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Volume 28Number 1 publication date:Jun. 2015
An Empirical Study of University Students’ Attitude Toward
    Author:Hsiao-Chien Lee & Pei-Ling Wang
Research Article


English as a lingua franca (ELF) for international communication has become a heated issue for discussions among educators of English in recent years. As scholars find it essential for teachers to encourage their students to acquire the ability of using English in real-life conversations, they also wonder about the necessity of requiring students to speak in an accent approximate to that of native speakers of English. With the purpose of encouraging non-English majors at technological universities to speak English and directing English majors’ attention to things other than the so-called ‘standard norms of English accent,’ this study involved 85 freshmen from two technological universities at southern Taiwan. The researchers ask the following questions: What are the students’ attitudes toward native speaker norms of English? After a semester of teaching interventions, do the students’ attitudes change? Do the students’ majors affect their attitudes? Do the students’ genders affect their attitudes? The teaching interventions included providing students with teaching materials covering varieties of spoken English and assisting students to prepare three threeminute group conversation video clips. The results gained from both quantitative and qualitative methods indicate that the students appreciated the accent of the native speakers most. However, after the interventions, the students could appreciate other accents as well. Moreover, the students did not find it so important to speak like a native speaker, and their self-evaluation of English speaking ability and confidence in speaking English with others were significantly boosted after the implementation of the project.

Keywords: action research, English as a lingua franca, English pedagogy,

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