VietTESOL International Convention, VietTESOL International Convention 2018

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Problem-based Learning for Developing Speaking Fluency of Non-English Major Students
My Thanh Hoan Le

Building: A12
Room: Room 103
Date: 2018-10-12 03:20 PM – 03:50 PM
Last modified: 2018-09-16


In Problem-based learning (PBL), a real-life problem scenario is set within the scope of a specific curricular content, providing students with the chance to examine the concept thoroughly using their own high-order thinking and to exercise language skills when discussing, arguing and expressing their opinions about the issue presented. A predetermined set of answers is not expected but it is the activation of students’ background knowledge and experience together with extensive use of language that lie at the core of this learning mode. Problem-based learning has been widely recognized as an efficient university teaching strategy across different subjects since its introduction in medical field in 1960s. Nevertheless, insufficient attention has been paid to the implications of PBL in the area of English language teaching, especially for non-majors. This study is thus initiated to investigate problem-based learning (PBL) as a method for developing non-English major students’ speaking fluency. The focuses are the comparison between traditional teaching methods and problem-based tasks for improving students’ oral output and their perspectives on the approach. The findings indicate that PBL, if meticulously planned and implemented, will have positive influences on speaking production by raising students’ interests, engagement with the lessons, transferring them from passive receivers of knowledge to independent, self-directed inquirers and most importantly, optimizing the use of English in simulated real-world scenarios.


nglish language teaching; problem-based learning; non-English major students