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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Impact of a Computer-Mediated Shadowing Activity on ESL Speaking Skill Development: A Pilot Study

  • Author(s): Mishima, Masakazu
  • Cheng, Lixia
  • et al.

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This pilot study explored the instructional value and potential of a computer-mediated shadowing activity for improving English as a Second Language (ESL) learners’ speech intelligibility. Prospective International Teaching Assistants (ITAs), who were enrolled in an ESL classroom communication class at a large public, completed a computer-mediated shadowing activity using two web resources, Go Animate and TED talks. Then, these adult ESL participants were surveyed on their perceptions of the efficacy of this shadowing activity for improving their pronunciation, intonation, rhythm, and fluency. In addition, participants’ speech samples recorded during the shadowing activity were independently rated by certified ESL speaking exam raters. The evaluation results, including holistic proficiency scores and rater comments, were analyzed in terms of pronunciation, prosodic control, and overall intelligibility of the speech samples. Although the study is inconclusive, findings from this case study suggest that the computer-mediated shadowing activity may well be an effective means to raise ESL learners’ awareness of the problems in their prosodic control and help improve their speech intelligibility.

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