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Techniques Teachers Use To Elicit Grade 10 Students’ Talk In Upper Secondary Schools In Hanoi   Chu Thi Huyen Mi, From 051 E1
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Techniques Teachers Use To Elicit Grade 10 Students’ Talk In Upper Secondary Schools In Hanoi Chu Thi Huyen Mi, From 051 E1






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Techniques Teachers Use To Elicit Grade 10 Students’ Talk In Upper Secondary Schools In Hanoi   Chu Thi Huyen Mi, From 051 E1 Techniques Teachers Use To Elicit Grade 10 Students’ Talk In Upper Secondary Schools In Hanoi Chu Thi Huyen Mi, From 051 E1 Document Transcript

  • SUPERVISOR: NGUYEN MINH HUE, M.A Hanoi, May 2009 ACCEPTANCE I hereby state that I: Chu Thi Huyen Mi from 051E1, being a candidate for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (TEFL) accept the requirements of the College relating to the retention and use of Bachelor’s Graduation Paper deposited in the library. In terms of these conditions, I agree that the origin of my paper deposited in the library should be accessible for the purposes of study and research, in accordance with the normal conditions established by the librarian for the care, loan or reproduction of the paper. Signature Date…………… 3
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS My deepest gratitude goes to Ms. Nguyen Minh Hue, my supervisor, for her willingness to help me with the early phases and revisions of this thesis. Without her expertise, selflessness and encouragement, I would not have been able to finish the paper. My gratitude should also be for all of my classmates and academic staff of English Department, College of Foreign Languages, Vietnam National University who I turned to for valuable advice. It is a fault if I forget to thank students and teachers from five upper- secondary schools who enthusiastically participated in the survey. I also want to thank my family and friends for all their love and support during the time I carried out the research. Without timely support from the listed characters, this paper could not have been completed. 4
  • ABSTRACT The modern English language teaching approach places a premium on developing students’ communicative competence. The new emphasis becomes particularly significant in Vietnamese teaching and learning context where the majority of students in general and grade-10 students still keep hold of inherently bad learning attitudes and they also lack chance to talk during English classes. Therefore, how to increase student- talk is the big question raised among teachers, educational administrators and other involved parties. The graving problem created a need for the present research to delve into the situation of teachers’ employing techniques to elicit student-talk among grade-10 students in upper-secondary schools over Hanoi. Four main aspects were examined, i.e techniques teachers use to elicit student-talk, effectiveness of these eliciting techniques, obstacles to the application process and measures to solve the problems. Targeting at five representative upper-secondary schools in Hanoi, the study could involve 100 grade-10 students in the questionnaire survey and five teachers in the interviews. Classrooms observation was also carried out to support and test the results gained from the two former instruments. After the data analysis procedure, the researcher could work out important findings as follows, i.e. all the techniques including questioning, using pictures, using texts and dialogues, using games and activities and using body language were reported to be employed with the first one most frequently used. “Only correct students’ talk” is the most common feedback among 5
  • teachers. The effectiveness of elicitation was reported to be limited due to four main obstacles namely time constraint, students’ unsupportive attitudes, boredom and incomprehensibility of techniques and inadequate teaching conditions. Solutions were also identified to deal with each problem. The results are a good reflection of the researched issue and have implications to immediate participants and contexts. LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES Figure 1: Eliciting techniques and frequency Figure 2: Teachers’ feedbacks to students’ talk Figure 3: Effectiveness of eliciting techniques Figure 4: Hindrances to teachers’ using eliciting techniques Table 1: Summary of selected schools Table 2: Summary of selected students Table 3: Summary of selected teachers 6
  • TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION………………………………………1 1. State of the problem and rationale …………………………………1 2. Aims and objectives………………………………………………...3 3. Scope of the study…………………………………………………..4 4. Significance of the study……………………………………………4 5. Overview of the rest of the paper …………………………………5 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 1. Key concepts………………………………………………………7 1.1. Communicative Language Teaching…………………………7 1.1.1. Definition and goal of CLT ……………………………7 1.1.2. Classroom activities in CLT……………………………8 1.1.3. Learner-centered learning and the roles of teacher & student in CLT…………………………………………………………….9 Learner-centered learning……………………...9 New roles of teachers and students ……………10 1.2. Eliciting techniques ………………………………………….10 1.2.1. Definition…………………… ………………………..10 1.2.2. Types of eliciting………………………………………11 Making questions……………………………….11 7
  • Using pictures…………………………………..13 Using games or activities ………………………14 Using texts and dialogues ……………………...15 Using non-verbal language …………………….15 1.2.3. Benefits of using eliciting techniques ………………...16 1.2.4. Hindrances to using eliciting techniques ………………………....17 1.2.5. Considerations ………………………………………...18 1.2.6. Procedures of eliciting ………………………………...19 2. Related studies ………………………………………………….20 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY…………………………………….24 1. Participants and research settings………………………………..24 1.1. Students……………………………………………………...24 1.2. Teachers……………………………………………………..26 1.3. Research settings ……………………………………………27 2. Research methods ……………………………………………….29 2.1. Student Questionnaire……………………………………….29 2.2. Teacher interview…………………………………………...30 2.3. Classroom observation……………………………………...31 3. Data collection procedure………………………………………..32 3.1. Preparation……………………………………………………32 3.2. Implementation……………………………………………...32 4. Data analysis procedure………………………………………….33 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS…………………………………………35 1. Data analysis……………………………………………………..35 1.1. Research question 1………………………………………....35 8
  • 1.2. Research question 2…………………………………………41 1.3. Research question 3…………………………………………43 1.4. Research question 4…………………………………………48 2. Implications………………………………………………………54 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION…………………………………………58 1. Summary of findings……………………………………………..58 2. Contributions of the research…………………………………..59 3. Limitations of the research……………………………………..60 4. Suggestions for the further research……………………………60 9
  • CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION In this chapter, the researcher will set reasons for carrying out the research; the objectives that need to be acquired after all, the scope and significance of the study. Last but not least, there is an overview of the rest of the paper. 1. State of the problem and rationale For the past decade, communicative language teaching (CLT) has been viewed as a default approach in almost every English language classroom worldwide since it aims at producing students who are communicatively competent. According to Nunan (1991), CLT places an emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction in the target language. As such, students are required to develop a new habit of getting involved in speaking to the fullest as oral skill is frequently utilized whatever focus the lesson raises. This responsibility to participate can also often lead to an increased sense of confidence in using the language (Lee and Vanpatten, 1995). Apart from learning habit, modern language classrooms have witnessed a shift in teachers’ and students’ roles. Harmer (2001:56) identified that “under the influence of humanistic and communicative theories, great emphasis has been placed on “learner- centered teaching, which is teaching which makes the learners’ needs and experience central to the educational process.” Teachers no longer keep 10
  • the governing position as the center of the class. Instead, students are given chances to perform most of the tasks inside classrooms. One of the ways to reverse the dominant status between teachers and students is the employment of eliciting techniques to increase student-talk and reduce teacher-talk. On the way of educational integration, Vietnam has been trying to adopt CLT approach into the English language teaching and learning. However, despite the incessant revolution worldwide in English language teaching (ELT), the adoption in Vietnam has gained limited results due to the inherent dominance of grammar-translation method even though new textbooks of CLT orientation were introduced to the grade-10 curriculum nationwide in 2006. Typically, Vietnamese students appear rather passive in language classrooms while teachers are too accustomed to the role of quot;expertquot; who would impart his or her knowledge or quot;expertisequot; to the unknowing students, who in turn would be assessed by evaluation instruments intended to measure the amount of transferred quot;expertisequot; (Rudder, 2000). The specific case of teachers’ using eliciting techniques with a view to increasing student-talk time seems to hit the same obstacles as the general case of CLT. Therefore, the present study saw a need to diagnose reasons for the ineffective application of eliciting techniques, if there are, to work out prompt and effective solutions. In addition, there has been little research on the issue of “using techniques to elicit students’ talk so far. The only two studies that should be highlighted are Pham (2006) which was about using elicitation to teach vocabulary to 11th form students in Hanoi and, most recently, Tran (2007) which examined the use of eliciting techniques to teach speaking skill to grade-10 students in Hanoi Foreign Languages Specializing School (HFLSS). Both of them, after all, left gaps for the present research to 11
  • continue working with eliciting techniques. The first one delved into the situation of using eliciting techniques to teach vocabulary to grade-11 students. As such, the research focus was on vocabulary, excluding other language components and skills. In addition, the targeted subjects of the study were grade-11 students from three selected schools, not those from other grades or academic levels. Regarding the second research, elicitation was just examined in the aspect of teaching speaking skill only, not in other skills namely listening, reading and writing. Moreover, the scope of the study was grade-10 students of only one school namely HFLSS. On thoroughly studying the two earlier researches, the present researcher wants to fill these gaps to certain extent by investigating techniques to elicit students’ talk in all English lessons whatever language component or skill focused. Also, the researcher desires to expand the research scope from just three or one upper-secondary schools as seen in the previous studies to a larger number over Hanoi for better generalization. In sum, filling the gaps made by the two former studies is another impetus for the researcher to conduct the present one. Lastly, regarding the subjects of the study, grade-10 students were believed to be really worth researching. Under the status of newcomers to upper-secondary schools, they had notable difficulties in adapting to new academic environment and getting accustomed to new learning strategies. If those problems are not completely solved, they may leave long-term bad effects on students’ academic achievements. Such a situation set the reason for the researcher to examine the issue before offering timely aids to this subject group. 2. Aims and objectives 12
  • In doing the research, the author attempted to address four main issues. Firstly, the study investigated what techniques teachers employed to elicit student - talk in an English class and how teachers tended to give feedback to students’ talk most. Secondly, it examined teachers’ and students’ evaluation on the effectiveness of eliciting techniques. Thirdly, the study aimed to identify obstacles to the process of using these eliciting techniques, followed by teachers’ suggestions to overcome these problems. These objectives were accomplished by answering the following questions: 1. What techniques do teachers employ to elicit grade-10 students’ talk in upper-secondary schools in Hanoi? 2. How effective are these techniques in eliciting students’ talk? 3. What are hindrances to using these eliciting techniques as reported by teachers? 4. What solutions do teachers suggest to overcome identified problems? 3. Scope of the study As stated in the earlier part, the research targeted at grade-10 students only as they were identified as ‘newcomers’ to upper-secondary schools and thereby worth researching. Hence, the study was restricted to grade-10 students over Hanoi only. Another restriction was that the research focused on upper-secondary schools in Hanoi, which excluded those of other provinces. 4. Significance of the study It is noteworthy that the research was a great attempt to examine a relatively new and under-researched issue in Vietnam as well as in Hanoi. Therefore, once finished, it can bring a number of benefits to involved parties namely students, teachers, educational administrators and researchers of the related fields. 13
  • Firstly, students and teachers of upper-secondary schools in Hanoi are those who directly benefit from the information the research provides. Teachers will have an overall look at the situation of their own using eliciting techniques to increase student-talk, realize difficulties that they themselves and their colleagues have encountered and consider suggested solutions to amend their teaching methods. Students are likely to be well aware of their rights and responsibilities to raise voice in class. Also, they will be offered more speaking chance during lessons. Regarding educational administrators, the research may provide them with a close and comprehensive view into the current situation. This urges them to implement necessary amendments in terms of curriculum, facilities and so on. Researchers of the related fields can also refer to the present work for literature review. In general, students, teachers, educational administrators and researchers are those who are likely to benefit from the study. 5. Overview of the rest of the paper The rest of the paper consists of four chapters as follows. Chapter 2 presents the background theory underlying the issue, including definitions and relevant knowledge around key concepts, followed by a review of related studies in the same field. Chapter 3 defines the methodology of the research including features of the participants, contexts, research instruments, data collection and data analysis procedure. Chapter 4 presents and discusses the findings, which gives comprehensive answers to the four research questions. It also offers 14
  • suggestions to involved parties to solve all the diagnosed problems for a higher effectiveness of elicitation. Chapter 5 summarizes significant findings, highlights contributions of the research, puts forward practical suggestions for future research as well as addresses notable limitations. In conclusion, the chapter has presented rationales for doing the research, objectives and aims, scope, significance and overview of the rest of the paper. Further details can be found in the following chapters. 15
  • CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter is to present the background theory underlying the issue, including definitions and relevant knowledge around key concepts, followed by a review of related studies in the same field. 1. Key concepts Whatever language teaching approach teachers follow, eliciting is always regarded as a critical job teachers need to perform in any second foreign language classrooms. However, it is only when Communicative Language Teaching, or CLT, appeared and asserted its dominance over other contemporary approaches was the use of eliciting techniques intensified and most highlighted as one of the signs of modern language teaching. This helps explain why eliciting is closely associated with CLT; and whenever eliciting techniques are discussed, it is a must to trace back to this underlying approach. 1.1. Communicative Language Teaching 1.1.1. Definition and goal of CLT As defined by Richard (2005: 3), “Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) can be understood as a set of principles about the goals of language teaching, how learners learn the language, the kinds of classroom activities that best facilitate learning, and the roles of teachers and students in the classroom”. CLT has been considered a response to formerly dominant approaches namely Grammar-Translation or Audio-Lingual since it filled the gap which the two latter failed to do. That is the communicative competence in English language learners. According to Harmer (2001:86), CLT features “learning sequences which aim to improve the students’ ability to 16
  • communicate”. Expressing the same viewpoint on the ultimate goal of CLT, Rudder (2000) claimed that “the essence is language for communication and self-expression”. Therefore, it should be drawn from these views that communication is both the means and the foremost aim of English language teaching. In other words, teaching students how to use the language and how to communicate in a language is considered to be at least as important as learning the language itself. According to Celce-Murcia (1995:10-24), communicative competence emphasizes five aspects of competence: discourse competence, linguistic competence, actional competence, sociocultural competence and strategic competence, in which discourse competence or the competence “to do with the selection, sequencing, and arrangement of words, structures, utterances/sentences to achieve a unified spoken/ written text” is considered the core. 1.1.2. Classroom activities in CLT Communicative approach highlights the importance of using different types of classroom activities where various competences are developed. Also, students’ talk can be elicited through activities of different types. There are many ways to classify classroom activities under this approach. In terms of competence the activities aim to develop at learners, in CLT, classroom activities are, divided into two main categories: accuracy and fluency activities, as defined by Richards (2005:13). Fluency is the use of language that occurs when a speaker engages in meaningful interaction and maintains comprehensible and ongoing communication despite limitations in his or her communicative competence. In contrast, accuracy is the ability to use the language correctly. With regard to the extent of guide students receive for practice, there are three main types of practice namely mechanical, meaningful; and communicative practice. In Richards’ (2005:15) view, mechanical practice 17
  • refers to an activity which students can successfully carry out without necessarily understanding the language they are using. Repetition drills and substitution drills can be designed to practice use of particular grammatical or other items. However, they quickly become boring, and cannot be used at all for developing many other language skills. At this point, teachers move to meaningful practice which refers to an activity where language control is still provided but where students are required to make meaningful choices when carrying out practice. At this practice, students are likely to be aware of the meaning of what they are saying. The last kind of practice where practice in using language within a real communicative context is the focus, where real information is exchanged and where the language is used is not totally predictable. At this stage, students have to choose the language they use and the meanings they will express. These choices are certainly based on the knowledge and skills gained in earlier presentation and practice activities. When it comes to forms in which classroom activities are conducted, there are jig-saw, task-completion, information gathering, opinion-sharing, information-transfer, reasoning gap and role-play activities, (Richard, 2005: 20). 1.1.3. Learner-centered learning and the roles of teacher & student in CLT The employment of eliciting techniques inside English-as-a-Foreign- Language (EFL) classrooms signals a new shift in the center of the class, i.e students are at most attention, not teachers. Hence, it is important to understand the nature of learner-centered learning and what roles teachers and students play in such modern classes. Learner-centered learning Learner-centered learning is concerned with allowing learners a greater role in the management of their own learning. This can be done firstly by providing opportunities for learner choice in terms of what to learn, 18
  • how to learn, and how to be evaluated. Secondly, this can be achieved by giving students rather than teachers the maximum time to perform tasks in class (Nunan, 2003). Teachers need to encourage students to take full advantage of these opportunities to acquire new knowledge, largely depending on each student’s own style and pace of learning. However, more freedom given to students does not necessarily mean that teachers leave the lesson uncontrolled. While CLT implies the lessons are more student- centered, this does not mean they are un-structured (Belchamber, 2007). This leads to the necessity of redefining the roles of teachers and students to fit into the new form of learner-centered learning. New roles of teachers and students In recent years, under the influence of humanistic and communicative theories, great emphasis has been placed on “learner-centered” teaching, i.e. teaching which makes the learners’ needs and experience central to the educational process (Harmer, 2001:56). The new form of learning requires teachers and students to shoulder new roles. Rudder (2000) saw that teachers were traditionally viewed as experts who would impart his or her knowledge or quot;expertisequot; to their students. That explains why teachers were those who talked much in the class while students did not bother to utter a word. In the light of CLT, teachers have adopted different innovative roles, one of which is to increase students’ talk. It is spotted by Harmer (2001) that in order to act this role effectively, modern teachers have to perform many tasks at the same time such as controller, assessor, organizer, prompter, participant, resource, tutor, observer, performer and teaching aid. From this viewpoint, it is understood that the teacher must be ultimately well-controlled throughout the lesson as he/she is required to play many roles at the same time. This radical change paves the way for that of students. Since teachers make every effort to elicit students’ talk, students in turn should take every 19
  • opportunity to talk in class. That students raise their own voice somehow signals their increased activeness in learning process. 1.2. Eliciting techniques 1.2.1. Definition Apparently, the term “eliciting” hardly gets any specific clarifications in academic literature since the nature of it can be seen via the very meaning of the verb “elicit”. As clarified in Oxford Advanced Dictionary, “elicit” is to “draw facts, a response, an answer, etc. from somebody, sometimes with difficulty”. Then, “eliciting techniques” are all ways one may choose to use so as to provoke ideas from others. In English language classrooms, teachers are to master and have responsibilities to make full use of these eliciting techniques to draw out answers or responses from students. In other words, eliciting techniques can be considered effective tools that teachers should benefit from to stimulate their students to raise much more voice in class. That is the new setting of a modern language classroom where students are the center of attention in class and, thus, where CLT is applied to the fullest. 1.2.2. Types of eliciting There are many ways teachers can follow to increase student-talk in class as follows: Making questions Asking questions is the leading technique employed to elicit student- talk or, to be more specific, ideas and responses from students. Questioning offers a number of benefits. As acknowledged by Darn, S. (2008), asking questions is a natural feature of communication, but also one of the most important tools which teachers have at their disposal. Questioning is crucial to the way teachers manage the class, engage students with content, encourage participation and increase understanding. Also, according to the writer, while questioning can be an effective tool, there is both an art and 20
  • science to asking questions. Some of the rules teachers should take into account are to consider the quantity of questions to raise in appropriate time and place to keep teacher talking time to the minimum while maximizing students’ contributions and what questions to ask students. The latter is shared by Doff (1988:23) as :“The focus of eliciting techniques is what questions to ask to elicit the expected target language”. In terms of how many questions teachers should raise in class time, there is an estimation of 300-400 per day which may vary over specific contexts. Regarding question types, scholars had numerous different ways of classification. Grammatically, Doff (1988:23-24) gave quite a basic categorization including: • Yes/no question This type of question means to check students’ comprehension by answering yes or no. It helps teachers see whether students understand any point related to the lesson or not. Therefore, yes/no question cannot help much in eliciting students- talk but is still employed in classroom for certain purposes. • Or question This type of question can be called alternative question. By being asked to select one option among some available ones, students are made to think carefully for the right answer. With this type of question, teachers can motivate students to review their knowledge in order to justify their choice. As a result, alternative question is regarded as a relatively effective instrument to provoke students’ responses. • Wh-question Wh-questions, or questions beginning with what, who, where, when, which, etc., can be asked to obtain specific information. These kinds of questions tremendously exploit students’ existing knowledge or 21
  • check their comprehension of the new knowledge. Henceforth, wh- questions are by far most favored to elicit student-talk in class time. Darn (2008) also made a thorough review on types of questions. As discovered, there have been a number of typologies and taxonomies of questions. Socratic questioning forms the basis of eliciting (Ur, 1996: 53). Meanwhile, Darn (2008) found out that Bloom’s taxonomy identifies six types of questions by which thinking skills may be developed and tested. In the context of language teaching and learning, Bloom himself maintained that quot;The major purpose in constructing a taxonomy of educational objectives is to facilitate communication…” According to the author, classroom questions can fall into two main types: • Display questions: these questions help elicit learners’ prior knowledge and to check their comprehension of the knowledge that has been taught. Display questions often focus on the form or meaning of language structures and items, the answers of which are already known by teachers. • Referential questions. These questions are used to foster students’ skills of providing further information, giving an opinion, explaining or clarifying. They often focus on content rather than language, require ‘follow-up’ or ‘probe’ questions, and the answer is not necessarily known by the teacher. The difference of the two taxonomies of questions, one presented by Doff (1988) and the other by Darn (2008), results from the different angles of views and focuses. However, both of them agree on the fact that questions are used for the main purpose of checking students’ comprehension of the new knowledge and provoke their prior knowledge. Using pictures 22
  • Using pictures is addressed by Doff (1988) as one of the easiest ways to elicit new vocabulary (or structure). Pictures can be taken from students’ textbook or from supplementary sources. This tool is quite beneficial in many ways: By seeing pictures, students are highly motivated before they tread into the core of the lesson. In other words, pictures help attract large attention from the class, stimulate students’ curiosity, imagination, guessing and desire to present the targeted language items related to what is involved in there. “The teacher uses pictures to set the scene and asks questions about what they see, why they think it happens, what they think will happen next and how they feel or what they think about it” (Doff, 1988: 166). It should be noted that the effectives of using pictures can be maximized if teachers give proper questions to elicit students’ imagination and reaction. Using games or activities This technique is widely advocated by many ELT experts since it is very effective in many ways. Traditionally, there used to be a common conception that all learning should be serious and solemn in nature. This is a mere misconception as it is possible to learn a language and enjoy oneself at the same time (Lee, 1995: 35). Wright, Betteridge and Buckby (1984:1) believed that “language learning is hard work ... Effort is required at every moment and must be maintained over a long period of time. Games help and encourage many learners to sustain their interest and work”. Therefore, it is clearly seen that good games can be used during a burdensome lesson. Games help teachers to create contexts in which the language is useful and meaningful. The learners want to take part and in order to do so must understand what others are saying or have written, and they must speak or write in order to express their own point of view or give information (Wright 23
  • et al, 1984:1). If games are well-chosen and appropriately used, they can give students a break and simultaneously create chances for them to practice new skills in a highly amusing and motivating way (Ersoz, 2000). In order to fully obtain these benefits, one thing teachers should take into consideration is that “whenever a game is to be conducted, the number of students, proficiency level, cultural context, timing, learning topic, and the classroom settings are factors that should be taken into account (Nguyen and Khuat, 2003). Using texts and dialogues Doff (1988:168) suggested that “teacher may also consider using texts and dialogues to guide students to respond to the language use and context of use presented in those texts and dialogues”. They play the role of providing students with illustrative language samples based on which students can produce ones of their own. Particularly, authentic texts and dialogues, when introduced into language classrooms, can bridge the gap between classroom knowledge and “a student’s capacities to participate in real world events” (Wilkins, 1976: 79, as cited in To and Nguyen, 2008). As texts and dialogues function as standard samples for students to imitate, teachers should always make a careful selection of materials according to the syllabus, students’ learning styles, interests, tastes, etc. to maximize the effectiveness. Using non-verbal language Non-verbal language is what teachers have at their disposal to motivate students to raise voices. It includes numerous forms like miming, gestures, facial expression, body language, etc. which are used mainly to elicit new vocabulary or structure (Doff, 1988). This technique partly provokes students’ curiosity and uttering of expected language items. These 24
  • non-verbal tools can be alternated with the others to change the atmosphere in the class and makes students attentive to the lesson. 1.2.3. Benefits of using eliciting techniques Eliciting is praised as a very effective technique used in language classroom from which both students, as the center of the class, and teachers can benefit. Firstly, eliciting involves the class by focusing students’ attention and making them think. In the production stage, it is likely that teachers will be those who talk most of the time in order to convey as many new knowledge units as possible within a certain amount of time while students almost do nothing but listen. Doff (1988: 159) diagnosed the problem: “Obviously, this part of lesson will be dominated by the teacher-he or she is using English to introduce new materials”. As a consequence, students may lose concentration and enthusiasm easily. Henceforth, if teachers can activate students’ minds more by asking questions, by pushing them to think and encouraging them to contribute, they will be more engrossed in the lesson. Also revealed from this idea by the author, by being required to answer teachers’ questions throughout the lesson, students can develop their critical and independent thinking together with many other skills needed for learners of foreign languages. Sooner or later, they can overcome and eliminate passiveness which is one of inherent weaknesses of Vietnamese learners. Secondly, Doff (1988: 161) believed that “eliciting encourages students to draw on what they already know or partly know. Therefore, it is a useful technique for mixed ability classes or those of different learning backgrounds.” Before introducing new knowledge, teachers tend to remind students of the old one or ask them about personal experience. By attempting to answer teachers’ questions, students have opportunities to scan their 25
  • background knowledge system, checking what they have or partly have already in their minds. In addition, by sharing knowledge in full view of the whole class, students, irrespective of their gaps in terms of competence, can learn much from one another. It is taken for granted that elicitation directly and mainly benefit students. However, in the meantime, teachers are at great advantage. First, elicitation can be used for presenting new language as well as reviewing what was taught earlier (Doff, 1988:161). Moreover, eliciting gives teachers a chance to see what students know and what they do not and so adapt their presentation to the level of the class. Therefore, it is clearly seen that elicitation plays the role as testing tools that teachers can use to measure the level of the class. In short, eliciting technique is beneficial to both students and teachers. Teachers should take every chance, when possible, to apply this technique in language classrooms. 1.2.4. Hindrances to using eliciting techniques Besides remarkable advantages, elicitation sometimes is rather frustrating for following reasons. Despite his strong approval of the use of this technique in classrooms, Doff (1988: 161) still had to admit that eliciting takes more time than straightforward presentation of new knowledge. Instead of presenting the knowledge immediately, teachers must spend time and effort preparing essential materials, structuring their lesson and delivering it in a way that students can raise more voice, become more active and responsive in class. The burden is much greater when they have to manage a large-sized class within a given amount of time. The conflict between the limitation of time 26
  • and the acquisition of quality somehow discourages teacher from attempting to use elicitation for their students’. In likelihood, there are cases where students are too passive or not cooperative enough to respond to teachers for several reasons. As such, teachers’ elicitation may end in failure. 1.2.5. Considerations In order to get the highest results of using eliciting techniques, teachers then should take some points into account. It is essential that they consider a mixture of eliciting and immediate presentation rather than using the first all the time (Doff, 1988: 161). Any improper application or overuse of the technique can be counterproductive to students. With respect to questioning which is the leading technique of elicitation, teachers should pay attention to some of the following points: Firstly, “teachers should vary his/her questioning technique according to the difficulty of the question” (Doff, 1988:166). They are advised to go from easy questions concerning most common knowledge to more difficult and expertise ones. Additionally, based on the content of the lesson parts, teachers can decide which kinds of questions can be raised (referred in Moreover, to involve the whole class, difficult questions should be targeted to competent students while easy ones are spared for the weaker side of the class. The second thing worth considering is that after delivering each question, teachers should leave time for students to digest or to think of the answer. 27
  • Lastly, “the teacher should elicit onto the blackboard” to make it easier for students to follow and get maximum attention from them. 1.2.6. Procedures of eliciting Whatever skills and stages the lessons run through, eliciting can be integrated as follows. Firstly, eliciting can be done by teachers in lessons of any focused skills. It is common knowledge that in lessons focusing on speaking skill, students are likely to be at most advantage to talk. However, according to Rudder (2000), “the venue for speaking can and should be integrated with the teaching of listening, reading and writing skills”. In the listening or reading lessons, for instance, students can be easily made to talk freely in preparatory and follow-up sections. Regarding pre-listening or pre-reading stages, student talk can be elicited through guiding questions, warm-up activities, pictures, etc. In post-listening or post-reading sections, teachers can ask open-ended questions to ignite a discussion or debate among students. Even when the focus of a lesson is on writing, activities to foster student-talk can be integrated such as schema-building and brainstorming. Group writing and peer editing are what teachers can employ as well to stimulate students to verbally interact with one another for idea exchange and correction. In addition, as stressed earlier, pair work and group work are favorable environments for students to feel the need of speaking. Those are few examples just to illustrate how teachers can integrate elicitation into a lesson irrespective of its focus to maximize student talk. Secondly, in all stages namely Presentation, Practice and Production, teachers may apply different types of eliciting to make students talk to the fullest. In the presentation stage, Doff (1988:160) was afraid that this part of the lesson will be dominated by the teacher- he or she is using English to 28
  • introduce new material. Hence, to prevent students from being passive absorbers, it is suggested by the author that students can be well involved by being asked for their ideas and suggestions, being encouraged to contribute to the lesson to the fullest or guess new words. Overcoming this stage, students have more chance to talk since, in the preceding stage, their talk can be ignited by pictures: The use of pictures in this stage greatly reduces the monotony of mechanical drills. By using pictures, the teacher is able to elicit predictable responses in a more interesting way and with less teacher-talk (Rudder, 2000). Harmer (1983) was in strong favor for personalization and localization in practice stage to get the highest productivity from students. Students are more motivated to talk if the topics are close to their interests, available knowledge and experience. The last stage seems completely devoted to students as it is the most favorable time to transfer all the input into the output. They should be drawn into numerous kinds of activities, either pair-work or group-work to talk as much as they can. To sum up, whatever skills the lesson focuses on and whatever stages it undergoes, student-talk can be elicited to the fullest, depending what and how eliciting techniques are applied to students. The former issue, namely the “what”, is going to be examined in a general sense in the present study with the research settings being grade 10 classes of upper-secondary schools over Hanoi. 2. Related studies As stressed previously, eliciting technique is a powerful tool frequently employed in the process of teaching English, especially under 29
  • communicative approach. Therefore, there is no question why the issue has been brought into research field by some scholars, both overseas and domestic involved. One of the pioneering studies on the application of eliciting techniques into English lessons is “Eliciting spontaneous speech in bilingual students: Methods and techniques” by Cornejo, Ricardo and Najar (1983). In this research, the three researchers first presented an overview of studies using traditional techniques to elicit language from students before recommending the use of interviews as a way to elicit students’ talk. Some other innovative techniques were put forward to foster students’ spontaneous conversations, both with their teachers and students. While the study could provide significant background theory and practical recommendations, it still had two perceivable limitations. Since it was conducted outside Vietnam, the scope of the study did not reach Vietnamese language teaching and learning context. Also, the subjects of the study were bilingual students whose culture, education and other conditions were totally different from Vietnamese EFL students’. The gap that no specifications for Vietnamese students were made can be partly bridged by domestic researchers. As CLT became the most prevailing approach implemented in almost every upper-secondary school in Vietnam, there have been several researches on the field. The first one is “Using elicitation techniques to teach Vocabulary to 11th form students in Hanoi” by Pham (2006). On shedding light on the issue, the author attempted to investigate three aspects: the situation of teaching vocabulary to 11th form students in Hanoi, the application of elicitation techniques to teach vocabulary to these subjects and pedagogical recommendations to make a better use of elicitation techniques in teaching vocabulary. Knowing that his effort in conducting this study was praiseworthy and the findings had a significant contribution to the field, there 30
  • were still some limitations that should be addressed. Firstly, the study centered around the teaching vocabulary. Although this was one of three core teaching components where the employment of elicitation techniques could be considered a must in modern EFL classrooms, the results of a thorough investigation into this field only could not represent that of the others namely grammar, pronunciation and four macro skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Secondly, the classroom settings where the survey of this research was conducted were not yet introduced the new textbook which still followed the old teaching methods. One year later, another research on elicitation was carried out by Tran (2007) named “eliciting technique to teach speaking skill to grade-10 students in HFLSS”. Firstly, she investigated the real situation of teachers’ using eliciting techniques to teach grade-10 students in HFLSS in Hanoi. Then, outstanding advantages of this practice could be drawn out. Hindrances to the employment process of this technique were diagnosed for timely and necessary pedagogical adjustments. Notably, the author gave a close look at the speaking skill as the focus. It means that the whole study shed light on the issue of how to employ eliciting technique to teach speaking skill, not others. This can be seen as the first limitation of the study. The second problem is that the subjects of the study were students from FLSS only, which could hardly be generalized into a wider population of other institutions across the city and country. These listed gaps intensify the significance of the current study which targets at techniques teachers use to elicit students’ talk to develop numerous skills simultaneously, rather than any single one, and among grade 10 students in some selected schools in Hanoi for a greater generalization. 31
  • To sum up, in this chapter, the researcher has briefly defined important terms and reviewed relevant background theory. The employment of eliciting techniques demonstrates teachers’ attempt in implementing learn-centered learning under communicative approach with a view to increasing students’ talk in class. Supported and developed from formerly conducted studies of the same field, the current one hopes to be appreciated as a considerable contribution. 32
  • CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY This chapter is intended to define the methodology of the research including features of the participants, contexts, research instruments, data collection and data analysis procedure. 1. Participants and research settings Since this study investigates eliciting techniques in real classroom settings, both teachers and students were involved as participants. 1.1. Students Although the research focuses on teachers’ job in applying eliciting technique, students play a no-less-important role as direct beneficiaries, observers and evaluators of the process. They were primarily selected to do the questionnaire. The number of grade-10 student participants was 100 in the hope for high generalizability. The selection of students taking part in the survey was primarily based on the principle of random sampling. This sampling method will be “useful if the researcher wishes to be able to make generalization, because it seeks representativeness of the wider population” (Cohen, Manion and Morrison, 2000: 100). Every student stands at the equal chance of being selected. The selection of one may not eliminate the probability of the others. Therefore, this sampling method could ensure high diversity and, thus, validity for the study. Resourcefully applying the mentioned theory, the researcher did hand-pick the respondents for the survey at the quantity of 100. However, to intensify the representativeness of the study, another method namely stratified sampling was also applied as a preceding step of random sampling. To be more specific, before hand-picking students, the researcher divided the whole target population into sub-groups, each of 33
  • which “contains subjects with similar characteristics” (Cohen, Manion and Morrison, 2000: 101). The first principle of choosing students was also the purposeful selection of schools over Hanoi. Since Hanoi total area was expanded due to the recent integration of the former Hatay province, the number of upper-secondary schools increased with greater diversity in geographical conditions, school background, teaching and learning identity and other aspects. As such, the selection of schools for the study was principally determined by difference in specialization of English among schools selected. Detailed scheme could be seen in the below table: Level of of Number of specialization of Schools selected students English 1 HFLSS 20 2 Lomonosov school 20 Viet Duc school 20 3 Nguyen Hue school 20 Xuan Dinh school 20 Table 1: Summary of selected schools Due to several external obstacles, the researcher could penetrate into one representative class only at each targeted school but tried her best to choose students of highest diversity as a compensation. The selection of 20 students from one class each school complied with the second principle namely difference in English competence of students reflected through the average scores of the previous semester of students. They were of different levels, ranging from good (grade over 8.0), fairly good (grade from 7.0 to 7.9), average (grade from 6.0 to 6.9) and weak (grade below 6.0). After classifying students of the whole class into separate score ranges, the researcher did hand-pick the participants from these groups. Detailed information could be seen as follows. 34
  • Average score Schools Grade < 6.0 6.0 6.9 7.0 7.9 > 8.0 HFLSS 10B 0 2 8 10 Lomonosov 10E 7 5 5 3 Viet Duc 10C3 3 6 6 5 Xuan Dinh 10A4 7 4 5 4 Nguyen Hue 10PT1 0 7 7 6 (Ha Dong) Total: 17 24 31 28 Table 2: Summary of selected students Students randomly taken from various groups may demonstrate diverse viewpoints on the same issue. 1.2. Teachers Because teachers are core subjects of this research, they were deliberately chosen for the interview session. Five teachers were invited to share their opinion and experience on the investigated issue. All of them were female, which was commonly seen in high schools. Although five was not a very big number compared to the scope of the study, this quantity hardly affected the richness and depth of information. All of them were chosen from investigated classes where the researcher carried out the questionnaire survey with students beforehand. The researcher benefited from this selection in the way that she could listen to students’ opinion and then further verify it with their own teachers. In other words, double-checking was one technique which could be employed to enhance the reliability of the research. The detailed characteristics could be referred to in the following table: 35
  • Years of teaching Schools Gender English in surveyed schools HFLSS Female 5 Lomonosov Female 19 Viet Duc Female 13 Xuan Dinh Female 25 Nguyen Hue Female 10 Table 3: Summary of selected teachers As can be seen from the table, the number of years of teaching English ranged from 5 to 25 years. As a result, those interviewed teachers could contribute their extensive experience to the research. 1.3. Research settings The present study was carried out among five representative upper- secondary schools in Hanoi which possessed a number of notable similarities and dissimilarities as follows. In terms of common features, like the majority of upper-secondary schools nationwide and over Hanoi, English language becomes either a compulsory subject or a largely-chosen language by students at these targeted schools. The new emphasis on English resulted from the fact that for the past few years, the new social and economic settings in Vietnam have increased the demand for English-speaking people who are expected to be competent to communicate verbally with the outside world and to access technology (Le, 1999). As reported by Le C. (1999), new teacher training programs-pre-service and in-service alike- are designed and delivered with a focus on training communicative teachers in a bid to address the fault of teaching methodologies. Besides human factor, other changes have taken place in terms of facilities and infrastructure. Communicative English Teaching approach, as a result, entered its heyday as an alternative to several traditional and no-longer-effective methods. 36
  • One remarkable sign of the implementation of CLT is the introduction of the reformed textbook in 2006 to grade-10 students nationwide as well as in Hanoi capital. At the five survey schools, no longer are students oriented to focus on traditional targets namely vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Instead, under CLT approach, they have to gradually master well four macro skills including speaking, reading, listening and writing. The center of classes is no longer teachers, but students. As one of significant indicators of CLT, the ratio of talk time of students to teachers must change, i.e. students are supposed to be offered maximum talking priority. Teaching methods, materials and activities are gradually altered to achieve the highest percentage of student-talk in ELT classrooms. However, these praiseworthy objectives can hardly be achieved when a large number of students still maintain the traditional learning habits and styles of passiveness. Beside the similarities, it should be noted that there are some differences among the targeted schools including the specialization in English language, geographical location and other conditions. HFLSS is the top foreign language specialized school in Hanoi which is located in the downtown and equipped with quite standard teaching and learning facilities. Also, to become grade-10 HFLSS students, candidates must sit for a special entrance examination and thus ensure a relatively high linguistic competence. The second group, represented by Lomonosov and Viet Duc, are among top quality schools in Hanoi with much investment put in the teaching and learning facilities as well as teacher training every year. However, what makes the two inferior to HFLSS is their lower specialization of English. Xuan Dinh and Nguyen Hue bottomed the table of the present study as the former was located in the uptown region and assessed as an average quality school while Nguyen Hue belonged to the 37
  • old Hatay province and had some difficulties in teaching and learning conditions. In short, the five selected schools namely HFLSS, Viet Duc, Lomonosov, Xuan Dinh and Nguyen Hue shared several similarities in terms of general educational objectives, teaching and learning nature as well as dissimilarities in geographical locations, level of specialization of English together with modernity of teaching and learning conditions. 2. Research methods In this study, questionnaire, semi-structured interview and classroom observation were fully employed. The combination of these three instruments was expected to triangulated and thus generate valid and reliable data. 2.1. Student Questionnaire (See Appendix 1 and 2) The first data collection method was questionnaire delivered to students. This tool was popularly used in primary research. Wilson and Mc Lean (1994, as cited in Cohen, Manion and Morrison, 2000: 245) appreciated questionnaire for its outstanding merits including “providing structured, numerical data, being able to be administered without the presence of the researcher, and often straightforward to be analyzed”. Also, from reality, the researcher found it time and effort saving to conduct questionnaire survey among a large number of grade-10 students from selected schools in Hanoi. This advantage was also recognized by Mackey and Gass (2005: 94) as “being economical and practical than individual interviews” as “questionnaires in many cases elicit longitudinal information from learners in a short period of time.” In addition, questionnaires can elicit comparable information from a number of respondents and can be administered in many forms, allowing the 38
  • researcher a greater degree of flexibility in the gathering process (Mackey and Gass, 2005: 95-96). In this research context, the questionnaire included two main parts: the first sought their personal information (class, English score of the last semester) which was presented earlier and the second was the main content. The questionnaire was used to deliberately find the answers to the first two research questions: the situation of teachers’ employment of eliciting technique and the effectiveness of the work. In order to get sincere opinions and objective assessment, the questionnaire was carefully designed: it began with a brief overview of the research title, the purpose of conducting questionnaire survey and a desire for cooperation from respondents. The researcher also emphasized the confidentiality of the shared information. In the main part, questions were mostly of two main types namely multiple choice and table grading. Open-ended questions were limited to the minimum to avoid fatigue effect among grade-10 students. Regarding the content, questions were arranged in two separate sections, each aiming to answer a research question. As for the language, to make it easy for students to understand, the questionnaire was translated into Vietnamese and did not consist of too specialized terms. In short, to maximize the effectiveness of questionnaire, the researcher attempted to design it as carefully as possible both in terms of appearance and content. 2.2. Teacher interview (See Appendix 3) The interview served the purpose of obtaining in-depth information far beyond the results initially collected from questionnaires. According to Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2000: 268), interview is a common research tool used to collect data, as in surveys or experimental situations. The advantages can be listed as follows. As highlighted by Mackey and Gass (2005:173), “because interviews are interactive, researchers can elicit 39
  • additional data if initial answers are vague, incomplete, off-topic or not specific enough”. This idea coincides with that of Mackey and Gass (2005: 96) in that interviews can compensate some “potential problems related to the analysis of questionnaires such as inaccurate or incomplete responses”. Being well aware of the advantages of interviews, the researcher decided to employ this tool for the research. In the present research, semi- structured interview which consisted of two parts were employed to seek opinions of teachers. In the first part, it sought answers to the first two research questions which were later compared with students’ opinions. In the other part, the interview helped the researcher find out problems and solutions of the employment of eliciting techniques which were raised in the last two research questions. As can be seen, the choice of semi-structured interviews conducted among teachers gave the researcher a comprehensive look at the issue, which helped work out the satisfactory answers to the four research questions. 2.3. Classroom observation (See Appendix 4) Since the research is on a practical issue, classroom observation was regarded as an effective tool to verify the results obtained through questionnaires and interviews. Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2000: 305) claimed that “observational data are attractive as they afford the researcher the opportunity to gather ‘live’ data from ‘live’ situations”. This merit is particularly significant in a research where both questionnaires and interviews are also included. The problems are that the answers of questionnaires are in many cases inaccurate or incomplete (Mackey and Gass, 2005: 96) while interviews may involve “selective recall, self- delusion, perceptual distortions, memory loss from the respondents and subjectivity in the researcher’s recording and interpreting the data (Mackey and Gass, 2005: 174). With the use of “over time and repeated observation, 40
  • the researcher can gain a deeper and more multilayered understanding of the participants and their content” (Mackey and Gass, 2005: 176). In conclusion, the combination of the three most common tools namely questionnaire, interview and classroom observation brought to the researcher a rich amount of valid and reliable data, the analysis of which would be presented in the next chapter. 3. Data collection procedure To collect data for the study, the researcher did undergo three main stages including the preparation and actual implementation. 3.1. Preparation During this stage, a research design was first specified with a wise selection of participants and carefully-written drafts of questionnaires and interview schedule. After that, a piloting scheme was constructed. After the piloting session, necessary amendments were made to have better editions of questionnaire and interview. Observation checklist was also taken into consideration. The last preparatory step was to contact participants and obtained informed consent from them. 3.2. Implementation This stage consisted of two steps related to activities carried out both out of class and inside classrooms. The former was conducted first since it provided the researcher with an initial look at the situation before penetrating into the practice. Step 1 Student questionnaires were issued first. Creating good rapports with the participants and directly monitoring the process of students’ doing questionnaires helped the researcher collect 99 from 100 issued copies. Afterwards, five semi-structured interviews were conducted face to face with selected grade-10 teachers of English. Like questionnaires, every interview was initiated by a session of sharing personal information, 41
  • followed by the core content. To avoid possible misunderstanding and confusion, the interviews were done in Vietnamese. While interviewing, the researcher tried the best to take notes and tape-record the content under the interviewees’ permission. At times, unclear points were further explained, which partly enriched the quantity and quality of collected data. During the interview, the researcher tried to be flexible in asking supplementary questions to obtain a deeper layer of information. Step 2: Classroom observation was conducted in two lessons, the choice of which could not be determined by the researcher herself but on permission. Before the date of observation, a checklist was drafted to make the observation more oriented and focused. Due to several external obstacles, the researcher was permitted to attend only two lessons: one at Xuan Dinh school (Unit 11: National Park and Reading skill) and the other and HFLSS (Unit 11: National Park and Speaking skill). The lessons were also videoed so that the analysis work became more convenient and precise. During the observation, the researcher played the role as a non- participant observer who performed three main tasks including observing, videoing and completing the checklists. 4. Data analysis procedure Based on the results of 99 returned questionnaires, the researcher began to classify, synthesize and report data. To make the analysis comprehensible, answers to every question were transferred into charts first, followed by a detailed explanation. Semi-structured interviews were transcribed, analyzed and integrated into the presentation of questionnaire results so that readers could have a better understanding of the situations. Regarding classroom observation, the researcher made a thorough analysis on the observation details recorded from the two lessons. The results then were compared with those of questionnaires and interviews. 42
  • To sum up, the chapter has clarified major characteristics of participants and settings of the research. Later on, thorough descriptions of data collection instruments, procedure and data analysis procedure were also provided. CHAPTER 4: RESULTS This chapter is going to present and discuss the data obtained from the three employed instruments namely survey questionnaire, interview and 43
  • classroom observation, which gives comprehensive answers to the four research questions. Afterwards, based on the findings, the researcher works out necessary implications which might benefit the involved parties. 1. Data analysis 1.1. Research question 1: Techniques employed to elicit student-talk The researcher investigated two major aspects of the issue, namely the techniques teachers use to elicit student-talk and how teachers tend to respond to students’ talk most afterwards. The results can be seen as follows. Techniques teachers use to elicit student-talk and the frequency of using each technique Students’ opinions The first research aspect was approached through the two specific questions. The initial one investigated what eliciting techniques were used by teachers, followed by a question asking about the frequency of using each. Regarding the former, 100% of the students circled all the options, which implies that all the eliciting techniques were employed in an English lesson. However, the frequency of using each differs dramatically. 44
  • (The points from 1 to 5 respectively indicate the ascending degree of frequency). The most distinguished feature of the chart is that questioning is most frequently employed by teachers, followed by the use of texts, dialogues and games, activities. The use of body language and pictures were noticed to be rarely used in EFL classrooms. This conclusion was made on the basis of the rating scale from 1 to 5 in terms of frequency degree. Regarding questioning, it was assessed at 5 by 57.57% students. The proportion of those who chose 4 was still high (28.78%). The lowest points of the rating scale were hardly ticked by students, which constituted only 13.63% altogether. Those figures conveyed a message that questioning was used with a greatly high frequency. Following closely to the top was the use of texts and dialogues when there was 33.33% students ticking at the column of 5. However, unlike the questioning, the point of 4 was overtaken by 3. Hence, the use of this technique could be said to be relatively frequent. The use of games and activities ranked the third in terms of frequency when the column of 5 was chosen by only 19.69% surveyed 45
  • students. However, it was not the highest percentage of all since point 2 topped the list at 28.78%. With regard to pictures, they were not regularly exploited in an English class when no one ticked at the highest degree. On the contrary, the majority of students headed for the low points, namely point 1 (50%) and point 2 (24.24%). Bottoming the table was the use of body language when there was a highest number of students who decided on point 1 (66.67%). The percentages decreased gradually from point 2 to 4 and vanished at 5. In short, questioning was most frequently used in EFL classrooms. Texts, dialogues, games and activities were also greatly employed, but on a less regular basis. Body language was supposed to be least frequently exploited. Teachers’ opinion Teachers seemed to reach agreements on their use of eliciting techniques. All the interviewed teachers gave questioning point 5 to indicate their highest frequency of using this technique. This idea was clarified by Teacher 1 (T1): “Questioning must be the leading technique. It is easy and effective because when we ask students questions, they have to give us answers. And by giving answers, they are practicing speaking English.” It is this high consistency in teachers’ giving Point 5 that distinguished them from students who showed great diversity in their choices. Regarding the use of texts, dialogues, games and activities, most of them gave point 4. It meant that they were fully aware of the importance of those techniques. Nevertheless, the exploitation was partly limited for some reasons which will be justified in the following parts. No one assessed any technique at point 1 or 2, which was totally different from students’ assessment. 46
  • Another dissimilarity between the two surveyed groups was that while students saw body language mostly untouched, teachers admitted a relatively high frequency of employing this technique. Teacher 3 (T3) stated that: “Body language is actually used very often. Just a change in your voice while talking to students may convey to them a signal. Maybe there’s something wrong with their talk which needs to be considered and self- corrected.” Besides rating, teachers also add others to the given techniques such as the use of board, flashcards and realia. Teachers’ opinions can be summarized into two major points. Firstly, questioning is used with highest frequency, followed by other techniques. Secondly, no techniques are ignored in EFL classrooms as what students may assume about elicitation. One classroom observation conducted in Xuan Dinh school could support the results gathered from teacher group rather than students. During 45 minutes of a reading class, a variety of eliciting techniques was utilized. However, the use of questioning took the dominance. Pictures were shown only once at the pre-reading stage and the reading text was also used once in the while- reading. No dialogues could be seen. The activities could be integrated into the task completing and a game was used as the warm-up. Sometimes, body language appeared. When comparing the present research with a related study namely Tran’s (2007), the results obtained from student side only showed some similar features. Tran’s revealed the highest percentage going to questioning and the lowest to body language at 50% and 1% respectively. Pham’s (2006) findings hardly showed any contradiction with the present one. 47
  • Moreover, the converging point of the three studies was well- supported by the literature on the same field. According to Doff (1988), “the focus of eliciting techniques is what questions to ask to elicit the expected target language”. Questioning is widely agreed to be the leading technique which determines the effectiveness of elicitation while the use of body language was considered limited. • Teachers’ giving feedback to students’ talk Students’ opinions The above chart shows the percentage of students assessing various ways of responding by teachers towards student-talk. As can be seen, the option of “both compliment and correct your talk” was picked most, which accounted for 65.15%. “Only correct your talk” was noticed by a number of 21.21%, nearly 10% higher than “only give compliment on your talk” and “just listen and pass to another student”. Teachers’ opinions 48
  • In contrast to students’ perspectives, 60% teachers self-assessed that they tended to “only correct students’ talk” as a way to respond. Forty percent of them chose “both compliment and correct your talk”. No one decided on “only give compliment on your talk” and “just listen and pass to another student”, which differed from students’ opinions. T1 explained: “Although we see the meaning of praising students after they raise voice, we might forget to do so. Most of the time, we pay attention to commenting their talk only.” When being asked to elaborate on the most frequently used kind of response, namely “only correct students’ talk”, teachers had tendency to delay correction until students finished their talk. In general, while students witnessed a high frequency of teachers’ “both compliment and correct students’ talk”, teachers admitted their high tendency of “correct their students’ talk only”. Interestingly, the teachers’ self-assessment relatively coincided with the classroom observation. In the two previous studies, teachers admitted that they did give compliments on students’ talk, which was in sharp contrast with the current study when teachers themselves came to terms with the fact that they mostly “only correct students’ mistakes’. Specifically, in Pham’s and Tran’s, teachers’ compliments were examined in two separate cases namely complimenting on correct answers only and complimenting on both correct as well as incorrect answers. The two studies met in agreement upon the former case with a percentage of approximately two-thirds. When it comes to teachers’ correction, what was drawn from the current survey was that teachers did perform the new defaulted roles as observer and assessor as addressed by Harmer (2003). Just a small elaboration during the interview session revealed teachers’ commitment to delayed correction. However, this point was brought to a wide investigation among teachers in the two former studies. The majority of participants 49
  • decided on “delayed correction” rather than “immediate” or “instant” comment. This unarguable coincidence was reasoned by the fact that teachers were more and more aware of the preeminence of delayed correction. As a teacher elaborated, delayed correction showed teachers’ constructive and motivating attitudes towards students’ mistakes since it helps students spot their weakness without intervening their speech. 1.2. Research question 2: Effectiveness of eliciting techniques The effectiveness of these eliciting techniques was examined in the two separate aspects including changes in the talk-to-teacher time and those in the talk-to-peers time. The evaluation implies several points that need to be taken into account. The most distinguished feature of the chart is that in both two proposed sections, “so-so” dominated the other categories. The second common characteristic is that “so-so” is closely followed by “much”. At “talk-to-teacher”, 29.23% students chose “so-so”, just 5% greater than the number of those picking out “much”. The similar disproportion between these two highest percentages went to the section of ‘talk-to-peers” 50
  • (35.38% vs. 29.23%). Another surprising coincidence was that in the columns “very much” and “not at all”, the percentages of advocates were the same between two sections at 16.92% and 6.15% respectively. From these figures, it can be seen that surveyed students put themselves into relatively equal groups in terms of their assessments. Hence, the effectiveness of these eliciting techniques could not be precisely weighed. However, what the numbers could reveal was that students realized a greater improvement in their talk-to-peers time than their talk-to- teacher time. Teachers’ opinion When being asked “how effective are the mentioned techniques in eliciting students’ talk?”, the interviewed teachers immediately made a comparison between talk-to-teacher time and talk-to-peers time. 80% of them stated that the latter was increased more remarkably than the former. They were most inclined to tick in the column of “much” and very few chose “little”. The two extremes which are “not at all” and “very much” were left blank. The result implied that the teachers were, on the one hand, optimistic about the effectiveness of eliciting techniques they applied to their students. On the other hand, they seemed modest about what they could bring to the students. Teacher 4 (T4) specified the improvement in their students’ behavior as a result of elicitation: “My students turn curious and enthusiastic eyes to the pictures I show at the warm-up section. They even can guess what questions I am about to ask them about the pictures. They look ready for the answers”. Although there is a slight difference in the two parties’ assessments, eliciting should be praised to have positive influences on student-talk. While the current study expressed an explicit desire to investigate the insiders’ perceptions towards the effectiveness of eliciting techniques, Tran’s and Pham’s just made an inference from the Yes/No question, say, 51
  • “do you respond to your teacher’s encouragement?” In Pham’s research, 15% students said no to teachers’ elicitation while Tran’s saw an absolute number of students respond actively. Tran’s findings entailed a bright sign about the outcome of teachers’ attempt in eliciting which was still limited as what Pham’s found out. Whether the effectiveness was high or not, it still self-demonstrated clearly in the two researches, which was in contrast with the current one. In addition, the aspect of talk-to-peers was untouched in the two predecessors. The dissimilarity once again resulted from the context of the survey. The subjects of this study were students from different schools or backgrounds over Hanoi. Thus, there was a wide range of opinions on the effectiveness of a tool. In the end, the figures did not fall into any extremes and hence could hardly reflect any significant trends. Nevertheless, Tran’s study targeted at HFLSS where most students majored in English. The same learning condition and background could make them construct similar perspectives. The results could help readers easily spot out outstanding trends. 1.3. Research question 3: Hindrances to the employment of the eliciting techniques as reported by teachers This question is intended to seek teachers’ experience on difficulties they ever faced in the process of applying eliciting techniques. The answers to this also help justify why some mentioned techniques were used at a rather low frequency and the effectiveness of elicitation was assessed by students to be still faint. Although the interviewed teachers agreed on the benefits of elicitation to student-talk, conducting them inside EFL classrooms, especially under Vietnamese teaching and learning conditions, is not an easy task at all. The teachers’ ideas can be listed as follows. 52
  • From the statistics, it can be inferred that time consumption and students’ nature were two most striking obstacles to the intensive use of eliciting techniques. Teaching and learning conditions were also comparatively big problem. In addition, being afraid of the boredom and incomprehensibility of the techniques discouraged the teachers from applying elicitation of several types into the lessons. All the teachers made no hesitation to say that using eliciting techniques was very time-consuming. That was why teachers preferred questioning than other techniques, especially using pictures and games. T1 explained the reason: “Questioning is easy to do and appears quite effective. Students are directly made to talk when they were called on to give answers to teachers’ questions.” T2 shared T1’s opinion as: “Questioning takes far less time to prepare than other techniques. If you intend to kick-start a lesson with a series of pictures, you have to spend 53
  • much time searching relevant ones from different available sources, not to mention the job of editing, printing, etc.” All the teachers showed concerns over class-time constraint. Forty five minutes per period was believed to be not sufficient for the teachers to carry out games and activities of diverse types while the core content had to be fully covered. Clearly, eliciting takes a considerable amount of time from teachers both in preparation and conduction stages. Secondly, despite teachers’ notable effort in applying eliciting techniques to maximize student-talk, the effectiveness was limited by student factor itself. The obstacles were elaborated as students’ lack of confidence and self-discipline. T1 said that “My students are very shy, I have to admit! When I show a picture and ask what it is about, though some of them know the answers, they hardly dare to talk and wait one another.” Moreover, some students lacked self-discipline to practice speaking skill, as reported by Teacher 5 (T5): “I do encourage my students to talk, especially when they work in groups. But only when they notice me standing beside do they try to raise voice. After discussion, it’s hard to find anyone who volunteers to report as a group representative.” The mentioned phenomena were clearly seen while the researcher observed a class in Xuan Dinh school. Seventy percent of the students there was quite hesitant to give answers to teachers’ questions. However, the number of shy students in HFLSS was observed to be smaller. As many as 40% of the surveyed teachers might doubt the fascination and comprehensibility of the techniques applied. One teacher took the case of using dialogues and texts to support her argument. She observed her students practicing the texts available in the textbook in a lesson and felt some signs of boredom inside them. 54
  • “I have a feeling that some of my students do not enjoy the given texts in the book, especially the reading passage of the reading section. There are a number of reasons, one of which, I guess, is that those texts are not of students’ tastes. They seem to pay too much attention to the educational purpose and underestimate other important factors”. One teacher stood at an opposite perspective when claiming that: “There is hardly anything wrong with the texts and dialogues themselves. On the contrary, the problem lies in the fact that inexperienced teachers haven’t exploited the materials to the fullest to make them more useful and interesting to the students. Or maybe due to time limit or other external causes”. Body language is another typical example that should be taken into account: “Sometimes, I use body language to provoke students’ incentives to talk. However, from time to time, it takes them rather long to understand my implication, or in other words, what I mean through that non-verbal expression. I’m even afraid that students may misinterpret my message and have negative attitudes towards me and also speaking activity.” From these sincere opinions, it can be said that the use of eliciting techniques under some circumstances may hardly reach the effectiveness as it expects. Last but not least, teachers put a stress on the difficulties related to teaching and learning conditions which inhibited the efficiency of eliciting techniques employed. According to 60% of the teachers, the teaching conditions here in Vietnam were not supportive enough. Several evidences about the unfavorable conditions were listed, including the lack of modern classroom facilities, the organization of large-sized classes or even the curriculum, as elaborated by T2: 55
  • “Nowadays, with the help of Internet, we don’t find it as hard as before to get relevant and intriguing materials to ginger up the lesson. For example, a piece of music or video is not unobtainable, but, what should we do with it when there is no device to play it in the classroom. Our effort comes to nothing in this case.” Honestly speaking, teachers, despite their desperate desire to improve the quality of the lesson, are always at a disadvantage, especially those in suburban areas of Hanoi. Those working in downtown schools like HFLSS, Viet Duc school, etc. are bound to have more chance to apply a wider range of eliciting techniques to students than their colleagues who are in Xuan Dinh or Nguyen Hue schools. Those are some most notable obstacles teachers could identify during the process of using eliciting techniques namely time consumption, students’ nature, boredom and comprehensibility of the techniques applied as well as teaching and learning conditions. The mentioned results surprisingly coincided with those of the previous studies and with the theory reviewed by scholars of the same field. In the current study, the biggest challenge was “time consumption” agreed upon by all the interviewees. The same percentage could be found in Pham’s and a smaller one, namely 80%, went to Tran’s. Such a convergence showed that teachers, irrespective of their working context, all had trouble with time management, especially those to whom the application of new teaching methodology was a must. The finding met in agreement with the theory by Doff (1988: 162) stating that eliciting takes more time than straightforward presentation of new knowledge. A no less outstanding difficulty hitting upper-secondary teachers was “students’ nature”. The hindrance was also diagnosed in Tran’s and specifically worded as “students’ lack of confidence and hesitation to speak”. However, just a modest number of 20% interviewed teachers 56
  • showed great concern over the problem in Tran’s study, which was in contrast with the present one recording a significant percentage of 80%. The similar conflict fell into the case of “teaching and learning conditions” which accounted for 60% in the present study but just 20% in Tran’s (labeled as “small-sized classroom”). These dissimilarities stem from the difference in educational contexts. In HFLSS alone, students’ English competence and their learning attitudes towards the target subject are more favorable for the enhancement than those from other schools. Therefore, the problem concerning to student factor is not as serious in HFLSS as in the rest over Hanoi. Regarding teaching and learning conditions, HFLSS enjoys an infrastructure of higher quality than others, which even becomes a far cry from suburban and rural schools. The limited size of classrooms as mentioned in Tran’s hardly affects HFLSS students as badly as in others because the average number of students per class in the former is just about half that of the latter, as a fact. Therefore, it makes sense to conclude that students from a diverse range of schools over Hanoi faced more obstacles than those from HFLSS alone. The mentioned problems were already inspected by local researchers like Le C. (1999) who showed insight into the current situation of Vietnamese teaching and learning English. Last but not least, the current study revealed an unexpected but meaningful finding which was “boredom and incomprehensibility of the eliciting techniques applied”. As many as 40% teachers raised awareness about this problem. However, hardly any theory shed light on this aspect which was recognized by teachers during their teaching practice. 1.4. Research question 4: Solutions suggested by teachers to identified hindrances In this question, the teachers were requested to share measures either they had taken on their own to overcome the listed difficulties or they had 57
  • ever witnessed from their colleagues. As far as the researcher was concerned, each diagnosed problem was treated by a number of corresponding remedies. Tackling with time constraint As highlighted earlier, having trouble with time management was one of the two most popular stumbling blocks that teachers underwent. Each interviewee recommended her own solutions, the most common of which shared by all the teachers was to make lesson plan carefully. They reasoned that if the lesson plan was well prepared, teachers could effectively avoid dead time since all the activities were designed and ordered in a reasonable way. Additionally, teachers, on drafting the lesson plan, partly anticipated possible problems in the class and might prepare several back-up plans. Therefore, the class time budget could be reasonably allocated to various sections of a lesson and to different activities held in each stage. More specifically speaking, the teachers emphasized the significance of exercise adaptation as a good way to save class time. T1 said: “Normally, we, as high school teachers, are not allowed to leave out any task in the textbook, even in case we run out of time. So why don’t we modify these obligatory tasks to our purposes so that we can cover all the required parts without exceeding the time limit”. T5 acknowledged the importance of task adaptation and offered some suggestions such as: “Investment in the job of adapting tasks is highly appreciated. In doing so, you can create interesting interactive tasks. You can change a pair-work activity into a group-work one if that task requires interaction among a greater number of students than just 2. As a result, students, especially in a crowded class, can more chance to work with more partners”. 58
  • Improving students’ attitudes and behaviors in class Dealing with this kind of subjects is not too difficult but it requires time, patience and high sensitivity from teachers. The measures were reported as follows. Helping students overcome their shyness was the first thing teachers suggested doing prior to any attempt to increase student-talk. While conducting group-work, teachers were advised to be very thoughtful in grouping students. T5 believed: “Shy students should be exposed to more active and “talkative” ones; the disruptive students with more disciplined ones. And while the work is proceeding, teachers need to go around frequently and give timely help to the shy so they don’t feel that they are just there alone”. “Be more generous in giving compliments on students’ talk! Students will become more courageous and confident as well”, advised T1. Regarding questioning, one teacher claimed to save easier questions for timid students who were, many cases, the weaker ones. In order to do that, another job that teachers needed to bear in mind was to categorize students well according to proficiency, attitudes, learning habits, styles and other criteria. Motivating students is a no-less-important task that teachers placed a premium on. Many interviewed teachers saw the effectiveness of introducing new kinds of games and activities. T1 specified the measure: “I tried to diversify activities in a lesson. If pair-work is used for task 1, then task 2 should be conducted in groups. The lead-in should be alternatively done with pictures, video, a short piece of music, a debate topic, a slogan, etc. Don’t overuse any activity or it’ll become no longer appealing or turn out to be counter-productive”. Dealing with boredom and incomprehensibility 59
  • Although elicitation was apparently taken for granted in almost any lesson, the use of eliciting techniques in some cases became boring or incomprehensible to students. Therefore, once again, teachers minimized the possible occurrence of this situation by adequately investing in making lesson plan and being flexible when conducting elicitation in class. In the first place, while adapting tasks, teachers were advised to diversify types of games and activities integrated as clarified earlier. The introduction of new and updated topics under the umbrella theme of each unit was really encouraged. “In Unit 14 World Cup, T1 exampled, you can propose many related topics for students to further practise speaking such as The latest World Cup, the next World Cup, your favorite national football team participating in World Cup and so on. Working with the same topic in one unit for 4 periods continuously makes students tired and bored.” “As I said before, the use of dialogues was restricted to what available in the textbook. We didn’t have chance to replace them even though some of them were not very interesting to students because the content of end-of-term tests were designed basing on those materials. To make them more interesting, I sometimes integrate role-play into the practice of dialogues: dialogues serve as the script for students to act. It would be easier to digest.” Another teacher revealed her own ways to adapt texts. To make a text more absorbable, teachers could add more activities to exploit it to the full and in a more student-friendly way. In the two latter measures, the teachers’ attempt in adapting available materials also demonstrates their flexibility in applying elicitation. Besides, teachers should also observe students’ attitudes, emotions and behaviors to make timely adjustments to the procedure during the lesson so that boredom or misunderstanding does not last long if it happens to come. 60
  • Overcoming the unfavorability of current teaching and learning conditions As mentioned before, the densely populated classrooms were big challenges to teachers. Therefore, how to project elicitation over a large number of students required skill, effort and sensitivity from teachers. T1 highlighted the significance of teamwork as follows: “I think, in this case, team work can help involve nearly the whole class. Practicing speaking doesn’t necessarily mean talking to teachers all the time. On the contrary, being constantly exposed to friends can reinforce the skill very much.” The above teacher recommended that the use of team work help solve the problem of classroom crowdedness. Teachers did not have to fear that students lacked chance to raise in class since they could practice in groups. To guarantee the quality of teaching and learning in ill-equipped classrooms, teachers in poorly-conditioned parts made full use of available facilities. For example, in some regions where classrooms were not equipped with high technology such as internet-connected computers and projectors, teachers just used pictures provided in the textbook to motivate students. It was praiseworthy that they possessed a plenty of ways to exploit the available materials in the absence of hi-tech. T3 shed light on a paradox teachers in general had to encounter: “We could still ensure the quality of the lesson. Sometimes, we feel a bit helpless. While the new curriculum highlights the application of high technology inside CLT-implemented classrooms, our own teaching has run without hi-tech devices for several years.” By and large, a plenty of measures were, one by one, put forward by the interviewed teachers to resolve the diagnosed problems of four main categories namely time consumption, students’ nature, boredom and 61
  • incomprehensibility of eliciting techniques as well as teaching and learning conditions. The interviews conducted by the present study could find out plenty of meaningful solutions, some of which coincided with those reported in the previous studies while some turned out to be new ideas. To tackle with “time consumption”, “make lesson plans carefully” was highly recommended by most of the teachers participating in the current research whereas the point was not touched by those in Tran’s and Pham’s. In these two earlier studies, “being flexible in controlling time” and “choosing appropriate time to elicit” were believed to exploit the time budget economically and effectively. The dissimilar views may result from their different approaches to the issue, i.e. those in the present study weighed much the preparatory stage while those in the two former highlighted class-time practices. Despite being unmentioned in Tran’s and Pham’s, the point was backed up by Rudder (2002) when he advised teachers to make investment in lesson planning so that eliciting are always ready to be used in all focused skills and lesson stages. Concerning the problem related to students, teachers set priority for the work of “helping students overcome their shyness” and then “motivating students”. The two principal measures were shared by what was found in Tran’s (2006: 50). The two studies could put forward a similar remedy which is to “introduce new games and activities” or “diversify games and activities”. It was also highlighted in Rudder (2000) as “with the renewed emphasis on student involvement, the teacher is obliged to create and implement both controlled and free activities that encourage students to speak”. The point that distinguished teachers in the present study from those in the previous one was their consideration about student grouping as a way to deal with students’ shyness. 62
  • The next problem, “teaching and learning conditions”, shared by Tran’s and the present study was solved by maximizing group work and making full use of available facilities. The dissimilarity principally lied in the former measure, i.e. the present study weighed group work over pair work in order to have students more intensively exposed to one another within limited time in crowded classes, Tran’s revealed a higher preference for pair work. The reason was that pair work could be more convenient for students whose seats were at long tables and benches. The findings were not self-conflicting as they may sound because the two surveys were carried out in the two different educational contexts. Tran’s targeted at HFLSS where large-sized classes were not problems, whereas the number of students per class in lower quality schools over Hanoi tends to be more than 40. Therefore, the matter of exposure opportunity was prioritized over convenience. With regard to an ever-unmentioned hindrance named as “boredom and incomprehensibility of eliciting techniques applied”, the present study disclosed two principal measures namely adapting materials and being flexible in eliciting. With regard to the first measure, two specific deeds were recommended, i.e. diversifying games and activities and introducing new topics to avoid boredom. They were already touched by Tran’s (2006: 50) as a way to motivate students. The idea on teachers’ flexibility in applying eliciting techniques in the present study was discussed in the category of time management in Tran’s (2006: 49). Therefore, the conclusion is that several specific actions can produce many positive effects simultaneously. 2. Implications The reported findings are bound to have significant pedagogical suggestions which help the involved parties solve all the diagnosed problems for a higher effectiveness of elicitation. 63
  • Since questioning is found to be most frequently used, teachers should maximize the effectiveness of this leading technique by paying attention to what and how questions are asked to obtain the expected target language. Firstly, two types of questions namely display and referential questions can be raised to elicit students’ prior knowledge and to foster students’ skills of explaining, clarifying or providing further information respectively. Secondly, teachers should have appropriate questioning manners such as varying his/her questioning technique according to the difficulty of the question, directing positive attitudes to students’ answers, pausing after each question so that students have time to think and eliciting answers onto the board. Since how to give feedback to students’ answers is as important as how to elicit them, teachers need to pay much attention to compliment rather than “only correct students’ talk” as discovered from the study. Short phrases like “good”, “ok”, or just a nod can maintain students’ positive attitudes towards speaking as well as teachers’ elicitation without wasting much class time. The study also revealed a low frequency of pictures, texts, dialogues, games, activities and especially body language as eliciting techniques which results from time constraint, students’ unsupportive attitudes, boredom and incomprehensibility of the techniques and unfavorable teaching conditions. Firstly, since the use of the mentioned techniques is quite time-consuming, teachers should make lesson plan carefully. During this process, teachers can anticipate problems possibly arising from eliciting as well as make necessary task adaptations. Also, being flexible in using eliciting techniques can help teachers use the time budget more effectively. Secondly, for shy and inactive students, teachers need to expose them more to pair work or group work. Also, to help them overcome these psychological barriers, teachers can motivate students by 64
  • introducing new topics together with diversifying games and activities. Localization and personalization are two helpful practices teachers should take into account. For the overall success of the lesson, beside teachers’ effort, students should also be well aware of their responsibilities, i.e try to be supportive to teachers’ elicitation by becoming more confident and active to raise voice in class. Regarding the third hindrance, as eliciting techniques sometimes become boring and difficult to understand, once again, teachers are advised to invest much in making lesson plan and implement the lesson procedure sensitively and flexibly. Last but not least, in schools where teaching and learning conditions are still poor or not adequate enough, teachers should try to exploit available resources in a sensitive and creative way. Without hi-tech facilities, they can use substitute tools to conduct elicitation such as realia, flashcards, printed pictures and so on. For crowded classes, group work and pairwork are preferable when they give students more chance to speak. However, the inadequate teaching conditions create a need for infrastructure upgrading which educational administrators should take into consideration. According to students’ evaluation, teachers’ elicitation helped improve talk-to-peer time much more than talk-to teacher time. Although class time budget and teachers’ ability are limited, teachers should still consider raising the extent of interacting with students, especially through groups rather than through each individual. The mentioned pedagogical implications have addressed almost every problem revealed in the findings of the study. Hopefully, they can be properly adopted so that eliciting techniques can intensify student-talk to the fullest. To sum up, the present study has found out a number of significant results, some of which corresponded to those of the previous studies and the theory presented in the literature review whereas some showed slight 65
  • differences. Obviously, the finding analysis chapter serves as a vivid account of the situation surveyed, based on which the researcher can work out pedagogical implications for involved parties. 66
  • CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION The final chapter aims to summarize findings, highlight contributions of the research, address notable limitations and put forward practical suggestions for future research. 1. Summary of findings The study delved into the situation of applying eliciting techniques to increase student-talk among grade-10 students of upper-secondary schools in Hanoi. The investigation into four main aspects of the issue was implemented by triangulating three data collection instruments namely questionnaire, interview and classroom observation. Undergoing a procedure of stratified random sampling, 100 students and five teachers from five representative schools were selected to participate in the survey. The results can be noted as follows. Regarding the techniques, questioning, using pictures, using texts and dialogues, using games and activities and using body language were reported to be employed inside EFL classrooms to intensify student-talk. Questioning is used with the highest frequency as acknowledged by both students and teachers. While students saw a lowest frequency of using body language, teachers put the use of this technique on equal terms with that of the rest apart from questioning only. About teachers’ giving feedback to students’ talk, whereas “both compliment and correct students’ talk” was assessed by students to be used most, “only correct students’ talk” was the most favorite choice among teachers themselves. The effectiveness of eliciting techniques was evaluated by students to be more limited than by teachers. Between talk-to-peer and talk-to-teacher time, students saw a clearer improvement of the former than that of the latter. Regarding obstacles to the employment of eliciting techniques, teachers pointed out four major ones. The approval rating descended from 67
  • time constraint, students’ nature, teaching conditions and boredom plus incomprehensibility of the techniques. The identified problems were partly solved by a number of measures. Time constraint was believed to be properly solved by thorough lesson planning, especially task adaptation. To help students overcome shyness and inactiveness, teachers paid special attention to the job of student categorizing as well as introducing new games and activities. Although eliciting techniques sometimes appeared boring and difficult to understand, teachers could minimize this possibility by investing in making lesson plan and being flexible when conducting elicitation. Making full use of available facilities was claimed to treat the inadequacy of teaching and learning conditions. On the whole, those findings fully addressed the four research questions, which offered a vivid account of the investigated issue. 2. Contributions of the research The present research found out what techniques teachers used to elicit student-talk, how efficiently the techniques worked, what difficulties teachers encountered and what solutions teachers suggested to overcome those hindrances. The results of the research could best reflect the situation, from which meaningful implications were put forward for practice. Teachers and students could base on those findings to make necessary alterations in teaching and learning strategies. Educational administrators can also consider drawing up new plans to improve the teaching environment so that eliciting techniques can work properly. In addition, since the study followed a direction which was quite different from the two previous ones on the same field of elicitation, the results of it could add another aspect namely “techniques teachers use to elicit grade-10 students’ talk in upper-secondary schools in Hanoi” to the existing knowledge. 68
  • On the whole, the study has significant contributions for both pedagogical and research practices. 3. Limitations of the research Despite considerable investment in terms of time and effort, the present research could not avoid some shortcomings which should be acknowledged as follows. Firstly, due to time constraint and difficulty in approaching participants, the researcher had to restrict the number of surveyed schools to five. Moreover, in each school, only one specific class could be penetrated thanks to personal relationships. The interview was conducted among only five teachers; and observation was just carried out with two lessons. Hence, the survey scope was not as broad as expected. However, to compensate these weaknesses, the researcher did make a thorough research design in order to obtain valid and reliable data. The participants also posed several limitations to the study. It was common knowledge that grade-10 students, in majority, were not insightful enough to perceive the issue. Moreover, some teachers during the interviews were in hurry, which affected the in-depth of the answers. That was why the observations and assessments of the two sides were deliberately compared for precise and objective results. The limited scope and participant-related problems, little or much, may pose harm to the outcome of the study and should be taken into account in future research of the same field. 4. Suggestions for the further research The research delved into the situation of using eliciting techniques inside grade-10 EFL classrooms and generated several significant results. However, the investigation should not be limited to those findings. On the contrary, researchers may have other various approaches to the issue as follows. 69
  • As stated in the previous part, the present study restricted the survey scope to five representative upper-secondary schools in Hanoi and targeted at a certain number of participants. Therefore, if time, finance and energy do allow, researchers can expand the scope for more valid and reliable data. Students of grade 11 and 12 are potential subjects of the research of the same field. In addition, the employment of eliciting techniques to increase student-talk can be examined in a particular stage namely presentation, practice or production rather than an entire lesson; or in a particularly skill- focused lesson apart from speaking. Those are two main directions which future researchers can follow to gain further insight into the field. In a nutshell, a summary of the findings, contributions, limitations and research suggestions have been discussed in this chapter. Regarding the entire work, involved parties can find it a reliable referential source to make some necessary changes as well as to implement further exploitation into the same field. 70
  • REFERENCES Belchamber R. (2007). The advantages of CLT, The Internet TESL Journal, 8. Celce-Murcia, M. (1995). Communicative competence: A pedagogically motivated model with content specifications, Issues in Applied Linguistics, 6 (2), 10-24. Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2000). Research methods in education. London: Routledgefalmer. Cornejo, R., Weistein, A. and Najar, C. (1983). Eliciting spontaneous speech in bilingual students: Methods and techniques. New Mexico: Educational Resources Information Center and Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools. Darn, S. (2008). Asking questions. The BBC and British Council. Retrieved from http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/asking-questions on November 21 2008. Doff, A. (1988). Teach English: A training course for teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ersoz, A. (2000). Six Games for the EFL/ESL Classroom, The Internet TESL Journal, 6 (6). Harmer, J. (1983). The practice of English Language Teaching. Essex: Longman Group Limited. Harmer, J. (2001). The practice of English Language Teaching. London: Longman ELT. Lee, J.F., and VanPatten, B. (1995). Making communicative language teaching happen. New York: McGraw Hill. 71
  • Lee, K. (1995). From Creative Games for the Language Class, Forum, 33 (1). Le, C. (1999). Language and Vietnamese pedagogical contexts, The 4th Internal Conference on Language Development. Hanoi: Nha xuat ban Dai Hoc Quoc Gia Hanoi. Mackey, A. and Gass S.M. (2005). Second language research: Methodology and Design. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Nguyen, T.T.H. and Khuat, T.T.N. (2003). Learning Vocabulary through Games, Asian EFL Journal. Nunan, D. (1991). Communicative tasks and the language curriculum, TEOSL Quarterly, 25 (2). Pham, H. (2006). Using elicitation techniques to teach Vocabulary to 11th form students in Hanoi. Hanoi: English Department, CFL, VNU. Richard J.C. (2005). Communicative Language Teaching Today. New York: Cambridge University Press. Rudder, M. (2000). Eliciting student-talk, English Teaching Forum, 37(2), 17-19. Tran, H. (2007). Eliciting technique to teach speaking skill to grade-10 students at Hanoi Foreign Language Specializing School. Hanoi: English Department, CFL, VNU. Wright, A., Betteridge, M. and Buckby, M. (1984). Games for Language Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 72
  • APPENDIX 1 STUDENT QUESTIONNAIRE (English version) TEACHNIQUES TEACHERS USE TO ELICIT STUDENTS’ TALK AMONG GRADE-10 STUDENTS I am Chu Thi Huyen Mi from 051E1, English Department – Hanoi University of Languages and International Studies. I am conducting a research on “techniques teachers use to elicit students’ talk among grade-10 students in upper-secondary schools in Hanoi” and this questionnaire is an indispensable part of the research. Hence, your response is highly appreciated. This is not a test, so there are no right or wrong answers and even your name is not required to be filled in. It is your personal opinion that really interests us. Please give your answers sincerely to guarantee the success of this research. I would like to thank you very much for your kind help. THE CONTENTS OF THIS FORM ARE ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENTIAL. INFORMATION IDENTIFYING THE RESPONDENT WILL NOT BE DISCLOSED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES A. Personal information Class:................. English score of the last semester: .......................... B. Questions I. Techniques teachers use to elicit students’ talk 1.What techniques does your teacher use to stimulate you to talk in English? (More than one option can be chosen). a. Questioning b. Using pictures 73
  • c. Using games and activities d. Using texts and dialogues e. Using non-verbal language f.Others: …………(Please specify) 2. How often does your teacher use those techniques? (Please tick in the appropriate blank, the smallest number indicates the least often teachers use the technique, the biggest number indicates the most often teachers use the technique). Techniques 1 2 3 4 5 Questioning Using pictures Using games and activities Using texts and dialogues Using non- verbal language Others: ….. 3. After you raise voice, how does your teacher give feedback to you most frequently? a. Only correct your talk b. Only give compliment on your talk c. Both compliment and correct your talk d. Just listen and pass to another student e. Others: …..(Please specify) II. Effectiveness of teachers’ using eliciting techniques 74
  • 1. As far as you can assess, to what extent is your talk time in class increased as a result of your teacher’s employment of eliciting techniques? (Please tick the appropriate box) Very Much So-so Little Not at all much Talk to teacher Talk to peers THANK YOU FOR YOUR COPPERATION In case you want to ask anything about the questionnaire, please contact me on 0987 488 046 or via maneenuch1987@yahoo.com Phiếu điều tra (Dành cho sinh viên) 75
  • Các phương pháp giáo viên áp dụng để khuyến khích học sinh lớp 10 nói nhiều hơn trong các giờ học tiếng Anh Chào các bạn! Tôi tên là Chu Thị Huyền Mi, sinh viên lớp 051E1, trường Đại Học Ngoại Ngữ, Đại Học Quốc Gia Hà Nội. Tôi đang tiến hành một cuộc nghiên cứu về “Các phương pháp giáo viên áp dụng để khuyến khích học sinh lớp 10 nói nhiều hơn trong các giờ học tiếng Anh tại một số trường trung học phổ thông trên địa bàn Hà Nội”. Phiếu điều tra này là một phần vô cùng quan trọng của nghiên cứu. Vì vậy, tôi rất mong nhận được những ý kiến trung thực nhất từ phía các bạn để nghiên cứu này thu được những kết quả tốt nhất. Cám ơn các bạn rất nhiều! Nội dung của bản điều tra này hoàn toàn tuyệt mật. Thông tin cá nhân về các đối tượng tham gia điều tra sẽ được bảo đảm tuyệt đối. A. Thông tin cá nhân Trường:…………… Lớp:………………. Điểm phẩy môn tiếng Anh kì trước:…………… B. Câu hỏi I. Các phương pháp giáo viên sử dụng để khuyến khích học sinh nói trong tiết học tiếng Anh 1. Giáo viên của bạn thường sử dụng các phương pháp gì để khuyến khích bạn nói trong giờ tiếng Anh? (Bạn có thể chọn hơn MỘT đáp án) a. Đặt câu hỏi b. Dùng tranh ảnh c. Tổ chức các trò chơi và họat động d. Sử dụng các bài khoá và hội thoại e. Sử dụng ngôn ngữ cơ thể ( Nét mặt,cử chỉ, điệu bộ, kịch câm…) 76
  • f. Các phương pháp khác mà bạn biết:…………..(xin hãy viết rõ) 2.Mức độ thường xuyên mà giáo viên sử dụng các phương pháp trên? (hãy đánh vào ô trống thích hợp! Số nhỏ nhất thể hiện mức độ thường xuyên là ít nhất, số lớn nhất thể hiện mức độ thường xuyên là lớn nhất.) Phương 1 2 3 4 5 pháp Đặt câu hỏi Dùng tranh ảnh Tổ chức các trò chơi và họat động Sử dụng các bài khoá và hội thoại Sử dụng ngôn ngữ cơ thể Phương pháp khác: ……… 3.Sau khi bạn phát biểu bằng tiếng Anh, giáo viên thường hay phản hồi như thế nào nhất? a. Chỉ sửa lỗi sai cho bạn b. Chỉ khen câu bạn nói c. Cả khen và sửa lỗi sai d. Nghe bạn nói rồi chuyển sang nghe học sinh khác phát biểu 77
  • e. Những phản ứng khác:…….(xin viết rõ) II. Tính hiệu quả của các phương pháp trên 1. Theo bạn, sau khi giáo viên sử dụng các phương pháp trên, thời lượng nói trung bình của bạn trong một giờ tiếng Anh tăng lên bao nhiêu? (Hãy đánh vào ô thích hợp) Tăng rất Tăng nhiều Bình Tăng đôi Không nhiều thường chút tăng Nói với giáo viên Nói với bạn ------------------------------------------- Hết------------------------------------------- CẢM ƠN CÁC BẠN RẤT NHIỀU Nếu có điều gì thắc mắc, xin vui lòng liên hệ với tôi theo địa chỉ email maneenuch1987@yahoo.com hoặc theo số 0987 488 046 APPENDIX 2 INTERVIEW QUESTIONS (for teachers) I. Personal information 1. School: 2. Years of teaching English: II. Interview questions 78
  • 1. What techniques do you use to encourage them to talk? 2. Among those listed (questioning, using pictures, using texts and dialogues, using games and activities, using body language), how frequently do you use each? 3. For those you rarely use, can you explain reasons? 4. After students finish their talk, how do you give feedback to your students’ talk? 5. According to you, are these types of techniques effective in eliciting students’ talk and how? 6. Between talk-to peer and talk-to-teacher time, which one is more improved? 7. If the eliciting techniques do not show remarkable results, what are reasons for the problems? 8. What do you do or suggest doing to overcome these hindrances in applying eliciting techniques to increase students’ talk in class? APPENDIX 3 INTERVIEW TRANSCIPT (Teacher 1) 1. Time: 15: 20 15: 45 Location: Xuan Dinh school Teacher’s personal information: female, 25 experience years 2. Interview 79
  • (Q is short for interviewer and A is short for interviewee). Q: Good afternoon. How are you? A: Hi. Thank you. Q: Thank you for attending the interview today. As far as you are informed, my name is Chu Thi Huyen Mi, 4th year student of English Department, College of Foreign Languages, Vietnam National University. I’m doing a research on “techniques teachers use to elicit students’ talk among grade-10 students in upper-secondary schools in Hanoi”. Now, I’d like to seek your opinion on this issue. Hope to have your cooperation. And please feel free to share the information as it will be kept in secret under any circumstances. A: Ok. Sure! You’re welcome. Q: The first question: In an English lesson, (it can be reading, listening, writing, not just speaking), normally, what techniques do you use to elicit students’ talk? A: Many techniques. But just at the moment, they escaped me. Hang on… I ask them questions to push them to open mouths. Q: Ok. To recall your memory, I’ll list out all the techniques and you can decide on which ones you usually use. Ok? There are: questioning, using pictures, using texts and dialogues, using games and activities and using body language. A: I use all. I can say for sure. Q: So, among those listed, how frequently do you use each technique? A: Questioning is used most often. Pictures, texts, dialogues, games, activities and body language are also used quite frequently. However, due to some reasons, both external and internal, the frequency of using these techniques is inferior to that of questioning. Despite that, no techniques are ignored. Q: Why is questioning used most often? 80
  • A: Questioning must be the leading technique. It is easy and effective because when we ask students questions, they have to give us answers. And by giving answers, they are practicing speaking English. Q: Besides the listed techniques, do you use any other tools? A: I sometimes use flashcards, real objects. Q: After students raise voice, how do you tend to give feedback? A: It seems that I just have time to give comment on their talk. Q: How about giving compliment? A: Sometimes If I can remember, I do. But normally, to save time I just correct their talk. It’s more important. Although we see the meaning of praising students after they raise voice, we might forget to do so. Most of the time, we pay attention to commenting their talk only. Q: Do you tend to correct students’ talk as soon as mistakes are made or wait after students finish to give comment? A: I tend to do the latter as it’s more polite and encouraging than the former. Q: According to your observation and evaluation, how effective are these techniques in eliciting students’ talk? A: I think these techniques are quite helpful in increasing students’ talk, especially increase the time students can talk to their friends. Q: If I give you a scale from “very much” to “not at all”, which point do you agree on? A: I give “so-so” to the category of “talk-to-teacher” and “much” to “talk- to-peers” as an evaluation of the effectiveness of elicitation on students’ talk in the two distinctive aspects. Q: Why is it just “so-so” and “much”, not “very much” at both categories? A: There are many reasons for this limited effectiveness. Q: Can you name some? 81
  • A: Yes. Firstly, I have to admit that elicitation takes time. For example, pictures take me much time to search, to edit and to prepare. In class, using pictures to introduce something new to students is also time-consuming than immediate presentation. This also helps explain why questioning is used most. It’s handy. Students are directly made to talk when they were called on to give answers to teachers’ questions. Q: Any other problems? A: The limited effectiveness has something to do with students. My students are very shy, I have to admit! When I show a picture and ask what it is about, though some of them know the answers, they hardly dare to talk and wait one another. One more problem, sometimes I feel the eliciting techniques I am using are quite boring. I have a feeling that some of my students do not enjoy the given texts in the book, especially the reading passage of the reading section. There are a number of reasons, one of which, I guess, is that those texts are not of students’ tastes. They seem to pay too much attention to the educational purpose and underestimate other important factors. Q: But I can see that you have up to more than 5 techniques you can use to elicit students talk. It’s various enough to breathe interest into your students. Why do you think they are boring? A: I know. Even though I can vary the techniques, I still have to ensure to cover all the content ( the texts, the tasks) provided in the textbook. We are regularly inspected on how much we stick to the textbook. Though some of the items are boring, unsuitable to my students at a certain circumstance, I still have to cover them. Q: Any problem related to the teaching conditions? A: We, as teachers, are well aware of the importance of the application of hi-tech into English language learning and teaching. But due to tight budget, we cannot have a set of computer with the internet, projector 82
  • installed in every class. How can my students benefit from the hi-tech teaching if there are no hi-tech devices in classrooms? We are at great disadvantage. Also, class size is another big problem. My class has up to 44 students. You know, an ideal class of English should have only around 20. It’s beyond my ability to control such a crowded class. Q: So you have listed 4 problems including, time constraint, students’ attitudes, boredom of the techniques applied and poor teaching conditions. Right? What do you do to overcome those problems? A: For the first one, time consumption. Normally, we, as high school teachers, are not allowed to leave out any task in the textbook, even in case we run out of time. So why don’t we modify these obligatory tasks to our purposes so that we can cover all the required parts without exceeding the time limit? Q: That’s a good idea. Thank you. How about dealing with students’ unsupportive attitudes? A: First, you have to help them overcome shyness before attempting to get them involved. Be more generous in giving compliments on students’ talk! Students will become more courageous and confident as well! After they dare to get involved, teachers should try to maintain their involvement by making them like the activities they are doing. In order to motivate students, I tried to diversify activities in a lesson. If pair-work is used for task 1, then task 2 should be conducted in groups. The lead-in should be alternatively done with pictures, video, a short piece of music, a debate topic, a slogan, etc. Don’t overuse any activity or it’ll become no longer appealing or turn out to be counter-productive. Q: I see. How about the third problem, boredom of the eliciting techniques? What do you do? 83
  • A: Try to work hard on the lesson plan. Design the activities carefully so that you have to come up with new kinds of activities, new ways to run the lesson. In Unit 14 World Cup, T1 exampled, you can propose many related topics for students to further practise speaking such as The latest World Cup, the next World Cup, your favorite national football team participating in World Cup and so on. Working with the same topic in one unit for 4 periods continuously makes students tired and bored. Q: In case teachers can prepare a very interesting lesson plan. However, while conducting, students still don’t like and still get bored with what you are offering to them, what will you do then? A: Be flexbile. Respect your students. If they don’t like, just skip that activity and move onto another one which is more interesting. The key word “flexibility” can help you solve the problems related to time constraint, students’ low motivation, etc. Q: The last question. With the current situation of teaching English in Vietnam, what do you do to overcome? A: Don’t wait until the infrastructure is improved. Take actions! Try to make full use of what are available to make up for the loss. (Smile) Although we can look on the bright side, we are still in desperate hope that educational reform can bring radical changes to the teaching and learning conditions so that we can gain more success. Q: Thanks so much for sharing valuable opinions. In case there is anything unclear, can I contact you again? A: Sure. Don’t worry! It’s time I had to go now. See later. Q: Thank you. See you soon. 84
  • APPENDIX 4 OBSERVATION CHECKLIST Date: 24 Feb 2009 Time: 8:20-9:5 (45 minutes) Location: 10A4, Xuan Dinh School 85
  • Unit: 11- National Park- Reading Skill Participants: 44 students and one teacher of English of 10A4 Teacher Student 1. Techniques use to elicit students’ 1. Students’ talk and the frequency of using each participation technique - Are they active and What techniques are used? How often? confident to give When? answers to teachers’ - Pictures: questions? - Games: - Are they enthusiastic - Text: in participating games - Activities: and activities? - Questions: - Body language: 2. Teachers’ feedback to students’ response What types of feedbacks are used? How often? - Compliments? - Correction? 86