Investigation of Factors Influencing Malaysian ESL Learners’ English Speaking Skills
Speaking skills are crucial to develop effective communication. It is known to be the most important skill to be equipped with among all the four language skills to enable one to communicate in this global world. ESL learners find it difficult to speak in English despite learning the English Language in primary and secondary school. This can be clearly seen especially if they do not have good command of the language. This study aims to examine ESL learner’s perception of the factors influencing their English-speaking skills. Qualitative research design was employed whereby the data was collected through semi structured interviews. Forty students and four teachers were selected from an independent Chinese school in Malaysia as participants of this research. The students were interviewed to identify the factors that influence the students’ English-speaking skills and the teachers were interviewed to gain their perspective on the ways to help improve the English-speaking skills among the ESL learners. The findings of this research indicate students have fear of making mistakes, low confidence, shyness, introversion and are anxious when speaking in English. The teachers believe having topic-based discussion, role play and pair work are essential in helping the ESL learners to show improvement in the speaking skills.
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