Proficient Speakers of English as a Foreign Language: A Focus-Group Study

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Authors:
Ali Dincer, Erzincan Binali Yildirim University, Turkey
Tevfik Dariyemez, Ataturk University, Turkey
Email: adincer@erzincan.edu.tr
Published: March 1, 2020
https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.8.1.05

Citation: Dincer, A, & Dariyemez, T. (2020). Proficient Speakers of English as a Foreign Language: A Focus-Group Study. IAFOR Journal of Education: Language Learning in Education, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.8.1.05


Abstract

Although English is the de facto language of communication across nations in today’s world, a limited number of foreign language learners are able to communicate well in English and perceive themselves as competent speakers. Investigating traits of proficient speakers of English and understanding the reasons behind their speaking skills can guide language teachers in creating supportive language learning contexts for their students. This study explores what proficient speakers of English do to gain success in speaking, and it sheds light on how to improve speaking skills in language learning. The study examines what factors play an important role in the language development of proficient speakers of English. Sixteen English as a foreign language (EFL) students who had the highest scores on English speaking tests volunteered for this study; four focus groups were created with four participants in each group. Content analysis results indicate that contextual factors – including self-practice, teacher factor, experience abroad, Turkish context, out-of-class technology use, and affective factors, including motivation and anxiety – are important for speaking enhancement. Findings clearly reveal that language learning should go beyond the confines of the school and be supported with technology-enhanced extracurricular exercises in EFL contexts. Moreover, what motivates language learners to study English and how they feel while speaking should be considered while teaching or planning their speaking lessons.

Keywords

speaking skills, proficient speakers, contextual factors, motivation, anxiety