Teaching speaking to ethnic minority students of English at Hoa Binh Teachers' Training College: Problems and solutions
Author: Ngo Thi Thuy Huong
Deputy Dean of Foreign Language Study Department
Hoa Binh Teachers' Training College
Telephone number: 0218.3600.438
Nguyen Thi Le Thuy
Lecturer at Hanoi University of Industry
Ngo Thi Thuy Huong has a BA in English. She has been a teacher of English at Hoa Binh Teachers' Training College (HTTC) since 1995. Now she is the Deputy Dean of Foreign Language Study Department at HTTC. Her main interests range from teaching listening and speaking, reading and writing, testing and conducting classroom research.
Nguyen Thi Le Thuy was a teacher of English at Cong Nghiep High School in Hoa Binh Province from 1991 to 2005; now she is a lecturer of Hanoi University of Industry. Her interests are teaching reading, speaking and doing classroom research.
This study aims to find out the problems in teaching speaking skill to ethnic minority students of English at Hoa Binh Teachers' Training College. Then, based on the characteristics and the real condition, the author suggested some solutions to the problems.
This study was a small - scale research which studies the problems by interviewing 50 students and 10 teachers at Foreign Language Study Department (i) to find out the problems that occur in teaching speaking skill to ethnic minority students of English at Hoa Binh Teachers' Training College. For instance, students were unmotivated, afraid of making mistakes, and they failed in using vocabulary, grammar structures in speaking. (ii) to suggest some solutions such as using different types of activities in speaking lessons, using games or giving students tasks to prepare before the speaking lessons, using effectively correcting techniques and observing the implementation of those solutions in solving the problems.
Using different various activities and games in the speaking lessons could help to increase the motivation of students in speaking; Giving students tasks to prepare before the lesson helped students have ideas about what they are going to study in the next lesson. Using correcting techniques effectively could help students use vocabulary and grammar structures properly.
Key words: teaching speaking, ethnic minority students, speaking activities
Students of English at Hoa Binh teachers' Training College (HTTC) must get certain scores from the National Entrance Exam to gain admission to the Foreign Language Study Department. Though these students will attend to the English course at HTTC, the English scores the students get from the Entrance Exam do not make use any more. They just base on the total marks of three subjects: Maths, Literature and English to see whether the students are accepted to enroll in the course or not. This one of the cause that leads to the level of English proficiency is not the same among students. As Hoa Binh is a mountainous province with the living of eight ethnic minority groups; therefore, most of the students at HTTC are ethnic minority students. The main characters of the ethnic minority students are shy and reserved. Thus, this also leads them to the difficulty in studying a foreign language.
One more thing we would like to mention here is the teaching speaking to students of English at HTTC. For the first four semesters, speaking skill is taught to integrate with other skills such as reading, listening, and writing, using Lifelines set textbooks (Hutchinson, 2001).The speaking skill is taught separately in the fifth semester, and this is the main concern of this study.
Though the students have studied speaking skill which is integrated with other skills: reading skill, listening skill and writing skill during the first four semesters and we teach them speaking skills separately...
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