Speaking Strategies Used by High and Low Oral Proficiency Groups

Speaking Strategies Used by High and Low Oral Proficiency Groups
    Language learning strategies are used to accomplish speaking, listening, reading, vocabulary, or writing activities when learners engage themselves in language lessons (Oxford, 1990, p.9). If learners know that there is a task to complete or a problem to solve, they will use whatever metacognitive, cognitive, socioaffective strategies to accomplish all these language activities even if they themselves are not quite aware of what kinds of strategies they use. Focusing on speaking strategies, my research analyzes and compares the different speaking strategies that are used by high and low oral proficiency groups of students of EFL.
    A total of 9 students at NTUT participated in the study; 7 of them were female English major students while 2 of them were male non-English major students. None of them had experience studying abroad. The participants’ ages ranged from 20 to 24 years old. They were divided into two groups which are English major and non-English major students to have a short discussion in English lasting for about 15 minutes, and their discussion was audio taped. In this conversation, the students were asked to pick their favorite topic to discuss. English major students discussed the exhibition on Qing dynasty taking place in the museum; non- English major students talked about their favorite Kung fu movies. The test taker played the role of interviewer or conversation partner.
Data analysis
    Step1: To count sentences that were produced by each of the students. To note down errors or mistakes that were made by each of the students on the basis of the grammatical rules of the English language, and I classified them as members of the high or low proficiency group.
    Step2: To identify speaking strategies through observation on the spot and the analysis of audio data.
    Step3: To classify speaking strategies into eight types-social- affective...