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Lecture 9 Teaching the productive skills


Speaking is a skill on oral communication consisting in sending an oral message (Bygate, M. 1987. Speaking. OUP). Speaking is an integral part of oral conversation. There are certain genres of oral conversation i.e. typical types of oral performances in typical settings with the typical and highly predictable features (genres of oral conversation can be found in R.Carter and M.McCarthy. Exploring Spoken English. CUP. 1997).

Among the genres of speaking are description (telling the details to an active listener), narration (telling the development of events to an active listener), reasoning (telling one’s train of thought to an active listener), identification (talking about one's likes and dislikes) Other genres are language-in-action (people doing things and talking), comment (opinions and angles of view), service encounters (buying and selling of goods and services), debate and argument (seeking a solution and pursuing one’s point), learning (use of language in learning) and decision-making (people working towards decision). The ability to perform these genres is a proof of the skill level. This is how the language is used in everyday life.

Speaking as a skill depends much on the communication strategies (decisions on how to achieve the communicative goal). The list of communication strategies includes: approximation, paraphrase, word-coinage, negotiation of meaning, time-creating devices (hmm), elliptical language, body-language, mime, changing the subject

Generally speaking there are three major principles (guiding rules) of teaching to speak. Teaching to speak is done through motivated speaking for meaning. Teaching to speak is done through speaking for information. Teaching to speak is done through speaking for interaction. (Littlewood, W. 1981. Communicative Language Teaching: an Introduction. CUP).

Communicative exercises in teaching to speak are organized as information transfer (extracting certain pieces of information from a non-verbal form e.g. a table, a graph, a map etc). Another type of exercises is information gap (information is conveyed from the person who possesses it to the one who lacks it). Information gap can take the form of a jigsaw (each learner has only some information, which is part of the whole and is to be brought together by means of oral communication) (Johnson, K. 1982. Five principles in a "communicative exercise type". Communicative Syllabus Design and Methodology. Prentice Hall. P. 163-175).

Communicative techniques can be isolated as shown below:

Communicative techniques
Non-reality techniques Simulation techniques Reality techniques
Preparation for the language Games Information gap Jigsaw Information transfer Role-plays Discussions Projects In-class socialization Out-of-class socialization


Communicative games have a task, rules, participants, competition, winners (examples of communicative games can be found in Hadfield, J. 1987. Advanced Communicative Games. Nelson. Wright, A., M. Betteridge and M. Buckby. 1984. Games for Language Learning. CUP). Games can be classified as follows:

· Information gap games (the winner is the first who compiles together all the necessary information from other participants)

· Matching, contrasting and comparing games (fitting, exchanging, collating, spotting differences)

· Sequencing games (the winner is the first who does the correct sequencing),

· Guessing games (the winner is the first who does the correct guess, e.g. "Who am I?", wearing a sticky label on one's forehead and asking questions about oneself)

Community games (popular past-time games like “crosswords”, “dominos” or “bingo” with a language focus in mind), Attention games (the winner is the one who is most attentive in performing the tasks), Memory games (the winner is the one whose memory works best), General knowledge games (the winner is the best one at general knowledge quizzes Board games (a game organized between couples or groups of partners with a playing board, e.g. a grid and dice with a task in each box of the grid and the order of tasks determined by casting the dice)

Simulation activities are replicating reality for language study purposes. Simulation can take the form of role-play and problem solving. Role-plays can be based on roles and scenarios (Porter Ladousse, G. 1987. Role Play. OUP). Discussions are usually based on problems and opinions (Ur, P. 1991. Discussions that Work. CUP).

Role-play can be described with at least four features: closeness (a plot can be very close to one's own experience or distant), situation (a situation can be very typical for every day or unlikely), realism (the circumstances can be realistic or imaginary), personality (the characters of the role-play can resemble the participants themselves or be alien to them) (After Byrne, D. 1986. Teaching Oral English. Longman. P. 117-118). Role-play can be controlled (the participants are responsible for the language they use), semi-controlled (participants are partly expected to use the prescribed language), free (participants are responsible for the message not for the prescribed language, small-scale (lasting for a lesson or less) and large-scale (lasting for more than a lesson or perhaps for the whole term).

The steps of running a role-play in the lesson are shown by the graph

Choosing role-playing participants  
Arranging communication setting  
Distributing the roles  
Selecting the language  
Developing the plot  
Acting out the role-play  
Reflecting on the procedure (plot development, using the language, finding the resolution to the drama)  

Three-phase framework of teaching to speak consists of the pre-speaking, while-speaking and post-speaking activities. Pre-speaking activity is to prepare the participants for the main speaking activity. Schemata activation is recalling prior world-knowledge of the participants that is relevant to the speaking situation. Questions, pictures and texts can be used to these ends. Brainstorming is an activity used to generate ideas in small groups before the main speaking activity. The purpose is to generate as many ideas as possible within a specified time period. The ideas are not evaluated until the end of activity time. (Brown, H. 1994. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. Prentice Hall). Motivation of participants can be enhanced when they clearly see the communicative problem and the ways to resolve it. While-speaking the participants actually resolve the communicative problem and produce its resolution as a result of the role-play, problem-solving, socialization or communication game. Post-speaking can provide opportunities for the learners to re-visit the language and ideas produced and to think of the ways to make communication more effective. An important part of the post-speaking activity is the development of integrated communicative skills, i.e. reading-and-speaking task, listening-and-speaking task, speaking-and-writing task etc. (Sheils, J. 1988. Communication in the Modern Language Classroom. Strasbourg).


Date: 2014-12-22; view: 1729

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