Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Janet Deck

Second Advisor

Dr. James Anderson

Third Advisor

Katlyn Elliott


Practice is necessary for developing oral English proficiency, but many Chinese learners of English lack the self-confidence to practice oral English; furthermore, students’ self-confidence deficiency is perpetuated by insufficient oral English proficiency. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to discover pedagogical practices that break the cycle of the reciprocal effect of deficiencies in oral English and in self-confidence in Chinese adult PhD non-English major students. Six participants who raised their oral English proficiency and self-confidence during their PhD studies described their English learning journeys by responding to interview questions. Analyzation of data from interview responses developed into two themes of pedagogical practices that simultaneously raised participants’ oral English fluency and boosted their self-confidence. The results of this study revealed the specific speaking and listening strategies and aspects of fostering a learning environment that were effective for the participants and are recommended for raising oral English proficiency and self-confidence for Chinese adult PhD non-English major students.