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VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI

UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

FACULTY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHER EDUCATION

NGUYỄN THỊ THANH NHÀN

STUDENTS’ USE OF MOTHER TONGUE IN THE


EFL SPEAKING CLASS: A CASE MULTIPLE CASE
STUDY OF FRESHMEN AT FELTE, ULIS, VNUH

SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE


DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF ARTS (TEFL)

Hanoi, April- 2010


VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI

UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

Falculty of English language teacher education

NGUYỄN THỊ THANH NHÀN

STUDENTS’ USE OF MOTHER TONGUE IN THE


EFL SPEAKING CLASS: A MULTIPLE CASE
STUDY OF FRESHMEN AT FELTE, ULIS, VNUH

SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE


DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF ARTS (TEFL)

SUPERVISOR: PHÙNG HÀ THANH, M.Ed.


I hereby state that: Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan, 061E10, being a candidate for
the degree ò Bachelor of Arts (TEFL) accept the requirements of the College
relating to the retention and use of Bachelor’s Graduation Paper deposited
in the library should be accessible by the librarian for the care, loan or
reproduction of the paper.

Signature

Hanoi, 5th May 2010


Acknowledgements

I sincerely thank to my advisor, Phùng Hà Thanh, M. Ed., for her insightful


comments, professional guidance and detailed advice throughout the
development of this thesis.

I remain greatly indebted to my advisor for her fruitful comments and


suggestions at the very earliest stage of the thesis.

I am also grateful to my friends for their enthusiasm and warm- hearted


encouragement.

I shall like to express my particular gratitude to my mother for her unfailing


moral support.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge all the students who had agreed to make an
interview with me. My thanks speacially go to the teacher who allowed me
to record her class.

i
Abstract

The principal intent of this research was to investigate freshmen


students’ use of L1, in this case the Vietnamese, in the English
speaking class at Faculty of English Language Teacher Education
(FELTE), Universirt of Languages and International Studies (ULIS),
Vietnam National University Hanoi (VNUH). Three freshmen
majoring in English Language Teaching (ELT) participated in this
study.Pertinent data was elicited through classroom observation,
speech analysis and interview.

The study indicated that students who are ESL freshmen at


FELTE, ULIS- VNUH have positive attitudes towards the use of the
Vietnamese language. It also showed that the amount of Vietnamese
used in the EFL speaking class varied across students of different
proficiency levels. Though the effect of L1 on L2 learning needs
further studies, it was perceived by the participants that the use of
Vietnamese played a supportive and facilitating role in their learning.
The participants suggested that teachers’ intervention in classroom
activities to clarify misunderstanding and avoid communication
breakdown was vitally necessary.

ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE

Acknowledgements i

Abstract ii

Lists of figures, tables, and abbreviations iii

Chapter One

Introduction

1.1. Background & Rationale of the Study…………………….1

1.2. Aim & Objectives of the Study…………………………….4

1.3. Scope of the Study………………………………................4

1.4. Significance of the Study………………………………......5

Chapter Two

Related Literature

2.1. Factors Against L1 Use & Criticisms………………….......6

2.1.1. The L1 Acquisition Argument……………………….......6

2.1.2. The Language Compartmentalization Argument………...8

2.1.3. Provision of the Maximum Target Laguage Argument….10

2.2. Factors Favoring L1 Use & the Pitfalls of L1 Use in the EFL
Speaking Class…………………………………………………………12

2.2.1. The Pedagogical Role………………………………….....13

2.2.2. The Psychological Role…………………………………..15

2.2.3. The Socio- Cultural Role…………………………………16

2.2.4. Attitudes of Learners towards the Use of L1 in EFL Speaking


Class……………………………………………………………………18
2.2.5. Occasional L1 Use ……………………………………....20

2.2.6. The Pitfalls of L1 Use in the EFL Classroom……………24

2.3. Empirical Research on the Use of L1 in the EFL Class…...26

Chapter 3

Methodology

3.1. Qualitative Multi- case Study Approach…………………..28

3.2. Setting of the Study………………………………………..30

3.3. Subjects and Sampling……………………………………..31

3.4. Data Collection…………………………………………….33

3.4.1. Data Collection Instrument………………………………33

3.4.1.1. Class Observation………………………………………33

3.4. 1.2. Semi- structured Individual Interview………………...35

3.4.2. Data collection Procedure………………………………..36

3.5. Techniques of Data Analysis……………………………….37

Chapter Four

Resutls and Discussions

4.1. Case Analysis……………………………………………..39

4.1.1. Case 1: Hanh…………………………………………….39

4.1.1.1. Background information………………………………39

4.1.1.2. The Classroom Vietnamese – English Proportion and Time


Devoted in L2 Speaking Classroom………………………………….40

4.1.1.3. Purposes of L1 Use……………………………………43

4.1.1.4. The Student’s Attitude toward the Use of L1…………44


4.1.1.5. Summary of Findings…………………………………46

4.1.2. Case 2: Lan..…………………………………………….46

4.1.2.1. Background information………………………………46

4.1.2.2. The Classroom Vietnamese – English Proportion and Time


Devoted in L2 Speaking Classroom………………………………….47

4.1.2.3. Purposes of L1 Use……………………………………49

4.1.2.4. The Student’s Attitude toward the Use of L1…………50

4.1.2.5. Summary of Findings…………………………………52

4.1.3. Case 3: Nga..…………………………………………….53

4.1.3.1. Background information………………………………53

4.1.3.2. The Classroom Vietnamese – English Proportion and Time


Devoted in L2 Speaking Classroom………………………………….53

4.1.3.3. Purposes of L1 Use……………………………………54

4.1.3.4. The Student’s Attitude toward the Use of L1…………55

4.1.3.5. Summary of Findings…………………………………56

4.2. Common Themese from the Cases………………………..58

4.2.1. Theme 1………………………………………………….58

4.2.2. Theme 2………………………………………………….59

4.2.3. Theme 3…………………………………………………60

4.2.4. Theme 4………………………………………………….61

4.2.5. Theme 1………………………………………………….62

4.3. Implications………………………………………………..62

4.3.1. Implications for strategies to deal with L1 in EFL speaking


classroom…………………………………………………………….62
4.3.2. Implications for English teaching……………………63

4.3.3. Implications for further investigation of L1 use in English


speaking class ……………………………………………………..64

Chapter Five

5.1. Summary of findings…………………………………………66

5.2. Limitations of the study ………………………………………68

5.3. Recommendations………………………………………………..70

References

Appendices

A. The Tape Script…………………………………………….74

B. Interview Questions for Students…………………………...93

C. Interview Script……………………………………………..95
List of Tables and Figures

Page

Table 3.1: Brief Details of the Participants…………………………..32

Figure 4.1: Hanh’s proportion of V-E in L2 Speaking Class…………40

Figure 4.2: Hanh’s time devoted to E-V words……………………….41

Figure 4.3: Lan’s proportion of V-E in L2 Speaking Class…………..47

Figure 4.4: Lan’s time devoted to E-V words………………………..48

Figure 4.5: Lan’s purposes of L1 use…………………………………49

Figure 4.6: Nga’s proportion of V-E in L2 Speaking Class…………..52

Figure 4.7: Nga’s time devoted to E-V words………………………..53

Figure 4.8: Nga’s purposes of L1 use…………………………………54

List of Abbreviations

ELT- English Language Teaching

FELTE: Falcuty of Language Teacher Education

ULIS, VNUH: University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam


National University, Hanoi

L1: Native Language- The Vietnamese Language

L2: Target Language- English

EFL: English as a Foreign Language

ESL: English as a Second Language

iii
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

1.1. Background and Rationale of the Study

The literature on the history of the development of English


language teaching methods tells us that the idea of using L1 in the L2
classroom was a respected view during the era of the Grammar
Translation Method (Howart, 1984). However, according to Howatt
(1984), immediately following the First World War, a number of
serious objections, primarily against the lack of everyday realistic
spoken language content, had been raised with regard to the Grammar
Translation Method. Since then, all popular English language teaching
methods, including the recently accepted Communicative Language
Teaching, tend to alienate the use of L1 in the L2 classroom (Cole,
1998; Cook, 1999; Prodromou, 2001). This view of learners’ L1
avoidance has also been reflected in most of the modern L2 teaching
materials (Atkinson, 1987, 1995; Buckmaster, 2002; Cook, 2001;
Naimushin, 2002) and syllabus or curriculum (Cook, 2002; Swan,
1985).

According to Prodromou (2001), the mother tongue has been


treated as a taboo subject (Cook, 2002; Deller, 2003), source of guilt
(Auerbach, 1993; Frankenberg- Garcia, 2000), and a hint of teacher’s
weakness to teach properly (Cook, 2002; Buckmaster, 2002).
Furthermore, L1 has been considered as a waste of time
(Januleviciene and Kavaliauskiene, 2002). As a result, the English
only approach has become an influential and often assumed to be the
hallmarks of good language teaching (Atkinson, 1995). In fact, the
view has greatly changed the learners’ minds to the extent of
demanding that only L2 be used (Frankenberg- Garcia, 2000).

Despite the almost undisputed acceptance of the monolingual


orthodoxy to ESL/EFL teaching, recent years have witnessed a
considerable shift of views among the ELT professionals concerning
the utility of students’ mother tongue in the L2 classroom. It is argued
that classroom use of the learners’ native language has certain
advantages in some ways (Cole, 1998; Deller, 2003; Frankenberg-
Garcia, 2000; Harmer, 2001; Hawks, 2001; Reis, 1996).

There is a considerable amount of literature which has strongly


suggested that the use of L1 in the L2 classrooms can be productive or
may even be necessary at times (Atkinson, 1987; Deller, 2003). Apart
from discussing the theoretical roles of L1, a number of scholars
(Deller, 2003; Urgese, 1987) have demonstrated many ways in which
L1 can be used constructively in the L2 classrooms. Moreover,
according to Januleviciene and Kavaliauskiene (2002), recently a shift
has been noticed in non- native learners’ attitude towards the role of
L1.

University of Foreign Languages, Vietnam National University,


Hanoi is one of the most famous schools focusing on training people
to become a foreign language teacher in general and English teacher
in particular. As a result, students study with the hope of improving
and developing their teaching and English skills. However, students
feel that they did not speak English very well for many classroom
reasons. And using Vietnamese in class somehow makes them feel
guilty.

From my personal experience as an EFL student, I have learned


that a limited and a systematic use of learners’ mother tongue can
support and facilitate the learning and teaching of the target language.
It is, however, useful to note that using L1 in the target language
classroom could have some pitfalls. According to Atkinson (1987,
p.246), students would “feel that they did not “really” understand any
items of the language till it was translated”, “over simplified to the
point of using crude and inaccurate translation”, “spoke to the teacher
in the mother tongue as a matter of course” and failed to realize that
during many activities in the classroom, “it was crucial that they used
only English.”

The researcher ask 1) if the prime objective of the classroom is


to achieve communication and understanding between students
themselves and teachers, and 2) if there is no one best method of
language teaching as Chapman (1958, p.34) succinctly put “there is no
open method with a capital M which excels all others”, why is it so
necessary to disregard the role of learners’ L1 in the L2 classroom?
The present study is therefore an attempt to examine whether this is
not using of L1 really exists in the context of Vietnamese language.
1.2. Aim and Objectives of the Study

This study aims to explore first- year students’ use of


Vietnamese in their English speaking class. More specifically, the
study seeks answers to the following questions:

1. What is the amount of Vietnamese the selected students use


in English speaking class?

2. What are the purposes of the students’ use of Vietnamese in


their English speaking class?

3. What are the students’ perceptions of the use of Vietnamese


in English speaking class?

1.3. Scope of the Study

The researcher focuses on English speaking class to investigate


the use of the Vietnamese language not in other skills. The reason is
that the research would like to put the use of the Vietnamese language
in the context of students’ speaking English. In the present study, the
use of the Vietnamese language is limited in speaking skill (not
written texts) and due to time constraint, the researcher only conducts
research about the amount of the Vietnamese language used and the
purposes of using it. Moreover, the researcher observes and researches
other reasons and behaviors implied from the use of L1 in the
speaking English class.

The present study confined itself to first year mainstream


students majoring in ELT at FELTE, ULIS, VNUH. Specifically,
three students with good, average and low marks in the university
entrance exam were chosen.

1.4. Significance of the Study

The findings of the present study are hoped to be useful to the


following groups:

1. Language teachers can make use of the findings and become


more aware of the role of L1 that plays in teaching and learning the
target language.

2. Students are aware more clearly about their L2 acquisition


with the contribution of L1 in order to adjust the frequency of L1 use
in English speaking class.

3. Material writers and syllabus designers may take them to


consider learners’ L1 while preparing teaching materials and
designing the syllabus.

4. Language teaching methodology researchers might stimulate


them to conduct further research in the area which may open the way
to development of a new English language teaching method and
techniques that work to incorporate L1 use in the EFL classroom.

More generally, the results of this study could be important in


raising our awareness of where we are at present in our use of L1 and
in preparing the ground for a more reasoned use of L1 in the L2
classroom.
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

This chapter presents the review of key concepts and previous works
that are meant to provide background information on the first year students’
use of L1 in the L2 speaking classroom. Firstly, it discusses the major
arguments against the use of L1 and criticisms. Secondly, it gives an insight
into the factors favoring L1 use and the pitfalls of L1 use in the EFL
classroom. Thirdly, it treats some empirical research on the use of L1 in the
EFL classroom.

2.1. Arguments Against L1 Use and Criticisms

Diverse arguments have been asserted for not using students’ mother

tongue (L1) in the ESL/ EFL classroom. Cook (2001) addressed three main
arguments for L1 avoidance in the L2 language classroom.

1. The L1 Acquisition Argument

2. The Language Compartmentalization Argument

3. The Maximum Provision of the L2 Argument

It is believed that such arguments received strong criticisms from


scholars. The researcher herself conducts a research about the use of L1;
however, the researcher has no intention of criticizing it but objectively
report the real facts in the debate between L1 and L2.

2.1.1. The L1 Acquisition Argument

The idea was mainly fostered by Krashen (1981). The philosophy


behind this claim was that the way adults learn the L2 was considered to be
similar to that of children to pick up their mother tongue. The justification
proposed in the claim was that L1 acquisition did not rely on another
language or children in the L1 could not fall back on another language.

Cook (2001) however, argued that the appeal to L1 acquisition was


simply irrelevant; the fact that by definition, L1 children did not have
recourse to another language that had no implication for whether or not L2
learners should take advantage of their L1 while learning an L2. There were,
indeed, distinctions between the first and the second language acquisition
concerning age and situations (Cook, 2001). Weschler (1997) clarified
“children take years following the natural order of acquisition to master the
concrete before the abstract. By contrast, already having mastered the latter,
adults can take shortcut.” (p.4). In the same vein, G. Cook (2002) noted that
the misguided vision of the first language acquisition was one of those
factors that outlawed the role of translation in second/ foreign language
teaching. He further commented that the idea of connecting L2 learning with
mother tongue acquisition was based on assertions without evidence or weak
evidence. In the researcher’s opinion, it is an overgeneralization to assume
that what is true for children is also true for adults in terms of language
acquisition as children and adults were different in their language
experience. It is inevitable that adults make reference to their L1 knowledge
in the process of learning L2.

2.1.2. The Language Compartmentalization Argument

This is the view that successful L2 acquisition will be determined by


keeping the L2 separate from the L1 and seeing the L1 and the L2 as a
distinct entities; one main reason for following this way is the fear of L1
interference (Cook, 2001).
Cook again argued that even if the two languages were different in
theory, they were interrelated in the L2 users’ mind in many ways
(phonology, morphology, syntax and pragmatics). Thus L1 is influenced by
L2 and vice versa (Cook, 2001).

With regard to the L1- L2 connection, Cook is not the only one. There
is a prosperity of literature that strongly claims for the impossibility of
keeping the L1 and L2 apart (e.g Atkinson, 1987; Cook, 2002; Cohen, 1996
cited in Weshler, 1997; Edie, 1999; Stern, 1992; Swan, 1985).

Stern (1992), for example, pointed out that “the L1-L2 connection is
an undisputable fact of life, whether we like it or not the new knowledge is
learnt on the basis of the previously acquired language” (p. 282). Likewise,
Cook (2002) suggested that switching and negotiation between languages be
an inseparable part of everyday language use for the majority of the world
population.

In sum, the scholars seemed to believe in a simple notion that since L1


and target language were both frequently present in learners’ mind, they
should also be effectively made use of in the learning activities that the class
engaged in and an attempt to keep L1 from the target language classroom
was somehow futile.

The idea of interference is clearly enticing. According to Haltai


(1989), one important argument that led translation to have bad name was
the fear of interference errors. The argument was that translation bolstered a
sense of false adequation between the two languages resulting in inter-
language errors (Cook, 2002). Gowers and Walters (1983) in their
“Teaching Practice Hand Book” stated the hazards of translation in
encouraging structural or lexical equivalences.

In spite of the antagonism, there appears to be a wide spread


assumption that language interference is an important element of second
language acquisition (Januleviciene and Kavaliauskiene, 2002).

Stern (1992), in addition, argued that since L2 learners often used


their L1 for reference, it was impossible to avoid the interference errors at
any cost; rather we needed to acknowledge them as a psycholinguistic given.
Stern stated that we could help learners to gradually develop new L2
reference system by illustrating where the L1 and L2 were similar and
different (at phonological, lexical and grammatical levels). In effect, this
would aid learners to respond to the likely errors in advance.

Richards (1986, cited in Weshler, 1997) kept a similar view that


comparing and contrasting of the two languages would allow the learners to
predict the possible L1 interference. He further suggested that interference
problems could be addressed through carefully designed teaching materials.

Research study conducted by Tomasello and Herron (1989) in the


context of Portuguese also seemed to validate the importance of contrastive
analysis. Their findings showed that translation techniques that stressed the
comparison and contrast between L1 and L2 elements (phonology,
morphology, etc.) were efficient ways of tackling with the interference and
over generalization mistakes. It was reported that the analysis supported
students to notice areas of differences between Portuguese and English and
review their hypothesis regarding what was distinctive and what was
comparable in the two languages. The result of their study was likely to
challenge the widespread presupposition that L1 should be avoided because
its use resulted in the fallacy of equivalence between the two languages.

From the claims and evidence from the research findings, it is thus
possible to mark that even if L1 interference is there, encouraging learners to
relate L2 to L1 to discover the similarities and differences between the two
languages would reduce the possible occurrences of the transferred errors.
As far as it is concerned, the use of L1 may interfere with or even hinder the
process of learners’ inter-language development. In this case, learners may
not develop a necessary framework to establish sense relations in L2 due to
dependence on L1 framework. Nevertheless, the fact that learners have and
that it shapes their learning of L2 cannot be ignored.

2.1.3. Provision of the Maximum Target Language Argument

This is the most common argument against the use of L1 in the L2


classroom (Tang, 2002). One common belief among the opponents of L1 use
is that L2 learners often have little or no exposure to the target language
outside the classroom. Therefore, teachers should not make use of this
valuable classroom time using L1.

The desirability of classroom communication in the target language as


much as possible is the view that most teachers and theorists agree upon
(Harbord, 1992). However, this does not and should not imply that L1 ought
not to be used at any cost (Cook, 2001; Turnbull, 2001). According to Cook
and Turnbull, teachers are likely to magnify the use of the target language
without overlooking the students’ first language. “A principle that promotes
maximum teachers’ use of the target language acknowledges that L1 and L2
can exist simultaneously” (Turnbull, 2001, p.535).
The researcher also believes that teachers should fill the classroom
with as much of L2 as possible, which is considered to be obviously
essential. However, an exclusive target language use may not ensure
students’ comprehension of the meanings of certain L2 language elements.
Therefore, if one assumes that the basic tenets of the true communication
should be ‘comprehensible input’ (Krashen’s 1985 term), using the students’
language may at time be necessary. The principle thus should be “use
English where possible and L1 where necessary” (Weschler, 1997).

Apart from few specific references mentioned for the benefits of not
using L1 (Ellis, 1984; Chamber, 1991 quoted in Hawks, 2001) who
themselves did not give any detailed account of L1 avoidance but based their
arguments solely on practical survey, there is hardly any researches that
validate the benefits of ignoring learners’ L1 in the L2 classroom. In this
connection, Auerbach (1993, p.9) noted “evidence from research and
practice suggests that the rationale used to justify English- only in the
classroom is neither conclusive nor pedagogically sound.” Weschler (1997)
stated an analogous view, arguing that the only English approach was
without any sound theory or substantiated research. Macaro (1997) added
that the exclusive use of L2 was not justified. Concurring such views, Cook
(2001, p.157) revealed that second language acquisition researchers was
unable to provide any real reasons for keeping L1 from the L2 classroom.

2.2. Factors Favoring L1 Use and the Pitfalls of L1 Use in the EFL class

The struggle to avoid L1 at all costs can lead to bizarre behavior: One
can end up being a contortionist trying to explain the meaning of a language
item where a simple translation would save time and anguish. Further,
learning a language is a difficult and often frustrating process for many
learners, particularly at low levels. One hundred- percent direct method can
be especially frustrating- limited use of the L1 can have a powerful and
positive effect. According to Atkinson (1993), “for many learners, in
particular adults and teenagers, occasional use of the L1 gives them the
opportunity to show that they are intelligent, sophisticated people” (p.13).
therefore, there is definitely a place for L1. The following section will show
some benefits of L1 use.

2.2.1. The Pedagogical Role of L1 Use

As opposed to the claim that the use of L1 will hamper or affect the
progress or effectiveness of L2 learning, many scholars argue that L1 has a
place in L2 learning. One basic claim is for its pedagogical benefit in the L2
classroom. The major notion behind this argument is that learners use their
L1 as a ‘reservoir’ (Prdromou’s 2001 term). L1 creates a crutch for students.
Bolitho (1983), quoted in “Talking Shop”, asserted that L2 learners did not
come to the class with their empty mind. They used their mother tongue
experiences to deal with new challenges (i.e. L2 learning). Thus, he advised
teachers to recognize and appreciate learners’ first language. Stern (1992,
p.282) believed that “L2 learners always make reference to the language
they already know; therefore, whether we like it or not the new language is
learned on the basis of the previously acquired language.”. He continued
explaining that even when students had another L2 to fall back on, this
language itself should be treated as an additional resource to learn the target
language. Gabrielatos (2002) said that L2 learners tended to rely on their
existing knowledge (L1 and other languages) to understand the logic and
organizational principles of the target language. Swan (1985) claimed that
we should never learn a foreign language unless we kept making
correspondences between the elements of the two languages. Both Swan
(1985) and Dajani (2002) concluded that learning a second language was the
continuation of the already existing L1 knowledge.

Therefore, since learning L2 is building up on the resources learners


bring with them to the classroom, i.e. their native language skills and varied
experiences, translation is believed to be an important tool in bridging the
gap between what learners bring and the one which is new and difficult (i.e.
L2). In fact, one bridging function of translation is its usefulness to create
opportunities for comparative analyksis between the mother tongue and the
target language (Murakami, 1999; Namushin, 2002), for example, by
enabling the students “to relate from and function in their L1 to form and
function in the L2” (Titford, 1983, p.57).

Some look at the comparative and contrastive role of translation from


the perspective of Universal Grammar. In accord with Chomsky (1976, p.
29), “the grammar of a language consists of universal principles of a
language.” Based on this idea, Towell and Hawkins (1994) implied that L2
learners transferred the grammatical properties of their L1 into their L2
grammar. In the same way, Ringbom (1987) emphasized that L2 learners
would facilitate the already known knowledge in their native language to
help them understand the new language. This possibility of transferring L1
knowledge to L2 learning is also a strategy used by most L2 learners in most
of the places (Atkinson, 1987; Harbord 1992; Rubin, 1975; Stern, 1992).

The above theoretical underpinnings of L1 role, together with her own


reasoned convictions, must have helped Deller (2003) to believe that L1 was
an excellent resource for L2 learning especially for students at lower level of
L2 proficiency if it was used effectively. She demonstrated seven possible
uses of L1:

1. It is useful to notice differences and similarities between two


languages.
2. Learners can enjoy materials that might otherwise be too difficult
for them.
3. Learners can develop and produce their own materials including
their own tests.
4. Allowing the use of mother tongue can encourage spontaneity and
fluency.
5. Using mother tongue can equip learners with the words and
expressions they really want and need in English.
6. Using mother tongue can have beneficial effects on group
dynamics.
7. Using mother tongue ensures that learners are able to give on going
feed back.
(Deller, 2003, p.3)

2.2.2. The Psychological Role of L1 Use

In accord with Richard- Amato (1996, cited in Langer, 2001), the


target language and people who speak it, the teacher and the classroom
environment have an influence on the acquisition of a language. Based on
this view, Langer (2001) argued that by permitting the mother tongue in the
classroom, teachers can give their students a valuable tool to arrive at a
meaningful communication. If one was banned from using her/ his mother
tongue, Langer explained, one felt he/ she was relegated to a position of
unimportance.
Shamash (1990) quoted in Auerbach (1993) believed that using
mother tongue allowed the learners to experiment and take risks in English.
Building on Shamash’s (1990) belief, Auerbach (1993, p.19) herself
concluded that “starting with L1 provides a sense of security and validates
the learners’ lived experiences, allowing them to express themselves.”
According to Auerbach (1993), the use of L1 abated the psychological
barriers to English learning and allowed for a faster improvement.
Janulevicine and Kavlaliauskiene (2002) on their part asserted that “the
ability to switch to a native language, even for a shorter time, gives learners
an opportunity to preserve self- image, get rid of anxiety, build confidence
and feel independent in their choice of expression.” To Atkinson (1993), the
sporadic use of L1 allowed learners to show that they were intelligent and
sophisticated people.

In Murakami’s point of view (1999), using mother tongue that


established identity should neither be neglected nor subordinated to any
languages. Accentuating learners’ need for L1 to preserve their identity,
Damim et al (2002, p. 10) second Murakami’s view that teenagers had their
own styles and idioms which they did not want to lose while learning the L2
as this was a part of their identity.

To summarize, the arguments for the psychological merits of L2


points out that that by empowering the learners to feel more secure, L1 could
create a more comfortable learning environment, which will in turn enhance
the L2 acquisition process.
2.2.3. The Socio- cultural Role of L1 Use

Prodromou (2001) regarded the use of mother tongue as a means


through which L2 learners brought their cultural backgrounds into the L2
classroom. To Prodromou, classroom ethnic cultures were indeed a starting
point for a variety of classroom activities. Once mentioning the authenticity
of the classroom, Widdowson (1996, p. 68) also argued that contexts, which
would be meaningful for students, had somehow to be constructed in the
classroom out of the primary experience of the mother tongue culture. In
regard to Widdowson, the classroom culture and the culture of the society in
which they lived was a good starting point for supporting students to
authenticate the target language. To Linder (2002), the use of classroom
translation activities could promote the cultural transfer skills. Using
students’ mother tongue is useful to valuate cultural diversity (Dove, 1992,
cited in Auerbach, 1993). Choffey (2001) evinced that students’ L1 culture
and physical environment were of great help in designing L2 classroom
activities. He suggested three major reasons for using the L1 cultural and
physical environment to learn the L2:

1. To link the activities to the students’ situation (experience)

2. Students learn how to deal with specific lexical items between the
L1 and the L2 cultures.

3. To establish firm relationships between L1 and L2.

In general, considering the following lists of Prodromos’ (2001,


p.231) metaphoric expressions might briefly include the foregoing three
claims for the merits of using L1 and the problems that may ensure as a
result of its imprudent use. L1 is:
1. a drug (though with therapeutic potential, it can damage your health
and may become addictive.)
2. a reservoir (a resource from which we draw)
3. a wall (an obstacle to teaching)
4. a window (which opens out into the world outside the classroom; if
we look through it we see the students’ previous experience, their
interest, their knowledge of the world and their culture.)
5. a crutch (it can help us get by in a lesson, but it is a recognition of
weakness)
6. a lubricant (it helps the wheels of a lesson moving smoothly; it thus
saves time)
2.2.4. Attitudes of learners towards the use of L1 in EFL speaking class

How do students look at the issue of using L1 in English speaking


class? Findings from small number of studies (Burden, 2001; Schweers,
1999; Tang, 2002) in Japanese, Spanish and Chinese contexts respectively
showed that both university teachers and students had positive attitude
towards the use of L1 in their English classroom. The results of their studies
further pointed that a limited amount of L1 had a supportive and facilitating
role in the English classes and thus it needed to be welcomed. In the case of
Prodromou’s (2001) study, however, university students were skeptical
about the role of L1 (Greece) at the university level. On the contrary, both
teachers and students at beginner and intermediate levels overwhelmingly
accepted the use of L1 (Greece) in their English classes.

Particularly, Scheweers (1999) conducted a study with EFL students


in a Spanish context to investigate their attitudes towards using L1 in the L2
classroom. His results indicated that the majority of students agreed that
Spanish should be used in the EFL class. According to his research,
“students feel there are clear cases where Spanish will facilitate their
comprehension of what is happening in class. A majority also agree that the
use of Spanish helps them to learn English” (Scheweers, 1999, p. 7).

Studying students’ reactions to the use of the L1 in English classes,


Terrence Doyle (1997), in his presentation at TESOL, ’97, reported that
students in a study he conducted claimed that the L1 was used
approximately 90 percent of the time in their classes. Some 65 percent of
these students preferred the use of the L1 in their classes sometimes or often.

Bearing many similarities to Schweer’s study in Spanish context,


Jinlan (2002) in his research in a Chinese EFL context indicated that
students responded positively towards Chinese use. In particular, the vast
majority of students (97%) liked it when their teachers use some Chinese.
According to students,

Chinese was most necessary to explain complex grammar points and


to help define some new vocabulary items. (…) A few students
indicated that the L1 could be used to translate well- written
paragraphs and to compare the two languages (Jinlan, 2002, p. 4).
Prodromou (2002) carried out research into the perceptions of 300
Greek students regarding L1 use in the monolingual classroom at three
levels- beginner, intermediate and advanced. A relatively high percentage of
beginner and intermediate students answered that the students ‘should use
the mother tongue’ while only a minority of advanced learners supported
those views. Ferrer (2009) in his research also shared a comparable view.

In general, in some researches, students show their positive attitudes


towards the use of L1 in the L2 classroom. They cite the following as
instances when they find L1 use the most useful: to explain difficult
concepts; to avoid lost feelings; to feel more comfortable and confident; to
check comprehension and to define new vocabulary items. Thus, as (Cook,
2001, p.155) suggested “if the twenty- first century teaching is to continue to
accept the ban on the first language imposed by the late nineteenth century,
it will have to look else where for its rationale.”

2.2.5. Occasions of L1 use

Concerning the students’ use of L1, Cook (2001, p.417) mentioned


three important cases that might lead learners to use their L1:

1. As a part of the main learning activities

2. Within classroom activities (group/ pair work)

3. As a way to the meaning of L2 words both inside and outside the


classroom (e.g the use of bilingual dictionaries)

Nevertheless, particularly teachers have often been given advice about


how to discourage students from using their first language in pair/ group
work. For example, as Ur (1996, p.121) stated “If they are talking in small
groups, it can be quite difficult to get some classes; particularly, the less
disciplined and motivated ones to keep the target language.”

Yet, Cook (2001, p.157) argued that code switching was a normal
feature of L2 use (also Harmer, 2001; G. Cook, 2002; Harbord, 1992). When
students share two languages without the distrust of L1, there is no reason
why students should not resort to their L1. To Cook (2001), L provided a
scaffolding help: through L1 students might explain tasks to each other,
negotiate the role they are going to take, check their understanding or
production of the language against their peers. According to him, L1 was
especially helpful when activities involved problem solving in which case
students could put their heads together and discuss solutions to the problems
(p. 418).

In favor of Cook’s (2001) view, Harbord (1992, p.354) claimed that


L1 had a variety of roles: explanation by students to peers who had not
understood, giving individual support to weaker students during pair or
group work, and student- student comparison or discussion. Cunningham
(2000) made a strong statement that prohibiting the use of L1 in pair/ group
work was almost tantamount to denying students’ access to an important
learning tool: the other students. Students were drawing on each other’s
knowledge (Atkinson, 1993). Harmer (2001, p.132) believed that L1 use was
quite acceptable, for example, when students were working in pairs studying
a reading text. He, however, warned that using L1 for an activity like oral
fluency was almost pointless.

A study conducted by Anton and DiCamilla (1998) also showed that


using L1 in pair/ group work provided students with scaffolding help. In the
analysis of learners’ collaborative speech, they discovered that students
deployed L1 to carry out the following:

Enlist and maintain each other’s interest in the task through out its
performance, develop strategies for making the task manageable,
maintain their focus on the goal of the task, foreground important
elements of the task, discuss what needs to be done to solve specific
problems and explicate and build on each other’s partial solutions to
the specific problems throughout the task.
(Anton and DiCamila, 1998, p.321)
Thus, as Choffey (2001) noted, allowing L1 during group/ pair work
ensured that there would be both productive collaboration and discussion
among the fellow students. Encouraging the positive use of L1 empowers
the learners when they should use and when not (Buckmaster, 2002). Thus,
teachers are expected to make the whole thing clear to students right from
the outset of activities.

Amount of L1 and the Learners’ Level

Stern (1992) claimed that it would be expedient to allocate time in


which L1 was used in order that questions could be asked, meanings could
be verified, uncertainties could be clear and explanations could be given
which might not be possible to the students through the use of L2. Atkinson
(1987), Harbord (1992) and Bolitho (1983) also agreed with this view. The
majority of teachers in Schweers’s (1999), Tang’s (2002) and Burden’s
(2001) studies too emphasized the importance of the occasional use of L1 in
the L2 classroom.

However, what exactly constitutes the appropriate mixture of L1 and


L2 has not been well investigated (Stern, 1992; Turnbull, 2001). Turnbull
further recommended that more explorations needed to be done to address
this issue. Atkinson (1987, p.25) suggested “at early levels a ratio of 5%
native language to about 95% target language may be more profitable.” In a
study of elementary Core French in Western Canada, Shapson, Kaufman and
Durword (1987) stipulated 75% of the target language as the acceptable
quantity by the teachers (cited in Turbull, 2001). Similar study but a bit
larger scale evaluation of the same program by Colman and Daniel (1988)
quoted in the same source, in central Canada showed that 95% use of the
target language was deemed appropriate by researchers and school board.
While these findings are not overtly conclusive, they do however illustrate
that there is an imparity between the reports concerning the L1-L2
proportion. It seems from this that Turnbull (2001) recommended further
studies to be carried out in this area. With regard to the level of students,
Atkinson (1987), Stern (1992) and Hawks (2001) suggested that the mother
tongue had various roles at all levels. Yet as Stern (1992) and Hawks (2001)
noted that it might be more crucial to use mother tongue judiciously and
gradually reduce that quantity of L1 as the students became more and more
proficient in the target language.

In general, though it is very difficult to qualify the possible amount of


mother tongue required for effective foreign language acquisition, it can be
seen that it would be at least important to be aware of the fact that L1 can be
used systematically with varying intensities for learners ranging from early
levels to the more advanced ones. On the other hand, as significant amount
of literature claimed an attempt to employ 100% target language, especially,
with students at lower level of L2 proficiency appears to be impractical. If
one does, it is to try to “teach the target language with almost less than the
maximum possible proficiency” (Atkinson, 1987, p.247). I also understand
that the monolingual approach to L2 teaching may leave the learners
uncertain about the meanings of some words or concepts even with the aid
of visual or contextual clues.

2.2.6. The Pitfalls of L1 Use in the EFL classroom

One common problem of L1 use is the fear of excessive dependence


(Atkinson, 1987). Through generally in favor of L1 use, Atkinson (1987),
broadly listed the following as the possible dangers behind the overuse of
L1:
1. Students began to feel that they did not “really” understand any
items of the language till it was translated.
2. Students failed to observe distinction between equivalence of form,
semantic equivalence and pragmatic feature and thus over simplified
to the point of using crude and inaccurate translation.
3. Students spoke to the teacher in the mother tongue as a matter of
course, even when they were capable of expressing what they meant.
4. Students failed to realize that during many activities in the
classroom, it was crucial that they used only English.
(Atkinson, 1987, p.246)
As Chambers (1991) illustrated that students in foreign language
classes can be enticed to use L2, even if minimally and in its simplest form,
for request, asking for help, apologies and self- evaluation. Otherwise,
students run the risk of engaging in much and unorchestrated L1 use, which
may jeopardize the students’ optimal learning. It should be kept in mind that
overuse of L1 in any circumstance “challenges the very purpose of the class
and of integrity of those involved” (Cole, 1998).

In addition, there are some risks when students abuse L1 use in L2


classes:

1. Thinking in the mother tongue inhibits thinking directly in the


target language.

The main objection to translation as a studying device has been that it


interposes an intermediate process between the concept and the way it
is expressed in the foreign language, thus hindering the development
of the ability to think directly in the new language (Rivers and
Temperly, 1978, p. 59)
2. Too much reliance on the first language will result in the
fossilization of an inter- language (Selinker, 1992), with the result being
some of the hilarious Japlish people all come to love and cherish.

3. The use of the first language wastes too much valuable class time
that would be better spent on the target language. This is sometimes referred
to as the time on task argument (Modica, 1994).

However, students’ use of L1 in collaborative activities is not without


its problems. There, for example, could be a problem of differentiating
between the on- task talk and the off- task chatting, and difficulty to keep
some groups to the target language. The best way to control the problem is
however to persuade and create awareness among the students as to when
mother tongue is permissible or when the use of the target language is
absolutely important (Harmer, 2001; Harbord, 1992).

2.3. Empirical Research on the Use of L1 in the EFL classroom

There have been some researches done on what use of L1 is actually


made in practice in the classroom and what the results are. Specifically, in
his research conducted from five universities in Central Java, Indonesia,
Zacharias (2003) did some class observation to assess the use of L1 in class.
According to his observations,

It is interesting to note that although 62% of the respondents agreed


with the use of L1 to explain the meaning of new words, in actual
classroom practice, most teachers translated the English words into
Bahasa Indonesia only as a last resort, typically after attempting to
explain the meaning of such words by means of paraphrases in
English. (p.49)
In addition, Miles (2004) carried out two experiments in 3 different
Japanese classes to analyze the use of L1 in L2 classes by taking KET tests
at the beginning and after 5 months to check the progress. The results from
the first experiment suggested that “the use of L1 in the language classroom
does not hinder learning” (p.29). All the students in the 2nd class improved
considerably in all aspects of L2 as evidenced by KET test and oral exam.
The fact that they all improved (considerably in most cases) would seem to
contradict the notion that using some L1 in the classroom hindered the
learning of an L2.

Beressa (2003) in her research of “Using L1 in the EFL Classroom:


The Case of the Oromo Language with Particular Reference to Adama
Teacher College” claimed that based on her class recording and observation,
the ratio between English words and the Oromo language was about 1:77.
That showed that teachers and students in the EFL classrooms at this college
used certain amount of Oromo language. The 1.68 minutes devoted to
Oromo language is found to be less than what both students and teachers
ought to have in the 50 minutes English lessons. According to their views, 6-
10% of the 50 minutes class time for Oromo language use was deemed
acceptable. Hence, there appeared a gap between students and teachers’
perception and what they did in the class.

To conclude, it can be seen that the use of L1 in the L2 classroom


does not hinder the progress and learning process of students. Moreover,
students in theory would like to use more L2; yet, in real classes, they have
tendency to use moderately their mother tongue to solve some difficult
communications.
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY

In this chapter, the methodology of the study will be presented. This


includes the research approach, the sampling, the methods of data collection,
and the procedures of data collection and analysis.

3.1. Qualitative multi-case study approach

Stake (1988) stated “the case study is a study of a ‘bounded system’,


emphasizing the unity and wholeness of that system, but confining the
attention to those aspects that are relevant to the research problem at the
time” (p. 258). It is said that case study methodology is flexible and is
formulated to suit the purpose of the study including qualitative, quantitative
or descriptive, etc. In the present study, a qualitative multi- case study
approach was employed due to the following main reasons:

To begin with, a multi- case study was conducted owing to the fact
that it helps to “understand a case in depth” (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992) and
provides “the collection of very intensive data” (Burn, 2000 as cited in Le,
2009, p.29) and “detailed descriptions of specific learners” (Markey & Gass,
2000 as cited in Le, 2009, p.29). As a result, the researcher believed that to
conduct a research concerning students’ use of mother tongue in L2
speaking class, it was advisable to do a perceptive research containing
descriptive and detailed data instead of a wide and superficial one. Via
thorough data collected, it is hoped that the study would contribute some
insights to the research of L1 use in L2 class.
Second, multi- case study is the one “involves the participation of
more than one individual learner or existing group of learners” (Le, 2009, p.
29). Making use of that feature, the research decided to use this approach to
investigate more than one case. As a result, it will be easier and more
logical for the researcher to compare and contrast students’ use of L1 in their
L2 speaking classroom, especially their behaviors and attitudes implied from
that. Therefore, the data investigated in the research could be more concise
and persuasive which is possible to reflex different perspectives of various
students from diver proficiency English levels.

Last but not least, in Le’s point of view, as a method of qualitative


research, “a multi-case study could help describe the studied phenomenon
from the perspective of the insiders.” (2009, p. 30). That means that the
participants directly get involved and they themselves deal with the
problems. In this study, the data was collected from the three participants
who primarily participated in English speaking class and used L1. In
addition, they themselves also spoke up their own points of views and
problems encountered in terms of using the mother tongue in English
speaking class.

The research was conscious that a multi- case study involving a few
participants could not secure the external validity for the research. However,
the purpose of the research was not to achieve large and spreading data
related but to have a deeper look at the issue, which is hoped to be a good
base for further researches. Furthermore, concerning this drawback of the
case study, Yin claimed that “survey research relies on statistical
generalization, whereas case studies rely on analytical generalization”
(1984, p. 39). Moreover, as Stake remarked,
A case study is valid to the reader to whom it gives an accurate and
useful representation of the bounded system. Accuracy of observing
and reporting is not a matter of everyone seeing and reporting the same
thing. Observers have different vantage points…. Readers have
different uses for research reports. One reader expects an exact
facsimile of the ‘real thing’. The validity of the report is different for
each, according to the meaning the readers gives it” (p. 261- 263).

In general, qualitative multi- case research was considered to be the


most appropriate approach for the present study. It was believed that the
study could contribute somehow for further investigation in the use of L1 in
L2 classroom.

3.2. Setting of the Study

The study was conducted in Faculty of English Language Teacher


Education of University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam
National University Hanoi. To attend the university, it is compulsory for
students to pass the entrance exam organized yearly by the Vietnam Ministry
of Education and Training (MOET). Students have to take three tests
including English written test. There is no English oral test for students in
the entrance exam; however, if anyone wishes to join the fast- track class for
gifted students, they must take one.

The students of Faculty of English Language Teacher Education will


follow four- year bachelor program in which they are trained to become an
English teacher in the future. Mainly, students from FELTE, ULIS, VNUH
are Vietnamese; therefore Vietnamese will be the only mother tongue
language and English as the foreign one. In the FELTE, students will have
opportunities to study not only English skills including listening, speaking,
writing and reading but English- based courses such as ELT (English
Language Teaching), Literature, British and American Studies, etc.

In addition, at the first and second year, students are likely to have
more chances to build up and improve their English proficiency skills.
Therefore, four skills especially speaking and writing will be taught in three
periods each week (50 minutes/ period).

3.3. Subjects and Sampling

As the present study is conducted by qualitative multi- case approach,


the researcher made use of purposive sampling, in which “a case is selected
because it serves the real purpose and objectives of the researcher of
discovering, gaining insight and understanding into a particular chosen
phenomenon” (Burns, 2000 as cited in Le, 2009, p.31). In purposive
sampling, the researcher handpicks the cases to be included in the sample on
the basis of their judgment of their typicality. In this way, the researcher
could build a sample that is satisfactory to their specific needs.

The three students of FELTE, ULIS, VNU were chosen based on the
following criteria. To begin with, all the three students were directly
involved in English speaking class for first year students. They all study in
the same class together. The reason why the researcher chose this element is
that with the same teacher and same teaching methods, teacher element will
not be counted in the research. This will avoid complexity, time
consumption and confusion. Second, the three students were purposively
chosen basing on their English scores at the entrance exam (i.e. 3 students
with 3 different levels of scores) so that the researcher could investigate
diverse background and behaviors. This criterion, as “named as ‘maximum
variation cases’ by Flyvbjerg (2006), was set for the purpose of getting
information about various cases in the language context” (Le, 2009, 31).
Third, under the voluntary agreement, students were picked up so that the
researcher could make sure about their commitment in getting involved in
the study.

All the participants came from different regions in the country with
diverse background. Two of them claimed that they studied at normal high
school classes in which teachers just mainly focused on grammar. In their
classes, it was rare for students to raise their voices and speak English. The
other one came from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. As a result, she had an
earlier chance than the others to speak and use English. However, all of them
reported that before entering the university, English was only one subject at
school and they did not have many chances to practice and speak English.
Detailed information about each participant could be summarized in the
table below. (Note: All the names of the participants are called pseudonyms
due to confidential rule)

English The latest


score in speaking
University
Participants Hometown the
year
entrance total

exam score

Hanh Ha Noi First year 9.0 9.0


Lan Nam Dinh First year 7.5 8
Nga Thai Binh First year 5.5 6.8

Table 3.1: Brief details of the participants (pseudonym names)


The researcher was conscious that it could be impossible for the
researcher to pick up more than three participants. With a huge amount of
data and a limited scope of the study (class observations and intensive
interviews), the research would find it hard to manage and analyze data.
Moreover, due to its own features of qualitative research, it was vitally
natural to investigate only a limited number of participants. In general, the
researcher hopes that sufficient and valid data could be collected through
proposed sample of participants and research instruments.

3.4. Data Collection

3.4.1. Data collection Instruments

The research chose class observation and semi- structured interview


as data collection instruments to collect sufficient and reasonable data. The
class observation was aimed to answer the first two research questions; the
semi- structured individual interview was to answer the question about
students’ attitudes towards L1 use in L2 speaking class. The two instruments
supported and complemented each other so that the research could have an
overview and depth into the issue. In particular, while the class observation
was used to achieve factual data about students’ amount and purposes of L1
use, the interview helped to collect the attitudinal data. As a result, from
these two data collection instruments, it is hoped that the data collected
would be proportionate and reasonable.

3.4.1.1. Class Observation

Recording is said to provide researchers with rich data on classroom


interaction behavior and can also easily keep track of the amount of
students’ talk (Wallace, 1998). To record data, on verbal interactions, the
research employed note- taking and audio- recording. As it was hard to note-
taking everything students said, the researcher only noted down some key
points in the lessons and some main class behaviors of students when they
use L1 in L2 speaking class. The researcher made use of the obvious
advantage of audio- recording which is that “all interaction that is audible is
recorded and can be analyzed later in a number ways. (…) To pick up
speech that might otherwise be audible, microphones can be attached to key
students” (Saville, 1988, p.568)

The pilot study was conducted to see whether the intended


instruments could work as planned. The tools were tried on twenty pre-
intermediate evening students at AAC (American Academy Center) where
the researcher is working as a part- time job. The probing of the audio-
recording lessons had also given the researcher a good opportunity to
identify a better way and position for the tape recorder in the classrooms to
be recorded. As a matter of fact, normally English speaking classes are quite
noisy and energetic, which somehow will affect the quality of recordings.
Therefore, thanks to the pilot study, the researcher had more experience and
better preparation for observations and recordings by using three different
recorders carried by the three students.

With the same teacher, the class observation was conducted in 5


lessons. However, only three lessons were recorded because according to
Saville, 1988, the presence of tape recorder could inhibit students or teachers
especially at first. Therefore, in the two first lessons, the researcher only
aimed to let students get used to the presence of the researcher and tape
recorder. In 3 lessons, the class observations were made for one period
lasting in 50 minutes. Yet, in fact, in some beginning minutes, teachers and
students normally discussed some topics unrelated to the lessons. Thus, the
researcher only recorded 40 minutes in each period and lesson.

The major purposes of the recording were to find out the proportion of
Vietnamese words used compared to English by counting Vietnamese and
English utterances produced during lessons, to figure out the amount of time
class devoted to each language by three students and to investigate how
Vietnamese language was used in the English speaking class and for what.

Students were informed that the researcher conducted a research in


their class and three participants were asked before for their acceptance.
However the exact purpose of the research (i.e. the classroom use of
Vietnamese) was not announced in advance. The purpose of this was to
avoid the risk of sensitizing and tempting them to show behavior different
from the usual ones and thereby to obtain a more authentic data.

3.4.1.2. Semi-structured interviews:

In addition to the class observation, the researcher also conducted


semi- structured individual interviews with the three participants.

The semi- structured interviews does more than simply list the
questions to be asked. It contains suggestions for what to say at the
beginning and end of the interview regarding the purpose of the interview.
Thanks to that, the researcher could be flexible to get more in- depth
information from the interviewees.

The interview questions had been piloted with two students at


elementary and pre- intermediate relatively. This helped the researcher to
revise and make any changes if necessary for set of interview questions.
Four interview questions would mainly serve to answer the last research
question. Yet, they were used to check and compliment the data from
classroom observations. Each interview lasted around 15 minutes at average.
To secure the honesty of the participants, it was guaranteed that all the
information from the interviews would be kept confidential. All the
interviews were carried out in Vietnamese so that students could express
their ideas more easily.

To collect and analyze data later on, all the interviews were recorded
under the acceptance of the participants.

The interview transcripts have been enclosed in the Appendix

3.4.2. Data collection procedure

The data collection was conducted in the following basic steps taken
at different time so that the researcher could ensure the progress of the
research.

Step 1: Contact the participants as suggested by teachers and the monitor

At this stage, the research would have a talk with the three
participants about the purpose of the research and inform them about the
class observations and interviews.

Step 2: Arrange the time for class observations with the teacher
Under the acceptance of the teacher, the researcher need to arrange in
advance the timetable for observation because some periods, students would
conduct presentations.

Step 3: Observe class and audio- tape

The participants at this phase would be observed and recorded for


later analysis. The pilot study was conducted with the AAC class before
hand.

Step 4: Arrange the interview timetable

After the pilot carried out, the research had to contact and asked the
participant a suitable time for interviews.

Step 5: Interview and audio-tape all the interviews

The researcher guaranteed to keep the participants’ information and


interviews in secret and then do interviews.

3.5. Techniques of Data Analysis

After the class observations and interviews, the data gathered through
these tools were analyzed as follows:

From the data transcribed from the tapes, the total number of
Vietnamese language and English words uttered during the three lessons
were counted using a word as a unit of measurement and converted into
percentages. The paralinguistic features, of the languages (both vocal and
physical) were not considered while counting. The reason is that the audio
cannot capture these aspects of the languages. Via utterances, the researcher
would analyze the purpose of L1 use in L2 classrom, which helps to answer
the second research question.

Interview data from the three students through semi- structured


interviews were summarized and presented.

Summary

To sum up, the research was carried out by the multi- case study
approach. The three participants in regard to the use of L1 in L2 speaking
class participated in class observation process and semi- structured
individual interviews. Then the data would be categorized and analyzed in
the next chapter.
CHAPTER 4: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The fourth chapter focuses on the presentation, interpretation and


discussion of the data. In the first part of the chapter – case analysis, each
participant would be described concerning background information, the
students’ amount and purpose of L1 use in speaking classroom along with
their attitudes towards the issue. At the end of each case will be a brief
summary of findings. In the next part of the chapter, the findings from the
three participants will be gathered and discussed according to their emerging
themes. In the end, implications will be pointed out as useful suggestions for
using the mother tongue in English speaking class.

4.1. Case analysis

4.1.1. Case 1: Hanh

4.1.1.1. Background information

Hanh is a Hanoian which is the capital of Vietnam. According to her,


though at high school, she did not study any English specialized or gifted
class, however, her teacher did not only teach grammar as usual. The
teachers sometimes created chances for students to speak such as reading
texts, answering text book questions. Yet, in general, English speaking skill
was not paid enough attention during her time at high school. Passing the
entrance exam to FELTE, ULIS, VNU, Hanh got very high English score
(mark 9).
At the moment, she is a freshman at FELTE, ULIS, VNU. According
to her teacher and peers’ comments, Hien is an active student at class who
are among good English speakers of the class.

4.1.1.2. The classroom Vietnamese- English proportion and time devoted in


L2 Speaking classroom

Somehow having a better background than some of her friends, Hanh


seemed not to use much Vietnamese in the English speaking lessons. The
transcript of the class observation can be found in Appendix. Hanh’s
Vietnamese proportion compared to that of English in the class observation
could be summarized in the chart below:

As clearly depicted in the figure 4.1, Hanh did not use much
Vietnamese in L2 speaking class. In particular, in three lessons, there was a
common tendency among them that is considerably more English utterances
were produced than Vietnamese language ones. For example, in lesson 1,
Hanh used 94.6% English words whereas only 5.4%. There was a different
gap between the percentage of the Vietnamese language words used and the
percent of English words in the cases of Hanh. Accordingly, it could be seen
that in 120 minutes there was 97.3 percent of English words spoken against
6.3 percent of Vietnamese words. When expressed in ratio it was about 15:1.
The ratio may point out that Hanh in the EFL speaking classroom used
certain amount of Vietnamese language but very little.

In the class observation, the researcher noticed that she rarely used
Vietnamese. Even she tried to use English as much as she can when
expressing some simple expressions like “Excuse me”, “How can I say…..”,
“What does…..mean in English/ Vietnamese”, “Sorry/ Thanks”. Therefore,
the amount of Vietnamese used in English speaking classes was little.

Along with the limited use of Vietnamese utterances, the time Hanh
devoted to Vietnamese and English language was in direct proportion to the
proportion of these two languages. It can be seen as the following chart:

In Hanh’s case, the same table further disclosed the time taken to utter
the Vietnamese language and English words during the three periods. In
particular, time spent to utter Vietnamese language and English words
within 120 minute recording was 8.4 and 111.6 minutes respectively. The
8.4 minutes devoted to Vietnamese language was found to be less than what
Hanh ought to have used in the 50 minutes English speaking lesson.

Moreover, the researcher found it very interesting when observing


Hanh. She is very active and natural. In English conversations or pairs
works, she used simples and understandable English and some daily life
language such as “Not far”, “Dunn know”, “Cross my heart”, etc. so that
she still could maintain conversations in English and practice natural English
with peers.

To explain Hanh’s case, it is suggested that Hanh at first had a good


background of English (shown by her entrance exam score- mark 9). As a
result, somehow she was equipped herself with good vocabulary and
structure to have daily- life conversations. Second, as stated above, at high
school, Hanh had chances to practice a little English during English classes.
Hence, she built up her confidence in speaking English better than others
who had never spoken any English.

In the interview, Hanh herself also expressed her opinion concerning


the question “in English speaking class, using Vietnamese is acceptable or
not?” She reported that:

I think students should not because we study languages. Therefore, we


should integrate with the environment and use English as much as
possible because that helps me to practice and improve my English
skills a lot. When I speak out, my peers or the teacher can correct any
mistakes for me. (…)At the very first days of 1st semester, freshmen
can use Vietnamese. However, gradually it is necessary to use English
even when students want to ask or explain any problems. It is
suggested that they should use simple and easy English first so that
the teacher and peers can support them. It is unacceptable to use
Vietnamese quite often.
Thinking that way, therefore, she tried her best to speak English as
much as she could in L2 speaking classroom.

In a few words, Hanh produced considerably greater amount of


English utterances than Vietnamese language ones. Her opinion of favoring
English and very limited Vietnamese was considered to be the main factor
influencing how she controlled her English and Vietnamese use in class.

4.1.1.3. Purposes of L1 use

Due to her very limited use of Vietnamese, Hanh did not show much
why she used Vietnamese. In particular, in total three lessons (120 minutes),
there were 8 times she asked new words and structures, 3 times to explain
meanings of words and only 1 time to brainstorm ideas.

To ask new words and structures, Hanh avoided asking the whole
sentence in Vietnamese. For instance, instead of asking “Cắn lá cây trong
tiếng anh là gì?”, she asked “How can we say “cắn lá cây” in English?”.

Sometimes, she spent time explaining words’ meanings in Vietnamese


for her peers, in particular, “awesome- adj chỉ tính chất- nghĩa là rất tuyệt,
tương đương với great or wonderful”.

Moreover, brainstorming ideas in Vietnamese here was defined that


normally lots of students use Vietnamese to come up with ideas and discuss.
Then they will translate into English. However, in Hanh’s case, she was rare
to make use of Vietnamese to get ideas. To make it clear, the researcher also
ask her for more information by the question “Do you have any opinion
about thinking in Vietnamese first and translating in English?” She replied:
Absolutely no. this should be avoided in English communication
situation. Because each student need to try to think and use English
not simply translate from Vietnamese into English. That is a taboo
rule when one studies a language.
To make it clear, Hanh also explained the reasons that students used
Vietnamese. The first one was due to their common habits. “From high
school until now, students often use Vietnamese. Therefore, at the beginning
of the first year at universities, students cannot switch immediately into
English.” The second reason is that first year students did not have strong
vocabulary to maintain a long conversation which was conducted totally in
English. Therefore, normally if they spoke in 1-2 sentences and then they
had difficulties in expressing ideas, immediately we would switch into using
Vietnamese, which is considered to be easier and quicker. And lastly,

In the environment that is not very strict concerning using English as


much as possible, students tend to switch into Vietnamese. Because
there is no specific rule for that such as punishments if there is anyone
speaking Vietnamese in class.

In a nutshell, Hanh seemed not to favor much the use of L1 in L2


speaking classroom. She only used limited Vietnamese with the purposes of
asking for new words or structures. Furthermore, she was also against of
transferring from L1 to L2 in English speaking classroom.

4.1.1.4. The student’s attitude toward the use of L1 in L2 speaking class

It can be seen that the proportion and time devoted to English and
Vietnamese in Hanh’s case was a big gap, which somehow would imply that
she was not in favor of Vietnamese use.
In the interview, Hanh also shared the same view as estimated. In
pedagogical aspect, she was in favor of very limited use of L1 because
“helps me to practice and improve my English skills a lot. When I speak out,
my peers or the teacher can correct any mistakes for me.”.

Moreover, she stated some evidences and points to show that


Vietnamese should not be made use of in the English speaking classroom.
“Because each student also has the goal of using English to communicate
fluently and effectively.”

However, she was not too extreme to disagree with the Vietnamese
use. In fact, she was aware that:

Sometimes students can use Vietnamese due to the fact that in some
cases, Vietnamese words will be more effective in terms of expressing
ideas and opinions. In that situation, I think we can say “In
Vietnamese, we use/ can say….” instead of saying the whole sentence
in Vietnamese. One reason is that because now we are living in
Vietnam where Vietnamese is the official language not like abroad, so
in my opinion, students can make use of 2 languages to boost
communication effectiveness as much as possible.

In short, Hanh preferred having chances to speak and use English as


much as she could in class. But she did share a positive view concerning
appropriate use of Vietnamese classroom. From that, she could make
progress and improve her English speaking proficiency.

As for Hanh, though she was good at speaking and only sometimes
had problems with new words and structures, she preferred teacher’s
interference during English speaking classroom. According to her,
Teacher’s interference is necessary because the teacher plays an
important role of an instructor. So if the teacher does not interfere,
students will keep the habits of speaking Vietnamese. If the teacher
does, it is suggested that the teacher should not interrupt and lets
students finish all their ideas. In the end, the teacher can give
comments to students in regard to Vietnamese use frequency. When
we work in pairs or groups, the teacher can join and get involved by
speaking English. As a result, we will also have to force ourselves to
speak English. And when we have any problems or mistakes, the
teacher can facilitate and correct for us.
In her point of view, it is acceptable to use Vietnamese and herself
also felt sometimes using Vietnamese would make the conversation
maintained. Yet, the teacher at class should limit Vietnamese language use.
That means that, for example, Hanh preferred a simple way of explaining
new words or examples for structures rather than direct use of Vietnamese.
Moreover, teacher’s interference was also defined as a good way to force
students to use English as much as possible.

In psychological aspect, Hanh claimed that “using too much


Vietnamese makes me feel guilty as we study at FELTE and our main goal is
to improve our English competency”.

4.1.1.5. Summary of findings:

In conclusion, because of background and attitudes, Hanh had a


tendency of using very little Vietnamese in English speaking class while she
still could maintain conversations naturally and fluently. Due to her
sufficient vocabulary, Hanh was very confident and flexible to deal with
new words and structures in speaking. Moreover, Hanh kept a positive stand
in terms of L1 use in L2 speaking class and showed her preference for
teacher’s interference as a facilitator and supervisor.
4.1.2. Case 2: Lan

4.1.2.1. Background information:

Lan is from Y Yen, Nam Dinh. Though living in a town, according to


her, at high school, Lan did not study English skills especially speaking but
grammar only. At home, sometimes she tried to read texts in books on her
own; however, it was not often. Receiving mark 7.5 at the entrance exam,
now she is pursuing the four- year bachelor program at FELTE, ULIS, VNU.

According to her teacher and peers’ comments, Lan has made


progress in speaking English and improved her confidence compared to the
beginning of the first semester.

4.1.2.2. The classroom Vietnamese- English proportion and time devoted in


L2 Speaking classroom

Lan’s proportion of Vietnamese in L2 speaking classroom was greater


than Hanh’s. Like Hanh, Lan got a good total speaking score (the latest: 8.0).
Therefore, there still existed the considerable difference concerning L1 and
L2 use. This will be shown in the following figure:
Unlikely, the percentage of the Vietnamese language and English
used by the student 2 seemed to be a little higher. In accordance with the
language use in the English speaking class, while the ratio between English
words and Vietnamese one uttered was about 15:1, that of student 2 was 5:1
(around 82.95% English utterances and 17.05% Vietnamese ones). Basing
from the ratio, it could be vital to make comparison about how frequent
student 1 and student 2 used Vietnamese and English in EFL speaking class.
Moreover, to the student 2, time spent to utter English words and
Vietnamese one within 120 minute recording was 103.7 and 16.3 minutes in
order (equivalent to 86.42% time for English use and 13.58% for
Vietnamese use).

In the observation, the researcher noticed that Lan tried to use


English when she wanted to ask a new word/ structure. For example, “How
can we say “nhìn trong bóng tối” in English?” “What’s about “dơi”, etc.
This is similar to the way Hanh conducted her question. However, different
from Hanh, sometimes, Lan still used pure Vietnamese to ask word
meanings such as “Hang động trong tiếng Anh là gì?”, “Khói trong tiếng
Anh mình nghĩ là smoke” even when she asked her teacher, she repeated in
Vietnamese.

One thing that is dissimilar to Hanh’s case is that in Lan’s one, using
Vietnamese to brainstorms and transfer to English started. “Dơi không thích
làm gì nhỉ? Hay là không thích khói. Tiếng anh khói là gì?” Or “tôi có thể
hoàn thành việc xây tổ. I can finish build.”. This led to the greater
proportion and time spent on the use of L1 in English speaking class.

4.1.2.3. Purposes of L1 use

According to the audio- tape, the researcher found out the percentage
of purpose using L1 in L2 speaking classroom in Lan’s case.

It can be seen that similar to Hanh’s case, in this case, asking new
words/ structures occupied highest percent- 48%. This means that from two
cases, the common problems Hanh and Lan encountered was the lack of new
and various vocabulary. Therefore, it caused only 9% of explaining words/
meanings as students themselves had no idea about words, how can they
explain to their peers?
However, contrasted with 1 time use of L1 to brainstorm ideas (about
2%), there was 43% L1 use to come up with ideas and conversations. It was
very so alarming that the student might have the habit of translating from L1
into L2 in EFL speaking class.

Answering why students used L1 in EFL speaking context, Lan


reported that

First of all, because they do not know what to say. Second, maybe
they do not have any ideas in regard to the topic. For instance, in
English speaking periods, the whole class has to talk about one 1
topic; yet, if some students do not have any knowledge and vocabulary
related to that topic, it is hard for them to use English and speak
fluently. Thirdly, they are often nervous and embarrassed. Some of
them often lisp between “l” and “n”. Thus, they are often
embarrassed to speak because they are afraid of being made fun of.
The lack of ideas and vocabulary was deemed to be the common
difficulty both Lan and Hanh had to deal with.

4.1.2.4. The student’s attitude toward the use of L1 in L2 speaking class

With such amount and time devoted to L1 use in EFL speaking class,
there was a question concerning Lan’s attitudes analyzed from pedagogical
and psychological aspects.

In pedagogical perspective, Lan reported that

Except some cases that it is unable to express and explain in English,


using Vietnamese is somehow acceptable. The rest should be English
because in English speaking periods, using too much Vietnamese is
not advisable. In particular, in some simple situations or some words
such as “thank you”, “sorry”, “disagree”, etc, students need avoid
using Vietnamese. In some situations given in class, I myself do not
see any necessity of using Vietnamese to ask. Instead, students should
create the habit of using English to express what they want to convey.
Therefore, the teacher can correct their mistakes in terms of
vocabulary, pronunciation and structures. When working in pairs and
groups, if students do not understand each other, they should maintain
their conversation in English and help each other if the conversation
is off- topic. It is strict not to use Vietnamese, for example, “You are
wrong!”, “Please say again!”. Students should use English flexibly in
such situations.

That means Lan also agreed with Hanh that using L1 in EFL speaking
class would not hinder the learning process. However, it was not acceptable
to make use of it. Lan stated that the percentage between English and
Vietnamese should be controlled around 90%- 10% for freshmen relatively.
If students overused that, there would be in need of teacher’s interference.

When being asked about teacher’s interference, her answer was yes.
However, she also mentioned the level of teacher’s intervention.

Teachers should interfere in all cases students ask them to explain


new words and guide students how to express a word in a simple and
effective way without knowing exact words. When we ask our teacher
new words or any problems in Vietnamese, the teacher should explain
in English. Even if we do not understand clearly, I still prefer a simple
explanation in English than Vietnamese. As far as I am concerned,
speaking tasks in class are not too hard; thus, English should be used
as effectively as possible. To some weaker students with not good
vocabulary, they should still use English, which will help them
improve and make gradual progress.

Considering psychological aspect, in this case, the researcher realized


that sometimes Lan felt reluctant to use Vietnamese and tried to find another
expressing way in English. Yet, when encountering a complicated term, she
seemed to be more confident and relaxing to use Vietnamese.

4.1.2.5. Summary of findings:

In conclusion, based on class observations and interviews, Lan used


more the Vietnamese language than Hang. Yet, they both had a positive
view towards the use of L1 in EFL speaking class. The noticeable point in
this case is that there was a high percentage of using L1 to brain ideas and
conduct conversations. In Lan’s opinion, she also preferred to have teacher’s
interference in speaking activities at class.
4.1.3. Case 3: Nga

4.1.3.1. Background information

Nga is from a small agricultural- based village in Kien Xuong, Thai


Binh. Due to her living conditions, Nga said that it was very hard to buy am
English dictionary. Therefore, at high school, she was simply taught basic
and common grammar. For her, before entering the university, she had never
spoken English to someone else or even herself. With not very high score
(5.5) in the entrance exam, she passed and now become a freshman at
FELTE, ULIS, VNU. According to her teacher and peers’ comments, Nga is
a little bit shy, quiet and unconfident to speak English.

4.1.3.2. The classroom Vietnamese- English proportion and time devoted in


L2 Speaking classroom

Based on the class observations, the amount of Vietnamese and


English used in Nga’s case was shown below:
Among the three students, Nga was likely to spend more time and
more frequently speaking Vietnamese during her/his English speaking
classes. Accordingly, Nga had the highest percent of Vietnamese words
used, i.e. 31.4%. Compared to the percent of English words, the ratio
between Vietnamese utterances and English ones was 1:2. In addition, time
for using Vietnamese and English seemed to be at the same rate like the
frequency. Distinctively, while student 3 spent 61.5% in 120 minutes to
speak English, there was 46. 1 minutes using Vietnamese words. This
pointed out that the student 3 had the highest and most time to use mother
tongue in English speaking lessons among three students and it could be
seen that in 120 minutes totally, Nga spent one- third of the amount of time
for Vietnamese language use.
The reason is that owing to the background and high school
environment, Nga did not have habit or confidence like Hanh and Lan to
raise her voice in EFL speaking classes. Moreover, her score at the entrance
exam somehow pointed out that her vocabulary limited, which hindered L2
use and caused to more frequent L1 use.

4.1.3.3. Purposes of L1 use

The following figure remarked the level of purposes of L1 use in EFL


speaking context in Nga’s case.
The table showed that Vietnamese language was used in the three
students’ lessons to ask for new words or structures, explain the meanings of
new words and to brainstorm idea (i.e normally student thought in
Vietnamese first and then translated into English.) The greater use of
Vietnamese language, 70%, was brainstorming ideas. Nga, for example,
used Vietnamese to brain storm what she and her partners had to speak as
“S3: Bây giờ bọn mình cùng chọn 1 con để đố các đội kia……… What’s
about “lươn”. Con này cũng được đấy.” (p.44)

Its English version: Now we will choose one animal for the other teams to
guess….what’s about “eel”? I think it is a good choice.

Nga also sometimes used L1 to ask for new words and structures as: “Trườn
tiếng Anh là gì?” (p.44)

Its English version: How do you say crawling in English?

Furthermore, Nga also mentioned some main reasons of students’ L1


in the EFL speaking class.

First, the vocabulary of first year students is limited. There are many
words that they find it hard to express or not escape the mind. Thus,
they choose to use Vietnamese. Second, it is because of students’
confidence. If they are not confident, they will tend to speak more
Vietnamese than English.
In the present case, the noticeable percentage is the use of L1 to
brainstorm ideas. The research noted that some students in the class had
habits of translating words by words from Vietnamese into English. In Nga’s
opinion, that way sometime could save time.

In my class, normally students have the habit of thinking in


Vietnamese first and then switch to English. Whereas, strong and
good students are more confident and use English quite often. Weak
students themselves are more vulnerable and less confident.
Therefore, using Vietnamese in English speaking class is more
popular. As a result, in our speaking period, the class will be divided
into zones of those who speak English more and those whose
Vietnamese use is more frequent.
Hence, there was a contradictory between the fact in class and the
student’s expectations to improve their English speaking skills.

4.1.3.4. The student’s attitude toward the use of L1 in L2 speaking class

With such amount and time devoted to L1 use in EFL speaking class,
there was a question concerning Nga’s attitudes analyzed from pedagogical
and psychological aspects.

In pedagogical angle, Nga claimed,

Of course, nobody wants to use a lot of Vietnamese in English class


especially speaking classes. We all want to have a chance to practice
and improve our speaking skills. However, partly it is because of
common trend. This means that for example, I having poor vocabulary
work in groups with same peers like me; therefore, it will be very
difficult to explain. So it’s very time- consuming. Moreover, if I ask
my teacher and explain to her in English; somehow maybe she will
not understand either. As a result, it is not only a waste of time but
also without effect. In my opinion, in this case, using Vietnamese are
faster and more efficient.
It was hard to balance between the expectation and real ability. In this
case, though Nga would love to practice in English at class, her poor
vocabulary hindered her. As a result, as analyzed above, her amount of L1
use was nearly equivalent to L2 use.

In spite of her drawbacks, according to Nga, she did receive no


support and interference from the teacher.
No. If our teacher lectures in English, then she will use English.
Sometimes she will use Vietnamese to explain. For example, while the
teacher gives us 1 topic to discuss, normally, she encourages is to use
English as much as possible. However, she seldom warns us to use
English more.

As a result, she emphasized the importance and necessity of teacher’s


intervention. Particularly,

The teacher not only should ask us to use more English but also help
us concerning vocabulary and ways to think in English. For example,
when we ask for meanings of a difficult word, the teacher should not
explain immediately in Vietnamese but use simple English to help us
guess the word. Moreover, the teacher can limit the use of Vietnamese
in class. Instead, she can use simple and easy- to- understand
structures in English. In some parts, if the teacher realizes that we do
not understand, she should re- talk slowly and combine Vietnamese
explanation if necessary.

The three participants shared the common view on how the teacher
interfered and in what ways.

4.1.3.5. Summary of findings:

In conclusion, based on class observations and interviews, Nga was


the one used more the Vietnamese language than the others. Yet, they all had
a positive view towards the use of L1 in EFL speaking class. The noticeable
point in this case is that there was the highest percentage of using L1 to brain
ideas and conduct conversations. In Nga’s opinion, she also preferred to
have teacher’s interference in speaking activities at class.

4.2. Common Themes from the Cases

In the previous part, each case was analyzed in details and owned
diverse problems as well as features. In this part, the researcher would
categorized such features within common themes.

4.2.1. Theme 1: Inverse ratio between English proficiency and use of


Vietnamese

The difference among the three participants is their English


proficiency levels leading to inverse ratio of L1 use.

Cole (1998) stated L1 was most useful at beginning and low levels. If
students have little or no knowledge of the target language, L1 could be used
to introduce the major differences between L1 and L2, and the main
grammatical characteristics of L2. As Butzcamm (2003) continued “with
growing proficiency in the foreign language, the use of the mother tongue
become largely redundant and the FL will stand on its own two feet” (p.36)

While Hanh and Lan who got better English proficiency levels (shown
by their scores at the entrance exam) had very limited use of Vietnamese,
Nga used nearly 50% of the class time. The key point here is that in fact,
Nga also wished to use English as much as possible. Yet, due to her
background and poor vocabulary, hence, using Vietnamese, in some ways,
supported and backed up her a lot.

In general, the findings suggest that students at higher levels of


English will use less L1 in EFL speaking classroom.
4.2.2. Theme 2: Students’ most frequent L1 use to brainstorm ideas.

The research indicates that to brainstorm or come up with any ideas,


the participants normally had the habit of using Vietnamese first and then
translating into English.

Among the three participants, Hanh used least Vietnamese concerning


this aspect. In contrast, Nga and Lan used many times in EFL speaking class
(70% and 46% relatively). Even though, in the interview, all participants
were all against to the idea of transferring from Vietnamese to English. This
would lead to communication breakdown, laziness in thinking in English,
the common habit of speaking Vietnamese and no English reflex.

It is suggested that during speaking activities, “there is very little


justification for using L1” (Cole, 1998, p. 45), given that “pupils’ speaking
abilities will not develop from simply demanding that they interact in the
EFL, but it is more likely to happen if the predominant language in the
classroom is the foreign language” (Chambers, 1991, p.183).

To conclude, through the research, there still exists the clear division
between students’ thinking and communicating, which should be adjusted by
students themselves under teachers’ back up and guide.

4.2.3. Theme 3: Overall common expectations to use more English

Despite English speaking proficiency levels, the three participants all


shared the common view that they would love to have more chances at class
to use more English and limit the use of Vietnamese.

In their own points of views, as they all study in FELTE, ULIS, VNU
and English is their major, it is vitally necessary for them to practice more
English. The more they could practice and use English, the better and
quicker they would improve.

In particular, though start from a low English level and not good
vocabulary, in the interview, Nga also expressed her interest and wishes to
speak up more English and gradually limit the use of L1 in L2 speaking
class. To achieve more English use, Lan and Hanh attempted to use English
as much as they could by using English simple words and structure, avoiding
Vietnamese use for common expressions such as “Excuse me”, “Thanks”,
or “How can we say…in…..?”, etc.

In general, it is common that all the participants expect to have


capability of using more English no matter what their English speaking
competencies are.

4.2.4. Theme 4: Acceptable ‘sometime’ use of Vietnamese in some cases

The research indicates that all the three participants were against
making use of Vietnamese in English speaking class due to some pitfalls.

1. Students began to feel that they did not “really” understand any
items of the language till it was translated.
2. Students failed to observe distinction between equivalence of form,
semantic equivalence and pragmatic feature and thus over simplified
to the point of using crude and inaccurate translation.
3. Students spoke to the teacher in the mother tongue as a matter of
course, even when they were capable of expressing what they meant.
4. Students failed to realize that during many activities in the
classroom, it was crucial that they used only English.
(Atkinson, 1987, p.246)
Moreover, in the interview, the participants all reported that sometime
use of Vietnamese was acceptable. The Vietnamese language should be used
in some cases. Nga suggested that in some pair work or group discussions,
the Vietnamese language could be use to clarify misunderstandings or to
explain difficult and complicated terms, which helps to save time and avoid
off topic.

In the present study, all the three participants did not show negative
attitudes towards Vietnamese use. However, due to their common wish to
boost their L2 competency, they all preferred to have limited but effective
use of L1 in the EFL speaking classroom.

4.2.5. Essential teacher’s interference in students’ L1 use

All the participants agree that it was necessary to have teachers’


interference in EFL speaking classroom. However, the interference should
be opportune and reasonable.

With the same wish to achieve more English use, Hanh claimed that
teachers could play the role of facilitators and advisors who set the rules of
using English at certain amount in class and support in any cases students
needs.

Furthermore, in the interview, Lan suggested teachers should join any


groups in class to check whether they use Vietnamese for chatting or useful
purposes. By using simple English to explain new words/ structures,
naturally teachers would create for students the habits of using simple and
understandable English instead of making use of Vietnamese.

In some cases, with difficult and specialized terms, it is advisable that


teachers should use Vietnamese to clarify and avoid misunderstanding.

4.3. Implications

4.3.1. Implications for strategies to deal with L1 in EFL speaking


classroom

To begin with, students should have correct understanding of the L1


use and its benefits. L1 can be used effectively in pedagogical and
psychological aspects including explaining new words/ structure, asking
word meanings or avoiding shyness and misunderstanding. As a result,
students themselves could improve their L2 speaking competency. On the
contrary, a lack of knowledge or overuse of Vietnamese language can cause
some stated pitfalls and hinder students’ progress process.

Moreover, proper English practice of simple words and structure is


also considered to be a decisive and fundamental factor to improve English
speaking and limit L1 use. Students could ask teachers for instructions at
first and learn from good students in their class. Imitating and learning from
examples will help them create the habits of exploiting maximum English
which they have not taken advantage of.

4.3.2. Implications for English teaching

Through the research, teachers will equip themselves with more


knowledge about L1 use theory and students’ perspectives. It is shown that
limited and judicious use of the mother tongue in the English speaking class
does not reduce students’ exposure to English, but rather can assist in the
teaching and learning process. Moreover, depending on students’ English
speaking proficiency levels, they would have diverse amount of L1 use.

Understanding all those factors, teachers are likely to acknowledge the


role of L1 and make use of it as an effective teaching tool when there is a
need for it and whether the often- mentioned principle of no native language
in the class is justifiable.

Furthermore, from students’ semi- structured individual interviews,


teachers are suggested interfering and supporting in English speaking class
to limit L1 overuse and instruct to students simple English ways of
expressing ideas.

One way to help minimize the use of the L1, while expanding the use
of the L2 is through teaching communication strategies. Students can be
taught to employ such strategies as circumlocution, synonyms and
antonyms, mime and gesture, and word coinage (Williams, 2006). If desired,
these could be combined with bilingual dictionary work, where the students
translate a number of words and employ communication strategies to have
their partners guess the word in the L2.

4.3.3. Implications for further investigation of L1 use in English speaking


class

The research pointed out some important implications for further


investigations.

To begin with, from the case studies, it is more evident that there was
inverse ratio between English speaking proficiency and L1 use. Moreover,
the background knowledge at high school was also a decisive factor.
However, the questions as to whether with larger scale of the study, high
level students use more English than the average ones and in what way
teachers could support those from weaker English background.

Second, the findings provide students’ attitudes towards the L1 use in


EFL speaking class, but only case studies. This hypothesis needs to be tested
in further studies and along with students’ views; further research can be
done with teachers as main participants.

Last but not least, in the present study, the research remarks the
purposes of L1 use in pedagogical and psychological angles. It is suggested
that further investigation can be broadened and enlarged in socio- cultural
aspects. Therefore, readers could have more well- rounded overviews about
the issue.
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION

This concluding chapter will summarize and evaluate the outcomes of


the whole paper by summing up the findings responding to the three
research questions, stating limitations of the paper as well as providing
several suggestions for further investigations on L1 use in EFL speaking
class.

5.1. Summary of findings

The study was conducted with the central aim of examining the
English classroom use of the Vietnamese language on first year students
majoring in English at Hanoi University of Languages and International
Studies. More specifically, it attempted to answer the following leading
questions:

1. What is the amount of Vietnamese the selected students use in


English speaking class?

2. What are the purposes of the students’ use of Vietnamese in their


English speaking class?

3. What are the students’ perceptions of the use of Vietnamese in


English speaking class?

To this effect, two research tools were used. These were class
observation and interview. Based on the data obtained through these
instruments, the following major conclusions could be drawn:
The findings of the present study indicated that students had positive
attitude towards the use of Vietnamese at a university level. Students agreed
that students’ ‘sometimes’ use of the Vietnamese language could assist their
learning of English. The study also revealed that the major pedagogic use of
Vietnamese were explaining difficult concepts, asking new words or
structures and brainstorming ideas.

The idea of total prohibition or avoidance of Vietnamese in the


English speaking classroom was not supported by the majority of students.
This might imply that the exclusive of English during English speaking
lessons to first years students could perhaps minimize the effectiveness of
students’ learning of English.

Though students had positive attitude and certain amount of


Vietnamese had been used in the English classroom, there however,
appeared a gap between students’ perception, expectation and the classroom
interpretation. According to the information secured through interviews,
students believed in the ‘sometime’ use of the Vietnamese language.
However, the amount and frequency of using Vietnamese were different
from various levels based on data that was obtained through the audio
recording. For students with good vocabulary and high entrance exam score,
there was about 6.3% Vietnamese uses. Nevertheless, at lower levels, there
was an gradual increase in the amount of Vietnamese and its frequency.
Particularly, the student used about 50- 50% English and Vietnamese
respectively in class.

Even there still existed a disparity between students’ belief and what
they did in the classroom. In the interview, students all agreed that to
increase the effectiveness of English speaking class, students should ask in
English and only say Vietnamese words. However, data in the audio
recording showed that in some cases, students used Vietnamese with the
purposes of having quick responses.

Furthermore, it can be concluded that teachers’ interference is vitally


necessary. Apart from a positive attitude toward ‘sometime’ use of
Vietnamese, students preferred teachers to use English as much as they
could in a simple way and limit the use of Vietnamese use so that students
themselves could improve their speaking skills.

What is more, it is note- worthy that there is a qualitative agreement


between Schweer’s (1999), Tang’s (2002) and Burden’s (2001) studies in
the contexts of Spanish, Chinese and Japanese respectively and the present
results- student participants responded positively towards the use of a
limited amount of students’ first language in the English classroom.

5.2. Limitations of the study

Despite of considerable efforts of the researcher, certain limitations are


unavoidable, which opens suggestions for further investigations on the issue.

To begin with, the research only investigates three selected


participants, which is not enough for generalization. However, as stated
before, the aim of the study was in- depth view of the issue not to generalize
any problems. Therefore, it is believed that detailed and sufficient data in the
research could provide reasonable and concrete information for further
research.
Second, the research did not cover socio- cultural aspect. Therefore,
this aspect concerning the purpose of L1 use still needs further studies to
investigate.

Finally, due to time constraint, it was impossible for the research to


investigate in which communication situations L1 was employed. This might
require experimental studies which test the various types of communication
situations on ELF speaking class.

5.3. Recommendations

Based on the above conclusions, the following recommendations


should be made:

1. As indicated in the conclusions, there existed a difference between


students’ perceptions and their classroom practice on the use of Vietnamese
in the English speaking classroom. Nunan (1989) wrote that the
effectiveness of a program related to the expectation of learners, and if
students’ subjective needs and perceptions related to the learning process
were not recognized by teachers, there can be a mismatch of ideas.
Therefore, teachers should make their own personal efforts to address the
need of the learners as the students’ feelings should be respected and acted
upon.

2. Students could have overview about their perceptions and actual


practice at classrooms to have more appropriate adjustment to achieve better
effectiveness in improving their English speaking skills. It can be seen that
avoidance or extreme exploitation of Vietnamese is in some cases not
advisable. Yet, ‘sometime’ and applicable Vietnamese use is possible to
enhance students’ efficiency in English speaking classroom.

3. The Ministry of Education and other concerned bodies ought to


give teachers proper trainings (workshops, seminars, etc) on the role of local
languages in the EFL classroom and strategies to boost students’ inspiration
and efficacy by combining simple English and Vietnamese when necessary.

4. As the writers of the new English textbooks for grades eleven and
twelve did, textbook/ course book writers, syllabus/ curriculum designers for
the level under study should also make reference to the students’ mother
tongue wherever appropriate while preparing English teaching materials.
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APPENDIX A

The Tape Script

Lesson 1….

T: Find the person in your contact list that begins with the letter M. If you
cannot find the person with that letter, please go on and move to the next
letter. Can you find him/ her?

S: No.

T: Now, please work in pairs and tell your partner how you met that person
and how you keep contact with him/ her. Please use as much English as you
can.

S1: Do you find your friend starting with letter M?

Partner: No. But I found one with a different letter. Is it ok?

S1: Yeap. I heard the teacher said that it was ok that you could choose
another one. So tell me about your friend.

P: My friend is Huong. She is studying in Bio- chemical department at


Hanoi University of Technology.

S1: What is Bio- chemical department?

P: Đó là ngành sinh hóa.

S1: Ahhh…. Ok I got it. Continue…..


P: Well, we met each other in SEAMAP English club 2 years ago. Do you
know that club?

S1: Never hear about that. Where is it? Is it ok?

P: It’s in Cat Linh treet. They have clubs every Sunday at 5p.m. It’s a good
place for people to come and speak English together.

S1: That’s cool. À, muốn nói là tuyệt vời trong tiếng Anh là từ gì nhỉ?

P: Great……Awesome……..Good….or……

S1: Awesome….that’s it. So, tell me how can you maintain the contact with
your friend? Do you still meet each other?

P: No. Coz she is busy with her thesis and stuff so normally we call and text
each other quite often. And we also update information about each other on
facebook….more convenient.

S1: Oh, that’s also the same way I usually do to keep in touch with some of
my friends.

P: Yeap, me too.

T: Ok, time’s up. Now I invite one person to stand up and present to the
whole class about what you have discussed with your friend.

……………………………

T: So can you guess the topic today?

Ss: Friends….Relationship…………Keeping contact………

T: Nearly correct. Topic for today is “Making a phone call”.


…………………………………………….

T: Now we will listen to a conversation.

(The conversation)

T: So what are the main ideas of the dialogue?

Ss: The dialogue is between 2 friends having a conversation about one


person’s problems. He asked for his friend help but his friend was out…..He
left a message to his friend via another person.

Teacher wrote some words on the blackboard to give hints for students.

T: So what’s about his kitten?

Ss: His cat is pregnant.

T: Alright. So you have just heard about the conversation. Anyone can give
me some examples of starting a conversation on phone?

Ss: Hello, it’s…..speaking.

……………….speaking.

T: Good one. Here are some examples for you when you are on the phone.

Could I speak to………………………………..?

Is…………in?/ …………………………is out at the moment/ in the meeting.

I’ll call back later.

Can I take the message?

I’ll pass on the message to…………….


I’ll put you through………………………………

Now please work in pairs and work out a situation I give to each pair.

Student 1 (S1)

S1: So what’s our situation?

P: You want sb to accompany to borrow a book. Call her/ him to persuade.

S1: Accompany là gì?

P: Accompany sb là đi cùng ai đó. Nó là động từ chứ không phải là danh từ


đâu.

S1: Okie. So let’s talk.

(Pretend to take out mobilphone)

S1: Hello, is it H?

P: Yes.

S1: Can you do me a favor?

P: Yes, of course. What’s that?

S1: Next Sunday I have to come to Huy’s house. Do you know him?

P: I think I know him.

S1: He is the monitor of E7.

P: Oh, the handsome and attractive guy. Right?


S1: Yeap.

P: Is his house far from ours?

S1: Not far….Around 10km.

P: Too far.

S1: Don’t worry. We will go by motorbike. So it’s not too far any more.

P: Do you have a driving license? And are you sure that we will be safe if
you drive?

S1: Cross my heart. Go?

P: What will you do in his house?

S1: I come to borrow him his Biography book. So pleasssseee…………

P: Alright, alright. I will think about that. Ok>

S1: Dun know. Will pick you up on Sunday. Now I have to go. Talk to you
later.

P: Deal. See ya soon.

Student 2 (S2)

S2: Lan, what are we going to talk about?

P: Our situation- “You want someone to choose a film to see together”

S2: Hai đứa mình chọn phim rồi nói tiếng Anh nhé. Hay chọn “Twilight” đi.
Phim đấy đang hot.

T: English, please.
S2: Sorry. Ok, so can we start our conversation now?

P: Alright.

S2: So I will be student A to ask you- student B. Deal?

P: Sao lại là “Deal”. Không hiểu?

S2: Deal tớ nghĩ và hay dùng trong trường hợp kiểu như là tạm dịch trong
tiếng Việt “Đồng ý không?”. Kiểu đó.

P: Ok. Start?

S2: Yeap.

(Phone ringing)

S2: Hello, could I speak to Loan?

P: Loan is speaking. Who is it?

S2: Hey, long time no see. You forgot me, already, didn’t you? I’m Hoa-
your high school classmate. Remember?

P: What a nice surprise! How have you been? I lost your phone number so I
cannot contact you.

S2: I’m good. I have passed the entrance exam and now I am studying at
Vietnam National University. Ya?

P: Hey, congrats! Me too. I am studying……….Học viện Ngân hàng là gì?

S2: Không rõ nữa. Để hỏi cô. Excuse me, teacher. How can we say Học viện
Ngân hàng in English?
T: Ah, Bank Academy.

S2. Thanks. (continue conversation)

P: I have been studying in Bank Academy for 1 semester. In general,


everything seems to be ok and I enjoy it.

S2: That’s great. I am happy to hear that. By the way, I want to ask
you…Nếu muốn hỏi là bạn có bận vào cuối tuần này hay không thì nên nói
như thế nào?

P: ah, I want to ask you whether you are busy this weekend or not.

S2: By the way, I want to ask you whether you are busy this weekend or not.

P: oh, this Saturday, I am free coz we are in break. What’s up?

S2: What’s up ở đây dùng có thích hợp không?

P: Ừ cũng không rõ nữa, quen dùng nên cứ tiện thể nói thôi mà. Thế để tớ
dùng từ khác vậy nhé. Ok, any plan?

S2: I heard that in Mega star had some hot movies including “Avatar”, “New
moon” or “Shutter Island”. So do you wanna come with me? It’s gonna be
fun coz we have not met each other for a long time.

P: Sounds great. Sure. I have nothing to do on Saturday. So, which one do


you prefer?

S2: Up to you. 

P: I want to watch 3D movie. “Avatar” seems great coz I heard that it was a
hot phenomenon in Vietnam. Like it?
S2: Cool. So we will watch Avatar this Saturday at 8pm. Ok? I will come to
pick you up earlier.

P: Awesome. Will catch up with ya later.

S2: Này, catch up with ya nghĩa là như nào? Tớ tưởng là theo kịp 1 ai đó
chứ?

P: Catch up with sb còn có nghĩa là ví dụ như nếu bạn bè lâu ngày không
gặp thì có thể sử dụng cụm “catch up with sb”.

S2: Yeap, will text you to pick you up. See ya later.

P: Ok, see you soon. Take care.

Student 3 (S3)

Situation: You want to ask your friend to go shopping with you.

S3: Bây giờ mình nói gì? Tình huống của mình là “Bạn muốn rủ bạn của
mình đi mua sắm”.

P: Chưa biết nữa. 1 đứa sẽ là student A và 1 đứa sẽ là student B.

S3: ok, you are student A. I am student B. You will call me.

P: Alright.

S3: Để tớ viết ra đoạn bọn mình định nói nhé. Bắt đầu là cậu gọi…

Hi, is it……?

Tớ sẽ trả lời: Yeap, who’s that?

P: It’s…..- your classmate.


S3: Bây giờ lấy lí do bắt đầu như thế nào…hay là tớ sẽ hỏi luôn là cậu có
rỗi ngày mai không nhé.

P: Ok.

S3: So, are you free tomorrow?

P: Tomorrow? I am afraid not because I have a presentation to prepare for


tomorrow. You intend to do something?

S3: I want to ask you to go shopping cozz I want to buy a dress for my…..
Họp lớp tiếng Anh là gì nhỉ?

P: Họp lớp- school reunion.

S3: Coz I want to buy a dress for my school reunion. Bây giờ nếu cậu bảo
không đi được ngày mai thì thế nào?

P: Cậu hỏi là vào cuối tuần…..tớ sẽ nói là rỗi…Rồi mình hẹn thời gian và
địa điểm gặp nhau….

S3: What’s about this weekend? Please go with me…I hate going alone..

P: This weekend seems fine to me. Afternoon? Ok? I have to take care of my
baby sister in the morning.

S3: Great. I will pick you up at your house at around 2p.m this Saturday. Do
not forget.

P: No worries..

S3: Cool. Will meet you soon. Thanks, lov.

P: You’re welcome. Talk soon. Bye.


Lesson 2

T: Hello, everyone. How are you?

Ss: Hello. We are good, a little bit tired because of the exams.

T: Oh well, we will have fun today and I am sure you will feel better after
games and speaking lessons. Right. As you can see, we have changed our
class from this week because here we have projector for presentation next
week. So bear in mind. Each group needs to hand in your hard copy in 2
days before your presentation day. Are you all clear?

Ss: Yeap.

T: Alright then. Now we will play a guessing game. I will give you some
hints. Your task is to guess what it is or what I am talking about. Are you
ready?

Ss: Sure.

T: The very first hints.

 I live in Asia

 I am an animal.

Ss: Buffalo.

T: Not correct.

 I fight well but swim badly.

Ss: Lion.

T: Not really.
 I hope to kill another animal to eat in the next few days.

Do you know which word to name animals eating others?

Ss: Động vật ăn thịt.

I: Correct. Carnivore. And the other type eating grass and vegetables is
named Herbivore. Another hint for you.

 I did not enjoy running away from poachers in the last few days.

Ss: What does “poacher” mean?

T: Ah, poacher is the word for those who hunt animals illegally and without
any permission. What is the word for that in Vietnamese?

Ss: Người săn trộm.

T: That’s right. The other way to say that sentence is “I am hunted”.

Ss: Is it tiger?

T: Maybe.

 I usually sleep after supper.

(T instructs how to pronounce some words)

Supper- what does that mean in Vietnamese?

Ss: Bữa tráng miệng.

T: Good one. So the answer is “I am a tiger”. Ok. So now we will study


together some new words. I will give some words in regard to some parts of
animals and you have to tell me which animals own these parts?
Ss: Yes.

T:

 Spots Claw

 Stripes Paw

 Wing Hooves

 Fin Fur

 Gill Scale

 Tentacle

(Students explain new words in Vietnamese)

T gives some information. “Cheetah is the fastest animal on land- 150km/


hour”. “Boars have tusks”….

T: Now you will work in groups of 4. Your task is to choose one animal and
talk about its instinct so that the others have to guess which animals you are
talking about. There will be some suggestions for you:

 Something you do well.

 Place where you live

 Something you do badly

 Something nice you hope to do in the few days

 Something you did not enjoy doing in the last few days

 Something you usually do after supper


Student 1:

S1: Ok, so which animal you would like to talk about? Uhmm, what’s about
ants?

Partners: Why did you come up with ants?

S1: I think it’s hard for our friends to guess because they do not notice ants-
very small and not powerful animals. And my teacher has not mentioned
them yet. So I think it is a good choice.

Ps: Ok, deal. We can choose ants. So now we will discuss some distinct
features for our friends to guess. I think we should write some hard hints.
(laugh together)

S1: The first one “Something you do well?”

Ps: Let’s see.

S1: How can we say “cắn lá cây” in English?

Ps: Eat or bite leaves????

S1: Oh, I think we should use “eat” better coz “bite” I think is used for big
animals like dogs.

Ps: Some thing you do well- I can eat leaves. Not very logical. What’s about
building “tổ”?

S1: Nest. Uhmm, that’s is general and true for ants. Maybe they cannot
guess at this point.

Ps: Ok. Number 1….something you do well- I can build nest very well.
S1: Ok, done. Now the next one is Place where you live?

Ps: Uhmm, on land, in the forest…..?????

S1: I think we can choose everywhere coz we can see ants even in the
kitchen, on trees….

Ps: Yeap, that’s right. So will write down Place where I live- Everywhere.

S1: Let’s move to the next one. Something you do badly. Well, a little bit
tricky. What’s kind of things ants cannot do?

Ps: Swimming. Jumping. Right?

S1: Jumping- what does it mean?

Ps: Jump means nhảy.

S1: Great. So we can choose jump. Ok?

Ps: Something you do badly- I cannot jump. I think they cannot guess our
animal. LOL.

S1: That’s what we meant. Then next hint is something nice you hope to do
in the next few days. Do you have any idea?

Ps: Ah, I can find sugar. I think ants like such things.

S1: Really funny. And easy to guess, indeed. Ok. I will note down something
nice you hope to do in the next few days- I can find sugar. Done. Another
hint is that something you did not enjoy doing in the last few days. How can I
say “giẫm” in English?

Ps: Not sure.


S1: Let’s ask our teacher. Excuse me?

T: Yes.

S1: How can we say “giẫm” in English?

T: Uhm, you can use “step on or tread on”.

S1: Thanks. I think we can have 1 sentence like I hate being stepped on by
human.

Ps: Good one, in deed. (writing down)

S1: Well, we have the last one. Something you usually do after supper.

Ps: I am not sure yet. Let’s think. What do ants do after supper? Sleep or
work?

S1: I think because ants are hard working so maybe they will work. Not
sure.

Ps: It’s hard though. Fine. Just note that after supper, I continue working.

S1: Finish. Who would love to be our group’s presentative?

Student 2:

S2: Do you have any idea about which animal we will talk about?

Partners: We have to choose one that is hard for them to guess?

S2: What’s about “dơi”. I do not know the word in English. This animal has
some interesting features that we can talk about.

Ps: Dơi means bat in English. Sound great. Let’s do it.


S2: The first one “Something you do well?”

Ps: Let’s see.

S2: How can we say “nhìn trong bóng tối” in English?

Ps: “See in the dark”

S2: Oh, I think we can use that sentence.

Ps: Some thing you do well- I can see in the dark? Làm thế nào để nói tôi có
thể bay với vận tốc nhanh

S2: I can fly at a very high speed. Is it ok?

Ps: Ok. Number 1….something you do well- I can see in the dark and fly at
a very high speed.

S2: Ok, done. Now the next one is Place where you live?

Ps: Uhmm, on land, in the forest…..trong hang động?????

S2: Hang động tiếng Anh là gì?

Ps: Do not know. Shall we ask our teacher? Excuse me?

S2: Hang động trong tiếng Anh là gì ạ?

T: Uhm, you can say “cave”.

S2: Thank you.

Ps: Yeap, that’s right. So will write down Place where I live- hang động tối
và ẩm ướt.

S2: Dark and wet cave.


S2: Let’s move to the next one. Something you do badly. What cannot bats
do?

Ps: Swimming. Right?

S2: What’s about eating other animals? It will be a little bit tricky for them
to guess.

Ps: Ok. Great.

S2: Something you do badly- I cannot eat other animals. I think they cannot
guess who we are.

Ps: That’s what we meant. Then next hint is something nice you hope to do
in the next few days. Do you have any idea?

S2: Ah, tôi có thể hoàn thành việc xây tổ. I can finish build…………

Ps: I can finish building my nest. Our teacher has just explained “nest” is
used for birds. Done. Another hint is that something you did not enjoy doing
in the last few days.

S2: Dơi không thích làm gì nhỉ? Hay là không thích khói. Tiếng anh khói là
gì?

Ps: Nice idea. Khói trong tiếng Anh mình nghĩ là smoke. Đúng không?

S2: That’s right. So I hate smoke.

Ps: Good one, in deed. (writing down)

S2: Well, we have the last one. Something you usually do after supper.
Ps: I am not sure yet. Let’s think. What do bats do after supper? Sleep or
work?

S2: Dơi hoạt động về đêm nên tớ nghĩ chắc là sẽ work đó.

Ps: It’s hard though. Fine. Just note that after supper, I continue working.

S2: Finish. Who would love to be our group’s presentative?

Student 3:

S3: Bây giờ bọn mình cùng chọn 1 con để đố các đội kia.

Partners: Con gì cho nó khó khó 1 chút ấy

S3: What’s about “lươn”. Con này cũng được đấy.

Ps: What does it mean in English?

S3: Không biết, hỏi cô đi. Thưa cô, “lươn” trong tiếng Anh là gì ạ?

T: The word for that is “eel”

S3: Thank you.

Ps: Ok. The first one “Something you do well?”

S3: Nghĩa là cái gì mà lươn có thể làm rất tốt. Humm, à, nó có thể trườn rất
nhanh. Trườn tiếng Anh là gì?

Ps: To crawl.

S3: So we should write “I can crawl very fast”. Rồi, câu tiếp theo là gì?

Ps: Place where you live?

S3: Lươn sống ở đâu? Tớ thấy hình như là ao hồ, chỗ có bùn ấy.
Ps: Uk, đồng ý. Viết luôn ra đi.

S3: Place where you live- I live in rivers, ponds and lakes especially in mud.
.

Ps: Let’s move to the next one. Something you do badly. What cannot eels
do? Cái gì mà lươn không làm được?

S3: Bay hay chạy, đi, nhảy. Nhiều mà. Chọn 1 cái chung chung. Bay được
không?

Ps: Ok.

S3: Something you do badly- I cannot fly.

Ps: Then next hint is something nice you hope to do in the next few days. Do
you have any idea?

S3: Ah, find food- tìm được nhiều thức ăn ấy. Được không?

Ps: Ok. Note down that sentence. Another hint is that something you did not
enjoy doing in the last few days.

S3: Khó nhỉ. Hay là tôi sẽ không bị bắt và mang bán.

Ps: Được đấy. I am not caught and sold in the market

S3: Good one, in deed. (writing down). Well, we have the last one.
Something you usually do after supper.

Ps: I am not sure yet. Let’s think.

S3: Caí này hơi khó. Mình không hiểu về lươn nên không nắm chắc.Tớ thấy
bỏ qua đi cũng được. Mình dùng mấy câu trên thôi.
Ps: Fine.

S3: Finish. Who would love to be our group’s presentative?

APPENDIX B

Students’ Interview Questions

1. Theo em sinh viên sử dụng tiếng Việt trong giờ nói tiếng Anh có những
nguyên nhân gì?

In your opinion, why do students use Vietnamese in English speaking class?

2. Bản thân em, trong giờ tiếng Anh em sử dụng tiếng Việt, em thấy điều đó
có chấp nhận được không? Em có nghĩ việc sử dụng tiếng Việt phần nhiều là
do lười biếng hoặc ngại nói tiếng Anh không?

In your point of view, in English speaking class, using Vietnamese is


acceptable or not?

Do you think that the reason for using Vietnamese is laziness or


embarrassment of speaking English?

3. Việc sử dụng tiếng Việt có giúp em giao tiếp và nói thuận lợi không? Vì
sao?

Does using Vietnamese help you to communicate and speak more fluently?
Why?

4. Có sự can thiệp của giáo viên trong lớp khi sử dụng tiếng Việt không?

Is there any interference from teacher in class when you use Vietnamese?
5. Theo em sự can thiệp của giáo viên có cần thiết hay không? Và giáo viên
nên can thiệp trong tình huống nào?

In your opinion, is it necessary to have interference from teachers? And if


yes, in which cases?
APPENDIX C

Interview Tape scripts

Student 1:

I: Theo em sinh viên sử dụng tiếng Việt trong giờ nói tiếng Anh có những
nguyên nhân gì?

S1: Thứ nhất, do thói quen sẵn có. Trong lớp từ phổ thông đến giờ đều sử
dụng tiếng Việt nên khi bắt đầu kì học, là sinh viên năm 1, sinh viên sẽ
không thể nhanh chóng chuyển sang dùng tiếng Anh ngay hết được. Nguyên
nhân thứ 2 là sinh viên năm 1 thường không có đủ vốn từ để có thể duy trì 1
cuộc hội thoại hoàn toàn bằng tiếng Anh được. Như vậy thông thường nói
được 1-2 câu rồi gặp trở ngại thì ngay lập tức sinh viên sử dụng tiếng Việt
ngay cho nó dễ dàng hơn. Nguyên nhân thứ 3 là trong 1 môi trường nếu
không quá khắt khe trong việc sử dụng tiếng Anh, sinh viên dễ chuyển ngay
sang tiếng Việt. Sở dĩ vì không có 1 cái rule cụ thể ví dụ như nói tiếng Việt
trong giờ thì bị phạt như thế nào chẳng hạn.

I: Bản thân em, trong giờ tiếng Anh em sử dụng tiếng Việt, em thấy điều đó
có chấp nhận được không?

S1: Em nghĩ là mình không nên thế vì em đã vào môi trường học tiếng rồi
thì tất nhiên em nên hòa nhập với môi trường ấy và tốt nhất sử dụng tiếng
Anh. Vì thứ nhất điều đó giúp em thực hành tiếng Anh rất nhiều. Khi em nói
ra, nếu có vấn đề gì các bạn trong lớp hoặc cô giáo có thể sửa giúp em.

I: Em có nghĩ việc sử dụng tiếng Việt phần nhiều là do lười biếng hoặc ngại
nói tiếng Anh không?
S1: Đó cũng là 1 nguyên nhân nhưng không hẳn là phần nhiều vì đúng là có
những bạn lười biếng và không muốn tư duy và thường nói tiếng Việt rồi
chuyển sang tiếng Anh. Bên cạnh đó, có những bạn thực sự muốn nói tiếng
Anh trong lớp nhưng vì vốn từ vựng nghèo nàn nên các bạn phải sử dụng
tiếng Việt trong trường hợp rất lung túng và bối rối vì không biết chuyển các
câu đó sang tiếng Anh.

I: Bản thân em, khi gặp các từ mới khó hoặc cấu trúc câu thường gặp, em có
sử dụng tiếng Việt ngay không hay dùng 1 cách khác?

S1: Trong giờ nói tiếng Anh, em nghĩ là em sẽ hơi ấp úng tuy nhiên em có
thể nói “how can I say….in English” và nhờ sự hỗ trợ của các bạn hoặc giáo
viên bằng cách diễn đạt đơn giản hơn. Như thế giáo viên có thể giúp em sử
dụng đúng các từ đấy.

I: Việc sử dụng tiếng Việt có giúp em giao tiếp và nói thuận lợi không?

S1: Lúc đầu mới bắt đầu năm nhất, có thể sử dụng tiếng Việt. Nhưng các
buổi học sau thì việc nói tiếng Anh nhiều là cần thiết kể cả việc hỏi và giải
thích cũng nên sử dụng cách nói tiếng Anh đơn giản nhất để cho giáo viên
và các bạn có thể giúp đỡ mình. Chứ không phải lúc nào cũng sử dụng tiếng
Việt 1 cách thường xuyên được.

I: Một số bạn thường có thói quen tư duy và nghĩ bằng tiếng Việt trước rồi
dịch sang tiếng Anh. Theo em như thế có tốt không?

S1: Hoàn toàn không. Đó là điều nên tránh trong giao tiếp bằng tiếng Anh.
Bởi vì mỗi sinh viên nên tập tư duy nghĩ bằng tiếng Anh và sử dụng tiếng
Anh chứ không nên đơn thuần là dịch từ tiếng Việt sang tiếng Anh. Đấy là
điều không nên khi học ngoại ngữ.
I: Theo em, việc sử dụng tiếng Việt vì sao lại cản trở giao tiếp bằng tiếng
Anh?

S1: Bởi vì mục tiêu của các bạn sinh viên là sử dụng tiếng Anh trong giao
tiếp. Chính vì vậy việc sử dụng tiếng Việt nhiều là không thể được. Đôi lúc
sử dụng tiếng Việt có thể chấp nhận đc vì đôi khi có từ phải sử dụng tiếng
Việt mới thoát ý và diễn tả được nội dung cần nói. Khi đó em nghĩ có thể nói
“In Vietnamese, we can say….”. Không nên nói cả câu bằng tiếng Việt. Bới
vì bọn em đang ở môi trường tiếng Việt nên em nghĩ sinh viên có thể sử
dụng tối đa hiệu quả của 2 ngôn ngữ để gia tăng hiệu quả giao tiếp.

I: Có sự can thiệp của giáo viên trong lớp khi sử dụng tiếng Việt không?

S1: Không. Thường là không. Cô thường để nói hết ý. Sau khi nhận xét, cô
sẽ nhắc nhở 1 chút về việc không nên sử dụng tiếng Việt.

I: Theo em sự can thiệp của giáo viên có cần thiết hay không? Và giáo viên
nên can thiệp trong tình huống nào?

S1: Sự can thiệp của giáo viên là cần thiết. vì giáo viên đóng vai trò là người
hướng dẫn. Nếu giáo viên không can thiệp thì sinh viên sẽ luôn giữ thói
quen nói tiếng Việt. Khi giáo viên can thiệp thì nên để học sinh nói hết ý và
không nên chen ngang. Và khi đưa ra nhận xét cuối cùng, giáo viên có thể
nhắc nhở các em. Khi bọn em làm việc nhóm, giáo viên có thể tham gia
cùng bọn em bằng cách sử dụng tiếng Anh. Như thế bọn em sẽ phải sử dụng
tiếng Anh. Và khi bọn em có khó khăn, giáo viên có thể giúp.
I: In your opinion, why do students use Vietnamese in English speaking
class?

S1: First of all, it is because of the common habit. From high school until
now, students often use Vietnamese. Therefore, at the beginning of the first
year at universities, students cannot switch immediately into English. The
second reason is that first year students do not have strong vocabulary to
maintain a long conversation which is conducted totally in English.
Therefore, normally if we speak in 1-2 sentences and then we have
difficulties in expressing ideas, immediately we will switch into using
Vietnamese, which is considered to be easier and quicker. The last reason is
that in the environment that is not very strict concerning using English as
much as possible, students tend to switch into Vietnamese. Because there is
no specific rule for that such as punishments if there is anyone speaking
Vietnamese in class.

I: In your point of view, in English speaking class, using Vietnamese is


acceptable or not?

S1: I think students should not because we study languages. Therefore, we


should integrate with the environment and use English as much as possible
because that helps me to practice and improve my English skills a lot. When
I speak out, my peers or the teacher can correct any mistakes for me.

I: Do you think that the reason for using Vietnamese is laziness or


embarrassment of speaking English?

S1: That is also one of the reasons but not the main one. As a matter of fact,
many students are too lazy and passive to think. Instead, they tend to speak
Vietnamese and turn into English. Moreover, some really want to speak
English in class; yet owing to their poor vocabulary so they have to use
Vietnamese in the case that they are too confused and embarrassed to speak
in English.

I: In your own case, when encountering hard new words or structures, do


you use Vietnamese immediately or another way?

S1: In English speaking classes, I think in this case I will a little bit hum and
haw. Yet, I can say “How can I say….in English” and ask for help from my
friends pr teacher by using a simpler expression. As a result, the teacher can
help me to use words correctly.

I: Does using Vietnamese help you to communicate and speak more fluently?

S1: At the very first days of 1st semester, freshmen can use Vietnamese.
However, gradually it is necessary to use English even when students want
to ask or explain any problems. It is suggested that they should use simple
and easy English first so that the teacher and peers can support them. It is
unacceptable to use Vietnamese quite often.

I: Some students have the habit of thinking and speaking in Vietnamese first
and then translating into English. To you, is it good?

S1: Absolutely no. this should be avoided in English communication


situation. Because each student need to try to think and use English not
simply translate from Vietnamese into English. That is a taboo rule when
one studies a language.

I: In your own point of view, why does using Vietnamese block


communication in English?
S1: Because each student also has the goal of using English to communicate
fluently and effectively. Therefore, speaking too much Vietnamese cannot be
accepted. Sometimes students can use Vietnamese due to the fact that in
some cases, Vietnamese words will be more effective in terms of expressing
ideas and opinions. In that situation, I think we can say “In Vietnamese, we
use/ can say….” instead of saying the whole sentence in Vietnamese. One
reason is that because now we are living in Vietnam where Vietnamese is the
official language not like abroad, so in my opinion, students can make use of
2 languages to boost communication effectiveness as much as possible.

I: Is there any interference from teacher in class when you use Vietnamese?

S1: No. Normally no. The teacher usually lets students present all our ideas.
After that, when the teacher gives comments in the end, she will remind us of
not using Vietnamese in conversation or discussion.

I: In your opinion, is it necessary to have interference from teachers? And if


yes, in which cases?

S1: Teacher’s interference is necessary because the teacher plays an


important role of an instructor. So if the teacher does not interfere, students
will keep the habits of speaking Vietnamese. If the teacher does, it is
suggested that the teacher should not interrupt and lets students finish all
their ideas. In the end, the teacher can give comments to students in regard
to Vietnamese use frequency. When we work in pairs or groups, the teacher
can join and get involved by speaking English. As a result, we will also have
to force ourselves to speak English. And when we have any problems or
mistakes, the teacher can facilitate and correct for us.
Student 2:

I: Theo em sinh viên sử dụng tiếng Việt trong giờ nói tiếng Anh do những
nguyên nhân gì?

S2: Em nghĩ là, thứ nhất do các bạn không biết cái gì để nói. Thứ 2, có thể
các bạn không có ý tưởng cho cái topic nói. Ví dụ như, trong giờ nói, cả lớp
sẽ phải nói về 1 chủ đề nào đó nhưng nếu các bạn không có kiến thức và vốn
từ vựng về chủ đề đó, thì rất khó để có thể sử dụng tiếng Anh và nói trôi
chảy. Thứ 3, các bạn thường e ngại, sợ. Có 1 số bạn nói ngọng thường là vần
“l” hoặc “n” thường rất ngại nói vì sợ các bạn chê cười.

I: Bản thân em khi sử dụng tiếng Việt, em có thấy chấp nhận được không?
Em có nghĩ việc sử dụng tiếng Việt phần nhiều là do lười biếng và ngại nói
tiếng Anh không?

S2: Trừ những trường hợp không thể diễn tả được bằng tiếng Anh, việc sử
dụng tiếng Việt có thể tạm chấp nhận được. Còn lại nếu trong giờ tiếng Anh
mà việc sử dụng tiếng Việt quá nhiều thì chắc chắn là điều không nên làm.
Cụ thể là những câu giao tiếp thông thường và những từ chỉ cảm ơn, xin lỗi,
không đồng ý….thì tránh sử dụng tiếng Việt. Trong các tình huống được đưa
ra trên lớp, bản thân em thấy không nên sử dụng tiếng Việt để hỏi mà nên
tập thói quen sử dụng tiếng Anh để diễn đạt ý mình muốn nói. Như thế,
mình sẽ được cô giáo sửa về từ, phát âm hay cả cấu trúc nữa. Khi làm cặp
hoặc nhóm với nhau, nếu các bạn đều không hiểu ý nhau, vẫn nên nói bằng
tiếng Anh và có thể giúp đỡ bạn đó nếu đi chệch hướng topic. Tuyệt đối
không nên nói tiếng Việt ví dụ như “Bạn nói sai rồi! Bạn nói lại đi!”. Nên
dùng tiếng Anh linh hoạt trong các tình huống giao tiếp như vậy.
I: Với 1 từ mới hoặc 1 ý em muốn diễn đạt mà em không biết, em thường xử
lý như thế nào?

S2: Trước hết, em nghĩ là phải dùng tiếng Anh ở mức tối đa có thể. Em sẽ
dùng các từ lien quan xung quanh đến từ đó mà em định nói bằng tiếng Anh
để bạn partner có thể hiểu em đang nói gì mà em không cần phải biết chính
xác cái từ mới em không biết kia.

I: Em có nghĩ phần nhiều nói tiếng Việt là do lười biếng hoặc ngại nói tiếng
Anh không?

S2: Rất nhiều bạn sinh viên năm nhất có khả năng nói nhưng rất lười nói. Vì
các bạn chưa quen cách học của đại học, vẫn còn thụ động và theo cách học
phổ thông. Khác với cách học phổ thông, học đại học em nghĩ sinh viên phải
năng động và biết thể hiện bản thân. Tuy nhiên nhiều bạn lại nghĩ nói nhiều
tiếng Anh, mọi người sẽ nghĩa các bạn ấy khoe khoang và muốn thể hiện.
Và các bạn chờ đợi vào cô giáo chứ không hề tự học hỏi, và tự nỗ lực rèn
luyện.

I: Trong giờ nói tiếng Anh, sử dụng tiếng Việt nhiều có giúp em thuận lợi
trong giao tiếp không?

S2: Trong 1 số trường hợp thì là có. Ví dụ như cô giáo cho 1 topic để thảo
luận thì trước hết, nếu có quá nhiều từ mình không biết thì nên hỏi các bạn
bằng tiếng Việt. Trong đoạn hội thoại theo cặp, thì mình không nên dùng
tiếng Việt. Nếu có phần nào không hiểu thì có thể hỏi lại bạn hoặc cô giáo
bằng tiếng Anh. Tránh tình trạng ví dụ em đang nói tiếng Anh mà chuyển
sang tiếng Việt thì em nghĩ rằng sẽ khó có thể tiếp tục cái mạch nói tiếng
Anh.
I: Khi bọn em sử dụng tiếng Việt trong lớp thì giáo viên có can thiệp không?

S2: Có. Ví dụ nếu bọn em có sử dụng nhiều tiếng Việt giáo viên sẽ nhắc
nhở. Khi bọn em có hỏi cô 1 cái từ hay cấu trúc bằng tiếng Việt, giáo viên
luôn cố gắng giải thịch bằng tiếng Anh 1 cách dễ hiểu đủ để cho bọn em
nắm bắt được trừ trường hợp khó hiểu quá như các từ ngữ chuyên ngành, thì
giáo viên sẽ sử dụng tiếng Việt.

I: Theo em, sự can thiệp của giáo viên có cần thiết không? Và giáo viên nên
can thiệp trong trường hợp nào?

S2: Ở 1 góc độ nào đó lien quan đến tiếng Anh thôi chứ còn các bạn đang
cần thảo luận mặc dù trong giờ học không được phép thảo luận vấn đề ngoài
giờ học, nhưng như vậy cô không nên can thiệp vì đôi lúc nói tiếng Việt
không diễn tả hết được những vấn đề đó. Em nghĩ giáo viên nên can thiệp
trong trường hợp học sinh hỏi bài cô nên giải thích và hướng dẫn học sinh
cách diễn tả bằng tiếng Anh 1 cách đơn giản, không nhất thiết phải dùng
chính xác từ đó. Khi bọn em hỏi cô từ mới bằng tiếng Việt hay khi cô giải
thích 1 vấn đề gì đó bằng tiếng Anh mà bọn em không hiểum em vẫn muốn
cô giải thích từ mới bằng tiếng Anh và đơn giản nhiều nhất có thể. Bài nói
trên lớp cũng không quá khó, do vậy nên sử dụng tối đa tiếng Anh. Đối với
các bạn học kém hơn mặc dù không có vốn từ vựng tốt, các bạn vẫn nên sử
dụng tiếng Anh. Vì càng nói thì khả năng nói sẽ tiến bộ và nâng cao hơn. Cứ
dần dần từng bước.

I: Chị cám ơn em.


I: In your opinion, which reasons do first year students use Vietnamese in
English speaking class?

S2: In my opinion, first of all, because they do not know what to say. Second,
maybe they do not have any ideas in regard to the topic. For instance, in
English speaking periods, the whole class has to talk about one 1 topic; yet,
if some students do not have any knowledge and vocabulary related to that
topic, it is hard for them to use English and speak fluently. Thirdly, they are
often nervous and embarrassed. Some of them often lisp between “l” and
“n”. Thus, they are often embarrassed to speak because they are afraid of
being made fun of.

I: In your case, when you use Vietnamese, which is acceptable or not? Do


you think that using Vietnamese is mostly due to laziness and
embarrassment of speaking English?

S2: Except some cases that it is unable to express and explain in English,
using Vietnamese is somehow acceptable. The rest should be English
because in English speaking periods, using too much Vietnamese is not
advisable. In particular, in some simple situations or some words such as
“thank you”, “sorry”, “disagree”, etc, students need avoid using
Vietnamese. In some situations given in class, I myself do not see any
necessity of using Vietnamese to ask. Instead, students should create the
habit of using English to express what they want to convey. Therefore, the
teacher can correct their mistakes in terms of vocabulary, pronunciation and
structures. When working in pairs and groups, if students do not understand
each other, they should maintain their conversation in English and help
each other if the conversation is off- topic. It is strict not to use Vietnamese,
for example, “You are wrong!”, “Please say again!”. Students should use
English flexibly in such situations.

I: When encountering a new word or an idea you do not know how to


express, how should you do?

S2: First of all, I think students should use English as much as they can. In
my case, I will use words related to the word I intend to use in English so
that my partner can understand what I am talking about so that I am no
need to use and know this exact word.

I: Do you think using Vietnamese is due to laziness or embarrassment of


speaking English?

S2: Many first year students have capabilities to speak English but they are
too lazy to raise their voice. Moreover, 1st year students have not got used to
study methods of universities so they are still very passive and follow high
school ways of study. In my opinion, different from high school, university
students should be pro active and know how to show themselves. However,
many students believe that if they speak English a lot in class, their peers
will say they are showing off and boasting. In addition, some depend on the
teacher without self- studying and improving themselves.

I: In your English speaking periods, is using Vietnamese helpful to


communicate easily?

S2: In some cases, I say yes. For example, the teacher gives one topic for
discussion. The first thing, if there are too many words we do not know, we
should ask immediately in Vietnamese. In situation working in pairs, it is
necessary to use English. If students have anything confusing, they can re-
ask your friends or the teacher in English. It should be avoided that for
example, I am using English then suddenly I switch into Vietnamese. If so I
think, it is hard to keep English flow.

I: When you use Vietnamese in class, does your teacher interfere?

S2: Yes. For instance, if we use too much Vietnamese, our teacher will
remind us. When we ask her words or structures in Vietnamese, she always
tries to explain in English simply enough for us to catch up. Except for some
hard cases of terminologies or academic words, the teacher should use
Vietnamese.

I: In your point of view, the teacher’s interference is necessary? And if yes,


in which cases?

S2: At a certain point involving in English, it’s yes. However, sometimes


students need to discuss in class. Though it is not allowed to discuss any
issues outside the classroom, sometimes the teacher should not interfere
because there are many things that are hard to explain fully in English. I
think teachers should interfere in all cases students ask them to explain new
words and guide students how to express a word in a simple and effective
way without knowing exact words. When we ask our teacher new words or
any problems in Vietnamese, the teacher should explain in English. Even if
we do not understand clearly, I still prefer a simple explanation in English
than Vietnamese. As far as I am concerned, speaking tasks in class are not
too hard; thus, English should be used as effectively as possible. To some
weaker students with not good vocabulary, they should still use English,
which will help them improve and make gradual progress.

I: Thank you so much.


Student 3:

Interviewer: Theo em, sinh viên năm nhất sử dụng tiếng Việt trong giờ nói
tiếng Anh có những nguyên nhân gì? Vì sao sinh viên vẫn sử dụng tiếng
Việt?

S3: Thứ nhất, vốn từ vựng của các bạn năm nhất còn hạn chế, có rất nhiều từ
không thể diễn đạt bằng tiếng Anh hoặc không thoát ý vì vậy các bạn sẽ
chọn giải pháp là sử dụng tiếng Việt. Thứ 2 là khả năng tự tin của sinh viên.
Nếu các bạn không tự tin thì sẽ có xu hướng nói nhiều tiếng Việt hơn là
tiếng Anh.

I: Còn gì nữa không em? Ví dụ như trong khi nói tiếng Anh mà gặp các từ
mới, thông thường bọn em sẽ làm gì? Bọn em sẽ sử dụng cách diễn đạt long
vòng đơn giản bằng tiếng Anh để có thể nói đến từ đó hay là sử dụng tiêng
Việt để hỏi cho nhanh?

S3: Như ở lớp em, thì các bạn sẽ dùng tiếng Việt vì như thế sẽ nhanh và tiết
kiệm được thời gian.

I: Như quan sát của chị, 1 số bạn khi làm các bài hội thoại, thông thường các
bạn sẽ tư duy bằng tiếng Việt trước sau đó mới dịch sang tiếng Anh và thực
hành nói với nhau. Ở lớp em có trường hợp đấy không?

S3: Có ạ. Hầu hết là như thế.

I: Thế làm sao bọn em thiết lập được phản xạ nói tiếng Anh được?

S3: Ở lớp em, thông thường các bạn có thói quen tư duy bằng tiếng Việt
trước rồi chuyển sang tiếng Anh. Trong khi đó các bạn học khá thì mạnh dạn
và sử dụng tiếng Anh nhiều hơn. Bản thân các bạn học đuối hơn cũng kém
phần tự tin. Chính vì thế việc sử dụng tiếng Việt trong giờ nói càng phổ biến
hơn. Vì thế trong giờ nói, sẽ phân hẳn thành các khu các bạn học khá chịu
khó nói tiếng Anh và các bạn học kém hơn, sử dụng tiếng Việt nhiều hơn.

I: Bản thân em, khi sử dụng tiếng Việt em cảm thấy có chấp nhận được
không? Em có nghĩ việc sử dụng tiếng Việt phần nhiều là do lười biếng hay
ngại nói tiếng Anh không? Hay do yếu tố khác?

S3: Tất nhiên, không ai muốn sử dụng nhiều tiếng Việt trong giờ tiếng Anh
đặc biệt là giờ nói. Sinh viên nào cũng mong có cơ hội và rèn luyện khả
năng nói tốt. Tuy nhiên 1 phần là do xu hướng chung, Nghĩa là ví dụ em yếu
về phần từ vựng làm nhóm cùng các bạn cũng yếu về từ vựng nên sẽ rất khó
để giải thích. Vì có thể giài thích nhưng các bạn cũng không hiểu. Như thế
sẽ rất mất thời gian. Thêm nữa, nếu hỏi cô và giải thích cho cô hiểu bằng
tiếng Anh thì có khả năng cô cũng sẽ không hiểu được. Như vậy vừa mất
thời gian mà không hề hiệu quá. Dùng tiếng Việt sẽ nhanh và hiệu quả hơn.

I: Thế có nghĩa là em thường xuyên làm việc với các bạn học yếu hơn các
bạn khác đúng không?

S3: Cũng gần như thế ạ.

I: Thế đã khi nào em làm cùng các bạn học khá chưa? Có sử dụng nhiều
tiếng Anh không?

S3: Em vẫn hỏi tiếng Việt bình thường. Vì hỏi lien tục bằng tiếng Anh các
bạn lại bảo hỏi tiếng Anh làm gì cho mất thời gian, hỏi tiếng Việt cho nhanh.

I: Sử dụng tiếng Việt có giúp em trong giao tiếp và nói tiếng Anh thuận lợi
không?
S3: Uhmm, xét về phương diện từ vựng, sử dụng tiếng Việt sẽ giúp em biết
được nghĩa của từ đấy nhanh hơn thay vì lung túng mất thời gian hỏi bằng
tiếng Anh. Các thầy cô cũng biết bọn em sinh viên năm nhất, nên khi bọn
em sử dụng tiếng Việt để hỏi các thầy cô vẫn trả lời.

I: Em có nhận xét gì về việc tư duy bằng tiếng Việt và dịch sang tiếng Anh?

S3: Nó hơi chậm. Khi đứng lên thuyết trình, bọn em sẽ hay nói lắp, lung
túng và nhớ theo cái khuôn đã vạch ra lúc đầu chứ không có phản xạ nói 1
cách tự nhiên.

I: Trong giờ nói tiếng Anh, khi bọn em sử dụng tiếng Việt, cô giáo có nhắc
nhở can thiệp gì không?

S3: Không. Nếu cô giảng tiếng Anh thì cô sẽ giảng bằng tiếng Anh, thỉnh
thoảng cô có sử dụng tiếng Việt để giải thích. Ví dụ, cô tung ra 1 topic, cô
cũng có khuyến khích bọn em sử dụng tiếng Anh nhưng cô không nhắc nhở
sử dụng tiếng Anh nhiều hơn.

I: Em có thấy sự can thiệp của cô giáo là cần thiết không? Ví dụ như là khi
bọn em làm nhóm và sử dụng tiếng Việt, cô giáo nên nhắc nhở bọn em.

S3: Em nghĩ là cần thiết. Cô không chỉ nên nhắc các bạn về việc sử dụng
tiếng Anh nhiều hơn mà cô nên giúp học sinh về từ vựng và tư duy bằng
tiếng Anh. Ví dụ, 1 từ khó bọn em hỏi nghĩa cô không nên nói bằng tiếng
Việt mà cô nên sử dụng tiếng Anh giải thích 1 cách đơn giản dễ hiểu. Và
trên lớp cô nên hạn chế dùng tiếng Việt. Thay vào đó, cô sử dụng cách nói
đơn giản, cấu trúc câu ngắn bằng tiếng Anh. Và 1 số phần nếu cô giảng mà
bọn em không hiểu, cô nên nhận ra và giảng chậm lại. Đôi lúc cần kết hợp
tiếng Việt để cho rõ rang hơn.
Interviewer: In your opinion, what are the reasons why freshmen use
Vietnamese in Speaking English class? Why do they still use Vietnamese?

S3: First, the vocabulary of first year students is limited. There are many
words that they find it hard to express or not escape the mind. Thus, they
choose to use Vietnamese. Second, it is because of students’ confidence. If
they are not confident, they will tend to speak more Vietnamese than
English.

I: What else do you think of? For example, when speaking English and
encountering new words, what should you usually do? You’ll be happy to
use simple expressions in English to explain them or use Vietnamese to save
time?

S3: As in my class, students will use Vietnamese, which is considered to be


fast and save time.

I: As I observed, some students when they make conversations, normally


they tend to think first in Vietnamese then translate into English and practice
with each other. Do you share the same idea concerning your class
situation?

S3: Yes, most are like that.

I: So how do you create your interaction in English?

S3: In my class, normally students have the habit of thinking in Vietnamese


first and then switch to English. Whereas, strong and good students are
more confident and use English quite often. Weak students themselves are
more vulnerable and less confident. Therefore, using Vietnamese in English
speaking class is more popular. As a result, in our speaking period, the class
will be divided into zones of those who speak English more and those whose
Vietnamese use is more frequent.

I: Yourself! Do you think that it is acceptable to use Vietnamese? Is it


correct to believe that using Vietnamese ismainly due to laziness or fear of
speaking English? Or by other factors?

S3: Of course, nobody wants to use a lot of Vietnamese in English class


especially speaking classes. We all want to have a chance to practice and
improve our speaking skills. However, partly it is because of common trend.
This means that for example, I having poor vocabulary work in groups with
same peers like me; therefore, it will be very difficult to explain. So it’s very
time- consuming. Moreover, if I ask my teacher and explain to her in
English; somehow maybe she will not understand either. As a result, it is not
only a waste of time but also without effect. In my opinion, in this case, using
Vietnamese are faster and more efficient.

I: That means that you often work with weaker students, don’t you?

S3: Nearly almost.

I: So have you ever work in groups or pairs with good peers? If yes, do you
use lots of English?

S3: I still use Vietnamese to ask as normal. Because sometimes if I keep


asking and talking in English, they will say that why I don’t use Vietnamese,
which is faster and do not waste of time.

I: Does using Vietnamese help you in communicating and speaking English


more conveniently?
S3: Uhmm, in terms of vocabulary, using Vietnamese will help me know the
meanings of words more quickly instead of confusing and wasting time to
ask in English. Our teachers understand that we are first year students;
therefore, when we use Vietnamese to ask, they still answer.

I: Do you have any opinion about thinking in Vietnamese first and


translating in English?

S3: To be honest, it is a little bit slow. Using that way, when we present, we
often stammer, confuse and try to remember the set model we did together
without any natural interaction.

I: In English speaking class, when you use Vietnamese, is there any


interference from your teacher?

S3: No. If our teacher lectures in English, then she will use English.
Sometimes she will use Vietnamese to explain. For example, while the
teacher gives us 1 topic to discuss, normally, she encourages is to use
English as much as possible. However, she seldom warns us to use English
more.

I: Do you think that it is necessary to have the teacher’s interference? For


example, when you work in group and use Vietnamese, the teacher should
ask you not to.

S3: I think it is important and necessary. The teacher not only should ask us
to use more English but also help us concerning vocabulary and ways to
think in English. For example, when we ask for meanings of a difficult word,
the teacher should not explain immediately in Vietnamese but use simple
English to help us guess the word. Moreover, the teacher can limit the use of
Vietnamese in class. Instead, she can use simple and easy- to- understand
structures in English. In some parts, if the teacher realizes that we do not
understand, she should re- talk slowly and combine Vietnamese explanation
if necessary.

I: Thank you very much.