Speaking skills

Speaking skills – Important and How To Improve

Speech, as the primary output skill, is inevitably related to listening. All of us listen to or speak in order to fulfill the various needs of communication. So, this ‘need for communication’ is the focal part of the process of speaking. In language classes, creating this need ‘ is what could trigger the practice of speaking or any other language skills. So the first thing a language teacher has to consider is – how to creat this ‘need’ on the part of the learner. Second, this ‘need’ should relate to the actual real-life situations, or else it would end up being a sort of mechanical drill, which is so very peculiar to the structural method of teaching language, against which the passing time has developed a communicative way of teaching.

Speaking skills

If we think about when, why and how do we speak in a day-to-day life, we could design some situations which would not only encourage the learners to speak, it would rather drive them to do so. First and the foremost, we speak in order to seek or share the information. Whenever there is a gap of information, someone would be driven to ask a question about it and would be eager to listen to the reply. Some other person, in this case, would reply by speaking for the purpose of sharing the specified piece of information. E.g. Walking across the class if the teacher asks “What am I doing?” as an attempt to introduce the present continuous tense, everybody knows he is walking, hence purposeless to state that. Instead, if she permits two of the students to tell a story to each other, and after a while asks, “What is he telling you?” , the student would have a purpose to give the answer, because a gap of information between the pair of the students and the remaining class including the teacher is created through the given activity. Thus, a gap of information would trigger speaking. A teachers job is to find out where this gap is, and also to create such gaps through situational activities through which a learner could practice speaking. The teacher could also, to an extent, decide the language the learners would use in case she wants them to use some particular vocabulary items of sentences structures. so, information gap activities could be a way of teaching speaking. Some Of the samples are as under.

As said earlier, the real-life situations are the best triggers for teaching and practicing speaking. They serve as a ready platform as well. This on-hand platform itself is the biggest motivational factor. The teacher could present chits with different situations such as at a restaurant, in the classroom, asking for direction to the library etc. and ask students to form dialogues for the same. She can assist the learners with a list of related vocabulary items if need be. Once students start preparing the dialogues, they may script it down, but the teacher should draw their attention to the fact that gradually they should come out of the mindset of drafting it before they perform the same in front of the class. The reason is, in the real-life situation, we do not speak in such a pre-planned way. Scripting the dialogues in advance makes it execution highly unnatural.

The dialogues presented by the learners should be reviewed by the teacher and later, the teacher could give her feedback. These dialogues would be reviewed on the basis of(Erice’s maxims of speaking. The teacher is expected to review and revise the dialogues on the basis Of (l ) quality, (2) quantity, (3) relevance and (4) manner. By quality in conversation, what Grice means is the truthfulness and genuine in what one speaks. The speaker has to be sincere in presenting. Maxim of a quantity refers to the due quantity of the dialogue, which is decided by the situation in which the dialogue is made. Anything that is more or less than due is considered a barring in the process. Maxim of relevance refers to the logical connection between the dialogues Of all speakers involved in the process. If what person A speaks doesn’t respond to what person B has already spoken, this breaks the flow communicate on. Conversations are made to bridge the gap in communication; it should never be made for an altogether opposite purpose. Maxims of manner include the way in which the dialogues are pronounced. It includes the sub-skills of speaking like voice modulation, tone, pitch, clarity and the use of other paralinguistic aspects.

All these maxims consider the aspects like the relationship shared by the speaker and the listener, the physical atmosphere in which the dialogue is made, the background of the people involved, the content of their conversation etc. When a conversation lacks in any of these four areas, the efficiency of the spoken behavior would lessen.

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