It is not easy to isolate a uniform personality trait that shows a statistically significant correlation with second language oral performance partly due to difficulties building a psychological inventory to test personality traits. Although, certain variables seem to have a major impact on learners' performance. One of the variables, a level of self-esteem, cannot be eliminated in the discussion of personality factors of second language oral production tasks. In addition, in order to get high levels of speaking proficiency, one has to take risks with new knowledge in language as a normal course of learning. Anyhow, taking such risks has the potential to damage one's self-esteem. Therefore, risk-taking should be checked as a personality factor of oral performance in relation to self-esteem. In addition, flexible ego and a degree of task anxiety, locus of control, and attribution styles seem to have a strong link to self-esteem. Those variables are in addition powerful determinants of second language oral production performance.
Coopersmith, (1994) quoted in Brown, defines self-esteem as the expression of "an attitude of approval or disapproval, and indicates the extent to which a person believes himself can do significant, successful, and respectful" (p. 137). In 1979, Adelaide Heyde absorbed the effects of self-esteem on performance of oral production tasks by American college students. The result showed positive correlation (Brown, 1994). Self-esteem, therefore, seems to be one of the indicators of successful French language learning. However, self-esteem is not an isolated variable. It is interwoven with several other personality variables.
Besides this factor, many times the lack of didactic resources plays an important role in the acquisition of a second language because the didactic resources are perfect strategies that help mediate the teaching-learning process of a foreign language.
The deceased President Gerald Ford said,
"If he went back to college again, he'd focus on two areas - he says he would learn how to write and to speak in public. He thought there was nothing more important than the skill to express effectively."
Zig Ziglar Says:
"One of the surest ways to frame self-esteem is by learning how to speak in public.
Each time you talk, chatting on the phone, telling a joke at a party, or talking to a group, you are practicing this scandalous ability and you are either been heard... or not
Just one or two of these tips can make a great difference in your skill to get through and connect. Anyways, keep it simple, silly...don't use more than one or two tips at the same time. When feel comfortable with the two you've adopted, use a couple more. You, and your friends, will want to know what happened to you. YOU And your friends are going to feel empowered.
Development of Speaking Skills
Students think the skill to speak languages is the result of language learning, but speaking is besides an important part for the learning process. Good instructors teach students to use minimal responses, to recognize scripts, and to use language to talk about language - that they are able to use to help themselves spread out their knowledge of the language and their self-confidence using it. The instructors help students learn to speak this way the students can learn through it.
1. Using minimal responses
Languages learners need confidence in their skill to participate with success in conversation very often listen silently as others talk. One way to inspire such learners to begin to participate is by help them frame a stock of minimal responses they can use in varied types of exchanges. These responses can be useful for beginners.
These minimal responses are predictable, frequently, phrases conversation partakers use to inform many things like; agreement, understanding, doubt, and other responses to what another speaker is speaking. possessing stock of such responses permits a learner to focus on the other participant, without having a specific response.
2. Recognizing Scripts
Some communication situations are linked with a predictable group of spoken exchanges - a script. Compliments, greetings, invitations, apologies, and other functions. So do the transactional exchanges involved in activities like obtaining information and making a purchase. In these scripts, the connection between a turn of a speaker and the one that comes after it can with frequency be advanced.
Instructors can aid students develop speaking ability by making them aware of the scripts for different situations so that they can predict what they will hear and what they will need to say in response. Through collaborating activities, instructors can give students practice in managing and varying the language that different scripts contain.
3. Using language to talk about language
Learners are often way too embarrassed and shy to say anything when they don`t understand another speaker or when they notice a conversation partner hasn`t understood them. Instructors can help students overcome this reticence by making them sure misunderstanding and the necessity for clarification can happen in any kind of interaction, not matter what is the partakers` language skill levels. Instructors can besides give students strategies for comprehension check.
By encouraging students to benefit from clarification phrases in class when misunderstanding happens and by responding positively when they do, instructors can make a true practice environment within the classroom. As they expand control of different clarification strategies, students will gain confidence in their skill to manage the different communication situations they may find outside.
What do we know about oral proficiency? Oral proficiency is being competent in the skill of speaking with regard to pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and fluency. Pronunciation refers to how entire sentences and the words are enunciated. Grammar refers to the awareness of the speaker of the rules that govern language. Vocabulary refers to the correct or incorrect word use of the speaker, and even the colorfulness of the words he or she uses. Lastly, fluency refers to how fluid the speaker jumps from one thought to another.
In dealing with this topic we should first define what didactic resources are, and
then, its role in the process of teaching-learning, as well as its specific functions in
learning a l2 like English. resources are any instruments that help us to achieve any
goal; that is, auxiliar material with which the pupils develop the learning process.
Therefore, the blackboard, computer and video are resources, but the crucial element is
the word, which is a limited resource, because it is an intermediary between the reality
it is and us. it provides a mental representation of the actual element of reality, but from
senses that we first approach reality. in this way, the most complete learning derives
from the contact with reality, which is an impossible thing to do in the teaching centre.
Bringing reality closer
these resources bring this reality closer, and are also an aid to solve the problems of lack of discipline and attention in class. according to a study by sanz barrio et alii (tecnología educativa. zaragoza: edelvives 1991), this is the percentage of data we retain in the learning process:
10% of readings
20% of what we listen
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and discuss
90% of what we say and do
The simplest didactic resources for tefl are real objects, which can be used in several ways; we can write their names on them, use them as a source for vocabulary -improving pronunciation and spelling-, integrate them in certain structures, as locative prepositions, comparatives, etc. we can also practise the definitions through them and operate with them: the "total physical response", which is a fundamental aid for the effortless internalisation of vocabulary. any auxiliar material may also be used for activities such as role-plays, like fancy-dresses, in order to provide realism and fun.
people are also a basic resource; physical descriptions can be practised, and
bringing new people to the class, like native speakers can increase the interest of the
pupils. telling own experiences are also a source of approaching to the other culture.
other common resource is, of course, the blackboard, which can be used as a tv
program, writing down on it the date and current subject. it is important to planify what
we are going to write before doing it, and to erase the remaining notes of the former
class. any drawing or writing must be done big and clear enough for everyone to see it,
and ordered in a logical way. attracting the attention of the students is one of the most important tasks, and learning how to do easy drawings, can help us. for this reason, we should avoid writing on it for a long time; we can ask the pupils to participate by repeating what is being written, and it is very important not to talk "to the board", but turn to the pupils to do so.
we should also use the eraser instead of writing in small gaps -for the sake of clarity.
another hint is to use colour chalk to stress any element we want to focus on, like
prepositions within a sentence, for instance. writing the answers of the activities is
helpful, since encourages the use of our visual memory -and then it can also be read
more times, and finally the pupils can be asked to use it, introducing some differences.
the overhead projector has the same advantages of the blackboard, and some
more, like the presentation of drawings or charts already prepared without loosing time
to do it in class. it is also useful that parts of books or notes can be reproduced, and a
paper used to keep the focus or hide answers.
flash cards can be extremely helpful if correctly used; word cards containing
one single word can be ordered to build sentences and make transformations from
affirmative to negative and interrogative. groupwork can also be promoted with
activities like a contest to write the longest sentence. in the other hand, with picture
cards we can practise drills, by showing them in structures of the kind "he's got a...". if
the cards represent famous characters, we can practise the physical descriptions, or play
to guess whom the card represents. they can also be used to form a story, or to order
them according to it. in the same way, wall charts are a useful visual input.
slides, though not so popular are also good devices for their easy change and
store. they are specially useful to show images of the other culture, the cities, typical
features of great britain or usa or any other english speaking country, or even to
show drawings to write about.
one of the most popular resources is the video, since it is a good motivating
force, because it provides a closer approach to reality through the ear and eye and keep
the students active. a presentation of the projection through a previous activity will
connect the visualisation with a previous experience, and some exercises can be
proposed to keep an active and comprehensive observation, like multiple choice
question. the tape can represent communicative situations, like asking for addresses,
where some cultural differences can also be perceived and explained.
other controlled linguistic practises can be the repetition of drills, trying to
predict what it is going to happen in the projection, dramatising or dubbing the dialogues, or ways of using the indirect speech, making a summary of the plot or
practising vocabulary or certain linguistic elements. these practises can also be applied
when watching a theatre play in the l2, although it is usually quite difficult to find.
dramatisations implicate the pupils directly, raise their self-stem and make them have a
positive attitude to learning the l2. they are specially useful for developing oral
communication and practising the four skills.
computers are becoming increasingly popular for tefl for its exclusive
advantages: they allow a kind of interaction -with a program- and the process of
learning is individualised, according to the abilities of the student. as it implies an
active working, it improves the assimilation of contents and create an autonomous
learning -the pupils learn to learn by themselves; also, the combination of the visual,
sound and movement provides a very attractive presentation. working with a computer
may be similar to the textbook, but we can present the activity with a particular task,
and test at the beginning and end, to check previous knowledge and learning.
graduated reading books are also very suitable, since they provide an individual
access to culture in general, and develop reading skills, as well as an autonomous
learning and an interest on reading. the reading must be comprehensive, not oral, and
selected according to the possible motivations of the pupils and the topic we want to
deal with. the evaluation of the readings can be done by true/false or multiple choice
questions, giving answers to make questions on them, completing mutilated texts,
translating, associating drawings to the text, ordering different excerpts, summarising the
plot, asking about vocabulary and for a personal opinion and evaluation.
games are also a important context to practise the l2, since it presents real
communicative situations, not mere simulations, and have certain advantages: they
encourage team work and the practise of all skills, the use of language in a creative way,
they develop the communicative competence and stimulate the learning of a l2.
nevertheless, the game must be integrated in the didactic unit, and the goals intended
subjected to: the class room and the number of pupils, their previous knowledge and
interest and the time and material available. some interesting games, are plays on
words, action games, table games and logical problems.
finally, songs are one of the most successful resources, but must be selected
carefully, according to the pupil's interest, needing, level of difficulty and motivation. a
presentation must be done before, dealing with the theme of the song, the group, etc.
and, after it, some extension activities can be done, asking for relations between the pupil and the content, their opinion, and their account of similar situations. discussing
the theme can be motivating, and some exercises about pronunciation and vocabulary
can be done.