English Speaking Difficulties: A study on tertiary students in Bangladesh
As English is a lingua franca, it should be learned by every student, especially by the tertiary students. This paper deals with difficulties faced by tertiary students in speaking English. The aim of this paper is to investigate factors that hinder students speak fluently and confidently. In learning English, students have fallen victim of speaking wrong that causes them reluctant to hold conversation data. The results show that students are poor in grammar, vocabulary, syntax, pragmatic, lack of fluency in speaking, lack of understanding grammatical pattern, and lack of pronunciation. This article tries to give valuable suggestions in order to solve their speaking problems.
The English language is a universal language. The English language is the dominant business language, and it has become almost necessary for people to spoken English, because there are many motivations to learn this language, such as the modern world language of media, international economic, tourism, technology and scientific articles, and the Internet that demands a good knowledge of English especially of spoken English. While reading and listening are considered to be the two receptive skills in language learning, and writing and speaking are the order two productive skills necessary to be integrated into the development of effective communication. Of all the four macro English skills, speaking seems to be the most important skill required for communication, Zaremba, (2006).
English language in Bangladesh has been since the time of the British rule. We learn English from our primary school level. Through textbooks, grammar, essays, and stories we learn English. But the problem is that we have less scope to continue the conversation. As a result, in speaking we are shy, afraid, and reluctant. Twelve years of school study and three years of college study do not make students mastery of English. While they are in schools as well as colleges English is not taught properly. As the majority of the students are addressed from rural areas, the bilingual method is adopted in language classes. This method helps only to slow learners to some extent. Moreover, this act reduces the real learning process as a whole. To learn English requires constant practice and patience. The kind of feeling that succeeds among students is that it is not possible to achieve fluency or mastery over English language. This kind of tendency prevents students from learning English. Most of the students study English from the examination point of view, so they are not able to produce even a single sentence without grammatical error. Furthermore, sufficient practice is not given to students to learn a language. Exposure to is far less to them. The investigator has tried to analyze several problems in learning English.
The aim of this paper is to find out what are the factors that the tertiary level students face while English Speaking.
The growing demand for good English-speaking places a greater emphasis on the learning of English speaking skills in Bangladesh. The private universities give more emphasis on developing speaking outside and inside the classroom than other universities in Bangladesh. Despite their contribution, private universities face challenges that tertiary level students struggle with English speaking. In Bangladesh learning the English language means learning grammar, reading, and translation (Farooqui, 2007).
Students give importance to their teachers to play the role of communication. Students expect teachers to be authority figures and the teaching method to conform to the traditional teacher-centered approach” (Farooqui, 2007). Since people are monolingual in Bangladesh, students do not need to use English outside the class (Paul, 2012). There are several factors that affect students’ performance in speaking English fluently. They are scared about committing mistakes while they speak. They cannot also express themselves well or adequately because they lack adequate and appropriate vocabulary. Another factor that makes students hesitate to speak in English is that they are shy and nervous. They feel fearful to speak English in front of other people because they lack confidence in their own competence in English. So, it is important to help the learners overcome their anxiety, nervousness, and fear with encouraging words. A good atmosphere and a suitable environment can also help students to speak actively, correctly, and fluently (Mueen, 1992).
This study was conducted at the English Department of different universities in Dhaka. The focus of the study was on 10 students, selected from 25 students. The selection was done by using the students who were weak in speaking English. the lecturer also gave information about the weak students in English Speaking. The lecturer said that the students were considered as low performers with some indicators: (a) being afraid of speaking, (b) lack of vocabulary, and (c) not being good at grammar. There were ten weak students in this class.
To collect the data this study used interview and observation as the main instrument, conducted by the researcher himself. An interview was carried out to get the main data. The researcher inter-viewed ten out of the 25 students. Each student was asked with 3 questions, namely (1) What difficulties did you face or feel in speaking? (2) What were the causes of difficulties? (3) What efforts did you make to overcome the difficulties? In addition, the researcher also observed the speaking class. The observation was intended to crosscheck the problems faced by the students in speaking in class. The observation was conducted using an observation guide.
The procedure of data analysis is as follows. After interviewing, the data were collected and translated into English. The data were grouped into problems, causes, and solutions. Then, the data were analyzed based on the student’s difficulties in speaking, the causes of difficulty, the student’s efforts in improving speaking in order to find the relationship of the problems, causes, and efforts to solve the problems.
Discussion & Analysis
Students at the selected universities are found out with different problems. What kind of difficulties, what are the causes students are going through and what are the efforts students are making, all these are discussed here according to the findings.
Kinds of Student’s Difficulties in Speaking:-
From ten respondents that were interviewed, it was found that there were twelve kinds of difficulties that were faced by the students in speaking. The difficulties faced or felt by the students in speaking can be divided into two kinds of problems namely linguistic problems and non-linguistic problems. There were three difficulties related to linguistic problems. They were ‘lack of vocabulary’, ‘lack of grammar knowledge’, and ‘poor pronunciation.’ While, the 9 difficulties dealt with non-linguistic problems were, ‘not being brave to speak’, ‘not being confident to speak’, ‘being afraid of speaking’, ‘being afraid of making errors’, ‘being afraid of being mocked by friends’, ‘being nervous to speak’, ‘not used to talking in class’, ‘difficult to express words or sentences’, and ‘confused how to use appropriate words.’
Kinds of Causes of Difficulty in Speaking:-
It was found that there were 9 causes of difficulty faced by the students with linguistic problems. They were ‘lack of vocabulary’, ‘seldom memorizing vocabulary, ‘words having more than one meaning’, ‘being confused about how to use appropriate words’, ‘lack of grammar knowledge’, ‘seldom reading grammar books’, ‘poor pronunciation.’ 13 causes of difficulty related to non-linguistic problems. They were ‘being afraid of making errors’, ‘being nervous to speak’, ‘not being confident to speak’, ‘often forgetting’, ‘dislike learning grammar’, ‘afraid of being mocked by friends’, and ‘not being used to talking in class’.
Kinds of Student’s Efforts in Speaking Pertaining to the students’ efforts to cope with their difficulties in learning speaking:-
Looking up the dictionary for words, doing exercises on grammar book, memorizing vocabulary, reading English grammar books, reading English in order to get new ideas, reading conversation books, practice English by themselves, listening to the radio, listening English conversation cassettes, listening to music, watching TV, and asking friends if any difficult words.
One of the most challenging difficulties in learning a second language is finding ways to improve one’s oral fluency. Whenever the students are given some verbal task in the group, they just start talking in their mother tongue. Although they may want to express their ideas orally in English but they find themselves unable to do it. The major reason behind all this is that they do not have proper knowledge of a target language.
This study investigates factors that become student’s obstacles to speaking English. To turn to the possible solutions to overcome their problem in speaking English, this paper suggests that more exercises or activities that can develop their vocabulary and speaking skills are worth considering. This shows that teachers should be more aware of their student’s obstacles and reluctance to speak English. To help students gain more knowledge of other linguistics aspects such as grammar and correct pronunciation. It is also important that teachers teach those aspects explicitly in order that students have a good comprehension of the aspects. This way is expectedly contributed to the development of the student’s speaking in English. As a result, students can become successful in speaking English in any circumstances.
- SPEAKING PROBLEMS FACED BY THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT STUDENTS OF SYIAH KUALA UNIVERSITY by Hendra Heriansyah.
- English Speaking Problems of EFL Learners ofMulawarman University Sayuri.
- Developing Speaking Skill at Secondary and Higher Secondary Levels: Problems and Few Recommendations by NIPA BHATTACHARJEE.