Conversation strategies in the ELT curriculum and their effect on EFL learners' oral proficiency exam performance
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This study aims to explore whether teachers‟ reported practices of teaching conversation strategies show any difference from students‟ perceptions on teaching these strategies in in-class activities. The study also investigates the extent to which explicit conversation strategy teaching affects the use of the strategies in oral proficiency exam context and the relationship between conversational strategy use and the scores candidates receive from speaking exams in terms of task completion and overall proficiency. The study was carried out with 261 tertiary level EFL learners and 19 English Language instructors at Bülent Ecevit University, School of Foreign Languages. To see the similarities and differences between teachers‟ reported practices of covering conversation strategy instruction and students‟ perceptions on strategy instruction in class, a content analysis of the course books was carried out to identify the conversation strategies presented by the teaching material. After that, student and teacher participants were administered questionnaires designed by the researcher on the basis of the result of the content analysis. In order to reveal the effect of conversational strategy use on oral proficiency exam performances, a content analysis of the video recordings of students‟ oral proficiency exam performances were examined to see evidence for successful execution of conversation strategies. The frequency of successful conversation strategy use and the scores students received from the task completion and overall proficiency band of the rubric was used to explore the effect of strategy use on oral exam scores. The results coming from the questionnaires showed that in 41 out of 50 items, teachers reported practices of and students‟ perceptions on in-class strategy training matched whereas in 9 items there was a mismatch between teacher and students responses. The results of the study also revealed that there was a moderate relationship between the use of conversation strategies and oral proficiency exam performances in terms of task completion and overall proficiency. In the light of the findings, the study provides insights with regards to conversational strategy instruction for future teaching practices. Stakeholders like curriculum developers, material designers, instructors and administrators can benefit from the results of the present study.
Communication strategy training
Oral proficiency exams
Overall proficiency in speaking