Comparative essayIn this comparative essay will be analized some views about the languagelearning strategies for speaking skills. This essay will be based on two books, the firstone is called ´Language Learning Strategies, What Every Teacher Should Know, forRebecca L. Oxford and ¨Materials Development in Language Teaching¨for BrianTomlinson.Both texts mentioned before talk or make references about the languagestrategies and the four language skills, but Rebeca L Oxfor gives more emphasis to theprocesses and description of the work and the different features of the strategies whileBrian Tomlinson gives more emphasis to the construction of material to develop thelanguage skills and the achievement on the apprenticeship of the students.Firstly, Rebeca L. Oxford gives an idea of the importance of the learningstrategies. She says that “Strategies are specially important for language learningbecause they are tools for active, self-directed involvement, which is essential fordeveloping communicative competence, and also says that appropiate language learningstrategies result in improved proficiency and greater self-confidence”.Another thing that Oxford says is that communicative competence is the main goal forstrategies. ¨ “All appropiate language learning strategies are oriented toward the broadgoal of communicative competence¨.As it was said at the begining, the main sikill in this essay is the speaking.Oxford in her books mentions two types of strategies, the Direct and Indirect strategies.In first place, talking about the Direct Strategies, it has three main clasifications.Firstly, for the Direct Strategies there are the Memory Strategies, one of the most
important of the three for the development of speaking skills, which fall into four sets;¨Creating Mental Linkages, Applying Images and Sounds, Reviewing well, andEmploying Actions. As Oxford says, ´memory strategies reflect very simple principles,such as arranging things in order, making associations, and reviewing, and theseprinciples all involve meaning, what is essential for speaking.Then. In second place there are the Cognitive Strategies, which are really inportant forspeaking too. They also fall into four sets; Präcticing, ¨Receiving and SendingMessages, Analyzing and Reasoning, and Creating Structure for Input and Output.¨Oxford emphasize that ¨strategies for practicing are among the most importantcognitive strategies. Language learners do not always realize how essential practice is.´Finally, in third place there are the Compensation Strategies, which are divided in twosets; Guessing intelligently and Overcoming limitations in speaking and writing. Aboutit, Oxford says that ¨Compensation Strategies ebable learners to use the new languagefor either comprehension or production despite limitations in knowledge. CompensationStrategies are intended to make up for an inadequate repertoire of grammar and,especially, of vocabulary.On the other hand, talking about the Indirect Strategies, we can find thre maindivisions. Firstly there are the Metacognitive Strategies and its three sets: Centeringyour learning, Arranging and planning your learning, and Evaluating your learning.Then there are the Affective Strategies with its three divisions; Lowering your anxiety,Encouraging yourselfe, and Taking your emotional temperature.In the third place there are the Social Strategies, wich are very important forthe speaking as the strategies mentioned prviously, and which is also divided in threeparts; Asking questions, Cooperating with others, and Empathizing with others.
After have talked about Oxford´s point of view, is time to talk aboutTomlinson´s. He emphasizes grammar as one of the main subject while talkig aboutspoken language. He says that ¨desciptions of the English language and of Englishgrammar, in particular, have been largely based on written sources and on writtenexamples. This is inevitable since examples of written English are easier to obtain and itis only recently that audio technology has facilitated recordings of the spokenlanguage.”Tomlinson presents the tails as a good way to practise the spoken language.He says that “Tail´s structures are selected here because they are a prominent feature ofthe Nottingham spoken corpus and because they are not adequately treated inconventional descriptive grammars of English, including some of the mostcomprehensive grammars of the EnglishLanguage. Tails are almost exclusive to thespoken language and where they do occur in written English they are selected in ordertogive thatwritten text a markedly spoken character. Such forms present therefore aparticular challenge to the materials designer wishing to provide teachers and learnerswith an opportunity to encounter a key feature of spoken language in use.”As it was mentioned previously, Tomlinson gives more emphasis to grammarat the time of learning and developing the speaking habilities, and because of that hestates that “ if we accept that tails are a normal rather than a deviant feature of spokengrammar (our corpus data confirms that tails are distributed across a range of differentcontexts) and if we accept that learners ought to be introduced to tails as an expresiveresource and be guided in their choices of whether, how and in what ways you use tails,then teachingmaterials will need to address such conditions.
Another thing that Tomlinson mentions is the language awareness andconsciousness, two things that are closely related with what Oxford says. Tomlinsonstaes that “ recent research in the field of second language aquisition and developmenthas pointed to some advantages in procedures which raise learner´s consciousness ofparticular grammatical forms.” This is what Oxford expresses with the idea of theDirect strategies in which are the Cognitives strategies. “Such research takes placeagainst a background of communicative language teaching methodology which in aconcern for greater fluency has focused on the learner´s use of language.It is important to take into account what Oxford and Tomlinson say aboutteaching the spoken language. Oxford presents the different strategies that us, asteachers should be aware of to have succes in the teaching and learning process, whileTomlinson gives us the ideas of how grammar is something important even whiletalking about the habilities of speaking. Two authors that are good guides for teachers atthe time of preparing and developing classes.References
Oxford, R. L. (1990). Language learning strategies. Alabama: Heinle and Heinle.Tomlinson, B. (Ed.). (2011). Materials development in language teaching. Cambridge UniversityPress.