FACILITATING SPEAKING PROFICIENCY AS A TEACHER THROUGH ACTION INQUIRY
This paper aims to explore how to facilitate my speaking proficiency as an English teacher through action inquiry. It sets out the action reflection steps I took to seek personal improvement and professional development. The objectives of English education in Taiwan have gone through a number of major reforms, as the country continues adjusting to globalization and the secularization of information technology. The policy of enhancing English proficiency has been gathering momentum each year, to the point of becoming ‘a national sport’ (Chang, 2006). The introduction of English language instruction is conducted at all levels and in various forms. Due to Joint University Entrance Examinations which excludes the test of speaking and listening, English as a foreign language is taught with maximum emphasis on reading comprehension and grammar. This is mainly because, in the current English education system in Taiwan, teachers are required to teach English with an emphasis on knowledge of grammar and using text books full of reading materials. It is not surprising therefore that English teachers’ oral communication has become a matter concern. Many teachers including myself lack an acceptable speaking proficiency. Whole language education, an integration of the ‘four skills’ (Brown, 2001), for English teachers in Taiwan is difficult to implement in an EFL classroom because of insufficient English speaking ability by the English teaching force. More precisely, facilitating English speaking proficiency as a teacher has become essential. In this study my research question is, “How do I facilitate my speaking proficiency as an English teacher through action inquiry?” I work collaboratively and supportively with the three group members, Angel, Mei and Vivian, also from Taiwan, and combine practical action together with research. I am not only engaging in self-reflection but also trying to facilitate my speaking proficiency through action inquiry with regard to personal and professional change.