Using TedTalks in ‘English Corners’ to boost academic oracy of postgraduate students in a Chinese EMI university

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Non-native English-speaking postgraduate students, especially those with Chinese as the first language (L1), suffer particularly from difficulties with academic English speaking. Given the reduced motivation and opportunities to communicate in English in and out of class due to homogeneous L1 background, the assumption of developing academic speaking skills in a naturalistic way is problematic. This chapter showcases the 12-week Speaking Clinics, an innovative speaking support offering open to all XJTLU master’s students. The Speaking Clinics aim at providing students with opportunities for interactive speaking practice after class. In a 50-minute session every week, students engage in multiple rounds of discussions related to the summary of a selected TED talk, the presentation skills used by the speaker, and reflections on their use of discussion strategies. Feedback from students shows that the Speaking Clinics are highly valued as opportunities to practice speaking skills outside class and that TED talks were a helpful tool integrated into the design and delivery of the Speaking Clinics. Notably, a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere facilitated by teachers is underscored by both survey respondents and focus group participants. This also contributes to their positive experience. Overall, survey respondents reported perceived improvements in language proficiency gains and affective effects. Among them, improvement in critical thinking skills, abilities to engage in discussions, and listening comprehension is highly evaluated. The positive feedback from students echoes recommended practices from literature on developing academic discussion skills and supports learning values of TED talks as educational resources to boost learner motivation and autonomy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEAP in Asia: XJTLU Impact
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


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