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USING HANDHELD RADIO TRANSCEIVERS TO HELP SHY AND RETICENT

STUDENTS TO CONFRONT THEIR FEAR OF TALKING


DURING LISTENING AND SPEAKING CLASSES

BY

DUNSTAN PILANG ANAK RAPAIL


SK LUBOK PELAIE
96000 SIBU, SARAWAK

FACULTY OF EDUCATION AND LANGUAGES


OPEN UNIVERSITY MALAYSIA
KUALA LUMPUR
2015

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
Table of Content
Acknowledgement
Abstract

2
3
4

1.0 Introduction
1.1 Reflections on Past Teaching and Learning
1.2
Issues of concern and Research Focus
1.3
Research Objective
1.4
Research Questions

5
6
6
6

2.0

Review of Related Literature

3.0
3.1
3.2
3.3

Methodology
Target Group
Description of Research Context
Data Collection

8
8
8

4.0
4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4

Implementation of Action
Overview
The Benefits of Using a Handheld Radio Transceiver
Limitation of Using a Handheld Radio Transceiver
Technique Implementation
4.2.1 Lesson 1 (Traditional Method)
4.2.2 Lesson 2 (The Handheld Radio Transceiver Method)

9
9
10
10
11
12

5.0

Analysis of Findings
5.1
Questionaire
5.2
Interview

13-16
16

6.0

Recommendation for Future Research

17

7.0

Conclusion

17

Bibliography
Appendices

18-19
20-22

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
An Action Research is never successfully completed in isolation. I received help,
encouragement, critique, consolation and from many people who deserve acknowledgement. I
wish to thank and express my greatest attitude to Mr. Adam Prakash for his professional effort,
encouragement and many perceptive comments through out the course of the research. My
thanks also go to the Ministry of Education, the headmaster and English language teachers of the
target school in Sibu for their cooperation. My thanks and appreciation also go to all the lecturers
and tutors of Open University Malaysia for the knowledge and experience that I gained
throughout my study in the university. Last but not least, my heartfelt thanks and deepest
gratitude go to my beloved wife, parents and my son for their prayer, support, love and
guidance, patience and words of encouragement throughout my years of studying in Open
University Malaysia.

ABSTRACT
USING HANDHELD RADIO TRANSCEIVERS TO HELP SHY AND RETICENT
STUDENTS TO CONFRONT THEIR FEAR OF TALKING
DURING LISTENING AND SPEAKING CLASSES

Dunstan Pilang Anak Rapail Ampi


This is an action research about the usage of handheld radio transceiver or more commonly
known as walkie talkie as a facilitating tool to encourage speaking among shy and reticent
students. The focus for my action research was to see whether the usage of handheld radio
transceiver incorporated in agame, could be a tool to assist and encourage shy and reticent
student to speak during an English lesson class. I am the researcher with 6 students in the class,
of which 5 were female and 1 were male. They are Year 5 students and this class is the largest
class in a rural SKM (Sekolah Kurang Murid) school. They have been learning English in school
for at least 5 years. I used 2 data sources to analyse the findings: questionaires and interview.
In this action research, the questionaires were distributed twice, once after the first traditional
face-to-face lesson and once more after the second lesson, in which the teacher uses a handheld
radio transciever (walkie talkies) to communicate with the students. I learnt that the students like
it more when they were able to use the handheld radios and they were able to give out more
input. An extension of this research would be to use a bigger sample of students and see whether
this technique can be use to help shy and reticent students to speak up during a lesson.
Keywords: listening and speaking, shy, reticent, handheld radio transceiver, walkie talkie

1.0

INTRODUCTION

1.1

Reflections on Past Teaching and Learning

I have been teaching English for almost 12 years and one thing that I find hard to do is getting rid
of students shyness to speak in English during Listening and Speaking classes. However, this
does not affect all students but still, I feel that I can help those who were shy to break free and
start speaking up in English. My students have no problem during listening activities but only
seem problematic during speaking activities. All of my students are Iban and fortunately I am
Iban too so I took the opportunity to ask them in L1 a lot in order to ascertain what problem are
they facing during my Listening and Speaking classes. In other words, are they shy when using
their native language or does this shyness only occur when the students are trying to speak in
English?
Most of them said that they are only shy when they try to speak in English. Many of my students
spent a lot of time studying and practising English at home, outside the classroom. However, the
majority of the time spent was more on receptive activities such as reading and listening, rather
than speaking. According to Tuttle, most students speaking in the modern-language class focuses
on textbook grammar vocabulary exercises, not on conversing in the language. Students also
tend to spent more focus on private activities which did not require face-to-face contact. Many
students are unable to utter a spontaneous word whenever confronted one-to-one. Many of them
said that one-to-one sessions are quite intimidating and most of them would try to avoid being
looked in the eye when speaking. They feel they are expected to speak at length and answer
numerous questions and if they are unable to do so, they feel inadequate. The natural response to
this feeling is to be reticent and, in some cases, to react negatively and pretend its the teachers
fault.
My solution to this problem is to find a way for them to practice listening and speaking in
English in a fun and not intimidating way. This means I have to find a way for them to listen and
speak in English, without directly confronting them to encourage synchronous interaction in L2.
Once their confidence level builds up, it will be definitely easier for them to converse in English,
without being shy. This research will examine my Year 5 students shyness to speak using
English, using interviews and tests.
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1.2

Issues of concern and Research Focus

The focus of this research is to see whether the use of handheld radio transceiver can aid student
to get rid of their reticence when speaking in L2 (English). Most of the Year 5 students are
average students and are able to read and write in English. It is also important to note that the
handheld radio transceiver has a short range (3 to 5 kilometer) and the teacher and students using
it cannot go further than that. Hopefully, by helping the students talk using the radio in a
controlled environment, it will help to increase their confidence and eventually makes them less
shy when speaking in English.
1.3

Research Objective

The research aims to


i.

To increase the knowledge of students in English

ii.

To help students to conquer their fear of speaking in English

1.4

Research Questions
1. How can I use handheld radio transceiver in my Listening and Speaking lesson?
2. How is the use of handheld radio transceiver effective in encouraging shy and reticent
students to speak?
3. What are the learning points from this research?

2.0 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE


6

Recent studies has found that many second language or foreign language students, especially
Asian learners, are passive in language classrooms and choose not to use the target language
most of the time, especially when responding orally to teachers (Cortazzi & Jin, 1996; Jackson,
1999, 2001, 2002; Li, 1998; Sato, 1990; Tsui, 1996; Zou, 2004).
Hilleson (1996) investigated 5 young international students attending a college in Singapore in
way of diaries, interviews, observations, and questionnaires. He found that speaking was
frequently mentioned as an anxiety-provoking event. Some students felt very self-conscious
about their pronunciation when speaking English; some found it frustrating to jump into a
discussion. Apparently, foreign language anxiety existed and interfered the students learning and
affected reactions, although it might motivate some students to work harder sometimes.

3.0

METHODOLOGY
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3.1

Target Group

This research will involve 6 Iban students (5 female and 1 male students) from Year 5.
3.2

Description of Research Context

This research is conducted at a rural SKM (Sekolah Kurang Murid) school at Sibu and I choose
the class which has the most number of students in the whole school, which is Year 5. After
getting the approval from my headmaster, I approached my students and told them that I need
their help to participate in my action research. All of them agreed and gave their permission. I
explained the rationale for my action research: I wanted to find out whether shy and reticent
student can be assisted to speak up more freely, by using a handheld radio transceiver, instead of
using the regular method of asking them in front of them.
3.3

Data Collection

In this research, I used two data sources:


i. Questionaire
ii. Interview

4.0

Implementation of Action
8

4.1

Overview

The method that I am proposing is the use of cheap handheld radio transceiver, also known as
walkie talkies. It can be use to simulate a telephone call, normal daily conversation, an interview
and much more. This approach is also like killing 2 birds with one stone, since I have the
opportunity to teach English to my students and at the same time, trying to spark their interest in
ICT and the latest technology, by using a modern approach to teach English. It uses the handheld
radio transceivers to deliver materials that the learner could interact with rather than just receive
passively. This research will be divided into 2 lessons. In the first lesson, the Guess My
Occupation game will be conducted in a normal way, where the teacher will ask the students
and answer the students face-to-face. In the second lesson, the teacher uses a handheld radio
transceiver to ask and answer students.
4.2

The Benefits of Using a Radio Transceiver

First, a handheld radio transceiver does not require a connection to a telecommunication tower in
order to work, it can and it will work anywhere, whether at a town school or schools that is
located far in the depth of the jungle. These far rural schools usually have no coverage from any
telecommunication towers, and this renders normal telecommunication devices such as
telephone, smart phones and tabs, useless.
Second, the usage of handheld radio transceiver is free of charge, unlike normal telephone which
the user has to pay per usage. Just charge the batteries full and that single battery charge can be
use for up till 8 hours of talk time. As thus, students can feel free to communicate with each other
in English or ask questions from their teacher without worrying about the cost.
Third, ease of access to this handheld radio transceiver. If the teacher can't acquire a set of this
transceiver, the teacher can always borrow the school owned ones. Every school in Malaysia
right now are already supplied with a set of handheld radio transceiver for the school security
usage and school sports events. The teacher can discuss with the headmaster about borrowing
these radios for a while to be use during their listening and speaking lesson. Furthermore, in
recent years, the price of these radios has been dramatically decreased to an affordable price
range. A pair of this handheld radio transceiver can be acquired as cheap as RM100 and it can be
ordered online on the internet or any telecommunication shop that sells these radios.
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4.3

Limitation of Using a Handheld Radio Transceiver

The limitation of using this device is that it needs a power source to recharge its internal
batteries, prior before usage. This limitation is, however, easy to tackle since most school
nowadays are already equipped with electricity supply, be it in town or rural areas. Solar power
can also be considered as an alternative power to recharge those radios.
4.2

Technique Implementation

This technic will require the teacher to communicate with student by using a pair of handheld
radio transceivers during the Guess My Occupation game. The main aim is to give a chance to
reticent students to be able to reply and follow instructions, diverting shy students from face-toface exchanges.

4.2.1

Lesson 1 (Traditional Method)


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Pre-game steps

The teacher will start the lesson by asking each of the students their ambition.
Students will take part in a game called What is my occupation? The idea is to guess

the occupation by asking them questions about their occupations.


Students are briefed about the rules of the game by the teacher, before the game starts.

Steps
Students choose one question from the supplied flash cards.

Notes
Teacher prepares question
cards and places them all on
the table.

Students then ask the question to the teacher, face-to-face.


The teacher will reply back to the question, face-to-face, with
the student asking the question.
Students will take turn asking questions to the teacher until
they come to a decision and pick one suitable answer from
the provided flash cards.
Teacher announces the correct answer and congratulates the
students.
Table 1: Steps for the first lesson (asking and answering face-to-face during the game)

4.2.2

Lesson 2 (The Handheld Radio Transceiver Method)

Pre-game steps
11

The teacher will start the lesson by asking each of the students their ambition.
Students will take part in a game called What is my occupation? The idea is to guess

the occupation by asking them questions about their occupations.


Students are briefed about the rules of the game by the teacher, before the game starts.

Steps

Notes
Teacher prepares question cards and places them all on the table.

Students choose one


question
from
the
supplied flash cards.

Students then ask the


question thru the radio
transceiver.
Please take note that the teacher has to be as far away from the
The teacher will reply students while this activity is going on, to ensure no face-to-face
back thru the radio too.
exchanges takes place. Hiding at the back of the class or outside the
class is recommended.
Students will take turn
asking questions using
the radio transceiver
until they come to a
decision and pick one
suitable answer from the
provided flash cards.
Teacher announces the
correct answer and
congratulates
the
students.
Table 2: Steps for the second lesson (using handheld radio transceivers during the game)

5.0

Analysis of Findings

12

5.1

Questionaire

The questions asked were as the following:


Which one of the following choices is true to you? Put "Y" for yes and "N" for no in the bracket
before the sentences.
1. I like learning English.

( )

2. Learning English is very important to me.

( )

3. I am not confident speaking using English.

( )

4. I prefer not to have eye contact when I speak using English.

( )

5. I feel uneasy when I am speaking face to face with the teacher.

( )

6. I feel uneasy when I am speaking face to face with other people.

( )

7. I have more confidence to speak English.

( )

8. I can speak using longer sentences.

( )

9. I can talk for a longer time than before.

( )

10. I did not feel uneasy and nervous when the teacher talked to me.

( )

No Questions
1

I like learning English.

Frequency
Yes
6

No
0
13

2
3
4

Learning English is very important to me.


I am not confident speaking using English.
I prefer not to have eye contact when I speak using

6
6
5

0
0
1

English.
I feel uneasy when I am speaking face to face with the

teacher.
I feel uneasy when I am speaking face to face with other

7
8
9
10

people.
I have more confidence to speak English.
I can speak using longer sentences.
I can talk for a longer time than before.
I did not feel uneasy and nervous when the teacher talked

2
1
1
0

4
5
5
6

to me.
Total

33

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Table 1: Summary of questionnaires completed by the students after the first lesson

No Questions

Frequency

1
2
3
4

I like learning English.


Learning English is very important to me.
I am not confident speaking using English.
I prefer not to have eye contact when I speak using

Yes
6
6
1
2

No
0
0
5
4

English.
I feel uneasy when I am speaking face to face with the

teacher.
14

I feel uneasy when I am speaking face to face with other

7
8
9
10

people.
I have more confidence to speak English.
I can speak using longer sentences.
I can talk for a longer time than before.
I did not feel uneasy and nervous when the teacher talked

5
5
6
6

1
1
0
0

to me.
Total

38

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Table 2: Summary of questionnaires completed by the students after the second lesson

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Table 3: Comparison after Lesson 1 and Lesson 2

The graph shows that the students were not scared to speak when not asked face-to-face by the
teacher and they were able to use that chance by speaking more. All these implied that the use of
handheld radio transceiver during Lesson 2 has helped the students to build their confidence to
speak up during the game.
5.2

Interview

A set of interview question was asked to all the students. Answers from the students indicated
that they feel more confident speaking in English if the teacher is not in front of them, face-toface.

6.0

Recommendation for Future Research

Future studies should try to expand the use of handheld radio transceiver in more Listening and
Speaking activities. A larger number of samples would be an added bonus as more data can be
acquired and analysed.
7.0

Conclusion

This pioneering action research aimed to test the effectiveness of using handheld radio
transceivers or more commonly known as walkie talkies during speaking activities so that shy
and reticent students will be able to speak up without having to go speak face-to-face with their
teacher. Interviews and a questionnaire survey were used. The approach was found to be very
effective in improving response rate from the students and they seem to be more willing to
answer the teachers question or following orders. Even the non-shy and reticent students are also
keen and eager to be able to use the handheld radio to speak to others. This proves that this
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technique can be implemented to spark interest among the students to try to speak, even the
weaker students and the slow learners can be saved if only they show some enthusiasm towards
expressing themselves thru speaking. This actionresearch was done at a government secondary
school and it can be extended and replicated to other schools or should include more schools as
well as the participating learners.

Bibliografi (Bibliography)
Cortazzi, M., & Jin, L. X. (1996). Cultures of learning: Language classrooms in
China. In H. Coleman (Ed.), Society and the Language Classroom (pp. 169-206).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jackson, J. (1999). Perceptions of Chinese students in an English-medium case-based
management course. In H. Klein (Ed.), Interactive Teaching and the Multimedia
Revolution: Case Method and Other Techniques (pp. 61-76). Boston: World
Association for Case Method Research and Application.
Jackson, J. (2001). Combating dead air in case discussion. In H. Klein (Ed), Complex
Demands on Teaching Require Innovation: Case Method and Other Techniques (pp.
227-240). Boston: World Association for Case Method Research and Application.
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Li, D. F. (1998). Its always more difficult than you plan and image: Teachers
perceived difficulties in introducing the Communicative Approach in South Korea.
TESOL Quarterly, 32, 677-703.
Sato, C. J. (1990). Ethnic styles in classroom discourse. In R. C. Scarcella, E. S.
Anderson, and S. D. Krashen (Eds.), Developing Communicative Competence in a
Second Language (pp. 107-119). Heinle & Heinle Publishers.
Tsui, A. B. M. (1996). Reticence and anxiety in second language learning. In K. M.
Bailey, and D. Nunan (Eds.), Voices From the Language Classroom (pp. 145-167).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Zhou, M (2004). EFL learners perceptions of in-class relationships and their voluntary
responses. In Y. Gao (Ed.), The Social Psychology of English Learning by Chinese
College Students (pp. 149-167). Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and
Research Press.
Tuttle, H. (2013). Improving Student's Modern Language Speaking Skills Through Mobile
Learning. In Berge, Z. L., & Muilenburg, L. Y. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook of mobile learning.
New York: Routledge.
Hilleson, M. 1996. I want to talk with them, but I dont want them to hear: An introspective
study of second langue anxiety in an English-medium school. In Liu, M. (2007). Anxiety in oral
English classrooms: a case study in China. ANXIETY, 3(1).

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APPENDIX A
QUESTIONAIRE
Which one of the following choices is true to you? Put "Y" for yes and "N" for no in the bracket
before the sentences.
1. I like learning English.

( )

2. Learning English is very important to me.

( )

3. I am not confident speaking using English.

( )

4. I prefer not to have eye contact when I speak using English.

( )

5. I feel uneasy when I am speaking face to face with the teacher.

( )

6. I feel uneasy when I am speaking face to face with other people.

( )

7. I have more confidence to speak English.

( )

8. I can speak using longer sentences.

( )

9. I can talk for a longer time than before.

( )

10. I did not feel uneasy and nervous when the teacher talked to me.

( )
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THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION

APPENDIX B
STUDENT INTERVIEW QUESTION
1.

Do you like to speak using English?

2.

Are you able to speak in English?

3.

Do you make a lot of mistake when speaking English?

4.

Is there anything that makes you hesitant when speaking English?

5.

Do you want to be able to talk with other people in English?

6.

How do you feel when you talk face-to-face with your English Teacher?

7.

What makes it hard for you to speak when you are talking with someone in English?

8.

Do you feel scared or nervous when you speak English with your teacher?

9.

Can you talk to your teacher using English if your teacher is in front of you?

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APPENDIX C
LESSON PLAN
English Year Theme
Topic
4
Learning Standard
1120-1220
Lesson Objective

World of self, family and friends


Spending wisely
1.1.4
By the end of lesson, students:
will try to talk about their ambition with guidance from the

Activities

teacher
1. Teacher starts the class by asking the students their

Teaching Aid
Reflection

ambition and the reason behind it.


2. Students learn about various occupations.
3. Worksheet activity.
TB, AB, blackboard
__/3 were able to complete the activities given to them

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