Speaking plays an important part in second language learning, and the role of teachers is to help learners improve their communicative skills in the new language. This will allow them to express themselves effectively in any situation that present itself to them.
What is the job of the tutor when promoting speaking?
The aim is for the student to be able to:
- Produce speech and sound patterns.
- Know how to use words and sentence stress, as well as intonation patterns and rhythm of their second language.
- Choose adequate words and sentences according to the situation triggering the conversation, the audience to which the speech is intended to, and the topic.
- Organise their thought in a logical way.
- Use the language as a means of expressing their opinions and values.
- Use the language fluently.
- The topics chosen should be relevant to the students and related to their own experiences.
- The goal of the exercise should be clear, and the tasks given specific so that learners know when they reached their end goal.
- Learners should have enough time to prepare for the activity and make sure they have the required vocabulary that will help them succeed at the task.
- Students should learn to collaborate with each other.
- Provide plenty of opportunity for students to speak by offering an environment rich in authentic materials and tasks, as well as the chance to share knowledge.
- Practice diverse ways of student participation.
- Diagnose problems faced by students who find it difficult to use the foreign language.
The teacher should then be able to create an environment that facilitates all the previous points.
The best way is by showing students how to interact in the language in a communicative way where the teaching is based on real-life situations. The teacher should create relevant tasks that promote speaking and collaboration.
How to encourage a successful speaking activity?
What are these activities?
Students are presented with various social circumstances, and they interpret different roles. The role of the teacher is to assign which role each student will play. This tends to motivate them due to the entertaining factor involved in it.
Before the event, the teacher must set topic and the purpose of the discussion. The students can participate in an agree/disagree discussion. In small groups, each student can voice out their opinion but in big groups the teacher should split the students into smaller groups and assign pro/con groups. Each group then works on their topic and at the end present their opinion to the rest.
This activity facilitates critical thinking.
Learners work on a topic for some time, and they generate ideas quickly either individually or in a group depending on the setting of the class. In this type of sessions, students feel more confident in expressing their thoughts because they feel they won’t be criticised.
This is an excellent way to get learners talking. A story is read beforehand, and one or more students are asked to summarise the story for the rest of the group. It helps students structure their thoughts in a chronological way where they must concentrate in the narration thinking about an introduction, a development and the ending of the story as well as paying attention to the characters.
The teacher starts a story and stops after a few sentences. Each student is asked to take turn in continuing. Each contribute with four to ten sentences. New characters and descriptions can also be added.
A picture is given, and the students are asked to describe what is in it. They should give as many details as possible. This exercise helps with creativity and imagination as well as enhancing learners speaking skills.
What’s the truth?
Each student writes three facts about themselves. Two are right and one is wrong. Each student takes turn to read their facts and the rest of the class should guest which statement is false by asking pertinent questions.
The teacher prepares a list of topics that students can talk about. Each student is given one and must talk about this topic for at least 45 seconds. The others should pay attention to grammatical errors and vocabulary mistakes. If they can identify these, they get a point. The winner is the one with most points.
I have never
All students in the group start the activity holding five fingers in the air. The students take turn telling one thing they have never done. The students who have done that activity should put a finger down and tell the class about this activity. The one who has all their finger down is out.
All language learners’ dream is to be able to communicate clearly and effectively in the language they are studying. Hence the importance of teaching how to speak. The aim of all language teachers should be to provide a safe environment that can allow significant communication. Hence the importance of these activities described above. They are designed to help them improve the students speaking ability as well as teaching them in a fun and meaningful way.