JOSH BRUNOTTE (AICHI PREFECTURAL UNIVERSITY, JAPAN)

PUBLIC SPEAKING PHOBIA REDUCTION THROUGH VIRTUAL REALITY-BASED TRAINING AND EXPOSURE TO SIMULATED AUDIENCES : COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION IN ELT

The prevalence of public speaking phobia has important implications for the classroom success of students in a world in which presentation skills are increasingly important. If additional foreign language anxiety is present when speeches are conducted in a second language, students’ fear levels can be at a debilitating level. More effective methods for combating this problem must be developed, and virtual reality-based exposure to public speaking situations may hold many advantages over using traditional instructional methods alone, allowing students to rehearse speeches in low-anxiety environments in front of simulated audiences. This presentation will explore a study conducted with university students in Japan in which presentation skills and mindfulness training, along with VR presentation practice were combined to help reduce the public speaking phobia of participants. Task design and results from this program will be discussed, and attendees will have opportunities for hands-on experience with virtual public speaking practice as well.

Josh Brunotte is an associate professor at Aichi Prefectural University in Japan, where he has been working in the Liberal Education Center since 2017. He researches the intersection of psychology and computer-assisted language teaching, with a focus on how virtual reality and other emerging technologies can help with anxiety reduction.