USING DISCUSSION ACTIVITIES TO IMPROVE THE EFL STUDENTS’ SPEAKING SKILLS AT DONG NAI TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY

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VIETNAM ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES GRADUATE ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES Lê Thị Hạnh USING DISCUSSION ACTIVITIES TO IMPROVE THE EFL STUDENTS’ SPEAKING SKILLS AT DONG NAI TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY MA THESIS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE HANOI, 2019 VIETNAM ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES GRADUATE ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES Lê Thị Hạnh USING DISCUSSION ACTIVITIES TO IMPROVE THE EFL STUDENTS’ SPEAKING SKILLS AT DONG NAI TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY Field: English Language Code: 8220201 Supervisor: Bùi Thị Thục Quyên, Ph.D HANOI, 2019 DECLARATION BY AUTHOR I, Lê Thị Hạnh, certify that the thesis “Using Discussion Activities to Improve the EFL Students’ speaking skills at Dong Nai Technology University” is entirely my own work, in my own words and I am the sole author of this thesis All sources used in researching it are fully acknowledged and all quotations properly identified I confirm that this thesis has not been submitted for any other degrees The research reported in this thesis was approved by Graduate Academy of Social Sciences Author’s Signature Lê Thị Hạnh Approved by SUPERVISOR Bùi Thị Thục Quyên, Ph.D Date:…………………… i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Although only one name appears as the author of this work, writing a thesis is indeed a collaborative effort I would like to express my sincere thanks to the many people who made it possible First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my M.A thesis’s supervisor, Bùi Thị Thục Quyên, Ph.D for all of her encouragement, timely guidance and useful comments I would like to convey my sincere appreciation and thanks to Mr Đặng Nguyên Giang, Ph.D and the staff of the Department of Foreign Languages, Graduate Academy of Social Sciences for granting me the honor of writing this thesis as well as their assistance and most valuable supports I also would like to express my colleague and my students to help me with valuable data for the study Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to my beloved family and friends who always support me during the progress of conducting and finishing this thesis ii TABLE OF CONTENTS Page DECLARATION BY AUTHOR i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ii ABSTRACT vi LISTS OF FIGURES vii LISTS OF TABLES viii LISTS OF ABBREVIATION USED IN THE THESIS ix CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1 Rationale 1.2 Aims of the study 1.3 Research questions 1.4 Significance of the study 1.5 Scope of the study 1.6 Research methods 1.7 Structure of the study CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Speaking skill 2.1.1 Definition of speaking 2.1.2 The importance of speaking 2.1.2 Problems with speaking activity 2.2 Characteristics of a successful speaking activity 2.3 Discussion 2.3.1 Definition of discussion 2.3.2 Types of discussion activities 2.3.2.1 Brainstorming activities 10 2.3.2.2 Organizing activities 11 2.3.2.3.Compounding Activities 12 2.4 Assessing speaking skill 14 iii 2.4.1 Oral tests 14 2.4.2 Speaking proficiency testing criteria 14 2.5 Motivation 19 2.5.1 Definitions 19 2.5.2 Types of motivation in language learning 20 2.5.3 Factors affecting motivation in foreign language learning 21 2.6 Previous research 22 2.7 Chapter summary 24 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY 25 3.1 Research design 25 3.2 Setting and subjects of the study 26 3.3 Research procedures 28 3.3.1 Step 1: Preliminary investigation 30 3.3.2 Step 2: Planning 30 3.3.3 Step 3: Implementing the action 31 3.3.4 Step 4: Observation 31 3.3.5 Step 5: Reflection 31 3.4 Data collection instruments 32 3.4.1 Survey questionnaires 32 3.4.2 Class observation 33 3.4.3 Oral tests 33 3.5 Data analysis 34 3.6 Chapter summary 35 CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS AND DISCUSSIONS 36 4.1 Survey questionnaire 1: Student’s motivation in learning English 36 speaking lessons 4.1.1 Levels of interest in English speaking lessons and discussion 36 activities 4.1.2.Students’ speaking opportunity 37 iv 4.1.3 Students' difficulties in learning speaking English 38 4.1.4 Students' preferences for types of discussion activities 38 4.2 Survey questionnaire 2: Student’s attitude toward discussion 40 activities after implementation the action 4.2.1 Level of interest in learning speaking lessons 40 4.2.2 Students' attitude in speaking lessons 41 4.3 Class Observation Findings 42 4.4 Students' speaking proficiency 45 4.4.1 Results of Pre-test 45 4.4.2 Results of Post-test 47 4.4.3 Results of Post-test 50 4.5 Reflection 53 4.5.1 Reflection after Cycle 53 4.5.1 Reflection after Cycle 54 4.4 Chapter summary 56 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION 57 5.1 Recapitulation 57 5.2 Concluding Remarks 58 5.3 Implication 58 5.4 Limitations 59 5.5 Suggestions for Further Studies 60 REFERENCES 61 Appendix 1: Survey questionnaires I Appendix 2: Class observation sheet IX Appendix 3: Oral tests XI Appendix 4: Speaking band descriptors XIV Appendix 5: Lesson plans XIX v ABSTRACT The study was written based on the research done by the writer as a teacher at Dong Nai Technology University The study was carried out by using discussion activities with two aims They are: (1) to investigate the EFL students’ attitudes towards discussion activities in their speaking classes and (2) to evaluate the effectiveness of discussion activities applied to English speaking skill teaching and learning The subjects participating in the research were 25 students (Elementary Level) from many Faculties of Dong Nai Technology University To achieve the desired aims of the study, action research was used as the method to carry out the study Classroom observation and survey questionnaires were used to measure the students' motivation level before and after the implementation Besides, to clearly see the change in students' speaking proficiency after applying discussion activities in speaking lessons, oral tests were also used as a data collection technique The results of the study show that discussion activities helped increase most of the students’ motivation in speaking lessons In addition, the findings of the study also reveal that after using discussion activities in speaking lessons, some of the students could improve their scores in the post-test Although there was not too much change, it was proved that discussion activities played a certain role in improving the students' speaking proficiency vi LISTS OF FIGURES Figure 3.1 Kemmis and McTaggart's action research spiral 28 Figure 4.1 Students' levels of interest in English speaking lessons 38 and discussion activities Figure 4.2 Students' difficulties in learning speaking English 40 Figure 4.3 Students' preferences for types of discussion activities 41 vii LISTS OF TABLES Table 2.1 Students' oral evaluation criteria 15 Table 2.2.a Oral Proficiency Scoring Categories Grammar 16 Table 2.2.b Oral Proficiency Scoring Categories Vocabulary 17 Table 2.2.c Oral Proficiency Scoring Categories Comprehension 17 Table 2.2.d Oral Proficiency Scoring Categories Fluency 18 Table 2.2.e Oral Proficiency Scoring Categories Pronunciation 18 Table 2.2.f Oral Proficiency Scoring Categories Task 19 Table 3.1 The schedule of the action implementation 32 Table 4.1 Students’ speaking opportunities during speaking lessons 39 Table 4.2 Students' level of interest in learning speaking lessons 42 Table 4.3 Students' feelings in speaking lessons 43 Table 4.5 Overall class motivation scores for all students 45 Table 4.6 Results of Pre-test 48 Table 4.6.a General Results of Pre-test 48 Table 4.6.b Results of students' speaking performance in the pre-test 49 Table 4.7 Results of Post-test 51 Table 4.7.a Overall mark of Post-test 51 Table 4.7.b Results of students' speaking performance in the post-test 52 Table 4.8 Results of Post-test 54 Table 4.8.a Overall mark of Post-test 55 Table 4.8.b Results of students' speaking performance in the post-test 55 viii Appendix 3: ORAL TESTS Pre-test PART I: SELF-INTRODUCTION (2-3 minutes) (4 pts.) Each student freely talks about himself or herself PART II: ROLE PLAY (3-4minutes) (6 pts.) Each pair randomly chooses one of the following topics to make a conversation Topic 1: Talking about your family Topic 2: Talking about your favorite things XI Post-test PART I: SHORT TALK Each candidate chooses one of the following topics to make a short presentation (4 minutes) (6 pts.) Topic 1: Your homeland Topic 2: Shopping PART II: QUESTIONS & RESPONSES Examiners ask some questions related to the chosen topic (2 minutes) (4 pts.) Suggested questions Topic 1: Where were you born? Is it countryside? How often you visit your homeland? Topic 2: Where you ussually go shopping? Who you go with? XII What kinds of goods you often buy? Do you often go to supermarket? Post-test PART I: SHORT TALK Each candidate chooses one of the following topics to make a short presentation (4 minutes) (6 pts.) Topic 1: Sports Topic 2: Food PART II: QUESTIONS & RESPONSES Examiners ask some questions related to the chosen topic (2 minutes) (4 pts.) Suggested questions Topic 1: Do you like sports? What sports can you play? How often you play that sport? Who you often play sports with? Topic 2: What’s your favorite food? XIII What you usually have for breakfast/ lunch/ dinner? Can you cook? What dishes can you make? Appendix 4: Speaking Band Descriptors (Adapted from IELTS Speaking Band Descriptors - Published Version and The frame of Harris's oral English rating scale) Band Fluency and Vocabulary Grammar Pronunciation * speaks fluently * uses vocabulary * uses a full range * uses a full range with only rare with flexibility of not only the of pronunciation repetition or and precision in structures learned features with self-correction the given topics in class but others precision * speaks related naturally * is effortless to coherently with and appropriately understand coherence 10 fully appropriate cohesive features * develops topics coherently and appropriately XIV * speaks fluently * uses a wide * uses a wide * uses a wide range with only vocabulary range of not only of pronunciation occasional resource readily the structures features repetition; and flexibly to learned in class * is easy to hesitation is convey precise but others related understand usually meaning with with flexibility throughout content-related and occasional and occasional sometimes to inaccuracies inappropriacies * speaks * uses vocabulary * uses a range of * uses a range of coherently, but resource flexibly both the structures pronunciation sometimes with to discuss one of learned in class features with some noticeable effort the related topics and others with flexibility learned in class some flexibility * L1 accent has * sometimes some effect on makes intelligibility search for language * develop topics quite coherently and appropriately grammatical mistakes XV * is willing to * uses a wide * uses a range of * can generally be speak at length but range of both the structures understood sometimes loses vocabulary to learned in class throughout, but coherence due to discuss one of the and others but frequent repetition or related topics with limited mispronunciation hesitation learned in class flexibility of words or sounds * can make * frequently reduces clarity meaning quite makes clear, sometimes grammatical with mistakes, which inappropriacies causes comprehension problems * speaks slowly * manages to talk * produces a * can generally be with frequent about the related limited range of understood repetition or topics learned in both the structures throughout hesitation class but uses learned in class * usually has * produces simple vocabulary with and others mispronunciation speech quite limited flexibility * usually makes of words or grammatical sounds, which mistakes and makes an effort to causes some understand fluently comprehension problems XVI * can not develop * frequently * produces basic * topics coherently makes errors on sentence forms mispronunciations * speaks slowly word choice and and some correct are frequent and with frequent must rephrases sentences cause difficulty for repetition and because of lexical *errors are the listener hesitation inadequacies frequently produces and usually lead to misunderstanding * speaks with long * usually makes * usually makes * usually makes pauses errors on word errors of grammar mistakes in * has difficulty to choice and word order pronouncing words link basic * conversation is which obscure even familiar ones, sentences limited because of meaning and requires a great inadequate vocabulary XVII effort to understand * is usually * sometimes * grammar and * very hard to hesitant to produce word order errors understand because even simple make of pronunciation sentences, and comprehension problems often forced into difficult * must frequently silence by * must usually be asked to repeat language limitation rephrase sentences and restrict himself to basic patterns * pauses lengthily * only produces * can not produce * pronunciation is before most words isolated words basic sentence so severe as to forms make speech * very little communication virtually possible unintelligible * no communication possible * no rateable language * does not attend XVIII Appendix Lesson Plans UNIT 1b: Places Target learners: a class of first-year students, level: Elementary Objectives:  Ss will be provided with some certain vocabulary and useful language to describe some places like city, countryside  New words: Types of US housing (apartment housing, cottage, single-story house, townhouse, duplex, penthouse, villa, house) Teaching aids: e-book, project and screen, board, CD and speakers, Timing: 80 minutes (2 periods) Detailed plan: Stages / Time Warm up (2 mins) Teacher’s activities Ss’ activities  Lesson introduction Answer the question  Ask students about the place they were born  Giving the question to students and ask students Work individually Correct answer: Countryside work in groups to answer the and City following questions: Pre- Speaking How many types of places that (10 mins) you have learn in this part? What are they?  Call students to answer individually  Check the answer  Team division: teacher divides the class into groups of persons XIX  Ask sts work in group to Whil e-spe answer these questions: Group work: Giving ideas about the From the central theme “Countryside and City”, sts places give main ideas about that  Move around to check sts’ akin - g Activity involving in the speaking (30 mins) activity  Invite representatives of the groups to give their answers  Give comments about the answer and speaking skills  Ask sts work in group to Group work: Using the comparative and answer these questions: - comparative superlative form to make comparisons places and superlative form to Using the compare the places Activity  Move around to check sts’ (30 mins) involving in the speaking activity  Invite representatives of the groups to give their answers  Give comments about the answer and speaking skills Teacher gives some comments Post-speaking and feedback to the activity and (5 minutes) decides the winner Wrap-up Teacher wraps up and gives Take note homework Describe your homeland and homework XX (3 minutes) UNIT 2b: Shopping time Target learners: a class of first-year students, level: Elementary Objectives:  Ss will be provided with some certain vocabulary about topic shopping  Know how to describe a picture of your family/ friends when they go shopping  Talk about shopping hobby Teaching aids: e-book, project and screen, board, CD and speakers, Timing: 80 minutes (2 periods) Detailed plan: Stages / Time Teacher’s activities Ss’ activities  Lesson introduction Pre- Speaking  Ask students about the place (5 mins) they usually go shopping Answer the question  Call some students to answer  Team division: teacher divides the class into groups of persons  Ask sts look at pictures at p.22 and work in group to Group work: Finding the answers answer these questions: Whilespeaking Activity (30 mins) What you wear at school? At party? What you wear on hot and sunny day/ in cold day?  Move around to check sts’ involving in discussion activity XXI  Invite representatives of groups to give their answers  Give comments about the answer and speaking skills  Ask sts work in group to Group work: Discuss with your partners answer the questions: Where you prefer to and make comparisons about the advantages and shop? Why? disadvantages of the place  Move around to check sts’ for shopping involving in speaking - Activity (30 mins) activity  Invite representatives of the groups to give their answers  Give comments about the answer and speaking skills Post-speaking (5 minutes) Teacher gives some comments and feedback to the activity and decides the winner Teacher wraps up and gives Take note Wrap-up and homework homework Describing a picture of your (5 minutes) family/friends when shopping XXII they go UNIT 2e: Weekend markets Target learners: a class of first-year students, level: Elementary Objectives:  Ss will be provided with some certain vocabulary of market products  Know how to describe a picture of your family/ friends when they go shopping  Talk about shopping hobby Teaching aids: e-book, project and screen, board, CD and speakers, Timing: 80 minutes (2 periods) Detailed plan: Stages / Time Teacher’s activities Ss’ activities  Lesson introduction Pre- Speaking (5 mins) Answer the question  Ask students look at the pictures at P.26 – 27 and guess where they are  Call students to answer  Team division: teacher divides the class into groups of persons  Ask sts look at pictures and read letters at P.26 – 27 Group work: and work in group to find the Giving the main ideas of two Whilespeaking Activity (30 mins) markets and Finding the differences of two markets  Move around to check sts’ involving in discussion activity  Invite representatives of groups to give their answers XXIII differences of two markets  Give comments about the answer and speaking skills  Ask sts work in group to Group work: Discuss with your partners answer the questions: - Which of two markets in activity you want to visit? And why? Activity (30 mins)  Move around to check sts’ involving in speaking activity  Invite representatives of the groups to give their answers  Give comments about the answer and speaking skills Post-speaking (5 minutes) Teacher gives some comments and feedback to the activity and decides the winner Teacher wraps up and gives Take note Wrap-up and homework (5 minutes) homework Describing a market you have ever visit XXIV XXV ... Ph.D HANOI, 2019 DECLARATION BY AUTHOR I, Lê Thị Hạnh, certify that the thesis Using Discussion Activities to Improve the EFL Students’ speaking skills at Dong Nai Technology University is entirely... discussion activities with two aims They are: (1) to investigate the EFL students’ attitudes towards discussion activities in their speaking classes and (2) to evaluate the effectiveness of discussion. .. and in speaking in particular For the mentioned reasons, I would like to conduct a study on Using Discussion Activities to Improve the EFL Students’ Speaking Skills At Dong Nai Technology University
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