Boosting Speaking Skills through Board Games for the 2nd Semester Students of Adi Buana University Surabaya

TEFLIN || The 62nd TEFLIN International Conference 2015 || Teaching and Assessing L2 Learners in the 21st Century
Book 1 || 14-16 September 2015 || ISBN: 978-602-294-066-1

Penulis 1: Nukmatus Syahria
Penulis 2: Ferra Dian Andanty



Teaching is not an easy matter to do, especially teaching Speaking. There are some hindrances which may appear during the teaching and learning activities. Some of thehindrances are the students’ motivation which is very low and the students’ fear toward the Speaking course. Most of the students, especially in the university where writers work, are feeling inferior and tense during the Speaking class. According to them, they were afraid because they had limited vocabulary, low ability in pronouncing the words, as well as having gloss phobia (the fear of speaking in front of the public). Those were having gloss phobia are almost could not produce any words during the Speaking course. This kind of situation motivated the writers to find the way out to the students’ speaking problem through games which was considered having amusing, fun concept of learning and the students could have meaningful practice of language, as Ersoz (2000) stated “Games are highly motivating since they give students a break and the same time allow them to practice language skills”. The writers adopted one of the fun games in teaching Speaking, which was using board game since this game gave students challenge to speak through the questions given and it was designed with the theme which was familiar with the students. It was similar to the game of a snake and ladder. This study involved qualitative study with the sample of the second semester of under-graduate students of University of Adi Buana Surabaya. This study was conducted for 4 months and the data was taken from the pre-test and post test, interview, taking pictures, and video taping. The results of the study showed that board game is not only a fun way of learning but also helps the students to overcome their fear in the Speaking course while simultaneously improves their vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation.

Keywords: board games, promote, speaking skills.



Speaking is known to be one of the skills which are needed to be mastered by the EFL students. In Speaking, we are not only uttering a word but also conveying the meaning. Skehan (1998) noted that non-native speakers believe that speaking in the target language is one of the most demanding and crucial tasks in their everyday life. Moreover, Edge (1993) claimed that even highly proficient language learners are not satisfied with their speaking skills and are looking for chances to improve their speaking ability. From this point of view, the writers concluded that there is a crucial need to conduct research in this area.

Most of the students, especially those who are just entering English Department were having a difficulty in the Speaking subject. Most of them were shy and even speechless when the lecturers were asking them to speak up. They also had a low motivation in practicing to speak English with their friends even though the lecturers had already motivated them. As a result, they had a difficulty in expressing their thought during the Speaking subject. This phenomenon made the writers concerned to this situation therefore they tried to apply board games in the Speaking class. Teaching speaking using games is believed as one of fun and effective ways to promote Speaking skill and self-confidence among the students.



This study focused on the practice of board games for teaching Speaking to the university students of the second semester. The objectives of the study were to find out whether the board games can promote the speaking skills of the university students or not and to describe the students’ speaking ability before and after the application of board games. This research was a qualitative study. The writers used purposive sampling to decide Class A of 2014 as subject because most of the students in that class have low skills in the Speaking subject compared to the other classes. It can be known from the result of their pre-test. For collecting data, the writers used questionnaire, pre-test and post test, as well as video taping and picture taking. The results of the video taping and picture taking were designed to collect the data which was needed to answer the first research question namely how is the implementation of board games in Speaking class. The result of the questionnaire as well as pre- test and post test were designed to answer the second research questions namely how is the students’ speaking ability after the application of board games.


The importance of teaching Speaking using board games

Nunan (1991) stated that to teach Speaking is to teach learners to use the language quickly and confidently with few unnatural pauses, which is called as fluency. The most common problem in teaching Speaking that the educators may face is to make the students to be able to state their mind toward others without feeling afraid or shy. Most of the students are feel shy when they are asked to start the conversation and it demands the teacher to prompt them at all time. Even though, they have a lot of ideas in their mind but they feel reluctant to initiate the conversation and they sometime only speak a little word. If the educators let this situation happen continuously, then this will result on the students’ improvement on their speaking skills.

There are many materials which can be used in teaching Speaking especially for the university students. Learning to speak by listening to a role model and repeating what does he or she said or asking the students to speak according to the given tenses may be disinteresting for them. Therefore, the lecturers must be able to adapt the suitable method, approach and teaching materials for the students. The lecturers must also be able to choose an interesting media and create a joyful teaching and learning environment so that the students will have joy in learning Speaking and will enjoy the lesson. If the students feel joyful and excited during the lesson then they will have high motivation to learn and this can avoid the tense that may be appear during the process of teaching and learning of Speaking. In this case, the lecturers may apply the board games in the Speaking activity. Buckby (1994) noted that game is an activity that you do to have some fun. Board game can be used as an instrument that is used to attract the students’ attention to follow the teaching and learning process because they do not feel that they are forced to learn. They also enable learners to get new experiences in learning the foreign language in more fun and interesting way. The board games are similar to the game of a snake and ladder. This board is made of a manila paper size 50×30 cm. It is played by at least three students in a group by rolling the dice and take turns to move around the boards. The writers asked the students to make their own board games. This will give more practice especially for the undergraduate students’ of the teachers training faculty to make and to develop their own teaching materials and also to help them to be more creative. The questions were varying. They can create their own questions. The writers gave the clues to the students at the beginning and explained how to make the board games with many kinds of models and questions. This game is a good media in practicing questioning and answering questions to each other.


Scope and limitation of the study

This study focused on finding the result of the application of board games toward the students’ ability in Speaking. The limitation of the study was the second semester of undergraduate students of English Education Department of Adi Buana University Surabaya.


Findings and Discussions

This research was conducted for 4 months of the even semester. It was done on the even semester because the subject of Speaking 1 was applied for the 2nd semester students in that semester. The treatment was especially given to class A 2014 because most of them were very inferior and quiet. They often avoid speaking to each other during the class and even when the lecturers talked to them or asked them to talk about something or to present something in front of the classroom. They can only speak a little word which is sometime meaningless and with some grammatical and pronunciation errors. After the writers gave the students the board games treatment, they began more relax and calm. It could be seen from their face that they were not nervous any longer. They could even do the questioning and answering parts in the board games naturally and without feeling forced to do it. Even though, they made few mistakes during the implementation of the board games but the lecturers directly corrected their mistakes by giving them the clue and asked them to correct their own mistakes. Sometime during the students making mistakes in the pronunciation or grammar; the other students directly corrected them without the lecturers correcting them first. This happened after the three times meeting of the board games application. The result of the implementation of board games, so far can be said it is good and succeeded because it helps the students very much to help overcome their fear of speaking in front of the public and reduce their tense. The students also gave good responses that were this board games was fun, enjoyable and interesting (see chart 1)


The students’ speaking ability can be seen from the result of the questionnaire and the comparison score of their pre-test and post test. The result of the questionnaire which is distributed for the 34 undergraduate students of class A is formulated in a chart as it is described below;


Chart 1. Students Questionnaire


A : Improve the students’ confident

B : Improve the students’ speaking skill

C : Improve the students’ vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar

D : A fun and interesting way to learn Speaking

As it is shown from the chart above, the writers assumed that board games are a fun and enjoyable way of learning how to speak English. There are 28 students who stated that board games are an interesting and fun way to learn Speaking. In addition, board games also help to improve their speaking skills. 11 students noted that board games help to build their confidence while 26 students pointed that board games help to improve their vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. From the questionnaire, it is also found that board games also have some difficulties in the implementation. The difficulties were varied, such as deciding the theme for the board games, preparing the questions in board games, as well as creating interesting board games which can attract the other students’ attention.


Before the writers did the board games, the writers gave the pre-test to the students. It is aimed to know the speaking ability of the students before the board games are given. The writers also tested the students after they give board games to the students, in order to check the students’ progress in their speaking skills. The result shows some significant changes on the Speaking score after the writers did the board games. Almost third quarter of the students in class A got a better score after the implementation of board games. Even though there are just a little change on the score of the student 6, 7, and 15. (see table below)



Table 1. Pre-test score of class A

No NIM Nama Mahasiswa Nilai
1. 135390170 Student 1 71
2. 145300002 Student 2 75
3. 145300003 Student 3 64
4. 145300006 Student 4 78
5. 145300009 Student 5 76
6. 145300013 Student 6 75
7. 145300014 Student 7 67
8. 145300016 Student 8 76
9. 145300025 Student 9 70
10. 145300027 Student 10 72
11. 145300028 Student 11 75
12. 145300031 Student 12 70
13. 145300032 Student 13 71
14. 145300033 Student 14 69
15. 145300035 Student 15 68
16. 145300037 Student 16 72
17. 145300040 Student 17 67
18. 145300042 Student 18 75
19. 145300043 Student 19 76
20. 145300044 Student 20 69
21. 145300047 Student 21 72
22. 145300048 Student 22 74
23. 145300049 Student 23 77
24. 145300050 Student 24 70
25. 145300051 Student 25 71
26. 145300052 Student 26 72
27. 145300053 Student 27 73
28. 145300058 Student 28 65
29. 145300060 Student 29 70
30. 145300061


Student 30 73
31. 145300063 Student 31 70
32. 145300118 Student 32 74
33. 145300120 Student 33 74
34. 145300150 Student 34 73


Table 2. Post test score of class A

No NIM Nama Mahasiswa Nilai
1. 135390170 Student 1 77
2. 145300002 Student 2 79
3. 145300003 Student 3 72
4. 145300006 Student 4 83
5. 145300009 Student 5 86
6. 145300013 Student 6 75
7. 145300014 Student 7 68
8. 145300016 Student 8 80
9. 145300025 Student 9 78
10. 145300027 Student 10 80
11. 145300028 Student 11 77
12. 145300031 Student 12 78
13. 145300032 Student 13 78
14. 145300033 Student 14 77
15. 145300035 Student 15 69
16. 145300037 Student 16 72
17. 145300040 Student 17 70
18. 145300042 Student 18 79
19. 145300043 Student 19 77
20. 145300044 Student 20 75
21. 145300047 Student 21 74
22. 145300048 Student 22 81
23. 145300049 Student 23 82
24. 145300050 Student 24 82
25. 145300051 Student 25 80
26. 145300052 Student 26 78
27. 145300053 Student 27 81
28. 145300058 Student 28 71
29. 145300060 Student 29 83
30. 145300061


Student 30 79
31. 145300063 Student 31 72
32. 145300118 Student 32 82
33. 145300120 Student 33 83
34. 145300150 Student 34 78


Conclusions and Suggestions

The use of board games in the language classroom is an effective, fun, and low-anxiety way for students to learn and practice the speaking skills as well as to develop their own communication strategies that can be readily applied to the real world (Shameem & Tickoo, 1999). Board games is one of the media which is not only can help to boost the students’ confidence but also to build their creativity. At the same time, board games also help to improve the students’ pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. There are numerous advantages that board games offer, such as helping to improve the students’ speaking skills and it is also suitable to be applied to all level of language learners. Though board games are useful to increase the students’ confidence and boosting the students’ speaking abilities but the educators still must be aware of the application of the board games, the educators must be able to adjust the level of difficulty of the board games according to the level of the students.



Buckby, Michael. 1994. Games for language learning. Australia: Cambridge  University Press.

Edge, J. (1993). Essentials of English language teaching. New York: Longman.

Ersoz,A (2000). Six Games for the EFL/ESL Classroom. The TESL Journal, Vol. VI, No. 6, June 2000, retrieved from 02/05/2015

Nunan, David (1991). Language teaching methodology. A textbook for teachers. Prentice Hall International (UK) Ltd.

Skehan, P. (1998). A cognitive approach to language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Shameem, N. & Tickoo, M. (1999). New ways in using communicative games in language teaching. Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL).




                                                                     APPENDIX 1


Name: ________________________Class: ______________ Reg number: _______________

  1. What is your opinion about board games?

Answer: ______________________________________________________________________


  1. What do you think about board games effectiveness in helping you to develop your speaking skill?

Answer: ______________________________________________________________________


  1. What do you think about this Speaking class which using board games during the Speaking subject?

Answer: ______________________________________________________________________


  1. In what way do board games help you in the Speaking subject?

Answer: ______________________________________________________________________


  1. Do board games help you to improve your speaking skills as well as vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar?

Answer: _____________________________________________________________________


  1. What is your difficulty in implementing board games in the Speaking subject?

Answer: ______________________________________________________________________





Pre-Test Sheet

Name : _____________________  Reg. number:_______________ Class: _______________

  1. Which one would the world be better without; canned food, traditional food, or spicy food? Why? (20 points)
  1. What would you do for your country if you were a superhero? Why? (20 points)
  2. What do you do when you were idle? Why? (20 points)
  3. Which do you prefer; listening to music, watching the horror movie, or see the concert of your favorite artist. Why? (20 points)
  1. Name three things that you can find in the king’s closet? (20 points)



Post test sheet

  1. Which one would the world be better without; gadget, TV, or electricity? Why? (20 points)
  1. Which do you prefer; travelling by plane, by bus or by car? Why?. (20 points)
  1. If you were a president, what would you do to save this country from the economical crisis?

Mention two kinds of actions and give the reason to support your answers. (20 points)

  1. What will you do if you were lost in the jungle and you did not bring any self phone? (20 points)
  2. What did you do when there was a fire in your surroundings? (20 points)