5 năm gần đây: 01-1-1973 Nam Trường THPT Tân Phú 0944410696 E-mail: Giáo viên Dạy môn Tiếng Anh lớp 10. Trường THPT Tân Phú 14 năm *Một số kỹ thuật đọc hiểu giúp học sinh phát triển kỹ năng đọc trong trường phổ thông. Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai Trường THPT Tân Phú 2 SỞ GIÁO DỤC VÀ ĐÀO TẠO ĐỒNG NAI TRƯỜNG THPT TAN PHU BÁO CÁO SÁNG KIẾN KINH NGHIỆM AN EVALUATION: USING GROUP WORK TO ENHANCE STUDENTS’ PARTICIPATION IN SPEAKING ACTIVITIES Tác giả: DO DUY DUONG Nghề nghiệp: Giáo viên Chức vụ: Ngày 10 tháng 02 năm 2017 1. Tên sáng kiến: Using Group Work to enhance students’ participation in speaking activities. 4. Nơi công tác: Trường THPT TAN PHU 5. Đơn vị áp dụng sáng kiến: Lớp 10 thuộc Trường THPT 6. Giải pháp: Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 3 Trường THPT Tân Phú I. INTRODUCTION 1. Rationale for the innovation Speaking has always been regarded as the most critical element in the communication process (Boonkit, 2010). As Nunan (1991) has proved it, success in communication is measured basing on the ability to conduct a conversation in the target language. This ability, in this sense, refers to the speaking skill. Furthermore, speaking can function as a bridge to assist other skills (Ur, 1996). Speaking is said to be able to facilitate learners to become more proficient readers, more efficient listeners and more accurate writers. Given its significance in the language teaching and learning, it is advised that speaking be given priority in the language classroom. Important as it is, the teaching of speaking skill at many Vietnamese high schools in general and particularly at Tan Phu high school seems to receive insufficient attention and is implemented not effectively enough. Reasons are varied. First, the majority of English tests at Vietnamese high school are currently grammar-oriented. Teachers and students are largely concerned about the academic results rather than the actual practice and knowledge. Therefore, lessons, or more specifically language lessons often focus on the theory, grammatical rules and structures to serve the purpose of taking exams. Communicative skills such as listening or speaking are sometime neglected by teachers and students also have little motivation to study such skills as they do not have practical purposes. Second, the arrangement of language classes in many Vietnamese high schools is unsuitable and unfavorable to conduct speaking activities. High school students have to study in large classes with number of learners ranging from 30 to 35 ones. In other theoretical subjects, this number of students is acceptable; however, for the subject that requires lots of interaction like English, such large number of students is really an obstacle for teachers if they want to enhance communication in their classroom. Therefore, speaking lessons are conducted in such a way that students listen to teachers’ presentation or lecture and only speak when they Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 4 Trường THPT Tân Phú are invited. This leads to students’ lack of activeness in speaking activities. The large number of students also means the few chances of students to speak out as they have to take turn to speak in class. In addition, no real-life contexts are created in speaking lesson for students to practice; thus, most students are at a loss in using the target language to express their ideas in even the simplest situations in speaking. All reasons and problems considered, the teaching and learning of speaking skill at Tan Phu high school is considered to be ineffective as students gain very little after each course. Realizing these situations, an innovation on the effects of implementing group work in speaking lessons at Tan Phu high school has been carried out with the hope that this technique will help teachers and students overcome the obstacles in teaching and learning speaking skill. 2. Context of the innovation The innovation took place at Tan Phu high school, which is situated in the remote area of Dong Nai province, Vietnam. As most other high schools in Vietnam, English is a compulsory subject in the curriculum approved by Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). Students in Vietnam are supposed to study English over their three years at high school. Students often have three class hours per week. The teaching of English subject must follow the syllabus and the course book released by MOET. Teachers have to make sure that all content in the course book is covered so that students can have sufficient knowledge to take the final examination for the subject. As for the teaching approach or techniques, it is optional for teachers to adopt the approach that they think is the most effective to students. Therefore, with the innovation of applying group work to teaching speaking skills to students, it is teachers’ right to choose any teaching method to implement, provided that the content of the lessons in the course book is not skipped. Students at Tan Phu high school mostly come from the rural areas, where the chances to meet and talk to foreigners are rare. As already mentioned, speaking skill is often neglected during the teaching of a foreign language at high school as speaking is not tested in the final examination. In addition, the few chances of communicating with foreigners of students here result in a variety of problems in teaching speaking to students. Although students in Vietnam Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 5 Trường THPT Tân Phú start learning English from grade 3, which means when they enter high school, they have almost 7 years of learning the language, the ability to use the language in communication is restricted. Students often learn by heart the grammar structure to do the written tests, but are incapable of using those structures in expressing their ideas orally. Furthermore, they also have little motivation in learning speaking skill as the chances for practicing is few. The application of group work in teaching speaking is expected to find solutions to these problems. 3. Aims and objectives of the innovation The innovation on using group work activities to enhance students’ speaking skill in the context of Tan Phu high school has been carried out with the aim to investigate the benefits students can gain from the application of group work in speaking lessons, together with finding out the most appropriate way to conduct the activities. The innovation, thus, aimed to answer the two following questions: - What benefit would students at grade 10 in Tan Phu high school gain from group work activities? - What is the most appropriate way to carry out group work activities in speaking class at Tan Phu high school? II. THE RESEARCH 1. The research participants The participants in this research were 28 students of grade 10 A12 at Tan Phu high school. Students of grade 10A12 was selected as they are in their first year at high school; thus, if group work proves to be an useful method of learning, it is promised that students will form a habit of using group work in their learning over the next three years at high school. In addition, when applying the new method in teaching, the freshmen would adopt the new technique more easily than those who have already form their learning style during some previous years at high school. Students at grade 10 at Tan Phu high school are supposed to be of pre-intermediate level as they have had some years of learning English at primary and secondary school. 2. The research procedure Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 6 Trường THPT Tân Phú The research was carried out in 12 weeks from the 5 th of September to the 25th of November (School year 2016 – 2017). Students were divided into 7 groups, each of which consisted of 4 members. As suggested by I-Jung (2004) and Le (2008), the most appropriate number of members in a group should be from three to five. That number can ensure the opportunity for each member to participate in group work and interact with each other. In addition, a large number of people in the group may reduce the chances of members to express and contribute their ideas (Le, 2008). The first and the second week were spent to introduce students with the emphasis on the changes in the English lessons. Students did not use to have a separate lesson for learning speaking skills but speaking if often embedded with other skills. Therefore, the practice used to be very limited. Within this research, one class hour for each unit was spent on learning speaking skills; the other four class hours were spent on reading, listening, writing and language focus. The group work activities were introduced to students from week 3 of the innovation until week 11. As I-Jung (2004) proposed, there are three most popular grouping strategies namely random grouping, which is often based on the seating arrangement; student-selected grouping, in which students can choose their own partners; and instructor-selected grouping, in which groups are allocated due to the appointment of the teachers basing on students’ language level, habit and preference. The grouping strategies of this research also followed those proposed by I-Jung (2004) in which each strategy was applied for every two weeks. Week 12 of the research was spent for the evaluation of the speaking activities. It is necessary to emphasize that all the content of the speaking lessons were taken from the course book. The only innovative element of the study was the change in the teaching method. Instead of whole-class discussion or teacher-oriented approach, students were divided into groups and all speaking activities or discussion took place within the group work. For example, unit 2 in week 3 was about a memorable people’s background using past Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 7 Trường THPT Tân Phú tense and present simple. Students were divided into 7 groups of 4. It was a random grouping; thus, students sitting at the same table worked together. They were supposed to work in group to brainstorm ideas about what questions they could ask when they wanted to know about somebody’s background, including ideas about : date of birth , place of birth , home, parents , brother(s), sister(s), primary school, secondary school, favourite subject(s). experience …. After the given time, one representative gave their presentation in front of the class. Often in one group, a group leader was appointed by the teacher to control the group discussion and make sure every member in the group contributed their ideas and raised their voice. The group work activities took place in a similar way during the other 9 weeks. 3. The research methodology A qualitative study was conducted. As suggested by Patton (2002), a qualitative approach can help the researcher to gather rich and detailed data from various social phenomena, cases and event that cannot be obtained from a quantitative one. Hinchey (2008) shared a similar viewpoint when advising that qualitative studies emphasize more on the on-going process rather than the product with the aims to investigating deeper information and meaning of social issues. With regard to this research, the aims of the research was to find out the benefit of the actual process of implementing group work activities to teach speaking skill and find out the best way to apply group work in speaking lessons; therefore, the focus on the ongoing process was emphasized more than on the final product. All things considered, adopting a qualitative study is the most appropriate choice to implement this research. 4. The research methods The research aimed at two purposes, which were examining the benefits of group work activities on students’ speaking skills and exploring the best way to implement the group work. Thus, three data collection methods were conducted to gather information for the research, namely questionnaire, observation and interview. Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 8 Trường THPT Tân Phú - Questionnaire: Questionnaire was selected as the first data collection method, which aimed to gather information about students’ views on the use of group work activities. Questionnaire was chosen as students when answering the questionnaire were supposed to have less pressure than in the direct interview; the analysis of questionnaire was also said to be unbiased (Gillham, 2000; as cited in Le, 2008). As the questionnaire was collected with anonymous information, which meant students were asked not to write their names on the paper, students were believed to feel free to express their opinion. In Vietnamese society where face-saving culture is popular, students do not have the habit of criticizing, especially criticizing their teachers and peers. Therefore, it is quite popular for Vietnamese researchers when collecting data from interviews to receive positive comments and praise and very little constructive feedback. The use of questionnaire, to a certain extent, could ensure the reliability of the data. In addition, in order to collect data from all the participants, using questionnaires was a feasible method. Data was not only plentiful but also manageable. The content of the questionnaire mainly covered some aspects related to students’ viewpoints on group working, such as their attitudes towards the activities, their self-report of the participation in the activities and their interaction with other members during the group work. Questionnaire was written in English with the simplest language and expression. During the time students did the questionnaire, the teacher was supposed to be present to provide support or give explanation if necessary. Sample of the Questionnaire can be found in Appendix A. - Observation: If the questionnaire aimed to gather information from students, the observation was a data collection tool that provided information from teachers’ perspective. Observation was said to supply the researchers with an abundant source of information and feedback directly (Hilmi& Lu, 2010). According to Hilmi& Lu (2010), through observation, observers can have deep understanding of how their subject matter is conducted, what teaching techniques are implemented and how the actual process of a lesson takes place in the classroom. The observation in this research was conducted by the researcher, who was also the teacher of the speaking class. As the teacher had to deliver the lessons together with Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 9 Trường THPT Tân Phú observing, an observation sheet was designed with detailed criteria to observe and evaluate. The teacher had to take note of the class setting basing on the given criteria (See appendix B). Similar to the content of the questionnaire, the observation also focused on three aspects of the lessons, which were students’ participation and interaction in group work, their attitudes towards the group work activities and the quality of the group work activity implementation. Observation was conducted in each lesson. Data was coded basing on the given criteria, analyzed and compared to findings from questionnaires. - Interview: Interviews served as the last source of data for this research. If questionnaires were distributed to each individual who participated in the research, interviews were made in groups. Students worked in groups and discussed the given interview questions. The group leader spoke on behalf of the group members and presented their ideas. Sensitive questions that may not receive the frank answers from students were avoided in the interview such as whether students liked the group work or not, how they felt about the group work activities – interesting or boring, how they participated in the group work – actively or passively as with such questions, it was likely that only positive answers were demonstrated. The interview mainly focused on eliciting students’ evaluation on the group work activities such as what benefits they gained from group work, what difficulties they faced while working in groups with other members and finally what they expected the group work activities to be conducted. As students’ language level was limited, Vietnamese language was used in the interviews. Students using their mother language felt more confident and comfortable to express their viewpoints. In addition, using Vietnamese could avoid the ambiguity and confusion of students when expressing ideas. The use of three different research methods to collect data helped the researcher gather a great deal of information for the research. All the three methods aimed at answering the two research questions of what effects group work activities had on students’ speaking skills and what the best ways to implement group work activities to students at grade 10 at Tan Phu Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 10 Trường THPT Tân Phú high school. The data obtained from the data sources were analyzed and triangulated, which provided the researcher with the most complete findings for the research. III. DATA ANALYSIS 1. Students’ participation and interaction in group work activities The first aspect of the research involved findings about students’ participation in the group work activities and their interaction with other group member during the lessons. It was found out from the observation that students’ overall involvement in group work was good; however, the extent to which students participated and interacted in the lesson varied from week to week. It was observed that during three first weeks, some students participated passively or kept quiet during the lessons. Students also had the tendency to use too much Vietnamese during their discussion. However, from week 4 on, possibly after students got more accustomed to working in groups, the number of passive students reduced. Students showed more involvement and enthusiasm working together. It was noticeable that during week 5 and 9 when students were allowed to choose their own partners to work with, they were more enthusiastic and active in group working. With regard to the interaction, similarly to some first weeks, students also demonstrated limited interaction. However, it was noticed that in groups where the group leader worked effectively in controlling and actively inviting their partners to speak, the interaction was much improved. Furthermore, the teacher also stayed close to each group and reminded the quiet students to raise their voice, which could also enhance the interaction. Observation also showed that the lack of participation and interaction was often found in students of low language level or students with introvert personality. It was also found out that the interaction also varied according to the grouping techniques. From week 3 to 9, when students were randomly selected (often students sitting in the same table) and students self-selected partners to work with, the interaction was better. On the contrary, in week 10 and 11 when group partners were assigned by the teacher, the interaction was not as good. This was probably because when students worked with the partners that they knew well or they liked, they would interact more with each other than Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 11 Trường THPT Tân Phú when working with those they did not know well. Participation and interaction, accordingly, depended largely on the grouping technique and students’ language level, together with the control of a group leader or the teacher. With regard to the findings from questionnaire and interview about students’ participation and interaction, from questions 3 to 8 in the questionnaire would reflect this. When asked how often students spoke in group, 20 out of 28 students said that they sometimes or very often spoke; 8 out of 28 said they rarely spoke; and how they participated in group work, 18 out of 28 said they participated actively, 4 chose the neutral option and 6 said they were passive and how other members in their group interact with each other, 24 out of 28 said they all interacted with other ,4 said some interacted and when asked what benefits you could gain from group work activities 18 out of 28 said they were encouraged to express ideas or reduced anxiety while speaking , 10 said they raised confidence, especialy in eight question most of them preferred to choosing their own partners to work with . The results from the questionnaire were also equivalent to the finding from the observation. In the questionnaire, not all students gave reasons for their choice. Those who explained said that their limited participation or interaction was due to the lack of confident in their English speaking ability and their lack of interest in the speaking topics. Reasons for this were also found out in the interview when students claimed the difficulties in doing the group work. Students said that some topics in the speaking lessons were unfamiliar or unattractive to them; thus they did not show interest in speaking and consequently did not participate actively. For unfamiliar topics, some students were lacking in necessary vocabulary to express their ideas. In addition, sometimes students were assigned to work with other partners who were superior in language level to them; thus, they did not have chances and also lack of confident to raise their ideas. Students also explained for their frequent use of Vietnamese language, which was because they were not immediate used to using English to speak all the time; and they were also found using Vietnamese gave them the comfort and confidence. Therefore, they often used Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai Trường THPT Tân Phú 12 Vietnamese to brainstorm ideas first and then trying to find ways to express these ideas in English. In short, findings from three data sources showed that students’ participation and interaction in the group work activities were fairly good and experienced an improvement after time. Group work, accordingly, can be said to help improve students’ participation and interaction in speaking lessons. However, the participation and interaction varied from week to week basing on different factors such as grouping techniques, speaking topics, students’ language level, the control of group work activities from group leaders or teachers and partly on students’ personality. 2. Students’ attitudes towards the group work activities The second aspect of this research was findings about students’ attitudes towards the use of group work in teaching speaking. It was found out from the class observation that students had the tendency to show their interest and enthusiasm in speaking activities towards the end of the innovation. The level of interest of students was also not equal after each week and might vary according to different factors. For example, in week 9 of the innovation, the topic of the speaking was about technology, which was considered a difficult and unappealing topic. In the speaking lesson of week 11, the group work was organized following the teacher’s assigning group members. Thus, the level of interest of students in the lesson as well as in the group activities was quite low. However, in week 8, when students were assigned to talk about education, they had more ideas, vocabulary and also interest in such familiar topics. In this week, they were also allowed to choose their own partners; thus, it was observed that they showed high level of interest. Week 6 also experienced students’ high level of enthusiasm and enjoyment when their group activity was the role-play. They acted in different role to organize a party for the whole class. This group work activity brought much interest and involvement to students. Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 13 Trường THPT Tân Phú Results from the questionnaires also reflected students’ attitudes towards the use of group work. When students were asked whether they liked the group work activities or not, 24 out of 28 students said yes, while 4 others said no. Students who said yes explained that they found the activities interesting and funny. They also felt encouraged and more confident when working with their classmates. They had careful preparation with classmates before they had to speak in front of the whole class, which gave them more confidence. Other students explained that they enjoyed the interaction among group members. For previous lessons, they used to sit in one place and listen to teachers and other outstanding students to speak; they had few chances to raise their voices and felt scared of making mistakes in speaking aloud. Similar reasons were given in the interview when students compared the teaching using group work activities with the traditional teaching. Students also claimed that many of them did not have a chance to raise their voice even once in the traditional teaching style using whole-class discussion, especially those who had low language level. They were afraid to make mistakes in speaking and being made jokes of by other classmates. Furthermore, they did not have enough time to come up with ideas and vocabulary to answer teachers’ questions before the other students of better level raised their answers. With group work, opportunities were spared equally to all members. If they did not come up with ideas to discuss, listening to other raising their ideas first also gave them suggestions to follow up. For the other 4 students who said that they did not like the group work activities, they explained that they found grouping took too much time. Students in the groups did not act seriously, but mainly chatted or spoke Vietnamese all the time. They also complained that when they have to work with better students, they did not have many chances to speak much. However, in the interview, when teachers raised questions of the possible problems during group working, students also admitted that these abovementioned problems could occur. However, if the group leader and the teacher had good control of how the members in groups worked and invited group members to speak equally, these problems could possibly be solved. Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai Trường THPT Tân Phú 14 In a word, it was concluded that the attitudes of students’ towards the use of group work in speaking lessons were overall positive. Students showed their preferences of the use of group work over the use of the traditional teaching methods. However, it is worth noticing that the interest of students in the group work activities, similar to the participation and interaction, depends largely on some factors such as the topics of speaking, the grouping techniques, the activities used in group work, etc. 3. Quality of the group work activities The quality of the group work activities was also judged basing on data from the observation, questionnaires and interview. It was noticed that group work activities were conducted with certain success. First of all, group activities used in speaking lessons were diversified, ranging from group discussion, debate to role-play. The group work, in general, received good control from the teacher and also the group leader, which assisted the group members much in contributing and presenting their ideas. The good control also helped overcome some problems during the group working such as encouraging passive students, eliminating students’ speaking Vietnamese or providing chances equally for group members to raise voices. According to the data from the interview and questionnaires, it was reported that most students agreed that the quality of the group work activities was good and satisfactory. Evidences could be found from the benefits that students could gain from working in groups. Students claimed that they could raise their confidence in English speaking and reduce the anxiety while speaking. They also received much encouragement from teacher and friends in expressing ideas. Furthermore, they could learn much from listening to their peers’ discussion, self-correct their mistake in pronunciation or get the correction from their friends, enrich their vocabulary and ideas about the assigned topics. However, observation also showed that there existed some limitations in the implementation of group work in speaking lessons. First, the teacher often spent too much time on grouping. For examples, when students were allowed to select the partners, many students could not Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 15 Trường THPT Tân Phú decide who to work with. They even argued while choosing partners, especially when the group number was restricted to 4 but 5 of them wanted to work together and argued who would be excluded. As for the grouping techniques when teacher decided the group member, the teacher basing on some information such as students’ month of birth, students’ height or students’ hobbies to decide. Often it took quite much time for the teacher to ask for students’ personal information. Spending too much time on grouping meant that time for the main activities in the lessons were shortened. Therefore, there should be a more appropriate way in grouping students that could save more time. The second problem existed in the speaking lessons was the topics used for group work. Some of the topics were attention-catching and familiar to students, which could raise their interest and participation in the group work. However, some other topics were out of date and unfamiliar to students, which resulted in their low interest and involvement. The topics, however, were all taken from the course book and could not be changed; therefore, the teacher was supposed to think of ways to make use of interesting topics and assist students in dealing with unfamiliar and difficult topics. IV. DISCUSSION Data was collected from three different sources, which aimed to answer the two research questions namely what the effects of group work activities on students’ speaking skills at grade 10 in Tan Phu high school are and what the most appropriate ways to conduct the group work activities in this context are. Findings from three data collection instruments pointed out that in general, the use of group work in teaching speaking to students of grade 10 was beneficial in different aspects. Firstly, it was reported that the participation of students in speaking lessons was increased considerably. If students used to sit quietly, wait for teachers to raise questions and wait for their turn to be invited to speak (many even did not have a single chance to raise their voice during the lessons), now with group work activities, students could almost participate equally in the lessons. The chance of raising voices increased to a great extent. The findings were Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 16 Trường THPT Tân Phú also supported by previous studies by Temerova (2007) and Meng (2009) when these authors found out that learner working in groups could get much more practice in speaking and taking part in conversations more in group work than in teacher-centered class or in a wholeclass discussion. The interaction of students with other group members, in addition, was also developed. With the whole-class discussion, students often could interact very little and only with teachers, with group discussion, students could interact more with other partners. Each week students worked in different groups with different partners, and the chances to interact with a variety of people in the class were great. The use of group work also proved to raise students’ interest in the speaking lessons. Students were involved and enjoyed the lessons more in compared with using the traditional teaching method. The benefits of using group work in teaching speaking to students at grade 10, Tan Phu high school were also found in the better quality of the speaking lessons. Students largely agreed that the group work helped improve the quality of the speaking lessons. The effects of group work on students’ performance in speaking lessons were also demonstrated by students’ reducing anxiety while speaking and raising confidence in expressing their ideas. According to Jiang (2009), working with group partners and without being observed by teachers, students might feel more comfortable to express their oral communicative ability. Students also developed collaborative learning in speaking lessons. Students provided each other with mutual support during the lessons. They learnt from listening to others and enriched their vocabulary and ideas about the given topic. They also learnt from other partners’ mistakes and self-corrected theirs. The mutual support that students got from the group work was also advised by Temerova(2007) when stating that group work offered students a great source of information which was created to share. They also had more motivation in learning speaking skills, which they could not find from the previous teaching method. Last but not least, they were provided with chances to raise their voice during the lessons. Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 17 Trường THPT Tân Phú Obviously, it cannot be denied that the extent to which students’ participation, interaction and interest as well as other effects from group work were not always the same in every lesson. These benefits were developed depending largely on a variety of factors such as the grouping techniques, group work activities, students’ language level, topics used for speaking and finally students’ personality or habit. It is suggested that teacher should consider these factors carefully before implementing the group work activities in order to obtain best results. For example, it was found out in the study that different grouping techniques had unlike impact on students’ performance. The most preferable technique was probably students’ selfgrouping, in which students could choose their own partners. However, sometimes conflicts might occur when students could not decide who to work with on their own. Thus, when assigning students with the right to choose the group members, the teacher should anticipate some possible problems and prepare to interfere when necessary. Another example, students’ language level was also an important factor that worth considering when implementing group work activities. There were often two ways of grouping basing on students’ level, which were students of similar level working together and students of mixed-ability. As students suggested from the interview, when students of the same level working together, it was easy for the group with high language level; however, for the group with all members of lower level, they might feel unconfident and reluctant to give presentation with groups of better students. In addition, if all members were of low level, no one would provide support to each other. Therefore, students expressed their preference in working in a group of mixed ability in which the lower level students could seek for help from the better one. From the observation and interview, it was also found out that in order to implement the group work effectively, the role of the group leader and also the teacher of the class was very important. The group leader help the teacher in controlling the participation of each group member, assigning tasks to group member and motivating the members to work actively. It was observed that a group working effectively with few passive students, little time spent on Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 18 Trường THPT Tân Phú speaking Vietnamese or chatting was often that with a good leader. Therefore, it is critical for the teacher to select and assign a group leader with detailed tasks to make sure the group work run smoothly and effectively. V. REFLECTIONS ON FUTURE WORK Although the research was carried out successfully, there is still much room for improvement if the research is conducted again. The three research methods were utilized so as that data was triangulated. However, adaption can be made with the use of such research methods to obtain a more comprehensive result. With the observation, the use of a detailed checklist helped the teacher much to save time in taking note. The note-taking basing on given criteria helped the coding and analyzing of data more easily. However, as the researcher also functioned as the researcher, who had to deliver the lesson together with doing the notetaking during the lessons, the workload was fairly much for one person. The teacher sometimes concentrated too much on giving lessons that the note-taking in the observation checklist was not fully filled. If implemented again, it is suggested that the researcher can ask for help from other teacher in the school to do the observation. Observation from an outsider, to some extent, can reflect an objective viewpoint towards the lessons’ evaluation. With regards to the use of interview and questionnaire, it was clear that data from these two sources of data were detailed and plentiful. It reflected the perspectives of students about the use of group work in speaking lessons. Findings from the questionnaire and interviews were double-checked with that from the observation, which reflected the different aspects of the group work activities use from two different angles, the viewpoints of the teachers and those of the students. However, as the subjects of the questionnaire and interview were students participating in this research, some contents were inevitably overlapped. It is suggested that either questionnaire or interview should be used to gather information from the students. Instead, diaries or journals can be selected as the third source of data. At that time, the observation will be conducted by another teacher in the school, data from which will reflect Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 19 Trường THPT Tân Phú the perspective of an independent observer. On the contrary, diary and journal will be written by the teacher herself, finding from which will show the perspectives of an insider. With the adaptation of research methods used in the research in future, findings will be gathered from three different perspectives. This will help obtain more thorough results for the research. VI. CONCLUSION Findings from the research have fully answered the two research questions, which aimed to investigate the effects that group work activities have on the speaking skills of students at grade 10 at Tan Phu high school and to identify the most appropriate way to implement the group work activities in speaking lessons. It was found out that the use of group work in speaking lesson had positive effects on both students’ speaking performance and their language competence. Benefits could be listed as the higher rate of participation and interaction of students throughout the speaking lessons, the raise of interest and motivation of students in learning speaking skills, the improvement in quality of speaking lesson delivered to students. Apart from that, group work activities also help students gain more confidence in speaking, reduce the anxiety during their presentation, increase the chances of students’ raising voice during the lessons, enlarge their vocabulary and ideas about the assigned topic, etc. Research also found out that when implement group work activities, it is critical for the teachers to take into consideration a number of factors that may influence the success of the lessons such as students’ language level, the topic used for speaking, the grouping techniques, the activities used in speaking as well as students’ preference and personality. The consideration of these factors will help the teacher find out the most appropriate way to deliver the speaking lessons and make the most use of the benefits of group work activities. With the benefits that students at grade 10 at Tan Phu high school received from the use of group work, it is believed that this teaching technique can be adapted to use widely in Tan Phu high school to help develop the speaking skill of students all over the school. Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ Sở Giáo dục & Đào tạo Đồng Nai 20 Trường THPT Tân Phú REFERENCES Boonkit, K. (2010). Enhancing the Development of Speaking Skills for Nnon-native Speakers of English.Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2. 1305-1309. Hilmi, H. & Lu, E. T. (2010).Teaching speaking skill through group work activities: A case study in SMK Jayamore. FakultiPendidikan. University Teknologi Malaysia. Hinchey, H. P. (2008). “Action research primer”.New York, NY 10006: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. I-Jung, C. (2004).Utilizing Group Work Effectively in English Language Classroom.TESL Reporter, 37(1), 1-7. Jiang, Y. (2009). Applying Group Work to Improve College Students’ Oral English.International Education Study, 2(3). Le, H. M. L (2008).A study on improving speaking skill of the 1st year students of preintermediate level at FPT University through group work.ULIS. Meng, F. (2009). Encourage learners in the large class to speak English in group work. English Language Teaching, 3, 219-224. Nunan , D. (1991). Language Teaching Methodology, UK: prentice-hall International. Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rde.d.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Temerová, L. (2007). How to improve students’ communicative skills.Bachelor Thesis.Retrieved March 22nd, 2014 at http://is.muni.cz/th/104306/pedf_b/HOW_TO_IMPROVE_STUDENTS_COMMUNICAT IVE_SKILLS.doc Ur, P. (1996). A course in Language Teaching.Practice and Theory: Cambridge University Press. Giáo viên thực hiện: Đỗ Duy Dương Tổ Ngoại ngữ
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