Low proficiency students: can we help them to speak confidently?

Muriatul Khusmah Musa, Rushita Ismail


This action research was carried out to find out whether the speaking activities that were done during English lessons could encourage the low proficiency students to speak English confidently. These students admitted that they were afraid of speaking English, particularly in front of their classmates. They had very low self- confidence and felt very anxious when they were asked to speak or present in English. For this research, five speaking tasks were incorporated in the English class with the aim of building up students’ confidence and at the same time encouraging them to speak and participate in the English speaking activities. The five tasks were: self- introduction, fairy tale role-play, open mic, product advertisement campaign and group decision making. These activities were carried out individually as well as in small groups. In short, all the students were given an equal chance to speak English and actively participate as individuals and as group members. Students’ positive responses signify the speaking tasks have helped to reduce their speaking anxiety, build up their confidence in speaking English and improve their speaking skills.


low proficiency; anxious; participate; confidence; encourage

Full Text:



Alrabai, F. (2014). The Influence of Teachers’ Anxiety-Reducing Strategies on Learners’ Foreign Language Anxiety. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching. 9 (2), 163-190

doi : https://doi.org/10.1080/17501229.2014.890203.

Awan, R. N., Azher, M., Anwar, M. N., & Naz, A. (2010). An investigation of foreign language classroom anxiety and its relationship with students’ achievement. Journal of College Teaching & Learning, 7,(11), 33-40.

Azizinezhad, M., Hashemi, M., & Darvishi, S. (2013). Application of Cooperative Learning in EFL Classes to Enhance the Students’ Language Learning. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 93. 138 – 141 . doi : 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.09.166.

Bitchener, J. & Knoch, U. (2010) Raising the linguistic accuracy level of advanced L2 writers with written corrective feedback. Journal of Second Language Writing, 19 (4), 207-217.

Brookhart, S. M. (2010). Formative assessment strategies for every classroom (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Brookhart, S. M. (2017). How to give effective feedback to your students (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Brown, H. D. (2000). Principles of language learning and teaching (4th ed.) White Plains, NY: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.

Celce-Murcia, M. 2001. Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language. Third Edition. New York: Heinle & Heinle.

Crookall, D., & Oxford, R. (1991). Dealing with anxiety: Some practical activities for language learners and teacher trainees. In E. K. Horwitz & D. J. Young (Eds.), Language anxiety: From theory and research to classroom implications (pp.141-150). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Dörnyei, Z., & Ushioda, E. (2011). Teaching and researching motivation (2nd ed.). Harlow: Longman.

Horwitz, E. K., Horwitz, M. B., & Cope, J. (1986). Foreign language classroom anxiety. The Modern Language Journal, 70(2), 125-132.

Kurniawati, A. (2013). Improving the students’ self confidence in speaking practice by using role-play technique for the eighth grade students of SMP Muhammadyah 3 Yogyakarta (Degree thesis, State University of Yogyakarta, Indonesia). Retrieved from http://eprints.uny.ac.id/25689 Anna%20Kurniawati%2007202244041.pdf

Macintyre, P. D., & Gardner, R. C. (1994). The subtle effects of language anxiety on cognitive processing in the second language. Language Learning, 44, 283-305.

Maulana, F., Ikhsanudin I. & Suhartono, L.(2020). Students’ motivation to speak in a group discussion. Journal of English Education Program,1(1) 50-58. Retrieved from https://jurnal.untan.ac.id/index.php/JEEP/article/view/40025.

Moss, C. M., & Brookhart, S.M. (2012) Learning targets: helping students aim for understanding in today’s lesson, Alexandria,VA:ASCD.

Musa, M. K., Hashim, M. Z. , Muhamad, S. & Mohamed, R. (2013). Language learning anxiety: Malay undergraduates learning Japanese: Proceedings of 2nd UPALS International Conference on Languages (pp.325-335).

Nagahashi, T. L. (2007). Techniques for reducing foreign language anxiety: results of successful intervention study. Bulletin of the Centre for Educational and Practice, 29, Akita University.

Noor, N. M., Aman, I., Mustaffa, R., & Seong, T. K. (2010). Teacher’s Verbal Feedback on Students’ Response: A Malaysian ESL Classroom Discourse Analysis. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 398-405.

Pakpahan, M., Ikhsanudin & Sada, C. (2017). Factor affecting EFL students’ unwillingness to communicate in campus. Jurnal Pendidikan dan Pembelajaran Khatulistiwa, 6(6),3-11. Retrieved from https://jurnal.untan.ac.id/index.php/jpdpb/issue/view/763

Samperio, N. (2017). Discovering Students’ Preference for Classroom Activities and Teachers’ Activity Use. Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J., 19(1), 51-66.

Sullivan, C. (2016). Student preferences and expectations in an English classroom. Hermes-Ir, 52, 35-47.

Zhu, D. (2012). Using games to improve students‘ communicative ability. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 3(4), 801-805.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26418/jeltim.v3i1.34964


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 by the author(s)

JOURNAL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING INNOVATIONS AND MATERIALS (JELTIM) is published by the Language Center of Universitas Tanjungpura in collaboration the with the English Language Teaching Materials (ELTeaM) association  [Download MoU]. The publication of this journal is indexed by Arjuna (Sinta-2)Google Scholar, ROAD, Garuda, Scilit, Crossref, Research Gate, and Dimensions


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution
NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

View My Stats