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To speak or not to speak... That is the question!


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  • 1. Ester Boldú
  • 2. Don’t take notes!  Find all the information and resources at:
  • 3. Outline: 1. Definition of “Speaking”. 2. Definition of “Teaching Speaking”. 3. Elements of a Speaking Activity. 4. Activities to Enhance Fluency 5. Designing a Speaking Activity 6. Assessment and Grading 7. Advices and Resources
  • 4. 1. Definition of Speaking: “Speaking" is the process of building and sharing meaning through the use of verbal and non-verbal symbols, in a variety of context”. (Chaney, 1998, p.13).
  • 5. 1. What is “Speaking”?  Speaking is the primary mode of communication  All humans learn to speak as part of their natural biological development  An important component of the language teaching  Speaking exercises are integral in the adoption of another language
  • 6. 1.Components of a Speaking Activity • Contextualized practice - clear the link between linguistic form and communicative function • Opportunity to personalize language - students can express their own ideas, feelings, preferences and opinions • An awareness of the social use of language - appropriate social behavior and the language that accompanies it • Opportunity to build confidence - build confidence in students to produce language quickly and automatically
  • 7. 1. What are the types of classroom performance ?  Imitative (this should be limited) – repetition drill  Intensive – practice a grammatical/phonological feature  Responsive – to respond to a question  Transactional (dialogue) – to convey information  Interpersonal (dialogue) – to interact socially  Extensive – monologue (intermediate/advanced)
  • 8. “Teaching Speaking" is to teach ESL learners to select appropriate words and sentences according to the proper social setting, audience, situation and subject matter. 2. Definition of Teaching Speaking:
  • 9. • Speaking is the most important skill, as it is the last step in language acquisition. • It is a tough job for teachers to engage student to speak, because there are some barriers and affective filters. • You can write or read or learn grammar or listen individually, but you can not speak with yourself so teaching speaking needs more consideration. 2. Some Teaching Considerations:
  • 10. 2. How Do We Teach Speaking? Present new vocabulary words and grammatical structures in situational and communicative contexts. Use the language quickly and confidently with few pauses, which is called fluency. Produce the English speech sounds and sound patterns. Use word stress, intonation patterns and the rhythm of the second language.
  • 11. 2. What are the principles for Teaching Speaking ?  Focus on fluency and accuracy (depending on objective).  Develop speaking strategies and motivating techniques.  Use authentic language in meaningful contexts.  Provide appropriate feedback and correction.  Optimize the natural link between listening and speaking (and other skills).  Give students the opportunity to initiate oral communication.
  • 12. 2. Stages for Speaking Activities. Pre-communicative: Where mainly accuracy- based activities are used. They tend to be the most controlled. Practice stage: These are fluency based activities where they tend to be less controlled. Communicative interaction or production stage: Free activities and improvisations.
  • 13. 2. Some examples for teaching speaking  Interviews  Guessing games  Ranking exercises  Discussions  Problem-solving activities  Role plays  Simulations
  • 14. 2. What are the common speaking strategies ?  Asking for clarification (what? Pardon?).  Asking someone to repeat something.  Using fillers and conversation maintenance cues (uh-huh, right, yeah, okay, hmm).  Getting someone’s attention.  Using paraphrases for structures one can’t produce.  Using formulaic expressions.  Using mime and non-verbal expressions.
  • 15. TASK 1: Brainstorming Discuss with your partner possible reasons why learners do not speak English in class. Write a couple of these reasons on a paper sheet. Come up with a couple of ideas to encourage students to speak. 2. Why Learners Do Not Speak?
  • 16. 2. Why Learners Do Not Speak?  They have nothing to say.  They feel silly speaking a language in which they know they are making mistakes.  It is artificial to communicate with your classmate in a foreign language.  They do not have the English level to express the concepts that the teacher wants them to express.  It is very tiring to concentrate on producing in a foreign language; especially when your level is low.  The topic is boring.
  • 17.  Lack of curriculum emphasis on speaking skills.  Teachers limited English proficiency.  Class conditions do not favor oral activities.  Limited opportunities outside of class to practice.  Examination system does not emphasize oral skills. 2. Reasons for poor speaking Skills
  • 18. 2. Suggestions: Create a purpose for class communication. Allow enough time for thinking. Give enough input before students speak. Select topics suitable for the learners’ proficiency (level, age…). Create a reward/punishment system for speaking in English. (extra points – 0,25) Avoid over correction (Accuracy vs. Fluency)
  • 19. Organizer: Get Ss engaged and set the activity. Prompter: Provide Ss with chunks not words. Observer: Analyze what causes communication breakdowns. Participant: Do not initiate the conversation. Feedback provider: Tell Ss how proficient their performance was. Resource: Provide Ss with tools to improve their oral performance. Friendly: Establishes a good rapport with Ss. 2. Characteristics of Teacher in Speaking Activities:
  • 20. 3. Teacher’s Role: Increase the Learners’ Role and Responsibility…  Use learner centred activities  Focus on the learner talk time Adjust Feedback/Error Correction…  Choose the right time to correct students  Choose the right way to correct students Integrating Skills  Combination of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in classroom activities.  Teachers create activities that imitate real world language use.
  • 21. 3. Elements of a Successful Speaking Activity: Provide Appropriate Input Integrate Skills Use Variety of Aids Create a Purpose for Speaking Base your Lesson on Real Life Situation Tailor to the Needs
  • 22. 3. Getting students to speak • Games: surveying games, bandit and sheriff, shopping games, taboo… • Drilling: standing in circles then throw the ball to question-answer each other, using pictures (from books or cards), ask and answer questions in pairs/groups, telephone game • Singing: We’re table number one, The finger song, Can I have a pen? • Chanting: What time is it?, • Storytelling: retelling stories
  • 23. 3. Communicative Activities: Classroom activities are designed to get learners speak and listen to one another (communicate). TASK 2: Question Which of the following is a communicative task? a) Students read a prepared speech. b) Students read a story and look at the picture. c) One student reads the instructions and the other fixes the machine. …And a speaking task?
  • 24. Find the Difference Discussions Debates Projects (News) Benefits? Fostering critical thinking Quick decision making and justify themselves Disagreeing with the others politely 4. Activities To Promote Speaking:
  • 25. Examples Oral presentations Celebrations/News
  • 26. Role-Play Simulations Benefits? Motivating the students Increasing the self-confidence of hesitant students 4. Role-Play & Simulations:
  • 27. < content/speaking-skills-lesson-plans-the-wedding-party- worksheet/teachers-notes-intermediate/149714.article> Example:
  • 28. 4. Storytelling & Story Completion: Storytelling Story Completion Benefits?  Fostering creative thinking  Expressing ideas in the format of beginning, development and ending, and teaching the characters and setting of a story
  • 29.  Picture Describing (comparing&contrasting)  Picture Narrating  Benefits?  Fostering the creativity and imagination.  Improving public speaking skills.  Finding similarities and differences.  Speculating feelings and future actions. 4. Picture Describing & Picture Narrating:
  • 30. 4. Interviews & Reporting: Interviews Reporting Benefits? Giving students a chance to practise their speaking. Helping them becoming socialised.
  • 31. Example:
  • 32. 4. Brainstorming & Playing Cards:  Brainstorming  Playing Cards  Benefits:  Never criticise learners’ ideas.  Collaborative working.  Teacher should state at the beginning of the activity some rules (Ss are not allowed to prepare yes-no questions, they should answer with complete sentences, etc.)
  • 33. TASK 3: Your Example Create one activity covering these points. Then, critique one of your peers’ activities using these criteria.  Controlled – Creative?  Level (s) of production?  Teacher roles?  Accuracy, fluency, communicative?  Language focus?  Other skills?  Stage in a lesson?  Seating arrangement?
  • 34. What Mistakes Do ESL Teachers Make When Designing a Speaking Activity? 5. Designing a Speaking Activity:
  • 35. Do not provide enough input or sufficient vocabulary beforehand Do not provide authentic materials and shared knowledge. Do not monitor students’ performance. Setting inaccurate time limit. Give limited opportunity for students to speak the target language and do not involve all students. Focus on the dominant students and ignore shy ones. 5. Mistakes of ESL Teachers (I) :
  • 36. Do not prompt students to speak more. Increase teacher talk time in class. Usage of one mode of interaction. Distract students by correcting their pronunciation, grammar or word choice. Give offensive signs when commenting on a student’s response or pronunciation. Give no or unconstructive feedback 5. Mistakes of ESL Teachers (II):
  • 37.  Challenges of assessing speaking activities:  What to test  How to test  When to asses.  Scoring 6. Speaking Assessment Challenges:
  • 38.  What to test?  Fluency  Accuracy (Grammar)  Pronunciation  Task Completion  Vocabulary  Appropriateness  Comprehension  Communicative Competence 6. Speaking Assessment Challenges:
  • 39.  How to test?  Question/ Answer  Picture Test  Situation Response  Role-Play  Formal Presentation  Tense 6. Speaking Assessment Challenges:
  • 40.  When to assess?  Provide appropriate feedback and correction.  Takes notes while pairs or groups are talking.  Address problems to the class after the activity without embarrassing the student who made error.  You can write the error on the board and ask who can correct it. 6. Speaking Assessment Challenges:
  • 41. 6. Overview = confidence Calendar Sequence and Examples
  • 42. 6. Feedback
  • 43. Sample Scoring System: Fluency (20%) Pronunciation (20%) Accuracy (20%) Vocabulary (20%) Task Completion (20%) 6. Speaking Assessment Challenges:
  • 44. 6. Audience Comments Returned to Students
  • 45. Speaking Checklist: Things to be aware of when evaluating speaking (pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary):  Pronunciation:  Individual sounds  Stress and Intonation  Pausing and Phrasing  Reductions 6. Speaking Assessment Challenges:
  • 46. Speaking Checklist:  Grammar:  Verbs  Noun Phrases  Sentence Structure  Individual Grammar Problems  Functional Phrases  Vocabulary:  Word Choice  Idioms and Phrasal Verbs  Appropriateness 6. Speaking Assessment Challenges:
  • 47. 7. Advice (I): How to improve my conversation skills?  Don’t be shy and self-conscious!  Communication errors can be solved.  A conversation is an interactive activity involving listening and speaking from both parties.  It’s all about listening and asking questions.  Do some research!  Lulls are normal.  If a conversation is going wrong, it may not be your fault.
  • 48. 7. Resources (I)        worksheets.html 
  • 49. 7. Advice (I): How to improve my pronunciation?  Listening and reading aloud  Writing  Networking and making friends  Greeting people on the street  Having small talks in public  Joining one-on-one conversations, conversation and common interest groups  Watching foreign movies with English subtitles
  • 50. 7. Resources (II)  Daily Conversations: conversations  EBooks:  Phrases and Expressions for Speaking:
  • 51. 7. And Rememeber…
  • 52. Keep It Simple …Less is MORE
  • 53. Any Volunteers?
  • 54. Any Volunteers?
  • 55. 7. Common teacher statements  “My students are too shy to speak in a group”  “Their English level is too poor to give their opinion”  “There are too many students in the classroom to do a speaking activity”  “They are not motivated to speak in English”  Etc.  No more excuses!
  • 56. Thank you for listening Ester Boldú Blog: anglester Mail: