Teaching speaking to EFL students

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №12 - 2020

Author: Kamzina Zhannur , Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan

Language is a means of thinking and transferring culture from one generation to another as well as from one nation to another. It is also a means of communication among people. The English Language is gaining more and more power and attention to its study has increased. And teaching English become one of wide spread field at the present time. And Language teaching, perhaps more than many other activities, reflects the times it takes place in. Language is about communication, after all, and perhaps that is why philosophies and techniques for learning languages seem to develop and change in tune with the societies which give rise to them. Teaching and learning are very human activities; they are social just as much as they are (in our case) linguistic. Basically teaching English consist of two separate kinds of skills receptive and productive. Receptive skills are reading, listening and productive consists of speaking and writing.

Speaking is an activity of delivering message, it occurs between speaker and listener orally. The main point of speaking activity is that speakers communicate their message to the listeners. In this case, the speaker and listener should be able to understand each other. The speaker produce the sounds that involved the messages and the listener receive, process, and response the messages.

According to Byrne [1; 8] speaking is oral communication. It is a two ways process between speaker and listener and involve productive and receptive skill of understanding, and Huebner [2; 5] stated that speaking is the main skill in communication. Based on this idea it is understood that through speaking, someone can communicate or express what he wants in order to understand one another.

Rivers [3; 162] says through speaking someone can express her or his ideas, emotions and reactions to other person or situation and influence other person. Furthermore, someone can communicate or express what he or she wants from other and response to other speaker. It means that in order to express someon's 8 ideas, speaker must also attend the aspect of speaking, in order that the massage is understandable to the listener.

According to Brown [4; 2] in all communication or conversation two people are exchanging information or they have a communication or conversation need. That means that the reason for the people to communicate with other is in order to tell people something, which they do not know, or to find something out from other people.

Johnson [5; 18] refers to speaking as the ability to produce articulation, sounds or words to express, to say, to show and to think about ideas, taught and feeling. Murica [6; 91] says speaking is the primary element of language and it can be developed from the beginning when someone was born, from the first contact with the language. Furthermore, in speaking, there are some aspects that should be concerned. They are fluency, accuracy (grammar and pronunciation) and comprehensibility. Fluency is the smoothness or flow with which sounds, syllable, words and phrases are joined together when speaking. From the theories above we may come up with the conclusion that speaking is an ability to express ideas, feelings and emotions to other person. The language is used to express oneself to be understood by others. Therefore speaking is a skill of transferring the idea to others in spoken language. It concerns with the use of language in daily activity in which people need to communicate with others to fulfill the need of socialization. Also, in almost any setting, speaking is the most frequently used language skill. Speaking has been classified to monologue and dialogue. The former focuses on giving an interrupted oral presentation and the latter on interacting with other speakers .Speaking can also serve one of two main functions: transactional (transfer of information) and interactional (maintenance of social relationships)

Speaking is defined as the secondary stage student's ability to express themselves orally, coherently, fluently and appropriately in a given meaningful context to serve both transactional and interactional purposed using correct pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary and adopting the pragmatic and discourse rules of the spoke language. In other words they are required to show mastery of the following sub competencies/ skills:

- Linguistic competence: This includes the following skills:

Using intelligible pronunciation. Following grammatical rules accurately. Using relevant, adequate and appropriate range of vocabulary.

- Discourse competence: This includes the following skills: Structuring discourse coherently and cohesively managing conversation and interacting effectively to keep the conversation going.

- Pragmatic competence: This includes the following skill:

Expressing a range of functions effectively and appropriately according to the context and register.

Fluency: This means speaking fluently demonstrating a reasonable rate of speech. [6; 30].

It was argued that the purpose of speaking can be either transactional or interactional. Apparently, there are some differences between the spoken languages used in both of discourses.

In transactional discourse, language is used primarily for communicating information. Language serving this purpose is "message" oriented rather than 'listener' oriented. Clearly, in this type of interaction, accurate and coherent communication of the message is important, as well as confirmation that the message has been understood. Examples of language being used primarily for a transactional purpose are: news broadcasts, descriptions, narrations and instructions. Speaking turns serving this purpose tend to be long and involve some prior organization of content and use of linguistic devices to signal either the organization or type of information that will be given.

On the other hand, some conversations are interactional with the purpose of establishing or maintaining a relationship. This latter kind is sometimes called the interpersonal use of language. It plays an important social role in 38 oiling the wheels of social intercourse .Examples of interactional uses of language are greetings, small talks, and compliments. Apparently, the language used in the interactional mode is listener oriented. Speakers' talk in this type tends to be limited to quite short turns. However, in spite of the distinctions between the two types, in most circumstances, interactional language is combined with transactional language. This helps to ease the transactional tasks to be done by keeping good social relations with others. In, other words, we can say that speakers do one thing by doing another .So both purposes can be viewed as two dimensions of spoken interaction.

Analyzing speaking purposes more precisely, Kingen [7; 218] combines both the transactional and interpersonal purposes of speaking into an extensive list of twelve categories as follows:

1. Personal - expressing personal feelings, opinions, beliefs and ideas.

2. Descriptive- describing someone or something, real or imagined.

3. Narrative-creating and telling stories or chronologically sequenced events.

4. Instructive-giving instructions or providing directions designed to produce an outcome.

5. Questioning-asking questions to obtain information.

6. Comparative-comparing two or more objects, people, ideas, or opinions to make judgments about them.

7. Imaginative-expressing mental images of people, places, events, and objects.

8. Predictive-predicting possible future events.

9. Interpretative-exploring meanings, creating hypothetical deductions, and considering inferences.

10. Persuasive-changing others opinions, attitudes, or points of view, or influencing the behavior of others in some way.

11. Explanatory-explaining, clarifying, and supporting opinions and ideas.

12. Informative-sharing information with other person.

As was argued before, these models consider speaking as a manifestation of the learner's communicative competence. Sub-skills underlying communicative competence are addressed by several researchers as follows:

The communicative competence model: developed a framework of communicative competence based on an earlier version by Canale and Swain [8; 1-47]. He distinguished among four elements in communicative competence: Grammatical competence, sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence and strategic competence.

- Grammatical competence includes language rules such as vocabulary, formation of words or sentences, and pronunciation.

- Sociolinguistic competence addresses the appropriateness in terms of both the meaning and form, which can vary with the status of participants, objectives of the communication and norms of the communication.

- Discourse Competence includes an understanding of how spoken texts are organized and is related to the cohesion and coherence of utterances.

- Strategic Competence is compensatory in nature, drawn on when the developing language system of the foreign language learner is deficient in some regard. It refers to mastery of both verbal and nonverbal communication strategies.

Speaking is one of the most important skills in English as a foreign language. It creates environment of communication and gives an opportunity to people to express their ideas. That is why teaching speaking is one of the basic priorities for foreign language teachers

Speaking is one of the main speech activities [9]. The information is exchanged by speaking. Speaking plays a great role in teaching English language. Without speaking the communication cannot be conducted. Speaking takes 30% of speech. Speaking is the best means of consolidation, assimilation of elementary linguistic English knowledge, cultivating habit and creating skills [10; 2]. The students of schools, lyceums and colleges should be able to use in speaking units and actively assimilate of English language or expressions, words, word combinations, sentences. Progress in speaking an English language is obviously impossible without the gradual assimilation of phonetics, vocabulary and grammars of the English language. It is advisable that the teaching of speaking should begin from the very first lessons.

Teaching speaking is closely connected with the other speech activities such as listening comprehension, reading and writing. Listening comprehension and speaking are combined into oral speech and conduct oral speech communications. Without listening comprehension speaking can't be created. By listening comprehension the students will know, get acquainted with words, word combinations, sentences and their pronunciation which seriously needs for speaking. Speaking is also connected with reading. By reading the students get new information, contents. This information is used in speaking. By reading the students also consolidate, assimilate the pronouncing of words, word combinations, intonations. For speaking they are needed, they help to teach speaking. Speaking is closely connected with writing too. Writing helps to memory information and helps to speaking. So we can say speaking helps to teach listening comprehension, reading and writing.

Speaking skill is an interactive process of constructing meaning that involves processing and production information. A communicative ability to transmit and to use information in different and appropriate situations that is is involved into speaking skill. That is to say teaching speaking is essential in both second and first language because it reflects person's personalities and thoughts. This ability to communicate in a second language efficiently contributes to the success of the learner in school and later life.

Speaking is a communication skill. Learning this communication skill in foreign language is a process of very complex activities of foreign language acquisition. Starting to learn foreign language is like to start learning one's mother tongue. That is why building up an area where students feel safe and comfortable is necessary for FLT.

The formation of speech skills occurs through the gradual transition from simple and small language units (word, phrase, sentence) to more complex and large (text) and from elements to simple operations (for example: simulation) to more complex ones, although there is not always a direct relationship between the size of training units and operations . For example we can use the simulation technique that mentioned above on dialogs and texts to clarify use of words or collocations in the appropriate situation.

English language teaching has the same challenges the world over. It is important that teachers organized at the beginning of the lesson at it are also important that the students feel relaxed. If the teacher feels relaxed and feels part of the lesson and is leading by example then the students will feel relaxed and they will feel more inclined to participate. A warmer is often a good way to make sure that this happens. One idea for warmer is when you are arranging a group work, for example you show the picture of an animal and ask your students what is that and they answer. But thing to remember is that the focus is on fluency so we need to give each student a picture of an animal for instance you have five cows, sheep, horses and each student has one card with an animal on it. They do not look at the cards of each other but they say: Which animal have you got? or I have got a horse, what about you? and come up with that they are not in the same group. As a result they are speaking to each other and there is an element of fluency even before activity begins. The teacher can manipulate who they want in each group by distributing cards in a clever way to begin with. This helps if you want students of equal ability in each group or if you want some of the less inhibited ones work with some of the more inhibited ones so they can help each other. The third thing to remember is that ones we have got students warmed up we should not lose the momentum because there is no point to getting students warm up if you are immediately then going to cool them down by saying: Look at the page twenty three.

When giving instructions we have to let students know that here comes the instruction and also teacher need to look around to make sure that they all see and the go for it. Once we have given the instruction we need to check that they understand usually through their action. If they do the task it means they understood and I they have not understood the task the do not do the task. In this case it is important to go back, give them instruction again and let them do it again. Also, If enough careful planning goes into the instruction and the instructions are simplified enough before the lesson begins then it may take away the necessity for using the students own language while explaining the task. Moreover we need to make sure that we do not use overcomplicated language (for instance instead of saying "What's this?" we should say "Can anybody tell me what is that?"

In speaking lessons, pictures and "manipulables" can provide the motivation for talking. Manipulables is just a fancy word for things you can handle, move or manipulate in some way. For example, you can buy Legos and use them as the basis of many communicative activities [11].

Sometimes students - perhaps especially those at the lower levels - can be anxious about speaking out in class. One way to overcome their reticence and increase their opportunities to speak is to use work in pairs and work in groups.

According to Pennington [12; 80-105], using pair work and group work can improve learners motivation and promote choice, independence, creativity, and realism. work in pairs and work in groups also provide feedback to the learner from sources other than the teacher (i.e., from their peers). Work in groups and work in groups are configurations of people for doing activities, rather than activity types per se. Work in pairs, as the name suggests, involves two students working together to complete a task or exercise using the target language.

1. Set the task clearly first.

2. Start with pair interactions, and then when the students are used to pairing up quickly and quietly, move to groups of three, and then later use larger groups

3. At first give instructions about how to get into groups (e.g., have the students say numbers aloud in order, 1-2-3, and so on, and then form groups by having three "B" sit together, and so on).

4. Set specific time limits for how long students will be working in pairs or groups.

5. Give clear guidance as to what is expected at the end of the pairwork or groupwork. For example, you might say, "In five minutes, each group sends one person to the board to write down your list of favorite foods. All the group members help that person spell the words correctly." As you gain experience in working with groups and pairs of students, you will develop your own grouping and pairing strategies.

It can be difficult to get students to talk with one another in a new language, but that difficulty is often exacerbated by the traditional classroom arrangement of desks facing forward toward the teacher's zone. Changing the physical environment can encourage speaking activities, partly because it partially alters the power structure of the traditional English classroom.

Regardless of the course focus or level, all speaking activities can be characterized as more or less interactive. A recited monologue is spoken by one person without others contributing to the discourse, whereas a conversation, by definition, is highly interactive. A lecture can be largely non-interactive, but a seminar discussion is more interactive than a lecture. It is important to remember that our students are not learning English just so they can repeat after others or read aloud from prepared texts. They also want to be able to carry on conversations, express their feelings, explain their own ideas, and get things done using English. For these reasons, it is crucial for teachers to provide opportunities for students to practice creative uses of the language.

Different forms of drama can be very useful in teaching speaking classes for language learners. A role-play is a speaking activity in which the students take the part of other people and interact using the characteristics of those people (for instance, age, gender, occupation, and so on). Or the students can be themselves enacting a novel situation. Often a role-play includes a particular communicative task, such as negotiating a purchase, solving a problem, making a reservation, getting information, and so on. Role-plays can be excellent procedures for helping students learn and practice important speech acts, vocabulary, and grammatical structures.

In Total Physical Response (TPR), students learn by associating physical actions with the language they are hearing [13; 3-21]. It is a comprehension-based approach to learning, but it can be utilized in teaching and practicing speaking as well. The "total" in Total Physical Response refers to the idea that students retain in memory those things they use their whole bodies to do. Indeed many TPR activities involve students standing and moving. In other activities the students remain seated, but move objects as they follow the commands to do the task.

English learner no longer expect the traditional approach which is used by their teachers in foreign language teaching that based on mainly developing grammatical competence and use of methodology that was popular in past.

Today, teacher is expected to teach not only theory of the foreign language but mainly to teach and provide their students with useful active knowledge. Speaking is one of four basic skills in learning foreign language besides reading, listening and writing. This communicative skill has been taught since students entered primary school. The skill affects to the way how a speaker will be accepted in the foreign environment. Therefore it is essential that language teachers pay a great attention to teaching this particular skill. Instead of leading students to pure memorization, having aim to provide the environment where meaningful communication is desired and using methods that listed above correctly and creatively these all will contribute a great deal for students in developing basic communication skill.


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7. Kingen S. (2000). Teaching Language Arts in Middle Schools. Connecting and Communicating. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

8. Canale M. and Swain M. (1980). Theoretical Bases of Communicative Approaches to Second Language Teaching and Testing. Applied Linguistics

9. Yakubov I. Comparative methods of teaching English at schools, lyceums and colleges. Tashkent: Bayoz, 2004

10. Article The objectives of teaching speaking Rakhmatova N.V 2012

11. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF7zsz8fi64 (date of the application: 28.02.2020)

12. Pennington, M. (1995). Pattern and variation in use of two languages in the Hong Kong secondary English class. RELC journal, 26, 80-105.

13. Asher J.J., Kusoda J.A. and R. de la Torre. 1993. Learning a Second Language Through Commands: The Second Field Test. In J.W. Oiler, Jr. (ed.), Methods that Work: Ideas for Literacy and Language Teachers (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle, 3-21.

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №12 - 2020

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