Pre-Practicum Experience of Pre-Service English Language Teachers in Turkey Through a Speaking Club Project to Improve Their Speaking Skills: A Case Study


Akel Oğuz M. Ö., Külekçi G.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LANGUAGE ACADEMY, vol.6, no.5, pp.619-634, 2018 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 6 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.18033/ijla.4035
  • Journal Name: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LANGUAGE ACADEMY
  • Journal Indexes: EBSCO Education Source, Linguistic Bibliography, MLA - Modern Language Association Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.619-634
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

In Turkey teaching speaking English is a highly controversial issue while even most of the English language teachers themselves are not competent enough in the necessary communication skills in such a foreign language setting. The problem was tried to be solved through some top-down solutions like making the curriculum more communicative by different governmental efforts. However, the change should start with the English Language Teaching (ELT) departments because a qualified teacher can solve all these problems when given freedom. This study, therefore, aimed to investigate the probable effects of a ‘Speaking Club’ project held in a secondary school during which junior pre-service teachers (PSTs) from an ELT department took part in 2-6 people speaking groups for 10 weeks to improve students’ speaking skills and wrote reflections on their own communicative skills, how to teach these skills, thoughts about the project and perceptions towards being an EFL teacher in Turkey. In this qualitative study, thematic analysis was applied to the data collected from the reflective journals of 27 volunteering PSTs and the focus group interview was held at the end of the project with 10 PSTs. Findings from the analysis demonstrated that they benefited a lot from the project in terms of becoming aware of their weaknesses and improving their speaking and teaching skills. The most critical implication of this study is the urgency to equip PSTs with the necessary communication skills as early as possible. This will also enable pre-service English Language teachers to be well-prepared for their school-based practicum.

Keywords: Speaking skills, pre-service EFL teachers, ELT in Turkey.