Teaching of Speaking
Speaking is an art of communication; it is the process of building and sharing meaning using non- verbal symbols in different contexts. Speaking is acquired when a child reaches a certain stage in his her development. A child first learns the mother tongue, which is taught by the mother. Speaking is an important part of second-language learning and teaching. When a child is about three years, they start attending school where they meet the teacher. The teacher provides schooling for the students. Good teachers are competent, non-discouraging and use non-defensive approaches to teaching and learning language. Additionally, they love and cherish their students.
English speaking is the main goal of adult learners. How fast they learn, and acquire their goals depends on their personalities. Courageous, risk taking and talkative students make many errors but learn faster. Students who are not confident and are always afraid may take a long time to speak. However, when they speak, they make minimal errors. It is all about quality and quantity. Therefore, the teacher is required to know the type of students who make the class. There are those students whose aim of speaking is communication. Thus, they do not need perfect English. The teacher has to emphasize on quantity for these students as opposed to students who use language for learning purposes. However, in the world today the goal of teaching speaking should be to improve students’ communication skills. Students can only express themselves and follow the social and cultural rules appropriately in the society only if they can communicate effectively.
Speaking lessons mostly involve pronunciation and grammar. These are vital in effective communication. In all grammar or reading lessons, the teacher should include a speaking activity where the pupils or students will need preparation for the speaking task. The students will need very clear and specific instructions involving the task. These tasks enable students to practice with actual speaking activities. This is an effective way of practicing learning to speak. The actual activities involved in learning to speak include imitating, interactive communication, oral presentation, or answering verbal cues. Speaking activities also sharpen listening skills. Discussion is also very important in a teaching speaking lesson. In discussion groups, students aim at arriving at a conclusion through sharing ideas about an event, and finding a solution in the discussion groups.
The formation of a group entails the teacher first setting the purpose of the discussion. This is an important aspect for students to avoid chatting about unimportant issues. In his discussion, the teacher forms groups of 4-5 students; all groups in class are assigned varying topics. All the groups are expected to work on their respective topics and make presentations on their topics in class. These activities help in critical thinking, quick decision-making, and on-spot thinking. Additionally, they facilitate the students learning and expression of ideas, and develop the students arguing skills. Large groups should not be formed because the quiet students will hide and avoid making their contributions in the groups. Lastly, no matter the aim of the students, they should be allowed and encouraged to answer questions, translate ideas, and check for clarity. While discussing, it is important to check on the tone and intonation. Pitch varies continuously from the moment a person begins speaking to the end. There are instances where a speaker may shout or scream causing misunderstanding. Therefore, it is critical for a speaker to be able to control their voice (Brazil 1997, p. 2).
Role-play is another way that the teacher uses to get the students to speak. The students take up roles in various social contexts. Then, the teacher gives information to the student such as who they are and what they think and feel. Furthermore, the teacher uses simulations. Simulations are similar to role- play but are more elaborate. The students are required to bring items that create a real external environment in class. For instance, students who act the roles of a doctor may take out injections and pretend to give a shot. Role-play and simulation are important styles for motivating and entertaining students. In addition, they increase self-confidence of uncertain students. Others are information gap, brainstorming, and storytelling among others.
After the teacher has covered the syllabus, he is supposed to give a test. Students are expected to take the test. Students are expected to have read the course contents early in the semester (Lynch 1992, p. 17), and read and revised well for the end of term exam in order to perform well in their exams. After the results are out, the marks, act as a motivation to students to work harder in the coming term.
In conclusion, speaking forms an important aspect of second-language learning; it enhances the students’ acquisition of practical language skills. The students’ ability to communicate in a second-language clearly and efficiently contributes to their achievement both at school and later in life. Therefore, language teachers should pay great attention to teaching speaking. They should provide rich surroundings where considerable communication takes place as desired.
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