Nghiên cứu khoa học Sinh viên

Bài Nghiên cứu khoa học 2024 đạt Giải nhì Viện Ngôn ngữ nước ngoài FBU

Đề tài: Giải pháp thúc đẩy kỹ năng nói của sinh viên năm thứ nhất ngành Ngôn ngữ Anh

Nhóm tác giả: Nguyễn Thụy Trà My, Đặng Khánh Huyền, Phạm Thị Quỳnh Anh

Đơn vị: D.10.20.01, D.10.20.03 – Viện Ngôn ngữ nước ngoài

Giáo viên hướng dẫn: ThS. Cao Ngọc Anh – SĐT: 0945483993



The ability to communicate effectively in English is crucial for students as it lays the foundation for effective communication, a key component of academic and professional success. In terms of the former aspect, mastering speaking skills enables students to articulate their thoughts clearly and confidently, fostering better understanding and collaboration in group projects and class discussions. Beyond the classroom, strong speaking skills are indispensable for career readiness as it is a fact that employers highly value graduates who can communicate ideas effectively, whether in meetings, interviews, or public speaking scenarios.

Nevertheless, a substantial portion of freshmen of Hanoi Financial and Banking University are struggling with speaking skills due to limited exposure to language as well as lack of confidence. This scientific research aims to investigate an efficient tactic and method called outdoor learning, in order to improve speaking competency among first-year English language students. By examining the challenges faced by first-year English language students and evaluating the effectiveness of outdoor learning, this thesis seeks to provide practical recommendations for educators and curriculum developers to enhance speaking skills among this specific group of learners. Ultimately, the goal is to empower first-year English language students to communicate confidently and effectively in English, setting a strong foundation for their academic and professional success.

KEY WORDS: English-speaking skill, self-confidence, freshmen, outdoor learning activities.


As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) foster deeper cooperation and integration. This global trend elevates English as the essential language for international communication, impacting universities and colleges worldwide, including Vietnam. Speaking English fluently becomes a gateway not only to global communication but also to diverse professional fields where instruction and learning are conducted in English. However, despite the growing importance of English communication skills, many college students in Vietnam find it hard to speak English as they do not have sufficient vocabulary sources, and English language structures make their oral communication influential and reluctant (Fauzan, 2014). Another study by Zeleke and Gebrehiwot (2018) found that most university students struggle with speaking skills, typically with pronunciation and fluency. The study also found that students’ lack of exposure to English outside the classroom and limited opportunities to practice speaking were significant factors. Juniardi, Y. et al.  (2020, p. 418) said, “The lack of speaking competence prohibits the opportunities for students to develop their communicative competence.” According to Bas (2008), outdoor learning activities meet students’ needs and interest and provide a wide range of authentic materials. The author also claims a chance to practice or use language both inside and outside the classroom as much as possible can significantly improve students’ speaking skills (Zhang, 2009). In a language class, confidence and motivation to speak the language students are learning are essential, so teachers need to find ways to help their learners be interested in their learning. Lei (2010) asserted that extrinsically driven students rely on incentives and desired outcomes to keep them motivated. Moreover, students who lack intrinsic motivation may perform worse academically than those who do. Therefore, teachers need to give some assistance with their students, such as mother tongue use, shyness, low participation of individuals, etc., in teaching speaking skills when asking their students to get involved in speaking activities (Ur, 2012).


Outdoor learning

According to Asama, Anwar and Muhanmad (2016), outdoor learning can be understood as outdoor education. Likewise, Vera (2012) stated that outdoor learning is a form of study outside the classroom that can be organized at school or somewhere else. Outdoor learning can take various forms, such as field trips, nature walks, camping, gardening, and other outdoor activities that provide opportunities for exploration, observation, experimentation, and problem-solving. Similarly, Asama, Anwar and Muhanmad (2016) revealed that outdoor activities are any types of activities designed as a method for teaching English outside of the classroom. Researchers also found that outdoor learning offers a dynamic and experiential approach to education, allowing students to connect with nature, apply theoretical knowledge in practical situations, and develop a range of skills beyond the academic realm. The incorporation of outdoor activities as a method for teaching English can provide learners with a unique and engaging language learning experience that enhances their English-speaking skills in a real-world context.

Effects of outdoor learning on English-speaking motivation and confidence

In terms of benefits, Gill (2009) pointed out that students can improve their independence, resistance and excitement when studying with outdoor learning activities. Furthermore, outdoor learning activities enhance students’ ability to communicate and exchange knowledge with others (Arifani, 2016). It is a fact that outdoor learning activities encourage learners to share things without worrying about restrictions in the classroom. They also foster more intimate relationships which enable people to talk in a more enthusiastic and relaxing way. Outdoor environment has the ability to foster meaningful learning by allowing students to move between the abstract and concrete as well as turn experience into knowledge through reflective and communicative activities. It gives learners the fundamentals and guidelines for interacting in everyday situations. As a result, outdoor learning activities are appropriate for teaching the four skills of English language, especially speaking skill.

Additionally, outdoor learning activities are thought to keep the brain in a good condition (Pearson, 2004). They are therefore firmly believed to motivate students to learn. Moreover, outdoor learning offers authentic content found in activities which require a real-world use of language. Many researchers of language teaching and pedagogy believe that applying authentic materials is able to enhance learners’ communicative ability (Guariento & Morely, 2001).

The following research questions are addressed in this investigation:
(1) How Opportunities for First-Year Students to Practice Speaking in Real-Life Settings Can Enhance Their Skills?
(2) What are the specific language learning strategies and techniques employed during outdoor learning that contribute to the improvement of English-speaking skills?



This research includes a questionnaire survey conducted in an 8-week period with 80 freshmen majoring English studies at Hanoi University of Finance and Banking. During the survey, the research team organized outdoor learning activities on a weekly basis such as meeting and interacting with foreign tourists or games to practice speaking reflexes for students.

Data Collection Method

To investigate the effectiveness of applying outdoor learning methods on first-year English-majored students’ English-speaking ability, motivation, and confidence, the research team divided the 80 students participating in the survey into two groups: one group had access to outdoor learning methods, and the other group followed traditional learning methods. After 8 weeks, we conducted a survey about the outdoor learning experience and asked students to self-assess whether their speaking ability had increased or not.

The qualitative method was utilized in the study in which data was collected through the use of questionnaire using google form, the responses are categorized into four levels: Strongly Agree (SA), Agree (A), Disagree (DA), and Strongly Disagree (SD). The question package’s content focuses on the students’ present proficiency in spoken English and as well as how well the outdoor learning approach is being used to their English speaking practice.

Respondents are not pressured by time; therefore, students can answer questions at their own time and pace, they can answer anonymously so they will definitely feel free and comfortable answering the question.

After students have answered the questionnaires, the data are collected, analyzed and summarized. The research team used Excel software to calculate percentages and export relevant charts.


Prior to beginning the poll, we asked 80 students to rate their own speaking proficiency. Based on the data gathered (chart 1), the majority of students assessed their speaking competence as average, as indicated by the biggest area of the pie chart (61.1%). Fortunately, just 11.1% of students thought their speaking skill was weak, while 22.2% of students assessed their abilities as average. Regretfully, the very good categories are represented by the smallest slices of the pie chart, which total 5.6%.

(Source: Author’s own research)

Difficulties students encounter when learning to speak English

Table 1: Some difficulties that students encounter when practicing English speaking

Criteria Quantity Percentage (%)
Lack of vocabulary 50 62,5%
Lack of motivation 60 75%
Lack of self-confidence 50 62,5%
Lack of time to practice 40 50%

(Source: Author’s own research)

When students are asked about difficulties in learning English speaking skills, a lack of motivation appears to be the biggest hurdle for them according to the data in this table (75%). Meanwhile, two most common difficulties which are the lack of motivation and lack of vocabulary, are reported by over 60% of the total students. These are also major problems affecting the process of improving English speaking skills. Moreover, 50% of students think that lack of time to practice is also a difficulty affecting their oral communication skills. From the above results, it can be seen that students have difficulties in learning English speaking skills largely due to lack of motivation, of which lack of vocabulary can be considered the main problem. The second biggest reason is lack of self-confidence.

Furthermore, many respondents stated that they did not have plenty of chances to practice speaking and reflecting in English since only traditional learning techniques were used. Furthermore, a few students disclosed that their primary concentration was on acquiring grammar in order to pass the exam, rather than honing their speaking abilities.

Students’ opinions about effectiveness of outdoor learning activities in improving speaking skill

Table 2. Students’ opinions about effectiveness of outdoor learning activities in improving speaking skill

  Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree
Outdoor learning activities can        
Increase students’ engagement in real-life communication 56,3% 31,3% 6,1% 6,3%
Boost students’ self-confidence in speaking English 43,8% 31,3% 18,8% 6,3%
Boost students’ engagement to speak in English 25% 56,3% 12,5% 0%
Increase students’ public speaking skills 50% 50% 0% 6,3%

(Source: Author’s own research)

The statistics provided in Table 2 represent students’ opinions about the effectiveness of outdoor learning activities in improving their speaking skills.

Based on the responses collected from the questionnaire, most of the students agree and strongly agree to most of the questions surveyed. This result shows a large number of students perceives outdoor learning activities as effective in engaging them in real-life communication, boosting their confidence, and motivating them to speak in English. Additionally, a majority of students believe that outdoor learning activities help them become active speakers. Nonetheless, there are some students who hold differing opinions, particularly regarding confidence-building and motivation.


The rising problem faced by most first-year students of English Language Department at Hanoi Financial and Banking university is the lack of motivation. This is either because they are uninterested in the spoken instruction techniques or, more simply, because of the success or failure of the students’ own learning. Others factors are listed by the lack of confidence as well as vocabulary, and the lack of time to practice.

The goal of helping students become more fluent in English-speaking poses many challenges. Therefore, providing opportunities for these students to practice speaking in authentic contexts, such as outdoor learning, can greatly enhance their English skills and boost their confidence.

One effective outdoor language learning strategy is to engage in conversation exchanges with native English speakers. By interacting with native speakers in real-life settings, learners can practice their speaking skills in a natural and authentic way. This can help improve pronunciation, vocabulary, and overall fluency in English. Joining language meetup groups, or even striking up conversations with English speakers in public places are all great ways to practice speaking English outdoor. For instance, when visiting tourist spots such as Hoan Kiem Lake or the Old Quarters, we will undoubtedly run into a lot of international visitors who are always eager to talk. In particular, this kind of instruction is entirely free.

Another useful technique for improving English-speaking skills outdoors is to take part in student exchange programs. This could involve traveling to an English-speaking country or participating in language immersion programs where English is the primary language of communication. Immersing oneself in an English-speaking environment can help enhance language skills by practicing speaking with native speakers, listening to authentic English conversations, and gaining a better understanding of the language in real-life contexts. Additionally, incorporating outdoor activities into language learning can make the process more enjoyable and effective. For example, taking a walking tour in an English-speaking city, participating in outdoor language games or challenges, or even practicing speaking English while hiking or camping can help reinforce language skills in a fun and engaging ways. There are many different types of exchange programs available, namely Short-term programs and Summer exchange programs. These programs typically last for a few weeks to a month and focus on a specific topic or area of study; the latter program is considered a great way to experience Vietnamese culture and language during the summer break, respectively.

It is possible to arrange acting out dialogues during field excursions, which is another enjoyable, engaging, and very successful method of honing speaking and listening abilities. Students can find scripts of movies or plays online, such as “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, “Angels in America” by Tony Kushner, “Reservoir Dogs” by Quentin Tarantino, “Groundhog Day” by Harold Ramis, Danny Rubin, etc … Or they can use their imagination and create their own scenarios with a partner. By physically embodying the words and emotions of the characters, students can improve your pronunciation and fluency naturally, as well as demonstrate that they can find scripts online or create creative scenarios.

Overall, generally incorporating outdoor learning method into language learning routine can make the process more enjoyable and effective, contrary to popular belief. By staying motivated and engaging in creative ways to practice English, freshmen can make significant progress in for all intents and particularly achieve sort of their language learning goals. Additionally, learning English can boost self-confidence and personal development. The ability to speak, read, and write in English can empower individuals to express themselves confidently, participate in discussions, and showcase their skills and talents on a global platform. It can also instill a sense of pride and accomplishment, motivating individuals to strive for continuous improvement and excellence.


In conclusion, this thesis has explored the effectiveness of using outdoor learning methods to develop speaking skills for first-year English language students. Through an in-depth analysis of various outdoor learning activities and their impact on language acquisition, it has become evident that this approach offers unique benefits and opportunities for students to enhance their speaking abilities. The findings of this study highlight the importance of incorporating outdoor learning into the curriculum as a means to create a dynamic and engaging learning environment. Outdoor activities, such as conversing with native speakers, participating in student exchange programs, and role-playing discussions during field trips, provide students with authentic and real-life contexts to practice their speaking skills. Furthermore, the outdoor learning method promotes a holistic approach to language learning, integrating various skills such as listening, speaking, and observation. Students are encouraged to use their senses, observe their surroundings, and engage in meaningful conversations, which enhances their overall language proficiency.


Asama, C.  H, Anwar, C, & Muhanmad, R. N. (2016). EFL Learners’ Perception toward an Outdoor Learning Program. International Journal of Education & Literacy Studies. 4(2). 74-80.

Arifani, Y. (2016).  The Implementation of Team-Based Discovery Learning to Improve Students’Ability in Writing. Research Proposal. International Education Studies. 9(2), 111-119.

Bas, G. (2008).  Implementation of multiple intelligences supported project-based learning in EFL/ESL classrooms.

Bill, G (2000). Developing a Questionnaire (Real World Research).

Fauzan, A. (2014). Difficulties in Speaking English Faced by Indonesian Students. Journal of Education and Practice, 5(2), 1-7.

Gill, T, (2009). No Fear: Growing up in a risk-averse society. London, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Guariento, W., & Morley, J. (2001). Text and task authenticity in the EFL classroom. ELT Journal, 55(4), 347-353.

Juniardi, Y., Herlina, L., Lubis, A. H., Irmawanty, & Pahamzah, J.  (2020). Computer-  vs. Mobile-Assisted Learning to Promote EFL Students’ Speaking Skills:  A Preliminary Classroom-Based Research. International Journal of Instruction, 13(3), 417-432.

Lei, S. (2010). Instrinsic and extrinsic motivation: Evaluating benefits and drawbacks from college instructors’ perspectives. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 37,153-160.

Pearson, N.  (2004). The Idiosyncrasies of Out-of-Class Language Learning. Proceeding of the independent Learning Conference. New Zealand.

Ur, P. (2012). A Course in Language Teaching: Practice and Theory. Cambridge University Press.

Vera, A. (2012). Outdoor Study. Yogyakarta: Diva Press.

Zeleke, F., & Gebrehiwor, M. (2018). Speaking Anxiety among University Students: The Case of Samara University. Journal of Education and Practice, 9(30), 84-92.

Zhang, S. (2009). The role of input, interaction, and output in the development of oral fluency. English Language Teaching, 2(4), 91–100.


Survey question form

  1. How do you rate your current English speaking level?
  • very good
  • good
  • average
  • weak
  1. How often do you use English in your daily life?
  • regularly
  • sometimes
  • rarely
  1. How often do you watch movies/ listen to music in English?
  • regularly
  • sometimes
  • rarely

  1. What difficulties you have to face when practicing speaking English? ……….
  2. Rate the following opinions on a scale from strongly agree, agree, disagree, and strongly disagree:Outdoor learning activities might increase students’ engagement in real-life communication.
  3. Rate the following opinions on a scale from strongly agree, agree, disagree, and strongly disagree:Outdoor learning activities can boost students’ self-confidence in speaking English
  4. Rate the following opinions on a scale from strongly agree, agree, disagree, and strongly disagree: Outdoor learning activities can boost students’ engagement to speak in English
  5. Rate the following opinions on a scale from strongly agree, agree, disagree, and strongly disagree: Outdoor learning activities might increase students’ public speaking skills
  6. Rate the following opinions on a scale from strongly agree, agree, disagree, and strongly disagree: Students’ English speaking ability will increase as their active listening abilities develop
  7. How do you practice speaking English? ………….
  8. Do you have any solutions to improve your English speaking skills? …………..

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