Comparative essay

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Comparative essay

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION The following Comparative essay is based on a skill of language acquisition, whichis speaking. We have focused on the view of three different authors; Jeremy Harmer (Howto Teach English), David Nunan (Practical English Language Teaching), and H.D Brown(principles for teaching speaking skill). They explain how the speaking is, and how itshould be taught in a lesson. The first author states that the purpose for speaking is not justlinguistic, because the activities are not based on grammar or structural forms, whereasactivities are focused on the fluency of the spoken language. Thus, both teacher andstudents have the opportunity to get feedback and rehearsal. Another important pointmentioned is the method of correct mistakes; it is not interrupting while the students aredeveloping a speech or some ideas, but giving feedback later. Besides, teachers need to getinvolve with the situation but do not dominating the whole situation. The second authorstates that years ago speaking was thought based on audio-lingual repetition; however,lately it was realized that learners did not learn properly in that way. During the latetwentieth century, language acquisition has been reformed, it reform is based oncommunicative language teaching. Moreover, language has levels which operate when wespeak. Language teachers have to take into consideration this levels and how they workedtogether. It is also important to highlight the five principles for teaching speaking. Finally,the author points out some techniques and tasks for teaching language. The third author isfocused on principles for teaching speaking skills. First of all, he mentions the importanceof both, fluency and accuracy. It is also pointed out the importance of providing teachingtechniques and to encourage students in the use of authentic language, giving themappropriate feedback and corrections. He also contrasts speaking with listening.
  2. 2. In a general view we can compare the three authors when they mention theimportance of fluency and accuracy of the speaking skill in language acquisition. Theystate that it is important to get the students involved in real contexts of speech in order tolearn the target language and to express it in a natural way, becoming autonomouslanguage users. It means they should be able to use not only words, but also phrases,fluently. Plus, it is a very well known fact, that people learn a language by interacting;hence, students must be exposed to a communicative language teaching. Moreover, theyhighlight that when a language is acquired, the interaction and communication are moreimportant than linguistic and grammatical structures. A second point which could be compare, and it is covered by the three of them, isthe use of some classroom techniques and tasks in order to encourage and motivatestudents to practice speaking as a skill. Some of these activities are information gapactivities, role plays, telling stories, favorite objects, surveys, student’s presentations,famous people, moral dilemmas, etc. These kinds of activities are completely useful in thelanguage acquisition, because help students to communicate each other and being accuratewithin the target language, researches have demonstrated that learners make progress bycommunicating in the target language with these types of techniques. Thirdly, we can contrast the three authors, pointing out the form in which teachersevaluate students. According to Numan (Practical English Language Teaching), it isnecessary for teachers to correct mistakes during activities; it could destroy theconversational flow. Teachers should not correct while students are talking, they shouldprovide them feedback later. The author also mentions other ways to correct speakingmistakes, for example, the teacher can discuss with the class about the correction. On theother side, teachers can write mistakes n the boar, in order to make students memorize thespelling mistakes. Plus, it is also a good idea to give feedback individually and give agentle correction. It is important, and according to the text, the best way to correct, tospeak with the students about the mistakes. But do not signal a single student for particularcriticism, on the contrary it is better to generalize. Whereas, Jeremy Harmer (How toTeach English) emphasise in the fact that students form habits when they practice or repeatthe spoken language. According to this, students are not supposed to have bad habits, thus,teachers must correct mistakes as soon as possible. Otherwise, Brown states that it isessential to provide appropriate feedback; therefore, teachers have to take advantage of
  3. 3. their knowledge of English to inject the kinds of corrective feedback that are appropriatefor the moment. Finally, we noticed that the three of them have related the speaking skill with othercommunicative skill, but they differ because, on one hand, Harmer, does not focus on aspecific skill in deeply, but he just mention some of the skills as listening and writing, hesays that those skills are helpful in order to develop a speaking activity. According to David Nunan (Practical English Language Teaching), there is acontrast within the spoken language and the written language, he says that both differ inmany aspects, such as; spoken language is auditory, whereas, writing is visual. Speaking istemporary and has immediate reception, but writing has permanent reception. Plus, writinghas rhythm and stress intonation, while spoken language has punctuation. Moreover,spoken language has immediate feedback and written language has delayed or notfeedback. And also speaking is planned and edited limited by channel, whereas writtenlanguage has unlimited planning and edited revision. On the other hand, Brown states thecapitalization on the natural link between speaking and listening. He thinks that the twoskills can reinforced each other, because skills in producing language are often initiatedtrough comprehension.
  4. 4. CONCLUSION As a conclusion we can say that, although the speaking as a skill is seen from differentpoint of views, there is a common factor in the process of teaching it, which is learn the targetlanguage in context , using real situations. Besides, the activities are not based on grammar orstructural forms, because when language is learned by practicing grammatical structures, the resultis an unnatural communication, which is difficult to understand by a native speaker. In order toacquire the target language properly it is necessary that the activities are focused on the fluency ofthe spoken language. It is necessary that students are familiarizes with structural patters and soundof the target language, in order to learn it and acquire it. Another important point is the moment offeedback, we as future teachers must know how and when make an appropriate correction, becauseit will be essential in the development of the language acquisition. Moreover, the feedback is notonly for the students, but also for the teacher. Finally we can say that speaking is one of the mostdifficult skills to learn, it is very important to rehearse the language in context in order to learn howto use it properly. Students: Karla Essmann Paola Neira

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