Saturday, 10 November 2007

Aims for a speaking course

Review the list of skills and set of questions below and use them to formulate a list of possible aims for the speaking component of a course book. Then look at a contemporary course book for intermediate students and review the extent to which it tries to incorporate your set of aims.

Pronunciation Aims:
  • Learners identify and produce the difference between several pair sounds, such as /I/ /i:/ - /U/ /u:/; and different sounds.
  • Learners recognize and produce stress in words, rhythm in sentences and intonation patterns.
Skill Aims:
  • Learners learn strategies for managing turn-taking in conversation, including taking a turn, holding a turn, and relinquishing a turn
  • Learners learn how to interact and negotiate meaning
  • Learners learn how to negotiate purposes for conversations
  • Learners learn strategies for opening and closing conversations
  • Learners learn how to initiate and respond to talk on a broad range of topics, and how to develop and maintain talk on these topics
  • Learners learn how to use both a casual style of speaking and a neutral or more formal style
  • Learners learn strategies for repairing trouble spots in conversation, including communication breakdown and comprehension problems
  • Learners learn how to maintain fluency in conversation, through avoiding excessive pausing, breakdowns, and errors of grammar or pronunciation
Communicational Aims:
  • Learners learn how to interact and negotiate meaning
  • Learners learn how to use conversation for both transactional and interactional purposes
  • Learners learn how to produce both short and long turns in conversation
  • Learners learn how to use conversational in different social settings and for different kinds of social encounters, such as on the telephone, at informal and formal social gatherings.
  • Learners learn how to produce conversational fillers and small talk
  • Learners learn how to use conversational routines

I've browsed through Adventures Intermediate and learnt that the book covers almost all of the aims I had thought taking into account the list. The only aims that the book didn't cover are the ones in italics. As you can see they are not many, and can be taught anyway by changing some activities.


HEDGE, Tricia (2000), Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom, UK, OUP; Chapter 8 "Speaking" (Discussion Topics and Projects # 8- p. 296)

WETZ and GAMMIDGE (2005), Adventures Intermediate Student's Book, UK, OUP


Gladys Baya said...

Discrimination between minimal pairs (both at recognition and production levels)has for long been a concern for EFL teachers, Lore (at least in theory!). What I was surprised to hear some years ago, was Paul Seligson's argument that we should start by emphasising stress rather than sound quality... The more I thought about it, the more sense the whole thing made to me... That has certainly influenced my teaching, I can tell you!

If you can afford the time, I'd love to hear your ideas about how you might enhance a given task in the book inspected so as to integrate the teaching of those skills italicized... but I know you're dead busy, so I'll be really patient! ;-)


PS: browsing the Web,I've found these notes on a lecture by Paul Seligson on how we should teach speaking. Certainly worth going over!

PS2: Forgot to tell you... loved your post!

Loreley said...

Thanx Gladys. Let me tell you that I will try to enhance the activities that are not in the book, let me see if I can do that for next week because I can't do much because of my eye and I'm still working on the homework for tomorrow.
I liked the page. We should tell Pau that when she uploads her class on Pronunciation, she should include this link.
Love your comments too. See you tomorrow,