Sáng kiến kinh nghiệm How to improve students’ speaking skill while teaching other skills

 I. PROBLEM SITUATION:

 1. Reasons for choosing the theme:

 1.1. Rationale of theory:

 Nowadays, English is playing a very important role in the global development. Therefore, the teaching of English has been improved in method of the communicative, learner-centered approach which is adaptable to give students many opportunities to communicate in English. However, at many junior high schools in Vietnam, the teaching of English has not really developed students’ ability, activeness and motivation.

 1.2. Rationale of practice:

 Speaking is a crucial part of language learning. The mastery of speaking skill in English is a priority for many language learners. Nowadays, many learners even consider the ability to speak the language is the aim of language learning. They often evaluate their success in language learning as well as the effectiveness of their English courses on the basic of how well they feel they have improved in the spoken language proficiency. Despite its importance, for a long time, teaching speaking has been depreciated. Traditional teaching methods have seemed to emphasize the learning of language system (rules of grammar and lists of vocabulary items ) as a goal in its own right and failed to give learners an ability to gain realistic experiences in actually using the language knowledge gained. Moreover, very often when people study a language, they accumulate a lot of 'up-in the head' knowledge, but then find that they can't actually use this language to express what they want to.

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 would like to provide you with a basic route-map plan for running a simple EFL activity (English as a Foreign Language):
 Activity route map:
Teachers should:
1. Before the lesson: (teachers prepare at home)
- familiarize themselves with the material and the activity.
- prepare any materials or texts they need.
2. In class: 
- lead-in and prepare for the activity (this may help to raise motivation or interest, or perhaps to focus on language items that might be useful in the activity.
- model the conversation or the talk. Typical lead-ins are: showing a picture connected to the topic, asking questions/writing up or reading out a sentence starting a viewpoint, eliciting reactions/ .... 
3. 
- set up the activity: giving instructions, making groupings, organizing the class, ect.
4. 
- run the activity: Students do the activity, maybe in pairs or in groups while teachers monitor and help them.
5.
- close the activity and invite feedbacks from learners: Teachers ask some groups to perform in front of the class and give feedbacks.
6. Post activity: 
- do any appropriate follow-on work.
 Good atmosphere in the class and friendly relationship between teachers and students:
 Presenting their opinions and feelings in front of a lot of people in their native language has been a challenge to many people and using another language to convey what they want to say is of course more challenging. Therefore, if the teacher does not encourage his students and make them feel good about their teacher and their lessons, the class will become tense and dull and interaction cannot take place in the class effectively. 
 As a teacher in a language class, we should always create a good class atmosphere from the beginning because our students, especially young students, will have no communication if they do not feel good about their teachers and their English class.
 Teacher's and students' involvement: 
 The main aim of organizing a communicative activity is to get students to speak, then one way to achieve that would be for a teacher to reduce his own contributions. Probably the less a teacher speaks, the more space it will allow his students. It could be useful to aim to say nothing while the activity is underway, and save any contribution for before and after.
4. Improving students’ speaking while teaching other skills:
 4.1. While teaching reading, listening and writing:
 As it has been mentioned above, speaking is an important skill to any learners of English or any other languages. Therefore, teachers must help students to make full use of every chance to practice speaking. This can be done at different stages of a lesson: Pre-, While- and Post-. Before students read or listen to a text/ a dialogue/ a conversation or write about a certain topic, they should be prepared for what they are going to read about in advance by discussing some questions and talking about their own experiences relating to the topic. These activities can be carried out in pairs or in groups, or sometimes teachers ask questions and students answer. The teacher at this time should play the role of an assistant. Teachers should use different ways to encourage students to be engaged in oral communication and to present their ideas. Teachers can also apply this when they present new language (vocabulary, structures, etc.) or review what their students have learned. Teachers can make students think and pay more attention to their teaching by asking students for their opinions, suggestions, or by encouraging them to guess new words, by having them contribute what they remember or already know instead of introducing directly the new lesson. 
 Some of the communicative tasks teachers can give students while teaching listening or reading or writing may be as follows:
Discussing about the text
Summarizing texts
Reviewing texts
Using a 'follow-up' speaking task related to the topic
 Clearly, teachers can encourage students to share their knowledge with those who do not and teachers can help students make full use of every chance to practice speaking. And in fact, telling someone about what they have read or listened is a very natural reaction to a text. 
 Speaking activities can be also used as a mean for students to check their answers with each other after they listen or read a text/ a dialogue/. Students may answer their teachers’ questions directly or discuss the questions in pairs.
 Furthermore, teachers can encourage students to talk by asking them to summarize what they have read or listened. Students take turns to talk in groups and then they may present their ideas in pairs. 
 4.2. Some illustrations of TEACHING SPEAKING by using communicative tasks while teaching reading, listening or writing:
Pre-reading stage:
 I designed a discussion activity in the pre-reading stage of Period 30 (Unit 5/B3- Tiếng Anh 7). My students worked in groups of 4 or 5, discussing the following two questions:
As a Vietnamese student, what do you usually do at recess?
Do you think American students often do the same things or different things at recess?
 Another illustration is that my students had to discuss the question “What do you often do after school?” in the pre-reading part of Period 31 (Unit 6/A1- Tiếng Anh 7). The students were encouraged to answer the question in close pairs in a given amount of time and then they worked in two teams, completing the wordwebs in a limited amount of time. 
Pre-listening stage: 
 The following is a pre-listening activity designed to give my students the chance to practice speaking English. I had prepared a photo of a library and in the pre-listening part of the fifth lesson of Unit 4 (B3,4- Tiếng Anh 7), I told my students to look at the photo and answer my question: “Is it a photo of a library?”. It was quite easy for my students to give their answer “Yes”. 
 Next, a series of other questions were raised and some individuals of the class gave their answers to the questions when the rest of the class listened and corrected their classmates’ mistakes if necessary.
“What are they?” (The answer key: They are the bookshelves.)
“What can you see on the shelves?” (The answer key: I can see many books.) 
“What is it?” (The answer key: It is the study area/ the reading area.)
“Who are they?” (The answer key: They are the readers.)
 Then, the picture of a library (Unit 4/B3- Tiếng Anh 7) was introduced to the class and other questions were raised:
“What is it for number 8?” (The answer key: It is the librarian’s desk.)
“Where is it?”
“What is it for number 1?” (The answer key: It is the study area.)
“Where is it?”
“What are they for number 4 and number 5?” 
(The answer key: They are the racks.)
“Where are they?”
 ect.
 This activity helped my students practice speaking something by answering my questions and by student-student correcting their mistakes and helped me present the new vocabulary in an active interaction with the students. 
 Another illustration is a discussion question in the pre-listening activity of lesson 5 of Unit 8 (B4 - Tiếng Anh 7). My students were asked to look at the pictures of the five things that Mrs. Robinson buys and my students (in close pairs) answer the question “What does Mrs. Robinson buy?”. I raised the question so as to check my students’ knowledge for the vocabulary shown in the pictures and gave them the opportunity to talk something. 
Pre-writing stage: 
 In fact, almost all writing tasks are often designed in the post-reading, post-listening and post-speaking stages of the lessons in Tiếng Anh 6 and Tiếng Anh 7. The writing skill is taught much more officially in Tiếng Anh 8 and Tiếng Anh 9.
 In order to help my students better do the writing task “Write lists of things you do in different seasons and then write about you, beginning with In the spring, I” for Unit 13/B2 (Tiếng Anh 6), my grade 6 students were first encouraged to make dialogues with their partners. 
 Example: 
Student A: What do you do in the spring?
Student B: I usually ride a bike. What do you do in the spring?
Student A: I often go fishing. What do you do in the fall?
Student B: I 
 ect. 
This is the image of my two students making their own dialogue.
Post-reading stage:
 Various speaking activities are often designed in this part of a reading lesson. These are the illustrations:
 For lesson 3 of Unit 1/ B1,2,3 (Period 4- Tiếng Anh 7), I gave my students the chance to retell about Hoa as the post-reading activity. The 
re-telling task was done with the help of the NET on the board. 
 The following is a photo of the board demonstration:
 This is a photo of one of my students re-telling about Hoa in front of the class and she got mark 9 for her good presentation.
 Another example is the post-reading activity of asking and answering questions about the library plan in B1 (“Where are the newspapers and magazines?” / “They are on the racks in the middle of the library.” / ) and describing this library. 
Post-listening stage:
 “Make your own dialogues, using the given cues” was a post-listening activity of lesson 4 of Unit 13/ B1,2 (Tiếng Anh 7). In this activity, my students worked in open pairs and close pairs. Good marks were given to the students with their good demonstration and no bad marks were given in this activity in order to arouse my students’ confidence, motivation and excitement. 
 Before that above-mentioned speaking task, a game (used as a transitional tool) called MIMING was designed so as to fill in the activity with more excitement.
 [ one student was miming playing soccer. The rest of the class tried to guess what he was doing. Then, this student invited his classmate to play soccer with him, basing on the following suggestion:
 ]
 4.3. Improving students’ speaking skill while teaching “grammar practice” or “language focus”:
 Teaching grammar sometimes makes students feel passive and bored. Mostly, teachers only teach grammar rules and ask students to do exercises in a passive way. If we observe a Traditional Grammar Teaching class in most of the schools in our district, we may find out that nearly every teacher follows a simple way like this: Firstly, the teacher lists the grammar rules. Then, the students learn by heart all the rules and do some exercises. Lastly, the teacher gives more written exercises such as blank-filling or translation, . This is quite similar to what we called 3P theory: Presentation, Practice and Production. These three stages convey different purposes. Presentation is to present new language in context so that the meaning is clear, to present the new form in a natural spoken or written text so that students can see its use in discourse, to link the new form to what students already know, to check comprehension, to elicit the form from students where possible and exploit their existing knowledge.
 And when students learn English this way, some of them would have good command of English especially in the examinations, but when they open their mouth, they always find that they can’t get a proper word to express themselves or sometimes when someone points out some mistakes in their speech they can hardly believe that they have made such silly mistakes. Most of my students mention that they are quite sure to have learned the corresponding term but they can’t help making mistakes when they talk. That is the question which is going to be focused on. Nowadays, most of us realize that in order to teach grammar lessons effectively so that students can not only remember grammar rules but also apply the language in communication, we should resourcefully move as quickly as possible from certain pattern drills to oral interaction because each student really likes talking about his or her own ideas and feelings. We should give them a reason to use the structure we teach in conversation. Let’s look at some examples:
 A very simple communication task is designed in the GRAMMAR PRACTICE lesson immediately after Unit 14 (Tiếng Anh 6). A series of questions were raised and my students practiced asking and answering them. This activity was a transition to EXERCISE 5.
 Another illustration is seen in LANGUAGE FOCUS 4 lesson (Tiếng Anh 7). With the target grammatical knowledge of the PAST SIMPLE TENSE, my students were asked to look at the given pictures and answer the question orally.
 And immediately after this interaction activity was another interaction one in EXERCISE 1
 Above are some examples in which we can use communicative tasks to help students practice English while learning Grammar. Giving them as many chances to practice speaking English as possible is the best way to help them improve their speaking skill.
 4.4. Developing students’ speaking skill while teaching “Presentation-Practice-Production” lessons:
 This illustration is extracted from lesson 1 of Unit 14 (Tiếng Anh 6). 
This oral task was designed in the production stage of the lesson. In order to make the communicative activity easy enough for my students to fulfill, I gave each of them the hand-out and helped them complete their network on their hand-outs first. 
 The following photo of a part of the board was taken at the end of the lesson.
This is the photo of my students working in close pairs, asking and answering about their plans for this summer vacation.
 In order to encourage my students not to speak in their L1, I was walking around the classroom, monitoring their participation and giving them support and help if necessary.
 * RESULTS:
 After a period of time of conducting these solutions, to my expectation, I have gained satisfying results. I've found that my students have become more confident and active in their speaking lessons. Many of them said that they no longer feel their speaking lessons stressful and too difficult. Most of them admitted that their speaking skill has been improved a lot day by day. 
 In fact, I usually encourage my students to feel excited and confident in their oral skill; therefore, I usually give them good grades when they do their speaking tasks well or quite well and I do not discourage them by giving them bad grades when they do not fulfill their oral exercises. Instead of that, I always give these students positive feedbacks so that they will try their best later. However, my students are told that their speaking skill is always assessed during the school year and their constant progress is always positively taken into consideration. In addition, their results for the final term oral exams account for 30% of the total results for this language subject. 
 * THE SATISTICS OF THIS SCHOOL YEAR:
 The results of the first term oral exam 
 Grade
Number of students
Mark 5 and over
Under mark 5
 total
 rate
 total
 rate
 7
 45
 30
 67%
 15
 33%
 Grade
Number of students
Mark 5 and over
Under mark 5
 total
 rate
 total
 rate
 6
 30
 18
 60%
 12
 40%
 Grade
Number of students
Mark 5 and over
Under mark 5
 total
 rate
 total
 rate
 7
 45
 30
 67%
 15
 33%
The results of the second term oral exam
 Grade
Number of students
Mark 5 and over
Under mark 5
 total
 rate
 total
 rate
 7
 45
 35
 78%
 10
 22%
 Grade
Number of students
Mark 5 and over
Under mark 5
 total
 rate
 total
 rate
 6
 30
 21
 70%
 9
 30%
 III. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
Conclusion:
 Speaking is an important part of second language learning to any learners. The ability to communicate in English clearly and efficiently contributes to great success of the learner in school and to far better success later in his life. Therefore, it is essential that language teachers pay great attention to helping students develop their speaking skill rather than leading students to pure memorization. Teachers should provide students with a rich environment where meaningful communication takes place while teaching any other skill. With this aim, various speaking activities can contribute a great deal to students in developing basic interactive skills necessary for life. These activities make students more active in the learning process and at the same time make their learning more meaningful and fun for them. And remember the English proverb: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”.
 2. Recommendations:
 2. 1. Recommendations to THE EDUCATION AND TRAINING COMMITTEE DIVISION and my school: 
 - I recommend that THE EDUCATION AND TRAINING COMMITTEE DIVISION hold more sample teaching lessons, using various useful teaching techniques in an artistic way in order to attract students’ enthusiasm in communication tasks.
 - I suggest that THE MANAGING BOARD of my school buy more and more materials of methodology for the teachers of the school. As a result, the teachers should have a better chance to develop their job. 
 2. 2. Recommendations to other teachers: 
 - Indeed, I know that I am not really full of experience in teaching because the number of years I have involved in this job is still far smaller than many of my colleagues. Therefore, I would need useful comments and supplements from experienced teachers so that my initiative ideas would be much better.
 Sincerely!
 Ha Noi, April 5th 2016
The headmaster’s identification:
I am sure that I myself have
written this experiential initiative.
This document is not someone else’s copy.
 The writer,
 .
IV. REFERENCE BOOKS
Celce-Murcia. M. 2001. Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language (3rd ed). USA: Heinle & Heinle.
Chaney, A.L., and T.L. Burk. 1998. Teaching Oral Communication in Grades K-8. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Baruah, T.C. 1991. The English Teacher's Handbook. Delhi: Sterling Publishing House.
Brown, G. and G. Yule. 1983. Teaching the Spoken Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Harmer, J. 1984. The Practice of English Language Teaching. London: Longman.
McDonough, J. and C. Shaw. 2003. Materials and Methods in ELT: a teacher’s  guide. Malden, MA; Oxford: Blackwell.
Nunan, D., 2003. Practical English Language Teaching. NY: McGraw-Hill.
 ENTRY
______@&?______
 CONTENT 
PAGE
I. Problem situation 
1
 1. Reasons for choosing the theme
1
 1.1. Rationale of theory 
1
 1.2. Rationale of practice 
1
 1.3. Urgency
1
 1.4 My ability
2
 2. Purpose of study
2
 3. Researched knowledge
2
 4. Researched participants
2
 5. Ways to conduct the theme
2
 6. Time and place for conducting the theme
2
II. Problem solution
3
Logical basic
3
Practical basic
3
While teaching speaking itself
3
While teaching other skills
13
 * Results
30
 * The statistics of this school year
30
III. Conclusion and recommendations
31
Conclusion
31
Recommendations
31
 2.1. To my school and the EDUCATION &TRAINING COMMITTEE DIVISION
31
 2.2. To other teachers
32
IV. Reference books
33
Ý KIẾN NHẬN XÉT, ĐÁNH GIÁ VÀ XẾP LOẠI
CỦA HỘI ĐỒNG KHOA HỌC CƠ SỞ
 Ngày tháng năm 2016
 Chủ tịch hội đồng
 (ký tên, đóng dấu)
 Ý KIẾN NHẬN XÉT, ĐÁNH GIÁ VÀ XẾP LOẠI
 CỦA HỘI ĐỒNG KHOA HỌC CẤP TRÊN 
 Ngày tháng năm 2016
 Chủ tịch hội đồng
 (ký tên, đóng dấu)
PHÒNG GDĐT HUYỆN THANH OAI CỘNG HÒA XÃ HỘI CHỦ NGHĨA VIỆT NAM
 Độc lập- Tự do- Hạnh phúc 
BIÊN BẢN CHẤM VÀ XÉT DUYỆT SÁNG KIẾN KINH NGHIỆM
Tên SKKN: “HOW TO IMPROVE STUDENTS’ SPEAKING SKILL WHILE TEACHING OTHER SKILLS”
Tác giả: .
Môn: Tiếng Anh 
Đánh giá của Hội đồng chấm (Ghi tóm tắt những đánh giá chính):
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
 Tính sáng tạo: . / 4 điểm
 Tính KH, SP :  / 4 điểm
 Tính hiệu quả:  / 6 điểm
 Tính phổ biến, ứng dụng:  / 6 điểm
Xếp loại: ..
( Xếp loại A: Từ 17 đến 20 điểm
 Xếp loại B: Từ 14 đến < 17 điểm
 Xếp loại C: Từ 10 đến < 14 điểm
 Không xếp loại: < 10 điểm)
 Người chấm 1 Người chấm 2 Ngày  tháng  năm 2016
(Ký, ghi rõ họ tên) (Ký, ghi rõ họ tên) Chủ tịch Hội đồng xét duyệt 

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