"What did the students do last summer?" : Teaching English oral skills in Finnish EFL classrooms

Show full item record


Title: "What did the students do last summer?" : Teaching English oral skills in Finnish EFL classrooms
Alternative title: "Mitä oppilaat tekivät viime kesänä?" : Englannin suullisten taitojen opetus suomalaisten koulujen englannin kielen tunneilla
Author: Airaksinen, Mia
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2022
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202211223827
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Englannin kielen ja kirjallisuuden maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in English Studies
Magisterprogrammet i engelska språket och litteraturen
Specialisation: ei opintosuuntaa
no specialization
ingen studieinriktning
Abstract: There has been a growing interest towards teaching English oral skills in Finnish EFL classrooms, for example in the form of the public and official discussion about an oral exam being introduced into the matriculation exam for the English subject. Despite this interest, a recent study about Finnish 7th graders’ English skill levels suggest that students are struggling to perform in English orally on a required level. This thesis aims to shed light on Finnish EFL teachers’ personal attitudes towards the importance of teaching English oral skills and to investigate whether pronunciation and communication skills are taught in Finnish EFL classrooms. Alongside the inquiry about the presence of English oral skills in EFL classrooms and the teachers’ attitudes towards teaching it, feedback provision on the students’ oral skills is also looked into, as it offers important knowledge on whether teachers consider it as something worth putting their effort into, and whether students are given a chance to improve their oral skills and if they are provided guidance on how to do so. This thesis used a Google Forms -online survey as the method for collecting data, and a total of 28 participants took part in it. The survey results were analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Quantitative methods were used to produce charts to showcase the frequencies of different oral skills occurring during a typical English class and as a way to generalize the findings in order to compare them to previous studies. Qualitative methods, namely interpretive content analysis, was used for analyzing the participant teachers’ free comments. The results show that teachers consider English oral skills as important to teach and they teach them multiple times a week in class. Out of the many aspects of pronunciation that were investigated, ‘phonemes’, ‘word emphasis’ and ‘sentence stress’ were taught the most often. Communication skills were taught considerably less frequently than pronunciation, and the most popular exercise type used to practice communication skills was ‘RPGs / simulations’. As for feedback provision, the teachers’ opinions on its effectiveness varied and many expressed concerns with providing it. The biggest reason for not providing feedback was the fear of offending the student’s feelings. Different styles of feedback provision were investigated, and it turned out that teachers had a strong preference for ‘implicit feedback’ and avoided using ‘explicit’ feedback. Many teachers used both immediate and delayed feedback, but despite this, there was a stronger preference for delayed feedback visible in the free comments given by the participant teachers. The implications drawn from this thesis are multifaceted. Teachers are hesitant about providing feedback on their students’ English oral skills, which means students are not receiving information about their personal skill levels and this makes it harder for students to improve. Another important note is that the Finnish national core curriculum, which the teachers are required to follow, does not distinguish between oral skills and written skills effectively enough. The NCC could be updated to guide the teachers’ focus more strongly towards incorporating oral skills into a daily in-class topic that should be evaluated at least on some level, to highlight the skill’s importance. This in turn would require that pedagogical studies for teaching English would also need to better prepare teacher trainees for teaching different aspects of oral skills.
Subject: English oral skills
language education
Finnish education

Files in this item

Total number of downloads: Loading...

Files Size Format View
Airaksinen_Mia_tutkielma_2022.pdf 3.329Mb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record