52 EFL students were enrolled in a two-hour Speaking III course. At first, the students were shy, refused to talk, could not generate ideas and produce correct sentences. Three months later, students’ speaking ability significantly improved. They could speak fluently using correct grammar and pronunciation and could easily generate ideas. Improvement was due to efficient task-based instruction. Each week a variety of small speaking tasks were practiced individually, in pairs and in small groups. The students were divided into groups in advance, had to prepare for the following week’s tasks at home. The task objective was stated. I made sure the students understood what they were supposed to do. At the beginning of every class session, a public speaking tip was given. Vocabulary items, a function, or a grammatical structure that might help them express themselves was written on the board and explained briefly. Then the students had to rearrange the chairs, and practice each task. I went around, sat with each group, listened, gave feedback, helped and encouraged. Activities were always performed within a time limit. The best group was given extra credit. Students were encouraged to speak and not to worry about mistakes. To help students speak in front of class, I would smile at them, assure them they could do it, prompt them with a sense of humor using questions or key words and praise performance. Quizzes were conducted in the language lab and required completion of several tasks. Students were handed the tasks on paper, given time to think and plan responses before recording them. I listened to the tapes, wrote comments on strengths and weaknesses and words of encouragement for each student. Samples of students’ oral presentations, students’ views, and T-test results of pre- and posttests, and descriptive statistics of the quizzes will be provided.

Prof. Reima Al-jarf
King Saud University
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
http://faculty.ksu.edu.sa/aljarf

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