Factors Associated With Speaking English as a Foreign Language Effectively in Higher Education


This study aimed to investigate the factors that influence the effective speaking of English as a foreign language (EFL) in higher education. Data were collected through an open-ended, in-depth interview with seven interviewees and analyzed using the thematic analysis (TA) technique. The results showed six significant themes related to effective student speaking: aptitude, motivation, opportunity, learning media, learning strategy, and language function. Future research must collect more diverse instances of effective speaking functions and components. Multiple examples of speaking in many genres developed by demographically diverse students in natural settings will provide more realistic and complete views of schoolchildren’s increasing ability to use nominal expressions to construct and communicate meaning for academic objectives.

Keywords: Aptitude, EFL, Higher Education, Speaking Skills

[1] Florez MC. Improving Adult English Language Learners’ Speaking Skills. ERIC Digest; 1999.

[2] Burns A, Joyce H. Focus on Speaking. ERIC; 1997.

[3] Brown HD. Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy. Upper Saddle River (NJ): Prentice Hall Regents; 1994.

[4] Lewis M. New Ways in Teaching Adults. New Ways in TESOL Series II: Innovative Classroom Techniques. ERIC; 1997.

[5] Douglas Brown H. Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy. USA: Prentice Hall Regents; 1994.

[6] Rubin J. “What the” good language learner” can teach us. TESOL Q. 1975;9(1):41–51.

[7] Butarbutar R, Titik M, Betaubun M, Nasrawati M, Bawawa M. A Significance Study of Finding Difficult Words Technique. https://doi.org/10.2991/icss-18.2018.279.

[8] Merriam SB. Case study research in education: A qualitative approach. Jossey-Bass; 1988.

[9] Tellis W. Application of a case study methodology. Qual Rep. 1997;3(3):1–19.

[10] Atkinson P, Silverman D. Kundera’s Immortality: the interview society and the invention of the self. Qual Inq. 1997;3(3):304–25.

[11] Taylor MC. Interviewing. Qual. Res. Heal. Care. 2005;39–55.

[12] Braun V, Clarke V. Reflecting on reflexive thematic analysis. Qual Res Sport Exerc Health. 2019;11(4):589–97.

[13] Xu W, Zammit K. Applying thematic analysis to education: A hybrid approach to interpreting data in practitioner research. Int J Qual Methods. 2020;19:1609406920918810.

[14] Scarcella R. Some key factors affecting English learners’ development of advanced literacy. Dev. Adv. Lit. first Second Lang. Mean. with power. 2002;209–226.

[15] Yaakob SB. Factors affecting students’ writing skills in primary schools. Univ. Teknol. Mara, Bachelor Educ. 2015.

[16] Butarbutar R. How does Technology Vocaroo Improve Students’ Speaking Ability? A Study from Learner, Teacher, and Researcher’s Perspective. J. Posit. Psychol. Wellbeing. 2021;5(3):1635–40.

[17] Butarbutar R, Uspayanti R, Manuhutu N, Palangngan ST. Analyzing of puzzle local culture-based in teaching english for young learners. IOP Conf Ser Earth Environ Sci. 2019;343(1):12208.

[18] Butarbutar R. Learner’s perception of task difficulties in technology-mediated taskbased language teaching. Englisia J. Lang. Educ. Humanit. 2021;9(1):129–44.

[19] Sparks R, Ganschow L. Aptitude for learning a foreign language. Ann Rev Appl Linguist. 2001;21:90–111.

[20] Wen ZE, Biedron A, Skehan P. Foreign language aptitude theory: Yesterday, today and tomorrow. Lang Teach. 2017;50(1):1–31.

[21] Carroll JB. Human cognitive abilities: A survey of factor-analytic studies. Cambridge University Press, https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511571312.

[22] Dembo MH, Nicklin J, Griffiths C. Motivation and learning strategies for college success: A self-management approach. Routledge; https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203823149.

[23] Ebata M. Motivation factors in language learning. Internet TESL J. 2008;14(4):27–36.

[24] Hussin S, Maarof N, D’cruz JV. Sustaining an interest in learning English and increasing the motivation to learn English: an enrichment program. Internet TESL J. 2001;7(5):1–7.

[25] Leba SM, Butarbutar R, Werang BR. Exploring the English Learning Strategies of an Indigenous Papuan Student of Indonesia. Qual Rep. 2021;26(9). https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2021.4881.

[26] Butarbutar R, Leba SMR, Nur S, Weda S. Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning-Based Instruction in Teaching Speaking EFL in Indonesian Context. 2022.

[27] Butarbutar R, Leba SMR, S. Nur S, Weda S. Integrating Intercultural Communication on Social Media and Learning Materials Encourages Speaking EFL Motivation. 2022.

[28] Uspayanti R, Butarbutar R, Hiskya HJ, Ainani AF. Local Wisdom and its Implication for Nature Conservation. Rev. Int. Geogr. Educ. Online. 2021;11(5):292–302.