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Teaching speaking
ENGLISH II
A course in language teaching , Penny Ur
Successful oral fluency practice
Characteristics of a
successful speaking activity.
Learners talk
a lot
Participation
is even
Motivation is
high
Language is
of an
acceptable
level
Problemswiththespeaking
activities
Inhibition
Nothing to say
Low or uneven
participation
Mother-tongue
use.
What the
teacher
can do to
help to
solve
some of
the
problems
Use group work
Base the activity on easy language
Make a careful choice of topic and
task to stimulate interest
Give some instructions or training in
discussion skills
Keep students speaking the target
language.
Unit Two: The functions of topic and task
TYPES OF ORAL FLUENCY ACTIVITIES
Activity 1
Discuss the following conflicting opinions.
Opinion 1. Children should be taught in heterogeneous classes: setting them
into ability groupings puts a ‘failure’ label onto members of the lower groups,
whereas putting more and less able learners together encourages the slower
ones to progress faster, without penalizing the more able.
Opinion 2. Children should be divided into ability groupings for most subjects:
this enables the less able ones to be taught at a pace suitable for them, while
the better students do not need to wait for the slower ones to catch up.
Activity 2
A good schoolteacher should have the following qualities. Can your group
agree together in what order of priority you would put them? sense of
humour enthusiasm for teaching honesty pleasant appearance love of
children fairness knowledge of subject ability to create interest flexibility
ability to keep order clear speaking voice intelligence
Topic and task – based activities.
Topic: A good topic is one to which learners can relate
using ideas from their own experience and knowledge;
the ability-grouping topic is therefore appropriate for
most schoolchildren, schoolteachers or young people
whose school memories are fresh.
Task: A task is essentially goal-oriented: it requires the
group, or pair, to achieve an objective that is usually
expressed by an observable result, such as brief notes or
lists, a rearrangement of jumbled items, a drawing, a
spoken summary.
Unit Three: Discussion
activities
DISCUSSION
ACTIVITIES
1. Describing pictures
This is a simple but
surprisingly productive
activity for beginner
classes.
2. Picture
differences
It produces plenty of
purposeful question-and-
answer exchanges.
DISCUSSION ACTIVITIES
3. Things in common
An ice-breaking activity, which fosters a feeling of
solidarity by stressing hared characteristics of
participants.
4. Shopping list
An imaginative, fun activity-but, as the teacher will
have found if him/her did it, actually rather sterile in
the amount of talk it produces.
5. Solving a problem
This is particularly suitable for people who are
themselves adolescents, or involved with adolescent
education, and is intended for fairly advanced learners.
Unit Four: Other kinds of spoken interaction
Different kinds of interaction
• Interactional talk: This is to some extent a matter a
matter of learning conventional formulae of courtesy
• Long turns: The ability to speak at lenght is one which
adult, more advanced or academic students will
perhaps need and therefore needs cultivating; for other
types of classes it may be less important.
• Variend situations, feelings, relationships: It is certainly
arguable that learners will need to function in a wide
variety of such contexts, and it makes sense to give
them opportunities to try using the target language un
simulations of at least a selection of them.
TYPES OF SPOKEN DISCOURSE
Extract 1
Interactional uses of language are those in which the primary purposes for communication are social.
The emphasis is on creating harmonious interactions between participants rather than on
communicating information.
The goal for the participants is to make social interaction comfortable and non-threatening and to
communicate good will.
Although information may be communicated in the process, the accurate and orderly presentation of
information is not the primary purpose.
Examples of interactional uses of language are greeting, making small talk, telling jokes,
giving compliments, making casual ‘chat’ of the kind used to pass time with friends or to make
encounters with strangers comfortable.
Brown and Yule (1983) suggest that language used in the interactional mode is listener oriented . .
Transactional uses of language are those in which language is being used primarily for communicating
information. They are ‘message’ oriented rather than ‘listener’ oriented. Accurate and coherent
communication of the message is important, as well as confirmation that the message has been
understood. Explicitness and directness of meaning is essential, in comparison with the vagueness of
interactional language . . . Examples of language being used primarily for a transactional purpose
include news broadcasts, lectures, descriptions and instructions.
(from Jack C. Richards, The Language Teaching Matrix, Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 54–5, 56)
Brown and Yule (1983) suggest that language used in the
interactional mode is listener oriented . . Transactional uses of
language are those in which language is being used primarily
for communicating information. They are ‘message’ oriented
rather than ‘listener’ oriented. Accurate and coherent
communication of the message is important, as well as
confirmation that the message has been understood.
Explicitness and directness of meaning is essential, in
comparison with the vagueness of interactional language . . .
Examples of language being used primarily for a transactional
purpose include news broadcasts, lectures, descriptions and
instructions.
(from Jack C. Richards, The Language Teaching Matrix,
Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 54–5, 56)
Extract 1
Extract 2
A short turn consists of only one or two utterances, a long turn consists of a
string of utterances which may last as long as an hour’s lecture . . . What is
demanded of a speaker in a long turn is considerably more demanding than
what is required of a speaker in a short turn. As soon as a speaker ‘takes the
floor’ for a long turn, tells an anecdote, tells a joke, explains how something
works, justifies a position, describes an individual, and so on, he takes
responsibility for creating a structured sequence of utterances which must
help the listener to create a coherent mental representation of what he is
trying to say. What the speaker says must be coherently structured . . . The
general point which needs to be made . . . is that it is important that the
teacher should realize that simply training the student to produce short turns
will not automatically yield students who can perform satisfactorily in long
turns.
(from Gillian Brown and George Yule, Teaching the Spoken Language,
Cambridge University Press, 1983, pp. 12, 14)
Extract 3
The use of role play has added a tremendous number of
possibilities for communication practice. Students are no
longer limited to the kind of language used by learners in
a classroom: they can be shopkeepers or spies,
grandparents or children, authority figures or
subordinates; they can be bold or frightened, irritated or
amused, disapproving or affectionate; they can be in
Buckingham Palace or on a ship or on the moon; they can
be threatening, advising, apologizing, condoling. The
language can correspondingly vary along several
parameters: according to the profession, status,
personality attitudes or mood of the character being role-
played, according to the physical setting imagined,
according to the communicative functions or purpose
required.
(from Penny Ur, Discussions that Work, Cambridge
University Press, 1981, p. 9)
-telling stories
-telling jokes
-describing a person or
place in detail
-Recounting the plot of
a film, play or book
-giving a short lecture
or talk
-arguing a case for or
against a proposal.
Teaching these kinds of
interaction in the
classroom
Interactional talk: is carried
out in different languages is
very culture-linked, and it is
difficult to explain the
conventions that govern it in
a foreign language; it is
dubious therefore whether it
is worth investing very much
effort in teaching and
practicing them.
Long turns
Varied Situations,
feelings, relationships
Unit Five: Role play and related techniques
Dialogues
This is a traditional language-learning technique that has
gone somewhat out of fashion in recent years. The
learners are taught a brief dialogue which they learn by
heart. For example:
A: Look, it’s stopped raining!
B: So it has! Do you want to go out?
A: Yes, I’ve got a lot of shopping to do.
B: Right, let’s go.Where do you want to go first?
They then perform it: privately in pairs, or publicly in
front of the whole class
Plays
These are an expansion of the dialogue technique, where
a class learns and performs a play..
Simulations
In simulations the individual participants speak and react
as themselves, but the group role, situation and taskthey
are given is an imaginary one. For example:
You are the managing committee of a special school for
blind children. You want to organize a summer camp for
the children, but your school budget is insufficient. Decide
how you might raise the money.
Role play
Participants are given a situation plus problem or task, as
in simulations; but they are also allotted individual roles,
which may be written out on cards. For example:
ROLE CARD A: You are a customer in a cake shop. You
want a birthday cake for a friend. He or she is very fond of
chocolate.
ROLE CARD B: You are a shop assistant in a cake shop. You
have many kinds of cake, but not chocolate cake.
For and against testing oral fluency
FOR AGAINST
Unit Six: Oral testing
For and against
testing oral fluency
For
In principle, a
language test should
include all aspects of
language skill-
including speaking.
Speaking is not just
‘any skill’-it is
arguably the most
important, and
therefore should
take priority in any
language test.
If you have an oral
proficiency test at
the end of a course,
then this will have a
speaking skills during
the course itself.
Students who speak
well but write badly
will be discriminated
against if all, or
most, of the test is
based on writing.
Against:
It is very difficult to design tests taht get
learners to improvise speech in the foreign
language.
When answers to a test are written,
assessors can check them carefully at their
leisure; but speech flits past, and is very
difficult to judge quickly, objectively and
reliably.
There are no obvious criteria for assessment.
Even if the teacher agrees on criteria, some
testers will be stricter in applying them,
others more lenient.
In oral testing, each candidate has to be
tested separately and individually, in real
time; few institutions can afford the
necessary investment of time and money.

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Teaching Speaking Skills

  • 1. Teaching speaking ENGLISH II A course in language teaching , Penny Ur
  • 2. Successful oral fluency practice Characteristics of a successful speaking activity. Learners talk a lot Participation is even Motivation is high Language is of an acceptable level
  • 3. Problemswiththespeaking activities Inhibition Nothing to say Low or uneven participation Mother-tongue use.
  • 4. What the teacher can do to help to solve some of the problems Use group work Base the activity on easy language Make a careful choice of topic and task to stimulate interest Give some instructions or training in discussion skills Keep students speaking the target language.
  • 5. Unit Two: The functions of topic and task TYPES OF ORAL FLUENCY ACTIVITIES Activity 1 Discuss the following conflicting opinions. Opinion 1. Children should be taught in heterogeneous classes: setting them into ability groupings puts a ‘failure’ label onto members of the lower groups, whereas putting more and less able learners together encourages the slower ones to progress faster, without penalizing the more able. Opinion 2. Children should be divided into ability groupings for most subjects: this enables the less able ones to be taught at a pace suitable for them, while the better students do not need to wait for the slower ones to catch up. Activity 2 A good schoolteacher should have the following qualities. Can your group agree together in what order of priority you would put them? sense of humour enthusiasm for teaching honesty pleasant appearance love of children fairness knowledge of subject ability to create interest flexibility ability to keep order clear speaking voice intelligence
  • 6. Topic and task – based activities. Topic: A good topic is one to which learners can relate using ideas from their own experience and knowledge; the ability-grouping topic is therefore appropriate for most schoolchildren, schoolteachers or young people whose school memories are fresh. Task: A task is essentially goal-oriented: it requires the group, or pair, to achieve an objective that is usually expressed by an observable result, such as brief notes or lists, a rearrangement of jumbled items, a drawing, a spoken summary.
  • 7. Unit Three: Discussion activities DISCUSSION ACTIVITIES 1. Describing pictures This is a simple but surprisingly productive activity for beginner classes.
  • 8. 2. Picture differences It produces plenty of purposeful question-and- answer exchanges.
  • 9. DISCUSSION ACTIVITIES 3. Things in common An ice-breaking activity, which fosters a feeling of solidarity by stressing hared characteristics of participants. 4. Shopping list An imaginative, fun activity-but, as the teacher will have found if him/her did it, actually rather sterile in the amount of talk it produces. 5. Solving a problem This is particularly suitable for people who are themselves adolescents, or involved with adolescent education, and is intended for fairly advanced learners.
  • 10. Unit Four: Other kinds of spoken interaction Different kinds of interaction • Interactional talk: This is to some extent a matter a matter of learning conventional formulae of courtesy • Long turns: The ability to speak at lenght is one which adult, more advanced or academic students will perhaps need and therefore needs cultivating; for other types of classes it may be less important. • Variend situations, feelings, relationships: It is certainly arguable that learners will need to function in a wide variety of such contexts, and it makes sense to give them opportunities to try using the target language un simulations of at least a selection of them.
  • 11. TYPES OF SPOKEN DISCOURSE Extract 1 Interactional uses of language are those in which the primary purposes for communication are social. The emphasis is on creating harmonious interactions between participants rather than on communicating information. The goal for the participants is to make social interaction comfortable and non-threatening and to communicate good will. Although information may be communicated in the process, the accurate and orderly presentation of information is not the primary purpose. Examples of interactional uses of language are greeting, making small talk, telling jokes, giving compliments, making casual ‘chat’ of the kind used to pass time with friends or to make encounters with strangers comfortable. Brown and Yule (1983) suggest that language used in the interactional mode is listener oriented . . Transactional uses of language are those in which language is being used primarily for communicating information. They are ‘message’ oriented rather than ‘listener’ oriented. Accurate and coherent communication of the message is important, as well as confirmation that the message has been understood. Explicitness and directness of meaning is essential, in comparison with the vagueness of interactional language . . . Examples of language being used primarily for a transactional purpose include news broadcasts, lectures, descriptions and instructions. (from Jack C. Richards, The Language Teaching Matrix, Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 54–5, 56)
  • 12. Brown and Yule (1983) suggest that language used in the interactional mode is listener oriented . . Transactional uses of language are those in which language is being used primarily for communicating information. They are ‘message’ oriented rather than ‘listener’ oriented. Accurate and coherent communication of the message is important, as well as confirmation that the message has been understood. Explicitness and directness of meaning is essential, in comparison with the vagueness of interactional language . . . Examples of language being used primarily for a transactional purpose include news broadcasts, lectures, descriptions and instructions. (from Jack C. Richards, The Language Teaching Matrix, Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 54–5, 56) Extract 1
  • 13. Extract 2 A short turn consists of only one or two utterances, a long turn consists of a string of utterances which may last as long as an hour’s lecture . . . What is demanded of a speaker in a long turn is considerably more demanding than what is required of a speaker in a short turn. As soon as a speaker ‘takes the floor’ for a long turn, tells an anecdote, tells a joke, explains how something works, justifies a position, describes an individual, and so on, he takes responsibility for creating a structured sequence of utterances which must help the listener to create a coherent mental representation of what he is trying to say. What the speaker says must be coherently structured . . . The general point which needs to be made . . . is that it is important that the teacher should realize that simply training the student to produce short turns will not automatically yield students who can perform satisfactorily in long turns. (from Gillian Brown and George Yule, Teaching the Spoken Language, Cambridge University Press, 1983, pp. 12, 14)
  • 14. Extract 3 The use of role play has added a tremendous number of possibilities for communication practice. Students are no longer limited to the kind of language used by learners in a classroom: they can be shopkeepers or spies, grandparents or children, authority figures or subordinates; they can be bold or frightened, irritated or amused, disapproving or affectionate; they can be in Buckingham Palace or on a ship or on the moon; they can be threatening, advising, apologizing, condoling. The language can correspondingly vary along several parameters: according to the profession, status, personality attitudes or mood of the character being role- played, according to the physical setting imagined, according to the communicative functions or purpose required. (from Penny Ur, Discussions that Work, Cambridge University Press, 1981, p. 9)
  • 15. -telling stories -telling jokes -describing a person or place in detail -Recounting the plot of a film, play or book -giving a short lecture or talk -arguing a case for or against a proposal. Teaching these kinds of interaction in the classroom Interactional talk: is carried out in different languages is very culture-linked, and it is difficult to explain the conventions that govern it in a foreign language; it is dubious therefore whether it is worth investing very much effort in teaching and practicing them. Long turns Varied Situations, feelings, relationships
  • 16. Unit Five: Role play and related techniques Dialogues This is a traditional language-learning technique that has gone somewhat out of fashion in recent years. The learners are taught a brief dialogue which they learn by heart. For example: A: Look, it’s stopped raining! B: So it has! Do you want to go out? A: Yes, I’ve got a lot of shopping to do. B: Right, let’s go.Where do you want to go first? They then perform it: privately in pairs, or publicly in front of the whole class Plays These are an expansion of the dialogue technique, where a class learns and performs a play..
  • 17. Simulations In simulations the individual participants speak and react as themselves, but the group role, situation and taskthey are given is an imaginary one. For example: You are the managing committee of a special school for blind children. You want to organize a summer camp for the children, but your school budget is insufficient. Decide how you might raise the money. Role play Participants are given a situation plus problem or task, as in simulations; but they are also allotted individual roles, which may be written out on cards. For example: ROLE CARD A: You are a customer in a cake shop. You want a birthday cake for a friend. He or she is very fond of chocolate. ROLE CARD B: You are a shop assistant in a cake shop. You have many kinds of cake, but not chocolate cake.
  • 18. For and against testing oral fluency FOR AGAINST
  • 19. Unit Six: Oral testing For and against testing oral fluency For In principle, a language test should include all aspects of language skill- including speaking. Speaking is not just ‘any skill’-it is arguably the most important, and therefore should take priority in any language test. If you have an oral proficiency test at the end of a course, then this will have a speaking skills during the course itself. Students who speak well but write badly will be discriminated against if all, or most, of the test is based on writing.
  • 20. Against: It is very difficult to design tests taht get learners to improvise speech in the foreign language. When answers to a test are written, assessors can check them carefully at their leisure; but speech flits past, and is very difficult to judge quickly, objectively and reliably. There are no obvious criteria for assessment. Even if the teacher agrees on criteria, some testers will be stricter in applying them, others more lenient. In oral testing, each candidate has to be tested separately and individually, in real time; few institutions can afford the necessary investment of time and money.