How Can I Help My Students

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<ul><li><p>8/3/2019 How Can I Help My Students</p><p> 1/8</p><p>How can I help my students motivation in speaking? by He Lina.</p><p>OutlineMy Context</p><p>AR is so important to me because it helped me begin my teaching as a learner.</p><p>AR has brought about improvements to both my students and myself.</p><p>What is my concern?</p><p>My students are English majors but they lack motivation in speaking. So I want to improve</p><p>their motivation in speaking. Jin Guoliang and Li Fang are my subjects in this research.</p><p>Why am I concerned about it?</p><p>1. I personally believe that speaking is crucially important for the whole learning process;</p><p>2. My students regarded it as their biggest problem too.</p><p>How can I improve it?</p><p>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</p><p>end;</p><p>(2) Ask each student to do a morning report;</p><p>(3) Ask different members to be the speaker while having group discussions.2. Varying speaking activities</p><p>(1) Individual presentations;</p><p>Example, morning speech: changing from recitation to interviewing speech and toimpromptu speech.</p><p>(2) Group work.</p><p>(3) Encouraging student to show off.</p><p>Who can help me and how?</p><p>1. 1. Dr. Moira Laidlaw and Dean Tian;</p><p>2. 2. My students;3. 3. My colleagues;</p><p>4. 4. Relevant books and online information.</p><p>What have I learned?</p><p>1. 1. It helped me to be more confident in teaching;</p><p>2.It helped my professional development;</p><p>3.It improved my personal life.</p></li><li><p>8/3/2019 How Can I Help My Students</p><p> 2/8</p><p>How Can I Improve My Students Motivation in Speaking?</p><p>My Context</p><p>I believe Im one of the luckiest to choose what I love and love what I choose. Im proud to</p><p>have chosen English as my major and become an English teacher in September 2003. Therefore,</p><p>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.</p><p>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</p><p>teacher, I was at a loss about what to do. Then AR came as a great enlightenment, which gave me</p><p>encouragement and detailed instructions. Just As Dr. Moira Laidlaw put it:</p><p>AR is a programme of self-directed learning about ones own teaching. It is a way of improving</p><p>actions and reactions in the classroom and outside, for the benefit of the learners.</p><p>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</p><p>my students and myself.</p><p>What is my concern?</p><p>Im in charge of 28 students of class (5), Grade 1, which is my first class and is of great value to</p><p>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</p><p>volunteer to speak in class. So my question arose as to how to improve their motivation in</p><p>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.</p><p>Why am I concerned about it?</p><p>(1) My Self-belief</p><p>It is said that:</p><p>Speaking makes you a more fluent language user; speaking is a chance to notice the gaps</p><p>between what you want to say and what you can say; it is a chance to test hypotheses aboutlanguage. (Marilyn Lerris1[1], 1999)</p><p>So I believed that speaking was crucially important for the whole learning process. And my</p><p>students experience and that of my own proved to me that we didnt have much chance to speak</p><p>while in high school and we gradually got into a habit of learning mute English, which wasobviously harmful to a language learner.</p><p>(2) Students feedbackFrom my questionnaire2[2] given at the very beginning of the first term I knew that my students</p><p>1</p><p>2</p></li><li><p>8/3/2019 How Can I Help My Students</p><p> 3/8</p><p>had the same concern 95% said their biggest problem were speaking and listening.</p><p>So I realised it was important to begin my research based on the two reasons above.</p><p>How can I improve it?</p><p>I tried many ways to stimulate my students and they mainly fell into three types:</p><p>(1) (1) Offering equal and enough chance for them to speak;(2) (2) Varying speaking activities;</p><p>(3) (3) Encouraging them to show off.</p><p>(1) Offering equal and enough chance for speaking</p><p>My first attempt was making a rule of speaking for the class. I told my students,</p><p>Speaking is the only way you can express yourself. You have an equal chance to speak, but I</p><p>wont call your names. So it depends on yourselves whether to catch the chance.</p><p>I wished my students would challenge themselves to speak and build up a sense of making the</p><p>most of opportunities.</p><p>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</p><p>Ni, Lu Yanru, Qian Qian and Zhang Huwei actively followed my rule, volunteered each time to</p><p>present in front of the whole class and could do their pair work enthusiastically. Jiang Ni once</p><p>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</p><p>showed her great enthusiasm to speak.</p><p>The students mentioned above always took the chance to speak. But I found that there were also</p><p>some students (Like He Huiyan, Wang Fang,Yuan Guoping, Li Huiju) who wanted to but</p><p>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</p><p>question, although her face flushed crimson and her voice shook. When Xie Xiaojie for the first</p><p>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</p><p>at once.</p><p>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</p><p>because there were 8 students who dared not speak. So I talked to them personally. They gave me</p><p>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</p><p>chance. Then I told them the importance of speaking and encouraged them. However, they were</p><p>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</p><p>equal chance and contradicted my initial purpose. This was, I suppose, my living contradiction</p><p>(Whitehead, 1989). I wanted something to happen in my class, but it seemed I couldnt make it</p><p>happen. So I began to doubt my rule. I wondered whether I should change the rule and call the</p></li><li><p>8/3/2019 How Can I Help My Students</p><p> 4/8</p><p>students names. But I feared that would break my promise, therefore I turned to Dr. Moira</p><p>Laidlaw for help. She suggested, Just feel free to change. No method is unchangeable and</p><p>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.</p><p>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</p><p>more, I asked for different members of the class to be the speaker while they did group</p><p>discussions so that everyone got the chance to practice.</p><p>Just as Professor Jean McNiff said during her visit in December 2003:</p><p>Let every single flower grow because each flower is unique and has infinite potential.</p><p>I tried to make it come true in my class.</p><p>(2) Varying speaking activities.By doing this, I aimed to:</p><p> a) motivate my students interest and encourage them to speak by creating an activeatmosphere for speaking;</p><p> b) improve their spoken English gradually by setting sequentially difficult targets. Here Iwould focus on two ways.</p><p>1). Individual presentation</p><p>To be specific, I wanted to take our morning report as an example, through which Id varied the</p><p>way of creating conversations. I transformed it from recitation to interview speech and nowto impromptu speech.</p><p>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</p><p>speech. Later on, I asked them to recite passage written by themselves and be ready to answer</p><p>other students questions. I called this an interview speech.</p><p>When I talked to them after class, the students told me they loved this way . He Huiyan said that</p><p>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</p><p>time he had volunteered. He said to me,</p><p>I was afraid to speak in public, but after I tried once, I felt it was not so difficult, I feel more</p><p>comfortable to speak now.</p><p>So far, he has asked 4 questions. I also noticed that Li Fang, She Zhichen and Li Yanxia whonever volunteered came up with some excellent questions, which constituted great progress for</p><p>them. I realise that in Action Research, and in improving methodology, applying an ipsative</p><p>criterion3[3] is a very useful way of discerning improvement in individuals.</p><p>3</p></li><li><p>8/3/2019 How Can I Help My Students</p><p> 5/8</p><p>After we had two rounds of interview speech, I tried another way of doing it. Actually, it came</p><p>into being spontaneously. On June 16th, 2004. I began the class with the normal question,</p><p>Whose turn to give the morning report? Lets welcome them! My students told me the lastround had finished. Thinking there were just a few days left and it was neither possible nor</p><p>reasonable to let them go another round, I paused and thought,</p><p>What are we going to do today? Stop now or try something new? Well, boys and girls, since</p><p>weve done much prepared work, today lets try something new. Lets make impromptuspeeches.</p><p>They looked surprised and curious. I continued,</p><p>I knew this would sound difficult, but I believe you can do it, challenge yourself and have a</p><p>go!</p><p>I gave them a word dream, and asked them to think for a minute. Then I asked for volunteers. I</p><p>saw some hesitating and others thinking hard. To get it moving, I called Guo Xiaomei, who waslooking at me now and then and seemed to be wanting to say something. However, I was</p><p>doubtful because she was a very quiet student and if I had misunderstood the message from her,it would probably hurt her to stand before such a large audience. She began speaking. It was</p><p>extremely fluent and well-organized. She opened her speech with a quotation and then illustrated</p><p>it using her own experience and ended in a beautiful conclusion encouraging everyone to hold on</p><p>to their dreams. She hadnt paused or stopped to think for even a minute. All of us seemedfascinated and moved , so much so that we gave her a big and long applause quite spontaneously.</p><p>Then Lu Yanru volunteered to be second. She, too, did an excellent job. When I asked them</p><p>whether theyd like to continue doing it. They affirmed me with a loud and joyful Yes.</p><p>The students said in their feedback that the variety arouse their interest and stimulated them to</p><p>speak more and improve their thinking and speaking step by step.</p><p>I supposed this method to be systematic and encouraging, which would fit in with the concept of</p><p>the New Curriculum in the sense that students are encouraged to use the language rather thanthink about it4[4]. So I still keep it and try to explore more ways.</p><p>2). Group work</p><p>The New Curriculum advocates that students should learn from the process, for example,</p><p>learn from experience and group work. It also encourages students to experience and learnlanguage in the process of self-reflecting and participating in discussion. Here Dr. Laidlaws</p><p>words at the conference in Nov. 2003 would strengthen this point, Together we are stronger than</p><p>we are apart.</p><p>So I applied collaboration to much of our group work. I divided my class into 6 groups, each</p><p>group elected a leader with a similar level of English. I asked them to discuss certain topics, heldcompetitions between groups and asked them to give lessons by themselves.</p><p>On 17th, June, 2004, I asked the class to discuss the text in groups and then teach one part of the</p><p>4</p></li><li><p>8/3/2019 How Can I Help My Students</p><p> 6/8</p><p>text to the class. When one group was presenting, the rest of the class listened carefully and put</p><p>forward different questions. For a moment, the class would become quite noisy because they</p><p>were so engaged in heated discussions. I merely sat by the side giving necessary instructions andhelp when necessary. All the students were involved and I saw Jin Guoliang and Li Feng</p><p>discussing actively with their partners. When Yan Fang made a mistake in distinguishing rise</p><p>and raise, Jin Guoliang spoke loudly to show the difference. This activity again showed methat the students would speak more often and more actively when an active and encouraging</p><p>atmosphere was created to motivate them.</p><p>3. Encourage students to show off</p><p>Personally I believe encouragement and compliments are always effective and important ways at</p><p>any stage of teaching5[5]. So I sought every chance to encourage my students and praise them for</p><p>every little bit of progress they made, either for a clear pronunciation or a volunteered answer. Iwrote on the blackboard a large word confidence in the first class and told them, Nothing is</p><p>impossible to a strong and positive mind. 15 students in my class took part in the English</p><p>Speaking Contest last term, the most in grade one. I remembered several of them, Like Ling</p><p>Jingxia and Jing Guoliang, told me before the final competition that they were too afraid andnervous to go on. I told them the importance of making an attempt, approved their efforts and</p><p>helped them with their speeches. Finally, all of them stepped onto the stage. Three of them evengot prizes. This term, 20 students took part in the English Hosting Contest, The Speaking Contest</p><p>and other activities held for all college students and they got very good results: Three Number</p><p>Ones, One Number Two and Five Third places. I cannot say these things all happened just</p><p>because of me but I could say they happened with me.</p><p>Based on the three methods mentioned above, I think Im justified in claiming that I have</p><p>achieved my goal of motivating speaking in some of my students and in the class, because:</p><p>First, my students participated actively almost in every class. They formed an activelearning atmosphere.</p><p> Secondly, those who had never volunteered made progress and began to participate inspeaking classes, especially Li...</p></li></ul>