Enhancing input to improve hanoi college of electronics and electro refrigeratory technics non english major students speaking performance
Vietnam National University, HaNoi university of Languages and International Studies faculty of Post-Graduate Studies ----------------------o0o----------------------
NGUYỄN HỒNG HẠNH
ENHANCING INPUT TO IMPROVE HANOI COLLEGE OF ELECTRONICS AND ELECTRO-REFRIGERATORY TECHNICS NON-ENGLISH MAJOR STUDENTS’ SPEAKING PERFORMANCE
Tăng cường kiến thức đầu vào để cải thiện kỹ năng nói cho sinh viên không chuyên tiếng Anh tại trường Cao đẳng Điện tử - Điện lạnh Hà Nội M.A. Minor Thesis
Field : English Teaching Methodology Code : 601410
HANOI - 2010
Vietnam National University, HaNoi university of Languages and International Studies faculty of Post-Graduate Studies ----------------------o0o----------------------
NGUYỄN HỒNG HẠNH
ENHANCING INPUT TO IMPROVE HANOI COLLEGE OF ELECTRONICS AND ELECTRO-REFRIGERATORY TECHNICS NON-ENGLISH MAJOR STUDENTS’ SPEAKING PERFORMANCE Tăng cường kiến thức đầu vào để cải thiện kỹ năng nói cho sinh viên không chuyên tiếng Anh tại trường Cao đẳng Điện tử - Điện lạnh Hà Nội M.A. Minor Thesis
Field : English Teaching Methodology Code : 601410 Supervisor : §ç B¸ Quý, Med.
HANOI - 2010
TABLE OF CONTENTS Declaration
Acknowledgements Abstract Table of contents List of tables
PART A: INTRODUCTION
2. Aims of the study
3. Scope of the study
4. Research questions
5. Methods of the study
6. Design of the study
PART B: DEVELOPMENT
Chapter1: Literature Review
1.1 Communicative competence and oral communication
1.1.1 Popular views of communicative competence
1.1.2 Oral communication
1.2 The nature of speaking
1.2.1 Definition of speaking
1.2.2 The importance of speaking skill in the classroom
1.3 Some problems in speaking performance
1.4 Comprehensible input.
1.4.1 What is input?
1.4.2 The role of input
1.4.3 What is comprehensible input?
1.5 Research into enhancing input through giving extensive readings and enriching vocabulary to improve speaking performance
1.5.1 Definition of extensive reading
1.5.2 Role of extensive reading
1.5.3. Definition of vocabulary
1.5.4 The place of vocabulary in foreign language teaching and Learning
Chapter 2: Methods of the study
2.1 Research questions
2.2 The context of the study
2.3 The participants
2.4 The syllabus
2.5 The data collection instruments
2.6 Data collection procedures
Chapter 3: Data, Data analysis and Discussion
3.1 Pre – input enhancement questionnaire
3.1.1 The students’ opinion on speaking skill
3.1.2 The students’ difficulties in speaking performance
3.1.3 The students’ desires to improve their speaking skill
3.2 Post–input enhancement questionnaire
3.3 Summary of the findings
PART C: CONCLUSION
2. Limitations and suggestions for further study
LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Students’ opinion about speaking skill Table 2: Students’ difficulties in speaking performance Table 3: Students’ expectation for what to be done to improve their speaking skill Table 4: Students’ opinions about the activities intented to improve their vocabulary Table 5: Students’ opinions about extensive readings Table 6: Students’ assessment of the activities and extensive readings’ effectiveness Figure 1: Krashen’s combined model of acquisition and production
PART A: INTRODUCTION This part presents the rationale, aims, scope, methods, research questions and design of the study. 1. Rationale of the study It is undeniable that English is considered as a means of international communication. People with good English proficiency are extremely needed in many various fields such as economics, politics, science, tourism and so on. Moreover, English is also a key to access the last achievement of science and technology which are very important and necessary for a developing country like Vietnam. As a result, there has been increasing demand for English language teaching and learning across the country. People learn English with many different purposes as meeting the growing requirements for communication in the society, finding a good job, achieving better position at work, or serving desire of studying or working aboard. It is widely accepted that one of the main purposes of studying English is to use it for communications. According to Don Xiao Hong (1994:31) speaking is ―one of the most necessary language skills for displaying their language proficiency‖. Be an English teacher, I think that speaking should be paid attention to in the process of teaching and learning. However, it is a common issue at my college that the students rarely speak English, even in English classes, although they have been learning English since they started at the lower secondary school. They often stand up without speaking any words or they have to think for a long time about what they intend to say when they required to talk in English. The main causes of the Hanoi College of Electronics and Electro–Refrigeratory Technics students’ low speaking performance in particular and the non–English major students’ low speaking performance in background knowledge. With the main causes above, as a teacher at a college of technics, within my minor thesis, I would like to investigate enhancing input that are enriching their vocabulary and giving extensive readings for broadening background knowledge to improve speaking performance. I hope that enhancing input will help the students overcome their difficulties in the process of speaking. This has given me the impetus to carry out the study of
9 ―Enhancing Input to Improve Hanoi College of Electronics and Electro–Refrigeratory Technics Non-English Major Students’ Speaking Performance‖ 2. Aims of the study The study is aimed at: -
Identifying the factors affecting the non-English major students’ speaking performance;
Investigating how input enhanced in terms of vocabulary and knowledge of the world affects the students’ speaking performance;
Making some suggestions for the teachers at Hanoi College of Electronics and Electro– Refrigeratory Technics to help the students improve their speaking performance.
3. Scope of the study Concerning the scope of the study, the following are to be taken into consideration. First, the subjects of the study are the first-year students at Hanoi College of Electronics and Electro–Refrigeratory Technics. They all have basic English knowledge and skills. Second, the study only focuses on enhancing input to improve the students’ speaking performance. Finally, as the time allowed for the study is limited, it concentrates only on identifying the effects of input enhanced in terms of vocabulary and knowledge of the world through collaborative activities and extensive reading on the students’ speaking performance. 4. Research questions of the study The two main research questions corresponding to the two major aims are: (1)
What are the factors affecting the students’ speaking performance?
How does the enhanced input improve the students’ speaking performance?
5. Methods of the study The study was carried out on the basis of relevant document analysis, material collection and survey questionnaire. The data collected for the study came from the first year non–English major students at Hanoi College of Electronics and Electro– Refrigeratory Technics. For the practical basis, survey research is chosen with questionnaire and interview with the first year non–English major students at the college. All comments, remarks, conclusions and recommendations provided in the study were based on the data analysis.
6. Design of the study The minor thesis consists of three parts: The first part is an introduction to the thesis which presents the factors as plan of the study such as the rationale, aims, scope, methods, research questions and design of the study. The second part presents a theoretical background, research methods, presentation of the data, data analysis and discussions. The final part focuses on the conclusions of the study, its limitations, recommendations and suggestions for further study.
PART B: DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER I: LITERATURE REVIEW As any study should be based on certain theories, the following is a review of relevant-to-the-aims-of-the-study literature to form the theoretical basis for the study. 1.1 Communicative competence and oral communication Popular views of communicative competence It is well-known that communicative competence underlies language performance; therefore the ultimate goal of language teaching is to build and develop the learner’s communicative competence. In order to do this, the learner should be provided with sufficient input, comprehensible input. In the history of English language teaching, communicative competence is currently considered the primary goal of language teaching. Many methodologists and linguistics who work on foreign language teaching tend to define communicative competence simply as interaction in the target language as definitions of Savignon, 1983. However, others who work in ESL tend to be in favor of Hymes’ theory of communicative competence. In Hymes’ theory, communicative competence includes not only the linguistic forms of the language but also its social rulers, the knowledge of when, how and to whom it is appropriate to use these forms. It means that the social – cultural rules for language use are also included in the teaching process. Besides, Canale and Swain (1980) consider communicative competence as the combination of five areas’ competence: rule of grammar (grammatical competence), rules of discourse (discourse competence), sociocultural rules of use, and probability rules of occurrence and communication strategies. Grammatical competence Savignon (1983:37) states ―Grammatical competence is the mastery of the linguistic code, the ability to recognize the lexical, morphological, syntactic and phonological features of a language and to manipulate these features to forms, words and sentences‖. Discourse competence
The real world, knowledge of the linguistic code, knowledge of the discourse structures and knowledge of social setting. Sociolinguistic competence: It is the ability to interpret and express functional and social meaning of language, depending on degrees of formality, setting, topic, channel and purpose of communication. It is also an understanding of the social context in which language is used. Probability rules of occurrences It is the ability to recognize what communication functions are likely to be expressed in a given context and what are not. As Canale and Swain (1980), a learner can not have a satisfactory communicative competence if not any of his knowledge of probability of occurrence of grammatical forms and communicative functions are developed. Strategic Competence According to Richard (1983), strategic competence includes: Speaker’s repertoire of verbal and visual gestures which signal interest in which the partner is saying. Speaker’s stock of topics and formulaic utterances which are produced at relevant point in discourse such as a small talk which is required to make brief encounters with acquaintances comfortable and positive. Awareness when to talk and what to talk in an appropriate use of turn – taking conversations. Communicative strategies also include the ability to adapt when one’s message is not taken and to sustain communication by paraphrases, circumlocution, avoidance and shift in register and style. In summary, the above-named competencies are almost entirely language knowledgebound ones. In EFL teaching and learning context, these are insufficient for the learner to learn effectively. In practice, Quy (2009) claimed that to be a competent speaker in a language, the learner needs not only sufficient knowledge of the target language but also necessary knowledge of the world that is relevant to the communicative tasks the learner is to perform in the target situation. Thus, alongside with knowledge of the target language, the learner should also be provided with appropriate knowledge of the topics at hand.
Oral communication It is known that language communication involves some skills such as listening, speaking, reading and writing. That is the reason why learners of English are required to have an adequate mastery of the four skills. Nevertheless, the degree of fluency of each skill, which is a learner requires, depend on the course purpose. Among four skills, Byrne said that listening and reading are considered as the receptive skills, speaking and writing are the productive skills. As we know, each skill has particular importance. Of the four skills, speaking plays a very important role since it is the step to identify who knows or does not know a language. Pattison (1992) confirms that when a person speaks of knowing or learning a language they mean being able to speak that language. It is the view from Byrne opinion (1991:9), with regard to the relation between speaking and listening. It has seen that speaking and listening skills in communication are complementary. From a communication, pragmatic view of the language classroom, speaking and listening skills are closely intertwined. The interaction between these two modes of performance applies especially strongly to conversation, the most popular discourse category in the profession. Speaking always necessities at least two participants speaker(s) and listener(s). When the speaker starts the message, the listener decodes, and responds to the message in turn. Therefore, nature of oral communication is comprehended as a two-way process between the speaker and listeners. Oral communication is effective only when the learners are supplied with oral skill. Martine Bygate divided oral skills into negotiation skills and production skills in which the former are divided interaction management and negotiation of meaning with two sub skills. Agenda management refer to the right of participants, choice of the topics and how they are developed and of how much time the conversation should be prolonged. Turn taking (McCathy, 1993) means that the speaker has to discern (Perceive clear when to take the floor and when to leave at another the speaker take turn) Production skills takes that the speakers are always overwhelmed by time pressure from the moment they decide what to say, how to state to the time they say it out. This
excuse help them protect themselves by using instrument so as to expedite production and compensate for difficulties. These which stated above, provide conditions to enable learners’ speaking ability. However, to obtain a good speaking ability, learners are required to have background relevant to the on-going communication. They need to understand what they are going to talk and also to master some particular grammar points and language skills. 1.2
The nature of speaking
1.2.1 Definition of speaking It is undeniable that speaking is the key to human communication. There are many definitions of speaking; following are some definitions of the most famous researchers. Speaking is a two – way process between the speaker(s) and the listener(s) involving the productive skill of speaking and the receptive skill of understanding. Both the listener(s) and speaker(s) have a positive function to perform. The functions of speaker(s) are encoding the message to be conveyed in appropriate language and transmitting the message to the listener(s). The function of the listener(s) is decoding the message. The message itself in normal speech usually contains a great deal of information that the listener(s) needs. And at the same time, the listener(s) is helped by the speaker(s)’ prosodic features such as stress and intonation which accompany the spoken utterances and form part of its meaning, and also by his facial and body movements. As Brown (1983), he states that ―speaking is an interactive process of constructing meaning that involves producing, receiving, and processing information‖. Its form and meaning depend on the context in which it occurs, including the participants themselves, their collective experiences, the physical environment, and the purpose for speaking. Speaking requires not only that learners know how to produce specific points of language such as grammar and pronunciation, vocabulary (linguistic competence), but also that they understand when, why, and in what way to produce language (sociolinguistic competence). Although each researchers has different definitions of speaking, they all agree with a very important feature of speaking, that is a two way process between the speaker(s) and listener(s).
1.2.2 The importance of speaking skill in the classroom Among four English skills, speaking is very important. It is considered as a bridge to reach other skills. It helps the learners to read better, to listen more effectively and write more accurately. Nunan (1991) points out ―success is measured in terms of ability to carry out a conversation in the (target) language‖. So that, speaking plays an important part. If the speaking is practiced successfully, the other skills can also be improved. Moreover, nowadays, in the epoch of great international exchange and globalization, the demand for communication among people in many other countries in the world is very necessary. Without it, the life doesn’t exist. Speaking is considered as survival skill in real life (Ur, 1996; p134). For this reasons above, focusing on speaking in learning and teaching language is very necessary. 1.3 Some problems in speaking performance There are some problems in speaking performance as follows: Inhibition: Learners are often inhibition about trying to say things in foreign language. However, in the class, they are worried about making mistakes, fearful of criticism, or losing face, or simply shy of the attention that their speech attracts. Nothing to say: they can not think of anything to say. Besides, they can not express their ideas in target language. Mother – tongue use: In class, or a number of the learners share the shame mother tongue for many reason: firstly, it is easier to use. Secondly, they fell unnatural to speak to one another in a foreign language. Lastly, they feel less ―exposed‖ if they are speaking their mother tongue. According to Bygate (1987), ―one of the basic problems in foreign language teaching is to prepare learners to be able to use the language‖. He also states ―By giving learners speaking practice and oral exams’ we recognize that there is a differences between knowledge about a language and skill in using it‖. Moreover, he believes that ―there are other things involved in speaking, and it is important to know what these might be, so that they too can be included in our teaching‖.
In short, it is helpful to enhance basic
knowledge and language knowledge in improving speaking performance for the students.
Basing on these views, my research intend to investigate how enhancing input improves Hanoi College of Electric and Electro-Refrigeratory Technics’ non–English major students’ speaking performance. 1.4 Comprehensible input 1.4.1 What is input? According to Tomasz P. Szynalski, Input is a short word for "sentences that you read or listen to". Input is the opposite of output, which means "sentences that you speak or write". You get input — you read and listen to sentences in some language. If you understand these sentences, they are stored in your brain. More specifically, they are stored in the part of your brain responsible for language. 1.4.2 The role of input According to Tomasz P. Szynalski, the brain produces sentences based on the sentences it has seen or heard (input). So the way to improve is to feed your brain with a lot of input — correct and understandable sentences (written or spoken). Before you can start speaking and writing in a foreign language, your brain must get enough correct sentences in that language. So, it is very easy to realize that input is very important in learning and acquisition language. As the undeniable result, your speaking skill want to improve, enhancing input is very necessary. 1.4.3 What is comprehensible input? The Co mprehensible Input Hypothesis is the most important one of Krashen’s theories of second language acquisition. The comprehensible input hypothesis attempts to explain how learners acquire a second language. According to Krashen’s (1982), one acquires language is only one way – by exposure to Comprehensible input. He claims that exposure to comprehensible input in the target language will lead to the simultaneous occurrence of comprehensible and acquisition. The theory can be illustrated as the following figure (adapted from Krashen, 1982:16-32)
Figure 1: Krashen’s combined model of acquisition and production The Input Hypothesis is only concerned with ―acquisition‖, not ―learning‖. More generally, how do acquirers move from stage ―i‖, where ―i‖ represents current competence, to ―i+1‖, the next level? The Input Hypothesis makes the following claim: a necessary (but not sufficient) condition to move from stage ―i‖ to stage ―i+1‖ is that acquirers understanding input that contains ―i+1‖, where ―understanding‖ means that acquirers focus on the meaning but not the form of the message. According to this hypothesis, acquirers improve and progress along the ―natural order‖ when they receive second language ―input‖ that is one step beyond their current stage of linguistic competence. How is this possible? This is done with the help of context or extra-linguistic information. Furthermore, the Input Hypothesis says that input must contain ―i+1‖ to be useful for language acquisition, but it need not contain only ―i+1‖. If acquirers understand the input, and there is enough of it, ―i+1‖ will be provided. While the teaching syllabi try to deliberately cover ―i+1‖. Usually both teachers and learners feel the aim of the lesson is to teach or practice a specific grammatical item or structure. Once the structure is mastered, the syllabi proceed to the next one. On the basis of the Input Hypothesis such a deliberate attempt to provide ―i+1‖ is not necessary. The Input Hypothesis also states that acquirers must not be forced to produce early. Their production is not taught directly. That is, a certain amount of comprehensible input must be built up before acquirers start to produce their own structures. Acquisition will come when acquirers feel ―ready‖. For example, if an acquirer is at a stage ―i‖, then acquisition takes place when he/she is exposed to enough comprehensible input that
18 belongs to level ―i +1‖. Krashen believes that by means of context and other extra-linguistic cues language acquisition is caused by acquirers’ understanding input ―i+1‖ which is slightly beyond their current stage of knowledge ―i‖. Krashen defines ―i+1‖ as comprehensible input which means that learners should be able to understand the essence of what is being said or presented to them. Comprehensible input is particularly beneficial in acquisition and production. It is crucial that acquirers receive the input that is comprehensible and challenging enough to lead to improve in linguistic competence. The main task of a teacher is to provide comprehensible input to the students as much as possible. When an acquirer is provided with comprehensible input, his/her LAD is activated and he/she acquires. Comprehensible input has four characteristics: (1) comprehensible; (2) interesting and relevant; (3) not grammatically sequenced; (4) sufficient ―i+1‖. In the process of classroom teaching, teacher talk is one of major sources of comprehensible target language input. Teacher talk includes organizing class activities, facilitating acquisition processes and the explanation of language input. How to make students with different language proficiency understand what teachers said? Depending on students’ language proficiency, teaching content and atmosphere of class, teachers should try to modify their language to meet the need of classroom teaching. Teachers can use simple vocabulary and less complex syntactic structures, slower speech rate with the aim to make their speeches easier to be understood and provide comprehensible input for students. At first, teachers have to explain either in native language or simple English, and bilingual teaching or pure English can be used for explanation appropriately. Teachers can modify their language by using more frequent, neutral and concrete vocabulary and grammatically well-formed sentences to facilitate the student’ comprehension. It is easy to notice that students can understand better when teachers frequently use the same words instead of different words. Frequent stimulations to students can help them remember the knowledge they learnt and give them opportunities to comprehend. In addition, the rate of teacher talk is another very important factor, which can influence students’ comprehension on second language acquisition. And a number
of studies provide evidence to suggest that appropriate rate of teacher talk can aid students to understand the language input. If the rate of teacher’ talk is not appropriate, the input will be rather difficult and it will become a ―noise‖ for students, even it can increase their anxiety, which is a negative factor to language learning. Therefore, according to the language proficiency of students teachers can modify the rate of their speech to aid comprehension
1.5 Research into enhancing input through giving extensive readings and enriching vocabulary to improve speaking performance 1.5.1 Definition of extensive reading (ER) The term ―extensive reading‖ was originally coined by Palmer (1968). In ―Handout from the Extensive reading Forum" Omiya (1998) introduces a definition as follow: Extensive Reading usually means reading a lot of self-selected easy, interesting texts, and doing few or no exercises afterwards. Extensive Reading is a way to teach a foreign language. These definitions show the role of extensive reading in language acquisition and social knowledge. As Susser and Robb’s (1990) point of view extensive reading is reading of large quantities of materials or long texts; for global or general understanding; with the intention of obtaining pleasure from the text. Our students are advised to read as much as possible because the more they read, the greater they benefit from reading. From Day and Bamford’s point out ―the quantity of reading is not an absolute number of hours or pages but depends on teacher and student perceptions of how extensive reading differs from other readings, this will vary according to type of program, level, and other variables‖ (Day and Bamford, 2002). The level of global understanding required varies with the student’s language proficiency, the nature of texts and other factors. Students can read with pleasure within their own comfort zone both in the students’ own time when and where the students chooses, or inside the classroom. From extensive readings, the students can have much more vocabulary, and enhancing knowledge of the world. They will make them more confident to speak in the class. However, choosing suitable extensive
readings is very important because the learners can stop reading when they find to be too difficult, or that turns out not to be of interest. So, as Nuttal (1996: 173) ―most of the materials must be collected by the teachers‖
1.5.2 Role of extensive reading (ER) Extensive readings are very important in language teaching, if we only teach students grammar and individual words, students can not use them in practice, but we show them in real context, they will know how to modify and extend in their utterance as well as the knowledge of the world. What is more, ER enlarges vocabulary rapidly and is the best way to improve language skills in general and speaking skill in particular for the students. ERs not only enrich reader’s vocabulary but also broaden reader’s awareness of the world. It is advisable to use as many ERs as we can in our teaching – learning process. Nuttal (1996; 128) states that ―the best way to improve your language of a foreign language is to go and live among its speakers. The next best way is to read extensively in it‖. Extensive readings have many benefits such as motivational, literary, cultural and higher – order thinking benefits. Extensive readings can be traditional fairy stories, folk tale collections, newspapers, literary short stories, etc… They are effective as educational tools because they are believable, rememberable, and entertaining (Neuhauser, 1993, cited in Rossister, Marsha, 2003-2004). Especially, it is benefit for learning speaking skill. They help the students think and speak better. Moreover, they help the students become more confident in their use of English. For example, in the study implementing on children of grade three or twelve (Us grad level) the researchers (1987) found out that the children learned up to 3000 words a year and that only a small percentage of such learning was due to direct vocabulary instruction, the remainder being due to acquisition of words from reading. Grabe (1991: 391) also states that extensive reading ―can enhance learners’ general language competence‖. As Krashen (1982), the extensive reading may provide ―comprehensive input‖. They not only provide the learners language knowledge but also social knowledge. With interesting readings, they will create a relaxed, tension-free environment for the learners. It is the most effective way to reach the success in speaking performance. Indeed, extensive readings contribute greatly to improve learners’ speaking skill.
However, these materials are not designed for all English learners and they are not graded for levels, especially poems, songs, TV or radio programs, stories, etc, and some are obviously a little bit difficult for beginners to understand. So, to avoid boredom, repeated activities or unrelated knowledge to students’ course book they are learning, teachers should select, supply extra materials and use various activities in teaching – learning process suit with students’ needs, interests and level.
1.5.3 Definition of vocabulary Until now, there are many different definitions of vocabulary according to its various aspects such as criteria, features and functions. For example, Ur (1996:60) defined vocabulary ―as the words we teach in the foreign language. However, a new item of vocabulary may be more than a single word: a compound of two or three words or multi word idioms‖. A linguists states that vocabulary ―….may be individual word or full sentences – institutionalized utterances – that convey fixed social or pragmatic meaning within a given community‖ Pyles & Algeo (1970:96) also emphasizes that ―it is word that within sounds and meanings interlock to allow us to communicate with one another, and it is word that we arrange together to make sentences, conversation and discourse of all kinds‖. In short, vocabulary can be defined as the words we need to teach in the foreign language.
1.5.4 The place of vocabulary in foreign language teaching and learning It is undeniable that vocabulary plays an important role in teaching and learning language. Nowadays, people aware that besides their mother – tongue they need to require other foreign language. As a researcher states, ―vocabulary is the most important for understanding and knowing names for things action and concepts‖. Moreover, vocabulary knowledge can help language users perform and develop language skill since ―substantial vocabulary knowledge is always a prerequisite to the performance of language skills.
Vocabulary enables language use, language use enables the increase of vocabulary knowledge and language use so on‖ (Nation and Waring, 2004: 6-19). Wilkins (1972:11) emphasizes that ―without grammar, very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing conveyed‖ It shows that the first needs vocabulary for non – native speaker to communicate. It is the main objective of language learners. To achieve this objective, they have to master enough vocabulary of that language, if not; they will find it impossible to express themselves in most circumstances.
1.6 Summary This chapter has presented the relevant literature including the nature of speaking, some problems in speaking performance, definition and the role of vocabulary, definition and role of extensive readings from the famous linguistics and methodologies. However, one may wonder if enhancing input through enriching vocabulary and giving extensive readings to raise social knowledge does have effects on learners’ speaking performance in the context of HCEET. The study discussed in the following chapters, Chapter II and Chapter III, was conducted to find the answer to this question.
CHAPTER II: METHODS OF THE STUDY In this Chapter, the methods for carrying out the study will be discussed. These include the study research questions, the context of the study, the participants, the syllabus, data collection instruments and data collection procedures. 2.1 Research questions The final aim of the research is to investigate how enhancing input for the non major students at Hanoi College of Electronics and Electro–Refrigeratory Technics improve their speaking performance. In order to obtain the goal of the study, we had to follow two stages: First, we had to find out their students’ difficulties in speaking performance. Second, based on the difficulties, how giving some techniques to enhance input as enriching vocabulary and social knowledge through extensive readings improve speaking performance. In short, the two research questions corresponding to the stages are: (1) What are the factors affecting the students’ speaking performance? (2) How does the enhanced input improve the students’ speaking performance? 2.2 The context of the study The study was conducted at HCEET, a technical College with 5 technical faculties. The students at HCEET are non–English major students. Here, they have to learn English for the first two year. In the first year, students study general English in the textbook New headway–Elementary with aim to develop speaking skill. In the second year, the students learn English for specific purpose (ESP). It is very important for the firs year students to provide basic grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary. In New headway–Elementary, all basic grammar structures are revised, how to pronounce words, sentence is also introduced carefully and basic numbers of vocabulary are from readings, the situations of speaking. Normally, each week only has 6 periods of English. Moreover, the English proficiency of the students is mixed. The non-English major classes are always large sizes. It is a difficult problem to teach and learn effectively, especially with the aim of the course is to develop speaking skill. Normally, contexts create classroom activities are mostly based on those in the textbooks that teacher have at hand. In order for the students to learn a new language meaningfully, teacher gives students activities that personalize language use with details
about their own lives and family, in addition to this, to understand a foreign culture, teachers puts that culture in relation with students’ own, for example, in unit 9 with the reading text Food around world about meals, usual food, and drinks for each meals, after doing reading comprehension activities available in the textbook, teacher might organize a discussion on local meals with local food and drink to make comparison. At HCEET, the students have to learn English in four semesters, normally at the first year, New headway-Elementary is used (similar with 150 periods, equally divided into two semesters. After 150 periods of learning English, students have to have a background of general English, they can make short speeches on some topics as health, family, career, holiday, life in the city or life in the country, etc… with background knowledge of grammar and pronunciation. 2.3 The participants In order to get the data for the study, 60 first year students (the second semester students) from three classes have randomly selected to investigate. They are both female and male students. The numbers of male students are much more than the numbers of female students. Their ages are from 18 to 25 years old and come from different provinces in Vietnam (from the North to the South). A large number of them have learnt English since primary and secondary school. However, most of them are not good at communication in English, even with each other inside the classroom. The course book for the first year students at HCEET chosen is New headway Elementary, a communicative course book. Here, it relatively focuses on revising basic grammar structures and teaching ways of pronunciation for the learners to create foundation for the students in speaking skill. However, the reality of their 1 st year non major students’ speaking at HCEET is low. That is reason why the study is conducted to find out their other difficulties and research how enhancing input as enriching vocabulary and raising their social knowledge through extensive readings and many activities effective. 2.4 The syllabus Actually, the syllabus used for non-English major students is a set of course books New – Headway which is a 3-level general English course at elementary, pre-intermediate, and intermediate level. The course book at elementary level divided into 14 main units. In
25 New headway – elementary, students’ book contains a detailed Grammar reference section, a reflecting on learning section, typescript, a wordlist and an IPA chart and irregular verb table. The workbook contains further practice of the language and vocabulary presented in the students’ book. In New Headway – Elementary, text types used are everyday texts, mass –media texts, and literary texts. 2.5 The data collection instruments In the study, the survey questionnaire is one of the most effective instruments for collecting data. It was designed to investigate the students’ opinion at HCEET. Clear instructions were given when the questionnaire was administered. The questionnaire for the students includes 13 questions written both English and Vietnamese. The questionnaire was divided into 2 parts: Part 1: Pre-input enhancement questionnaire focuses on: - Students’ opinion on speaking skill. (Questions 1, 2, 3, 4) - The difficulties which the students encounter in speaking performance. (Questions 5, 6, 7) Part 2: Post-input enhancement questionnaire focuses on: - The students’ opinion about the effects of enhanced input on their speaking performance. The data collected from the questionnaire were then analyzed statistically and descriptively in detail in the following sections. The result of the questionnaire would help the researcher draw out supplementary statements on the issue discussed. Ten students among the questionnaire respondents were chosen randomly for a follow-up interview for more in depth data. Each of the interviewees was asked 5 questions (see appendixes 5 for details). 2.6 Data collection procedures In order to obtain data for the research, two written questionnaires were administered to the subjects. One was designed to find out the factors affecting the students’ speaking performance. One was designed to collect the students’ opinions of the improvement of their speaking performance after six weeks of input enhancement through enriching vocabulary and expanding social knowledge from extensive readings as well as communicative activities. All the questions in the questionnaires were simple and not long, and written in both English and Vietnamese.
In order to the study successfully, a semester is the best time to carry out. However, because of time limit and personal reason, the study was carried within 6 weeks. First, I handed out a survey questionnaire to my students to have their reaction about factors affecting the students’ speaking performance. After I collected the answers of the students, the results shows that lacking the knowledge of the world and having poor- vocabulary are two main reasons which affect their speaking performance. Secondly, based on the result, I chose some readings which were suitable with the students’ ability as well as the topics in the course book to improve their vocabulary and knowledge of the world. Besides, I also organized some interesting activities in the pre–speaking stage to improve their vocabulary. As pre-speaking stage is the time when input is provided and made comprehensible, some activities as combine words with structures, multiple choices, matching, describe the pictures, name the picture, games as well as some extensive readings related the topics in the course book were carried out (see Appendix 6, 7 for details). Especially, to make clearly for two questionnaires, I selected 10 students randomly to interview (see appendix 5 for details). 2.7 Summary In this part, the research questions, participants, instruments, and procedures, data collection and analysis procedures are presented. In a best attempt to build a scientific methodology, the researcher hopes to achieve a reliable and valid data or the study.