What If There Is Nobody Around to Speak English? Then Keep Your Voice Diary

  •  Ismail Yaman    


This study aims to explore English Language Teaching (ELT) prep-class students’ perceptions of keeping personal voice diaries via a voice recorder as a way to extend speaking practice beyond the classroom walls. Following a ten-week treatment under which 12 voluntary students attending ELT prep-class at Ondokuz Mayıs University kept voice diaries in English outside the school on a regular daily basis, data were collected through semi-structured interviews. The qualitative analyses of the students’ answers indicate that an overwhelming majority of them regard speaking as a challenging skill due to factors like lack of fluency and excessive anxiety. As for the accessible chances to practice oral English, most of the participants report that there is an apparent inadequacy of opportunities beyond school. When asked about the contribution of individual voice diaries to the alleviation of the lack-of-practice-opportunities problem, almost all of the participants except one evaluate keeping voice diaries as an effective means of speaking improvement. It is praised mostly for its boosting effect on self-expression skills, fluency, and pronunciation; and for its lowering effect on anxiety and stress. In line with the findings of this study, it can be concluded that there is no equivalent substitute for the improvement of oral skills through dialogue and interaction between human beings in flesh and blood; however, keeping voice diaries on an individual basis can somehow help EFL learners overcome the limited conditions they face during their struggle to practice and improve oral English.

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