The Benefits of Reflective Practice using Speaking Tasks in Teaching Spanish for the Professionals

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Pardo-Ballester, Cristina
Pardo-Ballester, Cristina
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World Languages and Cultures
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World Languages and Cultures

This mixed-method research study examines the speaking proficiency of Spanish learners with the Virtual Oral Interview Classroom-based Exam (VOICES), a free oral assessment tool for students and teachers, and the American Council Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) for assessing their oral ability. Students’ oral proficiency was assessed at the beginning and end of the semester via the OPI, and oral performance was assessed during the middle and at the end of the semester with VOICES. During the semester, learners practiced with structured and communicative output activities with the purpose of developing communicative competence. Using active learning as a pedagogical approach and reflective practice based on Schön’s principles (1987), Spanish instruction was focused on conscious awareness, scaffolding, autonomous and meaningful communication as a way to improve the performance of oral tasks. The study employs the convergent design (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011) that entails the collection of qualitative and quantitative data sets to provide a better understanding of the best practices for teaching and assessing speaking. Participants in this study were 13 undergraduate students at a large public university in the Midwest of the United States and one instructor. They were enrolled in an intermediate Spanish conversation course designed for professionals. The use of active learning and reflective practice contributed positively to building a comfortable and engaging learning environment.


This proceedings is published as Pardo-Ballester, C., The Benefits of Reflective Practice using Speaking Tasks in Teaching Spanish for the Professionals., 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation. November 13, 2019; 3507-3516. Doi: 10.21125/iceri.2019.0903. Posted with permission.