Spoken English Research Group (SERG)


Determining the spoken English needs of students in the Foundation Development Year (FDY) with a view to catering more effectively for the demands of their future academic and professional lives

Action Points

- conducting research with groups of SU students, faculty and SL staff to gather information about the spoken English needs of FDY students

- documenting the findings of the research carried out

- presenting the findings of the research to SL staff (and SU if necessary)

- developing guidelines for the SL speaking program

- compiling a range of speaking tasks to exploit Beyond the Boundaries coursebooks

- liaising with other task groups on issues related to speaking

Progress so far

1. A questionnaire was sent to graduating students of the 2007-8 academic year and English instructors at the School of languages. At the same time interviews were held with faculty lecturers and the Writing Centre. The results were collated and analysed to specify the spoken English needs of students at SU. At present, sophomore students are completing a questionnaire to ascertain how effective the School of Languages has been in preparing students for their freshman year in terms of spoken English. The data from this final research group will help finalise the research stage of SERG's work.

2. While completing research and analyzing results SERG is also designing sample speaking tasks in line with the learning objectives of the teaching programme and the results that have already been obtained from the research. SERG is not only revisiting the existing speaking tasks in Beyond the Boundaries, but also creating entirely new tasks.

3. SERG has been liaising with other task groups namely syllabus development, assessment and writing. With the help of data from the research and discussions with other task groups, SERG will try to make suggestions for improvements to the teaching programme regarding speaking.

4. SERG aims to develop guidelines for the School of Languages speaking programme. This will mainly include the rationale of the speaking programme, findings from the needs analysis, key objectives with a reference to current syllabus objectives, task types and sample task sequences exemplifying the achievement of the objectives, implications for syllabus and assessment and suggested resources for teachers.