You are on page 1of 48

Teaching Speaking


Aims of the session:
• •

To understand the speaking process To consider what is involved in effective speaking To discuss what we can do in the classroom to provide meaningful communication To look at some practical activities to develop speaking skills

The Speaking Process

“The apparent ease of speech production by competent speakers belies the complex cognitive processes involved and masks the many factors that influence the output. These processes are often overlooked in the classroom, where teachers’ attention is focused mainly on the product” (Goh & Burns 2012).


The Speaking Process

In fluent conversations, a speaker may produce 2 or 3 words per second by retrieval from a memory store of tens of thousands of items (Levelt, Roelofs & Meyer 1999) Actually involves remarkably complex underlying processes that express both form, or structure, and meaning, or content. These interrelated processes are represented in Levelt’s (1989) speech production model.

The Speaking Process Levelt’s (1989) model of Speech Processing 3/17/13 .

The process whereby speakers select the topic or information they wish to express. 3/17/13 •) •) •) •) . learners need to think about what to say before or while they are saying it.The Speaking Process a) Conceptual Preparation (Conceptualization) Initial stage of speech production. Ideas will depend on speaker’s world knowledge. In classroom activities.

The Speaking Process b) Formulation • Ideas that exist in the speaker’s mind during CP are mapped on to specific words in the mental lexicon and strung together (Garman 1990) This stage is perhaps the most challenging for L2 learners because of the lexicogrammatical choices that have to be made. Depends on knowledge of the L2 grammatical system (syntax & lexis) & knowledge of registers suitable for the 3/17/13 • .

stress & 3/17/13 intonation as they speak.The Speaking Process c) Articulation • Speakers activate & control specific muscle groups of the articulatory system (vocal tract. who need to consciously think about sounds. This is not the case for many L2 learners. • . larynx & lungs) to convey the message through sound waves. The phonological encodings are largely automatized for L1 speakers.

L2 speakers self-monitor their structural accuracy & pragmatic appropriacy with 3/17/13 varying degrees of success (Burns 1998. 1999). & dysfluencies (Levelt et al.The Speaking Process d) Self-monitoring • A key metacognitive process involving the checking of one’s speech for accuracy & acceptability. • • . Competent speakers typically notice errors in pronunciation & grammar.

→ Little demand on processing capacity 3/17/13 . Segalowitz 2003).Rate of Speech Production What factors affect the rate of speech processing? • Degree of automatization: cognitive processes that are automatized through constant use & rehearsal (Shiffrin & Schneider 1977.

Rate of Speech Production • A learner’s conceptualization & formulation processes may become automatized due to prior knowledge of. This can be improved by learning formulaic phrases (If I were you) & 3/17/13 . 1999).g. e.: § § § § facts social & academic conventions discourse structures lexis & grammatical structures • Rate also depends on speed of lexical access from long-term memory (Levelt et al.

what aspects of the spoken product do teachers typically focus on? 3/17/13 • • .Key Features of Learners’ Speech • Cognitive & affective factors during speech production → heavy demand on L2 learners Can have a direct impact on quality of learners’ spoken language. So.

Skehan 1996) .Key Features of Learners’ Speech 3/17/13 (Bygate 1998.

Insufficient time → incomplete retrieval of lexis & grammatical rules from LTM. Will most likely sacrifice accuracy in formulating their utterance.Key Features of Learners’ Speech • Effects of cognitive-processing demands on learners: § Insufficient cognitive resources to produce speech that is both fluent & accurate. § § 3/17/13 .

The children ran as fast as they could.Key Features of Learners’ Speech • When some processes. As soon as they heard the teacher’s whistle.g. As soon as they heard the teacher’s whistle.. and the children ran as fast as they could. learners may demonstrate language complexity: § Longer & more precise utterances a) The teacher blew the whistle. lexical retrieval. e. are partially automatized. The teacher blew the whistle. the children ran as fast as they could. the children who were standing at the back ran as fast as they could. b) a) b) § Represents an important stage in L1 & L2 development 3/17/13 § The extent to which complexity is found depends greatly on the .

• Who have you spoken to today/yesterday (face to face)? How have these conversations been different? • 3/17/13 .

Purposes for Speaking Two main purposes: • A transactional function § Primarily conveys information & facilitates the exchange of goods or services • An interpersonal function § Primarily establishes & maintains social relations. 3/17/13 These 2 basic purposes generate various .

Classify the following speech genres using the following criteria: purpose – is it transactional or interpersonal? it interactive or non-interactive? planning – is it planned or unplanned (or partly planned)? From Thornbury 2005 purpose Airport transactional announcements University lecture Telephoning a friend Radio interview TV weather forecast Asking directions in the street 3/17/13 participation Non-interactive planning planned .

purpose Airport transactional announcements University lecture transaction al interperso Telephoning a nal friend transaction Radio interview al transaction TV weather forecast al transaction al Asking directions interperso in the street nal Speech of thanks 3/17/13 participation non-interactive noninteractive interactive interactive noninteractive interactive noninteractive planning planned planned unplanned (partly?) planned (partly?) planned unplanned planned/unplan ned .

What other factor can affect how we speak to others? Formal vs informal.• This demonstrates how there are different reasons for communicating with others and that there are therefore different ways of doing it. based on level of intimacy 3/17/13 • • .

in accordance with one’s intentions. what skills are involved? Bygate says: “Interaction skills involve making decisions about communication. p6) 3/17/13 . and whether to develop it.” (Bygate. 1987. how to say it. while maintaining the desired relations with others.With interactive speaking. such as: what to say.

3/17/13 .What is real speaking like? How does it differ from written language? Speakers are typically constructing their message as they speak and this gives rise to some common features of spoken language.

Task: • Before you look at the transcript of a spoken conversation. consider what features you expect it to have that a written text would not. 3/17/13 .

• It is easier to improvise if you use less complex syntax Because of time pressure people can abbreviate the message by using incomplete utterances and leaving out unnecessary elements (ellipsis) Use of fixed phrases or formulaic language is easier (cognitively) 3/17/13 • • .Speakers are often constructing their message as they speak and this gives rise to some common features of spoken language.

• Now analyse the text to identify features that show that it is spoken language and not written language. 3/17/13 .

thing.g.You should consider the following: • • • • • • • • Hesitations Repetitions Tags Abandonment Incomplete utterances (and ellipsis) Vague words (e. stuff) Discourse markers 3/17/13 Pause fillers .

Carter & McCarthy 2006 Teachers can now highlight features that are the norm in informal speaking situations. Biber et al.Spoken Grammar • Recent research in corpus linguistics has provided insights into how grammatical forms differ in spoken & written discourse. 3/17/13 • • . Brazil 1995. 1999.

my brother . Umm Heads: My brother. Mind you. OK. he lives in London 3/17/13 • • • • • Tails: He lives in London. cos.• • Ellipsis: _____ you going out? Key Features of Spoken Grammar Discourse markers: You know. Right. Well. I mean. So. Yeah. actually Vague Language: sort of…. like. I see Hesitation: Err. that kind of thing Back-channelling: Mmm.

• All speakers do these things in interactional speaking. What other factors make a speaker ‘a good speaker’ in an interactional setting? • 3/17/13 .

.A good speaker uses the following skills to good effect: • • Turn-taking Choosing appropriate language for the situation (lexis.. intonation) Recognising the messages given by the person/people they are communicating with e. Ability to circumlocute to say what we • •3/17/13 .g. grammar. ‘Anyway. ‘Well’ etc.’ to indicate a closure & return to a previous topic.

• 3/17/13 .• We make choices in the language we use depending on the ‘genre’ and style of the situation. The choices will depend on the ‘distance’ or level of intimacy between the speaker and their audience and affect the grammar and lexis used.

Helping learners with their Speaking 3/17/13 .

Therefore as teachers we need to: • Ensure students can recognise the difference in language choices made Provide students with practice in a variety of different genres and styles 3/17/13 • .

Look at these examples of tasks aimed at getting learners to notice features of spoken discourse.Awareness Raising According to Thornbury (2005). What features of speaking is each activity focusing on? 3/17/13 . we first need to do awareness-raising activities.

. A task based approach works well for this. will encourage learners to notice the gap.g. Jane Willis (1996) suggests that a cycle involving the performing of a task.• Students can also learn a lot about what is needed in spoken language by noticing the difference between their own output and a more effective person’s output (e. 3/17/13 • . followed by focus on an effective user of the language performing the task. 2003). Bolitho et al.

We need to give meaningful practice that provides a genuine need to communicate.Communicative Tasks • Students will also want the opportunity to practise their speaking. How can we do that? • 3/17/13 .

(Thornbury 2005) § § § § 3/17/13 .Communicative Tasks • Characterized by the following features: § the motivation of the activity is to produce some outcome.e. there is no restriction on the language used. the activity takes place in real time. because of the spontaneous & jointly constructed nature of the interaction. the outcome is not 100% predictable. to listen as well as speak. i.. achieving the outcome requires the participant to interact. using language.

3/17/13 .

How could you adapt it? 3/17/13 .

By giving each student a different picture we have established an information gap. To what extent are they successful? 3/17/13 . They all aim to be communicative. Task 1 Look at the activities on the handout [task from Thornbury (2005) ‘How to teach speaking’].

Task 2 Work with a partner to match types of speaking activity with an example (on handout). 3/17/13 .

What’s 3/17/13 happening in the photo? .

Useful Books 3/17/13 .

3/17/13 .

3/17/13 .

3/17/13 .

3/17/13 .

3/17/13 .