Minggu, 24 Mei 2009

Teaching Speaking: Activities to Promote Speaking in Senior High School.













The purpose of this paper is to explore some activities teaching speaking methods for senior high school. And give some suggestion for teachers who teach speaking, in order that they provide maximum opportunity to students to speak the target language by providing a rich environment that contains collaborative work, authentic materials and tasks, and shared knowledge.

Speaking is "the process of building and sharing meaning through the use of verbal and non-verbal symbols, in a variety of contexts" (Chaney, 1998, p. 13). Speaking is a crucial part of second language learning and teaching. Despite its importance, for many years, teaching speaking has been undervalued and English language teachers have continued to teach speaking just as a repetition of drills or memorization of dialogues. However, today's world requires that the goal of teaching speaking should improve students' communicative skills, because, only in that way, students can express themselves and learn how to follow the social and cultural rules appropriate in each communicative circumstance. Here there are some activities to promote speaking to students of senior high school and will be explored below, and it also can be applied to ESL and EFL classroom settings.

Firstly is a discussion, after a content-based lesson, a discussion can be held for various reasons. The students may aim to arrive at a conclusion, share ideas about an event, or find solutions in their discussion groups. Before the discussion, it is essential that the purpose of the discussion activity is set by the teacher. In this way, the discussion points are relevant to this purpose, so that students do not spend their time chatting with each other about irrelevant things. For example, students can become involved in agree/disagree discussions. In this type of discussions, the teacher can form groups of students, preferably 4 or 5 in each group, and provide controversial sentences like “people learn best when they read vs. people learn best when they travel”.

Then each group works on their topic for a given time period, and presents their opinions to the class. It is essential that the speaking should be equally divided among group members. At the end, the class decides on the winning group who defended the idea in the best way. This activity fosters critical thinking and quick decision making, and students learn how to express and justify themselves in polite ways while disagreeing with the others. For efficient group discussions, it is always better not to form large groups, because quiet students may avoid contributing in large groups.

The group members can be either assigned by the teacher or the students may determine it by themselves, but groups should be rearranged in every discussion activity so that students can work with various people and learn to be open to different ideas. Lastly, in class or group discussions, whatever the aim is, the students should always be encouraged to ask questions, paraphrase ideas, express support, check for clarification, and so on.

One other way of getting students to speak is role-playing. This is the second way, and here students pretend they are in various social contexts and have a variety of social roles. In role-play activities, the teacher gives information to the learners such as who they are and what they think or feel. Thus, the teacher can tell the student that "You are David, you go to the doctor and tell him what happened last night," (Harmer, 1984)

In addition, the teacher also can apply simulation activity, this is very similar to role-plays but what makes simulations different than role plays is that they are more elaborate. In simulations, students can bring items to the class to create a realistic environment. For instance, if a student is acting as a singer, she brings a microphone to sing and so on. Role plays and simulations have many advantages. First, since they are entertaining, they motivate the students. Second, as Harmer (1984) suggests, they increase the self-confidence of hesitant students, because in role play and simulation activities, they will have a different role and do not have to speak for themselves, which means they do not have to take the same responsibility.

The third is information Gap, in this activity, students is supposed to be working in pairs. One student will have the information that other partner does not have and the partners will share their information. Information gap activities serve many purposes such as solving a problem or collecting information. Also, each partner plays an important role because the task cannot be completed if the partners do not provide the information the others need. These activities are effective because everybody has the opportunity to talk extensively in the target language.

Moreover, the students are expected to use language quickly and confidently with few unnatural pauses, which are called as fluency. (Nunan, 2003), and then the teacher can get students to select appropriate words and sentences according to the proper social setting, audience, situation and subject matter.

Number four is brainstorming on a given topic; students can produce ideas in a limited time. Depending on the context, either individual or group brainstorming is effective and learners generate ideas quickly and freely. The good characteristics of brainstorming are that the students are not criticized for their ideas so students will be open to sharing new ideas, they can make their own phrase, or are encouraged to make the reason why they do so. Organize their thoughts in a meaningful and logical sequence, in order that their sentence can be understood by their friends.

In addition, to unsure their understanding, the teacher can evaluate them whether they produce the phrase in awareness not, if they make it by their understanding and their own thought they can make the supports on their brainstorming ideas. Student have to try to produce the English speech sounds and sound patterns, Use word and sentence stress, intonation patterns and the rhythm of the second language. Here, they can increase their language, such vocabularies, word arrangement, in grammatically sentences.

The fifth is storytelling activities. Here students can briefly summarize a tale or story they heard from somebody beforehand, or they may create their own stories to tell their classmates. Story telling fosters creative thinking. It also helps students express ideas in the format of beginning, development, and ending, including the characters and setting a story has to have. Students also can tell riddles or jokes. For instance, at the very beginning of each class session, the teacher may call a few students to tell short riddles or jokes as an opening. In this way, not only will the teacher address students’ speaking ability, but also get the attention of the class.

In addition, story completion also can be applied in this event. This is a very enjoyable, whole-class, free-speaking activities for which students sit in a circle. For this activity, a teacher starts to tell a story, but after a few sentences he or she stops narrating. Then, each student starts to narrate from the point where the previous one stopped. Each student is supposed to add from four to ten sentences. Students can add new characters, events, descriptions and so on.

And the last is interviews activity. Here students can conduct interviews on selected topics with various people. It is a good idea that the teacher provides a rubric to students so that they know what type of questions they can ask or what path to follow, but students should prepare their own interview questions. Conducting interviews with people gives students a chance to practice their speaking ability not only in class but also outside and helps them becoming socialized. After interviews, each student can present his or her study to the class. Moreover, students can interview each other and "introduce" his or her partner to the class.

In conclusion, teaching speaking is a very important part of second language learning. The ability to communicate in a second language clearly and efficiently contributes to the success of the learner in school and success later in every phase of life. Therefore, it is essential that language teachers pay great attention to teaching speaking.

Rather than leading students to pure memorization, providing a rich environment where meaningful communication takes place is desired. With this aim, various speaking activities such as those listed above can contribute a great deal to students in developing basic interactive skills necessary for life. These activities make students more active in the learning process and at the same time make their learning more meaningful and fun for them.

References

  • Chaney, A.L., and T.L. Burk. 1998. Teaching Oral Communication in Grades K-8. Boston: Allyn&Bacon.
  • Harmer, J. 1984. The Practice of English Language Teaching. London: Longman.
  • Nunan, D., 2003. Practical English Language Teaching. NY:McGraw-Hill.




Folded Corner: OutliningAbstract : The purpose of this paper is to explore some activities teaching speaking methods for senior high school. And give some suggestion for teachers who teach speaking, in order that they provide maximum opportunity to students to speak the target language by providing a rich environment that contains collaborative work, authentic materials and tasks, and shared knowledge.

General Statement : Speaking is "the process of building and sharing meaning through the use of verbal and non-verbal symbols, in a variety of contexts" (Chaney, 1998, p. 13). Speaking is a crucial part of second language learning and teaching.

Thesis Statement : Some activities to promote speaking to students of senior high school, and it also can be applied to ESL and EFL classroom settings.

The Body :

I. Discussion

A. Share ideas about an event

B. Form groups of students

C. Critical thinking and quick decision making

II. Role-playing

A. variety of social roles

B. Simulation activity

C. Create a realistic environment

D. Purpose/advantage

I. Motivate the students

II. Increase the self-confidence

III. Information Gap

A. Solving problem purposes

B. The extensively target language

VI. Brainstorming on a given topic

A. Depending on the context

B. Evaluate students’ understanding

C. Use word and sentence stress

V. Storytelling activities

A. Briefly summarize

B. Story telling fosters creative thinking

C. Story completion

D. Each student is supposed to add the explanation

VI. Interviews activity

A. Students should prepare their own interview

B. Student present his or her study to the class

Conclusion: we can conclude that teaching speaking is a very important part of second language learning. The ability to communicate in a second language clearly and efficiently contributes to the success of the learner in school and success later in every phase of life. Various speaking activities such as those listed above can contribute a great deal to students in developing basic interactive skills necessary for life. These activities make students more active in the learning process and at the same time make their learning more meaningful and fun for them.

References

  • Chaney, A.L., and T.L. Burk. 1998. Teaching Oral Communication in Grades K-8. Boston: Allyn&Bacon.
  • Harmer, J. 1984. The Practice of English Language Teaching. London: Longman.
  • Nunan, D., 2003. Practical English Language Teaching. NY: Mc Graw-Hill.

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