Sinh viên chuyên ngành tiếng Anh tham gia giờ học kỹ năng nói tiếng Anh - Hiện trạng và giải pháp

Sự tham gia của sinh viên trong giờ học là vô cùng quan trọng trong quá trình dạy và học. Khi phát biểu

ý kiến trong lớp, sinh viên học được cách trình bày ý tưởng để người khác hiểu được. Khi đặt câu hỏi,

sinh viên học được cách thu nhận thông tin để tăng vốn hiểu biết về một chủ đề. Thông qua câu hỏi của

sinh viên, giáo viên cũng biết được khó khăn sinh viên gặp phải và từ đó điều chỉnh cách dạy của mình

cho hiệu quả hơn. Tuy nhiên, nhiều sinh viên chuyên ngành tiếng Anh tại Trường Đại học Hải Phòng

chưa tích cực tham gia vào hoạt động học tập trong các giờ học kỹ năng nói tiếng Anh. Bài viết trình

bày nguyên nhân của tình trạng trên và đề ra một số giải pháp để khuyến khích sinh viên tham gia hoạt

động học tập trên lớp hiệu quả.

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Sinh viên chuyên ngành tiếng Anh tham gia giờ học kỹ năng nói tiếng Anh - Hiện trạng và giải pháp
t to the offender can be 
asked to respond. In this way, the teacher 
can manage the class more effectively.
Last but not least, participation can 
be used to develop communication skills, 
especially public speaking skill. In many 
professional contexts, people need to be 
able to speak up in a group. They may 
need to offer information, ask questions, 
or argue for a different solution. If students 
actively take part in learning activities in 
class, they will get these skills because 
the more students participate in class, the 
better they will develop these skills. Then 
they will be well-prepared for the future 
and meet the job requirements.
3. METHODOLOGY
3.1. Description of participants
The study was carried out on thirty 
five fourth year English Majors and five 
teachers of English.
The students have been learning 
English for 10 years. Most of them come 
from the countryside of the Northern 
provinces. At secondary school, the 
aim of their learning English is passing 
the national examination and entering 
university. That’s why these students 
focused on learning grammatical rules and 
doing grammar, vocabulary and reading 
exercises. They hardly practised speaking 
and listening skill. When they entered 
HPU, speaking was one of the target skills 
they were expected to master and until 
then they started to practise speaking skill.
The five teachers taking part in the 
study have been teaching the four practical 
language skills for at least 10 years. They 
have experienced a lot of difficulties in 
teaching students with low motivation in 
learning and low participation in class, 
therefore, they have gained a lot of 
valuable experience.
3.2. Description of the questionnaires
Two questionnaires were designed. 
The first one for students consisting of two 
questions aimed to get the information 
about the students’ participation in 
English speaking classes. The second 
one for teachers including one question 
103TẠP CHÍ KHOA HỌC, Số 41, tháng 7 năm 2020
aimed at gathering information about their 
observation on students’ participation in 
their English speaking classes.
4. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
4.1.Results from Questionnaire 1
Table 1: Information given by the students on how they participate in the 
English speaking lessons
Options A B C D E
Number of 
students
11 (31%) 21 (60%) 3 (0.85%) 24 (68%) 11 (32%)
1. How do you participate in English 
speaking classes?
A. I attend all of the classes.
B. I attend over 75% of classes.
C. I attend under 75% of classes.
D. I do not actively take part in the 
learning activities. 
E. I actively take part in the learning 
activities
As can be seen from Table 1, most of 
the students (60%) attend over 75% of 
the classes, which means that they have 
good physical attendance in the speaking 
classes. However, only 32% of the 
students said that they actively took part 
in the speaking classes whereas the other 
68% admitted that they did not take part 
in learning activities. It can be inferred 
that they were in class but they had 
very poor mental participation in class. 
Let’s see from their point of view what 
hindered them from getting involved in 
speaking classes.
Table 2: Information given by the students on the reasons why they have low participation 
in English speaking classes
Options A B C D E F G H I J K L
N0 of Ss’ 9
2.5%
23
76%
17
48%
21
60%
14
40%
15
42%
26
74%
23
76%
6
1.7%
11
31%
7
2%
8
2.2%
2. Why do you not participate in English 
speaking classes?
A. I’m too shy.
B. I’m afraid of making mistakes.
C. I’m afraid of being made joke of.
D. I don’t have much to say.
E. My vocabulary is poor.
F. I’m not good at grammar.
G. I’m lazy.
H. I don’t make a good preparation 
before classes.
I. The learning materials are not 
interesting to me.
J. The learning materials are too 
difficult to me.
K. The teacher is not friendly.
L. The teacher’s learning activities 
designed by the teacher are not interesting.
The results from question 2 showed 
the two major areas of reasons: the 
students’ negative personal traits and 
their negative learning habits. Over 50% 
of the students chose the options B, C, 
G, H, admitting that they were afraid of 
making mistakes and of being laughed at 
if they were wrong. These students were 
104 TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC HẢI PHÒNG
so shy that they found it hard to speak in 
front of others. They felt that if they spoke 
and surely made mistakes, the classmates 
would make jokes of them and they would 
lose face then. That’s why they chose 
a much safer option: keeping silent in 
speaking lessons and listening to their 
partners. Obviously, their shyness, their 
silence hinder them from taking part in 
the learning activities. This explains the 
fact that many students hardly miss any 
lessons but they cannot improve their 
speaking skill. The truth is that they just 
show their physical participation, not their 
metal/oral involvement.
Besides their negative psychological 
traits, these students owned negative 
learning habits. 74% of the participants 
claimed that they were lazy and did not 
make a good preparation before class. This 
naturally explains why they did not have 
much to say in class. Let’s imagine the 
students coming to class without exploring 
the materials and searching for the related 
information, what would they have to 
share with their partners? Being called on 
in class to discuss course materials when 
they’re unprepared is every student’s 
biggest nightmare. The technique think/
pair/share does not seem to be applicable 
in this case because perhaps these students 
even do not know what the class is talking 
about, let alone share their information 
with their partners. Unfortunately, 
students who are unprepared for class 
discussions are missing out on a lot of 
potential learning opportunities.
Not many students (under 31%) 
complained about the learning materials, 
activities and teachers. Obviously, it can 
be inferred from the data that the biggest 
obstacles that hindered the students from 
taking part in the speaking classes do not 
come from the learning materials or the 
teachers’ teaching methodology, but they 
come from the students themselves. This 
fact should be confirmed by the teachers’ 
point of view.
4.2. Results from Questionnaire 2
Table 3: Information provided by the teachers on the reasons why their students have low 
participation in English speaking classes
Options A B C D E F G H I J K
N0 of Ss 3
(60%)
4
(80%)
3
(60%)
4
(80%)
3
(60%)
2
(40%)
4
(80%)
4
(80%)
2
(40%)
2
(40%)
2
(40%)
Why do your students have poor mental 
participation in English speaking classes?
A. They are too shy.
B. They are afraid of making mistakes.
C. They are afraid of being made joke of.
D. They don’t have much to say.
E. Their vocabulary is poor.
F. They are not good at grammar.
G. They are lazy.
H. They don’t make a good preparation 
before classes.
I. The learning materials are not 
interesting to them.
J. The learning materials are too 
difficult to them.
K. The teaching methods are not effective.
OTHERS: (Please specify)
105TẠP CHÍ KHOA HỌC, Số 41, tháng 7 năm 2020
As shown in Table 3, over 60% of 
the teachers chose the options A, B, C, 
D, E, G and H. Under 40 % of them 
mentioned the options F, I, J and K. From 
the teachers’ observation, it can be seen 
that the students choose to keep silent in 
their English lessons because they fear 
that they will look silly, nervous, or less 
smart if they get the answer wrong, and 
their classmates will laugh at them and 
judge them for it. It seems that keeping 
quiet and listening to the classmates and 
their teachers are much safer for them. 
The teachers’ answers also revealed 
the fact that the students are not well-
prepared for the lessons. That is why 
students did not have much to say in the 
lessons and it becomes more difficult 
for the teachers to organize the learning 
activities for them. 
Thus, it could be concluded that what 
the teacher saw in their speaking classes 
coincided with the students’ own reflection: 
The reasons why the students had low 
mental participation in English speaking 
classes was their weak personality traits and 
their poor learning style. This information 
has led the author to suggest some possible 
solutions to the situation.
5. SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS
5.1. Students’ own solutions
As discussed in Section II, students’ 
mental participation in class is a key 
factor ensuring that learning takes place 
and that students have opportunities to 
gain knowledge and skills. Therefore, 
it is the students who should make 
changes first before being made to 
change by the teachers.
It is not easy for students to change 
their personality, especially for the shy 
and introverted ones. However, the lazy 
students should improve their negative 
learning style. In order to help themselves 
to be confident in class, they should spend 
time and effort to make preparation at 
home before class. If they explore the 
assigned materials and doing homework 
before going to class, surely they have 
something to share with their classmates 
and teachers. As a result, they play a part in 
the learning process and they themselves 
contribute to the success of the lessons. 
Moreover, in class, they should try their 
best to follow the teachers’ learning 
instructions and take part in pair work 
and group work activities organized by 
the teachers. Step by step, they are more 
willing to share comments and opinions in 
class and they feel they are a part in the 
learning process and make progress 
5.2. Teachers’ solutions 
From the experience shared in the 
articles of Cimmino (2007) and Shore 
(2009) and the reflection on her own 
teaching experience, the author suggests 
the following solutions to encourage 
students to participate in English 
speaking lessons.
5.2.1. How to improve the students’ fear of 
public speaking 
There are many ways of getting rid of 
the students’ fear and anxiety of making 
mistakes and losing their face in class.
First, teachers are expected to create 
a friendly learning environment which 
encourages students to speak. Students 
should feel that it is safe for them to 
speak out what they think, to ask teachers 
questions if they are not clear and even 
to make mistakes. In order to increase 
the students’ confidence, teacher’s clear 
106 TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC HẢI PHÒNG
instructions is essential because they 
make sure that students understand what 
teachers want them to do. 
Another way to minimize students’ 
fear is to design pair work and group 
work activities so that they can work in 
a much smaller environment in which 
they feel much safer than having to 
expose themselves in front of the class. 
While the students are working together, 
teachers act as instructors who monitor 
the activities and give help if necessary. It 
is advisable not to correct students while 
they are speaking because this should stop 
them from participating in class. This is 
especially acute with students who suffer 
from articulation problems.
One more way to encourage students 
to get comfortable participating is slowly 
increasing the amount they speak in class. 
If students’ talking time is being increased 
every lesson, step by step they feel more 
confident and speaking in front of the 
class is not beyond them.
Last but not least, devoted teachers 
should provide opportunities for the 
students to practise their communication 
skills by taking the time to talk with them, 
especially shy students, privately. By 
doing that, teachers help the students feel 
more comfortable talking with one person 
so, in time, they will feel more confident 
speaking up in front of the class.
5.2.2. How to improve the students’ 
negative learning habits
As presented in section III, many 
students admitted being not hard-working 
enough and failing to prepare the lessons 
before going to class. It is not easy to deal 
with this type of students, but it is worth 
trying these ways:
First, teachers should talk to them about 
their future goals. They should help these 
students understand that doing well at 
university is important because this ensures 
a good academic profile and rich skills so 
that they will have many good opportunities 
for good jobs after graduation.
Second, homework and pre-lesson 
materials should be carefully chosen and 
designed in a much more detailed way in 
order to make sure that the students are 
capable of doing them and have to work 
at home before the next lessons. Clear 
instructions is very important so that the 
students know what they have to do and 
try their best to fulfill their tasks.
One more way to encourage the 
students to make good preparation before 
going to class is that the students should 
be informed that homework is a part of 
the ongoing assessment during the term. 
It means if they are well – prepared for the 
lesson, they are sure to get good mark for 
participation. This is valuable assessment 
for the students’ ongoing progress.
6. CONCLUSION
Students’ mental participation in 
class is essential in the teaching and 
learning process because it is the key to 
real learning, which is the good indicator 
of the success of a lesson. However, the 
fact shows that many students go to class 
but do not actively take part in learning 
activities and how to increase students’ 
mental participation in class is always a 
big question for any teacher. Within the 
minor scope of study, this article discusses 
the reasons why English Majors at HPU 
have such poor involvement in their 
English speaking lessons and suggests 
some practical solutions on the part of 
107TẠP CHÍ KHOA HỌC, Số 41, tháng 7 năm 2020
both teachers and students. The biggest 
limitation of this research is that the 
theoretical background is poorly reviewed 
and the solutions are mainly based on the 
author’s own reflection of her teaching 
experience. This also means that there 
should be further studies with the more 
extensive scope in order to get more 
reliable results. 
REFERENCES
1. Collins English Dictionary (2015), Harper 
Collin Publishers L.L.C 
2. Lee, J. F., & Van Patten, B. (2003). Making 
Communicative Language Teaching Happen. 
McGraw-Hill, Inc., 860 Taylor Station Rd., Blacklick, 
OH 43004-0545; toll-free: 800-722-4726. 
3. Ken Shore (2009), “Uses for Participation”, 
The Teaching Professor, 23.9:4
4. Christina Cimmino, “Class participation 
essential to student learning”, April 12, 2007, 
5. Maryellen Weimer, “10 Benefits of Getting 
Students to Participate in Classroom Discussions”, 
February 15, 2011, 

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