Changes in and Effects of TED Talks on Postgraduate Students’ English Speaking Performance and Speaking Anxiety

Keywords: TED talks, learning mode, English speaking performance, English speaking anxiety, change, effect


This research study explored the changes in and effects of TED talks on Chinese postgraduate students’ English speaking performance and speaking anxiety over a period of 10 weeks. In this research, TED talks were used as a learning mode to provide a quasi-realistic sociocultural context for speaking English. 166 students from the experimental group using TED talks and 156 in the conventional mode participated in the quasi-experiment. They made eight-minute oral presentations and answered the 12-item English Speaking Anxiety Scale prior to and after the experiment. Analyses of the data revealed three major findings: 1) both the experimental and control groups did significantly better in English speaking performance and became significantly less anxious about speaking English over the 10-week period, 2) the experimental group did significantly better in move structure and were significantly less anxious about speaking English than the control group at the end of the 10-week period, and 3) the learning modes had a significant effect on students’ move structures of oral presentations but had no effect on their oral presentation performance and English speaking anxiety. These findings support the benefit of supplementing EFL (English as a foreign language) teaching and learning with TED talks and other similar virtual situated learning. Thus, the present study not only contributes to the current literature, which is short of studies on the effects of technology on SL/FL teaching and learning and the dynamic characteristic of the emotions associated with SL/FL learning, but also suggests that virtual situated learning like TED talks should be incorporated into SL/FL teaching and learning.


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Author Biography

Meihua Liu, Tsinghua University

Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures

How to Cite
LiuM. (2021). Changes in and Effects of TED Talks on Postgraduate Students’ English Speaking Performance and Speaking Anxiety. Journal of Language and Education, 7(3), 104-118.