An investigation into students’ engagement in english speaking activities at political academy

Students’ engagement in English speaking activities plays a crucial role in developing students’

English language proficiency in general and speaking skills in particular. On the bases of a

thorough investigation into the situation of teaching and learning English at Political Academy,

the researcher focuses on investigating the level of students’ engagement in English speaking

activities, and determining the factors affecting students’ engagement in English speaking

activities at Political Academy.

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thought that this was out of their desire, stemming 
from the objective element. In short, the findings 
of in-depth interviews indicated that teachers 
did put forth efforts to accommodate students in 
speaking activities. However, to a certain extent, 
speaking activities which heavily relied on their 
course book hindered them from engaging in 
English speaking activities.
b. Uneven participation
When the students were asked whether the teacher 
gave them even chance for participation in English 
speaking activities, all of them had the same answer 
“No”. The students from group 1 shared that their 
participation rate was at low level. The teachers 
admitted that they usually gave more priorities to 
the active students and the ones sitting at the front 
row. In class, if a few strong students dominated, 
the rest would either listen or lose interests in their 
lesson. As a consequence, the strong ones were 
more and more confident and active while the 
weaker ones became more and more passive.
4.2.3. Factors from class arrangement
Concerning the language teaching and learning 
environment at Political Academy, there were two 
emerging issues; namely, seating arrangement and 
class size. These two factors were out of teacher’s 
control, stemming from Political Academy’s 
facilities and administrators.
a. Seating arrangement
The students shared that the traditional way 
of seating arrangement prevented them from 
fulfilling their speaking activities. All the 
interviewed teachers expressed their discontent 
in the arrangement of tables and chairs in class. 
Whenever a group work was organized, students 
had to change their seats. This was considerably 
uncomfortable and time-consuming.
b. Class size
Along with the seating arrangement, the large 
number of students in English class could be also 
a factor influencing students’ engagement. All the 
teachers expressed their view that they could not 
find a sound solution to the over-sized class. In the 
English class observed, there were 45 students. 
Within two 40-minute speaking activities, the 
75KHOA HỌC NGOẠI NGỮ QUÂN SỰNo. 19 (5/2019)
 DISCUSSION v
NGHIÊN CỨU MỨC ĐỘ THAM GIA CÁC HOẠT ĐỘNG NÓI TIẾNG ANH 
CỦA SINH VIÊN TẠI HỌC VIỆN CHÍNH TRỊ
NGUYỄN VĂN TIỆP
Tóm tắt: Mức độ tham gia các hoạt động nói tiếng Anh có vai trò quan trọng trong sự phát triển năng 
lực tiếng Anh, nói chung và kỹ năng nói nói riêng của sinh viên. Trên cơ sở đánh giá thực trạng dạy 
và học tiếng Anh tại Học viện Chính trị, bài báo tập trung điều tra mức độ tham gia các hoạt động 
nói tiếng Anh, xác định các yếu tố ảnh hưởng mức độ tham gia các hoạt động nói tiếng Anh tại Học 
viện Chính trị.
Từ khóa: sinh viên, mức độ tham gia, hoạt động nói tiếng Anh
Ngày nhận bài: 05/4/2019; ngày sửa chữa:10/5/2019; ngày duyệt đăng: 13/5/2019
teacher only managed to organize three speaking 
activities and she only had enough time to call 22 
students to present their opinions in English. That 
means a half of the students did not have chance to 
speak English in class.
5. CONCLUSION
After analyzing the collected data, some major 
findings were revealed. First, in terms of students’ 
engagement level, the findings demonstrated 
that the level of their engagement in English 
speaking activities at Political Academy was 
generally not particularly high. In other words, 
the number of students who engaged in English 
speaking activities was more than those who 
disengaged in such activities. Second, the factors 
mainly affecting students’ engagement in English 
speaking activities included students’ motivation, 
language anxiety, and English proficiency, the 
teacher’s teaching methods, and the classroom 
arrangement. Hopefully, the results of this study 
could help English lectures and administrators to 
come up with some solutions to improving the 
level of students’ engagement in English speaking 
activities, contributing to enhancing the quality of 
teaching and learning English speaking skills at 
Political Academy./.
References:
Astin, A. W. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental 
theory for higher education. Journal of College Student 
Personnel, (25), 297 - 308.
Dev, P. C. (1997). Intrinsic motivation and academic 
achievement: What does their relationship imply for the 
classroom teacher? Remedial and Special Education, 
18(1), 12 - 19.
Erickson, F. (1992). Students’ experience of the curriculum, In: 
Jackson, P. (Ed.). Handbook of research on curriculum. 
New York: Macmillan.
 Erickson, F. (1992). Students’ experience of the curriculum. In: 
Jackson, P. (Ed.). Handbook of research on curriculum. 
New York: Macmillan.
Fredericks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). 
School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the 
evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74(1), 59 - 
109.
Gilbert, J. (2007). Catching the Knowledge Wave: Redefining 
knowledge for the postindustrial age. Education Canada, 
47(3), 4 - 8.
Hadfield, J. (1999). Simple Speaking Activities. Oxford: 
Oxford University Press.
Kenny D. and Dumont, R. (1995). Mission and Place: 
Strengthening Learning and Community Through Campus 
Design. Oryx/Greenwood.
 Klem, A. M., & Connell, J. P. (2004). Relationships matter: 
Linking teacher support to students’ engagement and 
achievement. Journal of School Health, 74(7), 262-273.
Krause, K. and Coates, H. (2008). Students’ Engagement in 
First-Year University. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher 
Education, 33 (5), 493 - 505.
 Kushman, J.W., Sieber, C., & Heariold-Kinney, P. (2000). This 
isn’t the place for me: School dropout. Alexandria, VA: 
American Counseling Association.
 Newmann, F. M. (1992). Student engagement and 
achievement in American secondary school. New York: 
Teachers College Press.
76 KHOA HỌC NGOẠI NGỮ QUÂN SỰNo. 19 (5/2019)
v DISCUSSION
APPENDICES
Appendix 1: SELF-REPORT QUESTIONNAIRE FOR STUDENTS 
This survey is designed to collect information for the study on “An investigation into students’ engagement in speaking activities 
at Political Academy”. Your assistance in completing the following items is highly appreciated. You can be certain that this is for 
research purpose only and that you will not be identified in any discussion of the data.
Before answering the questions, please fill in some information:
* Gender: Male/Female
* Your age: 
* How long have you been learning English? 
 ..
Please tick the appropriate answers for the following questions. 
A. Never B. Sometimes C. Often D. Usually E. Always
Category Items A B C D E
Emotional 
engagement
1. I feel motivated to participate in English speaking lessons.
2. I feel comfortable talking with my classmates in English.
3. I feel focused during English speaking activities.
4. I feel excited by the work in English speaking lessons.
5. I look forward to the next lesson when the lesson is over.
Cognitive 
engagement
6. I practice speaking English at home and in class even when I do not have 
a test.
7. If I do not know how to pronounce a word, I actively look it up in the 
dictionary or ask someone.
8. When teacher gives out a speaking activity, I get ready to participate in.
9. I positively get feedback from teacher.
10. I want to talk to my teacher/friends in English in class.
Behavioral 
engagement
11. I always pay attention in speaking activities.
12. I raise my hand to answer in English when the teacher asks a question.
13. I actively participate in all English speaking activities.
14. I strictly follow the teacher’s instructions and lesson’s regulations.
15. When I am in class, I am ready to present my opinions in English.
Thank you for the cooperation.
77KHOA HỌC NGOẠI NGỮ QUÂN SỰNo. 19 (5/2019)
 DISCUSSION v
Appendix 2: TENTATIVE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR TEACHERS
1. Are your students motivated enough to learn English speaking activities?
2. Are your students confident when practicing speaking English in class? If not, what are the reasons?
3. Do you feel that your students were shy, anxious or awkward when they spoke English?
4. Do you think that the speaking activities that you have taught are interesting and motivating enough for your students to 
speak? Why (not)?
5. What is your opinion of the language teaching and learning environment at Political Academy? Does it accommodate you 
to teach speaking activities?
6. How do you judge your English language teaching methodology and your classroom techniques, especially your 
methodology on speaking skills?
7. Do you give even participation for all students to speak during your lessons?
8. Are the textbooks used suitable for you to teach speaking activities? 
9. What is your opinion of your students’ English proficiency? Are your students’ vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation 
proficient enough to complete assigned speaking tasks in the classroom?
Appendix 3: TENTATIVE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR STUDENTS
1. Do you feel motivated enough in learning English speaking activities? Why (not)?
2. How often do you volunteer to speak during your speaking lesson?
3. Are you confident when practicing speaking English in class? If not, what are the reasons?
4. Do you often feel shy, anxious or awkward when speaking English?
5. How do you assess the speaking topics and activities in the speaking textbook? Are they motivating enough? Why (not)?
6. What is your opinion of your teacher’s methodology and classroom techniques? 
7. Are speaking activities interesting and inspiring enough for you to learn?
8. What is your opinion of the language teaching and learning environment at Political Academy? Does it accommodate you 
to learn speaking activities?
9. Are the textbooks suitable for your speaking activities? 
 10. What is your opinion of your English proficiency? Are your vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation proficient enough to 
fulfill speaking tasks in the classroom?

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