Creating High-Frequency, Naturalistic Opportunities to Develop Small Talk Skills in EFL Classrooms

  • Irina Kuznetsova Udmurt State University
Keywords: small talk, EFL classroom talk, small talk strategies, action research


The paper is the outcome of an action research project that investigated factors that keep students from participating in classroom small talk (ST). In-class observations, surveys and students’ logs, backed by the author’s self-reflection resulted in an intervention plan which aimed to help students with their anxiety and ST apprehension. The final role plays, as well as the survey demonstrated that there was a change in how the students noticed and used the opportunities to utilize ST. Specifically, they started to see the potential of classroom talk for putting ST skills into practice. Another finding is the need to raise the students’ awareness of ST as a social and linguistic skill, to clearly establish ground rules for practising ST, and to create high-frequency, naturalistic opportunities to develop ST in class. It is argued in the paper that ST skills can be practised in the classroom beyond the purposefully designed activities, i.e. in spontaneous interactions between the teacher and the students. Such interactions may decrease the students' anxieties and reluctance to get engaged in small talk. This change would have a positive effect on their outside-the-classroom interactions in English, both in academic and work-place situations.   This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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How to Cite
Kuznetsova, I. (2017). Creating High-Frequency, Naturalistic Opportunities to Develop Small Talk Skills in EFL Classrooms. Journal of Language and Education, 3(2), 55-62.