Some suggested solutions for ineffective teaching and learning enlish at ha van mao high school

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1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Rational In Vietnam, English has become a compulsory subject from Primary Three in Vietnam since 2010 and is gradually being introduced even earlier into the curriculum in many schools This highlights the official importance of English in both education and society Nevertheless, students who are generally weak in English language learning were found in many parts of the countries especially in the mountainous areas Ha Van Mao high school is one of the highschools locating in Ba Thuoc district that is in the poor religion with special difficulties in Thanh Hoa Province It is home of two ethnic groups: the Muong and the Thai According to a survey of result of English in the National Examination, I have conducted in this school for many years, students score very low in English The average mark they get is only under mark In additionally, the most frequently asked question I hear is why many high-school graduates cannot use English in even the most simple daily conversations Students can not remember any English word although they have learnt it for a long time.What are the reasons of this, what can improve their learning process is my question during teaching English at Ha Van Mao high school Hence, I have chosen the topic for my thesis namely “Some suggested solutions for ineffective teaching and learning English at Ha Van Mao highschool” I hope that this research can give a few benefits to teachers, students and related others 1.2 Objectives of the study The main objectives of this study are as follows:  To identify the causes of teaching and learning English ineffectively at Ha Van Mao highschool  To suggest some solutions which could be useful to raise the result of teaching and learning English at Ha Van Mao highschool 1.3 Scope of the study For the limitation of time, conditions, and materials, this study only focuses on finding the causes of teaching and learning English ineffectively From that, some solutions are suggested to improve it This thesis is also carried out on some English teachers and 176 students of classes which I was in charge for English in school year 2015-2016 Class 11A4 (44 students) Class 11A5 (45 students) Class 12A5 (43 students) Class 12A6 (44 students) 1.4 Methods of the study Carrying out this research, the following methods have been used: • Theoretical study • Survey (questionaire) • Interview • Class observation 1.5 New aspect of the study  This study finds out the real causes of ineffective English teaching and learning at Ha Van Mao highschool that has not been caried out before  The suggested solutions linking real situation have been applied and have shown its effectiveness CONTENT 2.1 Theoretical background “Many of us believe that learners have certain characteristics which lead to more or less successful language learning”, (Lightbown, P.M & Spada, N 1999) There are many factors affecting language learning of the learners Weiner, B (qtd in Williams, M & Burden, R.L 1997: 105) suggested that, on the whole, people tend to refer to four main sets of attributions for their perceived success and failures in life: ability, effort, luck, the perceived difficulty of the task with which they are faced In other field, Spolsky, B (1998) shows us many other factors: attitude, intelligence, aptitude, learning strategies, personality, material, motivation, memory, training strategies, social context Many other researchers agree that they can be divided into two groups: internal factors and external factors Weiner, B (qtd in Williams, M & Burden, R.L 1997) saw that internal factors arise from inside and external ones are from the outside the learners 2.1.1.Internal factors Internal factors are those that the individual language learner brings with him or her to the particular learning situation Second language acquisition is influenced by the age of the learner Children, who already have solid literacy skills in their own language, seem to be in the best position to acquire a new language efficiently Motivated, older learners can be very successful too, but usually struggle to achieve nativespeaker-equivalent pronunciation and intonation Introverted or anxious learners usually make slower progress, particularly in the development of oral skills They are less likely to take advantage of opportunities to speak, or to seek out such opportunities More outgoing students will not worry about the inevitability of making mistakes They will take risks, and thus will give themselves much more practice (intrinsic) Intrinsic motivation has been found to correlate strongly with educational achievement Clearly, students who enjoy language learning and take pride in their progress will better than those who don't Learners who have acquired general knowledge and experience are in a stronger position to develop a new language than those who haven't The student, for example, who has already lived in different countries and been exposed to various languages and cultures has a stronger base for learning a further language than the student who hasn't had such experiences In general, it seems that students with greater cognitive abilities (intelligence) will make the faster progress Some linguists believe that there is a specific, innate language learning ability that is stronger in some students than in others language Students who are learning a second language which is from the same language family as their first language have, in general, a much easier task than those who aren't For example, a Dutch child will learn English more quickly than a Japanese child 2.1.2.External factors External factors are those that characterize the particular language learning situation For students in particular it is important that the totality of their educational experience is appropriate for their needs Language learning is less likely to place if students are fully submersed into the mainstream program without any extra assistance or, conversely, not allowed to be part of the mainstream until they have reached a certain level of language proficiency Clearly, some language teachers are better than others at providing appropriate and effective learning experiences for the students in their classrooms These students will make faster progress The same applies to mainstream teachers in second language situations The science teacher, for example, who is aware that she too is responsible for the students' English language development, and makes certain accommodations, will contribute to their linguistic development and status There is some evidence that students in situations where their own culture has a lower status than that of the culture in which they are learning the language make slower progress (extrinsic) Students who are given continuing, appropriate encouragment to learn by their teachers and parents will generally fare better than those who aren't For example, students from families that place little importance on language learning are likely to progress less quickly to native speakers The opportunity to interact with native speakers both within and outside of the classroom is a significant advantage Native speakers are linguistic models and can provide appropriate feedback Clearly, secondlanguage learners who have no extensive access to native speakers are likely to make slower progress, particularly in the oral/aural aspects of language acquisition 2.2.Practical background According to a survey of the result of English in school year 2014-2015 I conducted in Ha Van Mao high school, English is the subject that sudent performed the worst The data used were the English result at the end of school year matched with information on students’ achievement in the General Certificate of Secondary Education (schoolyear 2014-2015) Firstly, according to English level resust of school year 2014-2015 The rate of students got average result is 54% and 26% out of them got bad result, too bad one was 8% None of them got excellent and only 6% of students got good grade Secondly, none of students gets excellent or good mark in the General Certificate of Secondary Education 267 students (76%) got the mark (from point to 3.5 point) There were only students getting mark The others got below 2point Basing on the data, one can see that the English learning quality among the students in Ha Van Mao highschool was low Thirdly, there has been none of students getting the prize in the excellent student contest for many years Specialy, the only studen chosen to take exam got only 6.4/20 point Only students in comparison wih 120 students who took the University entrance examination chose English as special subject to win a place at university in school year 2014-2015 Although students have been learning English since secondary, many students can not eventually read or write any word in English English is considered as one of the core subjects in curiculumn and in the National Examination However, most students not like learning English ,even dislike They often find challenges in learning this subject The given data show the insufficient awareness of the important role of English and ineffective teaching and learning English at Ha Van Mao highschol 2.3 Causes of the problem 2.3.1.Social context The prevention of their mother tongue Social context reveals to be another main hindrance to ethnic minority students’ English learning Minority students mainly used their mother tongue to communicate inside their families and communities while at school they have to learn Vietnamese to study and communicate with other people In the English lessons, they comprehended by listening and reading, switching into their native language and then translating or changing into Vietnamese and then English again In addition, the pronunciation of their native language is much different from that of English and Vietnamese Therefore, studying English via Vietnamese is very challenging There are 1027 students divided into 25 classes at Ha Van Mao higschool The number of minority students accounts for 87% They mainly use Thai and Muong in conversation Some of them even speak Vietnamese unclearly This causes difficulty for teaching and learning English facilities The following important affecting factor has been found out is learning condition and school facilities It is a fact that Ha Van Mao high school in the study is poorly facilitated  Class size is quite crowded (about 40 to 47 students)  All the teaching facilities the English teachers have is textbook, chalk,board and cassette tapes  There are not many books, stories, pictures, CDs in school library The only book students can get is text book In a poor learning condition, the ethnic students cannot acquire a foreign language as well as those who enjoy much better learning conditions Condiion of living Though most of the students have parental support to go to school (that is more advantageous than those in some other mountainous areas), their poor living conditions and low economic status still prevent them from spending enough time and concentration on learning all subjects in general and English in particular What is more, English is considered as “luxury” subject which is not familiar with learners living in mountainous area Community attitudes towards the language being learnt can have a profound impact on learners where the community has a broadly negative view of the target language and its speakers, or a negative view of its relation to them, learning is typically difficult It is evident that ethnic students fundamentally lack an environment to practice English Almost the students have no English learning equipment, such as records, CDs, or short stories, internet at home Even in the class, where they are taught English, they not have many chances to communicate in English either Hence, it is difficult for the ethnic students get success in English Students can not have other sources to improve their Engish Even they want to get reference books, they can not find them anywhere Only textbook is often sold at book shop in Ba Thuoc Shortage of teacher Most English teachers come from the plain areas to the mountain areas to work Therefore, it happens instability in quantity of teacher According to Truong Thi Thanh, a student of class 11A5 said that she had begun to learn English at 6th grade However, learning English prosses was interrupted by shortage of English teacher in school year 2010- 2011 At her school – Điền Thượng lower secondary school, there was only one English teacher for 12 classes When the teacher tranferred her work, or she was ill led to discontinualty of students’ English learning Therefore, the qualiy of learning English has been affected since secondary lower school In real situation, only one teacher out of teachers is native in English group at Ha Van Mao highschool Gradually, it happens the tranferring among the teachers causing lack of concentration on teaching 2.3.2.The textbook The textbook makes disadvantages for both teachers and students As a result, most of the students and the teachers in the study are not in favored of their textbook All of them find it too difficult for students to learn and for teachers to design and adapt the tasks They state that the content of the book is remote from the students’ daily lives Furthermore, the students are overwhelmed by a large amount of vocabulary They wish to have a textbook which is somehow easier and less communicative ability required so that both the teachers and the students can accomplish their tasks 2.3.3.For the teachers Teaching strategies Teaching strategies must be taken into account All the data shown in the study prove that the teachers’ teaching strategies are not interesting enough to draw their students’ attention and interest The techniques and activities employed in their lessons seem to be monotonous For example, the teachers keep delivering the new language items orally and by writing on the board most of the time in Vietnamese or little English while students just look at the board and take notes Also, students are frequently asked to work individually Pair work and group work are rarely used The interaction among teachers and students is only realized by the teachers’ few questions and students’ answers It may be concluded that the teachers simply follow the framework of the textbook and teach what is required in syllabus Hence, the teaching strategies used by the teachers in certain circumstance are not in relevance and effectiveness Despite all the talk online and among innovative language teachers, the truth is that the grammar syllabus and approach still rules in this world The evaluation to be successful in this kind of examination, only a good grasp of vocabulary, some grammatical points, and reading comprehension are sufficient Therefore, teacher only focuses on teaching grammar Teacher quality The collected information proves that the Engish teachers of Ha Van Mao highschool are mainly young and not very experienced in their teaching They often have 5- 10 year experience More than a half of English teachers quantity is women who are looking after children Due to that limitation, the teachers may not have enough time to try out on many ways of teaching; they need time to find out the most suitable and effective methods and techniques to apply in their teaching for ethnic minority students Living condition These teachers showed that although they loved the job as a teacher, they had not really kept their minds on their work because of their hard lives and poor working and living conditions Almost teachers there lived in the tenement house with a lot of shortage.Those daily disadvantages sometimes made them have not much enthusiasm for their work 2.3.4.For students Study method In general, it is evident that the students surveyed have the traditional way of learning English Because of their low living standard together with poor learning condition at school, the students not have many choices of what strategies they should follow to improve their English They just passively acquire it like the way they use with other subjects They just passively acquire English from what they learn in the class then practice by doing homework, and they have not found or applied any active strategies to improve their target language Motivation For most learners, learning English is a duty — something that they have to, but they don’t want to They don’t see pleasure in learning English These students have low motivation to participate in class, and they simply try to get a passing mark to get rid of the course Another demotivating factor is that English is considered as a general subject compared to special subjects such as physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology Only few students attend the classes to learn some special points to be successful in examination such as grammar and vocabulary However ,the number of these is not much Some suggested solutions From these findings the researcher would like to give some suggestions, to some extent, may help the teachers and learners in their teaching and learning process 2.4.1.For social context learning and teaching conditions Improving learning conditions such as school buildings, classroom facilities and learning equipments plays an important role in raising the quality of teaching and learning English In fact, projectors have been equipped for all classes since school year 2015-2016 The English teachers have enough materials such as cassetles, radio, projector to make lesson easier Morever, a classroom with 20 computers connected internet has been spent for students to search information More fund is used to buy more book ,which helps students to get various sources in school library Both of them bring effective result in learning English Having ethnic minority teachers to teach English for students in their communities As shown in the survey, 87% students in the study are all ethnic minority students They all use their native language to communicate in their families and communities In a triangular language environment, students face difficulties in both learning English and Vietnamese If the minority teachers of English are available, these ones can teach minority children more effectively as they can understand students’ strengths and weaknesses in learning a foreign language Furthermore, it is easier for both teachers and learners to exchange ideas The teaching and learning process will be more successful when the teachers and learners can make themselves fully understood Morever, the minority teachers often have no intention of tranferring work location, therefore it may keep stability in teacher staffs Raising the awareness of the importance of English It is suggested that raising the awareness of the importance of English through parents society meeting or class meeting, linking school-based with family- and society-based education and creating an effective English education environment at Ha Va Mao high school should be done Creating vocational activities by inviting old students who have got achivements or students of higher eduction They will share their knowledge of importance of English in choosing career and applying for good job The suggestion that English shoud be one of the core subjects in National examiation and highschool entrance examination should be given so that the students have better awareness of English since lower grades the quality of students Raising the quality of students chosen in grade 10 through firmly evaluating students results 2.4.2 For Engish group 4.2.1.English book club I would like to recommend that the English group should be energetic and enthusiastic to associate with other schools and associations such as the Youth Union in town or even in cities to hold “ English book club” which can collect from students and teachers old stories, CDs, pictures of places or refference books and so on so that the students can make use of them In school year 2015-2016,with the association of the Youth Union, we create an English book club with 125 participants at Ha Van Mao highschool There are more 470 kinds of English books, magazines mainly asked from teachers and old students Some of them are boughts by fund As a member of club, students can read, borrow or exchange English book It meets the demand of students of English references club An English Club should be set up to increase the awareness and skills of students in the English language through the integration of communication and information technologies, arts and the promotion of the institutional values “Ha Van Mao English club” has been established since 2015-2016, which provides an opportunity for English language learners to practise using English in a relaxing and friendly The “Ha Van Mao English Club” is moderated by English teachers The principles of a club are students of grades who love learning English Up to now the number of members has risen to 104 The number of students in classes for which I was in charge joined in the club was different Class 11A4: students Class 11A5: 12 students Class 12A5: 15 students Class 12A6: 7students English club holders design many different and interesting activities included • Bio-data writing • Newspaper reading • Story telling • Learning new words • Joke collection • Riddles • Puzzles • Singing and acting in a play Up to now, “Ha Van Mao English club” is gradually hold twice a month It has invited the participation of the two clubs from the Ba thuoc and Cam thuy3 Thanks for the frequent holding of the clubs and the visiting of new friends, students can have better not only social relationship skills but also sharpen their English skills Through observation, I realize that the students joining in the club participated actively in all the events They become more confident in using English than others They are easier to connect with others and English ability is improved Sample topic of march:future job Activity1: List some jobs through game: facing Activity 2:Participants can work in pairs, small groups or can talk together as a whole group and discuss about the job he/she likes best Actvity 3:They prepare a presentation Activity4: guessing game I work as…….(a job) Creating some extracurricular activities Extracurricular activities are student experiences and activities that are not included in the educational curriculum These activities are a significant part of education It has been proved that extracurricular activities are as necessary as regular classes for development of skills (Tenhouse, 2003; Eccles, 2003) Furthermore, extracurricular activities are good opportunities for students to achieve their curricular goals Students discover and develop their skills through these activities for achievement Extracurricular activities are performed at all levels of schools in many different ways such as sports, clubs, debate, music, art, school newspaper In school year 2015-2016, English group cooperated with other organizations to hold interesting programmes named: English singing contest With the full participation of classes, there were 20 competitors with 25 wonderful shows made students have a good experience with English 2.4.3 For teacher: Using relevant and useful teaching techniques The easiest way is to give the students more chances to play games, sing songs, take part in plays and competitions in English For students, they are usually active and love to join the games and competition to show their ability In addition, they are in favor of songs and plays It is easier for them to learn by heart new words through songs and plays When they can sing songs or act as a character in a play, they will be more confident to speak English Games, songs and plays as well can be used both in normal English lessons and everyweek optional lessons Hence, teachers should organize games, plays, songs and even a small competition to encourage the children and warm up the classroom atmosphere After such activities, teachers may give good comments and present the winners or the best ones small gifts which will leave sweet memories in students’ mind Creating English environment 10 In the class, the teachers should try to speak and make their ideas understood in English It seems not very natural to use only Vietnamese in English lessons It does not mean that they should not use Vietnamese, as sometimes they have to explain abstract and complex things and make sure students understand well what they need to know However, it is obvious that teachers should use English to communicate with their students in the class in order to make them familiar with the English pronunciation It also provides opportunities for teachers to practice and improve their English Additionally, teachers should make sure that all students speak during lessons One of the most important steps that a student needs to take in order to learn a new language is to speak it Speaking lets students have a feeling of being involved in the lessons Therefore, teachers should give students opportunities and time to practice and raise their voices freely Students are encouraged to ask questions, give suggestions, share ideas, and tell stories The open and friendly interactions among teachers and students and among students themselves are highly appreciated Therefore, pair work and group work should be frequently used Using visual aids Visual aids are welcomed in most of the lessons Students can learn best when they are happy and excited Because of their little background knowledge and practical experience, the teachers should present their lessons visually and vividly to draw students’ attention and interest by using colorful pictures, diagrams, or real objectives, etc Adapting the textbook It is necessary for teacher to adapt the textbook to make it interesting to the students Depend on certain units and lessons, teachers can adapt the their teaching material by omitting, re-ordering, replacing, combining, or adding tasks For example, when the topic of the lesson is not relevant to students’ background knowledge, the teachers should discover what students know about it prior to teaching and design the lesson based on that knowledge However, an important thing to remember when adapting teaching materials is everything presented needs to be made clear and specifically It is better to start teaching the ethnic students from simple to complex things By doing that, English can help them to boost their confidence and raise their voice in modern society Using pedagogical skills Teachers are also advisable to be gentle and sensitive to their students’ errors and mistakes Children are always afraid of making mistakes and being laughed at in public; if they are hurt once, they will gradually be reserved and quiet They may no longer dare to have a word in front of the classmates Therefore, the teachers should be reliable to students for their mistake correction without making them shy Furthermore, the teachers need to have sense of humor to make good impressions on their students Another 11 important thing is that teachers should not disregard ethnic minority students but show honest sympathies with their disadvantages to close the gap between the teachers and students Using suitable evaluation Teacher should be fexible in evaluation Needless to say, evaluation and assessment can focus on different aspects of teaching and learning: respectively textbooks and instructional materials, student achievement, and whole programs of instruction We shoud decide which test is suitable wih the students Futhermore, it is necessary that the teacher should not always pay atttention to the students’ mistakes Instead, the teacher should encourage them to use English as much as possible during the lesson and create a friendly learning environmment so that the students will be more confident and be ready to receive the new knowledge 2.4 For students Setting goals Students should set goals for English learning If you know why you want to study, setting goals is easy For example, maybe you want to travel to an English-speaking country Perhaps you already know many useful phrases, but you want to improve your listening skills and pronunciation or your goal is to get high mark in examination Whatever your goals are, write them down Changing method of study Study a balance of the four key skills - listening, speaking, reading, writing Four skills have parralle role in improving English Better one skill leads into bettering another If students want to learn English well, it is important to study a balance of the four major skills Using English freely It is simply very enjoyable to use English to read a good book, understand a song, watch an interesting movie, get an answer to a computer problem, exchange e-mails with a native speaker, etc 2.5 Effectiveness of the teaching experience 12 These suggested activities have been applied in my teaching to 11 th and 12th grade at Ha Van Mao high school since the school year 2015-2016 and they seem to be useful to students Most of the students find it easier and more comfortable with English lessons This is shown through their high motivation and interest in learning English, their active participation in activities and many students at low levels can finish required task As a result, students’ result, to some extent, has been improved during the school years Below is the result achieved from students of class 11A5 and 12A5 who learnt English with applied solutions in comparision with the students of class 11A4 and 12A6 who were taught English without applying given solutions in the school year 2015-2016  The rate of excellen and good students increase Below is the result achieved from students of class 11A4 and 11A5 in school year 20152016 Chart 1:The result at the end of school year 2015-2016 Class Number of students 11A4 44 Excellence Good Average Weak ( 0%) (18%) 31(70.5%) 5( 11.5%) 11A5 45 (6.6%) 6(26.7%) 29( 64.5%) ( 2.2%)  The average mark students of class 12A5 get in the Nation Examination in comparison with the one of class 12A6 is higher, and none of students get mark below 1.5 Chart 2: The result of the National Examination Class Number of Good Average Under Under 1.5 students 12A6 44 ( 0%) (2.3%) 40(90.7%) 3(7%) 12A5 43 3(7%) ( 11.6%) 35(81.4%) The number of students choosing English as a special subject for their university entrance examination rose up to (9/43students joining in university entrance examination) Although the students taking the excellence exammination have not got the prize, the mark they get is better Nguyễn Yến Hạnh(11A5) : 8.5/20 Trương Quỳnh Anh(12A5): 11/20 - More and more students participate in English club and English book club The given information show the effectiveness of this study Students seem to be eager to learn English They are more confident in using English in both class and daily conversation 13 CONCLUSION 3.1 Conclusion Springing from the urgent practical causes that the English learning of students in Ha Van Mao is of low quality, the researcher would like to find out what factors can lead to that situation and how to deal with raised problems A conconclusion can be drawn as the study has reached the mentioned objectives All the problems arise in the study have been solved, which is matched to the hypothes Students are more eager to study English The score which students got in the National Exammination and the semester exammination is higher This show the appicability of the study at present 3.2 Suggestions for further study In conclusion, to make the English learning process of students at Ha Van Mao become more effective, it depends on not solely the English teachers or students but also everybody Basing on what have been found out in the study, some suggested solutions are therefore given to the teachers and others However, in particular circumstance, the teachers and learners themselves have to make all efforts to over come the difficulties It is hoped that all these suggestions will be taken into consideration so that students can use their English as their background for further learning in their future grades This thesis, it is also needed to study more about teaching strategies needed to teach English effectively for particular ethnic minority students to make their English learning successful It is necessary to discuss more about textbooks revised for minority students A textbook of English which meets minority students’ local needs, natural and economic circumstances, and their background will surely promote their efficiency of learning English It is better to start teaching them in a simple and locally based curriculum Additionaly, we can creat more activities for English club by keeping cooperation with trustful other organizations to hold several interesting programmes like “Ring The Golden Bell in English”, “The Speech Contest competitions”, “English Summer camps” and so forth with the hope of bringing a good and safe environment of meeting new friends and using English to all students of Ha Van Mao highschool 14 XÁC NHẬN CỦA THỦ TRƯỞNG ĐƠN VỊ Thanh Hóa, ngày 20 tháng 05 năm 2017 Tôi xin cam đoan SKKN viết, không chép nội dung người khác Người thực Lưu Thị Loan 15 16 A redesigned lesson 17 English club on march 18 19 20 Preparing for English book club 21 Internet library 22 Poor kind of English book at book shop in Đien Lu 23 ... observation 1.5 New aspect of the study  This study finds out the real causes of ineffective English teaching and learning at Ha Van Mao highschool that has not been caried out before  The suggested. .. collected information proves that the Engish teachers of Ha Van Mao highschool are mainly young and not very experienced in their teaching They often have 5- 10 year experience More than a half of... English in school year 2014-2015 I conducted in Ha Van Mao high school, English is the subject that sudent performed the worst The data used were the English result at the end of school year matched
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