cross-posted at eduwithtechn.wordpress.com
There are two very different types of speaking in the modern language or foreign language classroom.
Very structured speaking- mechanical speaking
…. Focuses more on the correctness of vocabulary and grammar than on the actual content. “What did you buy on Monday? I bought shoes. What did you buy on Tuesday? I bought a blouse.”
…. Uses the same vocabulary and grammar of the question in the answer. “Does she go to the store? Yes, she goes to the store.”
… Uses convergent questions (When? Where? Who?) which only have a few limited answers. Each answer is highly predictable.
… Often has different forms of the same verb in subsequent statements/questions. “I go to the store. My father goes to the store. My brothers go to the store.”
… Limits the questions/ statements to one topic such as places such as in the following fill-in-the-blank exercise. “I go to the store. I go to the mall. I go to the park.”
… Does not follow the logical order of a conversation in subsequent sentences/ questions but these sentences/ questions exist only to practice the indicated grammar or vocabulary. “Where is the bed? It is in the bedroom. Where is the stove. It is in the kitchen.”
… Is not interactive except in that the partner asks a predetermined question which the person answers.
… Is not personal. Usually a student does not express his/ her own opinion but follows the prescribed format.
… Most like a textbook/ workbook exercise.
Spontaneous speaking / free speaking
… Focuses on the actual meaning/content of the answer, not on the form (grammar or vocabulary). “Do you like winter? No, I hate it.”
… Uses different words in the answer or subsequent statements. “How was class? I took a test.”
…Uses divergent questions (Why? How? which leads to a huge array of possible answers. The answers probably are unpredictable). “Why do you think the team will win?”
… Moves the conversation/ monologue forward through subsequent statements/questions “After I left school, I went to my favorite restaurant. I had two hamburgers with fries.”
… Guides the conversation /monologue through many related topics. Students may start talking about school, then talk about sports, and then talk about things they will do this weekend.
… Requires the partner to react with the conversation. There is give and take during the conversation. “I thinking of going to a horror movie. How does that sound to you?”
… Is very personal. The speaker offers his/her opinions and views and tells how he/she does something. “I never order onions on my pizza. I do have double cheese.”
… Most like a real conversation.
Do your modern language/ foreign language students do more spontaneous speaking or structured speaking?
I have Spanish activities that lead to spontaneous speaking at Teacherspayteachers.
Harry Grover Tuttle teaches English and Spanish college courses atOnondaga Community College. He is also the author of several books on formative assessment.