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Board games and Taiwanese college students’ communicative competence in English

Ya-Yu Cloudia Ho
National Defense University, Taipei, Taiwan


Globalization has urged the need to cultivate English professionals in college. After four-year college education, the average scores of Taiwanese students in English graduation threshold usually do not indicate a higher English proficiency level compared with students’ English achievement in college entrance exams. Higher education requires a more innovative and communicative way to develop college students’ English communication ability in cross-cultural settings. Thus, the purpose of this study is to investigate whether and how board games influence the development of Taiwanese college students’ communicative competence in English.

The study adopted a quasi-experimental design which included a 50-student experimental group and a 44-student control group. Students of the experimental group were in an English learning environment where board games were applied as teaching activities in class. Meanwhile, control group students acquired English knowledge in courses without the intervention of board games. Both groups of students participated in questionnaires, written tests, and oral tests at the beginning and in the end of semester respectively. Data was interpreted via descriptive analysis and Paired Sample t Test.

Findings showed that after taking one-semester English courses, students from both of the experimental group and control group self-reported their progress in communicative competence to a certain extent. However, according to their written test and oral test outcomes, experimental group students’ improvement in communicative competence was significant whereas control group students’ communication ability remained steady. The findings also revealed that board games increase experimental group students’ comprehension, memorization, knowledge, motivation, and interest in terms of English learning. As to the components of communicative competence, the oral test results illustrated experimental group students’ development of discourse competence, strategic competence, linguistic competence, sociocultural competence, and interactional competence. The study ultimately provides suggestions for implementing board games in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) courses in higher education.


Board games, Communicative Competence, Taiwanese college students, English as a Foreign Language (EFL)

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023