Productive and Receptive Skills in the ESL Classroom - Speaking Activities
So speaking activities will come in many different forms but we can generalize them into three basic types. Control activities tend to be used in the study phase and here, the teacher will be helping the students in terms of what they need to say and how they go about saying it. So, there's a high level of structure within a controlled activity. A guided activity has slightly less structure than this and it can be used in either the study or the activate stages themselves. The final type of activity or class of activity is called creative activity and this one would be used in the activation phase. In a creative activity, we're giving a scenario or a very small amount of structure and we're asking the students to actually create their own answers to this particular question. Regardless of whether your activity is controlled, guided or creative, there are a number of things that you need to make sure are in place before you could expect the students to actually start them. So, the first thing goes back to the reasons why we communicate in the first place. There is little point asking our students to create a speaking activity unless there is some need or desire to do that. So, we have to make sure that we generate interest in this particular activity before we actually start. The second thing, do our students have the language knowledge that is necessary in order to be able to complete such a speaking activity? If they have a lack of grammar knowledge or a lack of vocabulary knowledge around this particular speaking activity, it's going to be very very difficult for them. Thirdly, when asking the students to create language in terms of a speaking activity, it's always very useful to put them in pairs. By putting them in pairs you allow them to interact them therefore gain even more speaking practice but also you reduce stress because all of the effort is not concentrated on a single individual. So, let's consider now a typical speaking lesson and the stages that we need to go through from the very start until the finish.
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