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1/14/13

Unit 9 Teaching Speaking

UNIT 10 Teaching Speaking Aims of this unit: 1. What are the differences between spoken and written language? 2. What are the principles for teaching speaking? 3. Who can we design speaking activities? 4. What are the typical types of speaking activities? 5. How to organize speaking activities. I. The characteristics of spoken language 1. The purpose of learning speaking It is an important part of everyday interaction and most often the first impression of a person is based on his/ her ability to speak fluently and comprehensibly. Learning speaking can accelerate the learning of listening, reading and writing in English. The purpose of leaning speaking are: l To train students oral ability; l To foster students’ talent in English language and culture; l To foster students’ ability of thinking in English; 2. Two main factors affect the improvement of speaking ability 1) Surroundings; 2) Psychology 3. The characteristics of spoken language. 1) Speaking is a skill that can be imitated and practiced Speaking is a skill, just like swimming, driving a car, or playing ping-pong. Bygate (1987:4) points out one “fundamental difference is that knowledge and skill can both be understood and memorized, but only a skill can be imitated and practiced”. 2) Differences between spoken ad written language l Speech in spontaneous.(自发的) Speech is spontaneous. That is, in most situations, people do not plan ahead of time what they are going to say. Bygate (1987:8) points out that teachers may be requiring their students to do more forward-thinking and planning than native speakers do in real life! l Speaking is time-constraint(受时间的制约). The students must be able to produce unplanned utterances in real time, otherwise people will not have the patience to listen to them. 3). Features of spoken languages Accordin to Bygate(1987), there are four common features of spoken languages: l Using less complex syntax; l Taking short cuts, e.g. incomplete sentences;
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Unit 9 Teaching Speaking l Using fixed conventional phrases/ chunks. to change topics and to have some control over the communication. or being interviewed 5. it is best practiced within small groups or in www. we need to provide sufficient opportunities for students to develop fluency. 4. 3. Balancing accuracy-based with fluency-based practices On one hand.edu. The only other activity that is realistic is the second one: giving a prepared talk.htm 2/6 .learning a piece of text or dialogue by heart 4. l Using devices(策略) such as fillers (补白). Personalising practice We need to help students learn better by personalizing the content and context so that students can talk or write about their own life experiences and their personal opinions.reading aloud 2. but this would usually not be required of any of the students until they were at an advanced level of English.doing a drill Most of the above activities are very common in traditional language teaching. 5.giving a prepared talk 3. The only activity that would help students prepare for spontaneous speech would be: interviewing someone or being interviewed. Contextualising practice Teachers need to identify a situation in which a target structure is commonly used. Building up confidence It is very important for the teacher to create a relaxed and supportive environment and help them build up their confidence. to ask questions. II. Principles for teaching speaking 1. 2. but they do not help prepare the learner for the type of speak​ ing that is most common in everyday life.interviewing someone. One the other hand. TASK 2 Considering the aspects of the nature of spoken language discussed above. to take turns in speaking. hesitation device to give time to think before speaking. which of the following activities do you think would help to prepare students for real life speech in English? 1.cn/waiy uxi/jpkc/jaoan/Unit 10. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. we need to allow time for grammar and vocabulary learning so that students have sufficient linguistic competence. This is not to say that the other activities have no value. Maximising meaningful interactions As one of the main objectives of teaching speaking is to develop students’ ability to initiate a topic.ly un.

the teacher may interfere to guarantee equal opportunities for students of different levels.cn/waiy uxi/jpkc/jaoan/Unit 10. III. such as initiating a conversation. when the topic is interesting or there is a clear objective that must be reached. the students talk a lot in the foreign language. and ending a conversation. When we design speaking practices. Another common problem is that the teacher talks too much of the time. Task 2 Think about a successful speaking activity that you have participated in as a student. asking for clarification. Making the best use of classroom leaning environment to provide sufficient language input and practice for the students. What made it successful? (Let students discuss ) The following char​ acteristics are common in successful speaking tasks (adapted from Ur.1/14/13 Unit 9 Teaching Speaking pairs. In successful speaking tasks. turn taking. In china. 1. getting help from others. we need to ensure that the interaction is meaningful and participation is maximum. 3. the students may think it is childish and thus lose interest. 2. So creating an English speaking environment to maximize learning opportunity is crucial for students. Look at the Task 2 .edu. getting others’ attention. Maximum foreign talk One com​ mon problem in speaking activities is that students often produce one or two simple utterances in the foreign language and spend the rest of the time chatting in their native language. Again great care should be taken to make sure the task is in line with the students’ ability to deal with the task. 6. Even participation Whether the task takes place among the whole class or in small groups.ly un. If the task is too easy. etc. Helping students develop speaking strategies Speaking involves strategies. Designing speaking tasks There are several factors to consider when designing speaking activities. High motivation Students are eager to speak.htm 3/6 . Right language level The task must be de​ s igned so that students can complete the task successfully with the www. students have the opportunity to hear and speak the language only in the classroom. 4. asking for repetition. 7. 1996). a successful task should encourage speaking from as many different students as possible. When necessary. The task should be designed in a way so that the outspoken students do not dominate discus​ s ions.

This way an information gap is formed because each student only sees one cue card and therefore doesn’t know what the other person is going to say. If the students lack too much vocabulary the task will become frustrating and the students are likely to give up or revert back to the native language.htm 4/6 . 2) Semi-controlled activities.cn/waiy uxi/jpkc/jaoan/Unit 10. debates. (Task 4/5. yet still controlled enough so that the task is not too difficult for beginning and lower intermediate students. typical speaking activates 1) Information-gap activities One excellent way to make speaking tasks communicative is to use information-gap activities.edu. Types of speaking tasks It is important to give the students a variety of speaking activities so that they will be able to cope with different situations in reality. IV. Classification of speaking activities Littlewood (1981) summarized the speaking activities as below: Structural activities Pre-communicative activities Quasi-communicative activities Functional communicative activities Communicative activities Social interaction activities 1) Controlled activities Controlled activities mainly focus on form and accuracy. etc. 2) Dialogues & role-play A couple of problems with the way most dialogues are presented in textbooks: (a) the language is not authentic or natural. 2. problem-solving activities. Interviews.on P103/166) 3) Activities using pictures www.focused games. (b) teach students grammar more than foster students to speak (c) dialogues are taught not practiced The way to make dialogues more similar to real-life. is to use cue cards. fluency.ly un. discussions.Unit 9 Teaching Speaking language that they have. which include information gap activities. Communicative activities allow for real information exchange. Semi-controlled activities focus more on meaning and communication. 3) Communicative activities. 1. in which the students have different information and they need to obtain information from each other in order to finish a task.

Using group work in speaking tasks 1.Students should have more opportunities to practice in class.Grouping according to students level. 5) Find someone who… Directions: Stand up and walk around the room. Once you find someone who likes something. 3. we spend most of our time talking to one other person or to a few other people. you must speak only in English! • Find someone who likes to swim.ly un. 2. There are many different information-gap activities that can be designed around pic​ tures. This is the strongest argument for using small group work because it increases the time for each student to practice speaking in one lesson.1/14/13 Unit 9 Teaching Speaking Appropriate pictures provide cues. One student gets one picture and a second student gets the other picture. ________________ V. It is inevitable that some students in a class will be more advanced than other students. Students from elementary level to advanced level can all benefit from using pictures in speaking activities. The first person to fill in all the blanks is the winner. Students are afraid of criticism or losing face or they simply feel shy about speaking in a foreign language in front of a whole class. Try the problem-solving task below.cn/waiy uxi/jpkc/jaoan/Unit 10. If teachers modify a given task to make it easier for slower students and more challenging for more ad​ vanced students. There are many topics that would be interesting and relevant to the students’ life. because in real life. Continue asking until you have a different name written down for each activity. Their task is to discover all the differences be​ tween the two pictures without looking at each other’s pictures. One common type is to use two pictures which look identical to each other at first glance. then all students will continue www. but actually have several differences. __________________________ • Find someone who likes to play ping-pong.htm 5/6 . Remem​ ber. • Find someone who likes to play basketball. _________________ • Find someone who likes to play badminton. situations and non-verbal aid for communication. Since the students will probably not have enough opportunity to practice speaking in English outside the classroom. Speaking in small groups is more natural for students than speaking in front of class. 4) Problem solving activities This type of activity tends to be productive because there is a clear objective to be reached. write down his/her name in the blank next to the activity. Besides. prompts. it is our responsibility to give them as many opportunities in the classroom as possible. Different small groups can work at different levels if the teacher groups them accord​ ing to language proficiency level. Ask your classmates what they like to do. speaking in small groups is more natural.edu.

edu.Unit 9 Teaching Speaking learning and remain more motivated.cn/waiy uxi/jpkc/jaoan/Unit 10. www.ly un.htm .