Developing Adults' Oral English Communicative Competence in an EFL Environment: Collaborative Studies of a Chinese EFL Teacher and Her Students
KeywordsOral English Communicative Competence Large-sized Classes TESOL EFL Environment Collaborative Studies
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AbstractEconomic and educational globalization presents Chinese college students with career and academic incentives to develop their oral English communicative competence; however, at the secondary level, students study English mainly for the purpose of written tests. As a result, their oral English learning is largely overlooked. In addition, significant challenges exist for learning oral English at the college level: large-sized classes, an English-as-a-foreign-language-learning (EFL) environment, traditional rote learning, student diversity, and different English-learning histories. This research aims at investigating effective teaching pedagogy suitable for large-sized college classes of students developing oral communicative competence in an EFL environment. With Vygotsky sociocultural theory as a foundation, I apply practitioner action research to conduct two phases of study. The action applies a collaborative, communication-oriented pedagogy in a large-sized oral English class. In phase one of the study, students' group or pair work on communicative activities promotes and facilitates their social interactions in an EFL environment that enhance comprehensible input and output. In phase two of the study, continual practicing of communicative activities in groups or pairs facilitates their oral English grammatical knowledge, speaking strategies and sociocultural discourse rules through meaning negotiation and EFL teacher and or learners' collaboration and assistance. Also, practicing communicative activities actively engages students in their own learning process and offers a new role for the EFL teacher: introducing language social rules, directing students to resources, encouraging peer-to-peer assistance, and focusing on feedback that enhances strategic competence. Therefore, I suggest that for developing students' oral English communicative competence in an EFL environment with large-sized classes, consistent group or pair work using diverse communicative activities should be applied.'