how can i help my students

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  • 8/3/2019 How Can I Help My Students


    How can I help my students motivation in speaking? by He Lina.

    OutlineMy Context

    AR is so important to me because it helped me begin my teaching as a learner.

    AR has brought about improvements to both my students and myself.

    What is my concern?

    My students are English majors but they lack motivation in speaking. So I want to improve

    their motivation in speaking. Jin Guoliang and Li Fang are my subjects in this research.

    Why am I concerned about it?

    1. I personally believe that speaking is crucially important for the whole learning process;

    2. My students regarded it as their biggest problem too.

    How can I improve it?

    1. Offering equal and sufficient chances for them to speak.(1) Making speaking rule i.e. asking for volunteers, which turned out to be a failure in the


    (2) Ask each student to do a morning report;

    (3) Ask different members to be the speaker while having group discussions.2. Varying speaking activities

    (1) Individual presentations;

    Example, morning speech: changing from recitation to interviewing speech and toimpromptu speech.

    (2) Group work.

    (3) Encouraging student to show off.

    Who can help me and how?

    1. 1. Dr. Moira Laidlaw and Dean Tian;

    2. 2. My students;3. 3. My colleagues;

    4. 4. Relevant books and online information.

    What have I learned?

    1. 1. It helped me to be more confident in teaching;

    2.It helped my professional development;

    3.It improved my personal life.

  • 8/3/2019 How Can I Help My Students


    How Can I Improve My Students Motivation in Speaking?

    My Context

    I believe Im one of the luckiest to choose what I love and love what I choose. Im proud to

    have chosen English as my major and become an English teacher in September 2003. Therefore,

    I determined to be a good English teacher and help my students with their English. I even wishedpeople around me would like English and make great progress in it.

    Despite my strong belief and enthusiasm, things turned out to be very difficult since manystudents complained to me that English was nothing but a headache to them. Being a new

    teacher, I was at a loss about what to do. Then AR came as a great enlightenment, which gave me

    encouragement and detailed instructions. Just As Dr. Moira Laidlaw put it:

    AR is a programme of self-directed learning about ones own teaching. It is a way of improving

    actions and reactions in the classroom and outside, for the benefit of the learners.

    So still with my strong belief and ARs instruction, I began learning to teach. Having done theresearch for nearly one year, I felt more confident in teaching and I saw improvements from both

    my students and myself.

    What is my concern?

    Im in charge of 28 students of class (5), Grade 1, which is my first class and is of great value to

    me. As English majors, they are meant to be good language learners and users. But I found themonly able to read and memorize a lot instead of speaking much. Most of them didnt want to

    volunteer to speak in class. So my question arose as to how to improve their motivation in

    speaking. I aimed to improve the whole class but I collected most data on Jin Guoliang and LiFang who are among the most inactive students.

    Why am I concerned about it?

    (1) My Self-belief

    It is said that:

    Speaking makes you a more fluent language user; speaking is a chance to notice the gaps

    between what you want to say and what you can say; it is a chance to test hypotheses aboutlanguage. (Marilyn Lerris1[1], 1999)

    So I believed that speaking was crucially important for the whole learning process. And my

    students experience and that of my own proved to me that we didnt have much chance to speak

    while in high school and we gradually got into a habit of learning mute English, which wasobviously harmful to a language learner.

    (2) Students feedbackFrom my questionnaire2[2] given at the very beginning of the first term I knew that my students



  • 8/3/2019 How Can I Help My Students


    had the same concern 95% said their biggest problem were speaking and listening.

    So I realised it was important to begin my research based on the two reasons above.

    How can I improve it?

    I tried many ways to stimulate my students and they mainly fell into three types:

    (1) (1) Offering equal and enough chance for them to speak;(2) (2) Varying speaking activities;

    (3) (3) Encouraging them to show off.

    (1) Offering equal and enough chance for speaking

    My first attempt was making a rule of speaking for the class. I told my students,

    Speaking is the only way you can express yourself. You have an equal chance to speak, but I

    wont call your names. So it depends on yourselves whether to catch the chance.

    I wished my students would challenge themselves to speak and build up a sense of making the

    most of opportunities.

    Some of the students told me afterwards that this rule sounded fresh and challenging to thembecause they would seldom speak unless asked to. I noted down that Ma Fang, Yang Fan, Jiang

    Ni, Lu Yanru, Qian Qian and Zhang Huwei actively followed my rule, volunteered each time to

    present in front of the whole class and could do their pair work enthusiastically. Jiang Ni once

    talked to me that she wanted to change her seat because her desk mate, He Yinjuan, never wantedto come to the blackboard however much she urged him (Oct.28th, 2003). Her frustration clearly

    showed her great enthusiasm to speak.

    The students mentioned above always took the chance to speak. But I found that there were also

    some students (Like He Huiyan, Wang Fang,Yuan Guoping, Li Huiju) who wanted to but

    hesitated. So I encouraged them every time and waited for them to make up their minds to standup. Those students gradually got to their feet. Li Huiju once bravely stood up to answer my

    question, although her face flushed crimson and her voice shook. When Xie Xiaojie for the first

    time, volunteered to present his conversation with his desk mate in front of the whole class, heseemed out of breath when speaking. But they were great enough to speak up and I praised them

    at once.

    This rule had brought about improvements to those who never volunteered and this also resultedin an active speaking atmosphere in which most students participated actively. But I was worried

    because there were 8 students who dared not speak. So I talked to them personally. They gave me

    their two main reasons. First, they never volunteered, as it was not their nature to stand up.Secondly, they were shy and hesitant which slowed the pace while those brave ones took the

    chance. Then I told them the importance of speaking and encouraged them. However, they were

    not still brave enough. I realized it was just their personality that hindered them from beingassertive. My first attempt appeared to be a failure because some students actually didnt get an

    equal chance and contradicted my initial purpose. This was, I suppose, my living contradiction

    (Whitehead, 1989). I wanted something to happen in my class, but it seemed I couldnt make it

    happen. So I began to doubt my rule. I wondered whether I should change the rule and call the

  • 8/3/2019 How Can I Help My Students


    students names. But I feared that would break my promise, therefore I turned to Dr. Moira

    Laidlaw for help. She suggested, Just feel free to change. No method is unchangeable and

    everlasting. You can change to another one if it helps. So I broke this initial rule and called onthose who never volunteered while still giving a chance for volunteers.

    On the other hand, I asked each student to do a morning report, which ensured each studentwould share an equal opportunity to express himself or herself in front of the whole class. Whats

    more, I asked for different members of the class to be the speaker while they did group

    discussions so that everyone got the chance to practice.

    Just as Professor Jean McNiff said during her visit in December 2003:

    Let every single flower grow because each flower is unique and has infinite potential.

    I tried to make it come true in my class.

    (2) Varying speaking activities.By doing this, I aimed to:

    a) motivate my students interest and encourage them to speak by creating an activeatmosphere for speaking;

    b) improve their spoken English gradually by setting sequentially difficult targets. Here Iwould focus on two ways.

    1). Individual presentation

    To be specific, I wanted to take our morning report as an example, through which Id varied the

    way of creating conversations. I transformed it from recitation to interview speech and nowto impromptu speech.

    For the first round, I just let each student recite a passage that he or she regarded as instructive orinteresting, and meantime, asked other students to conclude the main idea after listening to the

    speech. Later on, I asked them to recite passage written by themselves and be ready to answer

    other students questions. I called this an interview speech.

    When I talked to them after class, the students told me they loved this way . He Huiyan said that

    she found it interesting and helpful although it would upset her and made her nervous sometimes.On Nov.12th, 2003, Jin Guoliang stood up and asked the speaker a question, which was the first

    time he had volunteered. He said to me,

    I was afraid to speak in public, but after I tried once, I felt it was not so difficult, I feel