MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE, YOUTH AND SPORT OF UKRAINE IVAN FRANKO NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF LVIV ENGLISH DEPARTMENT Speaking and Writing. Common and Distinctive features in Teaching PRESENTED BY Suzan Al-Jholani a fifth year student of the English Department SUPERVISED BY Sanotska L. G. associate professor of the English Department LVIV 2012 Contents Introduction……………………………………………………………………………. 3 I. Common features in teaching speaking and writing……………………………….. II. Distinctive features in teaching speaking and writing………………………………… Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………….. References……………………………………………………………………………… Communication between humans is an extremely complex and ever-changing phenomenon. But there are certain generalizations that can be made about the majority of communicative events and these will have a particular relevance for the learning and teaching of languages. There are countless reasons for communication between individuals: they want to say something, they have some communicative purpose, they want to get some information, etc.
It is important to realize that these generalizations do not only apply to spoken word: they characterize written communication as well. Speaking and writing are called productive skills because they involve language production, as opposed to listening and reading, which are receptive skills [1, 46-47]. Common features in teaching speaking and writing The productive skills of writing and speaking have more distinctive than common features. However, there are number of language production processes which have to be gone through whichever medium we are working in.
In order for communication to be successful we have to structure our discourse in such a way that it will be understood by our listeners and readers. In speech this often involves following of conversational patterns and the use of lexical phrases. For the part of writing it has to be both coherent and cohesive. Coherent writing makes sense because you can follow the sequence of ideas and points. Cohesion is more technical matter since it is here that we concentrate on the various linguistic ways of connecting ideas across phrases and sentences [2, 246].
Both teaching writing and speaking involves following the rules of communication. There are three areas of rules that should be considered: * Sociocultural rules: speakers from similar social backgrounds know how to speak to each other in terms of how formal to be, what kind of language they can use, how loud to speak, or how close to stand to each other. * Turn-taking: in any conversation decisions have to be taken about when each person should speak. * Rules for writing: writing has rules too, which need to be recognized and either be followed or purposively flouted.
We have to take into the account the genre and the style of writing [2, 246]. One of the reasons that people can operate within sociocultural rules is because they know about different styles, and recognize different written and spoken genres. This depends on the aim of communication, on the recipient and setting. In order to speak and write at different levels of intimacy students need practice in different genres and different styles so that their level increases they can vary the grammar, functions ,and lexis that they can use .
It is vital, therefore, that if the coursebook does not offer a satisfactory range of such genre-based activities teachers should supply it themselves [2,247]. Teachers have to teach how to interact with the audience. Part of our speaking proficiency depends upon our ability to speak differentially, depending upon our audience, and upon the way we absorb their reaction and respond to it in some way or other. Part of our writing ability depends upon our ability to change our style and structure to suit the person or people we are writing for [2, 248].
When speakers or writers of their own or of a foreign language do not know a word or just cannot remember it, they may employ some or all of the following strategies to resolve the difficulty they are encountering: * Improvising: speakers sometimes try any word or phrase that they can come up with in the hope that it is about right. * Discarding: when speakers simply cannot find words for what they want to say, they may discard the thought that they cannot put into words. Foreignising: when operating in a foreign language, speakers (and writers) sometimes choose a word in a language they know well (such as their first language) and ‘foreignise’ it in the hope that it will be equivalent to the meaning they wish to express in the foreign language. * Paraphrasing: speakers sometimes paraphrase. Such lexical substitution or circumlocution gets many speakers out of trouble, though it can make communication longer and more convoluted [2, 249].
To prevent problems that students may encounter while improving speaking and writing skills teachers have to follow certain principles. In the first place, they need to match the tasks they ask students to perform with their language level. This means ensuring that they have the minimum language they would need to perform such a task. Secondly, teachers need to ensure that there is a purpose to the task and that students are aware of this. They should also remember that students who are not used to speaking or writing spontaneously need to be helped to cultivate such habits.
Teachers should not expect instant fluency and creativity; instead they should build up students’ confidence step by step giving them restricted tasks first before prompting them to be more and more spontaneous later. Finally, teachers need to assess the problems caused by the language they need, and the difficulties which the topic or the genre might create [2,251-253]. To make students inspired teacher has to choose interesting topic and create interest in it. It is also important to vary the topics they offer them so that they cater for the variety of interests within the class.
It is also vitally important to vary the genres teachers ask their students to work with if we want them to gain confidence in writing and speaking in different situations. Distinctive features in speaking and writing teaching One of the reasons that teaching writing is so different from teaching speech is that two types of discourse differ in their basic characteristics. Differences between them imply different types of exercises which focus on different aspects of language and demand different levels of correctness [1,52].
Writing requires a greater degree of accuracy, and is in many ways the more difficult skill to learn. For a start, the written form is visible and mistakes are seen. With speaking, students often make ‘slips of the tongue’-they have said something wrong, but if they could hear a recording of what they said, they could correct the mistake themselves. Written task on the one hand often require accuracy and formal language. Because they recognize this, many students feel under pressure when writing.
However, with writing students can proof-read and self-correct. They can go more slowly and carefully than when they are speaking. It is an important skill teachers must teach students-read what they have written [4,182]. Punctuation is another factor absent from speaking. Increasingly these days, one might question the importance of correct punctuation, but whereas one can accept that the correct use of colons or semi-colons is not really so important, surely the correct use of capitalization and question marks, for example, does matter [4, 182].
Spelling may also cause problems, something which mother-tongue speakers have difficulty with. Again, people differ in their views of the importance of correct spelling, but the fact remains that, teachers have to recognize what is ‘correct’ writing, and what is ‘incorrect’. If they cannot recognize a mistake, then they cannot correct it [4, 182]. With Writing, students do not have to concern themselves with aspects of pronunciation, or being fluent. Those students who are much more interested in accuracy than fluency, arc often very good when writing.
It is very common to find students who have had accuracy-based language learning, writing extremely well and accurately, but that is difficult for them to express themselves orally [1, 53]. Writing tends to be more economical in its use of the language. There are no ‘hesitators’ (‘mmm’, ‘er’, ‘well’, etc. ) that litter our conversation. Written language is direct and efficient. The writer suffers from the disadvantage of not getting immediate feedback from the reader – and sometimes getting no feedback at all.
In writing students can not use intonation or stress, and facial expression, gesture and body movement. These disadvantages have to be compensated for the greater clarity and by the use of grammatical and stylistic techniques for focusing attention on main points, etc. Most importantly there is greater need for logical organization in piece of writing than there is in a conversation, for the reader has to understand what has been written without asking for clarification or relying on the writer’s tone of voice or expression [1,53].
When teaching writing, therefore, there are special considerations to be taken into account which include the organizing of sentences into paragraphs, how paragraphs are joined together, and the general organization of ideas into a coherent piece of discourse [1,54]. Creative writing practice is a critical part of learning a written language. Writing can be encouraged through poetry, stories, plays and dialogues, but it important that students be engaged and interested in the writing projects.
Pen pal letters between students can help to capture the interests of a class as they learn written communication with their peers utilizing the new language. The objective of such a project would be for students to learn how to use appropriate language and produce suitable letters that can be sent as a correspondence, but can also be used as effective evaluation and grading tools. Speaking a language involves using the components correctly – making the right sounds, choosing the right words and getting constructions grammatically correct.
Pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary tasks will focus on the need for practice in language accuracy. At the same time, we also need to get a clear message across and this involves choosing appropriate content or ideas to suit a situation, e. g. deciding what is polite or what might appear rude, how to interrupt or how to participate in a conversation. All this involves practice in language fluency. Speaking requires thinking on the spot, practice and exposure to the language over time. Speakers have a great range of expressive possibilities at their command.
Apart from the actual words they use they can vary their intonation and stress which helps them to show which part of what they are saying is most important. By varying pitch and intonation their voice can clearly convey their attitude to what they are saying. They can indicate interest or lack of it. At any point in speech event speakers can rephrase what they are saying; they can speed up or slow down. This will often be done in response to the feedback they are getting from their listeners who will show through variety of gestures , expressions and interruptions that they do not understand.
And in a face to face interaction the speaker can use a whole range of facial expressions, gestures and general body to help to convey the message. Developing speaking skills in the classroom can include a wide variety of activities. Controlled lessons that include drilling and pre-planned, question and answer prompts can help students develop skills under the teacher’s watchful eye. Guided activities such as dialogues and role-play scenarios, while based on accuracy, do allow for more creativity and individual exploration with the language.
Exact language may not be as controlled in such activities and students have a chance to practice their language with a bit more freedom. Students improve their formal speech when teachers provide insights on how to organize their ideas for presentation. Students can give better speeches when they can organize their presentation in a variety of different ways, including sequentially, chronologically and thematically. They need practice in organizing their speech around problems and solutions, causes and results, and similarities and differences.
After deciding about the best means of organization, they can practice speeches with another student or with the whole class. Teachers can also help students adapt their speeches and informal talks so as to correspond to the intended audience, the information to be communicated, and the circumstances of the occasion at which they will speak. The teachers can illustrate how well-known speakers have adapted their presentations in ways to suit these different circumstances Students may enjoy speaking about their personal experiences.
When given this opportunity, they can benefit from instruction in the elements of good story-telling. Both teachers and students can provide suggestions for students’ speeches. In constructively criticizing others, learners can learn to apply criteria for good speech and employ tactful social skills. In doing so, they can increase and improve their own speaking skills. Students can also learn speaking and social skills by suggesting possible improvements to one another’s practice speeches. Positive experiences in speaking can lead to greater skills and confidence in speaking in front of larger groups.
These activities help students to become familiar and comfortable with the new language. Creative communication involves more fluency-based activities that can really enable students to utilize their creative thinking and language skills. Activities of this type might include discussions, simulations and communication games, but they may also include real- life experiences such as a field trip to a restaurant or a guest visitor in the classroom, providing opportunities for students to use the new language in a less controlled setting.
Careful planning and preparation are a necessity for this kind of learning experience, and such lessons must be followed-up with some form of assessment or evaluation tool to determine the effectiveness of the experience, but the benefits to the student can be significant. Not only are students making connections between the language they are learning in the classroom and the language used in the real world, they are practicing their skills and developing their own methods for utilizing and retaining the new language.
In comparison to speaking skills, the development of writing skills involves many of the same difficulties and some additional challenges, including differences in grammar and vocabulary use, spelling, structure, punctuation and others. A variety of games in the classroom and as pair, small-group or homework activities, can be utilized to provide controlled practice and experience with writing. Crosswords, word finds, gap fills and story boards are but a few of the games and activities that can be adapted for teaching writing skills including vocabulary, spelling, grammar and pronunciation.
Developing useful and effective language skills requires practice and experience, from controlled lessons to authentic, real-life experiences. The basic building blocks of a language are critical to the learning process but practical experience, creative exploration, and opportunities to practice in less controlled activities can help to bind the various parts of language acquisition into a solid understanding of the new language and how it can be used. Whether speaking or writing, students need to be able to activate the knowledge they have learned in the classroom in order to communicate successfully in their new language.
Conclusions Being productive skills, speaking and writing involve language production. They have both common and distinctive features in teaching; although distinctive have majority in number. For communication to be successful (either oral or written one) students have to know how to structure the discourse, to be aware of rules of communication, different styles and genres, have knowledge about how to interact with audience. In productive skills teaching strategies to resolve the difficulties that students can encounter are the same.
To prevent problems that students may encounter while improving speaking and writing skills we teachers have to follow certain principles: match the tasks with students’ language level, built student confidence step by step, choose interesting topic and create interest in it. Taking into account the fact that speaking skills require fluency and frequency, and writing skills demand accuracy – different teaching strategies and activities have to be used. References 1. Harmer, J. The practice of English language teaching. – London and New Jork: Longman, 1991. – 296 p. 2. Harmer, J.
The practice of English language teaching. Third Eddition. -Londin: Longman,2001. – 371 p. 3. Lavery, C. Language Assistant. http://www. scribd. com/doc/14112081/Whole-Manual 4. Riddell, D. Teach English as a foreign language. -London: Hodder Edducation , 2010. -366 p. 5. Sariel, O. Teaching productive skills – fine tuning speaking and writing skills. http://ru. scribd. com/doc/58656496/Teaching-Productive-Skills 6. Wallace T. , Stariba W. , Walberg H. Teaching, speaking, listening and writing. http://www. ibe. unesco. org/fileadmin/user_upload/archive/publications/EducationalPracticesSeriesPdf/PRATICE_14. pdf