Teaching Speaking.Speaking is a fundamental human behavior which consists basically of producingsystematic verbal utterances to convey meaning. In the context of first languageacquisition it is an ability learnt by children quite quickly and without formalinstruction, unlike reading and writing. Indeed, for most people it is easy tocommunicate orally in their mother tongue but when learning a second language thescenario changes drastically when it comes to speaking. This essay will cover the mainissues related to learning speaking as well as techniques useful to overcome the issueswhen teaching this productive oral skill considered the most difficult one from Bailey’s(2004) , and Brown’s (2001) perspective. (Written by Valeska Soto)Firstly for both authors, speaking is always taught and learnt with one main purpose:Communication. But in order to communicate both authors agree that speakingimplicates more than mastering and putting together sounds, words and grammar pattersof an L2 . The sociolinguistic appropriateness (Brown, 2001) or the sociolinguisticcompetence (Bailey, 2004) plays an important role because speakers must also have theability to use the language appropriately in various contexts to communicate efficiently.According to Bailey (2004) this competence goes together with the linguisticcompetence (sounds, words and grammar), the strategic competence (languagestrategies learners use to compensate for gaps in skills or knowledge) and discoursecompetence (cohesion and coherence) giving as a result a broader idea ofcommunicative competence. (Written by Valeska Soto)They are different teaching techniques for teaching speaking. Bailey (2004) mentionsone that is the Audio lingual method, which speaking is taught by having studentsrepeat sentences and recite memorized dialogues from the textbook. This method isdesigned to familiarize students with the sounds and structural patterns of the language.Lessons followed the sequence of presentation, practice, and production. So peopleassumed that with this method, students learn to speak by practicing grammaticalstricter. On the other hand, Brown (2001) mentions that this method that he called,“imitative” is part of the communicative language in the classroom. Of course you donot need to repeat everything, but drilling or repetition helps students to listen someforms of language that are difficult to understand. (Written by Stephanie Aedo)
In a different vein, Bailey (2004) and Brown (2001) argue that balancing accuracy(clear, articulate, grammatically and phonetically correct language) and fluency(flowing and natural language) is a complex issue for learners. Brown (2001) claimsthat fluency cannot be prioritized over accuracy and accuracy cannot be prioritized overfluency because the two are clearly important to pursue in communicative languagelearning. On the other hand, Bailey (2004) suggests that teachers must understand thatin students at non proficient levels accuracy and fluency often work against each othersince applying rules and vocabulary slow learners’ speech making it dysfluent,Likewise, fast speakers do not hesitate to apply the rules they have learnt so theirnumber of errors may increase in their speech. (Written by Valeska Soto)According to Bailey (2004) speaking happens in real time, and you cannot edit andrevise what you would like to say, so the 2 authors agree that speaking is one of themost difficult skills. Even though Brown and Bailey argue in accuracy and fluency,Bailey (2004) thinks that in order to communicate well in other language we must makeourselves understood, by the people we are speaking with and this is not an easy taskespecially for beginners and intermediate levels. So the main difference here, betweenthe 2 authors is that both of them argue in the fact that L2 students need to communicateand make themselves understood by other people, even if they do not manage a goodaccuracy and fluency (Written by Stephanie Aedo)Bailey (2004) argues that another important issue that makes learning speaking difficultis that the same utterance can carry completely different meanings as well as diverseutterances can actually mean the same; in other words, a form can have differentfunctions and a function can have different forms. Therefore, it is important for teachersto be aware of functions of language (also known as speech acts) so students can learnthe appropriate ways to accomplish their goals when they are speaking. Brown (2001)agrees that is important to focus on the forms and functions of language adding that inteaching oral communication teacher must not limit students’ attention to the wholepicture, instead they must also help students to see the pieces of language that make thewhole. Thus language students need to be shown the details of how to convey andnegotiate the ever-elusive meaning of language. (Written by Valeska Soto)
One of the teaching techniques that is mentioned by both authors is to give studentsopportunities to initiate oral communication. Brown (2001) says that is a very good wayof classroom interaction because here is not only the teacher speaking, but also studentsare able to initiate a conversation. On the other hand, Bailey (2004) mentions the idea ofproviding opportunities for students to talk by using group or pair work, and limiting theteacher talk. Even though some students are not very keen on doing this, because theydo not have the confidence enough to talk in an L2 with a classmate, this helps studentsto give feedback to each other and also to correct each other when they make mistakes,and you can actually work with developing 2 skills which is listening and speaking.(Written by Stephanie Aedo)On the other hand, whereas Bailey (2004) focuses on teachers understanding andmastering the components of spoken language such as phonology, morphology, syntaxand discourse in order to help students overcome the issues mentioned before; Brown(2001) moves towards affective factors arguing that it is teachers’ job to provide awarm, embracing climate that encourages students to speak in spite of how halting orbroken their attempts may be because of the major obstacles learners have to overcomeis learning to speak is, in fact, the anxiety generated over the risks of saying somethingwrong, stupid or incomprehensible. (Written by Valeska Soto)Teaching speaking is very hard because most of the time students do not understand themeaning of the words. Bailey and Brown agree that the main problem when teachingspeaking is letting the students speak in their L1 language and also when the teacher isthe one that speaks in L1. According to Brow (2001) when this happens students mayfound difficult to understand some words like colloquial language in L2, idioms,clustering etc, because they do not have the necessary techniques to be able to speak adifferent language, and Bailey (2004) says that is only necessary to use the L1 tocommunicate with the children when there are starting to learn the language or they arein a beginners class. Of course not many teachers use this because we can see that insome advance classes teachers and students use their L1 to communicate with eachother. (Written by Stephanie Aedo)
As a conclusion it can be said that both authors have different views in the way thatteachers should teach speaking in a classroom. They believed that speaking should be away of communication and also they agree that is one of the most difficult skills toteach and kids are not very keen on learning this skill mainly because they find this hardand also they are probably ashamed on not speaking well in public or even in front oftheir friends. They are many useful techniques to teach speaking, but the main one is togive confidence to the students when they are try to speak, and encourage them tocontinue practicing. Also is not recommended to embarrass your students if they arenot able to speak well. So it can be said that for many students speaking is the hardestskill to develop, but with different teaching techniques students may be able to speak,and to get confident in this skill. (written by Stephanie aedo )
References.Bailey, K. M. (2004). Practical English Language Teaching: Speaking. D. Nunan (Ed.).New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by Principles: An interactive approach to languagepedagogy. New York, NY: Longman.