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  • 1. Research Articles of EFL Student Teachers in Practice The Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, Mahasarakham University We have shone since 2004. Improving Primary School Students’ Speaking Skill by Using Games Kirana Thiamyhaisong1*, Darunee Sriyangnok2, Wantanee Pongnak3, Aphithak Chanla4, and Banchakarn Sameephet5 1.2.3.4. A fourth-year EFL student teacher 5. A research supervisor and a lecturer in EFL The Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, Mahasarakham University, Mahasarakham province, Thailand * E-mail: kirana52010513008@gmail.com The research project is financed by the Faculty of Education, Mahasarakham University.AbstractSpeaking is a very important skill for language learning, especially usingEnglish for communication purpose. Games can motivate the students to speakmore fluently, reduce students’ anxiety and increase positive attitude towardslearning language as well. This study aimed to study the efficiency ofdeveloping speaking skill by using games, to study the effectiveness indexes ofusing games to improve speaking skill, to compare pre- and post- test ofEnglish speaking skill by using games, and to study students’ learning behaviorby using competition games between reinforced and non-reinforced with thereward. The samples were 41 primary school students selected by purposivesampling. The instruments used in this experiment were learning instruments(four speaking game lesson plans) and compilation data instruments (pre–andpost- tests, evaluation of reinforced and non-reinforced with the reward’sbehavior). The results of this study revealed that (1) efficiency of developingspeaking skill by using games of primary school students were lower than thecriterion, (2) effectiveness index of using the games to improve speaking skillwas 0.3213, or 32.13 %, (3) post-scores of English speaking test weresignificantly higher than pre-test scores at the 0.05 level, (4) the reinforcementwith the rewards was 74.39 % and non-reinforced with the rewards was 23.17%. Thus, the results of improving speaking skill by using games could achievegoals-the students had developed their speaking ability.Keywords: English speaking skill/ games/ reinforcementIntroductionSpeaking skill is a very important skill in learning language, especially usingEnglish for communication purpose (Huong, 2010). Speaking is the process ofcreating verbal symbol provide in variety context that are system in conveyingmeaning include to the process of ‘interaction’. It consists of three procedures:production, receiving, and processing information (Phuc, 2010). Speaking is a 1
  • 2. Research Articles of EFL Student Teachers in Practice The Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, Mahasarakham University We have shone since 2004.form of human language that thinks as the basic ability by nature in the humanbrain. The human’s brain prepares the learning to speak already. Subsequently,it is clearly about training at the school in order to be read and write become ahabit. Therefore, all of linguistic communication will be think that occur frompatterns of speaking (Hughes, 2010). Language learning and teaching shouldfocus on the basic conversations that are essential in daily life and should becorrelated with social and culture behavior (Luoma, 2004).Speaking is the problem that happen lots of English classes which the cause ofcommon problems are nervousness, excitement, anxiety, fear of being criticize,or fear of losing face in front of other students in class. One of major problemsis lacking in confidence to speaking of the student; therefore, the student lackof motivation to speaking. As a result, the student lack of confidence in theirability of speaking and feel that their language skill is not enough. The studentwho has these problems needs to gain promotion for improving speaking skill(Porter, 1992).Games can help motivate students to be interested in learning greater and alsoimprove the atmosphere of language learning. Consequently; it allows thestudent to participate in learning new stuff and show their attitude to anotherpeople (Wright, 1989). Most importantly, it also allows students to have theopportunity for practice the use of language that is not serious and also createlearning environment that is fun and relaxing. Other advantage of using gameis helping the student reduce their anxiety, so they can speak more fluently(Chen, 2005). As a result, the student occurs development speaking Englishskill by means of game is influence and motivates students to interest thelesson (Vondracek, 2009).Game is the activity that supports language learning which allows studentspractice English to relaxing, so result in development of both language andthinking skills. Game can help the student to speak or express clearly andcreate opportunities for using language in meaningful. As a result, studentshave the opportunity to practice the language through intensive andmeaningful. In addition to learning the language from game at the same time,the results of game are unity and cooperation in classroom (Wright, 1989).Thus game is a very effective teaching technique; enhances students’ abilitiesin speak very well. Game is the way that can make students achieve thelearning objective because it have motivate and positive reinforcement withprizes (Chanda, 2008).Reinforcement is the processes that make the students enthusiastic and increasethe frequency rate of responses behavior (Miller, 2006). It is also a way toimprove and develop the behavior of students. Reinforcement is a techniquethat use in the management of classroom activities (Darch, 2004). Positivereinforcement is behavior management strategies that influence to theexpression of behavior extremely. The goal is demand of responsiveness orsomething that help to increase trend of response behavior greater (Daymut,2009). 2
  • 3. Research Articles of EFL Student Teachers in Practice The Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, Mahasarakham University We have shone since 2004.To conclude, speaking is a very important skill in language learning. Whichlearning language should focus on the students be able to use the language incommunicate with a basic conversation in daily life. Language learning willtake place effectively if the students have good attitudes and a good motivate tospeak. The positive reinforcement will make the student require to attempt inthe use of language to speak. Motivation is the strategies that make studentsrequire to learning language. Using game is stimulating to students be interestin learning greater. Reinforcement with rewards is encouraged for students andmakes them require participating in other activities. In addition, there alsooccur an interactive, exchange the idea, learning new things and enthusiastic touse language in communicate greater.Research MethodologyThis research designed pre-post tests to measure abilities to speak English byusing games of one group. The samples of 41 primary students were recruited bypurposive sampling. The instruments used in the experiment were gamescontaining four lesson plans, pre-and post-tests, and evaluation of reinforced andnon-reinforced with the reward’s behavior. The total amount of time spentcollecting data; it covered eight hours during the 1st academic semester of 2012.The experimental processes were as follows: 1. Speaking test was contributed to measure speaking ability of samplebefore implementing games and four lesson plans. 2. The four lesson plans to improve speaking skill by using gameswere used to teach in the classroom. 3. Evaluation of reinforced and non-reinforced with the reward’sbehavior was used to evaluate the students while doing the activities. 4. The same speaking test was used to measure speaking ability of thesample group after learning by using games.Data Collection and Data AnalysisData collection of the study included five months, started from June – October2012 at Anubarn Kantarawichai School, Mahasarakham province, Thailand.The data were analyzed by using these processes as follows: 1. Data were analyzed to compare speaking skill of the sample beforeand after using Games in classroom activities. Statistics used in data analysiswas dependent sample t-test to evaluate significant difference between pre-testand post-test of English speaking skill. 2. Data were analyzed to compare behaviors of responsiveness of thesample during do the activity in the class between play games which reinforcedwith the rewards and non-reinforced with the rewards. Statistics used in dataanalysis was percentage of the evaluation of students behavior that reinforceand non-reinforce with the reward. 3
  • 4. Research Articles of EFL Student Teachers in Practice The Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, Mahasarakham University We have shone since 2004. Results The inferences of this research indicated as follows: Table 1: Results of comparing English speaking skill before and after using Games of primary students. t-test Points Number of students X S.D. Significance PPre-test 41 14.65 3.95 1.684 .00Post-test 41 21.19 3.14 at the 0.05 level of significance The table 1 pointed out that the learners who study through improving speaking skill by using game at the 0.05 level of significance . Table 2: Results of the students’ behavior that arising from reinforced and non- reinforced with the rewards. Percentage Behavior Reinforced with the Non-reinforced with rewards the rewards. 1. Need to repeat the behavior. 70.73 28.83 2. Interest in the activity 73.17 17.07 3. Eager to do the activity 63.41 14.63 4. Enjoy with the activity 90.24 34.14 The students’ behavior that arising from reinforced and non-reinforced with the rewards reveals that reinforced with the rewards was 74.39 % and non- reinforced with the rewards was 23.17 %. Discussion and Recommendations According to the results of improving primary school students’ speaking skill by using game, there were issues being discussed as follows. 1.The result of comparing English speaking skill before and after learning with the learning activities by using game of primary school students indicate that students’ post-test scores are higher than pre-test scores which is in accordance with research hypotheses. The results of this study show that primary school students have increased speaking after learning with the learning activities to develop speaking skill by using game. As a result of the learning activities by using game, the students had a good attitude towards learning English and can be promoted to courage of using language in communication. In addition, game is a stimulating and motivating for students 4
  • 5. Research Articles of EFL Student Teachers in Practice The Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, Mahasarakham University We have shone since 2004.attempts to speaking and learning with not embarrassed. The result of playinggame appears that students can speak for interrogate and giving informationmore fluency and attempt to using language to communication and having fun.Based on the game resulted, students have motivated behavior, courage tospeak and communicate in natural way. This results correlated to the study ofYin Yong Mei (Yin Yong Mei, 2000) that game help students learn and haveskill in using language greater, and can make fun that provides students tolearn. However, game may be playing in pair or group competition; teachersshould pay more attention to select a group of students. The talented studentsare often grouped together, resulted to the students left the awestruck, noconfidence, anxiety, and spiritless in the competition. Teachers should selectthe group to be fair to all students. Teacher should have fairness, transparency,clearly defined criteria, and labeling each group scores to show all of studentsto be thorough. In addition to the transparency of giving score, it can encourageand motivate the students as well. Besides, interactive is another way topractice using of language, increase variety to the lesson and motivation tolearning; especially, the early childhood students. In addition, game also helpstudents have confidence to use English to communicate. Although studentsmay have hesitation, it is a good incentive. Some students may be embarrassed,they can also participate in positive behavior and can learn English like mothertongue without pressured or stressed; they can get more learning. 2. Study the behavior of reinforced and non-reinforced with rewardsfor development the speaking skills by using games of primary school studentssummarized as follows. 2.1 Reinforced with rewardsThe results of observation the students’ behavior by reinforcement withrewards in the activities by using games show that 74.39 percentages ofstudents respond to the activities. The students are required to repeat thebehavior, interested in the activity, fun and enthusiastic to do activities. Thisobservation is in agreement with Musacchio findings (Musacchio, 2011)which showed reinforcement is a very effective tools for teaching students ofall grade levels. Teacher give rewards or compensation for expands desirablebehavior or actions that the instructor needs to occur again. For example,answering questions in class room; teachers should be reinforced with rewardswhen the students answered correctly, it will make the students haveenthusiasm and motivation to answer the question again. 2.2 Non-reinforced with rewardsThe results of observing speaking English’s behavior by non-reinforced withrewards in the activities by using games show that only 23.17 percentage ofstudents response to activity. This study confirms that non-reinforced withrewards is associated with Larrive (Larrive, 2005 ) which students satisfactionand more positive behavioral response when they receive the reward thanwords. This is demonstrated clearly that the student will have a good responsebehavior when they were reinforced with reward than words. 5
  • 6. Research Articles of EFL Student Teachers in Practice The Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, Mahasarakham University We have shone since 2004.ConclusionThis study has shown that games is an activity to support language learningwhich allows students to practice English in a relaxed, resulting in thedevelopment of both language and thinking skills. Games allow students tospeak or express clearly and to create opportunities to use the language as well.As a result, students have the opportunity to practice the language intensive. Inaddition to learning the game at the same time as the byproduct of the game isunity and cooperation in the classroom. Thus, language is a very effectiveteaching technique and enhances students ability to speak as well. This is theway to help students achieve the learning objectives.ReferencesChanda. (2008). Teaching Speaking Skill through Language Games. July 20, 2012. Retrieved from http://pbingfkipunlam.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/teahing-speaking- skill-thorug-language-games/Chen. (2005). Using Games to Promote Communicative Skills in Language Learning. August 18, 2012. Retrieved from, < http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Chen-Games.html>Darch, Kame. (2003). Instructional Classroom Management. (pages 127- 128). USA : Pearson Merrill Merrill prentice hall.Daymut, J. (2009). Positive reinforcement: a behavior-management strategy. July 18, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.superduperinc.com/handouts/pdf/238_Positive Reinforcement.pdfHughes, R. (2010, March 22). English Language Teaching Materials. Cambridge University Press.Huong, P. (2010, March). The Effect Of Using Language Games On The Speaking Skills Of The First Year Students At Industrial Technology College In BAC GIANG CITY School Year 2008-2009. July 20, 2012. Retrieved from http://itctnu.edu.vn/ Uploads/Thesis/108_167_PHAM%20THU%20HUONG.pdfLarrivee, B. (2005). Authentic Classroom Mamagement (p. 190-191). USA : Rearson education,Inc.Louma. (2004). Assessing speaking (p. 13). United Kingdom : Cambridge university press.Musacchio. The Importance of Positive Reinforcement in the Classroom. July 20, 2012. Retrieved from < http://allisonmusacchio.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/the-importance- of-positive-reinforcement-in-the-classroom/l>Miller (August 4, 2011 ). The Importance of Positive Reinforcement in the Classroom. July 20, 2012. Retrieved from http://allisonmusacchio.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/the-importance-of- positive-reinforcement-in-the-classroom/ 6
  • 7. Research Articles of EFL Student Teachers in Practice The Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, Mahasarakham University We have shone since 2004.Phuc, H. (2010, May 4). Definition of speaking skill. Hanoi : Vietnam national University. (p. 16-17). July 10, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/32025892/8/II-1-1-Definition-of- speaking-skillPorter. (1992). Problem with speaking activities, Communicating Effectively in English: Oral Communication for Non-Native Speakers. July 6, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/32025892/8/II-1-1- Definition-of-speaking-skillVondracek. (2009, March 9). Using games in the classroom. June 25, 2012. Retrieved from http://ictacrossthecurriculum.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/using-games- in-the-classroom/Wright., David., & Michael. Games for Language Learning (p. 2-9). England : Cambridge University.Yin, M. (2000). Using Games in an EFL Class for Children : Why use game in class time. Korea : Daejin University. July 28, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.teflgames.com/why.htmlBio-dataThe researchers are undergraduate students of English major from Faculty ofEducation, Mahasarakham University, Thailand. The researchers are fourpeople namely Kirana Thiamyhaisong, Darunee Sriyangnok, WantaneePongnak, and Aphithak Chanla. This research emphasized includes speakingskill, learning by using game, and reinforcement technique.Banchakarn Sameephet is a supervisor of this current research project. He hadseveral TEFL experiences in school and higher education settings coveringprimary, secondary, and university level. Currently, he is a lecturer in TEFL atthe Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, MSU. Hisresearch interests include EFL teachers’ anxiety, EFL teacher development,material design, classroom activity, teaching techniques, ICT in languageteaching, and English camp. 7