Teachers' and students' perceptions of flow in speaking activities
Ak Şentürk, Burcu
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This study was designed to investigate the degree to which flow occurred in different kinds of tasks in speaking courses and examined teachers’ and students’ perceptions about the existence of flow experience in speaking courses. The study was conducted over a two-week period with 163 elementary level university students and their eight instructors of English in eight different speaking classes at Zonguldak Karaelmas University English Language Preparatory School. Designated speaking tasks were class discussion, role-play, language games, interview, information-gap, problem solving, picture narration, and storytelling. Data were collected through the administration of a questionnaire to measure students’ affective responses to tasks after each designated task, a short survey on teachers’ perceptions about each task and interviews with these eight teachers about their perceptions about flow theory, their flow experiences in their lessons and the degree to which students experience flow in the activities. Student means were used to investigate the motivational potential of tasks. Data were further analyzed using ANOVA tests in order to explore the differences in the experience of flow among the eight different activities. The qualitative and quantitative analyses indicated that flow exists in language classes; however, there is a significant difference among each task. The findings revealed that the class discussion activity produced more flow for both teachers and the students, whereas the information-gap activity resulted in more apathy. Results also showed that there is a significant relationship between the type of the activity and affective engagement in terms of students’ perception of task control, task appeal, focused attention and challenge. Overall the analysis showed that when activities included the four dimensions of flow, the students were more likely to perceive flow. The findings also revealed that teachers could facilitate the flow experience for students by developing tasks that might lead to flow. Lastly, the findings showed that an interactional pattern of group work produced significantly better results.