Communication Strategies in Speaking English as a Foreign

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Keywords second language acqusition communication strategies oral production ESL. instruction, Speaking a foreign language is a major part of communicating in that language Since LGY. 69 spoken English has received the same attention in teaching as the writing of English and. in the national tests today spoken English is considered 1 5 of the test grade However. students in many cases find it more difficult to speak English than to write it and some. teachers still focus more on writing and grammar than on speaking. In this essay I am trying to show how a group of fairly fluent students tackle the oral part of. their national test and what strategies they use to overcome linguistic difficulties In order to. do so I have filmed five groups and a total number of 17 students when they do the oral part. of their national tests in English in grade nine and also have the students fill out a. questionnaire about the experience The tests took place in March and April 2010. This essay shows that the most frequently used strategy is pauses unfilled and filled but that. for other strategies the individual differences are great It also shows that group dynamics play. an important role when doing the test and students who are not able to do the test with people. they normally talk to do worse in the test setting and that the performance of both boys and. girls suffer when being put in mixed groups,Table of contents. 1 Introduction 3,1 1 Aim and Scope 4,1 2 Background 5. 2 Method 9,2 1 Material 10,2 2 Data 11,3 Results 13. 3 1 Group 1 Anna and Linn 13,3 2 Group 2 Lisa Moa and Emelie 15.
3 3 Group 3 Anton Lukas Kristian and Jesper 16,3 4 Group 4 Daniel Linus Arina and Anja 19. 3 5 Group 5 Ted Ludde Martin and Sonja 20,3 6 Analysis of the questionnaire 21. 4 Discussion 22,5 Conclusion 24,6 References 25,7 Appendices 27. 7 1 Answers to the questionnaire 27,1 Introduction. I have worked as a middle school teacher for eight years now at the same school and I have. had the opportunity to follow a large number of students through their English progression. from sixth grade to ninth grade The students at our school are divided into groups according. to their proficiency level in English and the group I have been teaching for the last year and. have chosen to study is one of the top groups there is one more group above this one and. three groups below which means that all students should be fairly good at English One thing. that I have noted is that students in general are hesitant to speak English even if their skills in. reading listening and writing indicate that they should have the ability to perform as well in. speaking In the classroom exercises in oral communication are frequent and in addition the. students are instructed to speak English at all times but they constantly have to be reminded. to do so and some students speak Swedish all the time whereas others tend to switch to. Swedish when things get complicated No wonder then that fear of the oral part of the national. test manifests itself early and in some students this fear is very strong In order to relieve. some of this stress students are encouraged to practice their speaking skills in the classroom. but they are unwilling to do so claiming that it feels awkward to speak English to their. Swedish friends It is also sometimes difficult in my experience to get any help from their. parents in this matter since there still seems to be a misconception among some parents and. students alike that speaking English is not as important as writing reading and listening even. if this assumption has changed in later years with the internationalization of the world. 1 2 Aim and Scope, My aim in this study is to examine what strategies the students use during the oral part of the.
national test in English in order to understand how teachers can help the students to do their. best I am also trying to show how a group of students who are rather fluent in English. overcome linguistic difficulties when speaking English. The national test in English in grade nine consists of four parts namely listening. skills reading skills writing skills and speaking skills The listening reading and writing. parts usually go very well for most students and many of them perform better on these tests. than they do ordinarily in the classroom probably because they learn a lot of English outside. the classroom which the teacher has no control over and when they focus better like on the. national tests they are able to show these acquired skills The speaking part however creates. much stress among the students and many of them get lower results on these tests than they do. generally I have decided to look at different strategies that students use when they have to. speak English but also to have a look at what effect the group constellations have on the. students performances What I hope to achieve is an understanding for what the students go. through I can hopefully use this knowledge in the classroom when preparing the students in. the future and maybe to pass on some of that understanding to my colleagues so that even. their future students may benefit from it,1 2 Background. In 1807 it became possible to study English in Swedish schools but its status was low The. dominating languages in schools were French German Latin and Greek In the 1920s English. was considered equal to languages like German and French and with the end of WW II. German became less popular while English gained in popularity From the fall of 1946. English was introduced as the first foreign language to be learned in Swedish schools When. grundskolan the Swedish primary school was established in 1962 English became. compulsory and French and German were choices Flodin 2008 Also in 1962 standardized. tests in English were introduced which were replaced in 1994 by national tests In the. beginning the focus of English studies was on the written language which is still the case in. many countries today In LGY 69 however it was stressed that the spoken language should. receive the same attention as the written language and since then Sweden is considered one of. the best countries in the world when it comes to speaking English Most of us who were in. school during the 1970 s and 1980 s remember the language labs where you would practice. English pronunciation individually supervised by your teacher Since LPO 94 the national. tests in English include a speaking part The speaking part is today to be regarded as one fifth. of the total test grade, When learning a foreign language the language input that you receive has for a. long time been regarded as a very important part of learning the new language Some studies. for example Hart and Risley 1995 have looked at children acquiring their native language. and noticed that the quality of the language input the children get from their parents had a life. long impact on the language skills of those children This work was followed up by. Huttenlocher Vasilyeva Cymerman and Levine 2002 who showed that teachers in. classrooms could improve the students language skills by using a more complex speech It. was even suggested that children should develop oral skills before learning how to read and. write the language and that if a student only had enough quality input from the language they. would automatically perform quality output Recently however language output in itself has. been regarded as an important part of second language learning Language output is often. used to assess what the children have learned like in answers to questions from the teacher. either oral or written But language output has recently been looked at as a learning process. in its own right where students test their output skills and learn from the feedback they get. Van Patten 2003 talks about two processes in language output access and production. strategies First the student has to search his memory for the vocabulary he needs and the. student has to make an effort to put the words together in a grammatically correct sentence. This requires a large effort from the student since the process is not yet automated A study by. Swain 2005 showed that even if students of a second language receive a lot of good input. their speaking and writing skills were still not as good as those students who had the language. as their native tongue It has since been suggested that trying to produce the second language. in speaking and writing is essential to learning to use the language Swain also suggested that. the students when trying to produce the second language realize from the feedback they get. what additional information they need, According to Nakatani 2006 communication strategies can be divided in two. types Achievement or compensatory strategies where a student tries different solutions in. order to achieve working communication and reduction or avoidance strategies where a. student gives up when the first attempt on communication fails the former strategy being. more successful for the student Through the use of questionnaires in a group of Japanese. university students their strategies for coping with speaking problems during communicative. tasks Nakatani 2006 p 154 were examined and eight factors were distinguished The first. factor or The Social Affective Factor contained students who do not appear nervous and. avoid pauses in order to give a nice appearance and they are not too worried about mistakes. The second factor or The Fluency Oriented Factor contained students who listen a lot to the. sound of the language and imitate it in order to make their speech clearer and easier to. understand They also take their time to speak so that they do not say things that are. inappropriate in the context The third factor or The Negotiation for Meaning While. Speaking Factor contained students who need the people they speak with because they look. to them all the time and repeat and rephrase until the listeners understand what they mean. The fourth factor or The Accuracy Oriented Factor contained students who are very. concerned about using the proper forms and who self correct in order to achieve grammatical. correctness Factor five or The Message Reduction and Alteration Factor included students. who when they can not express something change it into an easier expression in order to. keep communication going if their first attempt was not understood Factor six or The. Nonverbal Strategies While Speaking Factor included students who use nonverbal. expressions such as gestures or facial expressions in order to help the listener understand what. they are trying to say Factor seven or The Message Abandonment Factor includes students. who when the first attempt of communication fails give up trying or let others continue The. eighth and last factor or The Attempt to Think in English Factor include students who try to. think in English instead of making up the sentences in their native tongue and then translate. them into English Corresponding strategies were found in the listening part of the. conversation In testing the use of the different strategies Nakatani found that the high oral. proficiency students tended to make more use of the Social affective strategies fluency. oriented strategies and negotiation for meaning while speaking strategies while the low oral. proficiency students used Message abandonment strategies and Less active listener strategies. more Nakatani 2006, Jasone Cenoz 1998 has investigated the use of pauses as a strategy in foreign. language production Pauses and hesitation have been regarded as a problem when speaking a. second language but according to Cenoz pauses can have several functions. 1 to allow the speaker to breathe,2 to allow the speaker to plan his speech.
3 to mark demarcations in the speech, Pauses can also be used to hand over the turn to another speaker We can easily distinguish. two types of pauses silent pauses and pauses filled by mm ah er etc and there are different. views on what these different types of pauses signify but they tend to occur in the same. positions Researchers have also tried to differentiate pauses between phrases from pauses. Cenoz 1998 investigated 15 intermediate and advanced learners of English at. the University of the Basque Country who had Spanish as their first language in terms of their. non juncture pauses i e pauses within sentences He then looked at the type of pauses silent. or filled the length of the silent pauses their distribution in the sentence the hesitation. markers used in the case of the filled pauses um eh ah and their association with. communication difficulties self correction reformulation repetition Cenoz 1998 page 4. The result of this investigation was that the students used 1085 non juncture pauses in total. with 64 silent pauses and 36 filled More than 90 percent of the pauses were two seconds. or shorter Both silent and filled pauses have the same functions as mostly planning pauses. and more silent pauses than filled pauses are used when a student has problems finding the. right vocabulary The hesitation phenomena mostly used in the survey were repetition self. correction and reformulation and they are used more together with silent pauses than with. filled pauses In the survey Cenoz also found that high proficiency speakers tend to use more. pauses than low proficiency speakers and they also used more filled pauses Other hesitation. phenomena seemed to be used more in silent pauses but students of low speaking proficiency. Communication Strategies in Speaking English as a Foreign Language In the Swedish 9th grade national test setting Monica Lindblad August 2011 C Essay 15 credits English Linguistics Supervisor Tore Nilsson PhD Examiner Alan Shima PhD Abstract Keywords second language acqusition communication strategies oral production ESL instruction Speaking a foreign language is a major part of

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