Capstone Project Title
Oral language proficiency requires more than simply knowing a language’s linguistic structure; learners must be able to quickly retrieve the relevant information to speak in a comparatively short amount of time. Speaking is the most fundamental language skill, and according to many researchers, the most complex as well, especially for adult learners. While many, perhaps most, adult ESL students rate the ability to speak fluently as the primary reason they are in class, practicing the skill can invoke considerable anxiety, which may stall or block learning. Reticence to speak typically results from anxiety, low self-confidence, or cultural expectations that discourage students from speaking unless spoken to. In addition, educational requirements and training for teachers of adult “non-academic” or “life-skills” ESL vary widely across the country, with many states not even requiring a bachelor’s degree. These factors led to the research question for this capstone project: Which are the best instructional practices teachers can use to build oral proficiency while minimizing anxiety and maximizing engagement? In response, a 10-hour professional development workshop was created for instructors of adult ESL, based on Malcolm Knowles’ principles of andragogy and Wiggin's and McTighe's Understanding by Design. Participants understand how anxiety can impede oral language development and discover pedagogical techniques for developing accuracy, fluency, and intelligibility that are engaging and confidence-boosting. Workshop participants are assessed to determine if learning objectives were met. The results of the assessments, as well as general feedback from participants, will inform future trainings.
Adult Education, ESL/ ELLs, Staff Development, Teachers/ Teaching
Cherry, Caroline, "An Investigation of the Best Practices to Develop Oral Proficiency in Adult English Learners That Are Engaging and Minimize Anxiety" (2021). School of Education and Leadership Student Capstone Projects. 760.
School of Education Student Capstone Projects