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Лекция 7:

Speaking and Writing



  1. Students have various problems with oral skills. Sometimes they struggle due to previous learning experiences emphasising the structural basis of the language with little or no communicative methodology employed and therefore little realistic oral language practice of the language having been done. Difficulty can also be due to poor listening skills and the inability to distinguish important words or sounds from unimportant ones. They may also struggle to interpret others’ intonation and so misunderstand intent in speech and reply inappropriately. (Refer back to Unit 2 Module 2 to remind yourself of the elements of connected speech.)
  2. Poor spoken phonological ability (ie pronunciation, stress, rhythm, intonation) can cause sounds to be mispronounced, leading to poor comprehension on the part of the listener. If someone fails to understand what you're saying, you soon give up and stay quiet (more on this later in the course).
  3. Demotivation due to overcorrection. This is the old argument of fluency versus accuracy, but with oral work, the priority is successful communication and if a message spoken has been correctly understood, errors of syntax or tense should be regarded as being of minor concern.

To repeatedly correct a student attempting oral communication would simply silence him/her. Students therefore often prefer not to speak rather than to make mistakes. Bear in mind also that they need to learn to talk in phrases and ‘paragraphs’ so if they keep stopping after one or two words because you have corrected them they will never get a feel for the overall ‘shape’ of a sentence or phrase.

Think of the phrase: ‘I’d like to enquire about the trip to the British Museum’.

It has stress and intonation and if the student has had practice getting the whole phrase out without stopping then they are more likely to get to the end when they actually have to use it! (Perhaps with a different ending…the trip to France/outing to the theatre/trains to Manchester etc)


Here are the experiences of one tutor who has learnt (or not learnt) to speak 9 languages. Here she talks about learning 3 of them. What factors were involved in her success or failure? Underline her different experiences.

When I was at school I learnt French in a typical British school class of 25. My teacher was very insistent on us talking French in the classroom. I even had to have a French name - ‘Solange’ which I hated as I thought it sounded like a squishy dessert. To this day I can sing the Marseillaise (two verses!) as she taught us the politics behind it, which fascinated me. The activities were the best and I remember the day someone brought in a water melon (an exotic food in the UK in the 1970s) and managed to smash it all over the floor during a ‘shops’ role play. I never forgot that word.

I ended formal French at 16 but did conversation classes while I was doing my A levels during which we discussed current affairs. At the same time I took up Italian but the teacher was a bully and made us write sentence after sentence. I quit. I stopped using French completely when I left school until I was about 30 and living in Europe. Broken down by the side of the road I had to ask truck drivers for assistance. I discovered the French was still there and over the next few years became proficient again.

At the age of 22 I moved to Japan to work as a TEFL teacher. I had little money and lived in a poorer area of Tokyo alone where no-one spoke English. From day one I was out on the streets getting things done. I couldn’t read the script at all and at that time there were far fewer signs in English than there are now. So I had no choice but to open my mouth and ask people to help me but that meant I didn’t bother to learn to read as it was so difficult.

After two years I was fluent but had never had any grammar lessons and felt really stuck, so I joined classes at a local language school. Because I couldn’t read and write I was placed in the lowest class but I was far more fluent than the others and I got very bored very quickly. So I got a private teacher to learn how to write the language. My teacher told me it was shameful that I had never learnt and gave me two weeks in which to learn the two phonemic alphabets before she would agree to teach me.

The funny thing with languages is that you get along fine until you get yourself into a new situation. My second son was born in Japan and I didn’t have an English speaking doctor so I had to learn words for childbirth and care of a young baby. I got very good at reading the backs of packets and medicines and my teacher was really helpful. Do any of the points above remind you of your own experiences of language learning? How did you deal with them?

Write a paragraph or two analysing your own experiences with languages.


Let’s begin by thinking about what it means to ‘speak well’. People who communicate orally quite well in any language do the following:

  • They know when to keep going
  • They know when to stop
  • They keep their listeners’ interest
  • They structure their information logically
  • They speak clearly enough for others to understand

It is more difficult to do this in another language not only because we do not know as many words but also because languages do not operate in the same way.

Think about cultural differences. Do you know when and how you say ‘no’ politely in different languages? What about different ways to address people?

What about grammar? What is the present perfect tense and how can you use it? How is it put together? What is the difference between a pot and a pan?

And phonology. Does your intonation sound rude in this language? How do you pronounce ‘th’?


Here are mistakes that can be made by students when speaking. What sort of mistakes are they?

cultural? phonological ? grammatical or vocabulary?

  1. Good morning, Mrs Maria and how are you today?
  2. I am very hungry because you crashed into my car.
  3. I was here since Saturday.
  4. That’s my share, don’t sit there!
  5. Nice to meet you. How old are you and what salary do you earn?
  6. I am coming from Egypt. I’m Egyptian.


a) Set the scene/warm up

This is absolutely essential. Expecting students to speak ‘cold’ on any topic is just not fair. The teacher will end up dominating the discussion or having to intervene in the role play/group work continually. You must make sure that the students have the background to the task.

If the class is to practise the language of invitation, for example, tell them about a party you are planning and ask them what you need to do to make sure people come. Students will recognise the need for the functional language you are set to introduce.

The other advantage of this part of the lesson is that you can gauge how competent your students already are in this area and fine tune your timing and activity accordingly. It also gives you a chance to get a few of their ideas up on the white board for future reference AND briefly discuss the usefulness of what they are about to study.

b) Presentation

Present the language appropriate to the particular task you wish to carry out. Forms such as:-

'I'd like to invite you to ....'


'would you like to come to .....'

can be given as they are now in context. This is the time in the lesson when you could use a model dialogue, written or even better recorded, with an exercise or two to focus students on the key language of invitations.

c) Practice

Give students the opportunity to practise the structures involved, ie by drilling, choral repetition etc, then by guided pairwork, ie with short dialogues or role plays using prompts you have prepared. You could build from the model dialogue in a number of ways including taking short phrases for choral repetition and doing short substitution practice:

- I’d like to invite you to dinner.

- my party

I’d like to invite you to my party.

You can build in real objects into this section or the preceding section and you can vary group size and perhaps set up telephone dialogues by sitting students back to back. Games such as Bingo and Hangman can be used to focus on language.

d) Production

At a more controlled practice stage, accuracy of stress, rhythm and pronunciation are important, but when students are involved in producing language in a freer environment, fluency is important. Teacher input here should be minimal, with errors monitored but not necessarily corrected. The teacher has guided the class to this stage and must now encourage and support the learners as they complete their task - to communicate effectively using language practised during the lesson. There are several activities generally employed by teachers to achieve results at this stage of the lesson:


Activities with role cards and prompts prepared in advance giving the students a clear role/character, shop dialogues, asking the way, travel agency dialogues, complaint dialogues and so on come into this category. More complex role-playing (or simulation) such as the simulation of a meeting of three or more people can also be done, usually with higher levels.


These differ from role playing in that the students do not need to be somebody else. They demand that students exchange information to complete a task or solve a problem. For example, pairs have two street plans with 5 different buildings on their plans. Face to face, they ask for the location of those buildings they do not have, and give details to their partner of those which they do. They might be looking for a time to fix a meeting and have two different timetables into which they have to slot an available time for both of them. Any kind of describe and draw activity fits in here too. Role plays very often have information gap elements in them.


These are controversial texts, pictures or statements to promote debates, discussions and arguments between partners or groups.

Opinion gap can be presented in the form of a statement:

‘Footballers earn too much money.’ or perhaps in the form of a controversial image. Articles from newspapers can be presented to higher levels that have facts to be discussed.

A class can be split into 4 groups, 2 for and 2 against, to prepare their side of the issue. New groups would then be formed with one student from each of the four original groups, to debate the issue earlier in the lesson and ideas prepared beforehand.

Лилия Громова
Лилия Громова
1 октября отправила на проверку первое задание, до сих пор не проверено, по этой причине не могу пройти последующие тесты.
Светлана Носкова
Светлана Носкова