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Introduction

Nowadays English has reached a high value as a global language. It became the main
language in many crucial fields such as: economy banking diplomacy industry…etc. harmer
(2003) claims that English has become a lingua franca, although it is not the language with the
largest number of native or first language speakers. He also explains:” a lingua franca can be
defined as a language widely adopted for communication between two speakers whose native
languages are different”.
The speaking skill seems to be the most wanted and likely the most difficult skill the learners
of English prefer to master. A prominent proof for that may be that the learners spent years
studying English but they cannot speak it effectively. Nunan (1991) support this statement when
he states that to most people, mastering the art of speaking is the single most important aspect of
learning a second foreign language, and success is measured in items of the ability to carry out a
conversation in the language. Richards goes the same stream, he says:” The mastery of
speaking skill in English is priority for many Second-language or foreign-language learners”
p19. Therefore, learning English is measured by the learners’ success and effectiveness in their
spoken language proficiency at first.
1- Speaking definition
Speaking is the ability to use language features and engage in the exchange of ideas and
expressions using the language. According to Nunan ‘2003), “speaking the productive
aural/oral skill and it consists of producing verbal utterances to convey meaning”. This means
that speaking is considered as the most basic language skill as well as listening, and it is earned
through forming habits. Burns & Joyce (1997) see the speaking as the interactive process of
constructing meaning that involves producing, receiving and processing information. That may
be shown on the daily conversations people engage in and interact in processes of asking and
answering, commenting and agreeing and disagreeing, so that gathering information about the
surrounding environment. Alternatively, According to oxford dictionary of current English
(2009), “speaking is the action of conveying information or expressing one’s thoughts and
feelings in spoken language”. In other words, that means a way to interact and know about
others and let others know about yourself.
2- The importance
The importance of speaking is reflected on its spread currently. That is, most learners tend to
learn and master advantageously the speaking of any wanted language, and the fact that knowing
a language is mostly referred to the speakers of that language. However, Bygate stresses to the
importance of speaking when he says “It is also a medium through which much language is
leant, and which for many is particularly conductive for learning” (vii). In other view,
Richards (2008) claims that “courses of speaking skill has a prominent place in language
program around the world today” (1). He continues by explaining that, “ever-growing needs for
fluency in English around the world because of its role of English as the world’s international
language has given priority to finding more effective ways to teach English” (1). Another
reason for that, many previous theoretical methods had an eye on speaking as a basis to build
their distinctive theory which served language learning in better way later. Accordingly, Sarosdy
et. Al (2006) claim that:
The importance of speaking has always been recognized but the various methods put
different degrees of emphasis on it. In Cognitive code learning immediate oral
communication had little significance while in Direct method immediate communication
was a must. In Berlitz method oral communication had commercial purpose so in the
above mentioned two methods linguistic structures were subordinated to communicative
purposes. In Audio-lingual method based on pattern drills bottom-up approach could be
observed .p57
3- Speaking vs Listening
The speaking and the listening skills may be strongly connected from the beginning of learning
a language. A baby starts to interact with language learning environment through hearing people
first, then imitates and develops that to speaking the first words.
In addition, according to Brown (2001), “from a communicative, pragmatic view of language
classroom, listening and speaking are closely intertwined” (267). This sheds the light on the
importance of always making these two skill connected and not dealing with speaking in isolation.
Thus, that what Thornbury (2005) emphasizes” speaking always assumes a listener, whether
physically present or at the other end of the line” (118). In other words, it is more effectively that
the speaking should be integrated with the other skills in syllabuses, especially the listening skill.
That is, listening plays a big role in enriching the learner’s spoken competence with new grammar
and vocabulary.
4- Speaking vs writing
As belonging to the productive section, the writing and the speaking skills share the same
feature of producing ideas and feelings to audience. However, there are distinctive differences
between speaking and writing. Van lier (1995) claims that speaking differs from writing in that
speaking gives auditory information formed in speech, whereas writing provides visual
information shown on papers. In addition, unlike writing that is designed for unknown or absent
audience, so that there will be delayed or no feedback, in speaking there is audience that can
interrupt, comment and question, so that feedback is instant. Besides, speech is temporary and
writing is permanent. Furthermore, in speaking there is prosody (rhythm, stress, and intonation)
while writing focuses more on punctuation. However, as a speaker, planning and editing speech
are limited compared to writing (88).
Wray (1999) reports that fewer formulaic phrases are found in writing than in speech (227-
228). However, although speaking sounds more chaotic and disorganized than writing, speakers
has the feature of buying time in turn-taking through using structuring devices and gap fillers.
5- Aspects of speaking
Improving the speaking skill involves the awareness of two typical features that lead to better
language control and performance. Fluency and accuracy are very important in language oral
proficiency. Brown (2001) states that an issue pervades all of language performance centers on the
distinction between accuracy and fluency (268).
Fluency
According to Longman dictionary (2002), “fluency is the features which give speech the
qualities of being natural and normal, including native-like use of pausing, rhythm, intonation,
stress, rate of speaking, and use of interjections and interruptions” (204).Nunan (2003) says
“Fluency is the extent to which speakers use the language quickly and confidently, with few
hesitations or unnatural pauses, false starts, word searches, etc.”(55). that means to engage in
conversations and speak fast and assertively with less stops between ideas and sentences or
confusion. In other words, fluency is the ability to keep going when speaking is spontaneously,
regardless of grammatical and other mistakes (Gower et. Al, 100). Alternatively, Richards(2006)
says “Fluency is natural language use occurring when a speaker engages in meaningful
interaction and maintains comprehensible and ongoing communication despite limitations in
his or her communicative competence”(14). This stresses that in fluency the accurate use of
grammar and vocabulary and pronunciation is not a big deal, the focus is mainly on going on
stream and continue talking without hesitations. However, Thornbury (2005) explained more about
that, he says” speed is a factor,but it is by no means the only- or even the most important-one”
(6-7). In more words, He says that pausing has equal importance to speed while frequent pausing
is a sign of struggling speaker (7).
Fluency is developed by creating classroom activities in which students must negotiate
meaning, use communication strategies, correct misunderstandings, and work to avoid
communication breakdowns( Richards: 2006, 14).
Accuracy
According to Longman dictionary (2002), accuracy refers to the ability to produce
grammatically correct sentences but may not include the ability to speak or write fluently (204).
That is, it focuses more on knowing and producing grammar rather than fluent oral production.
Nunan (2003) says “Accuracy is the extent to which student’s speech matches what people
actually say when they use the target language” (55). This means the ability to produce language
accurate and can conform the language used by people of that language. In other words, it refers
to the ability to use correct forms where utterances do not contain errors that may affect the
phonological, syntactic, and semantic or discourse features of language.
It is clear that fluency and accuracy are both important goals to pursue CLT. While fluency
may in many communicative language courses be an initial goal in language teaching, accuracy is
achieved to some extent by allowing students to focus on the elements of phonology, grammar and
discourse in their spoken output (Brown:2001, p268). Therefore, Accuracy and Fluency should be
seen as complementary to each other rather than taken in isolation or putting more focus on one
side only.
6- Types of speaking
Brown (2004) has put a taxonomy of five types for oral production that students are expected
to carry out in the classroom. According to him, the oral production performance in classroom
takes five types, which are: imitative speaking, intensive, responsive, interactive and extensive
(141-142).
a- Imitative:
According to Brown, this type is to imitate and parrot back a word or a sentence. The focus is
mainly on pronunciation, with not much attention to the learner’s ability to understand or convey
meaning, and taking part in interactive conversations. However, the basic role of listening here is
the short-term storage of a prompt, just long enough that the speaker retains the needed stretches
of language for imitation.
b- Intensive:
This second type is based mainly on the production of short stretches of oral language that is
designed to demonstrate competence in a narrow band of grammatical, phrasal, lexical or
phonological relationships (intonation, stress, rhythm). Thus, the speaker must be aware of
semantic properties in order to be able to respond, however, the interaction with interlocutors is
minimal. Example for that are: reading aloud, sentence and dialogue completion and translation of
simple sentences (Brown, p 141).
c- Responsive:
Brown (2004) reports that responsive tasks include interaction and comprehension, but limited
to short conversation, standard greetings and small talks, and simple requests and comments. Some
example are shown as follows:
A. Marry: Excuse me, do you have the times?
Doug: Yeah. Nine-fifteen.
B. T: what is the most urgent environmental problem today?
S: I would say massive deforestation.
C. Jeff: Hey, Stef, How’s it going?
Stef: Not bad, and yourself?
Jeff: I’m good.
Stef: Cool, Okay, gotta go. (Brown: 2004, p141)

d- Interactive:
Brown stresses out to the difference between responsive and interactive speaking. That is, the
length and complexity of interaction distinguish one types from another, in which more exchanges
and individuals are involved. Basically, there are two forms of interaction: transactional language,
which aims at exchanging specific information (like in conversation A and B above). A second
form is interpersonal language, which targets at maintaining social relationships (like in
conversation C above). However, colloquial language and slang may be used at this level (Brown:
2004, p142).
e- Extensive
For Brown (2004), this types may include speeches, oral presentations, and story-telling, with
limited interaction from listeners. Besides, language style is planned and formal (p142).
7- Classroom speaking activities
In the classroom, teachers are supposed to create a warm atmosphere that may help students to
feel comfortable and engage smoothly in the classroom activities. In other words, effective
teachers are the key for successful students. However, encouraging students to take part in
speaking activities is very important. Harmer (1998) mentions three basic reasons why
encouraging students to do speaking tasks is important. According to him, there are three basic
reason why it is good idea to give students speaking tasks:
Reasons why using speaking activities:
a- Rehearsal:
Harmer says “ this is not the same as practice in which more detailed study takes place; instead
it is a way for students to ‘get the feel’ of what communicating in foreign language really feels
like”(p87). Therefore, giving students a free discussion task will rise their chances to have
discussions outside the classroom and the same goes with using role-play, which can embody real-
life events with the safety of classroom that help students rehearse.
b- Feedback:
Using speaking tasks would serve both the teacher and students as well. That is, teachers can
know how well their classroom is doing and what are the weak points of their students.
Alternatively, students can take a look at the different speaking tasks and know what fit them as
well as what they need to fix and improve. In addition, those tasks can also rise their self-
confidence so that they encourage them towards further study (p88).
c- Engagement:
The speaking activities can be a high motivation. More specifically, effective and proper
activities set by the teacher added to that students have the feeling of participating more, all this
will lead to satisfactory results (Harmer, p88).
Next, we will mention some classroom activities that can enhance the speaking skill. Although
there is a plenty of activities and the fact that many scholars differ in dividing and classifying them,
we limited it to mention only four effective activities:
Information gaps, discussion, role-plays and simulation.
1- Information gaps
According to Nunan (2003), it is a useful activity in which a person has information that the
other lacks and to share that information they have to use the target language. For example, one
student has the direction to party and must give them to a classmate (p56). That is, it encourages
the students to interact with each other and use the target language which can enhance their
language proficiency. However, Harmer (1998) defines it as an activity where two speakers have
different parts of information making up a whole, because they have different pieces of
information. Which means there is a gap between them. He continues saying that one popular
information-gap activity is called ‘Describe and Draw’ where one student has a picture of
something, so that the others draw the picture without seeing the original one, the picture owner
will give instructions and descriptions.
2- Discussion
Discussion requires interaction between students. Harmer (2001) reports that one of the reasons
that discussions fail (if they fail) is that students are reluctant to give an opinion in front of the
whole class (p272). This might be due to les self-confidence or students have nothing to think of.
Scrivener (2005) claims that fluency and confidence are important goals for such activity (p146).
However, Harmer (2001) suggests a solution to avoid reluctance of students in the classroom.
According to him, Buzz group can fix that problem (p272). That is, students have a chance for
quick discussion in small groups before any of them are asked to speak in public. In other word,
this will help them to have chance to think and organize their ideas and language which can
decrease their stress.
Another way that helps students respond fluently and immediately is to insert instant comments
which involve showing them photographs or introducing topics and ad asking them to say what
firstly comes to their minds (Harmer: 1998, p 273). Nevertheless, Thornbury (2005) suggests
alternative forms of discussion such us: warm-up discussion, in which the teacher asks successive
questions about the topic that may target the students’ knowledge about the current discussed topic
and make it easier to take. Furthermore, Balloon debate is another form which has the idea of a
group of people are travelling in a basket of a balloon, unfortunately, the balloon cannot take their
height, there is a leak, and unless someone leaves the balloon , they will all die. Then, the students
engage in a discussion and think up of arguments why they should be the survivors. After that,
everyone votes who should jump and so on till there is a sole survivor. However, students may
represent occupations rather than characters (Harmer: 2001, p 273).
3- Role-play
Nunan (2003) describes role-plays are an excellent activity for speaking in relatively safe
environment of the classroom (p57). Then, he defines it as a situation in which students are given
particular roles in the target language. For instance, one student plays a tourist telephoning the
police to report his wallet stolen, and another student plays a police officer trying to help the tourist.
However, role-plays are very important for student to practice their language. Harmer (1998) says
that” Role-play is more than just play-acting: it offers chances for rehearsal and engagement that
some other activities fail to give” (p94).
4- Simulation
Nunan (2003) considers it more elaborate than role-plays (p57). In simulation, students simulate
a real-life encounter as if they were doing so in the real world, such as interview, stuck in the lifter,
on plane…etc. (Harmer: 2001). In other word, simulation is to act out an event you may encounter
in real life and try to describe what happens and how you will deal with the different problems you
face, all based on imagination. Nevertheless, Thornbury (2005) distinguishes between role-play
and simulation. He says that role-play involves the adoption of another persona. However, in
simulation, students play themselves in a simulated situation (p98).
Alternatively, Harmer (2001) mentions three advantages of role-play and simulation. He says:
Simulation and role-play went through a period of relative unpopularity, yet this is a pity
since they have three advantages. In first place they can be good fun and thus motivating.
Second, they allow hesitant students to be more forthright in their opinions and behaviour
than they might be when speaking for themselves, since they do not have to take the same
responsibility for what they are saying. Third, by broadening the world of the classroom
to include the world outside, they allow students to use a much wider range of language
than some more task-centered activities may do. (p275)
8- Teacher’s role
Teachers can play many different roles in the classroom. That is, they change their activities
according to the situation being held. Although the traditional known role of the teacher is the
facilitator, who help students and make things very clear and easy, the teacher can take many other
roles, such as controller, organizer, assessor, prompter, participant and resource.
a- Controller
According to Brown (2001), the controller is sometimes expected in traditional educational
instructions. That master who is always in charge of every moment in the classroom. Thus,
controllers take the roll, tell students things, organize things, read aloud (harmer: 2003). In other
words, controllers determine what students should do, when they should speak and what language
they should use in the classroom.
However, this somehow can be negative if the focus is more on the teacher. That is, when the
teacher takes the control over the classroom, it may prevent the students from reaching their
learning environment and also reduce the chances for students to speak and interact as well as it
may decrease the variety in using classroom activities (Harmer: 2003, p58). Therefore, a wise
controller should take the lead when it is necessary. This involves many situations such as: when
announcements have to be made, restoring order, giving explanations and when the teacher is
leading a question-answer session.
b- Organizer
It is considered one of the most important roles that teachers perform. Thus, organizing students
to do several activities, which may include giving the students information, telling them the way
to do activities, dividing them into pairs and groups and finishing the session when time is up.
Clearly, teachers should do that in order to avoid students’ misunderstandings about activities,
chaos in classroom and wasting time Harmer: 2003, p58).
c- Assessor
A big part of the teacher’s role is to assess the students’ performances, giving feedback and
correction, and grading the students. Besides, students should be informed about what and how
they are being assessed in order to give them the ability to measure their performance and result.
Sárosdy et. Al (2006) distinguishes between two kinds of feedback. First, content-feedback that is
related to how well students performed the activity as an activity rather than as a language exercise.
Second, form-feedback in which students are informed on how well they performed in terms of
accurate language. Therefore, content-feedback comes first then the teacher should decide when
form-feedback is appropriate and when it is not (p27).
d- Prompter
The main role of a prompter is to encourage the students to engage in classroom activities and
give suggestions in order to help students to advance in activities. However, the prompter should
act sensitively and encouragingly paying attention to not being too severe, so that not taking the
work from students, and not too hesitant so that not lacking on the amount of encouragement (p60).
e- Participant
Unlike the traditional view to teachers of staying back in classroom activities, the modern view
sees that teachers should not be afraid to participate in certain activities. Accordingly, Harmer
(2003) says that there are good reasons why teachers might be participants in discussion, mostly
when they can brighten things from inside rather than always having to prompt or organize from
outside. On the other hand, teachers should avoid taking part in role-play and group works, because
that may lead to lack of monitoring and performing the other roles.
f- Resource
Teachers should be wisely available for their students for advice, counsel and information.
Although concerning information, nowadays, may be limited because of the internet. According
to Harmer (2003), teacher should be available and helpful when acting as source, but at the same
time they should be aware of not being too much providers so that students become over-reliant
on them (p61).
Conclusion:
In this chapter, we focused on the speaking skill and its importance. Besides, we reported the main Commented [1]: roles of teacher
differences between speaking and listening at first, then between speaking and writing at second.
Moreover, this chapter shed light on the two aspects of the speaking skill, which are fluency and
accuracy. After that, we turned towards mentioning the different types of oral performance in the
classroom as well as the needed activities to develop the oral proficiency. At the end, the different
roles teachers may perform in the classroom were mentioned. In the next chapter, the focus will
be on reviewing the self-confidence.