Teaching Speaking Skill

 Teaching Speaking Skill

Speaking is a crucial part of second language learning and teaching. Despite its importance, for many years, teaching speaking has been undervalued and English language teachers have continued to teach speaking just as a repetition of drills or memorization of dialogues. However, today’s world requires that the goal of teaching speaking should improve students’ communicative skills, because, only in that way, students can express themselves and learn how to follow the social and cultural rules appropriate in each communicative circumstance.

a. What is Teaching Speaking?

According Kayi (2006:1-2) what is meant by teaching speaking is to teach English language learners to:

1)      Produce the English speech sounds and sounds patterns.

2)      Use words and sentence stress, intonation patterns and the rhythm of the second language.

3)      Select appropriate words and sentences according to the proper social setting, audience, situation and subject matter.

4)      Organize their thoughts in a meaningful and logical sequence.

5)      Use language as a means of expressing values and judgments.

6)      Use the language quickly and confidently with few unnatural pauses, which is called fluency (Nunan 2003).

b. How to Teach Speaking?

When teaching young learners we constantly have to keep in mind the fact that what we have in front of us is a mixed class with varied abilities, expectations, motivation level, knowledge and last but not least, different learning styles. Thus, we need to vary our approaches and offer as much opportunity as possible to make the whole class find a little something to hold on to, expand and grow (Natasa, 2006:1).

Young learners are like sponges, they soak up everything we say and how we say it. Thus clear and correct pronunciation is of vital importance, since young learners repeat exactly what they hear. What has been learned at an early stage is difficult to change later on. One rule that applied here is slowly and steadily through constant revision and recycling. With the help of mixed activities, such as dialogues, choral revision, chants, songs, poems and rhymes, students speaking abilities grow, their pronunciation gets better and their awareness of the language improves. When applying the above-mentioned tools into the teaching practice, what should be kept in mind is that interaction is an important way of learning. Therefore, increased oral emphasis should be included in our teaching to give the students as much speaking time as possible.

Activities to Promote Speaking

There are many activities to promote speaking. As Hayriye Kayi inferred from many linguistics on her article in the internet on Teaching English as A Second Language (TESL) Journal, there are thirteen activities to promote speaking, which are:

1. Discussion

After a content-based lesson, a discussion can be held for various reasons. The students may aim to arrive at a conclusion, share ideas about an event, or find solutions in their discussion groups. Before the discussion, it is essential that the purpose of the discussion activity is set by the teacher. In this way, the discussion points are relevant to this purpose, so that students do not spend their time chatting with each other about irrelevant things.

2. Role Play

Students pretend they are in various social contexts and have a variety of social roles. In role-play activities, the teacher gives information to the learners such as who they are and what they think or feel. Thus, the teacher can tell the student that “You are David, you go to the doctor and tell him what happened last night, and.” (Harmer, 1984)

3. Simulations

Simulations are very similar to role-plays but what makes simulations different than role plays is that they are more elaborate. In simulations, students can bring items to the class to create a realistic environment. For instance, if a student is acting as a singer, she brings a microphone to sing and so on.

4. Information Gap

In this activity, students are supposed to be working in pairs. One student will have the information that other partner does not have and the partners will share their information. Information gap activities serve many purposes such as solving a problem or collecting information. Also, each partner plays an important role because the task cannot be completed if the partners do not provide the information the others need.

5. Brain Storming

On a given topic, students can produce ideas in a limited time. Depending on the context, either individual or group brainstorming is effective and learners generate ideas quickly and freely. The good characteristic of brainstorming is that the students are not criticized for their ideas so students will be open to sharing new ideas.

5. Storytelling

Students can briefly summarize a tale or story they heard from somebody beforehand, or they may create their own stories to tell their classmates. Story telling fosters creative thinking. It also helps students express ideas in the format of beginning, development, and ending, including the characters and setting a story has to have.

6. Innterviews

Students can conduct interviews on selected topics with various people. It is a good idea that the teacher provides a rubric to students so that they know what type of questions they can ask or what path to follow, but students should prepare their own interview questions. After interviews, each student can present his or her study to the class. Moreover, students can interview each other and “introduce” his or her partner to the class.

7. Story Completion

For this activity, a teacher starts to tell a story, but after a few sentences he or she stops narrating. Then, each student starts to narrate from the point where the previous one stopped. Each student is supposed to add from four to ten sentences. Students can add new characters, events, descriptions and so on.

8. Reporting

Before coming to class, students are asked to read a newspaper or magazine and, in class, they report to their friends what they find as the most interesting news. Students can also talk about whether they have experienced anything worth telling their friends in their daily lives before class.

9. Playing Cards

In this game, students should form groups of four. Each suit will represent a topic. For instance: diamonds represent earning money, hearts represent love and relationships, spades represent an unforgettable memory, and card represent best teacher. Each student in a group will choose a card. Then, each student will write 4-5 questions about that topic to ask the other people in the group. For example: if the topic “diamonds: earning money” is selected, here are some possible questions: Is money important in your life? Why? or .What is the easiest way of earning money?. Or What do you think about lottery? Etc. However, the teacher should state at the very beginning of the activity that students are not allowed to prepare yes-no questions, because by saying yes or no students get little practice in spoken language production. Rather, students ask open-ended questions to each other so that they reply in complete sentences.

9. Picture Narrating

This activity is based on several sequential pictures. Students are asked to tell the story taking place in the sequential pictures by paying attention to the criteria provided by the teacher as a rubric. Rubrics can include the vocabulary or structures they need to use while narrating.

10. Picture Describing

For this activity students can form groups and each group is given a different picture. Students discuss the picture with their groups, and then a spokesperson for each group describes the picture to the whole class. This activity fosters the creativity and imagination of the learners as well as their public speaking skills.

11. Find the Differences

For this activity students can work in pairs and each couple is given two different pictures, for example, picture of boys playing football and another picture of girls playing tennis. Students in pairs discuss the similarities and/or differences in the pictures (Natasa, 2006:2).

From all activities that have mention above, teacher could choose more than one activities to promote speaking activities and avoid monotonous technique. The balance activities in teaching speaking its very important because student could get the balance of input and out put.


Hayriye Kayi, Teaching Speaking: Activities to Promote Speaking in a Second Language, The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. XII, No. 11, November 2006. http://iteslj.org/Articles/Kayi-Teaching Speaking.html. p. 1 – 2

Natasa Intihar Klancar, Developing Speaking Skills in the Young Learners Classroom, Internet TESL Journal, Vol. XII, No. 11, November 2006. http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Klancar-SpeakingSkills.html. p. 1

1 Response to " Teaching Speaking Skill"

  1. Public speaking class You made such an interesting piece to read, giving every subject enlightenment for us to gain knowledge. Thanks for sharing the such information with us to read this...


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