Annie Hughes Talking About Teaching Speaking in English to Young Learners

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<p>Annie Hughes talking about Teaching Speaking in English to Young Learners (videoscript) "In this lesson, we will be focusing on the area of speaking for our young language learners. We will consider what children are doing when they are speaking in the target language and will then look at how we can help them speak naturally through meaningful and purposeful activities that will enable them to successfully communicate with their classmates. A variety of activities, where the emphasis is on speaking, will be presented in this lesson."</p> <p>How Can We Help Young Learners Develop Speaking Skills in the Classroom? Speaking is known as one of the productive skills as language is created by speakers after they have prepared it in their heads. In classroom discussions and activities, young learners need lots of time to process information in the target language. We need to give language learners time to say things, even if it means pausing for longer than normal. When</p> <p>young learners speak in the target language, they need to think about what they want to say, encode this into the new language, and then verbally produce this language in a way that listeners will understand. They try to make their meaning clear and make special points and details explicit as they produce sounds and utter words, phrases and sentences. What is going on in the learner's head as he or she is speaking in the target language? Look at Figure 5.1 (below).</p> <p>Figure 5.1 Speaking as a young language learner</p> <p>In this lesson, we will look at a range of ideas and suggestions for helping our young language learners become successful speakers in the target language and will think about what methodology we can use to support them.</p> <p>Here are some suggestions for encouraging the use of the spoken language in your young learner ESL/EFL classroom.</p> <p>Encourage learners to talk to each other as often as possible in fun and meaningful activities. Have learners engage in a range of speaking activities, such as telling jokes, asking for directions, providing information, carrying out surveys and making presentations.</p> <p>Encourage learners to use intonation and expression to support their spoken words. If they get stuck for a word or phrase, have them use body gestures or facial expressions to help get across their message. Help young learners develop confidence in speaking English. Let them know they should not worry if they make mistakes. Promote the idea that mistakes help us learn. Allow your students to hear many different English speaking voices in your classroom. Use video and audio tapes and, whenever</p> <p>possible, welcome visitors to the class. Give your students plenty of models to copy. Make sure that when anyone is speaking that the rest of the students listen to that person, whether they are working in pairs or groups or are involved in a whole class activity.</p> <p>Preparing our students to speak English in class If we think about everyday speech, we will find that it is rare for individuals (other than formal lecturers or television program presenters), to say a lot of things without interruption in their native language. Thus, we want to do more than just get our students to speak in the target language. We want them to actually communicate through their new language in a natural way, even though this will include such normal speech patterns as hesitations, ums and ahs and mistakes. To help our learners participate in real conversations in English, we need to give them the opportunity to practice using the language in real types of situations in our classroom. By presenting and practicing natural language through motivating and purposeful activities, we can help our students acquire language through their actual use of it.</p> <p>However, keep in mind that when learners begin studying a language, some go</p> <p>through what is called a silent period. For varying lengths of time, they will take in and understand a great deal of the language before they actually start using it in speech. Rather than pushing these students to speak before they are ready, teachers can initially encourage them to demonstrate their understanding through various listening activities. (See the lesson, Teaching Listening in English to Young Learners, for examples.) As well, the use of puppets often encourages younger children to speak out. Providing activities in a friendly</p> <p>and supportive classroom environment will help them speak out successfully and confidently. In the following chapters, we will look at the need to make the spoken language natural and real for our learners and will look at activities that will encourage them to interact with each other.Lesson 5 Chapter 2</p> <p>Encouraging Young Learners to Use Language in Natural Ways through Meaningful Interaction What do young learners say in their native language on a day to day basis? Do we stop and listen? If we did, we would find out that they do not speak in complete sentences very often. Instead, they often use single words and short phrases.</p> <p>Are we asking students to produce this same kind of natural language in our English class or are we asking them to learn and use a rather unnatural form of communication? For example, how often do eight to twelve year olds (speaking English as their native language), say to each other as they go to school, Good morning or Hello, how are you? If the truth be</p> <p>told, even adults only use this sort of language in a formal situation or with people they do not know very well. Often children and adults, speaking English as their native language, say something like Hi to each other, or How's it going? or You all right? This type of language shows informality, knowledge of the person, and through knowing and liking that person, a degree of sensitivity and support. If possible, take a few moments to listen to and observe the children you are teaching as they chat to each other in their native language, either coming into class or leaving. Check for the formality or informality of their speech. It is likely that their interaction is informal, but very successful. We should aim for this type of successful interaction in helping these children speak conversational English, too. Encouraging 'real' communication If our young language learners spend a lot of time in English class, then they will know their classmates well and will want to talk informally with each other. As a teacher, you can help encourage this kind of real communication in English class by keeping the atmosphere friendly and providing your students with a model of suitable language that they can use.</p> <p>Talk with your students as they come into class (You look happy today! Is that a new jacket?) and as you give classroom instructions (Write neatly! Take turns, please). Through your comments, you can provide encouragement (You can do it! That's great! Good idea! Good try! Excellent!) as well as language that your students can use themselves in their conversations. It is important to remember how valuable verbal praise and support is for our young language learners. They need to feel that their attempts at the target language are appreciated and that the teacher can see they are doing their best. After all, the motto is right when it says, Nothing succeeds like success. If our young learners feel they are being praised and supported, they will be motivated to keep moving ahead in their language learning. Help students succeed in their classroom discussions and interactions by making them aware of chunks of language that can help them, such as: </p> <p>Could you repeat that, please? What does (word) mean? Speak (clearly, loudly, slowly), please. Can you say that again, please?Provide awareness of formal and informal speech Our students need to be aware of the different types of spoken language (formal and informal) that are used for different situations. Whilst we should encourage informal speech in English</p> <p>between students, we also want to introduce them to more formal uses of the spoken language. They can learn about and practice different ways of communicating with others through roleplay, drama, videos, and so on.</p> <p>In helping our students interact, we need to keep reminding ourselves of the language they need to take part in a typical conversation. Individuals use language to do such things as pause, clarify statements, ask for more information, express agreement or disagreement, change the topic, or end the discussion. The activities we ask our students to take part in should allow for this kind of natural English to be spoken. As a teacher, model the use of this type of conversational language, and encourage your students to practice it and use it.</p> <p>Lesson 5 Chapter 3</p> <p>Modeling the Language for Young Learners We can prepare our young language learners to take part in dialogues if we model what they can say in situations and give them opportunities to practice. By modeling language before an activity, no matter how simply, we can do the following: </p> <p>clarify to children what they need to do; remind them of the language they need to use; give them a clear example of how to express themselves (by clearly pronouncing the words and using the appropriate intonation and expression).</p> <p>There are several ways the teacher can model the language. See Figure 5.2 (below). Say both parts of the dialogue you want students to take part in. Change the position of your body Model both parts so you look as though you are taking the roles of of a dialogue different people. Use a puppet Many teachers of young children use puppets to help model dialogues in the language class. Make sure you can manipulate and use the puppet easily and that you can make the children believe the puppet is talking. Use a child to model Ask a child from the class to come forward and the dialogue with you model the dialogue with you. Tell that child what to say and then practice with him or her before you perform for the class. Ask two children to Have two children come forward and practice a model a dialogue dialogue that you would like them to model for the class. However, if the children are not confident you may find this confuses the rest of the class, so pick your students carefully. Use a video or audio Use a video or audio recording to model a model dialogue you would like the students to use. However, make sure the dialogue is clear and not too fast for them to understand.</p> <p>Figure 5.2 Approaches teachers can take in modeling dialogues to students After modeling the language through one of the above approaches, give students the chance to practice the language (as a class and in pairs or groups) through guided examples. Focus on the pronunciation of the language as well as intonation and expression. Provide feedback and encourage them to listen (and learn from) each other.</p> <p>During the activities themselves, allow students to speak more freely. Do not interrupt their conversations (unless absolutely necessary). If certain problems arise (involving pronunciation or the use of structures), these can be dealt with later in a follow-up exercise. The following activities in Chapters 4 and 5 assume that you will model the language in one of the above ways before asking students to participate. Remember that these activities are not to be presented in isolation. They will be part of a theme-based lesson or lessons with lots of developmental activities that allow for the introduction and recycling of target language, as controlled by the teacher. When considering these activities, choose the most suitable language for your students and adapt them to the theme, interest and ability levels of your class.</p> <p>Lesson 5 Chapter 4</p> <p>Encouraging Young Learners to Speak Through Surveys, Chants and Roleplays The following activities can encourage students to use conversational English to interact with their classmates. 4.1 Surveys Surveys are excellent for language practice as they can allow your learners to use the language you have recently introduced in class in a quick, easy and fun way. They are extremely flexible and can be used with virtually all themes. It is often best if you can create a survey sheet so that all the information students need is there, including the space to write results. Surveys can be used to practice a huge variety of language, by having students practice structural forms and vocabulary items as well as the use of intonation and expression. As noted in Chapter 3, model and practice the language you want your students to focus on prior to carrying out a survey. For example, when conducting a survey about fruit, one might focus on the following types of questions.</p> <p>Which is your favorite fruit?</p> <p>Bananas? (Use one word with rising, and therefore questioning, intonation. Because this type of question is often used, it can be valuable to introduce to your students.) Do you like (apples)? How about (oranges)? Is the (apple) your favorite fruit? How much do you like (bananas)?</p> <p>Responses can also vary, depending on the focus of the lesson. Practice these with your students as well. Encourage them to communicate meaning by speaking with emotion and showing appropriate gestures and facial expressions. </p> <p>Bananas. I like (bananas). Yes, I do! (Sure! Yeah!) / No, I don't. (No. Not at all.) They're (great / pretty good / OK / not bad / terrible).</p> <p>See Chapter 4.1 in Supplementary Material at the end of this lesson for samples of survey sheets. 4.2 Using chants and rhymes Using chants or rhymes allow children to build their confidence by speaking aloud within a group. Chants can be great ways to practice new vocabulary or structures while getting the rhythm and flow of the language. See the lesson, Using Songs, Rhymes, Chants and Poems in the Language Classroom, for more examples. 4.3 I went to the zoo and I saw. This chant helps students review and recycle vocabulary items they have learned in class. This version reviews the names of zoo animals. Have children sit in a circle. Student A (SA) says, I went to the zoo and I saw a tiger. Other children follow in turn, repeating the previous animals and adding others to the list.</p> <p>SB: I went to the zoo and I saw a tiger and an elephant. . SC: I went to the zoo and I saw a tiger, an elephant and a monkey. . SD: I went to the zoo and I saw a tiger, an elephant, a monkey and a snakeThe chant continues until one of the students can't remember the entire list. It is fun is to try and make the list as long as possible. Encourage your learners to help each other remember the list.</p> <p>4.4 Family Rap When we ask children to create something about themselves, it can be highly</p> <p>motivating. Family Rap gives learners a great opportunity to write a rap about themselves and their families. Have students share their verses using a rap-like rhythm. Here are some examples: There are three in my family, My father, my sister and me. What about you? There are five in my family, My grandma, my mother...</p>


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