2013 Action Research in ELICOS Program

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Research theme   Participants & projects Publications



Research theme

The focus for the 2013 Action Research in ELICOS program was on the teaching, learning and assessing of speaking. In particular, through action research the program aimed to identify effective classroom interaction practices that enhance and integrate speaking skills development and take into account the assessment of learner progress and/or achievement.

Addressing speaking needs and monitoring and assessing the progress of learners in developing speaking are key areas of interest identified by staff at English Australia member colleges.


Research theme subtopics

Below is a list of issues that are related to the topic. 

Teaching speaking skills and strategies
• developing specific speaking skills (eg pronunciation, discourse management, spoken genre production)
• scaffolding classroom interaction to enhance speaking skill/strategy development
• exploring learner responses to specific teaching approaches (eg task-based, genre-based)
• designing materials and resources for speaking development
• monitoring task effectiveness for speaking development
• exploring technology for teaching/assessing speaking
• linking classroom activities and assessing progressLangports students

Learning speaking skills and strategies
• raising awareness of individual speaking skills and needs
• self-assessing speaking outside the classroom
• identifying personal goals for monitoring progress
• enhancing speaking participation in the classroom
• developing cross-cultural awareness of different spoken varieties
• developing metacognitive awareness of strategies for speaking development

Monitoring and assessing speaking
• exploring learning oriented assessment in speaking
• identifying the impact of formal speaking tests on learning
• preparing students for speaking tests/assessments
• incorporating appropriate speaking assessment tasks into classroom planning
• exploring the relationships between teaching speaking and testing speaking
• designing speaking tasks that feed into assessment
• exploring ways to balance exam preparation with general speaking development

We encourage Directors of Studies/academic managers to select some of these issues for a focus of professional development for their college.


Participants & projects

The following teachers were selected by the program Reference Group to participate in the 2013 program:

Simon Cosgriff

Curtin English, WA

Harnessing formative feedback for oral skills development

Tim Dodd & Selena Kusaka

La Trobe Melbourne, VIC

Using Web 2.0 synchronising technologies to provide better feedback on spoken academic 'texts'

Martin Dutton & Arizio Sweeting

Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education, University of Queensland, QLD

Preparing students to answer connected speech questions on the Cambridge English TKT Knowledge About Language Module

Angie Nazim & Emily Mason

UNSW Global, NSW

Preparing students for a spoken academic presentation in six hours

Becky Steven & Jessica Cobley

UWA Centre for English Language Teaching, WA

Using Web 2.0 technologies to enhance speaking fluency

Jennifer Wallace

English Language Company, NSW

Encouraging students to autonomously diagnose and resolve their grammar problems in speaking


2013 Action Research in ELICOS Program participants


Back (L-R): Jenny Wallace, Selena Kusaka, Tim Dodd, Jessica Cobley, Becky Steven, Emily Mason, Angie Nazim, Simon Cosgriff, Martin Dutton
Front: Anne Burns, Katherine Brandon, Arizio Sweeting 



Click here for a PDF summary of action research outcomes from the 2013 program.

Click here for full research reports published in Cambridge English Language Assessment's Research Notes 56.

Hard copies of both publications are available at no cost from the English Australian secretariat, easec@englishaustralia.com.au.

For more information about the projects please contact English Australia Professional Support & Development Officer, Katherine Brandon.