Students’ speaking skills

Speaking is naturally the first step in learning a language. However, it is essential to progressively link it with the learning of the written language and to rely on visual and textual supports as well as on classroom situations that justify the use of the written language.

While it is appropriate, over time, to introduce pupils to all types of discourse, storytelling is particularly appropriate throughout the curriculum and from the very beginning of learning. Its progressive mastery makes the transition from school to college easier. Narration is a good support for the construction of continuous discourse thanks, in particular, to the exercise of reformulation or paraphrasing.

Expressing yourself orally:-

Prerequisites :

Importance of Language Awareness and Regular Exposure to Authentic Language Music

In order to raise awareness of the musicality and prosody of the language, it is essential from the very first lessons, but also throughout the course, to encourage the use of the voice through text rehearsals (rhymes, nursery rhymes, poems, songs, etc.). This awareness of rhythmic patterns through gestures or nomadic media for example is of course not to be dissociated from access to the meaning of the texts. It is indeed important to always relate sound forms to meaning by presenting the elements of language in context.

Teacher’s posture

Regardless of the age of the students, the teacher will be led to :

 

  • build student confidence and encourage risk-taking;
  • give importance to what the student says, be interested in what the student wants to say, and encourage initiative in the classroom;
  • accept silence, which is useful for reflection and for mobilizing what has been learned;
  • accept statements that are more or less well argued and nuanced according to the level of each individual;
  • do not stigmatize the use of a wrong term or expression;
  • encourage inter-correction, reformulation, paraphrasing, frequent individual or group repetition once the structures have been corrected or enriched… ;
  • to support the pupils’ speeches with lexical and grammatical contributions; to be attentive to the quality of pronunciation and to ensure the progressive development of these speeches;
  • help students to construct effective discourse using appropriate strategies rather than restricting the learning of oral expression to simple class participation;
  • calibrate expectations in both practice and assessment.

Teacher presenting on a board

The stages of the course

Respect the reactivation time (restart at the beginning of the session).

This moment of verification of prior learning involves specifying and organizing the student’s personal work beforehand, which can be supported by a structured written record. The implementation of language automatisms associated with memorization facilitates the work of restitution and transfer operations. This restitution at the beginning of the session is essential:

  • for the teacher who can thus evaluate the efficiency of his preparations and the work of the students;
  • for the pupils themselves, who can feel more confident in expressing themselves on the basis of what they know and can thus become aware of the path they have travelled and the avenues of progress they have made.

To propose learning situations that motivate speaking and bring together the linguistic, cultural and pragmatic components of communication.

 

  • Diversify communication situations using a variety of culturally rich and varied media, putting students in a position to appropriate the different types of discourse as well as the appropriate posture;
  • accompany the student: from simple reproduction to guided appropriation to freer reuse in various situations;
  • encourage the use of periphrase in order to train students to mobilize all their knowledge to meet the needs of communication;
  • manage heterogeneity by giving students time to construct responses by giving differentiated tasks as needed;
  • vary communication patterns in the classroom (interaction between students, students and teacher…) and create varied speaking situations (interaction, continuous oral expression) that give everyone the opportunity to express themselves ;
  • to develop the expression of increasingly argued and nuanced points of view and to work, at the same time, on correction and linguistic richness ;
  • distinguish between continuous oral expression (presentation, assessment of research or group work, etc.) and interactive oral expression through the speech situations created;

Introduce intermediate assessment phases:

For the teacher, this is an opportunity to check understanding and validate the production.

For the student, it is an opportunity to make sure that he or she understands, to consolidate the expressions essential to the communication situation and to begin to memorize them.

End the session with a synthesis phase

It allows to recapitulate and formalize the cultural, intercultural and linguistic achievements which will be the subject of personal work and individual or collective reminder at the next session. It is indeed essential to fix and memorize what has been co-constructed during the session: the cultural assets in relation to the programmes and the language resources used in class.

At the crossroads between written and oral expression, the voicing of a document is interesting because it attests to a good understanding of the text.

Expressing yourself in writing

It is a skill to be built up over time. It requires specific and regular training and is not limited to copying or end-of-sequence assessment.

In elementary school, it is introduced very gradually, in the concrete context of classroom situations or in direct connection with the imaginary.

 

Written expression is constructed in articulation with oral expression, particularly in the phone/graphics relationship, and requires lexical, grammatical and cultural knowledge and skills. The approach is one of progressive complexity and constant cultural and formal enrichment.

 

It is also nourished by reading habits of various genres in order to grasp their formal and linguistic codes. It is therefore important to train students to produce various types of writing with a defined objective known to them (short postcard, e-mail, short poem, description, narration, argumentation, etc.).

The situations of written expression can be diverse:

 

  • they can be used to synthesize moments of exchange;
  • written expression can be collaborative, in particular thanks to video-projected word processing. It is then possible to take into account the contributions of each person, to order them and to work on morphosyntax and linguistic enrichment;
  • starting from a known framework, written expression can facilitate transfers and give the possibility of appropriating various styles by writing “à la manière de”. It also encourages creativity.
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