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Table 1.1 Students’ scores in the preceding term

Table 1.1 Students’ scores in the preceding term

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Tài liu lun vn s phm 38 of 63.



Table 1.2 The content in the textbook “Speak Out, Upper- Intermediate” is

difficult for me

No



Totally



response



disagree



Partly disagree



Neither agree

nor disagree



Partly agree



Totally



Total



agree



N



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



0



0



0



0



0



0



0



7



28%



18



72



25



100%



The table 1.2 shows that the majority of the students agreed that the

difficulty of the textbook “Speak Out- Upper Intermediate” makes them

disinterested in learning speaking in the class. In other words, the results

revealed that the use of the textbook might demotivate students to improve their

speaking skills.



Table 1.3 The speaking activities in the textbook “Speak Out, UpperIntermediate” are boring

No



Totally



Partly



Neither agree



response



disagree



Disagree



nor disagree



N



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



0



0



0



0



0



5



20%



5



20%



15



60%



25



100



Partly Agree



Totally

Agree



Total



When asked about their opinions of the statement “The speaking

activities in the textbook “Speak Out, Upper- Intermediate” are boring”, only

20% (5 students) were neutral while 80% (20 students) agreed that the activities

in the textbook “Speak Out – Upper Intermediate” did not interest them. It is

implied that the speaking activities are not interesting to the majority of

students.



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Tài liu lun vn s phm 39 of 63.



Table 1.4 I was afraid of speaking in front of the class

No



Totally



Partly



Neither agree



response



disagree



Disagree



nor disagree



N



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



0



0



0



0



0



3



12%



7



28%



15



60%



25



100%



Partly Agree



Totally



Total



Agree



A great majority of students (88%) agreed that there was a level of

anxiety arising when they speak. They are shy to express their ideas because of

being watched by other students or afraid of making mistakes. The results

showed that students were still anxious when speaking.

Table 1.5 My vocabulary is not good

Neither



No



Totally



Partly



response



disagree



Disagree



agree nor



Partly



Totally



Agree



Agree



disagree



Total



N



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



0



0



0



0



0



0



0



6



24%



19



76%



25



100



76% (19 students) chose “Totally agree” when it comes to the statement

“My vocabulary is not good”. It can be inferred that students hesitate to speak

because of their lack of vocabulary, which could make their ideas not fully

expressed.

Table 1.6 My pronunciation is not good

No



Totally



Partly



Neither agree



Partly



Totally



response



disagree



Disagree



nor disagree



Agree



Agree



N



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



0



0



0



0



0



4



16%



8



32



13



52%



24



100



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Total



Tài liu lun vn s phm 40 of 63.



As from the table, it is apparent that students’ pronunciation is also a

challenge to students when more than a half of them totally agreed that they

cannot speak competently because of their bad pronunciation. 4 students were

undivided with the statement.

Table 1.7 I do not have enough opportunities to speak in class

No

response



Totally disagree



Neither



Partly

Disagree



agree nor



Partly



Totally



Agree



Agree



disagree



Total



N



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



N



%



0



0



0



0



0



0



0



6



24%



19



76%



25



100



Table 1.6 shows that 76 % (19 students) totally agreed that they do not

have sufficient time to speak. 6 students partly agreed with the statement. None

of them disagreed with the statement. The results suggested that students have

few opportunities to practice speaking English in class.

1.2 Planning

Before conducting the study, the researcher had a meeting with the

students. The procedure of participating in the Socratic Seminars had already

been introduced to the students and they also were carefully instructed how to

ask the right questions in the discussion. After that the researcher assigned the

students to read the prepared text at home and encouraged them to ask at least

three questions about the text and discuss the text with their partners when they

come to the class.

2. Action and Observation stage

Week 1(19/3/2019): The text discussed in the first week was “Half of

teens think that they are addicted to their smartphones. (Kelly Wallace, CNN,

2016).” The researcher observed that although the topic “Technology” of the

text was familiar with the students, they were still confused and hesitate to be

the first to put the questions. They mainly talked about things outside the text.

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Tài liu lun vn s phm 41 of 63.



The researcher thus had to play a role as a leader in the discussion, and called on

some students randomly to ask the questions and share their ideas within the

text. When students were more confident, they began to ask their friends

questions on the text, and they seemed to feel more relaxed to express their ideas

without any intervention from the researcher. After ten minutes, they felt

happier and enjoyed participating in the discussion. The main kind of questions

they often asked was factual questions, which their answers can be easily seen

from the text.

Week 2 (26/3/2019): The article that the researcher assigned students to

read before class was “Yes, sitting too long can kill you, even if you exercise

(Susan Scutti, CNN, 2017).” This health-related article can be seen as a

challenge to them because students said although they were really concerned

about health issues; they did not have enough vocabulary to fully understand the

text, which might affect the quality of the discussion. There were some students

who did not talk or share anything with their classmates in the conversation. The

classroom atmosphere was uncomfortable. The researcher can see some students

struggled to speak but they expressed only a few ideas and then kept silent. The

researcher assumed that the difficulty of the text and the poor preparation of

some students made the classroom atmosphere uncomfortable and tense.

Week 3 (2/4/2019): In the third week, the students discussed the article

“How much exercise do I really need? (Jordan Metzi, CNN, 2017)”. The

researcher observed that the classroom atmosphere was more comfortable. The

students expressed more ideas with their friends, they also laughed a lot when a

student made a statement: “If I were a policy maker, I would impose a law to

make people do exercise every day”. Although some students thought the text

contains some advanced words, which makes it more difficult to grasp the text,

the other students agreed that they can share many ideas on the text, and they

can use the ideas from reading the text effectively.



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Tài liu lun vn s phm 42 of 63.



3. Students’ responses from the first interview

A group of three students were invited to join the interview. The

researcher had an informal meeting with the students, telling them the aim of the

interview and ask them to respond sincerely to make improvements for the next

research cycle.

3.1 Students’ comments on the previous and present speaking class

The researcher began the interview by asking the students to express

their ideas about previous and present speaking class. They responded as

follows:

More chances to speak: Students agreed that when the Socratic

Seminars were implemented, they had more opportunities to practice speaking:

In the previous class, we did not have many chances to practice

speaking. At home, our parents did not know English so the

opportunities to speak were limited. Now we can practice

speaking more because we discussed and found the solutions to

the problems. (S2)

3.2 Positive aspects

Joyfulness: All students felt good about the new environment that the

technique created. They said they enjoyed most of the lessons and did not feel

sleepy as previously.

We feel so happy because we can talk face to face. The table

arrangement is so good. It can create a more comfortable

learning environment. (S1, S2, S3)

Interesting topics: The students said that the topics used to discuss in the

seminars were more interesting than the topics in the textbook. They felt it was

more applicable in their lives.



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Tài liu lun vn s phm 43 of 63.



I like the topics used in the discussion. When we discuss the article

“Sitting too long can kill you, even when you exercise”, it helps

me to realize the importance of doing exercise and how to keep

yourself healthy. (S2)

The topics used in the class are practical to me. I feel I have the

motivation to learn about it because it somehow helps me a lot in

my life. (S3)

3.3 Students’ progress

The researcher also asked the students to reflect on their improvement in

their English after participating in the Socratic Seminars. The students’

responses were presented as follows:

Confidence in speaking English: Students said that because they had

chances to speak a lot and they were afraid of making the discussion worse

when they say nothing, they become more confident than before.

I can use English confidently than previously. We had to speak a

lot because we’re afraid that if we were silent, this would

determine the discussion. (S3)

I used to be afraid of making mistakes. I’m really scared to be

laughed by other students when I was wrong. But now it is better

for me to speak because when we were in a face-to-face

discussion, I dare to speak English without hesitation. (S1)

Vocabulary improvement: Students expressed their positive thinking

when they participated in the seminars, they had to deal with many new words

and collocations, which could help them to improve their English vocabulary.

Well, I learnt a lot from the texts we discussed in the seminars.

There are many collocations used in the texts which we can apply

to practice speaking. I feel I could speak English more naturally.

(S2)

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Tài liu lun vn s phm 44 of 63.



We have to fully understand the text to ask questions, so that it is

necessary to look up for the new words and collocations. I can

improve my vocabulary from doing this. (S1)

3.4 Students’ criticism and suggested changes

3.4.1 Students’ criticism

Text difficulty: It is noticeable that all the students agreed that some texts

contained too many difficult words, which makes it difficult for them to

understand the whole text.

Because we used the English- Vietnamese dictionary, so that the

meaning is not accurate enough, which makes us not totally

understand the text. (S1,S2,S3)

Nomination: Students observed that some students contributed to the

discussion a lot while there were some students staying in silence.

I saw that when it comes to the topic which some students found

interesting, they wanted to speak a lot and shared anything they

know about the topic while those who found the topics not

interesting to them, they said nothing. (S2)

I think everyone should contribute to the discussion. Some

students spoke too much and some did not talk anything. (S1)

3.4.2 Students’ suggested changes

Explanation: Students thought that there should be an explanation of the

words included in the text, so that they can easily understand the text.

Explanation is the best way of teaching to us, because some

learning topics are too difficult to understand within a short

period of time. (S1,S3)

Leader appointment: In order to make sure that every student has equal

chances to speak up their minds, it is suggested that there should be a leader and

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a co-leader whose mission is to lead a discussion, ask follow-up questions and

call on any students in the discussion, to prevent only one or two the students

from dominating the discussion.

It is necessary to have a leader. He can control what happens in

the discussion, and call on those who remain silent to share their

ideas with the members of the class. (S2)

4. Reflection on research

The implementation of the technique had brought a positive change in the

students’ participation. The researcher observed that every student had the

chance to speak and those who were considered as formerly passive now

became more active learners. The classroom atmosphere, after implementing the

technique, had been more comfortable than it used to be. However, there were

some changes suggested by the students for the next cycle. The researcher

would provide students with the explanation of the new words in the text and

appoint two students as a leader and a co-leader.

5. Summary

This chapter illustrates the stages in the first cycle. Students’ opinions

towards the new technique were also presented through the interview. The

results from the interview showed that they had more chances to speak and the

technique had brought joyfulness to them. Moreover, the students interviewed

indicated that they improved their vocabulary and confidence in speaking

English after taking part in the discussion. Also, students expressed their strong

preference for the new technique when compared to those used in traditional

classrooms.



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Tài liu lun vn s phm 46 of 63.



CHAPTER IV

ACTION AND OUTCOMES OF RESEARCH CYCLE TWO

1. Planning stage

Before conducting research cycle two, the researcher had an informal

meeting with the students and asked them to suggest the topics they would like

to discuss in this cycle. They proposed many topics such as social life,

technology, famous people, health, etc. Moreover, the researcher analyzed the

data from video-based observation and students’ responses from the first

interview in cycle one to revise the plan in the next cycle.

2. Action and Observation stage

Week 4 (9/4/2019): The article that used in this week was “Attention

students! Put your laptop away! (CNN news)” In this cycle, the researcher

appointed two students as a leader and a co-leader. Also, an explanation part

was included in the article as suggested by students in the previous interview.

From the researcher’s observation, every student tried to think and express their

ideas about the topics. Moreover, there were two leaders appointed to play

leadership roles in the discussion. They initiated the discussion by asking a

question and called on any students to answer. After that, they also put followup questions forward to gain other students’ attention and ideas. The researcher

was impressed that the students worked more actively when the leader and coleader led the discussion. They seemed to be less anxious when they discussed

with their friends, not with the researcher. The student appeared to be interested

in the topic when they had to give arguments to defense their ideas in a civil

manner. Some students expressed their strong disagreement with the article

while some strongly agreed. However, the researcher informed them from the

beginning of the study that this was the seminar instead of the debate, so they

had to learn how to listen attentively and respect each other’s opinions.

Week 5 (16/4/2019): In the fifth week, students discussed the article “Are

celebrities bad for you? (British Council)” In this lesson, there were another two

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Tài liu lun vn s phm 47 of 63.



students appointed as leader and co-leader in the discussion. The students

enjoyed the lesson because the topic “Celebrity” was popular with them. The

class was full of laughter. When a student mentioned the negative effects of

some famous people had on teenagers, the students listed the names of some

people who had recently been a phenomenon in Vietnam and how they affected

the teenagers, they seemed to find it really funny. It appeared that the students

understood the text better when they asked a lot of questions within the text

instead of mainly discussing things outside the text in the cycle one. The

researcher assumed that this could be attributed to the explanation part included

in the reading text.

3. Reflection on changes

After the completion of cycle two, the researcher noticed that students

were more active to learn because they determined what was going to be

discussed in the seminars. Moreover, thanks to the contribution of the two

leaders, the students might be more attentive because they could be called on at

any time to answer the questions. Students also raised many good questions

because they were fully provided with the explanation of the new words.

However, it is necessary to notice that because of traditional methods, students

regarded themselves as knowledge receivers, which could result in their lack of

critical thinking. Although Vietnamese educators and policy makers are shifting

their focus towards fostering critical thinking, this issue still needs time to be

improved.

4. Students’ responses from the interview

The researcher invited another three students in the class excluding three

students who took part in the previous interview to participate in this interview.

Firstly, the researcher asked the students about their feelings towards change in

the classroom atmosphere when compared to the traditional one. The students’

responses were presented as follows:



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Tài liu lun vn s phm 48 of 63.



4.1 Students’ comments on the previous and present speaking class

A lively learning environment: All students agreed that the environment

that the researcher created was more lively:

The former classroom was changed into a more active classroom.

(S4,5,6)

4.2 Positive aspects

Autonomy in learning: The students showed that the use of Socratic

Seminars helped them to learn responsibly:

I had to study carefully at home because I was afraid that when I

came to the class, I had nothing to say, which made me shy and it

was embarrassing. (S4)

I find the text interesting and I wanted to know more about it, so I

spent more time at home reading the text, thinking about it and ask

myself questions. (S5)

Less stress: Students showed their agreement that they felt less stressed

because they talked to their friends and they chose their favorite topics. The

researcher found that students felt more confident because they were no longer

corrected their mistakes immediately when they finished speaking, which could

improve their fluency in speaking:

I feel freer when I am in the new learning environment. I used to

be scared of speaking English because whenever I made mistakes,

my teacher would immediately correct them, which intimidated

me. (S1)

4.3 Students’ progress

Positive attitude towards learning English: Two students agreed that

the use of Socratic Seminars facilitated them to learn English more effectively.

They used to be stressed because of not being able to speak a full sentence:

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Table 1.1 Students’ scores in the preceding term

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