Title

Enhancing English language speaking skills through boosting motivation, using task-based instruction (TBI) with an elementary students group studying in a government school in Ghizer, Gilgit District

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

In Pakistan, most of the public sector schools have poor teaching/learning practices for English, especially with regard to spoken skills (Rahman, 2003). Enhancing skills in language learning requires both teacher and student motivation and engagement (Azaeem & Dogar, 2011). English language speaking skills are ignored in classroom instruction because it seems that in Pakistani schools, language teachers are not familiar with the new methods of teaching language generally and teaching of speaking skills particularly (Alam & Bashir-ud-Din, 2013). The need to build effective communication skills in learners is increasing as English continues to reign as the global language (Barnes, 2008). Therefore, different educational institutes are applying different methods of teaching speaking skills (Raja, 2013). This study was carried out in the context of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, to explore how task-based instruction (TBI) can be used to motivate and enhance the English language speaking skills of grade 6 students. It was an action research study located within the paradigm of pragmatism which is concerned with action and change, and knowledge and action (Coldkuhl, 2012). The data were collected in three main phases: reconnaissance phase, intervention phase and after-intervention phase. Data collection tools were: observations, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and reflections on classroom teaching cycles. The language teacher of grade 6 and five students participated in this study. This sample was purposively selected. Data analysis of the reconnaissance phase revealed that there are certain issues in the research context dealing with motivation of students to learn English language speaking. One of the important aspects to motivate language learners is student involvement in the tasks (Dornyei, 1998), foreign language anxiety in students and their language confidence (Mahmoodzadeh, 2012), students' willingness to communicate in the target language (Din, 2015) and the students' tendency to use reductive strategies and code-switch from English to local languages (Sert, 2005). On the basis of the reconnaissance phase findings, I planned an intervention and conducted three teaching cycles. During these cycles, I used individual tasks, pair tasks and group tasks which were designed keeping student interest in mind. Findings revealed that the language teachers in my context emphasize on the writing and reading skills of students. They use grammar-translation method to teach language. Teachers focus on the completion of the syllabus. This in turn provides fewer opportunities for learners to practice the target language. The study outcomes suggest that learners' exposure to the target language speaking and language learning environment enhance students' language confidence. The fear of being wrong increases FLA in students. Study outcomes also indicate that the tasks and activities conducted in the target language seemed engaging for students gradually making them feel comfortable enough to speak in English. Therefore, this implies that providing interactional activities helps students to improve their English language Speaking.

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