SL MASS Mastering Academic Speaking Skills

MASS1SL MASS (Mastering Academic Speaking Skills) Spring 2024

by Eren Benderli, Nazan Gelbal and Serpil Öz

We are excited to share the successful completion of the second round of our speaking project, SL MASS, designed to enhance English speaking proficiency among students at R4, R3, and R2. This project aims to empower our students, enhancing their communication skills and confidence in both academic and personal contexts.
The first round of the program spanned seven weeks and started in week 3 in Fall semester 2023-2024. It was structured with consecutive input sessions and practice sessions. Each input session covered speaking strategies and the corresponding practice session provided extensive speaking practice. Different from how we conducted the project in the Fall semester, sessions in the Spring semester were more practice oriented as students were already familiar with our speaking objectives and rubrics. There were eight sessions designed fully to offer practice activities for our students. The participants benefited from these extensive practice opportunities and performed well in this assessment-free atmosphere. Students who wanted to practice academic speaking more outside the classroom took advantage of these sessions. Additionally, we collected feedback from students after each session this term. Along the program, students answered these two questions; “How useful was the session for you today? And how did today’s session make you feel?” These questions encouraged students to reflect on specific sessions in detail and helped them see the link between the activities and our speaking objectives while answering.  We celebrated the successful completion of the program by having lunch together and awarded certificates to those who earned them.

MASS2Our students experienced a journey that enhanced their language proficiency and communication skills. The structured curriculum focused on fostering not only linguistic competence but also confidence in using English as a means of expression. Through engaging activities, interactive discussions, and real-life scenarios, students developed a better understanding of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. The regular speaking exercises provided a platform for students to overcome their inhibitions, enabling them to articulate their thoughts with greater fluency.

Below are some of the student feedback regarding our program:

It was good to expand my perspective thanks to the different thinking styles.
It was very interactive and fun to stand and constantly go to a different paper on the walls and discuss with various people.
It improved my ability to develop diverse ideas in different topics. Especially in the last activity, discussing the same question one by one with more than one person was very effective to find various opinions.
Tongue twisters and singing English songs were cool for tongue training so that I can become more fluent.
We selected written questions randomly and answered them one by one in pairs, and again as we were few, it was more useful.
We practiced in groups of 4s first and debated about ideas. I could show what I can do to improve my speaking and give more ideas about something. Then we learned about different learning styles and it helped me to.
I felt great and I felt that my speaking was improving.
Actually I had a great time because games that I played with a yarn are very helpful because we talked about our memories and after that we just talked briefly and it is good practice.
It was good and we used the hat for our perspectives that talking.Actually talking in the group make me a little bit uncomfortable but I feel the improvement about me.