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Unit # 4 Developing Speaking Skills Goals: To make future teachers aware of new tendencies in teaching speaking To make them

em realize the importance of real communication To familiarize future teachers with correcting errors strategies Plan Goals and Trends in Teaching Speaking Strategies for Developing Speaking Skills Developing Speaking Activities Assessing Speaking

I. Goals and Trends in Teaching Speaking

I.1. Speaking is the main goal of almost all language learners, and they regard speaking ability
as the measure of knowing a language. They define fluency as the ability to communicate with others, much more than the ability to read, write, or comprehend oral language, and regard speaking as the most important skill they can acquire. People are expected to produce speech that has a logical flow and in most of the cases they have no time for planning or rehearsal). In addition to this, as most talk is constructed between two or more participants, participants in a conversation have to pay attention to what the other says in order to make a response that makes sense in relation to what was said before. It is known that speaking exists in two forms: dialogue and monologue.47 Communicative competence is a concept introduced by Dell Hymes49 and discussed and redefined by many authors. Hymes' original idea was that speakers of a language should have more than grammatical competence in order to be able communicate effectively in a language; they also need to know how language is used by members of a speech community to accomplish their purposes. Language learners need to recognize that speaking involves three areas of knowledge: 1. Mechanics (pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary): Using the right words in the right order with the correct pronunciation 2. Functions (transaction and interaction): Knowing when clarity of message is essential (transaction/information exchange) and when precise understanding is not required 3. Social and cultural rules and norms (turn-taking, rate of speech, length of pauses between speakers, relative roles of participants): Understanding how to take into account who is speaking to whom, in what circumstances, about what, and for what reason. The pragmatic aspect of communication implies:

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Rogova G, 1983, Methods of Teaching English, Prosv; p.168 Hymes, D. (1972), On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes(Eds.), Sociolinguistics, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books

a) Functional competence, which refers to the ability to accomplish communication purposes in a language. There are a number of different kinds of purposes for which people commonly use language. Greeting people is one purpose for which we use language. What we actually say in English could be Good morning, Hi, How ya doin, or Yo, depending on who we are and who we are talking to. b) Sociolinguistic competence is the ability to interpret the social meaning of the choice of linguistic varieties and to use language with the appropriate social meaning for the communication situation. When greeting someone in a very formal situation an American might say, Hello, how are you? or Nice to see you again, but if he were meeting a friend in an informal situation it would be much more appropriate to say Hi, or Hey, whatcha been doing? c) Interactional competence involves knowing and using the mostly-unwritten rules for interaction in various communication situations within a given speech community and culture. It includes, among other things, knowing how to initiate and manage conversations and negotiate meaning with other people. It also includes knowing what sorts of body language, eye contact, and proximity to other people are appropriate, and acting accordingly. A conversation with a checker at the check-out line in a grocery store in the US or England shouldn't be very personal or protracted, as the purpose of the conversation is mainly a business transaction and it would be considered inappropriate to make the people further back in the queue wait while a customer and the checker have a social conversation. Other cultures have different rules of interaction in a market transaction. Teachers should enhance their students cultural competence in the ability to understand behavior from the standpoint of the members of a culture and to behave in a way that would be understood by the members of the culture in the intended way. Cultural competence therefore involves understanding all aspects of a culture, but particularly the social structure, the values and beliefs of the people, and the way things are assumed to be done It is impossible to speak any languages correctly without understanding the social structure of the respective societies, because that structure is reflected in the endings of words and the terms of address and reference that must be used when speaking to or about other people In the communicative model of language teaching, instructors help their students develop this body of knowledge by providing authentic practice that prepares students for real-life communication situations. They help their students develop the ability to produce grammatically correct, logically connected sentences that are appropriate to specific contexts, and to do so using acceptable (that is, comprehensible) pronunciation.50 I.2. The goal of teaching speaking skills is communicative efficiency. Learners should be able to make themselves understood, using their current proficiency. They should try to avoid confusion in the message due to faulty pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary, and to observe the social and cultural rules that apply in each communication situation. To help students develop communicative efficiency in speaking, instructors can use a balanced activities approach that combines language input, structured output, and communicative output. Language input comes in the form of teacher talk, listening activities, reading passages, and the language heard and read outside of class. It gives learners the material they need to begin producing language themselves. In its turn language input may be content oriented or form oriented.

Content-oriented input focuses on information, whether it is a simple weather report or an extended lecture on an academic topic. Content-oriented input may also include descriptions of learning strategies and examples of their use.



Form-oriented input focuses on ways of using the language: guidance from the teacher or another source on vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar (linguistic competence); appropriate things to say in specific contexts (discourse competence); expectations for rate of speech, pause length, turn-taking, and other social aspects of language use (sociolinguistic competence); and explicit instruction in phrases to use to ask for clarification and repair miscommunication (strategic competence).

In the presentation part of a lesson, an instructor combines content-oriented and form-oriented input. The amount of input that is actually provided in the target language depends on students' listening proficiency and also on the situation. For students at lower levels, or in situations where a quick explanation on a grammar topic is needed, an explanation in English may be more appropriate than one in the target language. Structured output focuses on correct form. In structured output, students may have options for responses, but all of the options require them to use the specific form or structure that the teacher has just introduced. Structured output is designed to make learners comfortable producing specific language items recently introduced, sometimes in combination with previously learned items. Instructors often use structured output exercises as a transition between the presentation stage and the practice stage of a lesson plan. Textbook exercises also often make good structured output practice activities. In communicative output, the learners' main purpose is to complete a task, such as obtaining information, developing a travel plan, or creating a video. To complete the task, they may use the language that the instructor has just presented, but they also may draw on any other vocabulary, grammar, and communication strategies that they know. In communicative output activities, the criterion of success is whether the learner gets the message across. Accuracy is not a consideration unless the lack of it interferes with the message. In order to get a better understanding of what speech is we are to consider the structure of oral language activity, the psychological and linguistic characters of speech.[] Here follow the four psychological factors to be taken into account when teaching speech. 1. Speech must be motivated Teachers should ensure conditions in which a pupil will have a desire to say something in a foreign language, to express his thoughts, his feelings, and not to reproduce someone elses as is the case when he learns the text by heart Oral speech in the classroom should be always stimulated. 2. Speech is always addressed to an interlocutorTeachers should organize the teaching process in a way which allows pupils to speak to someone The speaker will hold his audience when he says something new, something individual. Teachers must try to supply pupils with assignments, which require individual approach on their part. 3. Speech is always emotionally coloured pupils should be taught to use intonational means to express their attitude, and feelings about what they say. This can be done by giving such tasks as: reason why you like sth., prove sth., give your opinion on sth., etc. 4. Speech is always situational While teaching speaking real and close-to-real situations should be created to stimulate pupils speech.51 In everyday communication, spoken exchanges take place because there is some sort of information gap between the participants. Communicative output activities involve a similar real information gap. In order to complete the task, students must reduce or eliminate the information gap. In a balanced activities approach, the teacher uses a variety of activities from these different

Based on Rogova G, 1983, Methods of Teaching English, Prosv; p.174-176

categories of input and output. Learners at all proficiency levels, including beginners, benefit from this variety; it is more motivating, and it is also more likely to result in effective language learning.52 Recent studies of language acquisition have uncovered the fact that hypothesis testing- what we used to call trial and error- is an essential ingredient of the language learning process. This suggests that we must provide our students with opportunities to use their knowledge of the target language, however scanty, in creative ways, from the very beginning of their study.53 "...Students recall more of a conversation if its content relates to their native cultures and [...] the use of native culture readings results in improved speaking skills."54

II. Strategies for Developing Speaking Skills II.1. Students often think that the ability to speak a language is the product of language learning, but speaking is also a crucial part of the language learning process. Unfortunately, speaking lessons often tie in pronunciation and grammar, which are important aspects for effective oral communication. Or a grammar or reading lesson may incorporate a speaking activity. Either way, students will need some preparation before the speaking task. This includes introducing the topic and providing a model of the speech they are to produce. Then the students will practice with the actual speaking activity. Richards55 mentions two main approaches to teaching conversation. The first is an indirect approach, which sees conversational competence as 'the product of engaging learners in conversational interaction', designing activities whereby students can interact with the language, through information-gap type activities, discussions. The second is a direct approach, which 'focuses explicitly on the processes and strategies involved in casual conversation'. Teachers must provide opportunities for learners to become aware of skills and strategies and create meaningful, varied contexts whereby they can put them into practice. It is extremely important for teachers to provide a classroom environment that builds confidence and trust while maximizing opportunities for developing students speaking skill. Small groups provide greater intensity of involvement, so that the quality of language practice is increased, and the setting is more natural than that of the full class, for the size of the group resembles that of normal conversational groupings. Most teachers consider that because of this, the stress which accompanies 'public' performance in the classroom should be reduced'. This takes pressure off the shy or under-confident students and ensures they gain valuable speaking practice. The content of communicative situations should be practical and usable in real-life situations. Teachers must avoid too much new vocabulary or grammar, focus on speaking with the language the students have, and they should consider the following issues: a) Quantity vs. Quality: Address both interactive fluency and accuracy, striving foremost for communication. Get to know each learner's personality and encourage the quieter ones to take more risks. b) Conversation Strategies: Encourage strategies like asking for clarification, paraphrasing, gestures, and initiating ('hey,' 'so,' 'by the way').

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http://www.nclrc.org/essentials/speaking/goalsspeak.htm Julia M. Dobson, (1997), Effective Techniques for English Conversation Groups, USIA, Washington, D.C.20547, p.vii 54 Gayle Nelson, 1995 "Considering Culture," Material Writer's Guide, Boston:Heinle & Heinle 55 Richards, J. 1990 The Language Teaching Matrix. Cambridge University Press, p.76

c) Teacher Intervention: If a speaking activity loses steam, you may need to jump into a roleplay, ask more discussion questions, clarify your instructions, or stop an activity that is too difficult or boring56 It is common knowledge that most textbooks on English teaching methodology concentrate on the manipulative phase of language teaching- the phase in which students learn basic language structure through drills and exercises. Almost no guidance, however, is available to teachers in the communicative phase of language teaching, when they must launch students in creative conversation practice.57 The best way to practise speaking is to encourage and guide them to speak as much as possible on various topics, and in different situations. It is rather difficult to train beginners, because speech is a process of communication by means of language. For example, (1) a pupil tells the class a story about something which once happened to him; (2) the teacher asks questions on the story related by the pupils at home and starts a discussion; (3) pupils speak on the pictures suggested by the teacher, each tries to say what others have not mentioned; etc.[] Oral exercises are mostly drill exercises For example, reciting a rhyme or a poem is considered to be an excellent oral exercise for drilling pronunciation and for developing speech habits. Making up sentences following the model is an excellent oral exercise for fixing a sentence pattern and words which fit the pattern in the pupils mind Oral exercises are quite indispensable to developing speech. However, they only prepare pupils for speaking and cannot be considered to be speech 58 The above-mentioned activities can help beginners improve their speaking skills. If your students are reluctant speakers, get them involved in a 5-minute discussion in pairs or groups at the beginning or end of every lesson on a current event or issue. When they are used to doing this, you can introduce more abstract topics and other longer and more directed speaking activities and tasks. Most course-books have sections on speaking skills which are especially useful if your students don't give due importance to their speaking ability. For pronunciation, course-books are also particularly useful. If your students are not very strong in this area, it is worth spending time doing the activities in them, which are usually both fun and useful in raising students' awareness of common difficulties and giving them practice. Accompanying cassettes provide good models for sounds, stress and intonation patterns and the prosodic features students will be assessed on. At this level students should not be shy about speaking in English. Encourage them to make use of any opportunities that arise outside the classroom e.g. at work, college, school or even helping tourists, to practise their speaking. If students want to do extra practice, tell them to record themselves doing a variety of speaking tasks, or even just talking about themselves and what they have done that day, or about what has been on the news. Be aware yourself of how much and how often your students are speaking English to each other in the classroom, especially when it is not a specific 'speaking activity' e.g. when they are comparing answers to reading questions, or doing grammar practice exercises, or when sharing ideas before doing a writing task. Where appropriate, give feedback or pick up on any good or weak aspects you notice. This will help your students to recognise the value of speaking in class59 A very good and efficient way to train speaking is to teach and encourage students to think in English. That could be on their way to or from the University, while cooking or having meals, in the process of planning the day, etc. This technique helps students practise various language
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http://writing.colostate.edu/references/teaching/esl/speaking.cfm Julia M. Dobson, (1997), Effective Techniques for English Conversation Groups, USIA, Washington, D.C.20547, p.viii 58 Based on Rogova G, 1983, Methods of Teaching English, Prosv; p.173-175 59 http://www.cambridgeesol.org/teach/cae/speaking/aboutthepaper/develop_speaking_skills.cfm

structures without feeling embarrassed of making mistakes, and being mocked by colleagues. Ask your students to think in English, and in case they cannot remember the English variant of some words/word-combinations/expressions, etc., encourage them to think that structure in their native language, and to check it up later in a dictionary, textbook, or ask colleagues or teachers. Language learners who lack confidence in their ability to participate successfully in oral interaction often listen in silence while others do the talking. One way to encourage such learners to begin to participate is to help them build up a stock of minimal responses that they can use in different types of exchanges. Such responses can be especially useful for beginners. Minimal responses are predictable, often idiomatic phrases that conversation participants use to indicate understanding, agreement, doubt, and other responses to what another speaker is saying. Having a stock of such responses enables a learner to focus on what the other participant is saying, without having to simultaneously plan a response. Some communication situations are associated with a predictable set of spoken exchanges -- a model. Greetings, apologies, compliments, invitations, and other functions that are influenced by social and cultural norms often follow various patterns. So teachers should design such activities as obtaining information and making a purchase, asking the way, where the relationship between a speaker's turn and the one that follows can often be anticipated. That will facilitate speaking, esp. for weak students. In such a way English teachers can help their students develop speaking ability by making them aware of the samples for different situations so that they can predict what they will hear and what they will need to say in response. Through interactive activities, instructors can give students practice in managing and varying the language that different scripts contain. Experienced teachers have rich collections of various sample dialogues on different topics. Language learners are often too embarrassed or shy to say anything when they do not understand another speaker or when they realize that a conversation partner has not understood them. Instructors can help students overcome this reticence by assuring them that misunderstanding and the need for clarification can occur in any type of interaction, whatever the participants' language skill levels. Instructors can also give students strategies and phrases to use for clarification and comprehension check. Questions asked by students (both native and non-native) in lectures and seminars were studied by Lynch and Anderson and categorized into the following types: 1. Questions signalling non-comprehension: Im sorry, I didnt understand / catch what you said about X. Could you repeat? What does X mean? 2. Questions signalling partial comprehension: What did you mean when you said? Could you give an example of? Could you explain in more detail? 3. Questions asked for confirmation: So youre telling us that? So you mean that?60


Lynch T., Anderson K. 1992, Study Speaking, CUP

By encouraging students to use clarification phrases in class when misunderstanding occurs, and by responding positively when they do, instructors can create an authentic practice environment within the classroom itself. As they develop control of various clarification strategies, students will gain confidence in their ability to manage the various communication situations that they may encounter outside the classroom.61 II. 2 Grices Maxims In 1975, the philosopher of language H.P.Grice published a seminal article entitled "The Cooperative Principle" that created quite a stir on the linguistic scene and generated a large number of linguistic publications that built on Grice's postulates. The basic assumption is that any discourse, whether written or spoken, is a joint effort. Both the speaker and the addressee have to follow certain pragmatic, syntactic, and semantic rules in order to communicate effectively. They have to co-operate. Grice's Co-operative Principle consists of several maxims that appear very simple, straightforward, and common-sensical at first sight Grice's Maxims read as follows: 1. Maxim of Quantity a) Make your contribution as informative as is required for the current purposes of the exchange. b) Do not make your contribution more informative than is required. This maxim means that the speaker has to include all the information that the addressee requires to understand. If the speaker leaves out a crucial piece of information, the addressee will not understand what the speaker is trying to say. This means that the speaker has to use all the means in order to create a clear and complete image in the listener's mind of what he is trying to accomplish at the moment. 2. Maxim of Quality a) Do not say what you believe to be false. b) Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence. The meaning of this maxim is that the speaker should avoid including unnecessary, redundant information in his contribution. If the speaker says nothing new or informative, the addressee will lose interest in the discourse very quickly and stop paying attention. 3. Maxim of Relevance Be relevant (i.e., say things related to the current topic of the conversation). Relevance is an extremely important principle in linguistics, and entire books have been written just on the role of relevance in language. In the context of H.P.Grice's Co-operative principle, the demand for relevance simply means that the speaker should only include information in his communication that is relevant to the discourse topic 4. Maxim of Manner a) Avoid obscurity of expression b) Avoid ambiguity c) Be brief (avoid unnecessary wordiness) d) Be orderly When one tries to be as clear, as brief, and as orderly as one can in what one says, and where one avoids obscurity and ambiguity. "In short these maxims specify what the participants have to do in order to converse in a maximally efficient, rational, co-operative way: they should speak sincerely, relevantly and clearly whilst providing sufficient information."62 It should be made very clear here that the
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http://www.nclrc.org/essentials/speaking/stratspeak.htm http://www.les.aston.ac.uk/lsu/diss/abest-ch3.html

breaking of any of the maxims of the cooperative principle does not mean that there is invariably a total breakdown of communication. Following these rules should result in good communication. However, sometimes it can be difficult to follow Grice's Maxims, because it may be unclear what is informative, what is relevant, and even what the truth is. Those uncertainties may lead someone to speak inappropriately. There have been criticisms of these maxims, both for not reflecting the full range of human communication, including dishonesty, and also for being parochial, not universal in terms of cultural accuracy. However, as guides to politeness or giving due consideration to your listener, they are still worth knowing.63 G. Rogova considers that pupils should be acquainted with some peculiarities of the spoken language, otherwise they will not understand it when hearing and their own speech will be artificial. This mainly concerns dialogues. Linguistic peculiarities of dialogue are as follows: 1. The use of incomplete sentences (ellipses) in responses 2. The use of contracted forms: doesnt, arent 3. The use of some abbreviations. 4. The use of conversational tags 5. Besides to carry on conversation pupils need words, phrases to start a conversation, to join it, to confirme.g. well, look here, I say64 III. Developing Speaking Activities There are two forms of speaking: monologue and dialogue[] In teaching monologue we can easily distinguish three stages according to the levels which constitute the ability to speak: 1. the statement level; 2. the utterance level; 3. the discourse level. No speech is possible until pupils learn how to make up sentences in the foreign language and how to make statements.[]Pupils are taught how to use different sentence patterns in an utterance about an object, a subject offered. First they are to follow a model, then they do it without any help.[] After pupils have learnt how to say a few sentences in connection with a situation they are prepared for speaking at discourse level. Free speech is possible provided pupils have acquired habits and skills in making statements and in combining them in a logical sequence.[] The three levels in developing pupils speaking should take place throughout the whole course of instruction, i.e., in junior, intermediate, and senior forms.65 Traditional classroom speaking practice often takes the form of drills in which one person asks a question and another gives an answer. The question and the answer are structured and predictable, and often there is only one correct, predetermined answer. The purpose of asking and answering the question is to demonstrate the ability to ask and answer the question. As it has been mentioned, the purpose of real communication is to accomplish a task, such as conveying a telephone message, obtaining information, or expressing an opinion. In real communication, participants must manage uncertainty about what the other person will say. Authentic communication involves an information gap; each participant has information that the other does not have. In addition, to achieve their purpose, participants may have to clarify their meaning or ask for confirmation of their own understanding. All the participants in a conversation or discussion need to listen carefully to hear the potential gap in the talk to take the next turn. Missing the gaps gives rise to interruptions or lapses in the conversation - both undesirable. 'Ums' and 'errs' often act as a device to hold the floor while we summon up the ideas/words to take the turn and is therefore a natural feature of speaking. Too many 'ums' and 'errs' and over-long pauses are, however, tiresome on the listener and will usually result in the
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http://www.usingenglish.com/articles/grice-maxims.html Based on Rogova G, 1983, Methods of Teaching English, Prosv; p.177-178 65 Based on Rogova G, 1983, Methods of Teaching English, Prosv; p.185-187

hesitant speaker losing their turn to someone else present or simply in the conversation being abandoned. A competent speaker will include the logical structure of an utterance, clarity and fluency, use of visual aids, non-verbal communication, etc. His/her interlocutor, who is not so competent will try to enter in a discussion (eye-contact with the speaker, fillers er, um), indicating noncomprehension, questioning, asking for clarification, etc. It will be valuable to provide prompts posters with the most common language needed to enter / participate in a discussion, such as: ah yes, and / but Excuse me! Can I just come in at this point? Can I just make a comment about that? Just in this regard I was wondering66 There are cases when giving a mini-presentation, the speaker is required to take a longer than usual turn. To help the listener(s), words or phrases sometimes referred to as 'discourse markers' are used to organize this larger than usual chunk of talk. For example, 'Firstly,..... Secondly....., Then .......and finally...'. These help break down the chunk and signal to the listener that a new piece of information is coming or that the end of the turn is coming67. It is perfect if the students are aware of the importance of responding and initiating during a communicative act. Most reasons to talk require both participants to take an active role in terms of initiating a new idea or sub-topic as well as responding. Skill and knowledge is required in both identifying the appropriate place to do so and in knowing words and phrases that signal a change in direction of the conversation, for example 'And what do you think about XXX?' or 'By the way....'. as well as having the confidence and ideas with which to do this. Without this ability the talk can sound one-sided or may actually fail in its purpose (e.g. making arrangements to meet for coffee). Materials and activities used in the conversational class should be relevant and varied to enable a combination of skill getting and skill using activities. It is important to design activities with information gaps or jigsaw features which involve sharing of information. They create a real 'need' to communicate, but also activate useful language skills for negotiating meaning, asking and giving opinions. If we remind students of this, activities have the dual purpose of developing language learning and developing speaking skills: conversational strategies such as paraphrasing, circumlocution, as well as giving practice in openings, turn taking, interrupting. Communication games such as: describe and draw, find the difference can develop these skills as well as adding fun to the learning situation. Sequencing communicative tasks systematically, building on what students know to extend their repertoire gradually, is also important for learning to be effective.68 Structured Output Activities Two common kinds of structured output activities are information gap and jigsaw activities. In both these types of activities, students complete a task by obtaining missing information, a feature the activities have in common with real communication. However, information gap and jigsaw activities also set up practice on specific items of language. In this respect they are more like drills than like communication. Information Gap Activities Filling the gaps in a schedule or timetable
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Completing the picture

Jordan R, 1997, English for Academic Purposes, CUP http://www.cambridgeesol.org/teach/bec/bec_vantage/speaking/aboutthepaper/speaking_skills.cfm 68 http://www.developingteachers.com/articles_tchtraining/speaking_sandra2.htm

Partner A holds an airline timetable with some of the arrival and departure times missing. Partner B has the same timetable but with different blank spaces. The two partners are not permitted to see each other's timetables and must fill in the blanks by asking each other appropriate questions. The features of language that are practiced would include questions beginning with "when" or "at what time." Answers would be limited mostly to time expressions like "at 8:15" or "at ten in the evening."

The two partners have similar pictures, each with different missing details, and they cooperate to find all the missing details. In another variation, no items are missing, but similar items differ in appearance. For example, in one picture, a man walking along the street may be wearing an overcoat, while in the other the man is wearing a jacket. The features of grammar and vocabulary that are practiced are determined by the content of the pictures and the items that are missing or different. Differences in the activities depicted lead to practice of different verbs. Differences in number, size, and shape lead to adjective practice. Differing locations would probably be described with prepositional phrases.

These activities may be set up so that the partners must practice more than just grammatical and lexical features. For example, the timetable activity gains a social dimension when one partner assumes the role of a student trying to make an appointment with a partner who takes the role of a professor. Each partner has pages from an appointment book in which certain dates and times are already filled in and other times are still available for an appointment. Of course, the open times don't match exactly, so there must be some polite negotiation to arrive at a mutually convenient time for a meeting or a conference. Jigsaw Activities Jigsaw activities are more elaborate information gap activities that can be done with several partners. In a jigsaw activity, each partner has one or a few pieces of the "puzzle," and the partners must cooperate to fit all the pieces into a whole picture. The puzzle piece may take one of several forms. It may be one panel from a comic strip or one photo from a set that tells a story. It may be one sentence from a written narrative. It may be a tape recording of a conversation, in which case no two partners hear exactly the same conversation.

In one fairly simple jigsaw activity, students work in groups of four. Each student in the group receives one panel from a comic strip. Partners may not show each other their panels. Together the four panels present this narrative: a man takes a container of ice cream from the freezer; he serves himself several scoops of ice cream; he sits in front of the TV eating his ice cream; he returns with the empty bowl to the kitchen and finds that he left the container of ice cream, now melting, on the kitchen counter. These pictures have a clear narrative line and the partners are not likely to disagree about the appropriate sequencing. You can make the task more demanding, however, by using pictures that lend themselves to alternative sequences, so that the partners have to negotiate among themselves to agree on a satisfactory sequence. More elaborate jigsaws may proceed in two stages. Students first work in input groups (groups A, B, C, and D) to receive information. Each group receives a different part of the total information for the task. Students then reorganize into groups of four with one student each from A, B, C, and D, and use the information they received to complete the task. Such an organization could be used, for example, when the input is given in the form of a tape recording. Groups A, B, C, and D each hear a different recording of a short

news bulletin. The four recordings all contain the same general information, but each has one or more details that the others do not. In the second stage, students reconstruct the complete story by comparing the four versions. With information gap and jigsaw activities, instructors need to be conscious of the language demands they place on their students. If an activity calls for language your students have not already practiced, you can brainstorm with them when setting up the activity to preview the language they will need, eliciting what they already know and supplementing what they are able to produce themselves. Structured output activities can form an effective bridge between instructor modeling and communicative output because they are partly authentic and partly artificial. Like authentic communication, they feature information gaps that must be bridged for successful completion of the task. However, where authentic communication allows speakers to use all of the language they know, structured output activities lead students to practice specific features of language and to practice only in brief sentences, not in extended discourse. Also, structured output situations are contrived and more like games than real communication, and the participants' social roles are irrelevant to the performance of the activity. This structure controls the number of variables that students must deal with when they are first exposed to new material. As they become comfortable, they can move on to true communicative output activities. Communicative Output Activities Communicative output activities allow students to practice using all of the language they know in situations that resemble real settings. In these activities, students must work together to develop a plan, resolve a problem, or complete a task. The most common types of communicative output activity are role plays and discussions. In role plays, students are assigned roles and put into situations that they may eventually encounter outside the classroom. Because role plays imitate life, the range of language functions that may be used expands considerably. Also, the role relationships among the students as they play their parts call for them to practice and develop their sociolinguistic competence. They have to use language that is appropriate to the situation and to the characters. Students usually find role playing enjoyable, but students who lack self-confidence or have lower proficiency levels may find them intimidating at first. To succeed with role plays teachers should:

Prepare carefully: Introduce the activity by describing the situation and making sure that all of the students understand it Set a goal or outcome: Be sure the students understand what the product of the role play should be, whether a plan, a schedule, a group opinion, or some other product Use role cards: Give each student a card that describes the person or role to be played. For lower-level students, the cards can include words or expressions that that person might use. Brainstorm: Before you start the role play, have students brainstorm as a class to predict what vocabulary, grammar, and idiomatic expressions they might use. Keep groups small: Less-confident students will feel more able to participate if they do not have to compete with many voices. Give students time to prepare: Let them work individually to outline their ideas and the language they will need to express them. Be present as a resource, not a monitor: Stay in communicative mode to answer students' questions. Do not correct their pronunciation or grammar unless they specifically ask you about it. Allow students to work at their own levels: Each student has individual language skills, an individual approach to working in groups, and a specific role to play in the activity.

Do not expect all students to contribute equally to the discussion, or to use every grammar point you have taught. Do topical follow-up: Have students report to the class on the outcome of their role plays. Do linguistic follow-up: After the role play is over, give feedback on grammar or pronunciation problems you have heard. This can wait until another class period when you plan to review pronunciation or grammar anyway.

Discussions, like role plays, are successful when the instructor prepares students first, and then gets out of the way. To succeed with discussions:

Prepare the students: Give them input (both topical information and language forms) so that they will have something to say and the language with which to say it. Offer choices: Let students suggest the topic for discussion or choose from several options. Discussion does not always have to be about serious issues. Students are likely to be more motivated to participate if the topic is television programs, plans for a vacation, or news about mutual friends. Weighty topics like how to combat pollution are not as engaging and place heavy demands on students' linguistic competence. Set a goal or outcome: This can be a group product, such as a letter to the editor, or individual reports on the views of others in the group. Use small groups instead of whole-class discussion: Large groups can make participation difficult. Keep it short: Give students a defined period of time, not more than 8-10 minutes, for discussion. Allow them to stop sooner if they run out of things to say. Allow students to participate in their own way: Not every student will feel comfortable talking about every topic. Do not expect all of them to contribute equally to the conversation. Do topical follow-up: Have students report to the class on the results of their discussion. Do linguistic follow-up: After the discussion is over, give feedback on grammar or pronunciation problems you have heard. This can wait until another class period when you plan to review pronunciation or grammar anyway.69

As Drnyei and Thurrell point out 'if learners are conscious of the strategies they could use and the pitfalls they should avoid, and if they have a wide repertoire of set expressions and conversational formulae on hand, they are likely to make much faster progress towards becoming relaxed and polished conversationalists'.70 Most course books at advanced level suggest students discuss topics in pairs to involve students in the subject matter but provide little help with the lexis or natural language needed to carry out these tasks effectively. Speaking about the subject matter will help students become more fluent but it will not help their conversational skills or develop greater linguistic complexity. More and more emphasis is placed in language teaching on awareness or consciousness raising (C-R) activities. Willis and Willis point out 'There are two ways C-R can help. The first is by making the students conscious of what knowledge is invoked in carrying out a given task. The second is by helping them to organize their language in a way which will help them tap this knowledge.' 71


Based on- http://www.nclrc.org/essentials/speaking/developspeak.htm Drnyei, Z., & Thurrell, S. (1992). Conversation and dialogues in action. New York: Prentice Hal, p.X 71 Dave Willis and Jane Willis (1996) Consciousness-raising Activities, in Challenge and Change in Language Teaching, edited by Jane Willis and Dave Willis, Heinemann, p.67-76

Students may not immediately put into practice features that have been brought to their attention, but if they notice features, they may be conscious of them in future input. Posters in class, cue cards or checklists actively encourage some students to use the expressions or features. Through well-prepared communicative output activities such as role plays and discussions, teachers can encourage students to experiment and innovate with the language, and create a supportive atmosphere that allows them to make mistakes without fear of embarrassment. This will contribute to their self-confidence as speakers and to their motivation to learn more. IV. Assessing Speaking IV.1. A teacher says, Some faculty believe that as long as students talk, a discussion is going well. I believe that poor speaking is like poor writing; it should not be ignored but corrected immediately. She points out that students have few enough opportunities to learn how to argue, to reason, and to discuss issues intelligently. Seminars should focus on the development of those skills as well as on course content, she says. "If a student makes an error of fact or logic, mispronounces a word, uses words incorrectly or deals in malapropisms, I immediately correct him or her by rephrasing what they have said. I don't say, `What you said is wrong,' but I do say something like, `I think that what you said might be better phrased as...'"72 Definitely, the approach to error correction differs. However, if the aim of speaking is communication and that does not require perfect English, then it makes sense to encourage quantity in your English classroom. Teachers should encourage students to break the silence and get them communicating with whatever English they can use, correct or not, and selectively comment on errors that block communication. How are speaking skills assessed? As a rule two methods are used for assessing speaking skills. In the observational approach, the student's behavior is observed and assessed unobtrusively. In the structured approach, the student is asked to perform one or more specific oral communication tasks. His or her performance on the task is then evaluated. The task can be administered in a one-on-one setting -- with the test administrator and one student -- or in a group or class setting. In either setting, students should feel that they are communicating meaningful content to a real audience. Tasks should focus on topics that all students can easily talk about, or, if they do not include such a focus, students should be given an opportunity to collect information on the topic.73 Teachers often ask themselves when and how to correct spoken mistakes. It requires discretion and skill. A teacher who continually jumps in to correct will block the flow, causing students to stop talking for fear of being wrong. On the other hand, letting errors pass means that bad habits become persistent. Just as with writing we can help students to improve their accuracy and fluency. Teachers can help students improve their fluency by giving guided preparation time for a task. Students receive specific guidance in choosing appropriate language as well as rehearsal time. Task-based learning research shows that this leads to a greater range of language being used. IV. 2. Various Approaches to Correcting Errors 1. Mistakes should be corrected immediately when teachers want to ensure accuracy, or when fluency is not the key factor. In this case make sure that students do repeat the corrected form. It is not enough for the teacher to correct - students must repeat the correct form orally and practise it. This usually occurs when presenting the language. Teachers can show that an error has been
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made by giving a surprised look. Sometimes simply shaking their head is enough to indicate a mistake. 2. Error correction may be delayed as well. Teachers could wait until the student has finished speaking but return quickly to the error to ensure correct usage. In such cases teachers are advised to take notes and choose an appropriate time to correct. 3. But there are cases when error correction can be delayed for a longer period of time. Sometimes the activity is so interesting that the dynamics are more important than accuracy. If teachers feel that correction will take away from the energy of the event, then s/he should be subtle and incorporate the corrections in tests, games or warm-ups without stressing where the mistakes came from. There are numerous ways /techniques of error correction. The most common way is Teacher correcting. Teachers should mind that they are a resource, not judges. If students are continually making eye-contact with the teacher to check if it's okay, then it means that something is wrong. They are afraid of making mistakes. Another technique is Teacher hints: every teacher should develop a range of hand gestures, which indicate certain predefined situations to students. 'Incorrect' could be shown by a to-andfro motion of the finger; 'wrong word order' by a circular motion of the two forefingers; 3 fingers up indicates 3rd person singular, etc. A very efficient way is Self-correcting, when with helpful gestures from the teacher, students will often be able to offer a corrected version themselves. Sometimes teachers are advised to use Peer-correcting. It is an essential technique for a dynamic teacher who tries to use fellow students to rectify errors. The last strategy for correcting errors could be Research. It lets the class look it up for the next day and teachers should not be afraid to do so themselves, in cases they do not know the correct version. Here are some tips to follow: 1. Get your class to repeat the correct form of a structure. 2. Isolate the problem. If most of the class is making the same mistakes, then you may need to go back, clarify and repeat what you have taught. 3. Be positive and patient. Rather than viewing mistakes as a failure of your teaching ability, see them as helpful signposts where more attention needs to be put. 4. Use pair-work. Let students resolve problems for themselves. Never: 1. Jump in, get angry or intimidate. 2. Simply correct and leave it. Do constantly review the correction and practise it. 3. Forget to keep your own records. The mistakes that your students are making are very important as a guide to what you need to focus on.

The following criteria for dealing with spoken errors might also be very helpful for teachers. In 'Correction' by M.Bartram and R.Walton74 present these questions as a guide to deciding whether to let an error go or not. Which do you consider to be the most important? 1. Does the mistake affect communication? 2. Are we concentrating on accuracy at the moment? 3. Is it really wrong? Or is it my imagination? 4. Why did the student make the mistake? 5. Is it the first time the student has spoken for a long time? 6. Could the student react badly to my correction? 7. Have they met this language point in the current lesson? 8. Is it something the students have already met? 9. Is this a mistake that several students are making? 10. Would the mistake irritate someone? Practical techniques / ideas for correcting spoken English

On-the-spot correction techniques. These are used for dealing with errors as they occur.

Using fingers For example, to highlight an incorrect form or to indicate a word order mistake. Gestures For example, using hand gestures to indicate the use of the wrong tense. Mouthing This is useful with pronunciation errors. The teacher mouths the correct pronunciation without making a sound. For example, when an individual sound is mispronounced or when the word stress is wrong. Of course it can also be used to correct other spoken errors. Reformulation For example: Student: I went in Scotland Teacher: Oh really, you went to Scotland, did you?

Delayed Correction techniques - For example, after a communication activity.


Noting down errors Either on an individual basis i.e. focusing on each student's mistakes or for the class as a whole. 'Hot cards', as Bartram and Walton call individual notes, can be used to focus on recurring mistakes. The student then has a written suggestion of what to work on. Recording In addition to recording students (individually, in pairs etc.) during a speaking task to make them aware of errors that affect communication we can use a technique from Community Language Learning. Students sit in a circle with a tape recorder in the centre. In monolingual classes they check with the teacher, who is bilingual, about how to say something in English, then rehearse it and record it. At the end of the lesson they listen back to the tape and can focus on


M.Bartram &R.Walton Thomson Heinle (2002) 'Correction', Humanising Language Teaching Year 2; Issue 4; July 2000

specific utterances etc. With higher level multilingual classes students take part in a discussion which they have prepared for in advance. When they have something to say they record themselves and then pause the tape. Just as with monolingual classes they can use the teacher as a linguistic resource. At the end of the discussion students analyse their performance with the teacher. The focus is on improving the quality of what they say and expanding their inter-language. Although this form of discussion may seem a bit artificial it has two main advantages: Students pay more attention to what they say as they are taking part in a kind of performance (it is being recorded) Students not only become more aware of gaps in their spoken English but also can see how their spoken English is improving.75 IV.3. While Correcting Errors teachers need to provide appropriate feedback and correction, but don't interrupt the flow of communication. Take notes while pairs or groups are talking and address problems to the class after the activity without embarrassing the student who made the error. You can write the error on the board and ask who can correct it. Students need to be helped as much as possible to improve their speaking ability. This means giving feedback of some kind every time they do a speaking activity, and as often as appropriate when they are speaking during any activity even though speaking isn't the primary focus. There are many reasons for this. In some ways, a speaking activity is like a writing activity - your students would probably complain if you didn't correct their writing, so why should speaking be different?

Your students will feel that they are not wasting time when they speak because they get feedback. It shows your students how and where they are improving, as well as what they need to work on. You can focus on discourse features as well as on lexis and any grammatical structures you have been working on, and so recycle them.76

How can you organize giving feedback? There are many ways that you can give feedback to your students, and many aspects that you can focus on. Here are some ideas. Feedback should be positive as well as negative - tell your students what they do well, as well as what they are getting wrong. Teachers can give feedback to the whole class, to small groups or pairs or to individuals. Vary how you do it. 1. Feedback to the whole class is good a. if you want to keep it short. b. if there are mistakes common to several students. c. if you want to focus on a recently studied structure or lexical item. Here are some ideas for giving feedback to the whole class.

Some lexical and grammatical correction needs to be shown on the board, but you can also elicit correction orally.

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Most students like to write down the corrections, so make sure you put them on the board clearly. Try to avoid the risk of your students writing down the mistakes. If you give or elicit corrections orally, also write them on the board for students to copy. Keep the pace up - change the way you correct or elicit corrections. Don't do it all on the board, or all orally.

2. Feedback to small groups is good a. when students have been working in groups. b. if you want them to discuss what a better way of saying something might be. c. if you are focusing on interaction. Here are some ideas for giving feedback to small groups.

Have a sheet of paper for each group and write examples of good language use and mistakes directly onto these sheets. Then you can just give them to the group to look at. Divide the sheets mentioned in the point above into sections, either those used in the assessment criteria or others you choose, and write the mistakes and any positive aspects in the appropriate section. This will help your students to know what they need to look at. Put the positive points first. Don't write down everything that is wrong - be selective and limit yourself to a predetermined number. With practice, you will get better at selecting what to note down. Don't expect students to be able to correct everything, especially complex points. It is better to do these together as a whole group. Monitor and help the groups to correct their mistakes.

3. Feedback to individuals is good a. when each student has been speaking in turn, for example if you are practicing Part 2. b. if you want to focus on an individual's problems. c. if you have the time in class to listen to each student. Here are some ideas for giving feedback to individuals.

Use small slips of paper, one for each student with their name on. Write positive points first. Limit the number of mistakes you note down and try to focus on things that are really affecting your students' communication. Use this type of feedback to praise and correct items that are really individual. It's especially useful for multilingual groups.

You can focus a lot on a student's Interactive Communication through individual feedback e.g. a very quiet student gets a comment that she or he did not speak enough for you to be able to evaluate, or a dominant one gets a comment that they must let others speak.77 How can you give feedback? Clearly, the way in which you deal with these different groupings will vary. Sometimes you will want to give feedback on the board, but it may often be oral: the way you choose will depend on how much time you want to spend on it, how serious you feel the point is, what you are correcting, and so on. Here are some general ideas for giving feedback.

Based on http://www.cambridgeesol.org/teach/cae/speaking/aboutthepaper/correction_giving_feedback.cfm

Always have paper and pen in hand when monitoring, so you can note things down. Make 2 columns, one for things your students are doing well and the other for mistakes. Try not to write when your students are looking at you - it will put them off and they will start to focus more on your pen than on what they are talking about. Don't feel you always have to be up close to monitor - once your students know that you are going to give feedback, they won't mind where you are in the room. They know you are listening! Make sure you always give positive feedback as well as negative. Sometimes, you may only have positive feedback, or may want to focus mainly on the positive - for example, if the Speaking test is very close or if there has been real improvement in an area that has previously caused trouble. There is no need to mention which student made a mistake or did the good thing, unless you want to. It is amazing how students can often recognise what they said. Make sure your feedback focuses on the different criteria for assessment used in the Speaking test. Sometimes you will want to let students do the activity and to focus in general on how they perform. Sometimes, you can choose one or two criteria and focus just on your students' performance in these areas. You can tell them this before they begin the activity, or only when they have finished. Vary how you do it. Sometimes you may want to focus on your students' use of a specific structure or lexical set they have recently studied. Again, you can tell them this before they begin the activity, or when they have finished. Vary how you do it. You can use a checklist to assess your students' performance according to the Assessment Criteria.

IV.4. What may cause spoken mistakes When learners are tired it is hard to pay attention and they may not have understood part of the lesson. Sometimes they may use Romanian/Russian language patterns in English. A vocabulary error may indicate that there is some confusion. . Errors are actually a very natural necessary part of the learning process. It might sound odd, but spoken errors can be a positive sign. Errors provide information about what progress the learner and the class are making. If many of the students are making the same errors, the teacher should decide to review part of a lesson. Errors can actually show learning. . Teachers are often not certain whether to correct errors or not. It is common knowledge that much correction does NOT lead to fewer spoken errors. As it has been mentioned if the aim of the lesson is on accuracy, teachers should focus some attention on correcting students errors. In cases when the aim of the lesson is fluency, they must focus more attention on successful communication and less on the errors that occur If the teacher corrects too much, it could affect negatively the learners willingness and motivation to participate in class. Too much stress on error correction usually intimidates learners and blocks their communication.

Recommended Readings: 1. P. Watcyn-Jones, Top Class Activities

2. J. Willis, Teaching English through English, 3. .Harmer, The Practice of ELT, Longman, p.122-153