Factors Affecting EFL Students Reluctance in Using Oral Communication

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1 Factors Affecting EFL Students Reluctance in Using Oral Communication I Dewa Gede Mantra English Education Department Faculty of Letters and Culture State University of Gorontalo Supervised by Nonny Basalama, M.A.,Ph.D & Moh. Syahrun Ibrahim, S.Pd.,M.Ed Abstract This research explored the factors affecting students of English Education Department reluctance in using English in their interaction in the class or outside the class. This research used qualitative research and utilized observation and interview as the instruments in data collection. The participants consisted of two classes in semester six and from the two classes, there were ten participants participated in interview. Based on the result of the research, it was found that students reluctant to speak English because some factors such as anxiety, teacher who teach in the class and classroom condition. Students afraid to make mistake when they tried to speak English to their friends and sometimes the students got negative responded from their friends/interlocutor when they used English in the conversation. Besides, the students would speak English in the class if the teacher asked them to speak English. If the teacher did not ask them to speak English, automatically they would use Indonesia. The classroom that did not convenient to the students made them was not motivated to study in the class. Therefore, they would keep silent in the class in teaching and learning process. Key words: Reluctance, Speak English, Students. Introduction Indonesia is one of the countries in which English is considered as a foreign language. It means that English is nor the first or the second language of the people who live in this country and other countries, such as Italy, Saudi Arabia, Korea, Indonesia (Gebhard, as cited in Polontalo, 2010). However, in Indonesia English is taught in each level of school not only in elementary school, junior high school, senior high school but also in university. In elementary school, the students study English for six years, in junior high school they study for three years, in senior high school they study for three years, and in the university especially in English Department they study for four years to take their degree. The students who study in the first year in university have been studying English approximately nine years and it is quite a long time for the students in learning 1

2 English. However, there are some questions remain. Are they be able to speak English? Do they use English in oral communication with their friends? The students feel afraid of using English outside class and in some way they are unenthusiastic to use English inside classroom (Ramirez, 2010). The students are not confident with their English when they speak to their friends. Whereas, at the first semester, the students got intensive course (IC) to practice their English to be better in either oral or written. Language teachers have trained them for six months intensively with four skills in using English. During course time, they focus on the basic material of English to prepare themselves in learning some other English materials in the next semester. Based on this situation, they should have sufficient skills and knowledge to use English in oral communication. It means that at least at the second semester, they should be able to speak English in their interaction both in and out the class. Deambrosi (2013) stated that introduce yourself to an English speaker. Then introduce yourself to a group of English speakers. Yes, it can be scary, but you will not improve your speaking if you do not speak. It means that by practicing English as always as possible can improve the English speaking ability. However, English Education Department students are reluctant to speak English in their interaction with their friends in English Education Department. It is believed that the students already have been sufficient skill and knowledge from the teaching and learning process in class during intensive course (IC). Therefore, they should have no reasons that they are reluctant to speak English because they do not have sufficient skills and knowledge in speaking English. If the study finds that the reason is the students do not have sufficient skills and knowledge, it will mean there is something needs to be corrected in learning English. Based on that explanation there is one question what factors do affect EFL students reluctance to speak English? Concepts of Speaking Speaking is oral communication used by people to communicate the language to express the idea or to tell the information. Oral communication becomes the important aspect in daily lives of people in telling information such as in tv news, oral announcement, meeting etc. Besides, speaking also can express 2

3 every idea of people such as in class discussion, debate and in informal situation. Based on ( Jones, 1996; Burns, 1998) (as cited in Richard, 2008) there are three function of speaking, they are: a) talk as interaction, it is focus on primary social function such as meet people, do small talk, etc. b) talk as transaction, it is focus on what is said or done such as conversation in the restaurant, shop etc. And, c) talk as performance, it is focus on transmit the information before an audience such as in presentation, speech, etc. Factor Affecting in Speaking English Motivation Motivation is one of major aspects in motivating and pushing the student to step forward to learn the language. Brown (2007) stated that there are three perspectives to define the motivation; they are (a) behavioristic perspect ive. The meaning of this motivation is more emphasis on anticipation of reward, positive reinforcement and external and individual forces in control. (b) Cognitive perspective. This motivation is more emphasis in individual decision (exploration, manipulation), internal and individual forces control. (c) Constructivist perspective. This motivation is more emphasis in social context, community, social status, security of group and internal and interactive forces control. Based on the explanation above Motivation is important point for student or people. Motivation is willingness for doing something and getting the aims or the goal for example to study a language. Furthermore, Harmer ( 1992) distinguished motivation into two kinds of motivation; they are (a) integrative motivation and (b) instrumental motivation. Integrative motivation means student who learn a language has a willingness to join to the culture or society on the target language. Besides, Instrument motivation means student who mastery the target language believe will support them in getting better job, good position, good grade, etc. Based on the explanation above, Integrative and Instrument motivation have a power in helping people or student in learning language. Therefore, student who has higher motivation will be able to speaking English than student who has lower motivation. 3

4 Personality One of the important factors in studying a language is personality. It relates to the behavior of people how they act when they face the problem. Actually, every people have a power to solve the problem especially when learn the language. Brown (2007) showed some affective factors in human behavior in learning language; they are self-esteem, inhibition, risk-taking and anxiety. Self-esteem Rubio (2007) defined that self -esteem as psychological and social phenomenon in which an individual evaluates his/her competence and own self according to some values, which may result in different emotional states, and which becomes developmentally stable but is still open to variation depending on personal circumstances (p. 5). Besides, Brown (2007) categorized self -esteem into three levels; they are (a) Global Self -Esteem, it is more stable and resistant the change; (b) Situational self-esteem, it refers to self-appraisals in certain life conditions for example social interaction, work, and education; and (c) Task selfesteem, it relates to particular tasks within specific situation. Therefore, selfesteem can be defined as how worthiness we are. Inhibition Latha (2012) reported that the most common problem faced by students in learning foreign language is inhibition. They worried to make mistake in speaking the language because they are afraid the speaker will criticize of them. Thus, in this condition they have high of inhibition and it causes they keep silent. Therefore, Inhibition must be reduced by thinking that everyone has to make mistake and the mistake is an experience for going to be better. Risk-taking Dehbozorgi (2012) showed that most intermediate students took the high risk-taking first than the moderate ones. It is like a gambling high risk-taking could succeed in learning language and could give negative effect to them selves. However, Beebe (1983) claimed that people who with higher motivation to achieve are in risk-taking moderate but not people who have high risk-taking (as cited in Brown, 2007). 4

5 Anxiety A few researchers have conducted an analysis about student anxiety in learning foreign language to show how influence anxiety giving affects for their speaking in foreign language. A researcher investigated the relationship between anxiety and performance in speaking English and the result was anxiety disturbing in speaking performance of the students (Woodrow, 2006). It means the students who have an anxiety for speaking English will be stopping students willingness to speak English, either in class or outside the class especially when they talk with their friends. Based on the explanation above, anxiety is clearly an issue in language learning and has a debilitating effect on speaking English for some students (Woodrow, 2006). Therefore, if the students have lower anxiety in speaking English, they will brave and more confident to speak English although they will make some mistakes in structure or grammar. Attitudes towards English Teacher Teacher is the important factor in improving student ability in speaking English. Teacher has capacity in mastery the language for teaching the student and teacher wishes to use the appropriate method in learning and teaching process. Horwitz (1986) stated that foreign language anxiety probably be alleviated, at least to an extent, by supportive teacher who will acknowledge students feeling of isolation helplessness and offer concrete suggestions for attaining foreign language confident (p.132). It means that the teacher is very important in giving motivation for the student and helps the student in making them confident for speaking the target language (English). Teacher is important factor to motivate the student in improving student confident to talk in foreign language (English). Classroom Condition Situation in the class is very important to make the student convenient to learn the language (English). Wei (2011) stated that students who fail in the English subject do not mean that they are weaker than other students in class, but this is because they do not engage in classroom activities sufficiently. Therefore, in teaching and learning process especially in studying language student needs 5

6 classroom environment which given comfortable for example the classroom is not hot, far from crowded and clean. Besides, instructional media also is very important in supporting student in study language. For example text book as the handbook for student, easy book material, English laboratory and electronic media. Baker (2003) stated that the textbooks should be suitable to the students condition and environment. It means that the materials which are used by the teachers to teach the students are familiar with their lives. Methodology This study investigates factors affecting the student in expressing their ideas, feelings, thinks etc. in English oral communication to their friends in English Education Department. Therefore, to find out the reasons and factors of this case, the researcher uses qualitative method especially case study. Qualitative research is conducted in the natural setting it means that the researcher comes to the place of participant and the data collection will be growing and increasing according to the respond of participant in the study (Creswell, 2003). According to Creswell (2009) case study is strategy of research for digging depth information of event, activity, a process or one or more persons. This research is be conducted in English Education Department of Letters and Culture Faculty, Gorontalo State University and the participants are the students of English Education Department in six semester. The participants of this study are the students of English Education Department of Letters and Culture Faculty, in Gorontalo State University. The researcher takes the participant in this place because based on the issue, the participants are proper with their problem that they are facing right now. This study take the participant of English Education Department in semester six and it is taken two classes. This semester are appropriate as participant because they have been getting the speaking class that support them to speak English. The participants who participated in the interview consisted of five in class 1 and five in class 2. They are four males and six females. 6

7 Findings and Discussions Students Anxiety in Speaking English Anxiety is part of human personality that giving affect to the student in learning foreign language and in this case, anxiety factor affected the students to use English, they are reluctant to speak English in their interactions. Woodrow (2006) said that the relationship between anxiety and performance in speaking English and the result was anxiety disturbing in speaking performance of the students. It means that anxiety give negative affect to the students to use English in their daily lives. The result of the interview and observation in findings showed that all the participants got anxiety in using English in their conversation to their friends. From the data, mostly the participants were afraid to make mistake to speak English. Horwitz (1986) stated that anxious students are afraid to make mistakes in the foreign language (p.130). It means that stu dents who always worried to their speaking skill ability will get problem in self-confident in using English because they always have negative thinking to themselves. The participants were afraid to speak English in different situations and different cases such as in formal situation, in informal situation, and being among seniors that they thought knowing English better than them. Besides, some participants who tried to speak English to their friends had to stop use English and changed to Indonesia language when they did not get positive responding from their friends or interlocutors. Some interlocutors said that it was not comfortable to use English in informal situation and the other interlocutor responded in Indonesia language. Therefore, the students who tried to speak English were reluctant to use English in their conversation. Based on the explanation above, students have strongly anxiety in speaking English and all of them are reluctant to speak English. It will affect their willingness to speak English. It means that the students will not have more positive affect in improving their oral communication. Motivation, confident and positive thinking are needed to support the students in decreasing their anxiety problem. By having high motivation to speak English, it will build the high selves confident from the students and it will stimulus the students to have positive 7

8 thinking to their ability in speaking English and use that language in their conversation with high confident. In addition, eight participants agreed in using English in or out side the classroom. They considered that the using of English would improve their speaking skill. In this case, the decision makers, the head of English department, should considerable the using English for the students and teachers in or outside the class as one of programs in the English Department. Therefore, the improvement students ability especially in speaking skill will be happened. Attitude toward English Teacher This topic explained the important of teacher in supporting the students in speaking English in the classroom in teaching and learning process. In findings, the data showed that the students were reluctant to speak English in the class when the teacher did not obligate the student to use English. The result of observation explained that at the beginning of the class began mostly students kept silent to speak English in answering and asking questions based on the material but the situation changed when the teacher gave statement for the students who answering and asking the question in English would have point or score. Williams (2002) stated that t eachers need to help learners to develop beliefs in their own abilities to learn a language and to control the process of learning it (p.524). It means that teachers have a role in helping the students to study the language and it is possible to apply the using of language (Eng lish) in their class in teaching and learning process. In the result, the students are motivated to use the English language. Besides, based on the result of interview, the students were reluctant to speak English when the subject was difficult and need depth understanding. The students more understood if the teacher explained with Indonesia language. Baker (2003) stated that the textbooks should be suitable to the students condition and environment. It means that the materials that are used by the teachers to teach the students should be familiar with their lives and teachers should give the easiest way to make the students understood the subjects or materials in English. Because if the subjects always were explained by English, the students would be familiar with those materials in English language and it will give positive affect to students 8

9 in using English in the class in teaching and learning process although the subjects need depth understanding. The other students stated that they would speak English in the class if the teacher asked them to speak English. It means that the students followed the rules in the class that made by the teacher. Teacher should make strong rules in motivating the students to speak English in the classroom. Therefore, based on that rules, the students have effort to try harder in using English in the classroom. Because the students agreed the using dominant English in the class, it will easy to the teacher to apply the rules of using English in teaching and learning process in the class. Classroom Condition Classroom is one of aspect in supporting students willingness to speak English in the classroom. The students did not feel convenient by the condition of the classroom. Classroom condition that made students were not convenient were fewer of classroom and hot temperature of the classroom. This condition also stated by Earthman (2002) that school building condition which does not have good lighting, bed temperature, overcrowded and old building give negative affect in students academic achievement. Based on the result of the interview the students explored that they did not feel comfortable with classroom. When they wanted to study, sometimes the students did not get the class for studying. This condition is strongly affecting students in learning and teaching process. Hot temperature in the classroom is another affect students motivation in teaching and learning process in the class. Nine participants in the interview said that hot temperature in the class made them not concentrate in studying in the class and it is affecting their willingness to follow the material that given by the teacher. This condition of the classroom absolutely affecting the students to be motivated in the class and automatically it is affecting their willingness to speak English. Students Motivation in Studying English The result of finding found that the participants had high motivation to study English and they had willingness to apply of English in their daily lives. Latha (2012) stated that lower motivation affecting the students to active participated in 9

10 speaking activities. However, the students who have high motivation were still reluctant to speak English in their interaction either in the class or outside the class. It means that the high motivation is not enough for supporting the students in learning the language because the participants still have high anxiety that makes them reluctance to speak English. By thinking afraid to make mistake, some students faced problem when they tried to speak English to their friends. The students believed that when they talked in English, the other students would not understand with what they said. Related to the explanation above, if the students have higher motivation in speaking English and they have high anxiety, it would affect their willingness to speak English. It had better if the students have high motivation in learning English and have less anxiety in learning English. Conclusions and Suggestions The goal in this chapter is to give the relevant conclusions about factors affecting students reluctance in using oral communication. Besides, the positive suggestions also is presented in this chapter. Conclusions Students have strongly anxiety in speaking English to their friends in English Department. It had better if they had high motivation and had less anxiety to make them confident to speak English. It means that if the students have lower anxiety in speaking English, they will be brave and more confident to speak English although they will make some mistakes in structure or grammar. In speaking English in the class, teachers have an important role in supporting the students to speak English. The students use English, it is depended on the teacher who teach in the class. If the teacher asked them to use English, they would try to use English. However, when the teacher did not ask the students to use English the students would use Indonesia language in the class. Teacher is one of the factors for supporting the students in speaking English. By giving some motivation, the students will be enthusiastic to learn English. Besides, teacher should make rules in the class to make the students try to practice their English in the classroom. 10

11 Besides in the classroom, speak English should apply at outside the classroom. Most students, when they talked about their daily activities and talked about their assignments, they did not use English in their conversation. However, the students agreed if they talked in English outside the classroom because they believed that by talking in English in every conversation with their friends would improve their ability in speaking skill. Besides, they can apply the material that they get from the class and directly practiced it in daily life. An addition, the students described that classrooms were not comfortable enough for learning and teaching process. There was not enough class for them. Furthermore, they did not have class when they wanted to study. Besides, the temperature in the class was hot and it made them not focus or concentrate in learning and teaching process. Suggestions Based on the problem that faced by the students about factor affecting the using English in oral communication, there are some suggestions will be presented. The first is students have to be confident to speak English to their friends although they will make mistake in grammar or pronunciation. Besides, they have to have high motivation to speak English. In speaking, the important one is practice because the more they practice the better their speaking will be. The second is teachers should make rules in the class to keep the students to speak English. Therefore, the students will be motivated to speak English. And the third is to the decision makers in this case is head of English Department, it is important to suggest that English Department should have program to speak English either teachers or students in English Department. Therefore, they can practice English every day either in the class or outside the classroom. 11

12 References Baker, J. (2003). Essential Speaking Skills: Hand Book for English Language Teachers. British: Continuum. Brown, H. D. (2007). Principle of Language Learning and teaching (fifth Ed.). USA: Pearson Education. Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research Design: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. USA:SAGE. Creswell, J. W. (2009). Third Edition Research Design: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. USA: SAGE. Deambrosi, A. (2013). Improving Your English. Retrieved May 8, 2013, from Dehbozorgi, E. (2012). Effects of Attitude towards Language Learning and Risktaking on EFL Student's Proficiency. International Journal of English Linguistics. Vol. 2, No. 2; April Earthman, G. I. (2002). School Facility Conditions and Student Academic Achievement. Los Angeles: UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access Harmer, J. (1992). The Practice of English Language Teaching. UK: Longman Horwitz, E. K., Horwitz, M. E., & Cope, J. (1986). Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety. Modern Language Journal.70: Khamkhien. A. (2011). Quantitative and Qualitative Views of Thai EFL Learners Learning Oral Communication Skills: Kasetsart University THAILAND. Latha, B. M. (2012). Teaching English as A Second Language: Factors Affecting Learning Speaking Skills. India. International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology (IJERT). Vol. 1 Issue 7, September ISSN: Lightbown, P. M., & Spada, N. (1999). How Language are Learned Revised Edition. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press. Polontalo, I. R. (2010). EFL From Indonesia: Perception of the Role Computers in the Classroom:University of Newcastle. Unpublished. Ramirez, V. A. C. (2010). Students Perceptions About The Development Of Their Oral Skills In An English As A Foreign Language Teacher Training Program. Retrieved January 10, 2012, from 12

13 Richard, J. C. (2008). Teaching Listening and Speaking: From Theory to Practice. New York: Cambridge University Press. Rubio, F. (2007). Self-Esteem and Foreign Language Learning. UK: Public Scholar Publishing. Snopek, D. (2010). How to Overcome Your Fear of Speaking. Retrieved May 8, 2013, from Wei, L. S. (2011). Relationship Between Students Perceptions Of Classroom Environment And Their Motivation In Learning English Language.Faculty of Educational Studies University Putra Malaysia. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 1 No. 21 Williams, M., Burden, R., & Lanvers, U. (2002). French is the Language of Love and Stuff : student perceptions of issues related to motivation in learning a foreign language. British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 28, No. 4, Francis: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of BERA. Woodrow, L. (2006 ). Anxiety and Speaking English as a Second Language. Regional Language Centre Journal ; 308. DOI: /

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