Employing Partnership Approach in Streamed Language Classrooms to Improve Speaking Skill of Iranian Undergraduate EFL Learners

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

English Department, Isfahan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

Abstract

Introducing effective approaches and providing equal opportunities for all language learners at any level of language knowledge to learn successfully seems to be an asset. In this study, the role of employing Partnership Approach (PA) to teach speaking to undergraduate EFL students through Streaming/Homogeneous-Grouping of the learners in Mixed-Ability classrooms was examined. A quasi-experimental research method was employed and 72 Iranian male and female undergraduate students majoring in TEFL whose ages ranged from 19-24 participated in the study. The study comprised three experimental and three control groups in high, low, and mixed language-ability levels based on the results of an Oxford Quick Placement Test (OQPT) so that there were 12 students in each group. The findings indicated that among the streamed experimental groups, low-ability students did not significantly develop their speaking ability. On the contrary, low-ability students benefited from the mixed-ability teaching more than the other students both in the control and the experimental groups. Mixed-ability and high-ability students in the experimental group significantly outperformed their counterparts in the control group. Low-ability students in the control group outperformed their counterparts in the experimental group. This study has the potential to develop new insights and ideas which can be adapted by both EFL teachers and students in different educational settings. The processes and outcomes of the study can be adapted for use in other disciplines to examine the effect of ability grouping and partnership on the individuals’ overall success.

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