Educators generally agree that the mastery of speaking skills is a necessity for most EFL and ESL learners (Ounis, 2017). While scholars debate which aspect of speaking should be a priority, interactional or transactional, Klingen links both usages. 3 of Klingen’s (2000) 12 functions of speaking: personal, descriptive and explanatory are relevant to this project. The impetus of this research is deeply rooted within the immediate needs of our students and their future professional goals. Student comments gathered from previous workshops and course evaluations reflect the desire for more focus on speaking skills. The aim of this action research is to improve confidence and communicative ability by implementing classroom-based speaking assessment tools. Research questions are: 1) To what extent can our speaking assessment tools help students better express themselves in English? 2) To what extent can teaching towards this assessment help improve self-efficacy, awareness of, and confidence in students’ ability? This study took a mixed-method approach where assessment results provide quantitative data and pre- and post-course survey results provide qualitative data. The project structure not only proved helpful in assessing students’ skills, but surveys showed that student confidence in their ability to express themselves in English increased by 4.2%, while general English skill increased by 13.9%. The median grade differential between finals and midterms was 25%. Future research will focus on the design and implementation of similar speaking assessment tools for first graders to start promoting autonomy and mitigating performance anxiety.
Kinsella Valies, University of Shizuoka, Japan
James Herbach, University of Shizuoka, Japan
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)
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