Methods of teaching speech
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Chapter I. Theoretical foundations of teaching speaking pupils of junior form
1.1 The most common difficulties in auding and speaking
1.2 Psychological characteristics of speech
1.3 Linguistic characteristics of speech
1.4 Prepared and unprepared speech
1.5. Mistakes and how to correct them
Chapter II. Speaking in teaching practice
2.1 Speech and oral exercises
2.2 Techniques the teacher uses to develop hearing.
2.3 Techniques the teacher uses for teaching speaking
List of literature
Our work is devoted to the method of teaching the speech. But for the beginning let’s examine what is speech.
Language came into life as a means of communication. It exists and is alive only through speech. When we speak about teaching a foreign language, we first of all have in mind teaching it as a means of communication.
In teaching speech the teacher has to cope with two tasks. They are: to teach his pupils to understand the foreign language and to teach them to speak the language. So, speech is a bilateral process. It includes hearing, on the one hand, and speaking, on the other. When we say «hearing» we mean auding or listening and comprehension.
Speaking exists in two forms: dialogue and monologue.
The aim of our work is:
1. to observe the speech as a bilateral process;
2. to give the basic notions of the speech;
3. to make an examples of exercises in of speaking and hearing.
Practical value of this paper is determined by the fact that the developed material and proper tasks and exercises make available the use of this work as a manual in teaching a foreign language at classroom or as a given homework, or as a useful material for elective additional courses of foreign language at school.
The paper consists of introduction and two chapters followed by conclusion. The first chapter is about the most common difficulties in auding and speaking a foreign language. Also it consists of psychological and linguistic characteristics of the speech. Further we find differences between prepared and unprepared speech and in this chapter we learn to find mistakes of pupils and how to correct them. In the second chapter are given the exercises, which help the teachers to obtain results in teaching speech.
Chapter I. Theoretical foundations of teaching speaking pupils of junior form
1. 1 The most common difficulties in auding and speaking
Auding or listening and comprehension are difficult for learners because they should discriminate speech sounds quickly, retain them while hearing a word, a phrase, or a sentence and recognize this as a sense unit. Pupils can easily and naturally do this in their own language and they cannot do this in a foreign language when they start learning the language. Pupils are very slow in grasping what they hear because they are conscious of the linguistic forms they perceive by the ear. This results in misunderstanding or a complete failure of understanding.
When auding a foreign language pupils should be very attentive and think hard. They should strain their memory and will power to keep the sequence of sounds they hear and to decode it. Not all the pupils can cope with the difficulties entailed. The teacher should help them by making this work easier and more interesting. This is possible on condition that he will take into consideration the following three main factors which can ensure success in developing pupils' skills in auding: (1) linguistic material for auding; (2) the content of the material suggested for listening and comprehension; (3) conditions in which the material is presented.
1. Comprehension of the text by the ear can be ensured when the teacher uses the material which has already been assimilated by pupils. However this does not completely eliminate the difficulties in auding. Pupils need practice in listening and comprehension in the target language to be able to overcome three kinds of difficulties: phonetic, lexical, and grammatical. 4]
Phonetic difficulties appear because the phonic system of English and Russian differ greatly. The hearer often interprets the sounds of a foreign language as if they were of his own language which usually results in misunderstanding. The following opposites present much trouble to beginners in learning English:
? -- s tr -- t? A -- o s -- z a: -- o
? -- f dr -- dg d -- z t -- t? o: -- ?:
w -- v d -- v n -- rj ae -- e
Pupils also find it difficult to discriminate such opposites as: o: -- o, a -- A, i: -- i, u: -- u.
They can hardly differentiate the following words by ear: worked -- walked; first -- fast -- forced; lion -- line; tired -- tide; bought -- boat -- board.
The difference in intonation often prevents pupils from comprehending a communication. For example, Good ?morning (when meeting); Good ?morning (at parting).
The teacher, therefore, should develop his pupils' ear for English sounds and intonation.
Lexical difficulties are closely connected with the phonetic ones. Pupils often misunderstand words because they hear them wrong. For example: The horse is slipping. The horse is sleeping. They worked till night. They walked till night.
The opposites are often misunderstood, for the learners often take one word for another. For example: east-- west, take -- put; ask -- answer. The most difficult words for auding are the verbs with postpositions, such as: put on, put off, put down, take off, see off, go in for, etc.
Grammatical difficulties are mostly connected with the analytic structure of the English language, and with the extensive use of infinitive and participle constructions. Besides, English is rich in grammatical homonyms, for example: to work -- work; to answer -- answer; -ed as the suffix of the Past Indefinite and the Past Participle.
This is difficult for pupils when they aud.
2. The content of the material also influences comprehension. The following factors should be taken into consideration when selecting the material for auding:
The topic of communication: whether it is within the ability of the pupils to understand, and what difficulties pupils will come across (proper names, geographical names, terminology, etc).
The type of communication: whether it is a description or a narration. Description as a type of communication is less emotional and interesting, that is why it is difficult for the teacher to arouse pupils' interest in auding such a text. Narration is more interesting for auding. Consequently, this type of communication should be used for listening comprehension.
The context and pupils' readiness (intellectual and situational) to understand it. The way the narrative progresses: whether the passage is taken from the beginning of a story, the nucleus of the story, the progress of the action or, finally, the end of the story. The title of the story may be helpful in comprehending the main idea of the text. The simpler the narrative progresses, the better it is for developing pupils' skills in auding.
The form of communication: whether the text is a dialogue or a monologue. Monologic speech is easier for the learners, therefore, it is preferable for developing pupils' ability to aud.
3. Conditions of presenting the material are of great importance for teaching auding, namely:
The speed of the speech the pupil is auding. The hearer cannot change the speed of the speaker.
There are different points of view on the problem of the speed of speech in teaching auding a foreign language. The most convincing is the approach suggested by N. V. Elukhina. She believes that in teaching auding the tempo should be slower than the normal speed of authentic speech. However this slowness is not gained at the expense of the time required for producing words (that might result in violating the intonation pattern of an utterance), but of the time required for pauses which are so necessary for a pupil to grasp the information of each portion between the pauses. Gradually the teacher shortens the pauses and the tempo of speech becomes normal or approximately normal, which is about 150 words per minute. According to the investigation carried out by L. Tzesarsky the average speed for teaching auding should be 120 words per minute; the slow speed -- 90 words per minute.
The number of times of presenting the material for auding: whether the pupils should listen to the text once, twice, three times or more. Pupils should be taught to listen to the text once and this must become a habit. However they sometimes can grasp only 50% of the information and even less, so a second presentation may be helpful. In case the pupils cannot grasp most of the information, practice proves that manifold repetitions when hearing do not help much. It is necessary to help pupils in comprehension by using a «feed back» established through a dialogue between the teacher and the class 1 which takes as much time as it is required for the repetitive presentation of the material. 2]
The presence or the absence of the speaker. The most favorable condition is when pupils can see the speaker as is the case when the teacher speaks to them in a foreign language. The most unfavorable condition for auding is listening and comprehending a dialogue, when pupils cannot see the speakers and do not take part in the conversation.
Visual «props» which may be of two kinds, objects and motions. Pupils find it difficult to aud without visual props. The eye should help the ear to grasp a text when dealing with beginners.
The voice of the speaker also influences pupils' comprehension. Pupils who get used to the teacher’s voice can easily understand him, but they cannot understand other people speaking the same language.
Consequently, in teaching listening comprehension the teacher should bear in mind all the difficulties pupils encounter when auding in a foreign language.
Speaking a foreign language is the most difficult part in language learning because pupils need ample practice in speaking to be able to say a few words of their own in connection with a situation. This work is time-consuming and pupils rarely feel any real necessity to make themselves understood during the whole period of learning a new language in school. The stimuli the teacher can use are often feeble and artificial. The pupil repeats the sentence he hears, he completes sentences that are in the book, he constructs sentences on the pattern of a given one. These mechanical drill exercises are, of course, necessary; however, when they go on year after year without any other real language practice they are deadening. There must be occasions when the pupils feel the necessity to inform someone of something, to explain something, and to prove something to someone. This is a psychological factor which must be taken into account when teaching pupils to speak a foreign language.
Another factor of no less importance is a psycho-linguistic one; the pupil needs words, phrases, sentence patterns, and grammatical forms and structures stored up in his memory ready to be used for expressing any thought he wants to. In teaching speaking, therefore, the teacher should stimulate his pupils' speech by supplying them with the subject and by teaching them the words and grammar they need to speak about the suggested topic or situation. The teacher should lead his pupils to unprepared speaking through prepared speaking. 5]
1. 2 Psychological characteristics of speech
The development of speaking follows the same pattern both in the mother tongue and in a foreign language from reception to reproduction as psychologists say, and from hearing to speaking if we express it in terms of methodology.
Since «language is not a substance, it is a process.» (N. Brooks) and «language doesn’t exist. It happens.» (P. Stevens), we should know under what conditions «it happens». What are the psychological characteristics of oral language? They are as follows:
1. Speech must be motivated, i. e., the speaker expresses a desire to inform the hearer of something interesting, important, or to get information from him. Suppose one of the pupils is talking to a friend of hers. Why is she talking? Because she wants to either tell her friend about something interesting, or get information from her about something important. This is the case of inner motivation. But very often oral speech is motivated outwardly. For instance, the pupil’s answers at an examination.
Rule for the teacher: In teaching a foreign language it is necessary to think over the motives which make pupils speak. They should have a necessity to speak and not only a desire to receive a good mark, Ensure conditions in which a pupil will have a desire to say something in the foreign language, to express his thoughts, his feelings, and not to reproduce someone else’s as is often the case when he learns the text by heart. Remember that oral speech in the classroom should be always stimulated. Try to use those stimuli which can arouse a pupil’s wish to respond in his own way.
2. Speech is always addressed to an interlocutor.
Rule for the teacher: Organize the teaching process in a way which allows your pupils to speak to someone, to their classmates in particular, i. e., when speaking a pupil should address the class, and not the teacher or the ceiling as is often the case. When he retells a text which is no longer new to the class, nobody listens to him as the classmates are already familiar with it. This point, as one can see, is closely connected with the previous one. The speaker will hold his audience when he says something new, something individual (personal). Try to supply pupils with assignments which require individual approach on their part.
3. Speech is always emotionally colored for a speaker expresses his thoughts, his feelings, his attitude to what he says.
Rule for the teacher: Teach pupils how to use intonational means to express their attitude, their feelings about what they say. That can be done by giving such tasks as: reason why you like the story; prove something; give your opinion on the episode, or on the problem concerned, etc.
4. Speech is always situational for it takes place in a certain situation.
Rule for the teacher: While teaching speaking real and close-to-real situations should be created to stimulate pupils' speech. Think of the situations you can use in class to make pupils' speech situational. Remember the better you know the class the easier it is for you to create situations for pupils to speak about.
These are the four psychological factors which are to be taken into account when teaching speech. 1]
1. 3 Linguistic characteristics of speech
Oral language as compared to written language is more flexible. It is relatively free and is characterized by some peculiarities in vocabulary and grammar. Taking into consideration, however, the] conditions in which the foreign language is taught in schools, we cannot teach pupils colloquial English. We teach them Standard English as spoken on the radio, TV, etc. Oral language taught in schools is close to written language standards and especially its monologic form. It must be emphasized that a pupil should use short sentences in monologue, sentence patterns which are characteristic of oral language. We need not teach pupils to use long sentences while describing a picture. For example: The boy has a long blue pencil in his left hand. The child may use four sentences instead of one: The boy has a pencil. Ifs in his left hand. The pencil is long. It is blue.
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:
-- How many books have you?
-- Do you go to school on Sunday?
-- No, — I don’t.
-- Who has done it?
-- Nick has.
It does not mean, of course, we should not teach pupils complete forms of response. But their use should be justified.
-- Have you seen the film?
-- Yes, I have seen this film, and I am sorry I’ve wasted two hours.
-- Did you like the book?
-- Yes, I liked it very much.
2. The use of contracted forms: doesn’t, won’t, can’t, isn’t, etc.
3. The use of some abbreviations: lab (laboratory), mike (microphone), maths (mathematics), p. m. (post meridiem), and others.
4. The use of conversational tags. These are the words a speaker uses when he wishes to speak without saying anything. Here is both a definition of conversational tags and an example of their usage in conversation (they are in italics),
«Well, they are those things, you know, which don’t actually mean very much, of course, yet they are in fact necessary in English conversation as behavior. «
Besides, to carry on a conversation pupils need words, phrases to start a conversation, to join it, to confirm, to comment, etc. For example, well, look here, I say …, I’d like to tell you (for starting a talk); you see, you mean, do you mean to say that …, and what about (for joining a conversation); / believe so, I hope, yes, right, quite right, to be sure (for confirming what one says); / think, as far as I know, as far as I can see, the fact is, to tell the truth, I mean to say (for commenting), etc.
There is a great variety of dialogue structures. Here are the principal four:
1. Question -- response.
-- Hello. What’s your name?
-- Ann. What’s yours?
-- My name is Williams
2. Question -- question.
-- Will you help me, sonny?
-- What shall I do, mother?
-- Will you polish the floor today?
-- Is it my turn?
-- Yes, it is. Your brother did it last time.
-- Oh, all right, then.
3. Statement -- statement.
-- I’d like to know when he is going to come and see us.
— That's difficult to say. He is always promising but never comes.
— It's because he is very busy.
— That's right. He works hard.
4. Statement -- question.
— I'm going to the theatre tonight.
— Where did you get tickets?
— My friend got them somewhere.
— How did he do it?
— I don’t know.
In school teaching only one structure of dialogue is usually used, i.e., question -- response. More than that, pupils' dialogues are artificial and they lack, as a rule, all the pecu-liarities mentioned above.
In teaching dialogue in schools it is necessary to take into account these peculiarities and give pupils pattern dialogues to show what real dialogues look like. 2]
1. 4 Prepared and unprepared speech
Pupils' speech in both forms may be of two kinds: prepared and unprepared. It is considered prepared when the pupil has been given time enough to think over its content and form. He can speak on the subject following the plan made either independently at home or in class under the teacher’s supervision. His speech will be more or less correct and sufficiently fluent since plenty of preliminary exercises had been done before.
In schools, however, pupils often have to speak on a topic when they are not yet prepared for it. As a result only bright pupils can cope with the task. In such a case the teacher trying to find a way out 'gives his pupils a text which covers the topic. Pupils learn and recite it in class. They reproduce the text either in the very form it was given or slightly transform it. Reciting, though useful and necessary in language learning, has but little to do with speech since speaking is a creative activity and is closely connected with thinking, while reciting has to do only with memory. Of course pupils should memorize words, word combinations, phrases, sentence patterns, and texts to «accumulate» the material and still it is only a prerequisite. The main objective of the learner is to be able to use the linguistic material to express his thoughts. This is ensured by the pupil’s ability to arrange and rearrange in his own way the material stored up in his memory. Consequently, while assigning homework it is necessary to distinguish between reciting and speaking so that the pupil should know what he is expected to do while preparing for the lesson -- to reproduce the text or to compile a text of his own. His answer should be evaluated differently depending on the task set. If the pupil is to recite a text, the teacher evaluates the quality of reproduction, i. e., exactness, intonation and fluency. If the pupil is to speak on a subject, the teacher evaluates not only the correctness of his speech but his skills in arranging and rearranging the material learnt, i. e., his ability to make various transformations within the material he uses while speaking. The teacher should encourage each pupil to speak on the subject in his own way and thus develop pupils' initiative and thinking.
The pupil’s speech is considered unprepared when, without any previous preparation, he can do the following:
-- Speak on a subject suggested by the teacher. For example, winter holidays are over and pupils come back to school. They are invited to tell the teacher and the class how each of them spent his holidays. Pupils in turn tell the class where they were, what they did, whether they had a good time, and so on.
-- Speak on the text read. For example, pupils have read two or three chapters of «William». The teacher asks a pupil to give its short summary or to tell the class the contents of the chapters as if the other pupils have not read them.
-- Speak on the text heard. For example, pupils listened to the text «Great Britain» (there is a map of Great Britain on the wall). The teacher asks them (in turn) to come up to the map and speak on Great Britain. While speaking pupils can use the information they have just received or appeal to their knowledge about the country.
-- Discuss a problem or problems touched upon in the text read or heard. For example, pupils read about education in Great Britain. After the teacher makes sure that his pupils understand the text and have a certain idea of the system of education in Great Britain, he arranges a discussion on the problem. He asks his pupils to compare the system of education in Great Britain and in our country. The teacher stimulates pupils' speech either by questions or through wrong statements.
-- Have an interview with «a foreigner». For example, pupils are studying the topic «London». The teacher may arrange an interview. One of the pupils is «a Londoner». The classmates ask him various questions and express their opinions on the subjects under discussion.
-- Help a «foreigner», for example, to find the way to the main street or square of the town; or instruct him as to the places of interest in the town. This may be done directly or with the help of «an interpreter».
There are, of course, other techniques for stimulating pupils' unprepared speech. The teacher chooses the techniques most suitable for his pupils since he knows their aptitudes, their progress in the language, the time he has at his disposal for developing speaking skills, the concrete material at which pupils are working.
In conclusion it should be said that prepared and unprepared speech must be developed simultaneously from the very beginning. The relationship between prepared and unprepared speech should vary depending on the stage of learning the language. In the junior stage prepared speech takes the lead, while in the senior stage unprepared speech should prevail. 6]
1. 5 Mistakes and how to correct them
It is natural while learning a foreign language that pupils make mistakes. They make mistakes in auding when they misunderstand something in a text. They make mistakes in speaking when pupils mispronounce a word, violate the order of words in a sentence, misuse a preposition, an article, use wrong intonation, etc. The teacher’s main aim is to prevent pupils' errors. There is a good rule: «Correct mistakes before they occur.» In other words, careful teaching results in correct English, i. e., pupils make very few mistakes. However, they make them, and the problem is how to correct pupils' errors.
If a pupil misunderstands something when auding the teacher should do his best to ensure comprehension. He suggests that the pupil should either listen to the sentence again; if he does not understand it properly the teacher or the classmates help him to paraphrase the sentence or translate" it, or see it written. The latter often helps if pupils do not get used to hearing, if they are eye-learners. As far as speaking is concerned it is the teacher who corrects pupils' mistakes. It is a bad habit of some teachers to ask pupils to notice mistakes when their classmate is called in front of the class to speak.
This is due to the following reasons. Firstly, pupils' attention is drawn, not to what the classmate says, but to how he says it, i. e., not to the content, but to the form. If we admit that the form may not always be correct, then why should we concentrate pupils' attention on the form? Moreover, when pupils' attention is centered on errors, they often do not grasp what the classmate says, and that is why they cannot ask questions or continue the story he has told them.
Secondly, the pupil who speaks thinks more about how to say something instead of what to say. No speaking is possible when the speaker has to concentrate on the form. He makes more errors under this condition. More than that, he often refuses to speak when he sees the classmates raise their hands after he has uttered his first sentence. This does not encourage the learner to speak.
Accordingly when a pupil is called to the front of the class to speak, the class is invited to follow what he says so that they may be able to ask questions or to go on with the story when he stops.
There is a great variety of techniques at the teacher’s disposal. He selects the one that is most suitable for the occasion.
1. If a pupil makes a mistake in something which is familiar to him, it is preferable to correct it at once. But in order not to confuse the pupil and stop his narration the teacher helps the child with the correct version.
Pupil: My mother get up at 7 o’clock.
Teacher: I see, your mother gets up earlier than you.
Pupil: Yes, my mother gets up at 7.
2. If a pupil makes a mistake in something which he has not learned yet the teacher corrects his mistakes after he has finished speaking.
Pupil: She first visited us in 1960.
She is a good friend of ours since.
The teacher gives the correct sentence: She has been a good friend of ours since.
If many pupils make the same mistakes, for instance, in prepositions (go in instead of go to), articles (the Moscow instead of Moscow, or Volga instead of the Volga), in tense forms (the Present Continuous instead of the Present Indefinite) the teacher makes note of them and gets the pupils to perform drill exercises after answering questions. 5]
The teacher should not emphasize incorrect forms in any way or they will be memorized along with the correct ones, for instance: Books is. Do you say «books is»? You shouldn’t say «books is». What should you say?
Chapter II. Speaking in teaching practice
2.1 Speech and oral exercises
We must distinguish speech and oral exercises for they are often mixed up by the teacher.
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 read 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; (4) pupils listen to the story and get some new information from the text; (5) they see a sound film and learn about something new from it, etc.
Oral exercises are used for the pupils to assimilate phonetics, grammar, and vocabulary. They are mostly drill exercises and the teacher turns to them whenever he works at enriching pupils' knowledge in vocabulary and grammar, at improving pupils' pronunciation, etc. 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. Making statements with the words or phrases the teacher gives is another valuable oral exercise which allows the teacher to retain them in his pupils' memory through manifold repetitions.
Oral exercises are quite indispensable to developing speech. However, they only prepare pupils for speaking and cannot be considered to be «speech» as some teachers are apt to think and who are often satisfied with oral exercises which pupils perform following the model; they seldom use stimuli for developing pupils' auding and speaking in the target language. 5]
In order to get a better understanding of what speech is we are to consider the psychological and linguistic characteristics of speech.
2.2 Techniques the teacher uses to develop hearing
To fulfil the task the teacher must train his pupils in listening comprehension beginning with the first lesson and throughout the whole period of instruction. These are the techniques the teacher uses for the purpose:
1. The teacher uses the foreign language:
(a) when giving the class instructions;
(b) when presenting new language material (words, sentence patterns);
© when checking pupils' comprehension;
(d) when consolidating the material presented;
(e) when checking pupils' assimilation of the language material covered.
These are the cases when the target language is used as a means of communication and a means of teaching. There is a great deal of auding in all the points of the lesson. This raises the problem of the teacher’s speech during the lesson. It should be correct, sufficiently loud, clear, and expressive. But many of the teachers are too talkative. We can hear them speaking most of the time. Moreover, some teachers speak a great deal in Russian.
Conducting a lesson in a foreign language gives the teacher an opportunity to develop pupils' abilities in hearing; to train them in listening to him attentively during the lesson; to demonstrate the language as a means of communication; to provide favorable conditions for the assimilation of the language; to perfect his own speaking skills; to keep his own speech under control, i. e., to keep himself from undue talkativeness.
2. The teacher uses drill and speech exercises for developing listening comprehension.
We can group drill exercises into exercises designed for overcoming linguistic difficulties, and exercises which can eliminate psychological difficulties.
The first group of drill exercises includes:
(a) phonetic exercises which will help the teacher to develop his pupils' ear for English sounds:
-- Listen to the following words and raise your hands when you hear the words with [ae] (The teacher says: desk, pen, ten, bag, etc.)
-- Listen to the following pairs of words and say in what sound they differ: pen -- pin; bed -- bad; eyes -- ice; white -- wide.
(b) lexical exercises which will help the teacher to develop pupils' skills in recognizing words:
-- Listen to the words and recognize the word boy among other words: a baby, a toy, a boat, a boy, a girl.
-- Listen to the following words and raise your hands when you hear the words referring to plants: street, tree, grass, class, flower, tower.
-- Listen to the following sentences and say whether the word country has the same meaning in both sentences:
I usually spent my holidays in the country.
The Soviet Union is a large country.
© grammar exercises which help the teacher to develop pupils' skills in recognizing grammar forms and structures:
-- Listen to the following words and raise your hands when you hear words in plural: desk, tables, book, box, pens, books, boxes, etc.
-- Listen to the following sentences and say in which one the word help is used as a noun.
He can help you. I need his help.
The second group of drill exercises includes:
(a) exercises which help the teacher to develop his pupils' auditory memory:
-- Listen to the following words and try to memorize them. (The teacher pronounces a number of words pointing to the object each denotes: a carrot, a potato, a cucumber, a tomato. Afterwards pupils are told to point to the object the teacher names.)
-- Listen to the phrases and repeat them. The teacher says: on the table, in the box, near the blackboard.
-- Listen to the sentences and repeat them. (The teacher says: I like tea. Ann doesn’t like tea. She likes milk. )
-- Listen to the sentences and repeat them in the same sequence. (The teacher says: In the evening we have tea. I like it very much. The teacher may increase the number of sentences for pupils to memorize.)
(b) exercises which are designed for developing pupils' attention:
-- Listen to the following text: I have a sister. Her name is Ann. Mike has no sister. He has a brother.
Now say what is the name of Mike’s sister.
-- Listen to the text. (The text follows.) Now say which sentence was omitted (added) when you listened to it a second time.
© exercises which develop pupils' visual imagination:
-- Listen to the following definition and give it a name: We write with it on the blackboard. We take it when it rains.
-- Listen and say which season it is: It is cold. It often snows. Children can skate and ski.
(d) exercises which help the teacher to develop his pupils' logical thinking:
-- Listen to the sentences and say whether they are logically arranged: Her name is Mary. This is a girl.
Drill exercises are quite indispensable to developing pupils' skills in listening comprehension.
Speech exercises are designed for developing pupils' skills in auding. Several groups of exercises may be suggested:
1. Exercises which teach pupils to understand texts different in content, form, and type. Pupils are asked to listen to a description or a narration; the text may be a dialogue, it may deal with the life of people whose language the pupils study, or with the pupils' environment.
-- Listen to the story. Your task is to define its main idea. You should choose one among those suggested by the teacher.
-- Listen to the story. Your task is to grasp as much information as you can. While auding try to put down key words and sentences; they will help you to convey the context of the story.
2. Exercises which develop pupils' skills to understand a text under different conditions. Sound producing aids should be extensively used for developing pupils' auding, as pupils are supposed to understand not only their teacher’s speech, but other people speaking the target language, including native speakers. Besides, sound producing aids allow the teacher to supply pupils with recorded speech different in speed and voice.
Before pupils are invited to listen to the text the teacher should ensure that all the words and grammar are familiar to the pupils otherwise language difficulties will prevent them from understanding the story. Thus, if there are some unfamiliar words, the teacher introduces them beforehand; he either puts them down on the blackboard with the mother tongue equivalents in the sequence they appear in the text, or he asks pupils to pronounce the words written on the blackboard if he plans a talk on the text afterwards, and pupils are to use these words in their speech. 5]
Then the teacher should direct his pupils' attention to what they are going to listen to. This is of great importance for experiments prove that if your aim is that your pupils should keep on talking on the text they have heard it stimulates their thinking and facilitates their comprehension of the text.
The following tasks may be suggested to draw pupils' attention to what they are auding:
-- Listen and try to grasp the main idea of the story. You will be asked questions later on.
-- Listen and try to grasp the details. You will have to name them.
-- Listen and make a plan of the story.
-- Listen to the story and try to finish it (think of the end of the story).
-- Listen to the story. You will ask questions on it afterwards.
-- Listen to the text. You will retell it afterwards.
-- Listen to the story. We shall have a discussion on it. Etc.
When pupils are ready to listen, the text can be read to them. If it is the teacher who reads or tells the story, he can help pupils to comprehend the text with gestures. If the text is recorded, a picture or pictures can facilitate comprehension. The pupils listen to the text once as is usually the case in real communication. Then the teacher checks their comprehension. If they have not understood it, they are told to listen to the text again. The teacher can use a dialogue to help pupils to understand the text after they have listened to the story for the first time, i. e., he may ask questions, make statements on the text for pupils to agree or reject them.
Checking pupils' comprehension may be done in many ways depending on the stage of instruction, pupils' progress in the language, and other factors. In any case, however, it is necessary to proceed in order of complexity from mere recognition to reproduction. The procedure may be:
The teacher checks his pupils' comprehension only.
pupils' questions on the text
making a plan
telling the text according to the plan
(it may be done
in a chain-like way)
reciting the text
giving the gist of the text
written reproduction of the
text discussing the text
The teacher checks pupils'
comprehension and develops their speaking skills on the basis of the text heard.
Skills in hearing must be built up gradually. The teacher begins with a story containing 3--4 sentences. He uses pictures, gestures to help pupils to understand it. Gradually he can take longer sections and faster speeds with less visual help and in more difficult language. The teacher must bear in mind that careful grading in all these ways is of the utmost importance. Texts, stories to be read or recorded should be interesting and fairly easy.
2.3 Techniques the teacher uses for teaching speaking
There are two forms of speaking: monologue and dialogue. Since each form has its peculiarities we should speak of teaching monologue and teaching dialogue separately.
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.
1. No speech is possible until pupils learn how to make up sentences in the foreign language and how to make statements. To develop pupils' skills in making statements the following procedure may be suggested:
Pupils are given sentence patterns to assimilate in connection with situations.
The sentence pattern is filled with different words. Thus pupils can express various thoughts. For example:
I can see a ….
P u p i l 1: I can see a blackboard.
P u p i 1 2: I can see a picture.
P u p i l 3: I can see a map, etc.
I am fond of …
P u p i l 1: I am fond of music.
P u p i 1 2: I am fond of classical music.
P u p i 1 3: I am fond of pop music, etc.
We are proud of …
P u p i l 1: We are proud of our country.
P u p i 1 2: We are proud of our sportsmen.
P u p i 1 3: We are proud of our school, etc.
Pupils are invited to perform various drill exercises within the sentence patterns given:
-- substitution: I have a book (a pen);
-- extention: I have an interesting book,
I have an interesting book at home;
-- transformation: He has a book,
He has no book;
-- completion: If I have time I’ll ….
Pattern practice, of course, makes no pretence of being communication. However, pattern practice for communication is what playing scales and arpeggios is to a musician. Each pattern will have to be repeated many times with a great variety of changes in its contents until the pattern becomes a habit.
Pupils make statements of their own in connection with the situations suggested by the teacher.
Give it a name.
Teacher: We write with it.
Pupil: It is a pencil (pen).
Make statements on the picture.
Teacher (silently points to the picture of a cat)
P u p i l 1: This is a cat.
P u p i l 2: This is a black cat.
Say the opposite.
Teacher: I live in Gorky Street.
Pupil: I do not live in Gorky Street,
Teacher (pointing to the boy): He likes to play hockey.
Pupil: I don’t like to play hockey.
When pupils are able to make statements in the foreign language within grammar and vocabulary they have assimilated their speech may be more complicated. They should learn to combine statements of various sentence patterns in a logical sequence.
2. 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, and then they do it without any help.
Teacher: Say a few words about it. (He points to an object.)
Pupil: This is a pencil.
The pencil is green.
It is on the table. I like the pencil.
Or Teacher points to a boy.
Pupil: This is a boy. His name is Sasha. He lives in Gagarin Street.
Get information and sum up what you have learnt from your classmates.
Teacher: She cut her finger.
Pupil: Who cut her finger?
-- When did she cut it?
-- What did she cut it with?
-- With a knife.
-- Why did she cut her finger?
-- Because the knife was sharp.
Pupil: Yesterday Ann cut her finger. She cut it with a knife. The knife was sharp.
This exercise is useful both for developing dialogic and monologic speech.
Therefore the pupil’s utterance involves-2--4 sentences which logically follow one another. At this stage pupils learn to express their thoughts, their attitude to what they say using various sentence patterns. Thus they learn how to put several sentences together in one utterance about a subject, an object, etc.
3. After pupils have learned 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. At this level pupils are asked to speak on a picture, a set of pictures, a film-strip, a film, comment on a text they have read or heard, make up a story of their own; of course, this being done within the language material (grammar and vocabulary) pupils have assimilated. To help pupils to speak the teacher supplies them with «what to speak about». The devices used for the purpose are: visual aids which can stimulate the pupil’s speaking through visual perception of the subject to be spoken about, including a text read; audio aids which can stimulate the pupil’s speaking through auditory perception of a stimulus; audio-visual aids when pupils can see and hear what to speak about. 8]
The three stages in developing pupils' speaking should take place throughout the whole course of instruction, i. e., in junior, intermediate, and senior forms. The amount of exercises at each level, however, must be different. In junior forms statement level is of greater importance as a teaching point.
Rule for the teacher: In teaching monologue instruct pupils how to make statements first, then how to combine various sentences in one utterance and, finally, how to speak on a suggested topic.
We have already spoken about the linguistic characteristics of dialogue. Some more should be said about its structure.
A dialogue consists of a series of lead-response units. The significant feature of a lead-response unit is that the response part may, and usually does, serve in its own turn as a fresh inducement leading to further verbal exchanges, i. e., lead > response > inducement > response. A response unit is a unit of speech between two pauses. It may consist of more than one sentence. But the most characteristic feature of a dialogue is that the lead-response units are closely connected and dependent on each other. The lead is relatively free, while the response depends on the first and does not exist without it.
-- Where is the book?
-- There, on the shelf.
In teaching dialogue we should use pattern dialogues as they involve all features which characterize this form of speech.
There are three stages in learning a dialogue: (1) receptive; (2) reproductive; (3) constructive (creative).
1. Pupils «receive» the dialogue by ear first. They listen to the dialogue recorded or reproduced by the teacher. The teacher helps pupils in comprehension of the dialogue using a picture or pictures to illustrate its contents. They listen to the dialogue a second time and then read it silently for better understanding, paying attention to the intonation. They may listen to the dialogue and read it again, if necessary.
2. Pupils enact the pattern dialogue. We may distinguish three kinds of reproduction:
Immediate. Pupils reproduce the dialogue in imitation of the speaker or the teacher while listening to it or just after they have heard it. The teacher checks the pupils' pronunciation and intonation in particular. The pupils are asked to learn the dialogue by heart for homework.
Delayed. After pupils have learned the dialogue at home, they enact the pattern dialogue in persons. Before calling on pupils it is recommended that they should listen to the pattern dialogue recorded again to remind them of how it «sounds».
Modified. Pupils enact the dialogue with some modifications in its contents. They change some elements in it. The more elements (main words and phrases) they change in the pattern the better they assimilate the structure of the dialogue:
-- Will you help me, sonny?
-- What shall I do, Mother?
-- Will you bring me a pail of water?
-- Certainly I will.
The use of pictures may be helpful. Besides pupils use their own experience while selecting the words for substitutions.
The work should not be done mechanically. Pupils should speak on the situation. As a result of this work pupils master the structure of the pattern dialogue (not only the contents), i. e., they can use it as a model for making up dialogues of their own, that is why pattern dialogues should be carefully selected.
The first two stages aim at storing up patterns in pupils' memory for expressing themselves in different situations, of course within the topics and linguistic material the syllabus sets for each form.
3. Pupils make up dialogues of their own. They are given a picture or a verbal situation to talk about. This is possible provided pupils have a stock of patterns, a certain number of phrases for starting a conversation, joining in, etc. They should use those lead-response units they have learned in connection with the situation suggested for a conversation.
At the third stage the choice of stimuli is of great importance, as very often pupils cannot think what to say, though they know how to say this or that. Therefore audio-visual aids should be extensively utilized.
Rule for the teacher: In teaching dialogue use pattern dialogues; make sure that your pupils go through the three stages from receptive through reproductive to creative, supply them with the subject to talk about.
In teaching speaking the problem is what form of speech to begin with, and what should be the relationship between monologue and dialogue. This problem may be solved in different ways. Some methodologists give preference to dialogic speech in teaching beginners, and they suggest that pupils learn first how to ask and answer questions which is mostly characteristic of a dialogue, and how to make up a short dialogue following a model. Others prefer monologic speech as a starting point. Pupils are taught how to make statements, how to combine several sentences into one utterance in connection with an object or a situation offered. 7]
These approaches to the problem are reflected in school textbooks now in use. A. D. Starkov and R. R. Dixon in their textbooks prefer to begin with dialogic speech. They start by teaching pupils how to ask various types of questions. For example:
The book is on the desk.
The book isn’t under the desk.
Is the book on the desk? Yes, it is. (No, it isn’t.)
Is the book on the desk or under it? It’s on the desk.
Where’s the book? It’s on the desk. (Fifth Form English. Teacher’s Book.)
S. K. Folomkina and E. I. Kaar give preference to developing pupils' monologic speech. For example:
I see a pen.
I see a desk.
Pete sees a desk and a pen.
As to the relationship between monologue and dialogue, it should vary from stage to stage in teaching speaking in schools. In the junior stage (5--6 forms) dialogic speech, the time which allows the teacher to introduce new material and consolidate it in conversation, must prevail. In the intermediate stage (7--8 forms) dialogue and monologue must be on an equal footing.
In the senior stage (9--10 forms) monologic speech must prevail since pupils take part in discussion and, therefore, express their thoughts in connection with a problem or retell a text read or heard. To sum it up both forms of speech (monologue and dialogue) should be developed side by side with preference for the one which is more important for pupils' progress in learning a foreign language at a certain stage.