Lunghwa University of Science and Technology, Taiwan, ROC (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Global challenges in terms of producing more globally competitive graduates have given grounds to the need of students to enhance their English proficiencies. Although most Taiwanese students have studied English starting from their elementary education up to their senior high school years, however, research have shown that there is still a need to improve on the students’ English speech proficiency. This presentation details an empirical study which aims to investigate how Public Speaking Anxiety (PSA) affects English as Foreign Language (EFL) students who took a yearlong public speaking course in Taiwan. More specifically, the study seeks to answer these four major concerns: 1.) what are the underlying factors behind the students PSA; 2.) to what extent can gender differences affects PSA and time of preparation for a speech (TPS); 3.) to what extent can gender differences and the different type of audiences affect the reported levels of PSA; and 4.) what are the advantages/disadvantages brought about by the yearlong public speaking course. This case study adopts a mixed-method paradigm, wherein methodology from both quantitative and qualitative is systematically combined. Participants were 82 third-year technical-vocational college students. The Personal Report of Public Speaking Anxiety (PRPSA) quantitative survey was used to determine the level of students’ anxiety, while the qualitative focus group interview was accomplished to further understand the effects of PSA and gender differences with respects to TPS and types of audiences. Results show that the yearlong public speaking course had indeed helped diminish some if not all of the students’ PSA. Furthermore, relationship between PSA and gender differences of the audience was significant. Lastly, female students have longer TPS and higher reported PSA than male students, however, is caused mainly due to their being grade conscious and fear of performing badly in front of their classmates.
Keywords: public speaking anxiety (PSA); EFL learners; time of preparation for a speech (TPS); gender differences; public speaking skills