Oral Presentation vs. Free Discussion: Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners’ Speaking Proficiency and Perception

Gholam Reza Parvizi


Speaking is a significant skill that many foreign language learners are trying to master. In this study, the effectiveness of two different speaking activities, i.e. oral presentation vs. free discussion, was investigated from quantitative and qualitative points of view. To achieve this purpose, 44 intermediate learners from a language institute in Tehran participated in the study. Half of the participants experienced oral presentation while the other half (22 in two other classes) experienced free discussion for eight sessions. The two activities were exchanged between the two groups after the end of the quantitative phase of the study for eight more sessions. The results of an independent samples t-test performed on the scores of the speaking section of a sample Preliminary English Test (PET, 2012 ) after the first phase of the study (the first 8 sessions) indicated that the learners who experienced oral presentation significantly outperformed the learners who experienced free discussion though both activities proved to be significantly useful. Furthermore, the results of the interview with 10 participants from each activity through purposeful sampling, after the second phase of the study (the second 8 sessions) through thematic analysis indicated that both free discussion and oral presentation activities had some merits and demerits. Based on the results it can be advisable to include the two activities as complementary.


Free discussion; Oral presentation; Language learners’ perception; Speaking language proficiency

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/9354


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