中学英语教学法Unit 9 Teaching Speaking 主讲教师：陈道明 （华南师范大学外文学院）
Unit 9 Teaching Speaking Issues for discussion: Characteristics of spoken language Principles for designing speaking activities Using group work in speaking activities Common types of speaking activities
9.1 What are the characteristics of spoken language? Speaking is a skill, just like swimming, driving a car, or playing ping-pong. Too often, in the traditional classroom, the learning of English has been relegated to linguistic knowledge only, e.g. knowledge of vocabulary and grammar rules, with little or no attention paid to practising language skill.
How can we tell the difference between knowledge and skill? • According to Bygate (1987:4) one “fundamental difference is that both can be understood and memorised, but only a skill can be imitated and practised”.
Characteristics of spoken language • Spontaneity • Time-constraint
Characteristics of spoken language Spontaneity • In most situations, people do not plan ahead of time what they are going to say. • The fact that speech is spontaneous means that it is full of false starts, repetitions, incomplete sentences, and short phrases. • Should we expect the students to produce complete sentences in language classroom?
Characteristics of spoken language Time-constraint • The students must be able to produce unplanned utterances in real time; otherwise people will not have the patience to listen to them. • Which of the following activities do you think would help to prepare students for real life speech in English?
Reading aloud(needs to be supplemented with more realistic activities as the level increases). • Giving a prepared talk(may be used for advanced level) • Learning a piece of text or dialogue by heartmore realistic activities as the level increases). • Interviewing someone, or being interviewed(Yes. It helps to prepare students for real life speech.) • Doing a drill(needs to be supplemented with more realistic activities as the level increases) .
needs to be supplemented with more realistic activities as the level increases. • Reading aloud(needs to be supplemented with more realistic activities as the level increases). • Giving a prepared talk(may be used for advanced level) • Learning a piece of text or dialogue by heartmore realistic activities as the level increases). • Interviewing someone, or being interviewed(Yes. It helps to prepare students for real life speech.) • Doing a drill(needs to be supplemented with more realistic activities as the level increases) . may be used for advanced level. needs to be supplemented with more realistic activities as the level increases. Yes. It helps to prepare students for real life speech. needs to be supplemented with more realistic activities as the level increases.
Also students must consider whom they are talking to and be able to check if they are being understood. • e.g.
Kelly: Hey Jack, how’s the project coming along? • Jack:What project? • Kelly: The one you and Craig are working on. • Jack:Craig and I? • Kelly: Yeah, for the science fair. • Jack:Oh, that project. It’s finished. I’m so busy working on another project for my economics class that I almost forgot about it. I hope it’ll work like we want to. • Kelly:Oh, I’m sure it will.
9.2 Designing speaking tasks • One important consideration: Proficiency level of the students (challenging but not too difficult.) • If the task is too easy or too difficult, the students may be demotivated.
Common characteristics in successful speaking tasks • Maximum foreign talk • Even participation • High motivation • Right language level
Maximum foreign talk • Try to avoid students’ talking in the mother tongue, and avoid too much Teacher Talk. • Even participation • Try to avoid outstanding students’ dominating discussions. Try to guarantee equal opportunities for students of different levels. • High motivation • Interesting topic, and clear objective. Make sure that the task is in line with the students’ ability • Right language level -
Right language level • The task must be designed so that the students can complete the task successfully with the language that they have. Otherwise the task will become frustrating and the students are likely to give up or revert to the native language.
9.3 Using group work in speaking tasks • For organizing group work, please refer to 4.2 of Unit 4, on Pages 40-42. • In 4.2 of Unit 4, four ways of organizing classroom activities are mentioned: Lockstep, Pair work, Group work, and Individual study (p. 40)
Advantages of using group work • More opportunities. As compared with activities for the whole class, group work enables students to talk a lot because it increases the time for each student to practise speaking in one lesson. • More motivation. Group work helps students avoid losing their face in front of a whole class, and thus it makes students courageous to speak. • -
More authenticity. Speaking in a small group is more natural than speaking in a large group, because the latter is usually more formal and requires preparation. • Different levels. Students can naturally perform to their abilities more readily in small groups than in a whole class, i.e. students of different levels can participate. • More cooperation. Small group work helps students learn to work cooperatively and it helps develop interpersonal skill – fostering development of tolerance, mutual respect and harmony.
9.4 Type of speaking tasks It is important to provide the students with a variety of speaking activities because: • A variety of speaking activities will enable students to cope with different situations in reality. • Variety helps keep motivation high. • Variety may suit students of different learning styles.
There are two major purposes for listening. One is to get information and the other is for social reasons. • Since speaking is reciprocal of listening, the same is true of speaking.
According to Littlewood, as has been mentioned in Unit 2 (p. 18) communicative speaking activities can be divided into two types: functional communication activities, and social interaction activities:
Structural ActivitiesPre-C.A.Quasi-com. Activities(sent. pattern drills, dialogues, etc.)Functional Com. Act.Com. Act.(obtaining information)Social Interaction Act.(role-playing, problem-solving, etc.)Information Gap, Choices & Feed-back)
For beginning students, pre-communicative activities are also necessary, which are more structural and allow the learner to practise the forms of the language. However, we should make speaking tasks as communicative as possible.
Some types of speaking activities • Information-gap activities • Dialogues and role-plays • Activities using pictures • Problem-solving activities • Other speaking activities
Information-gap activities • Compare 2 activities: Activity A (p.101)
Activity B: Use the same pictures, but cut them up, paste them on cards, and give each student a different picture.
Directions: Ask your partner what is in his/her picture. Fore example: Student A: What’s in your picture? Student B: There is __________. What’s in your picture? Student A: There is __________.
Obviously the second activity includes an information gap that the first one does not. • Information-gap activities can be designed at a very elementary level, so that communicative practice can be done from almost the very beginning of foreign language learning.
Dialogues and role-plays Two problems with most dialogues in textbooks: • Not authentic or natural. The natural speech of native speakers is often phrases or sentence fragments full of pauses, false starts, and repetitions. • The way most dialogues are taught. Teachers ask students to memorize dialogues by heart.
What can a teacher do to make a dialogue more communicative? Example 1: Playing the roles in a dialogue
Step 1. Practise the dialogue in pairs A: What time is it? B: It’s 3:00. Why? A: Oh, I need to go to the store! Do you want to come? B: OK. Just a minute. I need to finish this first.
Step 2. Ask a few pairs to perform the dialogue in front of the whole class, speaking in different moods such as happy, irritated, bored, or in different role relationships such as parent and a child, husband and wife, two friends, etc. The students may paraphrase the underlined parts: • “go to the post office”, “go to the bank”, etc. instead of “go to the store”. • “find my jacket/shoes”, etc. instead of “finish this first”.
Example 2: Using cue cards Card A You are talking to a new classmate. Begin the conversation with a greeting. 1. Greet your partner. 2. Ask your partner which school he/she went to before. 3. Ask your partner if he/she lives near the school. 4. Suggest you go shopping together after school.
Card B You are a new student at this school. One of your classmates greets you. 1. Greet your partner back. 2. Answer the question. 3. Answer the question. 4. Respond to the suggestion.
Then students should be ready to move quickly into less controlled types of role plays, where only the situation and the relationship between the two speakers are specified: Card A You and your friend are going out to eat lunch. You need to decide where to go. You would like to try something different because you’re tired of the same food. You make a suggestion.
Notice that the outcome of this role play is not specified in the cue cards. It only sets up a point of disagreement. Card B You and your friend are going out to eat lunch. You need to decide where to go. You would like to go to the place where you always go, because you like the food. You don’t agree with your friend’s suggestion.
Factors that affect the success of role-plays (Ur, 1996:133) • Teacher’s enthusiasm; • Careful instructions; • Clear situation and roles; • Making sure that the students have the language they will need to carry out the role-play.
Activities using pictures • In groups of 3 or 4:
A secretary is appointed to mark a tick for each sentence said. Check which group has got most ticks.
Problem-solving activities You are on a committee that is in charge of deciding what to do with a small amount of money that has been donated to improve your school. You have a list of things to do, but you only have enough money for 5 of the items. You must reach a consensus (agreement) in your group on which 5 items you will spend the money. Here is the list:
Repaint 3 classrooms. • Paint lines for games on the playground. • Install lights that automatically turn off to save electricity. • Buy curtains for 8 classrooms. This will make it easier to see the OHP (Overhead Projector) when the room is darker. • Buy sound absorption panels for 2 classrooms. This will make the classroom quieter so it will be easier to hear each other. • Buy an air conditioner for one classroom. • Buy 4 new basketball hoops for the playground. • Buy 15 young trees to be planted for shade around the edge of the playground. • Buy fans for 6 classrooms. • Remodel bathroom faucets so students can wash their hands using hot and cold water. • Add soap dispensers and hand dryers to bathrooms.
Problem solving activities require a higher level of language proficiency, but the difficulty levels can be controlled somewhat by the topic. • In problem-solving activities, “participants tend to become personally involved; they begin to relate the problem as an emotional issue as well as an intellectual and moral one” (Ur 1996:128).
Other speaking activities Find someone who … e.g. Sand up and walk around the room. Ask your classmates what they like to do. Remember, you must speak in English only!
A model conversation can be provided. • A: Hi, Tom. • B: Hi, Sherry. • A: I’m conducting a survey for our school newspaper. Could you tell me, do you like to swim? • B: Yes, I do. In fact, usually go swimming once or twice a week. • A: Great. Would you mind signing your name here for me please? • B: Sure, there you are. • A: thanks a lot. See you around. • B: See you.
Bingo activities (This seems to be practising listening rather than speaking if the words are called out by the teacher.)
Change the story • Step 1: Form groups of 3-5; • Step 2: The group together makes a list of about 20 random verbs. e.g. go, sleep, teach, learn, jump, fall, look (at), hear, laugh, sing, etc. • Step 3: Each one writes a short story, and underlines all the verbs in the story; e.g.
Yesterday I saw a cat. She was running in the street. She had a fish in her mouth. A dog was running after the cat. The dog wanted to eat the fish too. Then the cat climbed up a tree. The dog stopped under the tree. He could not climb the tree. At last the cat ate the fish.