The aim of this presentation is to demonstrate how an exploratory course for first year MA students of English at the University of Padova investigates the effectiveness and benefits of using podcasts in a C1 speaking course to enhance spoken production. The curriculum blends formal and informal in-class speaking, recordings, as well as the creation of original audio content by students to further develop their speaking skills. One of the aims of the course is to foster greater awareness of one's own voice and intonation when speaking English. This is achieved through peer and self-assessments of video-taped presentations and audio-recordings. An implicit objective is to enhance self-confidence by giving them the opportunity to take ownership of English through the act of creating original content themselves.
Thus far the findings from the 2018-2019 academic year. The participants (n=36) were given a questionnaire at the start of the course, investigating the students' familiarity with podcasts, any past experiences recording themselves speaking English, as well as a self-assessment of their speaking skills using the 'I can' descriptors in the CEFR. The data also includes responses from a follow-up questionnaire given at the end of the course. Based on the responses, there appears to be an increase in appreciation of stress and intonation when listening to first language (L1) speakers of English. According to the findings, 77% of the students found the course quite to very effective on a Likert scale of 1 to 5 (1=not at all and 5=very). Additionally, 80% of the students considered podcasts quite to very useful in improving their language skills.
The data set is quite limited as this was the first year the course was offered; however, with additional data from the 2019-2020 academic year, further correlation between awareness of speech patterns and perceived improvement in participants' speaking skills will be investigated. At this point in the study there appears to be a recognition on the part of the participants themselves, that they are no longer just students of the English language but proprietors who are able to create original content with a certain degree of mastery.
Questa presentazione illustra l'uso di podcast in un corso di lingua inglese sulle competenze orali offerto al primo anno di un corso magistrale di un'università italiana. Verrà descritta la metodologia utilizzata per familiarizzare gli studenti con i diversi tipi di linguaggio presenti in diversi generi di podcast, oltre ad un'introduzione alle varie attività proposte nell'ambito delle 10 settimane del corso semestrale. I risultati dei questionari somministrati ai partecipanti (n=36) suggeriscono inoltre come il concentrarsi sulle capacità d'ascolto e l'incoraggiare gli studenti a diventare creatori di contenuti possano condurre ad una migliore comprensione dell'intonazione e dei costrutti del parlato e ad una maggiore padronanza del linguaggio.
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Amy Elizabeth Han has been an EFL teacher at the University of Padua since the fall of 2002. She holds a BA in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Irvine and an MSc from the University of Oxford in Teaching English Language in University Settings.