Taking ELF off the shelf: developing HE students’ speaking skills through a focus on English as a lingua franca

Authors: Eccles, S., Dippold, D., Mullen, E. and Bridges, S.

Journal: Linguistics and Education

This paper explores how a focus on English as a lingua franca (ELF) principles (e.g. accommodation, strategic competence) can support the development of student support for speaking skills. It presents the results of an investigation into first year undergraduate students’ perceived speaking demands for group work. A mapping exercise of those demands against Mercer et al.’s (2017) oracy framework shows that students draw on linguistic, cognitive, physical and social & emotional skills, many of which align with ELF principles. However, current frameworks of support in higher education (EAP & Academic Skills) hardly focus on speaking, pay little heed to an ELF perspective and cater for native speakers and non-native speakers separately despite them having similar needs. The paper argues that a focus on ELF can contribute to the development of speaking support which sits at the centre of students’ academic journey and encourages better native speaker / non-native speaker interactions.

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