|Teaching Additional Languages (IAE - IBE - UNESCO, 28 p.)|
Students be given practice speaking in language comprehensible to others.
Additional language instruction formerly consisted of students memorizing dialogues and practising grammar drills. Current research supports a model known as communicative competence. Although students must learn the grammar and vocabulary, these alone do not lead to fluency. Since natural language is unpredictable and speakers arrive at meaning through active communication, students must be taught how to manage real conversation - how to start and end conversations, how to respond appropriately, and how to express their beliefs, opinions and feelings. Students need to learn what is culturally appropriate and how language varies depending on the situations; they may need to learn about people involved, their moods, and other social and cultural factors. A fluent speaker needs to know how to link utterances together to create clear and effective discourse.
Students must also learn how to manage conversations when there are communication breakdowns. These modern views caused changes in the teaching of speaking. Students should engage in unscripted or spontaneous language since that is the nature of usual speaking practices. The teachers role is to provide language patterns that are needed, guide students in how to form natural language, and then to create opportunities for practice. Teachers must provide judicious coaching and encouragement so that students will actively practice speaking.
In the classroom
When teaching speaking, the following instructional strategies are recommended:
· Present to students the linguistic and vocabulary patterns and make sure they understand how they are formed, when they are used, and their cultural implications.
· Teach students speech acts (to agree/disagree, apologize, make excuses, etc.), forms to manage conversations (openings, interruptions, closings, etc.), and strategies for roundabout speaking when they dont know a specific word.
· Provide controlled practice so students can feel comfortable with the patterns.
· Have students use the patterns in natural language situations that are relevant to their speaking needs. Pretending they are asking for directions or requesting a hotel room are examples.
· Allow the students to make errors, but also provide feedback on what is successful and unsuccessful.
References: Brown & Yule, 1983; Bygate, 1987; McCarthy & Carter, 1994.