samedi 23 juillet 2011

What is more important: To want to speak or to speak accurately?

I-                      What is more important: To want to speak or to speak accurately?
"English is a speaking skill, you’ve got to learn to practise with other people. It’s like almost a social skill”.

1-    Why do speakers have to speak?

The use of English is regarded as the right way to learn English”


To learn English, students do not only need the Listening, Reading and Writing skills. They, also, have to practise this language and to use it. What is noticeable is that English language learners need not only language and grammar skills, but also the particular skills of social communication that can be referred to as the main goal of language learning. In simpler terms, students have to use English to learn it, to use it “in a natural useful way, in a significant social setting.” So students have to use English for normal purposes of the language in relations with others. Accordingly, a learner may use the English language to establish and to maintain social relations; to express his reactions; to hide his intentions; to talk his way out of trouble; to seek or to give information; to ask others to do something; to solve problems; to discuss ideas; to play with language; to act out a social role; to entertain others; to display his achievements as well as to share leisure activities. In such situations, a learner uses and, thus, learns English, in real-life contexts. He, then, may interact and communicate not only in the English classroom, but also in his real life, which is, in fact, at the core of the CLT.

2-    When do students have to speak?

To use language, that is to speak, in the ELT classroom should not be restricted to a stage or to a specific situation. Speaking is, necessarily, taught and used through as well as along the lesson being learned. Learners talk to perform, to practise, to show understanding and to express their various needs at different moments of an English session. This happens, in fact, through a smooth way where the four skills are integrated to achieve the objectives of a lesson and to guarantee an effective learning of the English language. Interaction, to be noted, is varied along the session duration according to the type of the activity and to its objective. Thus students may talk to their partners; within a group or to their teacher if the discussion is controlled by the teacher.
A sample lesson from the 9th form book “Proceed with English”, taught on the twelfth of March, 2008, through which Speaking was exploited and practised, not only as the tool to carry out an activity; to reach an objective, but also as an end in itself, that is to let students interact and use English.

Module 5: Entertainment.
Lesson 1: Means of Entertainment.
I set my objectives as follow, the ability to:
-        identify/categorize vocabulary related to the topic.
-        transfer information on a table.
-        express Certainty and Uncertainty.
-        Practise pronunciation
-        interpret pictures (speaking).
-        speak about the topic reinvesting the covered vocabulary and structures.
Skills: speaking – reading – listening
- The speaking test (5 minutes): Role-play: to enact a conversation between a businessman and a secretary (in relation with the previously taught lesson).
- Warming up (5 minutes): introduction of the fifth module; brainstorming about “Entertainment”, and the related topics, vocabulary that students think are related to or they guess they would encounter during the coming lessons (a class discussion).
@      Presentation(10 minutes):
·         In groups of 4, pupils were asked to talk about their favorite pastimes; their means of Entertainment and how often they practice them.
·         With focus on step, pupils were introduced to some new ways of entertainment, as well as to new items of vocabulary.
·          Then, in pairs, just in speaking, they discussed step aiming at categorizing a list of activities either as indoor or outdoor activities.
          I wrote just some examples on board after my pupils'  suggestions.
A transition
@ Practice(25 minutes):
·                To skim the text:  - The type / the shape of the texts.
                                -  How many speakers are there?
                                              -  Guessing : Pupils guessed; made suggestions about what the  
speakers are talking about. These suggestions were  mainly focusing on means of entertainment and the favorite pastimes of the speakers.
·                A silent reading of the bubbles and assignment of activity 1 p 128 (the activity book) to ensure a purposeful reading. It is a transfer of information on a table where pupils were asked to fill in a table containing 3 columns: Name; Age and Pastime mentioned in the text.
A fourth column was added to this: why/the reasons (to scan for details, to ensure more comprehension as well as to introduce new vocabulary items understood from the context).
              Peer correction / comparison of answers.
              A class correction.
·        The structure point was dealt with in an integrative way, through focus on texts, pupils were asked to read again bubbles 4 and 5 to find 2 words that express that the speakers are not sure about what they are saying / talking about (step1 p 104).
              Pupils guessed these words correctly: “Maybe”, “Perhaps”.
·         Other examples, elicited from pupils are written on board. After deducing the function, that is expressing Uncertainty and the expressions used to express it; pupils were asked to make comparison between the already written examples and others that they, also, suggested with the teacher's guidance:
- Are you sure that you will pass your 9th grade Exam?
- Is there any doubt that you are good pupils? (Pupils, to be noted, were eager to answer, expressing Certainty this time, as they were motivated to talk about themselves).
          - I’m sure that I will pass my exam at the end of the school year.
          - There is no doubt, he/she is a good pupil.
        Deduction of the expressions,sentences used to express Certainty: 
         - no doubt +  a declarative sentence.
         - I am sure +  that clause .
Ÿ An immediate practice was done by pupils through making examples where they expressed Certainty and Uncertainty (orally).
Ÿ Pronunciation, activity 1 p 130: to differentiate between the sounds /oi/ and /iə/

@ Production(10 minutes):
An evaluation was done through guided questions focusing on  the covered points.
·        Activity 1 p 129 (the activity book): pupils were asked to guess  the means of entertainment suggested in the pictures( in pairs). These answers were used to do the following activity.
Pupils had to write 2 sentences expressing uncertainty about what they are going to do (the following weekend).
          There were many suggestions and pupils were motivated to answer; to listen to their classmates' “uncertain” plans.
The session ended with the presentation of the idea of the project work related to the fifth module; and the assignment of step 1

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