Encouraging out-of-class speaking practice with a 30-day challenge
Whatever habit you'd like to incorporate into your life—exercise, healthy eating, mindfulness, meditation, etc.—you are likely to find a 30-day challenge for it. The concept of the 30-day challenge was inspired by the simple idea that a small addition to a person's daily routine can result in noticeable changes over the course of a month. A good 30-day challenge is inspiring, achievable, and likely to show positive results if completed earnestly. This presentation introduces a 30-day English speaking challenge offered to first-year Japanese university students as a way to help them build the habit of practicing speaking outside of class. The challenge consisted of 30 speaking tasks which the students completed by recording responses and submitting them via an online platform for language teaching and learning (ZenGengo). Participation in the challenge was voluntary, and no grades were given or points awarded. The only incentives offered to students were: 1) that a teacher would respond to their submissions with an audio recording, and 2) those who successfully completed all challenges would receive a certificate. Upon completion of each challenge, students were provided access to a model answer created with AI avatars and speech synthesis. The presenter will outline the benefits and challenges of conducting a 30-day challenge and explain the procedures used for delivering the tasks to students, collecting responses, and providing feedback. Insights obtained from surveys and student interviews will also be discussed. Those attending the presentation will be given access to the online platform for the purpose of offering the 30-day English speaking challenge to their own students.