Designing a speaking competence course for future teachers of English: Exploring students’ needs

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The policy of teaching English in and through English has become standard in many educational systems across the globe, stimulating renewed interest in the role of language proficiency in teacher expertise. In this connection, teacher language proficiency is being reconceptualised as a specialised set of language abilities required in addition to general communicative ability. Against this backdrop, a new speaking competence course for future teachers of English has been developed for the English Language Competence (ELC) programme at the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Vienna. This chapter explores the perceived learning needs of 73 pre-service English teachers in relation to speaking ability for classroom purposes. Data collection involved a group-administered questionnaire to elicit opinions about English teachers’ speaking ability in general, the students’ own speaking ability, the speaking module of ELC, and potential topics the new course should cover. Learning needs emerged particularly in relation to three areas: feedback, mediation, and scaffolding. The findings are discussed in the light of their implications for syllabus design. At a general level, the study reflects the growing recognition that students should be involved in curriculum and syllabus design from the planning stage on.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeveloping advanced English language competence
Subtitle of host publicationA research-informed approach at tertiary level
EditorsArmin Berger, Helen Heaney, Pia Resnik, Angelika Rieder-Bünemann, Galina Savukova
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-79241-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-79240-4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2022

Publication series

SeriesEnglish Language Education

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 602007 Applied linguistics
  • 602008 English studies
  • 503007 Didactics


  • English-for-Teaching
  • Syllabus design
  • Needs analysis
  • Teaching mediation skills
  • Scaffolding

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