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The ascendancy of oracy in university courses: Implications for teachers and second language users

Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Publication Date
  • 130103 Higher Education
  • 130207 Lote Esl And Tesol Curriculum And Pedagogy (Excl. Maori)
  • 200401 Applied Linguistics And Educational Linguistics
  • Oracy
  • Talk In Interaction
  • Higher Education
  • English As A Second Language
  • English Language Proficiency Tests
  • Hern
  • Education


This chapter reports on a study of oracy in a first-year university Business course, with particular interest in the oracy demands for second language-using international students. The research is relevant at a time when Higher Education is characterised by the confluence of increased international enrolments, more dialogic teaching and learning, and imperatives for teamwork and collaboration. Data sources for the study included videotaped lectures and tutorials, course documents, student surveys, and an interview with the lecturer. The findings pointed to a complex, oracy-laden environment where interactive talk fulfilled high-stakes functions related to social inclusion, the co-construction of knowledge, and the accomplishment of assessment tasks. The salience of talk posed significant challenges for students negotiating these core functions in their second language. The study highlights the oracy demands in university courses and foregrounds the need for university teachers, curriculum writers and speaking test developers to recognise these demands and explicate them for the benefit of all students.

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