International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Storytelling Pedagogy to Reduce Speaking Anxiety in EFL Students: A Practical Application
Tsu-Chia Julia Hsu

Recently, the demand from industry is for young people who, over and above a functional competency in foreign languages, have the ability to convey in their speaking the personal confidence that reassures clients that they are in good hands, as well as the quick-thinking analytical skills necessary to respond logically to a complex range of evolving foreign client needs. Answering to the needs of these industries, university language departments have started to focus more on the development of students' public speaking skills. Hence, finding effective ways to train students in such skills has assumed greater importance in recent years. However, many Taiwanese EFL college-level students have become increasingly unable to respond effectively to the difficulties of developing self-confidence in English speaking, making it difficult for educators to formulate an effective pedagogy for dealing with the issue, especially among differing levels of students. The purpose of the paper is to present research that focuses on determining how the use of storytelling as a pedagogical strategy can help college students preempt and diminish anxiety caused by their perceived difficulties in English speaking. The methodology of the study is an action research in which the students are given storytelling tasks. The goal is to determine how utilizing the storytelling approach as a pedagogical strategy can help college students preempt and diminish the anxiety that prevents them from developing oral competency. This study also seeks to identify those storytelling tasks that benefit EFL learners the most and seeks to determine whether a storytelling pedagogy incorporating a cooperative learning approach enables intermediate and/or lower-intermediate learners to enhance their public speaking skills while stepping out of their comfort zone. To address these issues, this action research utilizes storytelling tasks of varying complexity in order to gauge the efficacy of differing tasks on improving a student’s public speaking skills. Participants shall be a class of students from a Science and Technology University in the north of Taiwan. A total of twelve lessons shall be undertaken in one semester, with content focused on developing the students’ linguistic skills, as well as developing in the students positive attitudes towards instruction. Both individual and group work shall be assigned. A pre/post anxiety scale shall be used to measure the students' speaking anxiety. It is hoped that this study will be able to provide a sample curriculum to aid educators to diminish students' speaking anxiety, thereby training confident speakers to meet the requirements of Taiwan's globalizing industries.

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