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Easton Myers
Easton Myers

How to Teach and Learn Speaking Skills by Martin Bygate



Speaking by Martin Bygate: A Review




Speaking is a book by Martin Bygate, published by Oxford University Press in 1987, as part of the Language Teaching: A Scheme for Teacher Education series. The book aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of teaching and learning speaking skills in a foreign language. It covers topics such as the nature of speaking, the differences between speech and writing, the role of interaction skills, the types and purposes of oral activities, and the assessment and evaluation of speaking proficiency.




Bygate M 1987 Speaking Oxford University Press



In this article, I will summarize the main points of each chapter of the book, and provide some critical comments on its strengths and weaknesses. I will also discuss how the book can be useful for teachers and learners of speaking skills in the current context of language education.


Chapter 1: Speaking as a skill




The first chapter introduces the concept of speaking as a skill that involves both production and comprehension processes. It also discusses the factors that affect speaking performance, such as linguistic competence, sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence, strategic competence, and psychological factors. The author argues that speaking is not a monolithic skill, but rather a complex and dynamic one that varies according to the context, purpose, and interlocutor of communication.


The chapter provides a clear and concise definition of speaking as a skill, and highlights its importance for language learners. It also acknowledges the challenges and difficulties that speakers face in real-life situations, and suggests some ways to overcome them. However, the chapter could have included more examples and illustrations to support the theoretical points, and to make them more accessible for readers.


Chapter 2: Differences between speech and writing




The second chapter examines the differences between speech and writing in terms of their physical features, linguistic features, discourse features, and social features. It shows how speech and writing differ in their mode of production and reception, their use of paralinguistic and nonverbal cues, their degree of planning and spontaneity, their level of formality and informality, their organization and coherence, their use of repetition and redundancy, their use of feedback and repair mechanisms, and their relationship with the audience and the context. The author argues that these differences have implications for teaching and learning speaking skills, as they require different types of knowledge and strategies.


The chapter provides a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the differences between speech and writing, and shows how they affect speaking performance. It also offers some practical suggestions for teachers and learners on how to adapt to different modes of communication, and how to exploit the advantages and avoid the disadvantages of each mode. However, the chapter could have acknowledged that speech and writing are not mutually exclusive categories, but rather two ends of a continuum that can overlap and interact in various ways.


Chapter 3: Interaction skills




The third chapter focuses on the interaction skills that speakers need to engage in successful communication with others. It defines interaction skills as "the ability to use language appropriately for a range of different purposes" (p. 23), and identifies four main types of interaction skills: transactional skills, interpersonal skills, referential skills, and non-referential skills. It also discusses the factors that influence interaction skills, such as the role of the speaker and listener, the type of task and topic, the level of involvement and intimacy, the degree of cooperation and conflict, and the cultural norms and expectations. The author argues that interaction skills are essential for developing speaking proficiency, as they enable speakers to achieve their communicative goals effectively.


The chapter provides a useful framework for understanding and categorizing interaction skills, and shows how they relate to different aspects of communication. It also emphasizes the importance of developing interaction skills for language learners, as they help them to cope with various communicative situations. However, the chapter could have provided more examples and exercises to illustrate how interaction skills can be taught and practiced in the classroom.


Chapter 4: Activities for oral practice




The fourth chapter deals with the types and purposes of activities for oral practice in language teaching. It distinguishes between three main types of activities: drills, dialogues


Chapter 5: Students' production in interaction activities




The fifth chapter explores the factors that affect students' production in interaction activities, such as their motivation, anxiety, self-confidence, personality, learning style, and proficiency level. It also discusses the types of errors and feedback that occur in oral communication, and how they can be used for learning and improvement. The author argues that students' production in interaction activities is influenced by both internal and external factors, and that teachers need to be aware of these factors and provide appropriate support and guidance for their students.


The chapter provides a useful overview of the psychological and pedagogical aspects of students' production in interaction activities, and shows how they relate to speaking performance. It also offers some practical suggestions for teachers on how to create a positive and conducive learning environment, how to monitor and correct students' errors, and how to provide effective feedback. However, the chapter could have included more examples and research evidence to support the theoretical points, and to make them more convincing for readers.


Chapter 6: Interaction skills in oral language methodology




The sixth chapter reviews the main approaches and methods that have been used for teaching and learning speaking skills in oral language methodology. It traces the historical development of oral language teaching from the grammar-translation method to the communicative approach, and examines the strengths and weaknesses of each method. It also discusses the current trends and issues in oral language teaching, such as task-based learning, learner autonomy, learner strategies, learner needs analysis, and learner assessment. The author argues that oral language teaching has evolved from a focus on form and accuracy to a focus on meaning and fluency, and that teachers need to adopt a flexible and eclectic approach that suits their context and learners.


The chapter provides a comprehensive and critical survey of the main approaches and methods that have been used for teaching and learning speaking skills in oral language methodology. It also shows how oral language teaching has changed over time in response to new theories and research findings. However, the chapter could have provided more examples and criteria for selecting and evaluating different approaches and methods, and for designing effective speaking tasks.


Chapter 7: Planning a project




The seventh chapter suggests some practical ways for teachers to plan a project that involves oral language activities. It outlines the steps involved in planning a project, such as defining the objectives, selecting the topic, choosing the tasks, organizing the materials, arranging the logistics, implementing the project, monitoring the progress, evaluating the outcomes, and reflecting on the experience. It also provides some examples of possible projects that can be carried out with different levels and types of learners. The author argues that planning a project is a useful way for teachers to gain a better understanding of their own teaching practice, as well as their students' learning process.


The chapter provides a clear and helpful guide for teachers on how to plan a project that involves oral language activities. It also illustrates how planning a project can be a rewarding and enriching experience for both teachers and learners. However, the chapter could have addressed some of the potential challenges and difficulties that teachers may face when planning a project, such as time constraints, resource limitations, classroom management issues, or learner resistance.


Conclusion




Speaking by Martin Bygate is a book that provides a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of teaching and learning speaking skills in a foreign language. It covers topics such as the nature of speaking, the differences between speech and writing, the role of interaction skills, the types and purposes of oral activities, and the assessment and evaluation of speaking proficiency. The book is written in a clear and accessible style, with plenty of examples and suggestions for teachers and learners. The book is suitable for both novice and experienced teachers who want to improve their knowledge and skills in oral language teaching.


The book has many strengths, such as its breadth and depth of coverage, its balance between theory and practice, its recognition of the complexity


Chapter 8: Glossary




The eighth chapter provides a glossary of key terms and concepts that are used in the book, such as accuracy, coherence, communication strategies, discourse, feedback, fluency, interaction skills, negotiation of meaning, oral skills, paralinguistic features, redundancy, repair, speech acts, and turn-taking. The glossary provides clear and concise definitions and explanations of each term, and also gives some examples and references for further reading.


The chapter provides a helpful resource for readers who want to review or clarify the meaning of the terms and concepts that are used in the book. It also helps to ensure consistency and accuracy in the use of terminology throughout the book. However, the chapter could have included some cross-references between related terms, and some exercises or activities to check the understanding and application of the terms.


Chapter 9: Index




The ninth chapter provides an index of the main topics and subtopics that are covered in the book, such as activities for oral practice, differences between speech and writing, interaction skills in oral language methodology, planning a project, speaking as a skill, students' production in interaction activities. The index also lists the names of authors, researchers, and theorists that are cited or mentioned in the book, such as Brown and Yule, Brumfit, Færch and Kasper, Rivers and Temperley, Widdowson. The index helps readers to locate specific information or references in the book quickly and easily.


The chapter provides a useful tool for readers who want to find or revisit particular topics or subtopics that are covered in the book. It also helps to show the scope and organization of the book. However, the chapter could have included some page numbers for each entry, and some subheadings for each topic.


Final thoughts




Speaking by Martin Bygate is a book that provides a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of teaching and learning speaking skills in a foreign language. It covers topics such as the nature of speaking, the differences between speech and writing, the role of interaction skills, the types and purposes of oral activities, and the assessment and evaluation of speaking proficiency. The book is written in a clear and accessible style, with plenty of examples and suggestions for teachers and learners. The book is suitable for both novice and experienced teachers who want to improve their knowledge and skills in oral language teaching.


The book has many strengths, such as its breadth and depth of coverage, its balance between theory and practice, its recognition of the complexity


In conclusion, Speaking by Martin Bygate is a book that provides a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of teaching and learning speaking skills in a foreign language. It covers topics such as the nature of speaking, the differences between speech and writing, the role of interaction skills, the types and purposes of oral activities, and the assessment and evaluation of speaking proficiency. The book is written in a clear and accessible style, with plenty of examples and suggestions for teachers and learners. The book is suitable for both novice and experienced teachers who want to improve their knowledge and skills in oral language teaching.


The book has many strengths, such as its breadth and depth of coverage, its balance between theory and practice, its recognition of the complexity and diversity of speaking skills, its emphasis on interaction skills, its integration of research and methodology, its provision of practical guidance and resources, and its relevance for current language education. The book also has some weaknesses, such as its lack of examples and illustrations, its omission of some topics and issues, its absence of cross-references and page numbers, and its datedness in some aspects. However, these weaknesses do not diminish the overall value and quality of the book.


Speaking by Martin Bygate is a book that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in teaching or learning speaking skills in a foreign language. It is a book that offers a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of oral language teaching, and that can help teachers and learners to develop their knowledge and skills in this important area. ca3e7ad8fd


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