using tasks to motivate teenager speaking

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Last updated: August 4, 2019

Table of Contents Abstract We all know that learning a language is a combination of many different skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Meanwhile, speaking skill is considered to be the most difficult one.

The fact is that the majority of foreigners studying English include Vietnamese people are afraid to speak and communicate directly by English even many who have learned English to advanced levels. This seems the common problem in Vietnam. High school’s students (almost teenagers) lack of the environment to practice English. They Just memorize grammar and are tested on it in examinations.

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Actually, in English syllabus, some lessons also use CDs to practice listening and speaking skills. However, teachers do not have enough time for students to practice because they Just spend time to apply grammar, read vocabulary and do grammar exercises to prepare for the test and exam. In the other hand, lacks of resource is also a cause lead to this problem, especially in rural areas. Students just follow the way their teacher speak even it is sometimes wrong (Hieu 2011). Consequently, learning English follows these traditional methods will make students passive and ineffective in speaking English.This report will focus on using communicative approach, especially tasks, to motivate teenager speak English. First of all, the report will briefly describe some characteristics of teenager learners, so teacher can understand and know how to deal with them. Secondly, some of the reasons lead to teenage learners’ failure in speaking English will be mentioned such as peer pressure, lack of motivation, lack of support, etc.

And then, the brief definition about communicative approach and tasks will be mentioned as the recommendations to motivate teenagers speak English.Four kinds of task include echanical, meaningful, communicative and communication that focus on skills rather than form of language will be useful for teenagers in improving oral skill. In the following section, tasks will be applied in the lesson step by step. However, teachers sometimes fail to apply this method since they lack of the human resource, lack of time, funds as well as the facilities. As a result, diflculties still remain unexpectly.

2. 1 Introduction Teaching English for teenagers is the most challenge for most teachers. It always makes you very stressful and frustrating.At this age, students tend to be less nthusiastic in class than students in other groups. Awareness ot the lives ot many children has not yet completed, and their reactions are very unpredictable. They are usually forced to come to class and rarely share their thinking if teachers do not friendly enough to build close relationship with them.

Furthermore, the lesson must be interesting and the environment shoul be comfortable, friendly for teenagers to enjoy and practice English. That why this report will suggest teachers using communicative approach and tasks to design activities in their lesson plan to motivate teenagers speak English. 2 Characteristics of the teenage learner Piccolo (2013) said “Teenagers have a greater learning potential than that of young children but they are considerably more difficult to motivate and manage. It also takes longer to build up a trusting relationship with a teenager but once a teacher finds the correct balance of respect and authority, teaching teenagers can be a rewarding and fun-filled experience. ” Firstly, teenagers often feel that they are already adults. They act to show other people that they are not children anymore. Some symbols are like smoking, drinking, dating, using make-up, etc.Therefore, they expect teachers treat them with respects and fairness (Piccolo 2013).

Secondly, at this age, besides learning knowledge from school, teenagers prefer to go out to discover new things and to learn experience from the real life. Therefore, practicing, interesting and motivating lessons not only help attract teenagers’ attention but also is a key to succeed for any teacher. Actually, to teachers, these teenagers are considered as the most interesting and dynamic students that they have chance to teach and to influent. Nevertheless, this is also a challenge for them.

Excellent eachers are people who can immediately stop teenagers’ problems when they Just occur. They know what they should behave and always keep calm to find solutions for unexpected issues. Moreover, they are recommended to apply friendly teaching method, try to get closer in order to make them feel free to share emotional feelings, problems and so on.

This also means that teachers lead teenagers into the real life by their own strength, prove their bravery, as well as help them to establish friendly behavioral skills with the life. Next, Mariana (n. ) also said that teenagers are very active and interested in eceiving information from different sources. The demands to communicate with friends, who are the same age, rapidly develop at this age and play an important role in providing knowledge for teenagers. The reason is that through communication (discussion and argument), teenagers will not only get large amount of information, but also deeply understand themselves such as finding out their strengthes and weaknesses.

Finally, teenagers are very sensitive at this age. They are often shy and afraid of making mistakes, so others will laught at them.Therefore, they are not confident to speak in front of the crowd. Anything wrong happens may cause a big problem. Hence, teacher needs to take care of them and be careful in communicating and behaving with them.

2. 3 Using tasks to motivate teenagers to speak English 2. 4 Why do teenager learners fail to speak English? There is many reasons cause teenage learners’ tailure in speaking English mentioned above, teenagers at this age try to show others they are adults and they like to fight for their own idea. Once they speak, they want to make sure all things are right.Therefore, teenagers are afraid of making mistakes, especially in front of their partners. It results in peer pressure. They are embarrassed and unnerved when they speak English. That why they avoid Joining any activities in class.

This is a problem for teenagers in the public school in Viet Nam since English is their second language and they do not use and practice it everyday. However, “even native speakers take years to master their language, so it’s no surprise a foreign language learner has to make a lot of mistakes” (British Council 2011).As a result, it is better if teachers let students stand up and speak in their natural way when they are at their most confident. For he second reason, students lack of motivation by the traditional learning methods. At this age, teenagers are curious and try out diffirent identities.

However, the graduation exam or the university entrance exam Just focuses on two skills: reading and writing, ignore the speaking skill. Hence, if anybody asks them what their motivation to study English is; the answer probably is to pass the exam without practicing speaking English in the class.Consequently, the end goal, which is communicating effectively with another English speaker, is too distant for many teenagers (British Council 2011). And last but not least, lack of support is another reason make teenagers bored in speaking English. Tearchers are always strict and the classroom atmostphere is full of stress.

It is better if teacher can create the interesting lessons by designing tasks and let students work in group or pair. As it was told, at this age, teenagers feel excited to communicate with friends and learn from each other. Besides, teenagers need linguistic support like terms of words or phrases (eg.Why don’t we…? I would like it but..

. , That sounds great, etc) (British Council 2011). Consequently, students feel ore confident when they speak. 2. 5 Communicative approach and tasks 2. 6 Communicative approach Normally, every teacher will use a particular approach when planning and presenting a lesson.

In this case, communicative approach is the best way to motivate teenagers to speak English. According to British Council (n. d), “the communicative approach is based on the idea that learning language successfully comes through having to communicate real meaning.

When leaners are involved in real communication, their natural strategies for language acquisition will be used; and this will allow them to learn to use the language. It means that teachers will set up the real-life situations and leaners are encouraged to interact in pair or groups rather than repeat the form of language. Leaners will have opportunities to comprehend, apply, express and communicate the second language when it is truly meaningful. This way will make teenagers feel more interesting and enjoyable in speaking English.For example, students work in group of four or six to discuss with their classmates about “How do you think the life will change next 50 years? ” and asking them to use the future tense. Some actitivies in class used in communitive approach can include: Introducing and eeting Expressing an opinion Discussing Asking Describing Questioning 2.

7 Tasks The communicative approach will focus on speaking and listening skills and task has an objective attainable only by the interaction among participants and a focus on meaning exchange (Lee 2000). Tasks focus on skills and there are four types of tasks as following: 1. 2. Mechanical task Is the controlled practive activity and it does not require the student to understand the language. This type of task is designed to practice a special grammar and is divided into three types: a. Repeatition: Students listen to the teacher says a word, a hrase or a sentence and repeat.

To illustrate, teachers can use flashcards or real items. For example, teachers hold the pen and say “This is the book”. Students will listen and Just repeat the sentence. b.

Substitution: Continue with the above example, after students repeat the sentence “This is a book”, teacher will hold up the other item and say the name.Students will say the full sentence: “This is a/an… ” c. Transformation: For instance, the lesson is about the simple past tense.

Rather then asking students to rewrite the sentence from this form to the other form, teachers ill say the sentence in positive form “l went to the school yesterday. ” and ask the class or each student transfers it to the negative or question form: “l did not go to the school yesterday’; “Did you go to the school yesterday? ” 1. 2.

2 Meaningful task This task still provides the language control and requires student to have an understanding of context to make meaningful choices when they practice.For example, in order to practive the relative pronouns: who, whom, where, when, etc. Students are given a list of couple sentences, and then they have to connect two sentences using appropriate pronouns. The task is now meaningfull because the answers according to their understanding about the subject or object pronoun. 1. 2. 3 Communicative task In this task, type of responses is controlled but the content provided by students in a real communicate context.

This task is usually used to practice the language by exchange information in pair or group.For instance, teacher asks students to work with a partner and discuss the question “What did you do at the weekend? ” This question uses the simple past tense and students must list out all actitivities they did by using this tense. 1. 2. 4 Communication activity Students are probably interested in this kind of activity because they are free to use the language as well as the content of the conversation. Students frequently work in group; they can use their knowledge to contribute ideas.

Teachers should provide linguistic support and take notes. For example, teacher divides class into two groups.One group will discuss why people should live in the city and other group will discuss why people should live in the countryside. Atter that, one person will present and groups will debate.

(Source: Richards 2006, Communicative Language Teaching Today) 2. How to apply tasks to motivate teenagers to speak English Step 1: Find out the topics teenagers are interested in As it is mentioned above, interesting lessons will engage teenagers to speak in class. Therefore, doing a survey is the best ways to find out the topics they are inrested in. It should be done at the beginning of the course.Teenagers tend to work best in latest hit or new movie than political news.

Topics should be updated to the latest events and be useful for real-life situations. Furthermore, bulding the close relationship to ask about their hobbies and talents is another way to connect with them. This is also the good way design the creative lessons. For instance, if some students are good at drawing, teacher can ask them to make a short story by pictures.

A teacher is also a researcher and an analyst to respond to learner’s needs. Step 2: Setting up the task This is the most important step because it will decide the outcome of the task.After choosing the interesting topics clearly, teacher need to make sure that task is appropriate for the level of learners. If it is too easy, they will be bored and if it is too difficult, they have no motivation to do it.

Tasks often focus on skills rather than form f language, so teachers should try to design the creative, meaningful and real communicative tasks. Some useful resources teacher can use include: Music Games Role-playing Work group Videos Interviews Pair work Survey Information gap Step 3: Language support and material Linguistic support need to be provided for students before they carry out the task.Students at this level feel unconfident to communicate in English without language support.

A list of words or phrases will be useful and encourage students to use through the lesson. They need to understand the meaning and are free to use the anguage to complete the task in the natural way. Student also can add more information if they want without pressure.

Besides that, materials as a useful tool for the presentation in the lesson such as flash card, books, posters, etc. Generally, there are three types of materials as following: Text-base materials -Visual cues, taped cues, pictures, and sentence fragments to start conversation.Different texts for pair work such as for role plays Task-based materials -Exercise handbooks, cue cards, activity cards, practice booklets and games.

-Role relationships tor pair work Language-based realia such as signs, magazines, advertisements and newspapers (Source: Language Learning Through Meaningful Communication 2011) Step 4: Introduce goal, instructions and rules of tasks Onestopenglish (2013) mentions in its article that “Teenagers, like adults, need to understand why they do what they are asked do in the classroom.Once their teacher explains the need for speaking English and how it will enhance their language development, they will be readier to try to speak more English”. Consequently, it is necessary to let student know the goal of the task such as improving speaking skill by sing the simple past tense practice asking questions about your partner’s activities in the past. In addition, to complete the task fairly and effectively, at first, teacher should set up a list of rules for students to follow, but in the fun atmosphere.

A clear instruction of the task is also introduced to students by short simple sentence and make sure all of them have understood what you want them to do. As a result, teacher and students are happy to work together. Step 5: Role of teacher and leaners Teacher even plays an important role in the class, but in doing the task, she or he is etter a facilitator or monitor rather than a leader. Teacher will act as an independent participant who stand out, maintain eye contact and listen to the discussion to take note what they do well or not.Moreover, teacher sometimes support the communication process and encourage students to speak. Time is the factor that teacher should control and give students time to come up with ideas. Remember to not interrupt the flow until students complete the task because the task focuses on communication and meaning rather than accuracy.

In this step, learners play the main role which speaks as much as they can in the natural way with he free use of language. That is the time for them to contribute ideas, interact with each other in pair, group and especially practice speaking English.Step 6: Feedback and correction Finally, after tasks have been finished, teacher asks some students or a member in group to present in front of the class. Feedback and correction are the final step to improve the speaking skill. Some common errors may write on the board or teacher can work more on the structure students did not use in the right way. Asking students to repeat the words or phrases is another way to correct pronounciation. 2.

9 Anticipatable Difficulties Time, qualified staff, infrastructure and funds are the factors that determine the quality of teaching and learning English in schools.However, many schools in Viet Nam still have troubles with these difficulties. 1. Time Time is the important factor affects teachers in applying tasks in their lesson to practice speaking English. Gernerally, there are about forty or forty-five students in a class. This number is so crowded for a teacher can spend much time to control and help them all practicing speaking English Furthermore, every lesson Just nas to five minutes and students will only take two classes (one and a haft hour) a week. Teachers can not design the lessons focus on all four skills while students are tested only grammar in the examination.

For this reason, teachers should ask to spend more time for students do not only learn new theories, but they also can practice it. 2. Lack of qualified English teachers This seems the biggest problem for all schools in Viet Nam. The demand of qualified English teacher is very high but the supply is so low. Moreover, teacher plays an important role in teaching English but the low payment makes schools hard to keep qualified teachers. This leads to the shortage of English teachers all over the ountry, even in Ho Chi Minh City.In addition, many teachers spent four years in the university and their major is English, but based on the survey, only 5% of teachers match the standard.

They are lack of knowledge and skills as well as the creativeness that results in low quality of teaching English (Nguyen et al. n. d). Consequently, English teachers need more training courses to upgrade the quality. 3. Lack of fund and facilities The tuition in the public shool is quite low, so the schools do not have enough money to pay high salary for qualified teachers and facilities for study.Based on the opinion f many teachers, following the lesson plan in the “Let’s Go” textbook is very convenient because there is tape, visual aid for student to learn.

However, there are no projector and screen, so the question is how they can teach the lesson effectively. 2. 10 Conclusion In the conclusion, through this report, it can be realized that following the traditional methods in teaching English causes the bad results for the young generation’s future, especially the communication skill.

For this reason, applying the communicative approach and using tasks are the best ways to motivate teenagers speak English ince teacher can understand their characteristics and apply this effective teaching method into practice to design the meaningful and real life tasks. In addition, the well prepatation with full support from teacher likes language and material will help the lessons more successfully as well as the improvement of teenagers in English speaking skill. However, it must admit that some difficulties still remain uncontrollably. . 11 References 1.

British Council 2011, Getting teenagers talking, British Council, I-JK, viewed on 23 July 2013, . 2. British Council n. d, Communicative Approach, British Council, I-JK, viewed on 24 July 2013, 3. Hieu 2011, Students lack confidence to use English, Vietnam News, 13 June, viewed on 21 July 2013, . 4. Language Learning Through Meaningtul Communication 2011, Fundacion Universitaria, viewed on 26 July 2 Lee, J 2000, Tasks and Communicating in Language Classrooms, Foreign lauguage teaching method, viewed on 24 July 2013, .

. Mariana, S n. d, Psychological characteristics of teenagers, Virtal Global Classroom, viewed on 22 July 2013, 7. Nguyen, T, Giang, L, Thanh, B & Luan, M n. d, Kho khan ve doi ngu giao vien tieng Anh trong trien khai de an day hoc ngoai ngu, So giao duc va dao tao ben Tre, viewed 25 July 2013, . . Onestopenglish n.

d, Teenagers: Speaking: How to encourage teenagers to use English, viewed on 26 July 2013, 9. Piccolo, L 2013, Teaching Teenagers: How to Motivate and Interest Them, Suit, viewed on 21 July 2013, . 10.Richards, J C 2006, Communicative Language Teaching Today, Cambridge University Press, viewed on 24 July 2013, . 2. 12 Appendix Lesson Plan Holidays and travel Intermediate Length: 120 minutes Speaking I/ Objectives: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to -listen to the travel guide describe the places -practice using language there is/are and has/have to describe places -use adjectives o describe places -practice using the present perfect for experiences -use language to make suggestion -improve skills: listening, speaking II.Teaching method -Task-based approach, Communicative approach Ill. Teaching aids: slides, textbook, whiteboard, video clip and handouts IV.

Procedure: Process Teacher’s activities Students’ activities 1 . Warm up activities (10 mns) -Let student (Ss) watch the video clip: “San Francisco Top 10 Travel Attractions” http://www. youtube. com/watch? F51 umRiOZLe4 -Ask Ss what the video clip mentions about, introduce adjectives to describe places 0 ead them to the topic: Holidays and Travel -Watch the video clip to get main idea 2.Pre-speaking Describe the picture -Divide Ss into 4 groups -Show some pictures on the board; ask Ss list out all the adjectives that describes each of the pictures -Correct -Look at the picture and use adjectives to describe 3.

While-speaking Task 1 use adjectives to describe places -Ss work in group of four again -Give Ss handouts and ask them whether the following adjectives can be used to describe landscape/scenery, towns/buildings, lifestyle, and wildlife/animals. Some can describe more than one.Ask Ss to use adjectives to describe their hometown with a partner -Ask some Ss to report See Appendix -Match the adjectives in the right column -Describe their hometown with a partner Range of adjectives: positive, negative or neutral -Ask Ss to work in three groups, and decide the following adjectives are positive, negative or neutral See Appendix -Ask each group to use adjectives to describe their favorite place to travel -Work in group, decide the adjectives are positive, negative or neutral -Discuss to choose one place and describe to the class Task 3 practice using there is/are and has/have to describe places (10 mns) Help Ss to use “There is/are” and “has/have” to describe places Example: In Melbourne, there are many beautiful parks and gardens Or Melbourne has many beautiful parks and gardens -Give Ss the handouts and ask them to work in pair. Student A will read the first sentence, student B will read that sentence but using the alternative form of the verb.One example has been done for them -Ask some Ss to read aloud to the class -Work in pair, use the alternative form of the verb to change the sentence Task 4 (1 5 mns) -Review Ss the form and the usage of the present perfect tense (+) S + have/has + V past participle) (-) S + have/has not + V (past participle) (? ) Have/ Has + S + V (past participle) -Signal words: already, not..

. yet, Just, ever, never, since, for, recently, before, lately, so far, until now, up to now, up to present… -Review the passive voice, irregular verbs and regular verb -Give some example about irregular; regular verbs and their past participle. Example: I have worked overseas I have never been to Africa – Ask Ss work with a partner.

Student A make the following questions, student B answer and inverse: – Listen and take notes -Ask and answer the questions

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