El sistema educativo español siempre ha adolecido de una falta de interés a la hora de hacer hincapié en una de las destrezas más importantes a la hora de aprender una lengua: el speaking. Y es que no se hablaba inglés en clase, o no se le daba la importancia que se merecía.
Raquel Díaz, directora de nuestro centro de Moratalaz, nos explica algunas de las razones, compartidas por todos los estudiantes de inglés, de por qué esa falta de seguridad cuando se habla, con las que seguro que os sentís identificados.
Many English students complain that they understand English but don’t feel confident enough to join a conversation. There are a number of reasons for this:
– Students are trying to translate from their native language into English.
– Production “blocking” is occurring due to nervousness, lack of confidence, etc.
– The speaker is looking for a specific word, rather than using simple language to describe what is meant.
– Students feel frustration and fear of making mistakes.
– There aren’t enough conversation opportunities in or outside of class.
– Exam preparation focuses on grammar, vocabulary, etc and leaves little time for active use.
– The unique personality of each student can also be one reason: not all the learners are equally talkative. In addition, their background and the abilities they have automatically acquired in their mother tongue influence considerably on the type of speech they are capable of making in English.
There are a lot of possibilities for appropriate activities to improve speaking skills. In order to evaluate these activities, the teacher needs to be prepared and know what to focus on in the exercise as it is in progress, and also listen to the students’ opinions since they know if they have learned anything or not.
Some of these activities could be:
- Telling stories.
- Describing persons or places in detail.
- Problem solving.
There are also some techniques that teachers can use in order to encourage speaking:
– Rephrasing the learner’s statements.
– Asking questions about the topic.
– Introducing new topics to encourage the learner to go on talking.
– Using body language to acknowledge what the students have said, or to provide empathy.
– Check understanding.
It is both the teachers’ and the students’ responsibility to create a friendly atmosphere were speaking is possible. Motivation is an important issue to be dealt when learning a language, and especially when improving speaking skills: students will often participate in conversations rather than listen silently if they are aware of the importance of the language, even more if they need to use it.