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 DECLARATION BY AUTHOR ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ABSTRACT LISTS OF FIGURES LISTS OF TABLES LISTS OF ABBREVIATION USED IN THE THESIS 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 2.3.2.2 Organizing activities 2.3.2.3.Compounding Activities 2.4 Assessing speaking skill iii 2.4.1 Oral tests 2.4.2 Speaking proficiency testing criteria 2.5 Motivation 2.5.1 Definitions 2.5.2 Types of motivation in language learning 2.5.3 Factors affecting motivation in foreign language learning 2.6 Previous research 2.7 Chapter summary CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY 3.1 Research design 3.2 Setting and subjects of the study 3.3 Research procedures 3.3.1 Step 1: Preliminary investigation 3.3.2 Step 2: Planning 3.3.3 Step 3: Implementing the action 3.3.4 Step 4: Observation 3.3.5 Step 5: Reflection 3.4 Data collection instruments 3.4.1 Survey questionnaires 3.4.2 Class observation 3.4.3 Oral tests 3.5 Data analysis 3.6 Chapter summary CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS AND DISCUSSIONS 4.1 Survey questionnaire 1: Student’s motivation in learning En speaking lessons 4.1.1 Levels of interest in English speaking lessons and discussion activities 4.1.2.Students’ speaking opportunity 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 Figure 4.1 Students' levels of interest in English speaking lessons and discussion activities Figure 4.2 Students' difficulties in learning speaking English Figure 4.3 Students' preferences for types of discussion activities vii LISTS OF TABLES Table 2.1 Students' oral evaluation criteria Table 2.2.a Oral Proficiency Scoring Categories Grammar Table 2.2.b Oral Proficiency Scoring Categories Vocabulary Table 2.2.c Oral Proficiency Scoring Categories Comprehension Table 2.2.d Oral Proficiency Scoring Categories Fluency Table 2.2.e Oral Proficiency Scoring Categories Pronunciation Table 2.2.f Oral Proficiency Scoring Categories Task Table 3.1 The schedule of the action implementation Table 4.1 Students’ speaking opportunities during speaking lessons Table 4.2 Students' level of interest in learning speaking lessons Table 4.3 Students' feelings in speaking lessons Table 4.5 Overall class motivation scores for all students Table 4.6 Results of Pre-test Table 4.6.a General Results of Pre-test Table 4.6.b Results of students' speaking performance in the pre-test Table 4.7 Results of Post-test Table 4.7.a Overall mark of Post-test Table 4.7.b Results of students' speaking performance in the post-test Table 4.8 Results of Post-test Table 4.8.a Overall mark of Post-test Table 4.8.b Results of students' speaking performance in the post-test viii 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 10 XIV XV XVI XVII 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) Pre- Speaking (10 mins) • Team division: teacher divides the class into groups of persons XIX • Whil e-spe akin g Activity • (30 mins)  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: answer these questions: - Using the comparative superlative form to make and comparisons places superlative form to places Activity (30 mins) Post-speaking (5 minutes) Wrap-up and homework compare the (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 Pre- Speaking (5 mins) • Team division: teacher div Whilespeaking Activity (30 mins) 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: answer the questions: - Where you prefer to and make comparisons about Activity (30 mins)  Invite representatives of the groups to give their answers  Give comments about the answer and speaking skills Post-speaking (5 minutes) Wrap-up and homework (5 minutes) XXII 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 Pre- Speaking (5 mins) • Whilespeaking Activity (30 mins) XXIII  Give comments about the answer and speaking skills  Ask sts work in group to Group work: answer the questions: - Which of two markets in activity you want to visit? And why? Activity (30 mins)  Invite representatives of the groups to give their answers  Give comments about the answer and speaking skills Post-speaking (5 minutes) Wrap-up and homework (5 minutes) 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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