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Promoting interaction and lowering speaking anxiety in an EMI course

Yu-Ting Kao
National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan


The English language is continuing to establish itself as a global lingua franca in a period of unprecedented globalization. There is a fast-moving worldwide shift from English being taught as a foreign language (EFL) to English being the medium of instruction (EMI) for academic subjects such as science, mathematics, geography, and medicine. University students are expected to participate in group discussions and give academic presentations actively. However, promoting English language fluency and communicative abilities among students is challenging, let alone the added stress of evaluating students’ English proficiency which may heighten their anxiety levels. Kao and Tsou (2017) also indicated that only a few EMI teachers in Taiwan adopted oral assessment tools to assess university students’ performance. To further investigate how the assessment tool supports students’ oral English proficiency and lowers their anxiety level, Group Dynamic Assessment (G-DA) has been applied in the EMI context to investigate the simultaneous effects on university students’ oral production and speaking anxiety.

Research questions regarded the extent to which the G-DA intervention has an impact on (1) university students’ speaking performance and (2) their speaking anxiety. Data included 48 first-year students’ speaking performance on TOEFL integrated speaking tasks and their responses to the teacher’s mediation in groups. Different treatments were applied in the G-DA experimental and non-dynamic assessment (NDA) control groups. A pretest, posttest, and delayed posttest method was applied to examine the effect of G-DA in promoting participants’ speaking performance. The Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) designed by Horwitz et al. (1986) was also adapted to understand the extent of participants’ speaking anxiety. Results indicated that (1) G-DA could be a beneficial tool for assessing English oral proficiency in the EMI context, and (2) the procedures involved in G-DA helped participants feel less anxiety when prompted to respond orally.


Group Dynamic assessment, English oral proficiency, speaking anxiety, English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI)

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023