uni-cambridge

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charles-tong





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speaking4skills

Better English, Better Speaking Skills (Output)

English language learners are often anxious to learn the speaking skill quickly. They define fluency as the ability to converse confidently with others, and regard speaking as the most important skill they can acquire and they asses their progress in terms of their accomplishments in spoken communication.

Students need to realize that speaking skill is progressively learnt by going through three areas knowledge:

Learning the mechanics: Grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation: the use of correct words in the right order with the correct pronunciation.

Functional use: Using the language to transact messages - the exchange of information- with clarity and to interact with understanding.

Social and cultural rules and norms: like taking turns to speak, the rate of speaking, the length of pauses between speakers and relative roles of participants. Understanding the message (verbal and non-verbal), the circumstances, the reason and what the person is communicating.

Students need an environment to practice authentic English that is used in real-life communication situations. The English Club lesson periods are within Master English curriculum to afford the opportunity for students to learn and practice speaking real English.

How do you become a more confident English speaker?

1.

Practise speaking always. Anywhere, anytime practise speaking English, especially with persons who also practising to speak English. Insist that they speak in English to you.

2.

Think before you talk. You will develop the habit to speak confidently with simple English sentence structure that you know is grammatically correct and you get your message across.

3.

Try not to respond with sign language. Respond appropriately using short answers and responses, for example, use: Yes, please; thank you, yes I’m or no I’m not, excuse me please, I beg your pardon and so on. Do not be shy. The more you speak, the more confident you become.

4.

Try not to translate into and from your own language. This can be habit forming and you slow down your leaning and responses.

5.

Do not speak fast! Use the natural rhythm so that people understand and respond to you appropriately. This is a common mistake made while on the phone.

6.

Use “fillers” and repair strategies when communicating. Examples: Um..er..well..oh… as I was saying, as you can see, actually, let me se… and so on.

7.

Relax when you speak. When you relax you mouth will find the way for you to correctly pronounce words.

Students who speak English at home and often speak English with their friends find the learning of conversational English fun and easy. However, there are students can manage to communicate in English but may speak with a strong accent influenced by their mother tongue, often translating directly from mother-tongue language.

Constant listening and speaking practice and integrated learning of the four skills need to be encouraged.