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makes a speaking lesson good and types of speaking activities. First of all, in order to be able to speak in the class, the students need a real purpose. As teachers, our role is to give them a real communicative purpose. They should know the reason why they are talking or will talk. The students also need to have confidence and courage in a less threatened and comfortable atmosphere which we will create. In addition to them, the learners need to have an idea about the subject, and to know some grammar structures, vocabulary and pronunciation and how to use those. Secondly, we talked about types of competence. Linguistic competence is about how to use the grammar, syntax and vocabulary while Sociolinguistic competence is about how to use language appropriately, that’s to say, to know where to use which language. Discourse competence is about knowing how to interpret the context whereas Strategic competence is about how to cope with communication. Thirdly, we mentioned what makes a speaking class good in terms of the teacher, the learners, the atmosphere, correction and activities. First of all, the teacher –the facilitator in the class-should insist on students speaking English and even should accept wrong answers without offending the students. Secondly, the learners should have tolerance of each other. They shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes and shouldn’t feel shy or embarrassed in front of their friends, so they should not laugh at each other. In addition, they should make an effort to speak English. Those will create more willingness and participation in the class. Thirdly, the atmosphere should be relaxing, secure and encouraging. In this way, the learners will feel more comfortable. Then more students will participate and more English will be spoken. Fourthly, correction that depends on the activity purpose shouldn’t be offensive or abusive. As teachers, we shouldn’t forget that learners are also people and of course, they can make mistakes. Our role is to correct them politely and indirectly by providing some options to correct themselves or each other (peer correction makes the Ss feel less threatened). We should also know that it is not necessary to correct every single mistake. Finally, activities should include pair and group work because partner courage is important in the class. Moreover, activities should be various and interesting. Actually, I think, everything depends on the teacher. The teacher is the one who encourages students and creates a comfortable atmosphere in which students take risks to participate in the class or activities. Moreover, the teacher is the one who gives students a meaningful purpose to speak and who makes error correction. Fourthly, we touched on types of speaking activities. Information gap activity: In order to call an activity as an information gap activity, there should be a piece of information that needs to be discovered. We should search for an answer or learn something we don’t know before. In the
class, each student has different information. By asking questions each other to find out something that they don’t know about their friends, they communicate to fill the gap, which makes communication more real an motivates learners. Speaking activities in our course book such as completing a questionnaire, having a discussion and, creating and reading a weather forecast could be considered an information gap activity because all the activities have some information that needs to be found out. Opinion gap activity: Every one has different opinions, feelings and thoughts. Knowing or learning someone’s feelings and opinions helps the people to come closer. Taking part in a discussion could be considered an opinion gap activity. The other speaking activities are Drills, Role-play, Simulations, Debates, Games, Discussions, Answering T’s Questions, Oral Presentations, Problem Solving Tasks, Guided Role-Plays, Surveys, Interviews, and Comparing Tasks. Then we talked about some pre-speaking activities and their aims. These activities are eliciting ideas, listening to a dialogue, using key words and photographs. Actually, the aims of these activities are almost the same: to introduce the Ss to the topic, to interest them in the topic, to increase curiosity about the topic, to draw attention; to foster cooperation and to show an example in some activities. In addition, we talked about some problems in speaking classes and solutions to them. These problems are unwillingness of the students to speak, their fear of making mistakes while speaking, their fear of being made fun of them, their lack of knowledge how to say anything in English and what to do in group work, their shyness and their tendency to speak in their own language in group works. The solutions are to keep speaking English in order to make the students get used to hearing English in the class (because the more exposure to the language, the more speaking in English), to teach the students helping language and to provide them some useful phrases and language patterns before an activity (because with the help of them, the Ss will talk), to repeat or to ask a learner to repeat the instructions, not to correct all mistakes and to correct mistakes at the end of an activity (but it depends on the activity), to encourage them to support each other, to give them encouragement and praise, to tell or discuss why it is important to speak English and to ask some learners to do an example together (because knowing what to do before an activity is an effective strategy). We also touched upon interlanguage which is a third language, with its own grammar and lexicon and whose rules aren’t found in mother tongue of a learner and in the target language. Interlanguage sees mistakes as a kind of sign. It shows that the learners are taking risks and they are doing something to learn. Finally, we talked about the difference between error and mistake. While a mistake is caused by lack of attention, fatigue, carelessness etc., an error results from incomplete knowledge. Errors can show evidence of learning, so as we have always said, we should correct our learners nicely and tactfully. Munise ÖZTÜRK