Speaking Skill

Category: Education

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A very very easy presentation to teach speaking skills effectively...here we go :)


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Teaching Speaking Skill :

Teaching Speaking Skill Presented by: Ms. Sadia Malik , Assistant Professor, ICG, F-6/2,

What are the characteristics of spoken language? :

What are the characteristics of spoken language ? Speaking is a skill, just like swimming, driving a car, or playing ping-pong. Too often, in the traditional classroom, the learning of English has been relegated to linguistic knowledge only, e.g. knowledge of vocabulary and grammar rules, with little or no attention paid to practising language skill.


ORACY vs LITRACY Andrew Wilkinson , the English linguist, coined the term ORACY in 1965 which stands for listening and speaking i -e the oral skills vs LITRACY which stands for reading and writing. “ORACY comes from practice in specific situations whether these occur naturally in the classroom or elsewhere, or are created as a specific teaching device. It is helped by unconscious initiation, it is stimulated by the response of others and speech becomes clearer in the necessity for communication. The main job of the teacher is to provide situations which call forth increasing powers of utterance.”

How can we tell the difference between knowledge and skill? :

How can we tell the difference between knowledge and skill? According to Bygate (1987:4) one “ fundamental difference is that both can be understood and memorised, but only a skill can be imitated and practised ” .

The skill of Speaking:

The skill of Speaking Produce characteristic English speech sounds and sound patterns, both in isolation and in combination. Use appropriate stress and intonation pattern. Use appropriate words and structures to express the intended meaning. Recall words and structures quickly. Organize thoughts and ideas in logical and coherent sequence. Adjust speech according to audience, subject matter, formality level, situation and mood.

Characteristics of spoken language:

Characteristics of spoken language Spontaneity Time-constraint

Spontaneity and Time-constraint:

Spontaneity and Time-constraint In most situations, people do not plan ahead of time what they are going to say. The fact that speech is spontaneous means that it is full of false starts, repetitions, incomplete sentences, and short phrases. The students must be able to produce unplanned utterances in real time; otherwise people will not have the patience to listen to them.

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Kelly: Hey Jack, how’s the project coming along? Jack: What project? Kelly: The one you and Craig are working on. Jack: Craig and I? Kelly: Yeah, for the science fair. Jack: Oh, that project. It’s finished. I’m so busy working on another project for my economics class that I almost forgot about it. I hope it’ll work like we want to. Kelly: Oh, I’m sure it will.

Principles for Teaching speaking:

Principles for Teaching speaking Balancing accuracy-based with fluency-based practices Contextualizing practice Personalizing practice Building up confidence Maximizing meaningful interactions Helping students develop speaking strategies Making the best use of classroom learning environment to provide sufficient language input and practice for the students. At early stages, limit practice to structures, sounds and selected vocabulary. The progression should be from imitative practice to communicative practice. Planning is crucial and tasks have to be clear and instructions easy to follow.

Characteristics of a successful Speaking Activity:

Characteristics of a successful Speaking Activity Learners talk a lot. Try to avoid students’ talking in the mother tongue, and avoid too much Teacher Talk. Participation is even. Try to avoid outstanding students’ dominating discussions. Try to guarantee equal opportunities for students of different levels Motivation is high. Interesting topic, and clear objective. Make sure that the task is in line with the students’ ability Language is of an acceptable level. The task must be designed so that the students can complete the task successfully with the language that they have.

Type of speaking tasks:

Type of speaking tasks It is important to provide the students with a variety of speaking activities because: A variety of speaking activities will enable students to cope with different situations in reality. Variety helps keep motivation high. Variety may suit students of different learning styles.

Structural Activities Imitative Act. Quasi-com. Activities (sent. pattern drills, dialogues, etc.) Functional Com. Act. Com. Act. (obtaining information) Social Interaction Act. (role-playing, problem-solving, etc.) (Information Gap, Choices & Feed-back):

Structural Activities Imitative Act . Quasi-com. Activities (sent. pattern drills, dialogues, etc.) Functional Com. Act . Com. Act . ( obtaining information) Social Interaction Act . ( role-playing, problem-solving, etc.) ( Information Gap, Choices & Feed-back )

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For beginners, pre-communicative activities or Imitative Practice are also necessary, which are more structural and allow the learner to practise the forms of the language. However, we should make speaking tasks as communicative as possible.

Types of speaking activities:

T ypes of speaking activities Controlled and Semi-controlled activities Getting acquainted Activities Matching games Oral guessing games (where is it?, what is it?) Simple Repetition Drills Substitution Drills Question answer drills Situational drills/practice Communicative Practice Role play Activities using pictures Problem-solving activities Dialogues Discussion Chain stories Telling jokes Talks/lectures Presentation on topics.

Getting acquainted Activities:

Getting acquainted Activities High Five Circle talk. (Good morning, my name is --------. What is your name?” Matching game

Substitution Drills:

Substitution Drills I He We You They She should b etter go run work do it look speak quickly quietly slowly carefully at once properly

2: Communicative Practice: (a) Information-gap activities:

2: Communicative Practice: (a) Information-gap activities Compare 2 activities: Activity A

(b) Dialogues and role-plays:

(b) Dialogues and role-plays Two problems with most dialogues in textbooks: Not authentic or natural. The natural speech of native speakers is often phrases or sentence fragments full of pauses, false starts, and repetitions. The way most dialogues are taught. Teachers ask students to memorize dialogues by heart.

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What can a teacher do to make a dialogue more communicative? Example 1 : Playing the roles in a dialogue

Step 1. Practise the dialogue in pairs:

Step 1. Practise the dialogue in pairs A: What time is it? B: It ’ s 3:00 . Why? A: Oh, I need to go to the store ! Do you want to come? B: OK. Just a minute. I need to finish this first .

Step 2. Ask a few pairs to perform the dialogue in front of the whole class, speaking in different moods such as happy, irritated, bored, or in different role relationships such as parent and a child, husband and wife, two friends, etc. :

Step 2. Ask a few pairs to perform the dialogue in front of the whole class, speaking in different moods such as happy, irritated, bored, or in different role relationships such as parent and a child, husband and wife, two friends, etc. The students may substitute the underlined parts: “go to the post office”, “go to the bank”, etc. instead of “ go to the store ”. “find my jacket/shoes”, etc. instead of “ finish this first ”.

Example 2: Using cue cards :

Example 2 : Using cue cards Card A You are talking to a new classmate. Begin the conversation with a greeting. 1. Greet your partner. 2. Ask your partner which school he/she went to before. 3. Ask your partner if he/she lives near the school. 4. Suggest you go shopping together after school.

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Card B You are a new student at this school. One of your classmates greets you. 1. Greet your partner back. 2. Answer the question. 3. Answer the question. 4. Respond to the suggestion.

Then students should be ready to move quickly into less controlled types of role plays, where only the situation and the relationship between the two speakers are specified: :

Then students should be ready to move quickly into less controlled types of role plays , where only the situation and the relationship between the two speakers are specified: Card A You and your friend are going out to eat lunch. You need to decide where to go. You would like to try something different because you ’ re tired of the same food. You make a suggestion.

Notice that the outcome of this role play is not specified in the cue cards. It only sets up a point of disagreement. :

Notice that the outcome of this role play is not specified in the cue cards. It only sets up a point of disagreement. Card B You and your friend are going out to eat lunch. You need to decide where to go. You would like to go to the place where you always go, because you like the food. You don ’ t agree with your friend ’ s suggestion.

Factors that affect the success of role-plays (Ur, 1996:133) :

Factors that affect the success of role-plays (Ur, 1996:133) Teacher ’ s enthusiasm; Careful instructions; Clear situation and roles; Making sure that the students have the language they will need to carry out the role-play.

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. (c) Activities using Pictures The teacher can use pictures at the primary level for just descriptions. She can give the students structures to be used with a word bank. Describe what you see in the picture using “there is/are….” you can take help from the words given below. Pears, bananas, milk bottles, curtains, cupcakes etc

Activities using Pictures:

Activities using Pictures Later the teacher can use pictures for narrating stories in past tense. Asking students for their opinions and evaluation, deriving morals etc. She can make it one line each story too if she wants it to be a chain story.

Activities using pictures:

Activities using pictures

In pairs: (Littlewood 1981: 23-4):

In pairs: ( Littlewood 1981: 23-4)

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Activity B : Use two variations of the same pictures, and give each student a different picture. Ask them not to show each other their picture. Tell them there are certain differences in the two they have to find out by discussing the details of the picture.

(d) Problem-solving activities:

(d) Problem-solving activities You are on a committee that is in charge of deciding what to do with a small amount of money that has been donated to improve your school. You have a list of things to do, but you only have enough money for 5 of the items . You must reach a consensus (agreement) in your group on which 5 items you will spend the money. Here is the list:

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Repaint 3 classrooms. Paint lines for games on the playground. Install lights that automatically turn off to save electricity. Buy curtains for 8 classrooms. This will make it easier to see the OHP (Overhead Projector) when the room is darker. Buy sound absorption panels for 2 classrooms. This will make the classroom quieter so it will be easier to hear each other. Buy an air conditioner for one classroom. Buy 4 new basketball hoops for the playground. Buy 15 young trees to be planted for shade around the edge of the playground. Buy fans for 6 classrooms. Remodel bathroom faucets so students can wash their hands using hot and cold water. Add soap dispensers and hand dryers to bathrooms .

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Problem solving activities require a higher level of language proficiency, but the difficulty levels can be controlled somewhat by the topic. In problem-solving activities, “participants tend to become personally involved; they begin to relate the problem as an emotional issue as well as an intellectual and moral one” (Ur 1996:128).

(e) Discussion skills:

(e) Discussion skills The students would be told the importance of listening to each member of the group in order to solve a problem. Each piece of paper I am holding contains one clue to sole a puzzle. If you put together all the pieces, you will be able to find the answers to: Who was Jim? When was he abducted? Place of abduction etc

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Jim was an American national working as a transport driver in Iraq . Jim was abducted by the Iraqi militant group near Baghdad at 10.00 am 0n 15 th A pril, 2009. When he woke up he found himself in a coffin. He could see that his radium watch was showing it was 4.00 pm. The militants buried him alive in a coffin with just a flash light, a pen, a bottle of water and a cell phone. He tried calling home, his contractor, the Pentagon but no one believed his story. At last he was contacted to a military personal in Iraq responsible for American nationals’ security. They tried to track his GPRS signal at 6.00 pm, but he was too deep down in the ground to be tracked accurately. It was 8.00 pm, and he kept on thinking about his wife and children back home and wondered what he had done to deserve this kind of death. The horrible night was unbearable to pass and just then a snake slithered in his coffin. He kept perfectly still as he did not have any weapon and prayed that the snake would leave and it left. Around 5.00 am next morning, he heard explosions outside and the personal told him on the cell that his position was located with the help of an Iraqi informant. He was ecstatic, hoping that he would be free soon. At 7.00 am, The personal told him that they were digging his grave and soon he would be out but Jim could not hear any sound outside which made him confused. And then came the death knell at 8.00 am, as the personal told him that the informant had taken them to wrong grave where another American was buried a week ago. For Jim all hope was lost now. He was ready to die too as his cell battery died.

(f) Change the story:

(f) Change the story Step 1: Form groups of 3-5; Step 2: The group together makes a list of about 10 random verbs. e.g. go, sleep, teach, learn, jump, fall, look (at), hear, laugh, sing, etc. Step 3: Each group writes a short story, and underlines all the verbs in the story; e.g.

PowerPoint Presentation:

Yesterday I saw a cat. She was running in the street. She had a fish in her mouth. A dog was running after the cat. The dog wanted to eat the fish too. Then the cat climbed up a tree. The dog stopped under the tree. He could not climb the tree. At last the cat ate the fish.

PowerPoint Presentation:

Yesterday I taught a cat. She was sleeping in the street. She learned a fish in her mouth. A dog was laughing after the cat. The dog fell to hear the fish too. Then the cat sang up a tree. The dog jumped under the tree. He could not heard the tree. At last the cat looked at the fish.

Organising speaking tasks:

Organising speaking tasks Advantages of using group work: More opportunities. As compared with activities for the whole class, group work enables students to talk a lot because it increases the time for each student to practise speaking in one lesson. More motivation. Group work helps students avoid losing their face in front of a whole class, and thus it makes students courageous to speak.

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More authenticity. Speaking in a small group is more natural than speaking in a large group, because the latter is usually more formal and requires preparation. Different levels. Students can naturally perform to their abilities more readily in small groups than in a whole class, i.e. students of different levels can participate.

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More cooperation. Small group work helps students learn to work cooperatively and it helps develop interpersonal skill – fostering development of tolerance, mutual respect and harmony.

Problems with Speaking Activities:

Problems with Speaking Activities Inhibition : real time exposure to audience, fear of being ridiculed, shyness. Nothing to say : cant think, no motivation. Low or uneven participation : some learners dominate the rest. Mother-tongue use : easier, feel less exposed.

What can the teacher do to solve these problems?????:

What can the teacher do to solve these problems????? Use Group work: increases talk time, lowers inhibition. Base the activity on easy language: review essential vocabulary before class. Make careful choice of topic and task to stimulate interest: personalized Give some instruction or training in discussion skills: everyone contributes, appoint an chairperson, a secretary to jot down points. Keep students speaking the target language: appoint a monitor in each group, model the language yourself, keep NAGGING!!!!


Conclusion The most important aspect of preparing students to speak in real life is to give them as many opportunities as possible to practise producing unplanned , spontaneous and meaningful speech under time pressure .


Homework 1. What are the main characteristics of spoken language? 2. What are the characteristics of successful speaking activities? 3. What are the main types of speaking activities?

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