Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Second International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Gamifying Impromptu Speech for ESL/EFL Students
Davide Girardelli, Patrizia Barroero, Tingting Gu

Last modified: 06-06-2016


This paper outlines an impromptu speech activity entitled “Dented Helmet vs. Spambot” intended as part of any introductory public speaking course. The activity is designed to overcome specific affective and cognitive challenges of ESL/EFL students, in particular Chinese learners. It is inspired by the principles of gamification (Kapp, 2012) with core gaming elements such as “freedom to fail,” “rapid feedback,” and “storytelling.” The activity requires “Rory’s Story Cubes” (a set of nine six-sided dice designed to spark creativity) and a special set of slides. An exploratory assessment of the effectiveness of the proposed activity was conducted on a sample of Chinese EFL sophomores enrolled in an international branch campus of a U.S. university in China, with 81 students completing our questionnaire. Overall, our findings provided some initial support to the effectiveness of the activity in terms of strenghtening students’ ability to communicate orally “off the cuff,” promoting students’ understanding of the role of storytelling in effective presentations, fostering students’ understanding of the major organizational formats used in organizing speeches, and increasing students’ awareness of their nonverbal communication in presentational settings.

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