High School Students’ Topic Preferences and Oral Development in an English-only Short-term Intensive Language Program

  •  Hui-Chen Hsieh    


Developing the ability to speak English is a daunting task that has long been omitted in a test-driven pedagogy context (Chang, 2011; Li, 2012a, 2012b; Chen & Tsai, 2012; Katchen, 1989, 1995). Since speaking is not tested for school admissions, most students are not motivated to learn it (Chang, 2011; Chen & Tsai, 2012). Now, globalization makes English Lingua Franca; speaking English is definitely bound to be one key capability to connect oneself with the world (Graddol, 2007). Thus, teachers strive to help learenrs learn English by selecting appropriate and interesting topics to motivate them to learn more effectively (Dörnyei & Csizér, 1998; Spratt, Pulverness & Williams, 2011), especially in speaking. However, with only one internationally published research on Taiwanese college students’ topics preference (Chen, 2012) and none on high school students, selecting appropriate topics seems challenging. Consequently, this study intended to investigate the potential topics that motivated learners to practice speaking and their oral performance. The results show that learners preferred topics related to their daily life and their speaking improved in terms of speech unit, clause unit, and words uttered.

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