Teach English in QinjiAping Linchang - Shiyan Shi

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The productive skills, in my definition are skills that require the students to articulate or produce words, sounds, speeches, or sentences either in written or typed form. The productive skills are speaking and writing. The productive skills are essential, and are needed for communicative purpose in our day to day activities. There are other skills being taught in English language, which are reading and listening (receptive skills). However, while these other skills are important, the most important of them is the productive skills, particularly the speaking skill. This is because for an effective communication and understanding to occur between individuals, they must be able to speak a common language. On the contrary, most schools at the primary and secondary level focus on the reading and writing skills more. For instance, in country like China, much emphasis is placed on the reading and writing skills, at the expense of the speaking skill. To teach the speaking skill, there are steps and procedures that must be followed depending on the language level of the students. Additionally, the intention or the aspect of the speaking skill (accuracy and fluency) to be improved must be defined beforehand. While both aspects are important and needed to be improved, they have to be done in succession. Before teaching speaking in classroom, it is important that the teacher create an atmosphere where the students are relaxed and are not afraid of making mistakes with the language, because one of the reasons why students do not speak or interact in classroom is the fear of making mistakes, which in turn affects their confidence to speak. And once the students does not feel confident enough to practice the language in classroom, it becomes more difficult to speak it outside the classroom. Also the students must enjoy communicating with the teacher and the other students as well. Some of the tips, steps and procedure to follow when teaching speaking in the classroom, when the focus is on fluency, are creating communicative activities like free role play, discussions, short debates depending on the students’ level, short story telling, information gap where the student will have to say the answer to a question, etc. When the focus is on improving accuracy while encouraging the students to speak, some of the activities that can be used are choral and individual drilling, prompting, model dialogues and role-play guided by the teacher. In addition to the above mentioned tips, there are other techniques that can be used by the teacher to further reinforce speaking in the classroom. Some of these are, making students to work in pairs, work in groups, having lot of controlled and guided activities to help students improve their accuracy and to know the needed words before the speaking activities, changing the student arrangement and dynamics, making the speaking activities purposeful and choosing speaking activities and topics that interest the students. Using one or mix of these methods will definitely help the teacher develop and hone the students’ speaking skill. The need for the speaking skill cannot be over-emphasized as most students will at one point or the other be faced with the need to really communicative in English language, and at that point the reading or writing skill may not be useful to communicate. Hence it is important for teachers to pay more attention to this skill in the classroom and help the students develop this needed skill, because once the students develop the confidence to speak in the classroom, then it will become easy to be able to speak and communicate outside the classroom.