Oral proficiency teaching with WebCEF and Skype: Scenarios for online production and interaction tasks

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    This article reports our findings on using WebCEF as a CEFR familiarization and self-assessment tool for oral proficiency. Furthermore, we outline how we have implemented Skype as a tool for telecollaboration in our language programmes. The primary purpose of our study was to explore how students and teachers would perceive the potential benefits of these tools for enhancing the learning and assessment of oral proficiency skills and how pedagogical designs could be developed for integrating these tools successfully in the institutional context. After running pilot projects with different students of English and Spanish, we conclude that WebCEF may make a valuable and beneficial contribution to oral proficiency assessment. We also found that students appreciate the opportunity for participating in online exchanges with fellow language learners in another country and that this may make them more receptive to the intercultural aspects of language learning. Setting up these activities, however, is not without difficulties. Combining Skype with WebCEF crucially depends on using appropriate recording tools and the students' ability to use these. An even greater challenge, as was already known from previous research, is to find enough stable partners and to align partners on the basis of availability and levels in such a way that useful language practice may be established. Despite these problems, we are inspired and motivated to continue working with these tools locally and in online exchanges, as the benefits considerably outweigh the disadvantages.
    Original languageDutch
    Pages (from-to)91-113
    Number of pages23
    JournalLanguage Learning in Higher Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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