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Developing Speaking Skills in School

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 2074 words Published: 5th Jun 2017

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The ability to speak a language is synonymous with knowing that language because speaking is the most basic ways of human communication. Bailey and Savage (1994) said that speaking in second language has often been viewed as that most demanding of the four skills. Speaking skill is the second skill: (1) listening (2) speaking (3) reading (4) writing. Speaking conveys thought, understanding and feeling to listeners. Moreover, it can help listener understands objectives of speaker. Thus, speaking skill is important for communication in every day life. Second language learning, speaking skill is necessary because a person who can speak able to understand other. Also, it helps reading and writing skill to be easy. However, this skill is the complicate skill that speaker has to practice for long time. It does not occur to understanding or remembrance. So, Roger Scott (1981) purposes the steps of teaching and activities as below:

Informing objectives – teacher should tell learners what do we learn.

Presentation – teacher should present contents with context. Teacher does not present without context because some contexts are different in another context.

Practising and conveying – learners will practice suddenly after teacher present contents. Teacher should provide a variety of expressions and native speaker accent. Teacher also encourages learner to learn freely and similar real situations.

Moreover, Mary Finocchiaro and Christopher Brumfit (1983) explained that there are many activities for speaking teaching that teachers can choose appropriately an activity for students in each level as below:

Answering questions that teachers or friends ask.

Telling friends to act with order.

Letting students ask or answer friends’ questions related to classroom or outside experiences.

Telling characters of objects from the pictures.

Telling experiences by providing key words.

Reporting stories from assigned topics.

Setting classroom as scenes of some situations like restaurant, bank, and grocery.

Debating, discussing, and expressing your ideas.

Playing language games.

Practising to telephone.

Reading Thai newspapers and reporting in English

Role playing.

Speaking is divided into two main areas which are monologue and dialogue.

Monologue is a person who speaks without interaction with other people (one person show) such as speech. Another one is dialogue that has at least 2 people talking together such as conversation. Moreover, people have to know some important means (managing interaction) to speak such as openings and closings, responding appropriately in fixed routine, taking turns, and topic management.

There are several activities for developing speaking skills.


Discussion is probably the most used activity in the oral skill class. Learners are assigned to discuss about provided topic. This activity usually does in a group because discussion is an activity for sharing information and knowledge to each other. Furthermore, learners are necessary to take the prior knowledge for discussion. For example, the topic is “Living together before marriage”. The learners should find some evidences to support your ideas. The evidence is maybe findings of research, statistic, or real experience. Besides, learners have to realize the managing interaction as above. The first step is teacher have to do a warm-up activity to introduce in the topic by discussing in the similar topic. This activity will add some ideas for students. The discussion does not have right or wrong, but it is sharing your own thoughts and feeling to each other.

There are how to succeed with discussion:

Give students topical information and language forms in order that they have something to say with other people.

Let student purpose discussion topic or choose from some options. The topic of discussion is not necessary to be serious topic. Students would like to be motivated if the topic is interesting.

Set objectives before discussion, and learners should achieve the goals.

Use small group instead of whole class discussion because a small group is easy to participant in.

Let students discuss for 8 -10 minutes. Teacher should stop them if they have nothing to say.

Give feedback after finishing discussion. Students will know your ability by teacher’s feedback.

For example:

Pair work. Look at these rules for dating. Which statements do you agree with? Why?

The man should always pay for the date. Some things should never change.

A woman should never approach a man first. She should always be the one who’s invited.

It is inadvisable to talk about your problems at the beginning of a relationship.

Do not say things like “Can I see you again tomorrow?” Play it cool. Do not make it appear that you are desperate.

To avoid awkward situations, let your family know where you are going and when you will be back.

It is better to go out with groups of friends in the beginning.

Most blind dates tend to be disastrous, so it is best to avoid them.

It is indiscreet to ask personal questions until you get to know each other.

B. Group work. What are the most important dating rules in your culture? Agree on five important rules, and then tell the class.

It is best for young people to go out in groups. Two people should never go out on their own unless they are planning to get married.

Role play

It is an activity for developing speaking skill, and students can show your ability about performance. Students usually are assigned some roles and fit into some situations that students maybe face outside classroom. Role play activity is advantage for practicing and developing sociolinguistic competence that they have to speak English with appropriateness according to situations and characters. Students always enjoy playing, but some are not because they are lack of self confidence. To succeed role play should do:

Introduce activity by explaining the situation and make sure that students understand their own character.

Set objectives before discussion, and learners should achieve the goals.

Give a card that explains the person or role to students. The card maybe composes of words, expressions, or sentences.

Have students brainstorm in their group for planning.

Use small group instead of whole class discussion because a small group is easy to participant in.

Let students work at their own ability level because students have different individual language skill. Teacher does not expect that everybody has to produce equally to discussion.

Give feedback after finishing discussion. Students will know your ability by teacher’s feedback.

For example:

Choose the situation 1 or 2 to make up a dialogue and demonstrate the play in the classroom.

Situation 1

Students A : You are going to join the live concert of your favorite singer or band,

but you do not want to go alone. So, you need to invite your friend and tell his or her what do/does he/she/they look(s) like?

Students B: You do not know his or her favorite singer or band for making


Situation 2

Students A: You are robbed the golden necklace. However, you are so lucky, you

can remember his character. You need to describe him to a police.

Students B: You are a police man. You need to ask his/her what is happening and

what is the robber looks like?

Information Gap

The information gap activity involves each learner in a pair or group possessing information which the other learners do not have. The information of learners has to be shared with other in order to reach the objectives and outcomes. Doughty and Pica (1986) suggest that if students work in pairs with an activity that to be required exchanging information, students would engage in more negotiation of meaning that with activity. The information gap activities have their own advantages and limitations. They help language acquisition, but they do not involve students in conversational strategies in the same way like role play and discussion.

For example:

There are many different activities for developing speaking skills. The most important thing to realize is communicative competence including linguistics, sociolinguistics, discourse, and strategic competence. Moreover, speakers need to speak with fluency and accuracy. As you can see that speaking need more abilities to be mixed together. Recently, there are many foreigners’ wives at Udon Thaini province. Speaking is mostly used to communicate with other people. While a good speaker needs those things as above, some are not. For example, a foreigner’s wife at the department store says “Honey, it the same at house.” with pointing to a bag of detergent which is namely “Breeze”. This sentence is not correctly, but her husband can understand what she means. She speaks with some competence which is strategic competence that she speaks and point to something she means. Although she produces a sentence with any knowledge, she is able to communicate. Furthermore, there are not only utterances but also body language and eye contacts that you should act while you are speaking. The important activity for developing speaking skill in terms of body language and eye contacts is presentation, especially public speaking. For instance, when I was a fourth year student at Khon Kaen University, I usually practice presentation skill. Every subject need to oral presentation. I think that I was given many opportunities for practice until I can present confidently in front of classroom or anywhere. I also realize that dressing can help me to be a believable person. Although sometimes I am not sure for information that I have to present, I try to produce with confidence and good looking. After I finish presentation, my friend told me that “You speak with reliability” Then I answered that “But I have no substances, ha ha”. It makes me aware that speaking is the most important skill in every day life. Also, body language or gestures and eye contacts are choices to convey meaning to the audiences. If you are a good speaker, you should always practice anytime. For the second language learners, you cannot to be a perfect speaker because second language is not mother tongue, but you can speak with a few mistakes. Besides, you can speak English similar to native speakers by more practicing. For another example, I have a speech examination in terms of introduction of guest speaker which is the promptu speech. The teacher assigned since at the beginning of December. I have many times for preparation, but I still speak with some incorrect point. I also think that I cannot speak every word I prepared, but I can convey meaning to audience that it still has the same meaning. After that, it is the time for impromptu speech. Everyone has to pick a piece of paper that wrote a topic, and I was let a minute to prepare. Suddenly, I produce about the topic I selected. Luckily, I got a quite easy topic which is “What custom in your country is different from customs in other countries?” That topic is in the Thai context while some are not related to Thai people. I realize that a speaker is needed to have omniscience for any topics. Person who has wider knowledge will get more advantages in speaking. In addition, experiences are considered to be necessity, especially direct experiences.

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As I mentioned as above, there are several activities for developing speaking skill in different ways. Teacher should select the appropriate activities for your students. Recently, communicative approach is taught widely in second language learning. This approach focuses on the ability to communicate in the real situation or authentic events, but the teacher should not ignore to teach grammar for them that is a heart of English learning. Moreover, I believe that vocabularies are necessary in speaking skill. Also, teacher should encourage developing vocabulary skill at the same time.


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