Rationale of the study Nowadays, with the rapid pace of integration and globalization, English becomes a golden key to open the door of many fields such as commerce, communication, science and technology throughout the world. Therefore, to meet the demand of the society, it is very necessary to teach English in schools at all levels.
And the highest target is to get well in communication. If one wants to get successful in communication, he must be good at pronunciation: “a threshold level of pronunciation in English such that if a given non-native speaker’s pronunciation falls below this level, he or she will not be able to communicate orally no matter how good his or her control of English grammar and vocabulary might be” (Celce-Murcia, 1987:5).
In the field of language teaching, the role of pronunciation has varied widely from having virtually no role in the grammar-translation method to being the central focus in the audio-lingual method where emphasis is on the traditional notions of pronunciation, minimal pairs, drills and short conversations. The growing emphasis on communicative approaches for the teaching of English has placed higher demands for correct pronunciation. Despite this fact, at the upper-secondary school level in Vietnam, in language teaching and learning, compared with vocabulary, grammar and language skills, pronunciation has so far been paid less attention to.
In the official textbooks used for teaching English at high school level, there are a few exercises for pronunciation practice. To make the matter worse, all important English exams at schools as well as the entrance exam to universities are always in written form so most teachers as well as students have little motivation to teach and to learn pronunciation. As a result, students are often shy and unconfident to speak in English. And that is the reason why the effectiveness of teaching pronunciation still remains one of the most widely problematic subjects in the field of language teaching. Coping with this pressing fact, as a language teacher teaching English at Quynh Coi high school (QCHS), the author always thinks of some burning questions: in language teaching and learning, what is the present situation of teaching and learning pronunciation at high school level in QCHS? What are the problems teachers and students face in teaching and learning pronunciation? How to find suitable methods to teach pronunciation? What should teachers do to teach pronunciation effectively? How should teachers make students become interested in learning pronunciation?
The answers to these questions will help language teachers improve their students’ pronunciation as well as help them make progress in effective communication. For the above reasons, the author decides to carry out the study entitled: “The reality of teaching and learning pronunciation at Quynh Coi high school: problems and solutions”. 1. 2 Aims of the study The main purpose of this study is to discover the reality of teaching and learning pronunciation at Quynh Coi high school, especially to find out problems that teachers and students often have in pronunciation lessons.
The writer also hopes to make some feasible solutions that can help the English teachers overcome those problems and improve students’ pronunciation. 1. 3 Research questions The above aims of the study can be realized by answering the following research questions: (1) What is the present situation of teaching and learning pronunciation at QCHS? (2) Which problems do the teachers and students at QCHS face in pronunciation lessons? (3) What teaching techniques can be used to improve teaching pronunciation for students at QCHS? 1. 4 Scope of the study
As a case study, this study focuses on the reality of teaching and learning two aspects of English pronunciation: stress and intonation for the 12th form students at Quynh Coi high school. The subjects of the study are 12th form students those are familiar with learning pronunciation for two years at high school. Moreover, stress and intonation are two major aspects of pronunciation introduced in the official textbook used by the 12th form students. Other characteristics of English pronunciation would not be deeply investigated in this research. . 5 Methods of the study In order to fulfill the tasks mentioned above, both qualitative and quantitative methods are selected for this case study, involving the following instruments: survey questionnaires, classroom observations and interviews. Firstly, the survey questionnaires were delivered to both teachers and students to investigate the reality of teaching and learning pronunciation at QCHS. Then, some classroom observations and interviews with some English teachers have been also conducted to get supplementary information.
Finally, the results obtained from questionnaires, observations and interviews have been discussed and analyzed to with a hope for providing language teacher with some feasible teaching techniques to work successfully with their students. 1. 6 Significance of the study This study hopes to make contribution to teaching pronunciation at high school level in Vietnam and the result of the study is considered to be useful for teachers and students at school.
Thus, this study will be an interesting reference material for any high school language teachers in Vietnam, especially for those who are in favor of improving their students’ pronunciation. This research will help teachers and students identify their problems in teaching and learning pronunciation and self- improve their pronunciation. 1. 7 Design of the study This thesis consists of six main chapters: Chapter one is the INTRODUCTION including the rationales, the aims, the scope, the research questions, the methods, and the design of the research.
In the book “Pronunciation” published in 1994, Christiane Dalton and Barbara Seidlhofer (1994:3) consider pronunciation “as the production of significant sound”. They look at the word in two senses. First, it is used as part of a code of a particular language. That is the reason why English sounds are distinguished from sounds of other languages. In this sense, pronunciation can be told as the production and reception of sounds of speech. Second, sound is used to achieve meaning in contexts of use.
Here the code combines with other factors to make communication possible. In this sense pronunciation is referred with reference to acts of speaking. In the scope of this study, the concept of pronunciation can be described as “a way of speaking a word, especially a way that is accepted or generally understood” (American Heritage Dictionary, 1992) or “may be said to conclude the sounds of the language or phonology; stress and rhythm; intonation; combination sounds; linkage of sound” (Ur, 1996). 2. 2 Features of pronunciation
Gerald Kelly (2000) points out main features of pronunciation including phonemes and suprasegmental features, in which consonants and vowels belong to phonemes, intonation and stress are two main parts of suprasegmental. Phonemes are units of sound, they are known as segments. Suprasegmental features are features of speech which apply to groups of segments, or phonemes. The features which are important in English are stress, intonation, and how sounds change in connected speech. The following diagram shows a breakdown of the main features of pronunciation: Features of pronunciation (Kelly, 2000:1)
As seen from the diagram, pronunciation is a broad subject with the boundaries of various items such as consonants, vowels, stress, and intonation. This study is intended to focus on two major features of pronunciation: intonation and stress are deeply investigated. According to Quirk R. and Greenbaun S. (1973:450), stress is the prominence with one part of a word or of a longer utterance is distinguished from other parts. This can be understood like this: when an English word consists of more than one syllable, one of these syllables is made to stand out more than the others.
This is done by saying the syllable louder. For instance, in such words as “English”, “teacher”, and “student” the first syllables are stressed. Intonation is an important part that most teachers have to deal with when teaching connected speech, it refers to the way the voice “goes up and down in pitch” (Kelly, 2000: 86) when we are speaking. It plays a vital role in helping people express their opinions, and understanding thought of others. In short, the word “pronunciation” is like a big umbrella covering various sub-items as consonants, vowels, intonations, stress, etc.
With such big boundaries of items, language teachers and learners have to think of how to master these key aspects, especially stress and intonation, to be successful in teaching and learning pronunciation. 2. 3 Teaching pronunciation 2. 3. 1 The importance of teaching/ learning pronunciation and a “paradox” 2. 3. 1. 1 The importance of teaching and learning pronunciation Pronunciation is as important as any other aspects of language like syntax and vocabulary. Some people may argue that speech is obviously much more significant than pronunciation. However, speech cannot exist without pronunciation.
Correct pronunciation, in fact, is considered to be a prerequisite to develop the speaking skill. That is why teaching pronunciation should occupy an important place in the study of any language. According to Gerald Kelly (2000), pronunciation “involves far more than individual sounds” including word stress, sentence stress, intonation, and word linking. All of these influence the sound of spoken English. Sound is the core of the language. When teaching a language, the first and foremost thing teachers should do is to let learners have chances to expose themselves to the sounds of that language.
That is the reason why more and more teachers pay much attention to teaching pronunciation to their students. Considering the importance of communication in general and pronunciation in particular, Gerald Kelly confirms “a learner who constantly mispronounces a range of phonemes can be extremely difficult for a speaker from another language community to understand. A consideration of learners’ pronunciation errors and of how these can inhibit successful communication is a useful basis on which to assess why it is important to deal with pronunciation in the class” (2000:11).
Sharing the same ideas with Kelly, Martin Hewings (2004:10) adds “difficulties with pronunciation might mean that students fail to get their message across, even when the correct words are being used, or they might fail to understand what is said to them. ” The inaccurate use of suprasegmetal elements, such as tress or intonation, can also cause problems. Errors in pronunciation can lead to a problem of reception, or comprehension of the meaning or function of an utterance, even worse, they can affect the perceived tone or mood of an utterance.
Moreover, it is obvious that good pronunciation serves as a strong motivation for language learners. Most language learners show considerable enthusiasm for pronunciation as they consider it as a good way to show that they are competent in the language. Once they have obtained adequate pronunciation competence, they gradually build up strong confidence for themselves and are ready to learn new things without hesitation. 2. 3. 1. 2 A “paradox” As the matter of fact, the role of pronunciation in English learning process could not be negated.
Regrettably, teaching and learning pronunciation has not received appropriate attention as expected and Gerald Kelly call this fact a name “a paradox” (Kelly, 2000: 1). It tends to suffer from being neglected. This may not be teachers’ lack of interest or motivation in pronunciation. The main reason comes from their teaching experience and confidence, “feeling of doubt as to hoe to teach” (Kelly, 2000:13). In spite of the fact that both teacher and students are keen on pronunciation, they often take grammar or vocabulary precedence over pronunciation for granted.
If it is not neglected, “it tends to be reactive to a particular problem that has arisen in the classroom rather than being strategically planned” (Kelly, 2000:13). This is the most popular problem is pronunciation lessons. Teachers only deal with pronunciation when it comes to be problematic. There is no lesson plan, no strategy in teaching and learning pronunciation. Most teachers often prepare lesson plan for teaching grammar, vocabulary, but pronunciation. Yet pronunciation work can, and should, be planned for, too.
Teachers should regard features of pronunciation as integral to language analysis and lesson planning. This paradox arises from both the nature of pronunciation itself, from the teaching staff as well as from the learners themselves. However, to deal with this problem, as language teachers, teachers need to have a good grounding in theoretical knowledge. Furthermore, in order to teach pronunciation successfully, teachers should be practically skilled in classrooms, and they need to have good ideas, approaches, techniques, as well as classroom activities. 2. 3. 2 Teachers’ roles in teaching pronunciation
Mastering a foreign language pronunciation is not something impossible as far as the student and the teacher participate together in the total learning process. Thus, to succeed in a pronunciation program, the teacher plays an essential role. Kenworthy (1987), Nguyen Bang and Nguyen Ba Ngoc (2001), and Hoang Van Van, et al. (2006) shared the similar ideas about teachers’ roles in the teaching and learning pronunciation process, in which, teachers are responsible for: •Helping learners to hear: The teacher has a mission to provide appropriate input of the target sounds for learners to hear.
Teacher needs to check that their students are hearing sounds according to the appropriate categories and help them develop new categories if necessary. •Helping learners to make sounds: It is true that some English sounds do not exist in the learners’ mother tongue. Some learners may be able to imitate the target sounds if they are provided models. However, for those who lack such an ability, it is teachers’ duty to explain the way those difficult sounds are made and provide aids to help learners produce correct sounds. •Providing feedback:
Students need to be told where they are standing, how much they have gained and what they need to improve because sometimes, students themselves can not know whether they are making mistakes or not. The teacher must provide them with feedbacks on their performance. •Pointing out what is going on: In many cases, learners fail to realize what and how they are speaking, as speaking is for most parts unconsciously controlled, learners may sometimes make mistakes in the way they produce a particular sequence of sounds, or put stress in an incorrect place, leading to misunderstanding.
It is the teachers’ role to specify the area that learners have to pay attention to so as not to cause miscomprehension. •Establishing priorities: Native-like pronunciation is not easy to achieve. Therefore, learners need a guide to tell them about what aspects they should master, what aspects they not need to be “perfect”. Inevitably, when learning a foreign language, it is dealt if learners master every aspect of it. However, as this is somehow unrealistic, learners should learn to satisfy at an accepted level of those aspects which are not vital.
The level at which learners can feel satisfied at depends on different situations for different individuals. •Devising activities: It is not easy for teachers to cover all activities in a limited time. Thus, teachers need to identify what exercises will be suitable for their learners, what activities would bring them the best effect. In devising them, however, it should be accepted that certain activities are more suitable to some students than others. •Assessing progress: An important role of teacher is to assess progress.
Learners need to know at what level they are in pronunciation. Tests allocated at appropriate times will serve as a strong motivation for students. When they look at their marks, they have a clear sense of how much they have gained. Judging learners’ pronunciation performance is very complicated. However, this should be done accordingly. 2. 3. 3. Approaches, techniques and activities in teaching pronunciation 2. 3. 3. 1 Approaches in teaching pronunciation In the book “Teaching pronunciation” (Celce-Murcia M. , et al. 1996: 2), the authors point out two general approaches to the teaching of pronunciation in the modern time, namely intuitive-imitative approach and analytic-linguistic approach. An intuitive-imitative approach depends on “the learners’ ability to listen to and imitate the rhythms and sounds of the target language without the intervention of any explicit information”. This means the teaching of pronunciation depends largely on the teacher’s turning on and rewinding a cassette player (or another instrument), and the main activities in the class are listening and repeating.
In this approach, the teacher has no responsibility to explain how sounds are formed or produced and the learners do their main task of listening and imitating, and it is expected that learners will gradually gain pronunciation competence. Meanwhile, an analytic-linguistic approach “utilizes information and tools such as a phonetic alphabet, articulator descriptions, charts of the vocal apparatus and other aids to supplement listening, imitation, and production” (Celce-Murcia M. , et al. , 1996: 2). In this approach, learners are given explanation as well as training on how to form particular sounds of the target language.
Between these two approaches, there is no scale on whether which one is better. Choosing to apply which approach into teaching pronunciation depends on teachers themselves and the level of learners. To do well with these two approaches, it is a need for both teachers and learners to fulfill knowledge of articulator system such as consonants, vowels, stress, and intonation, etc. In this study, the author considers the use of both approaches to gain best effect in teaching and learning pronunciation. 2. 3. 3. 2 Techniques and activities
Pronunciation is never an end in itself, thus to receive expected result in teaching and learning pronunciation, teachers have made use of a great deal of techniques. It may be taught in isolation or in combination with language skills of speaking, listening, reading or writing. Supported by Kelly (2000:16); and Celce, et al (1996:8), some common techniques are: •Drilling: One of the main ways in which pronunciation is practiced in the classroom is through drilling. In its most basic form, drilling simply involves the teacher saying a word or a structure, and getting class to repeat it. •Listen and imitate”
The pronunciation of the target language is provided by the teacher or tape recorders, language labs, etc. students are to listen to a sequence of sounds or sentences and repeat it. •Chaining: This can be used for sentences which prove difficult for students to pronounce, either because they are long, or because they include difficult words and sounds The above mentioned techniques are nearly similar; they usually take two forms, which are either all-class or individual. These two forms are actually the two phase of the same techniques. Normally, at first, the whole class repeats after certain sound and phrases.
After a certain amount of class-drilling, individual students take turns and pronounce those items themselves. •Phonetic chaining: This technique makes use of articulator descriptions, articulator diagrams and a phonetic alphabet. Learners are provided with basic theoretical knowledge about how sounds are formed. They are also aided by the teacher to make genuine sound production. •Minimal pair drills: These relate to words which differ from each other only one phoneme. Normally, students are allowed to listen to the tape and distinguish between the two sounds.
This type of activities is particularly useful to teach sounds which causes difficulties for learners or sounds that are mismatched. •Contextualized minimal pair: In this technique, the teacher establishes the setting and present key vocabulary; students are then trained to respond to a sentence stem with the appropriate meaningful response. When minimal pair drills seem a bit boring and too theoretical with separated sounds, the contextualization seems to be more useful because it is more practical. •Tongue Twisters: This technique rooted from speech correction strategies for native speakers.
When other techniques look serious and sometimes put learners under pressure, tongue twisters provide a more delighting way to learn pronunciation. Sounds which are difficult to differentiate are put together to make meaningful sentences. •Reading aloud/recitation: Students are provided with a passage or scripts and then read aloud, focusing on stress, timing and intonation. This activity is often done with texts such as poems, rhymes, song lyrics, etc. •Recording of learners’ production. This technique can use audio-tape, video-tapes of rehearsed and spontaneous speeches, free conversations, and role plays.
It needs the feedbacks of teachers as well as self-evaluation. •Practice of vowel shifts and stress shifts related by affixation: Base on rule of generative phonology, used with intermediate or advanced learners. The teachers point out the rule-based nature of vowel and stress shifts in etymologically related words to raise awareness; sentences and short texts that contain both number of a pair may be provide as oral practice material such as:PHOtograph And phoTOgraphy 2. 4 Learning pronunciation 2. 4. 1 Factors affecting learning pronunciation
According to Joane Kenworthy (1987), there are many factors affecting learning pronunciation, including the native language, the age factor, the amount of exposure, phonetic ability, attitude and identity. The native language: it is inevitable that learners’ native language has a great impact on their ability of pronouncing English. The “foreign accent” is therefore easy to identity. The age factor: it is often assumed that the younger a person starts learning a foreign language, the better he is at pronouncing it and he has a greater chance of having a native-like accent.
The amount of exposure: people who live in the country where the target language is spoken and is surrounded by an English-speaking environment may have some advantages over some who do not. Phonetic ability: researches have shown that some people naturally have a “better ear” for a foreign language than others. Attitude and identity: results from many studies have shown that learners who have a positive attitude towards speakers of a foreign language tend to have a more native-like pronunciation. 2. 4. 2 Students’ roles in learning pronunciation
It is essential that in order to learn a language, motivation plays a vital role. The same thing happens to learning pronunciation. If students really care much about their pronunciation, they will become more cautious about their speaking, and gradually build up good pronunciation. In teaching and learning pronunciation, if teachers play the roles of a “speech coach”, students themselves need to involve in this process as much as possible in order to get good results. According to Nguyen Bang and Nguyen Ba Ngoc (2001), students need to satisfy some demands.
Firstly, they need to perceive the model as exactly as they can. Secondly, they need to response as much as and as well as possible to the recognition, the imitation and repetition activities. Lastly, beside the help of the teachers, students should do self-correction of their pronunciation mistakes. 2. 5 Teachers’ and students’ problems in teaching and learning pronunciation Both teachers and students encounter various problems in the process of teaching and learning pronunciation. These problems do not only arise from the nature of pronunciation itself, but from various subjective and objective factors.
In the light of the previous and current studies, some major problems that teachers and learners face in teaching and learning pronunciation are:. The nature of pronunciation According to Nunan (1991), the problem of acquiring the phonology of a second or a foreign language presents a formidable challenge to any theory of second language acquisition. In teaching and learning pronunciation, the biggest problem that most of the English teachers and students complain come from nature of pronunciation. English pronunciation itself contains so many complicated factors and invisible rules.
In the light of this problem, Doff A. (1988) listed some common problems that learners often make when they speak English. The first is difficulties in pronouncing sounds which do not exist in the students’ own language. The second is the problems with similar sounds that often cause learners’ confusion. The third is difficulties in pronouncing consonant clusters. And the last problem mainly comes from English stress and intonation. Students seem to have a tendency to give all syllables equal stress and “flat” intonation. Class setting
A lot of problems in teaching and learning pronunciation come from class setting such as classroom size, quality of the teaching staff, teaching and learning equipment. Firstly, a large class causes difficulty in teaching pronunciation. At high school, on average, there are over 50 students per class. With such a high student-teacher ratio, it is impossible to make sure that the teacher could carry out successful teaching techniques and activities, and the learner is not able to listen and receive what the teacher is saying. The quality of teaching staff is also a big problem.
Most teachers of English are non-native speakers, and a few of them can have a native-like pronunciation. As a result, the language input that students receive every day is from non-native people. Therefore, it is impossible to require students to achieve perfect pronunciation. Teaching model According to Kelly (2000), in the past, the model of teaching English pronunciation was “received pronunciation”, the pronounciation of people in the southwest England. Today, there are a vast number of English: American English, Australian English, etc.
Thus, it is difficult for teachers to choose what model to teach. In fact, each teacher often cannot produce a “perfect” accent without being affected by his own language. This fact sometimes causes both teachers and students problems in teaching and learning pronunciation. Some teachers do not feel confident with their own voice and students do not know what input language is perfect to receive. Intelligibility Beside factors from the nature of pronunciation, class setting, etc, teaching and learning pronunciation involves in its own problem that Kenworthy (1987) calls it as “intelligibility”.
He defines “intelligibility” as “being understood by a listener at a given time in a given situation”. This means that intelligibility is affected by a number of factors: the speaker, the listener, the time, and the situation. This also means that teaching and learning pronunciation depends on many factors, causing many problems for both teachers and students. In conclusion, in this chapter, some theoretical backgrounds relating to teaching and learning pronunciation have been pointed out. These factors are the pronunciation concepts and their features.
Factors relating to pronunciation teaching and learning as the importance, the problems, techniques and activities have been also given. It cannot be denied that pronunciation and teaching pronunciation is an important part to conduct in any language course. It is even more important for those who are or will be teachers of the language. Methods of teaching pronunciation are various with different elements of pronunciation. What are the attitudes of teachers and learners towards teaching and learning pronunciation?
The school has 36 classes with 90 teachers and 1,800 students. Each year, the school enrolls more than 600 new comers. 3. 1. 2 Description of the course At school, all students when pass the entrance exam to the school have to study English as one of the compulsory subjects. During the process of learning English at school, students use three English textbooks (English 10, English 11, English 12) focusing on four skills including reading, speaking, listening, writing and language focus part. The language focus comprises two major parts: pronunciation and grammar.
Normally, students start learning pronunciation when they study English 10. However, at grade 10th, students only learn some vowels and simple consonants. At grade 11th, students continue to study complex consonants. And at grade 12th, students start to be familiar with stress and intonation exercises. That is the reason why stress and intonation are two major aspects of pronunciation chosen in this investigation. 3. 2 Subjects The subjects of this study comprised 10 teachers and 55 12th-form students at QCHS.
All English teachers were invited to participate in this study. They are from 27 to 60 years old, and have taught English for more than 2 years. They graduated from both regular and in-service training. With those teachers who have taught English for many years, they have teaching experience, but were not well trained. They mainly graduated from colleges, even in-service training. With younger teachers, they graduated from many different universities: state and non-state universities. They are full of motivation, but lack of teaching experience.
In general, these teachers are good at teaching grammar and do not feel confident to deal with speaking, listening, and pronunciation lessons. Thus, they often focus their lesson on grammar but the speaking and pronunciation. The class that the author chose to study consists of fifty-five 12th-form students. These students have had at least 6 years of academic English experience by the time they reach this course. However, their English proficiency is not good, especially at pronunciation. They may be good at grammar and can do these grammar exercises quickly, but can not speak fluently.
Most of them do not feel confident to speak in class and express their ideas in English. These students have studied at high school for more than two years. Therefore, they have been getting similar with the teaching and studying methods, the conditions and the teaching environment, so it easy for the author to get their consent to participate in the research. 3. 3 Research methods As mentioned previously, the researcher chose a mixed-method approach to data collection, utilizing triangulation to measure a broad variety of variables in the research.
Necessary data was gathered directly from the teachers and students participating in the research in several ways: Questionnaires: In order to collect reliable and comprehensive data, two questionnaires were designed: one for teachers and one for students. They are both open-ended and close-ended questions. Teacher questionnaire (Appendix 1): one survey questionnaire with 8 questions was designed for the teachers to get their ideas of pronunciation teaching and learning reality, problems faced by their students and some recommendations to improve learning pronunciation reality at school.
To get this aim, the questionnaire is categorized into the following groups: •Teachers’ attitude towards present situation of teaching and learning pronunciation at QCHS; •Approaches, techniques and classroom activities used by teachers in teaching pronunciation; •Problems faced by teachers in teaching pronunciation; and •Teachers’ recommendations of techniques to improve students’ pronunciation. Student questionnaire Appendix 2): another survey questionnaire with 8 questions was designed for students including the following categories: •Students’ attitude towards learning pronunciation, especially stress and intonation; •Students’ problems in learning pronunciation; and •Students’ expectations in learning pronunciation. In-depth classroom observations: Six informal classroom observations during regular classroom sessions were used as an additional data source.
The observations were carried out for two weeks during the course of the study to get more practical information about teachers’ and students’ attitudes towards teaching and learning pronunciation, and difficulties as well as techniques used in pronunciation lessons. During the process of observations, the author focused on some aspects taking in class as: •Teaching and learning materials used in class; •Students’ activities and their mistakes in producing pronunciation; and •Teachers’ approaches and techniques used in teaching pronunciation.
Interviews and discussions (Appendix 3): after collecting data from the survey questionnaires and classroom observations, the author used the post interview in order to get the in-depth discussion about techniques used to improve students’ pronunciation. Because it is too difficult for the researcher to conduct long interviews with all teachers, the researcher randomly selected 5/10 teachers for interviews. They were willing to express deeply their opinions, and ideas about teaching techniques. 3. 2. Data collection procedures The study was conducted in the first term of the school year 2010-2011 (from September 2010 to December, 2010). At the beginning of the first term, two sets of questionnaires were given to the teachers and the students who agreed to participate in the research. After two days, these questionnaires were collected. The information from these questionnaires were then summarized and presented in the form of statistics. For the following two weeks, the author carried out some classroom observations.
The observations during six English lessons including one in reading, one in writing, one in listening, one in speaking and two in language focus periods. At each session, the researcher took field notes on what happened when the students learned pronunciation. Finally, when the information from the survey questionnaires and classroom observations were collected and analyzed, structured interviews were carried out. The data collected from three different resources were read through to obtain a sense of the overall data. They were then analyzed both descriptively and interpretatively.
The initial sorting-out process was writing findings in the form of reflective notes and summaries of field notes. The information was then displayed in forms of tables and figures while qualitative data from the open-ended questionnaire items, classroom observations and interviews were presented by quoting relevant responses from the respondents. CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION OF THE DATA This part, the information from collected data was presented in accordance with the category of data collection instruments. 4. 1 Survey questionnaires 4. 1. Teachers’ and students’ attitudes towards teaching and learning pronunciation Assuming that the consideration of the teachers’ and students’ attitude towards teaching and learning pronunciation would be beneficial to the research, at the outset, these factors were surveyed. The results, shown in below, reflect that grammar is the most concerning aspect in learning English at high school. Surprisingly, only 10% of the teachers think that pronunciation is the most necessary for their students. They always pay much attention and time and energy on grammar.
In contrast, teaching and learning pronunciation as well as developing listening, speaking or reading skills do not receive enough attention to. 4. 1. 2 Students’ pronunciation level From the chart 2, we can see an optimistic reality of students’ level in learning pronunciation at Quynh Coi high school. Being asked about this, all the teachers said that students’ level is not equal, however; it is not good as expected. 60% teachers said that their students’ level at pronunciation is at average; and even 30% of the students get under average level. None of the teachers evaluate their students’ level at pronunciation is good or excellent. . 1. 3 Pronunciation teaching and learning time Chart 3 presents time that teachers and students spend on teaching and learning pronunciation. One more time teachers and students share the same ideas about the fact that too little time is on pronunciation. 80% of the teachers and 43% of the students said that they did not have time to spend on teaching and learning pronunciation in one teaching session (45 minutes); 20% of the teachers and 32% of the students spend less than 20 minutes on teaching pronunciation. None of the teachers and a very small number of the students teach and learn pronunciation for more than 20 minutes.
The overall results indicate that the reality of teaching and learning pronunciation at Quynh Coi high school is not positive as expected. Although both teachers and students are very optimistic towards teaching and learning pronunciation, students’ level is not good as well as time spent on teaching pronunciation is limited during one normal teaching session. 4. 1. 4 Teachers and students’ problems in teaching and learning pronunciation Chart 4 shows that both the teachers and the students face many problems during the process of teaching and learning pronunciation.
The biggest problem that both teachers and students face comes from the nature of pronunciation. The next two factors preventing students from gaining good pronunciation are teaching time and students’ competence. 27% of the teachers and 22% of the students said that they do not have enough time on pronunciation. 20% of the teachers considered that their students’ competence in pronunciation is too low. 22% students also agreed with that idea. Class setting is the next factor that 20% teachers chose. It is clear that quality of teaching staff is not good enough to come over all the difficulties in teaching pronunciation.
In contrast, only 1% of the students agreed with this. The smallest factor that both teachers and students think that causing problem in teaching and learning pronunciation is students’ motivation. 4. 1. 5 Teachers’ and students’ problems in teaching and learning intonation and stress From the chart above, most of the teachers (50%) and students (43%) think that stress is the most difficulty in teaching and learning pronunciation. the second is intonation: 30% of the teachers and 14% of the students think that intonation causes trouble.
Meanwhile, none of the teachers meet any difficulties in teaching consonants and vowels. Particularly, chart 6 shows that 43% of the students cannot know the place of stress in a word; 20% said they cannot pronounce stress though they may be know place of stress in those words. Surprisingly, 27% of the students said that they do not know anything of stress. From the above chart, we can see that the reality of learning intonation is even worse than learning stress. 56% of all surveyed students understand nothing about intonation, causing a lot of difficulties in teaching and learning pronunciation.