Improving Chinese University EFL Students’ Speaking Skills through Digital Storytelling

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Qiwei Wei Peerasak Siriyothin Andrew Peter Lian

Abstract

The present study aims to investigate whether a 12-week digital storytelling (DST) intervention could improve Chinese university EFL students’ speaking skills. The entire population for this study consisted of 100 English major undergraduates from 2 intact classes of EFL students that were taught by the same teacher. Each class contained 50 participants. The experimental group students participated in the DST intervention and were exposed to the DST activities both inside and outside classroom while the control group students only received conventional whole-class instruction. Statistical analysis within groups showed that there was a significant difference between the pretest and posttest means in the experimental group with a large effect size (p = 0.000, d = 1.58), but that there was no significant difference between the pretest and the posttest in the control group (p = 0.056). Statistical analysis between groups indicated that the pretest mean of the experimental group was not significantly different from that of the control group (p = 0.084). However, there was a significant difference between the posttest means of the experimental group and the control group, and the effect size was large (p = 0.001, d = 0.658). DST participants obviously outperformed the control group in terms of speaking skills after the treatment. In addition, the quantitative data elicited through the questionnaire on the value of the DST intervention revealed that 82% of the respondents indicated that digital storytelling allowed them to improve their technical skills, 62% claimed that digital storytelling improved their ability to apply knowledge to practice. 95% of students considered in their diaries that the DST intervention was interesting, challenging, helpful, and enjoyable and contributed to the development of students’ autonomous learning. Most of the interviewees claimed that DST intervention could not only improve their language skills but also their learner autonomy. The findings call attention to the value of DST used in this study for language instruction.

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