Sunday, January 22, 2012
Nama: Adi Thio Anugrah Npm: 10211210624 Class: 3 B Why Public Speaking is Important Public speaking is one of the most under rated skills learned in school, yet is one of the most valuable. The way you communicate shows a lot about you, and can influence other’s opinions of you. In every profession communication in some way is used and important. Good communication skills, no matter what you plan to do in life, will help you out greatly and improve your chances against a harsh job market. I am majoring in Business Administration and Law, and communication is one of the biggest parts of business and law, yet communication is hardly ever taught in business classes for my major. I think that a communications class like public speaking, for example, should be not just for a college class, but taught in high school and middle school as well. I believe several classes would allow anyone to become an expert speaking. The only way to fully learn public speaking is to get up in front of people and talk to them. One can not learn public speaking from a book. One’s career, school life, and even socializing are affected by communication. If you do not know how to communicate, you probably do not have many friends. Communication has been used since the days of the cavemen. When the cavemen learned to communicate they greatly increased their hunting potential. When they learned to communicate on the hunt and before the hunt, they caught much more game then when they were just randomly running after the animals with spears. There are many things you can do to ensure that your verbal messages are understood Time and time again. Although somewhat obvious and deceptively simple, these include: • Keep the message clear. • Be prepared. • Keep the message simple. • Be vivid when delivering the message. • Be natural. • Keep the message concise. Preparation is underrated. In fact, it is one of the most important factors in determining your communication successes. When possible, set meeting times and speaking and presentation times well in advance, thus allowing yourself the time you need to prepare your communications, mindful of the entire communication process (source, encoding, channel, decoding, receiver, feedback and context). By paying close attention to each of these stages and preparing accordingly, you ensure your communications will be more effective and better understood. Of course, not all communications can be scheduled. In this case, preparation may mean having a good, thorough understanding of the office goings-on, enabling you to communicate with the knowledge you need to be effective, both through verbal and written communications. Ask yourself: Who? What? How? When? Where? Why? Who are you speaking to? What are their interests, presuppositions and values? What do they share in common with others; how are they unique? What do you wish to communicate? One way of answering this question is to ask yourself about the 'success criteria'. How do you know if and when you have successfully communicated what you have in mind? How can you best convey your message? Language is important here, as are the nonverbal cues discussed earlier. Choose your words and your nonverbal cues with your audience in mind. Plan a beginning, middle and end. If time and place allow, consider and prepare audio-visual aids. When? Timing is important here. Develop a sense of timing, so that your contributions are seen and heard as relevant to the issue or matter at hand. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. 'It's better to be silent than sing a bad tune.' Where? What is the physical context of the communication in mind? You may have time to visit the room, for example, and rearrange the furniture. Check for availability and visibility if you are using audio or visual aids. Why? In order to convert hearers into listeners, you need to know why they should listen to you – and tell them if necessary. What disposes them to listen? That implies that you know yourself why you are seeking to communicate – the value or worth or interest of what you are going to say. Be concise. Be brief. Use short words and sentences. Where appropriate, support these with short, easy-to-understand examples, which help demonstrate your message. Speaking is fundamental to human communication Just think of all the different conversations you have in one day and compare that with how much written communication you do in one day. Which do you do more of? In our daily lives most of us speak more than we write, yet many English teachers still spend the majority of class time on reading and writing practice almost ignoring speaking and listening skills. Do you think this is a good balance? If the goal of your language course is truly to enable your students to communicate in English, then speaking skills should be taught and practised in the language classroom. Dealing with common arguments against teaching speaking skills in the classroom Students won't talk or say anything One way to tackle this problem is to find the root of the problem and start from there. If the problem is cultural, that is in your culture it is unusual for students to talk out loud in class, or if students feel really shy about talking in front of other students then one way to go about breaking this cultural barrier is to create and establish your own classroom culture where speaking out loud in English is the norm. One way to do this is to distinguish your classroom from other classrooms in your school by arranging the classroom desks differently, in groups instead of lines etc. or by decorating the walls in English language and culture posters. From day one teach your students classroom language and keep on teaching it and encourage your students to ask for things and to ask questions in English. Giving positive feedback also helps to encourage and relax shy students to speak more. Another way to get students motivated to speak more is to allocate a percentage of their final grade to speaking skills and let the students know they are being assessed continually on their speaking practice in class throughout the term. A completely different reason for student silence may simply be that the class activities are boring or are pitched at the wrong level. Very often our interesting communicative speaking activities are not quite as interesting or as communicative as we think they are and all the students are really required to do is answer 'yes' or 'no' which they do quickly and then just sit in silence or worse talking noisily in their L1. So maybe you need to take a closer look at the type of speaking activities you are using and see if they really capture student interest and create a real need for communication. (Why not try out some of the speaking activities on this web site). Another way to encourage your students to speak in English is simply to speak in English yourself as much as possible in class. If you are shy about speaking in English, how can you expect your students to overcome their fears about speaking English? Don't worry if you are not completely fluent or don't have that elusive perfect native accent, as Swain (1985) wrote "We learn to speak by speaking" and that goes for teachers as well as students. The more you practise the more you will improve your own oral skills as well as help your students improve theirs. When students work in pairs or groups they just end up chatting in their own language. Is the activity or task pitched at the right level for the students? Make sure you give the students all the tools and language they need to be able to complete the task. If the language is pitched too high they may revert to their L1, likewise if the task is too easy they may get bored and revert to their L1. Also, be aware of the fact that some students especially beginners, will often use their L1 as an emotional support at first, translating everything word for word to check they have understood the task before attempting to speak. In the case of these students simply be patient as most likely once their confidence grows in using English their dependence on using their L1 will begin to disappear. Are all the students actively involved and is the activity interesting? If students do not have something to say or do, or don't feel the need to speak, you can be sure it won't be long before they are chatting away in their L1. Was the timing of the activity good? The timing of a speaking activity in a class can be crucial sometimes. How many teachers have discovered that their speaking activity ended up as a continuation of the students break-time gossip conducted in the L1? After break-time, why not try giving students an activity to calm them down and make them focus before attempting speaking activities that involve groups or pair work. Another way to discourage students speaking in their L1 is to walk around the classroom monitoring their participation and giving support and help to students as they need it. If certain students persist in speaking in the L1 then perhaps you should ask them to stay behind after class and speak to them individually and explain to them the importance of speaking English and ask them why they don't feel comfortable speaking in English in the class. Maybe they just need some extra reassurance or they don't like working with certain students or there is some other problem that you can help them to resolve. When all the students speak together it gets too noisy and out of hand and I lose control of the classroom First of all separate the two points a noisy classroom and an out-of-control classroom. A classroom full of students talking and interacting in English, even if it is noisy, is exactly what you want. Maybe you just feel like you are losing control because the class is suddenly student centred and not teacher centred. This is an important issue to consider. Learner-centred classrooms where learners do the talking in groups and learners have to take responsibility for using communicative resources to complete a task are shown to be more conducive to language learning than teacher-centred classes (Long & Richards 1987). Nevertheless, many classrooms all over the world continue to be teacher centred, so the question you have to ask yourself is, how learner centred is my classroom? Losing control of the classroom, on the other hand, is a different issue. Once again walking around and monitoring the students as they are working in groups can help, as you can naturally move over to the part of the classroom where the noise is coming from and calm the rogue students down and focus them back on the task without disrupting the rest of the students who are working well in their groups. If students really get too rowdy then simply change the pace of the class and type of activity to a more controlled task, for example a focus on form or writing task where students have to work in silence individually. Once the students have calmed down you can return to the original or another interactive group activity. Conclusion These are just some of the problems that teachers with large classes face when teaching speaking activities in the classroom. These problems are not new nor are the solutions offered above. Teachers all over the world continue to face the same hurdles, but any teacher who has overcome these difficulties and now has a large class of energetic students talking and working in English in groups together will tell you it is worth all the trial and error and effort at the outset. If you believe in the importance of teaching speaking skills in the classroom but are having difficulties making speaking activities work in your classroom why not contact your local teaching associations or branch of TESOL. Maybe they run workshops for teaching speaking skills, or maybe they can put you in contact with other teachers in similar situations but with more experience teaching speaking skills who will be willing to share their experiences with you.