1 Kaunas University of Technology (LITHUANIA)
2 Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LITHUANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 497-507
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.1086
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Learning to communicate orally is an important competence in itself as it equips students with a set of necessary skills to be used for the rest of their lives. Speaking is a significant competence for communication in all social, professional and academic discourse, and it is necessary for all language learners. Students need to have good oral communication skills in their personal lives, various social interactions, academic discourse, and develop them in their future professional context, where they will have meetings to attend, presentations to make, discussions to participate in, arguments to present, and teams to work with.

Oral communication in academic contexts is becoming increasingly important due to transition to innovative methods of teaching. Oral communication in a foreign language is a double challenge for a university student. Every student can have different needs, depending on the chosen discipline, language skills, cognitive level, cultural background, and many other factors. Developing oral communication competence in a foreign language can be crucial for students’ academic success. Presentations are an increasingly important part of undergraduate and postgraduate studies, used for both formative and summative assessments across different academic disciplines, as well as being part of the student seminar experience or any other oral communication activity (e.g. a course paper, Bachelor or Master degree thesis defence, etc.) in academic context. The research into English for Academic Purposes has grown; however, academic presentations remain a relatively under-researched area. The above indicates the problems related to foreign language teaching/learning at university level and presupposes the need to transition of teaching a foreign language for academic purposes, and, thus, innovating a foreign language subject syllabus regarding academic speaking skills.

Thus, oral presentations have become an increasingly important feature of Higher Education. The paper aims at presenting how/to what extent/whether developing abilities in making academic presentations can contribute to the development of oral communication skills in academic contexts. The purpose of the empirical research was to find out about students’ oral communication skills necessary for successful functioning in an academic context. Thus, this particular presentation is aimed at revealing and describing students’ evaluation of their own oral academic English skills regarding particularly the comparison of how good and how important their skills are.

Thus, the objectives of this article are:
(1) to describe how the students evaluate their oral academic English communication skills,
(2) to describe how the students evaluate the importance of oral academic communication skills,
(3) to analyse and compare the results regarding the differences of student assessment of oral academic English communication skills and their importance, and prepare recommendations for the English course curriculum innovations.

The research methodology is based on the conceptions of modern educational theory of constructivism in language learning. The research methods are descriptive document and scientific literature analysis, surveys (questionnaires) for quantitative data selection, and statistical data analysis. The analysis of the findings reveals higher education students’ needs for academic speaking at university level.
Oral communication, academic context, academic English, oral presentation, student point of view.