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Pages: 4904-4908
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain

THE USE OF ONLINE FORUMS AND FACE TO FACE CLASSES TO ENHANCE SPEAKING SKILLS

R. Vurdien

White Rose Language School (SPAIN)
Computer technology plays an important role in language teaching and learning today. Consequently, online forums, also known as discussion boards, have the potential to enhance communication among students through engagement in collaborative tasks, thereby fostering critical thinking and knowledge construction. The asynchronous nature of the electronic discussion board appears to facilitate students’ exchange of views on various issues prior to oral communication in face-to-face classes. This study investigated the benefits of online forums in language learning, particularly from the students’ perceptions, and explored whether a blended approach comprising electronic and face-to-face interactions can result in the improvement of learners’ speaking skills.

The project was task-based and lasted for five months (January to June 2012). The participants were preparing for the C1 and C2 (Common European Framework of Reference) Cambridge ESOL examinations. An online forum was created for the out-of-class project. After reading selected topical articles, the participants were expected to comment on questions that would prompt discussion. Subsequent to thorough engagement in the online discussion of each article, which lasted for two weeks, a face-to-face discussion class was organised so that the participants could successfully share and expand on their contributions, whilst at the same time practising the new vocabulary and grammatical structures acquired during their electronic interaction.

A qualitative approach was adopted and data were gathered from the online discussion scripts, the face-to-face discussions, the two questionnaires administered at the beginning and end of the project and the interviews conducted individually on its conclusion. Finally, a survey in the form of a questionnaire consisting of fourteen statements was completed by the participants. In addition, three speaking tests (C1 and C2 levels) were administered at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the project to perceive the students’ progress.

The questionnaire results revealed that the students appreciated peer group discussion and adopted a positive attitude towards the use of online forums combined with face-to-face classes. They claimed that they had enhanced their language acquisition in terms of lexical and grammatical resources and had developed more confidence in speaking, particularly in public. Nevertheless, some problematized the fact of having to read the threaded online discussions prior to posting their views, whereas others deemed it an improvement in their reading skills.
@InProceedings{VURDIEN2013USE,
author = {Vurdien, R.},
title = {THE USE OF ONLINE FORUMS AND FACE TO FACE CLASSES TO ENHANCE SPEAKING SKILLS},
series = {7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-2661-8},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {4-5 March, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {4904-4908}}
TY - CONF
AU - R. Vurdien
TI - THE USE OF ONLINE FORUMS AND FACE TO FACE CLASSES TO ENHANCE SPEAKING SKILLS
SN - 978-84-616-2661-8/2340-1079
PY - 2013
Y1 - 4-5 March, 2013
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2013 Proceedings
SP - 4904
EP - 4908
ER -
R. Vurdien (2013) THE USE OF ONLINE FORUMS AND FACE TO FACE CLASSES TO ENHANCE SPEAKING SKILLS, INTED2013 Proceedings, pp. 4904-4908.
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