Methods of teaching speech

Methods of teaching speech




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?

-- One.

-- 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.

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