15 January 2015

Teaching of Listening and Speaking Skill


Teaching of Language Skills : Listening And Speaking 

Listening Skill

Listening and speaking skills are the two sides of the same coin. In the act of communication, they are complementary to each other and therefore, both should be practiced in close relation to each other. Oral speech is acquired  through constant practice. Speech, rhythm, pronunciation etc. are learnt by listening to appropriate language models.
If we want our learners to learn to speak well, we have to give prominence to the development of listening skills as well. Storytelling, interviews and conversation etc. are activities which provide ample opportunities to the students for listening. Taped material can also be used to enhance this skill. 

 How to promote Listening Skill?

Some activities/techniques for  developing listening skill can be as following :

(1)    The teacher can read out a passage, a list of words etc. and ask them to identify  the  number  of  times  a  specific  word  or  a  grammatical  category occurs.

(2)   Listen and draw. The learners will draw different shapes etc. (According to the instructions given by the teacher).

(3) Timetables, bio-data forms, etc. can all be used as grids. A text can be read out and the details filled in.

(4) Flow charts can also be used as a task sheet for a listening activity.

(5)Using maps – Maps can also be used as task sheets in these listening activities. They can be used to mark:
                    a route
                    a particular place
                    where different people live

Follow up work

A follow up task is a must after a listening activity focusing on structures, remedial practice or doing an oral or written task related to the activity.
The role of the teacher in an oral lesson is very important. The teacher acts as a motivator. His  personality, competence and confidence, his ability to create interest in students play a vital role in developing the listening and speaking skills in them.

English speech sounds

We speak in order to be heard. We cannot call any sound a speech sound. The sounds produced by the speech organs are known as speech sounds. They can be classified into vowels and consonants.

There are 20 vowel sounds in English language. (12 pure vowels and 8 diphthongs) A vowel may be defined as a voiced sound in the production of which there is no obstruction, partial or complete of the air passage. English has twelve and eight diphthongs.

A consonant may be defined as a sound in the production of which the air from the lungs is obstructed as a result of a narrow or complete closure of the air passage. English has twenty four consonant sounds.

Speaking Skill

"Speech is the ground work, all the rest are built upon it. Through speech, the pupils learn to make the direct connections between the English words or phrase and the subject, action and idea it bears. He learns the habit of using words in the correct sentence pattern and phrase patterns and he can learn this in no other way." - F.C. French
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It is true to say that the faculty of speech is a natural gift, we get it polished and improved through education in our schools providing various opportunities for its natural development. An English teacher should be very careful to his own pronunciation for lying down the correct speech habits of his students.

Aim of Teaching of Speaking

  • Cultivation of audible and intelligible pronunciation .
  • Production of correct sounds, stress, intonation, rhythm, fluency and pause.
  • Cultivation of the habit of speaking long sentences.
  • Developing good speech manner.
  •  Expressing ideas, thoughts and feelings of others.
  • Understanding ideas, thoughts and emotional feelings of others.

 How to promote speaking skill?

Suggested activities to promote speaking skill:

The goal of any speaking activity is developing communicative ability of the learners. This means that the language system has to be internalized activities usually focus directly on the different aspects of language.

1.     Eliciting

Presentation  of  a  lesson  will  eliciting  questions  helps  students  remember words and structures and gives them practice right then and there when the word is introduced. Care should be taken while framing questions. They should be framed in an unambiguous way so that the learners may answer easily.

2.       Discussion activities

These types of activities act as initiators. They may be in the form  of pictures. The students may be asked to describe the pictures.

3.            Find the difference

This activity leads to purposeful question and answer exchanges. The vocabulary used is specific. Help can be provided initially.

4.           Role Play

Role play enables the students to imagine, act and speak accordingly. They bring the situations from real life into the classroom. Roles should be selected beforehand if required clues be provided to the learners. Everyday life situations such as shopping, holidays, camps, folktales etc. can be used. Roles such as friends, brothers, sisters, shopkeepers, characters from the textbook can be taken up.

5.         Games 

Games help the teacher to create contexts in which the language is used contextually and meaningfully. Games are task-based and have a purpose beyond the production of speech, serve as excellent communicative activities. Games  are  learner  centred;  they  integrate  various  linguistic  skills  and construct a cooperative learning environment.

6.       Pronunciation drills

Language learning is a process of habit formation. It is important, that enough practice in sentence patterns is provided to the learner. They  help  the learner to improve his pronunciation, to speak with proper stress and intonation to  grasp the basic patterns and vocabulary, and to speak fluently.

Minimal pairs help the learners to practice the sounds which create problems for them. Example

Tongue Twisters:

/i:/                   /I/
sheep              ship
feel                 fill

Tongue twisters also help in improving the pronunciation of the learners.
i.                    She sells sea-shells on the sea shore. But the sea- shells that she sells are not the sea-shells of that shore.
ii.                 Sister Susie sews shorts for soldiers.

7.      Reading Aloud

Reading aloud provides practice to the pupils to read with correct pronunciation. The mispronounced words can also be corrected. Initially the learners should not be asked to read anything which they have not mastered orally. The teacher should, therefore help the learners with the pronunciation of new words and patterns which they will come across in their reading. The teacher may ask the learners to repeat after him/her. The teacher should ensure that the learners should not be exposed to bad pronunciation.

The teacher should help the learners to divide the text into sense groups by drawing slanting lines. The learners should be trained to pause according to the sense groups. While reading aloud, the teacher should :
b.                   Stand at a place from where he can be heard while reading.
c.                    Keep the book at a proper distance and in such a way that he can allow his eyes to move all over the class.
d.                   Read with proper gestures, actions, tone and pauses etc.

 8.     Recitation of poem:

Poetry has tremendous appeal for children and it helps to arouse the interest of the learners. It has a special appeal for the aesthetic and intuitive sides of the child’s personality.
Poetry imparts pleasure to the students. It helps to learn  to  appreciate poetry. The rhythm of poetry helps the learner to acquire natural speech, rhythm etc. When poetry is read with proper stress and rhythm, the learners receive training in speech and pronunciation.
The teacher should read the poem with correct pronunciation, proper stress and rhythm. Poetry is an art of the ear, not of the eye- in other words, poetry is sound not sight. The best way to teach a poem is to read it well. Good reading  helps the learners to understand and enjoy the poem.

9.       Narration of stories:

Story reading or narrating stories is another activity which requires tremendous skill on the part of the teacher. The teacher can keep the class spell-bound for a few minutes.
The change of pitch, tone, speed gestures, repetitions etc. Keep the learners engaged and they are also able to understand the story. A lively narration of stories keeps the boredom away from the classroom. Story telling activity leads to a harmonious blending of learning and recreation.

 10.       Discussion Skills:

In a face-to-face classroom setting, students are expected to participate in class discussions and that participation is part of the equation when assessing performance Asking questions and joining in discussions are important skills for study. In many subjects, you will receive marks for participation and this mark reflects how active you have been in discussions.

Why have discussions?
To understand a subject or topic area more deeply.
To explore ideas.
To exchange information.
To expand and clarify your knowledge.
To improve your ability to think critically.
To improve your language skills.
To increase your confidence in speaking.
A discussion can change your attitudes and ideas.
A  discussion  can helps a  group make a  particular  decision  or  come to  a conclusion.
 A discussion gives you the chance to hear the thoughts and ideas of other students.

Learn to Listen
Listening is an essential skill and an important element of any discussion. Effective listeners don't just hear what is being said, they think about it and actively process it.
You can't contribute to a discussion unless you are well-prepared. Attend lectures and make sure you complete any assigned readings or tutorial assignments. If you don't understand the material or don't feel confident about your ideas, speak to your tutor or lecturer outside of class.

Practice discussing course topics and materials outside class. Start in an informal setting with another student or with a small group.

If you find it difficult to participate in tutorial discussion, set yourself goals and aim to increase your contribution each week.
An easy way to participate is to add to the existing discussion. Start by making small contributions:

Discussion Etiquette (or minding your manners)
In  order  to  successfully  negotiate  discussion,  courtesy  is  important. 

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