Keywords: English, speaking skill, ELT, Turkey
The situation of spoken English in both formal and informal settings in Turkey seems to be far from satisfactory. Additionally, the legal arrangements devoted to ameliorate this predicament have proven unsuccessful as far as an acceptable level of competence is concerned. The present study aimed to investigate the situation of English speaking skills at the English Language Teaching (ELT) departments in Turkey, in attempts to attain a descriptive outline for the problems, perceptions, needs, and solutions proposed by lecturers and pre-service teachers. To achieve this, a questionnaire and semi-structured interview were administered to the lecturers and pre-service teachers at seven ELT departments across Turkey, with one department from each of the seven geographical regions. The results indicated that although they had been studying English for more than 6 years, a great majority of the participants could not speak English as proficiently as they were supposed to do. It was also revealed that the participants had difficulty achieving fluency and maintaining confidence when speaking English mainly because they had no appropriate contexts that would allow them to master English speaking skills. On the other hand, an extensive policy change in foreign language education was the most commonly proposed solution.