Hong Kong Science and Engineering Undergraduate Students' Perceptions, Problems and Strategies Regarding English for Academic Purposes Oral Presentations: A Mixed-Methods Case Study


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Award date23 Aug 2022


This study used a mixed-methods case study research design to explore the perceptions, problems, and strategies of Hong Kong science and engineering undergraduate students when creating oral presentations for an English for academic purposes course. An adapted multimodal social semiotic analytical framework (Yusoff, 2010; Zhao, Djonov, & Van Leeuwen, 2014) conceptualizes oral presentation as a meaning-making ensemble in which novice engineering presenters fulfill their individual meaning making interests via slide design program and presentation slide, under their designated engineering practices and presentation context. Multiple research instruments (e.g., surveys and questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, stimulated recall, think-aloud protocol, and video recording) are adopted toward analytical triangulation.

The findings show that for the student participants, maintaining a balance between presenting academic and technical information and interacting with the audience is the primary challenge during the preparation and delivery of presentations. The two case studies of individual students with different linguistic educational backgrounds demonstrate that English language proficiency significantly accounts for how well novice presenters established their legitimate engineering presenter identity, while the effectiveness of students’ individuality construction is closely connected to their prior experiences, kinesics management competences, and degree of appropriate understanding of their engineering practices. Based on the empirical findings, a bottom-up recognition, conceptualization, preparation, and presentation (RCPP) model underscores importance of understanding novice learners’ background and targeted academic and disciplinary practices in English oral presentation course design. One of its significant pedagogical and theoretical contributions is that it clarifies complex of preparation and delivery of oral presentation via four interconnected dimensions, under each of which particular skill sets, learner’s prior experiences, and contextual factors are systematically categorized along with guiding questions for oral presentation course design and material development.