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Improving English Speaking Skills In English Major Students

English language has become the global language which dominates in various fields throughout the world (Baker, 2003). Similarly to Diab, 2006 English is not the language that is used by the largest group of people, though it plays influential role in many fields such as in business world, technology, science, communication, and education. High proficiency in English is required for all of these fields (Wiriyachitra, 2002). English, especially in education is essential to develop human resources which seem to be most important in development of countries (). Therefore, the national governments across the world are trying to change English curricular in order to develop communicative abilities of students (Wedell, 2008).
Specifically, since Thailand is a country that English which is involved in academic, career and travelling is a foreign language, teaching and learning English is significant to improve English language proficiency of Thai’s learners (Khamkhien, 2010). Consequently, Thailand educational plan () introduces English at every stage of public schools. Furthermore, students must pass the examination or the standardized test of English in some ability in order to study in government colleges and universities (Baker, 2003; Wiriyachitra, 2002).
However, based on two international English tests: TOEFL and TOEIC, scores of Thais have indicated that Thais’ English proficiency level is unsatisfied in all four skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking (Khamkhien, 2010; Wiriyachitra, 2002). Therefore, because of the result of these two tests teaching and learning of English in Thailand and English language curriculum in developing English abilities of learners emphasize on “language pedagogy” (Khamkhien, 2010, p. 184).
Then, English language curriculum was revised many times with the purpose of developing students’ English language proficiency in order to provide students the opportunities to connect the changing world and globalization (Foley, 2005; Khamkhien, 2010). In terms of English language teaching approach which was introduced in 2001 by the Ministry of Education through the English language curriculum is child-centered (Foley, 2005; Khamkhien, 2010). In fact, at schools and in higher education English is taught by non-native speaking teachers (baker, 2003) who carry the old strategies in teaching language that are teacher-centered and grammar translation approaches (Bhaowises, n.d.).
1.2 Background: Problems in learning and teaching speaking
Since Thailand teach English as a foreign language, Teaching and learning English in Thailand have emphasized on language capacity
Nevertheless, teaching and learning English in primary, secondary schools and university levels have faced many difficulties. According to Biyaem (1997) cited in Wiriyachitra (2002) describes what difficulties teachers and students in primary and secondary schools have faced in English language classroom. For teachers, the difficulties in teaching are due to teachers’ qualifications (Wedell, 2008), and they have workloads and too many students in a class (Biyaem, 1997 cited in Wiriyachitra, 2002). A large group of teachers of English lacks of appropriate levels of English, and uses a lot of inappropriate materials (wedell, 2008). Similarly, Thai English teachers who have inability as English teachers are the majority in all levels (Khamkhien, 2010, and many teachers who graduated from universities lack essential English skills, especially the ability to speak English (Al Hamzi, 2003 cited in Wedell, 2008). As for students, they wish to speak English fluently, but face with language barriers such as pronunciation and grammar usage (Biyaem, 1997 cited in Wiriyachitra, 2002). Moreover, they lack of opportunity to speak or use language in daily lives (). They are too shy to speak with their classmates because they are being passive and have little speaking activities to practice ().
In addition, all of four skills, teaching and learning of speaking skills seem to be the most crucial part, because in the classroom almost of instructions are given in Thai as many as teachers who are non-native speakers teach English without naturalness, and having no interaction occurs in the classroom (Khamkhien, 2010; Wiriyachitra, 2002).
These difficulties in primary and secondary schools, where the English curriculum and environment do not meet the demand of the learners, and do not focus on speaking, have affected on learning English in university level where listening and speaking skills are most used (Wiriyachitra, 2002). Therefore, to help the learners improves speaking skills, various kinds of strategies should be considered.
Since reading may be the first discipline that students of a language come into contact with, it may help the learners to master in speaking because reading establishes correlation of proficiency (Mody, Studdert-Kennedy,

Chinese Education And Australia Education

1.0 Introduction Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, there are many tumultuous changes in every aspects of Chinese society, and the education of Chinese Mainland also got rapid development. China’s education development has achieved a high level due to the success of market-oriented socialist economy after 1978. These changes including the expansion of education scale and system, the gradual elimination of education inequality, and nurturing of many engineers and scientists were tightly linked to the national education policies’ adjustment and shifts (Tsang 2000, p. 2). For the past few years, the Chinese government has input huge efforts to the multi-level education system, which contained the nine-year compulsory education, vocational and technical education, adult education, and the higher education (Chinese Education Development, 2003). The regular higher education of China has become more rational on structural pattern and the education quality was markedly improved. With the implementation of the policy of reform and opening, the international cooperation and exchange in higher education entered a new stage. Each year many Chinese students are studying abroad, more and more foreign students seek to study in China. But comparing to other advanced countries’ education level, the Chinese higher education is still on a common level. For example, in the World University Rankings 2011-2012 by Times in UK, there were only three Chinese Mainland universities appearing in top 200, but the Australia has seven (The World University Rankings 2011-2012).
Australia’s higher education has high quality and comprehensive system and is prestigious in the world. It attracted many foreign students to finish their higher education in Australia, such as Chinese students. Australian higher education could provide high quality and world- recognized education and offer competitive lower tuition fees. Many students viewed the Australian education system as of world-class quality to be their stuffy broad destination. So the China and Australia both have their advantages and disadvantages in the higher education. For this reason, the research paper will firstly provide an analysis of current research into the differences behind the higher education performance of China and Australia from several aspects. Then based on research findings, it will discuss the broad reasons why Mainland Chinese are not establishing strong international higher education. This research will provide an understanding of the potential problems in Chinese higher education, which may enable solutions for government to improve its efficient development.
2.0 Literature Review Nowadays the education is becoming more and more internationalization and globalization, Yang (2005) illustrated that Chinese higher education also gradually become the internationalization, and the forms or features of education are also different between different countries. Especially, Marginson (2006) pointed out that there were obvious national competition and global competition in global higher education, which was due to the pattern of asymmetrical resources and one-way global flows. In this essay, it compares the advantages and disadvantages of higher education in Chinese and Australia.
Through a research conducted by Marginson (2006), it was found that inequality existed in university hierarchy in higher education between Australia and China. Australia obtained more elite-universities, and pursues different global strategies with varying leverage global activity, making their higher education at a high status. Australia speak English as dominate language, and its well-funded research infrastructure allow universities to deploy their best performing faculty, concentrate strength and secure intellectual leadership, which is a positional advantage compared to China. Australia has benefited from the students migration from importing country such as China. And it also increases the funding input in target Asian languages education (Bianco, 2008). Zha (2009) drew that Chinese universities were being structured in a hierarchical way according to functions and goals, and it exceedingly depended on state financing and only the provision could not satisfy the growing demand of enrollment expansion for higher education.
Another difference is the private higher education, which was an important sector of education. Wang and Secombe (2004) found that privatization of higher education was more the case of public privatization in Australia while in China it took the form of independent privatization. Private tertiary education in Australia is very common and without the difference on the regional economic development, which was advantage to promote the development of education. But it also existed unfair in higher education. White (2003) indicated that senior academic women in Australian Universities, as elsewhere, continue to experience both direct and indirect discrimination to the disadvantage of the academic development in Australia. In China the overall standard of private colleges varies significantly in different regions, the relatively developed provinces obtain private higher institutions with better conditions. The quality and reputation of Chinese private higher education were at low social status. Lack of enough funding and policy supporting seemed the disadvantages to achieve fine expansion of enrolments, quality and efficiency. Su (2012) insisted that the government should take into consideration policy options for quality improvements, and the social donations to the private education sector should be exempt from tax. The establishment of quality evaluation mechanisms by Chinese government, such as an official rating system, showed the advantages to safeguard educational quality, ensure equal opportunities and improve overall efficiency.
The specific learning and teaching system in higher education is also not the same. In Australia universities, teachers have always held the dual role of contributing to and judging student development, and students have always simultaneously juggled dependence on their teachers and the requirement to demonstrate independence of them (White, 2007). Such education mode viewing students as customers could be advantages for shaping students’ independent thinking and innovation ability, the ability to solve problems and strong competition ability. This view was also could be found in the research on differences between Chinese and Australian higher education by Zhang (2011). The teaching way of Chinese universities is the teacher-centered institution, and the teachers are used to directly inculcate theoretical knowledge infusion to students. Students have been used to passive reception, which causing themselves having strong imitation ability but lack of creativity.
These ideas were discussed in this review to draw to the point that there were China and Australia’s higher education have their own advantages and disadvantages. Mostly the Australian education system at university hierarchy, private higher education and learning and teaching mode comparing to Chinese, has many advantages for students increasing practical knowledge, shaping students’ comprehensive quality and endowing creative thinking. Although what has been drawn upon through this review has been highly important and relevant to the education study, what needs to be further researched is the difference of education returns in Chinese society and Australia society.
3.0 Discussion The higher education as an important part of education is becoming more and more valued. People through the higher education learning could obtain the professional skills, become qualified citizen in society ability, and get good income level after graduation. The outcome of the higher education should conform to the needs of social and economic construction and development. Now the global national and global competition make the higher education presents regional development imbalances and global unevenness and inequalities. It also led to a world-wide university hierarchy at the present. Australia and other English speaking countries, their many universities in higher education were ranked in the forefront of the university hierarchy. The economy of Australia is more developed, and it gets a high degree on the internationalization level of higher education. So a huge part of higher education students across national borders were imported into the English speaking nations, such as the USA, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand (Marginson, 2006). The Australia obtain more famous comprehensive research universities, and these outstanding faculty of high research performing universities could attract bright students which always came from affluent families. These tuition revenues could promote its expansion, research projects cooperation, rising donations to higher education (Marginson, 2006).
The Chinese higher education system also became expansion and diversi¬cation. Zha (2009) investigated a population of 594 Chinese universities in 2001, and he found that Chinese universities were forming a hierarchical way. Some Chinese university has being implementing internationalization, such as Zhongshan University, and it adopted international communication and trains with foreign universities (Yang, 2005). This change was affected by government forces and market intervention. Comparing to Australia, in Chinese higher education state appropriations and tuition fees are the main sources of revenue, which could not fulfill its expansion and integrated development.
Another difference is the private tertiary education between China and Australia. Nowadays the privatization of higher education is becoming a popular phenomenon in the world. The form of education privatization in China is independent privatization, and its private tertiary education includes the People-Run education and People-Run Gong Zhu education, which were usually ambiguous (Wang