Academic Discussion Tasks: A Study of EFL Students’ Perspectives

| March 28, 2007
Academic Discussion Tasks: A Study of EFL Students Perspectives

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Eunhee Han
Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Bio Data
Han Eun hee is a Ph.D. candidate at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania specializing in TESOL and Composition. She is currently working on her dissertation. She taught College English and Research English to undergraduate students at IUP. Prior to studies at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, she received an M.Ed. in Education specialty of English as a Second Language at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts. She has taught ESL Writing and Applied Linguistics classes at ENC and in the local community. Her research interests are in ESL/EFL teacher education, second language writing, and literacy studies.

High level oral and aural language skills are needed to participate with native speakers in class discussions. This study reveals the findings from interview research where the researcher reports on the EFL graduate students expressions of the particular difficulties and challenges in their academic programs needed to satisfy the oral skills based academic requirements for both male and female interviewees. 21 students from various graduate programs participated in this study. This study shows the EFL students low satisfaction with their infrequent participation in the group discussion environment. EFL students tend to prefer small group discussions because they can participate in class discussion with less anxiety without being forced to compete within a larger group of native speakers. When EFL students participate in class discussion, insufficient content knowledge is a key issue which for most EFL students serves only to inhibit their active participation in class discussion. The amount of reading a student does to build a pre-class knowledge base for a given topic or issue insures a higher frequency of participation in class discussion.

See page 8-21

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