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    THẠC SĨ Designing a syllabus for grade 9 students at Nguyen Tri Phuong junior high school in Hue city for a

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  6. Designing a syllabus for grade 9 students at Nguyen Tri Phuong junior high school in Hue city for a

    COLLEGE OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES
    FIELD OF STUDY: THEORY AND METHODOLOGY
    OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING
    MASTER IN EDUCATION
    NĂM, 2011

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Contents Pages
    SUB COVER PAGE
    STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP
    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    TABLES OF CONTENTS . 1
    LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS 4
    LIST OF TABLES AND CHARTS 5
    ABSTRACT . 7
    CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION . 8
    1.1. Rationale 8
    1.2. Research aims . 10
    1.3. Research questions . 10
    1.4. Research significance 10
    1.5. Structure of the thesis 11
    CHAPTER 2 - LITERATURE REVIEW . 12
    2.1. Previous studies 12
    2.2. Syllabus . 14
    2.2.1. Difference between syllabus and curriculum . 14
    2.2.2. Types of syllabus 16
    2.2.2.1. Functional/ notional syllabus . 16
    2.2.2.2. Structural/ grammatical syllabus . 17
    2.2.2.3. Situational syllabus . 18
    2.2.2.4. Task-based syllabus 18
    2.2.2.5. Skill-based syllabus . 19
    2.2.2.6. Content-based syllabus . 19
    2.2.2.7. Mixed/ layered syllabus 20
    2.2.2.8. Theme-based syllabus . 21
    2.2.3. Syllabus design 23
    2.3. Needs analysis 24
    2.3.1. The process of needs analysis . 26
    2.3.2. Kinds of needs . 26
    2.3.2.1. Target needs 27
    2.3.2.2. Learning needs . 28
    2.3.3. Effects of needs analysis on ESP syllabus 29
    2.4. Selecting themes and planning thematic units . 29
    2.4.1. Topics or Themes selection . 30
    2.4.2. Topics or Themes grading 31
    2.4.3. Thematic units planning . 32
    2.5. Material design . 33
    2.6. A* Star Scholarship and the structure of the selection test 34
    2.6.1. A* Star Scholarship . 34
    2.6.2. The structure of the selection test . 34
    CHAPTER 3 – METHODOLOGY AND PROCEDURES . 36
    3.1. Research approach . 36
    3.2. Research subjects and site 36
    3.3. Methods of data collection . 37
    3.3.1. Questionnaires . 38
    3.3.2. Interview . 41
    3.3.3. Class observation 41
    3.4. Data analysis . 42
    3.5. Procedures . 42
    3.5.1. Questionnaires administration procedure . 42
    3.5.2. Interview procedure 43
    3.5.3. Research steps 43
    3.6. Conclusion . 44
    CHAPTER 4 - FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION 45
    4.1. Data analysis from teachers 45
    4.1.1. Teachers’ perceptions of the tests and students’ performance 46
    4.1.1.1. Teachers’ perceptions of students’ listening and speaking skill 47
    4.1.1.2. Teachers’ perceptions of the reading comprehension texts 48
    4.1.1.3. Teachers’ perceptions of the writing skill 48
    4.1.2. Teachers’ advice for students on the four skills 50
    4.2. Data analysis from students 52
    4.2.1. Students’ perceptions of the A* Star selection test 52
    4.2.2. Students’ difficulties in doing the selection test 53
    4.2.3. Students’ experience and preparations for the test 54
    4.2.3.1. Students’ experience and preparations for the Listening and
    Speaking skill 55
    4.2.3.2. Students’ experience and preparations for the reading skill . 55
    4.2.3.3. Students’ experience and preparations for the writing skill . 56
    4.2.3.4. Students’ experience for the overall preparation . 56
    4.3. Interview 57
    4.3.1. Teachers’ responses to the English selection test 57
    4.3.1.1. Students’ common mistakes in the interview 57
    4.3.1.2. Teachers’ suggestions . 59
    4.3.2. Students’ responses to the English selection test . 62
    4.3.2.1. The difficulties students met during the test 62
    4.3.2.2. Students’ suggestions 64
    4.4. Sample syllabus for grade 9 gifted students at NTP School . 66
    4.4.1. Target learners and other contextual factors 66
    4.4.2. Approaches, goals, objectives of the syllabus . 67
    4.4.3. The syllabus for grade 9 gifted students 68
    4.4.4. Sample units for grade 9 gifted students 70
    4.4.5. Description of experimental teaching 70
    4.4.5.1. Responses of teachers 71
    4.4.5.2. Responses of students 74
    CHAPTER 5 – CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS 80
    5.1. Research questions . 80
    5.2. Summary of key findings 80
    5.3. Implications . 83
    5.3.1. For administrators at NTP School . 83
    5.3.2. For teachers at NTP School 84
    5.3.3. For grade 9 students 85
    5.4. Contributions of the Study 85
    5.5. Limitation of the Study 86
    5.6. Further study . 87
    5.7. Concluding reflection 87
    REFERENCES . 88
    APPENDICES
    Appendix A: Questionnaire for teachers
    Appendice B: Questionnaire for students
    Appendice C: Feedback sheet
    Appendix D: Questions for interview
    Appendix E: Observation sheet
    Appendix F: Sample units
    Appendix G: Reliability analysis of the questionnaires for teacher
    Appendix H: Reliability analysis of the questionnaires for students

    LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
    ESP : English for Specific Purposes
    QA : Questionnaire A
    QB : Questionnaire B
    QC : Questionnaire C
    TOEFL : Test of English as a Foreign Language
    IELTS : International English Language Testing System
    NTP : Nguyen Tri Phuong
    RI : Raffles Institution
    MCQs: : Multiple choice questions
    N : Number
    SPSS : Statistical Package for the Social Sciences
    SD : Standard Deviation
    M ean : Mean Score
    SEAMEO : The Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization
    LISTS OF FIGURES
    Page
    Figure 2.1. Needs analysis
    Figure 2.2. The Needs Assessment Cycle
    LISTS OF TABLES
    Table 3.1: Research subjects .
    Table 3.2: Research methods
    Table 3.3: Summary of clusters for teachers
    Table 3.4: Summary of clusters for students
    Table 4.1: The reliability of the questionnaire
    Table 4.2: The mean score of the questionnaire for teacher
    Table 4.3: Teachers’ perceptions of the tests and students’ performance .
    Table 4.4: Teachers’ perceptions of students’ listening and speaking skill
    Table 4.5: Teachers’ perceptions of the reading comprehension texts
    Table 4.6: The mean score of teachers’ advice for students
    Table 4.7: Teachers’ advice for students on the four skills .
    Table 4.8: Mean score of questionnaire for students .
    Table 4.9: Students’ perception of the A* Star selection Test
    Table 4.10: Students’ experience and preparations for the listening and
    speaking skill
    Table 4.11: Students’ experience and preparations for the writing skill
    Table 4.12: Students’ experience for the overall preparation
    Table 4.13: Target learners
    Table 4.14: The type of tests and evaluation .
    Table 4.15: The English Syllabus for grade 9 students at NTP School
    Table 4.16: The viewpoints of NTP teachers on the lessons
    Table 4.17: Teachers’ suggestions to improve the quality of teaching and learning .
    Table 4.18: The level of English proficiency of grade 9 gifted students
    Table 4.19: The viewpoints of grade 9 gifted students on the lessons .

    LISTS OF CHARTS
    Chart 4.1: Teachers’ perceptions of the writing skill
    Chart 4.2: Teachers’ advice for students on overall preparation .
    Chart 4.3: Students’ difficulties in doing the selection test
    Chart 4.4: Students’ experience and preparations for the reading skill
    Chart 4.5: Teachers’ comments on the experimental teachings
    Chart 4.6: Students’ suggestions to improve the quality of teaching and learning

    CHAPTER 1
    INTRODUCTION
    1.1. RationaleIn the time of globalization, English is becoming the “accepted international language of technology and commerce” (Hutchinson and Waters, 1987, p23); people everywhere are learning it enthusiastically. As Tran (2000) remarks, “more and more countries are making their lingua franca to communicate with the rest of the world-not only with native English-speaking but also non-native English speaking countries in international setting” (p.26). In fact, English is so widely spoken and referred to as the "lingua franca" of the modern era.
    In Vietnam, since the economic open-door policy pursued by the Government has increased the demand for English- speaking people who are expected to be the main source to lead Vietnam keep up with developed countries in the world, English has been stressed as one of the most important subjects in high school education in Vietnam. Following with globalization, many students are also seeking for better education in English-speaking countries namely the United States, United Kingdom, Canada or Singapore, where the education systems have been recognized for years. Thus, the need of learning English is even more emphasized. In an interview with Vietnam News (2004) about the situation of English language education in Vietnam and opportunities for Vietnamese students today, Assistant Professional Do Huy Thinh, Director of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Regional Training Centre, claims that globalisation, since its interception, has changed the world. Nations, cultures and races start mixing with the others, and education is no exception. More and more chances are now opened up for students from any countries to study in other more well-developed education environment. This is incredibly popular in Vietnam nowadays.
    Integrating with this trend, Nguyen Tri Phuong Junior High School in Hue City and Raffles Institution in Singapore as premier secondary schools in Vietnam and Singapore respectively, have an added responsibility to develop students with a global outlook.
    Nguyen Tri Phuong Junior High School is one of the old famous schools that has large number of intelligent students. It is the unique junior high school in Hue City where students are carefully selected through a strict entrance exam and their academic performance in their primary education.
    Raffles Institution (RI) which was founded in 1823 grew to be a beacon of educational excellence that attracted the best from all walks of life regardless of race or creed in Singapore, and from overseas [72]. Thanks to the cooperation of Nguyen Tri Phuong (NTP) Junior High School with Raffles Institution, many NTP students have received the A* Star Scholarships to pursue their secondary education in Singapore. According to the feedbacks from previous batches of students who are studying in RI, the education in Singapore is indeed a good chance for Vietnamese students as they integrate with many international friends and learn to be more independent.
    Albeit with the keen interest of the students in this scholarship as well as their effort to prepare for the selection, only 25 students, including 16 boys and 9 girls, were chosen in the past six years. This number is relatively low in comparison with other cities like Hanoi, Da Nang or Ho Chi Minh City [73].
    As a teacher at this school, who is doing research on A* Star Scholarship, I would like to specially design an English syllabus which will help gifted students who are potential but lack English proficiency to take up the scholarship. Basing on the experience of the previous batches of students and teachers from Raffles Institution, this research aims to design an appropriate syllabus which helps to boost the four skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing – for the future students in order to better prepare them for the selection of the A* Star Scholarship.
    This research is carried out by investigating the current needs, to design an ESP syllabus and to develop some sample units for grade 9 students at Nguyen Tri Phuong School. In addition, experimental teaching of the two sample units in a class at Nguyen Tri Phuong will be done to gather feedback from students and work towards more effective teaching methods and techniques.
    1.2. Research aims
    This study aims to:
    - investigate the current needs for A Star* Scholarship English Test preparation
    - explore the challenges that previous students faced in English Test.
    - get information about themes, essential language skills and language focus for a syllabus.
    - find out how to design a theme-based syllabus and develop some theme-based sample lessons for grade 9 gifted students to take A Star* Scholarship English Test.
    - design a theme-based syllabus and develop some theme-based sample lessons as a suggestive teaching and learning material for grade 9 gifted students at Nguyen Tri Phuong School for A Star* Scholarship English Test preparation


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