Theme-Based Teaching to Promote Oral Fluency in a University in Colombia

Main Article Content

Angela Patricia Velásquez-Hoyos


The present qualitative study with an action research orientation focuses on the strengthening of students’ oral fluency in English through the implementation of six theme-based teaching workshops. The participants were students of an EFL pre-intermediate English language course in the institute of foreign languages at the Technological University of Pereira, in Risaralda State, Colombia. Besides the implementation of theme-based teaching, this study includes the speaking phases of rehearsal, performance, and debriefing to impact students’ oral fluency. This project emerged from an exhaustive needs analysis which showed that the university’s students, as future professionals, had difficulties with their oral performance i.e. their being unable to speak about topics related to their university life in English; hence, the need of including themes aligned with their academic contexts was highlighted with the purpose of helping them improve their oral fluency in English. The findings indicate that the students improved in their oral fluency in terms of vocabulary, intonation, and a reduction in the number of long pauses when speaking in English. 

Article Details

How to Cite
Velásquez-Hoyos, A. P. (2021). Theme-Based Teaching to Promote Oral Fluency in a University in Colombia. HOW Journal, 28(2), 97-119.
Research Reports
Author Biography

Angela Patricia Velásquez-Hoyos, Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira

She holds a Master in English Didactics from Universidad de Caldas. She is an adjunct professor in the Bilingual Teaching Program at Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira UTP. She recently coordinated the bilingual project in this department. She was a Fulbright scholar at Ferrum College, Virginia, in 2017-2018. 


Blevins, W. (2018). Fluency [PowerPoint presentation].
Brinton, D. M., Snow, M. A., & Wesche, M. (2003). Content-based second language instruction. University of Michigan Press.
Burns, A. (2010). Doing action research in English language teaching. A guide for practitioners. ESL & Applied Linguistics Professional Series.
Cadavid, M., & Jimenez, D. (2017). CLIL: Its effect on high school students´ English speaking performance [Unpublished undergraduate dissertation]. Universidad Nacional Abierta y a Distancia.
Cadena-Aguilar, R. F., Ortega-Cuellar, J. H., & Cadena-Aguilar, A. (2019). Daily 6: An approach to foster oral fluency of English as a foreign language in adolescents. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 21(2), 29-44.
Cameron, L. (2001). Teaching languages to young learners. Cambridge University Press.
Consejo Nacional de Acreditación (2020). Acuerdo 02 de 2020 por el cual se actualiza el modelo de acreditación de alta calidad.
Council of Europe (2018). Common European framework of reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Companion volume with new descriptors. Cambridge University Press.
Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage.
Derwing, T. M., Rossiter, M. J., Munro, M. J., & Thomson, R. I. (2004). Second language fluency: Judgments on different tasks. Language Learning, 54(4), 655-679.
Di Pietro, R. J. (1987). Strategic interaction: Learning languages through scenarios. Cambridge University Press.
Educational Testing Service (2020). The official guide to the TOEFL test.
Gatbonton, E., & Segalowitz, N. (2005). Rethinking communicative language teaching: A focus on access to fluency. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 61(3), 325-353.
Harmer, J. (2015). The practice of the English Language (5th ed.). Pearson.
Herrera Díaz, L. E., & González Miy, D. (2017). Developing the oral skill in online English courses framed by the community of inquiry. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 19(1), 73-88.
International English Language Testing System IELTS (n.d). Speaking test: How are band Scores awarded for Speaking?
Koponen, M., & Riggenbach, H. (2000). Overview: Varying perspectives on fluency. In H. Riggenbach (Ed.), Perspectives on fluency (pp. 5-24). University of Michigan Press.
Lestari, N. (2019). Improving the speaking skill by Vlog (video blog) as learning media: The EFL students’ perspective. International Journal of Academic Research & Social Sciences, 9(1), 915–925.
Michigan English Test MET (2020). Speaking scale.
O’ Malley, J., & Chamot, U. (1990). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. Cambridge University Press.
Padilla De La Cerda, F. (2016). The design of a theme-based and genre-oriented strategic reading course to improve students’ reading comprehension skills at a public school in Colombia. HOW, 23(1), 49-67.
Richards, J. C., & Schmidt, R. (2010). Longman dictionary of language teaching and applied linguistics (4th ed.). Longman.
Segalowitz, N. (2010). Cognitive bases of second language fluency. Routledge.
Tussa’diah, H., & Nurfadillah, K. (2018). The implementation of theme-Based teaching to improve students’ achievement in narrative text. KnE Social Sciences / The 1st Annual International Conference on Language and Literature (AICLL), Universitas Islam Sumatera Utara (UISU), 18–19 April 2018, Medan, Indonesia, (pp. 352–360).