In this article, the researcher presents the theories that underlie the study. The theories cover the concept of speaking proficiency, games, the relationship between games and speaking proficiency.
Key words: speaking, language, English, vocabulary, proficiency, fluency, accuracy, novice
Speaking is a kind of bridge for learners between classroom and the world outside [5, 7]. It is vehicle par excellence of social solidarity, of social ranking, of professional advancement and business. It is also a medium through which much language is learnt…, [6, vii]. To know the language learners can speak, it is necessary to get them to actually, say something. To do this they must act on knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. The application of this knowledge can be realized by speaking practice. Besides, New Webster`s Dictionary [7, 932] states that speaking is an act to express idea, feelings, and thought orally. It is also called oral communication. According to Syakur, speaking is a complex skill because at least it is concerned with components of pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and fluency [8, 5]. Speaking is an act that is done naturally by people in their life. Sometimes they share their problem to someone they believe in. They have a freedom to express what they want to say. Language is a tool which is used to communicate with other. One of the ways is speaking. Speaking here means individual’s ability in expressing the idea. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, speaking is making use of words, knowing and being able to use language: expressing oneself in word, making speech, while is the ability to do something well [9, 495]. Therefore the researcher can infer that speaking proficiency is the ability to perform linguistic knowledge in actual communication. The ability to express our idea, feeling, thought and need orally. As speaking is to communicate, it generally becomes main goal of learning in language. People learning the language certainly wants to speak it. It means when someone wants to master a certain language being learned, the first language skill he wants to acquire is speaking, because it will make them able to practice it with other people. When we are talking about speaking, it is dealing with proficiency. According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, proficiency is a good standard of ability and skill. In harmony with that, Oxford Advanced learner’s Dictionary says proficient means doing or able to do something in a skilled or an expert way because of training and practice. Based on wikipedia fluency and language competence are generally recognized as being related with speaking.
The Level of SpeakingProficiency. Usually the grade speaking proficiency is divided into four levels. Four main levels of speaking proficiency namely: novice, intermediate, advance, and superior. The characteristics of each level for speaking are as follows:
- Novice. The novice level is characterized by the ability to communicate minimally in highly predictable common daily situations with previously learned words and phrases. The novice level speaker has difficulty communicating with even those accustomed to interacting with nonnative speaker.
- Intermediate. It is characterized by the ability to combine learned elements of language creatively, through primarily in a reactive mode. The intermediate level speaker can initiate, minimally sustain, and close basic community task. The speaker can ask and answer the questions and can speak in discrete sentences and strings of sentences on topic that either autobiographical or related primarily to his or her immediate environment.
- Advanced. The advanced level is characterized by the ability to converse fluently and in a clearly participatory fashion. The speaker can accomplish a wide variety of communicative tasks and can describe and narrate events in the present, past, and future, organizing thought, when appropriate, into paragraph-like discourse. At this level, the speaker can discuss concrete and factual topics of personal and public interest in most unaccustomed to nonnative speaker.
- Superior. The superior level is characterized by the ability to participate effectively in most formal and informal conversations on practical, social, professional, and abstract topics. Using extended discourse, the speaker can explain detail, hypothesize, on concrete and abstract topics, and support or defend opinions on controversial matters.
Speaking Accuracy and Speaking Fluency Speaking is the skill by which they are most frequently judged, and trough which they make or lose friends. It is the vehicle par excellent of social solidarity, of social ranking, of professional advancement and of business. [11, vii] By giving learner’s speaking practice and oral exam the researcher recognize that there is a difference between knowledge about language and skill in using it. Bygate [12, 4] states that there is a fundamental difference between knowledge and skill. Both can be understood and memorized, but only skill can be imitated and practice. He clarifies that skill can be seen from two basic ways. The first is motor receptive skill that involves perceiving, recalling and articulating in the correct order sounds and structures of the language. The second is interaction skill involving making decision about communication, such as what to say, how to say it, and whether to develop it, it accordance with one’s intention while maintaining the desired relation with other. Furthermore, scientists make specification about oral. Here oral can be defined as speaking. He believes that oral is to: 1. Express oneself intelligibility 2. Convey intended meaning accurately with sufficient command of vocabulary 3. Use language appropriate to context 4. Interact with other speaker fluently. He also rates oral into four areas that are interactive communication for fluently effect on listener, intelligibility for pronunciation or prosodic features, appropriacy for pragmatic competence or register, and accuracy for structures and vocabulary resources. It makes speaking demand fluency, intelligibility, appropriateness, and accuracy. Based on the definitions above, it can be concluded that speaking is a complex cognitive skill which demands fluency, intelligibility, appropriateness, and accuracy in its process. There are three kinds of speaking situations: 1. Interactive Speaking Interactive speaking situations conclude face to face conversations and telephone calls, in which we are alternately listening and speaking and we have a chance to ask clarification, repetition from our conversation partner. 2. Partially Speaking It is kinds of speaking situations when giving a speech to a live audience, where the convention is that the audience doesn’t interrupt the speech. 3. Non-interactive Speaking It happens when recording a speech for radio broadcast.
Speaking has many different aspects, said Gower, Philips, and Walters [13, 99].
- Accuracy Accuracy involves the correct of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. It can said that accuracy is the ability to produce sentence using correct xxvi grammar and vocabulary. Teacher who concentrate on accuracy help their students to produce grammatically correct written and spoken English.
- Fluency Fluency can be thought of the ability to keep going when speaking spontaneously. When speaking fluently students should be able to get the message across with whatever resources and abilities they have got, regardless of the grammatical and other mistakes. Brown [14, 254] defines distinction between accuracy and fluency. Accurate means clear, articulate, grammatically and phonologically correct. While, fluent means flowing naturally. He also says that fluency may be an initial goal in language teaching but accuracy is gained to some extent by allowing learners to focus on the elements of phonology, grammar, and discourse in their spoken output.
The concept of teaching speaking Speaking seems one of the most important in language learning: people who know a language are referred to as speakers of that language, as if speaking included all other kinds of knowing and many if not most foreign language learners are primarily interested in learning to speak. Teaching speaking is not an easy job. Some teachers get very involved with their students during a speaking activity and want to join in too. There is nothing wrong with teacher getting involved of course provided they don’t star to dominate. Although it is probably better to stand back so that the teacher can watch and listen to what is going on, students can also appreciate teacher participation at the appropriate level — in other words, not too much, said Harmer [15,94]
Teacher Roles According to Byrne [16, 2], the teachers also need to know their roles in teaching speaking. They have specific roles at different stages, as follows: 1. The presenting stage [when the teachers introduce something new to be learned], the teachers play a role as informant. 2. The practice stage [when the teachers allow the learners to work under their direction], the teachers have a role as conductor and monitor. 3. The production stage [when the teachers give the learners opportunity to work on their own. Besides these three roles of each stage, there is another key role that cuts across them: namely, the teachers as motivator. The teachers must be able to motivate their students in order to arouse their interest and involve them in what they are doing. There are some factors which determine their ability to motivate their students, namely: their performance (the mastery of teaching skills, the selection and presentation of topics and activities, the teacher’s personality).
Characteristics of Successful speaking activity The goal of teaching speaking is communicative efficiency. Learners should be able to make themselves understood, using their current proficiency to the fullest. They also should observe the social and cultural rules that apply in each communication situations. According to Ur [17, 120], there are some characteristics of a successful speaking activity:
- Learners talk a lot. As much as possible of the period of time allotted to the activity is in fact occupied by learner talk. This may seem obvious, but often most time is taken up with teacher talk or pauses.
- Participation is even. Classroom discussion is not dominated by a minority of talkative participants: all get a chance to speak, and contributions are fairly evenly distributed.
- Motivation is high. Learners are eager to speak: because they are interested in topic and have something new to say about it, or just because they want to contribute to achieving a task objective.
- Language is of an acceptable level. Learners express themselves in utterance that is relevant, easily comprehensive to each other, and of an acceptable level of language accuracy.
Problems with Speaking Activities According to Ur [18,121], there are some problems faced by the learners in speaking activities. The problems include inhibition, the lack of theme to be spoken, the low of participation, and the use of mother tongue. Those problems can be explained as follows:
- Inhibition Unlike reading, writing and listening activities, speaking requires some real time exposures to an audience. Learners are often inhibited about trying to say things in a foreign language in the classroom, such as worried about mistakes, fearful of criticism, or shy of the attention that their speech attracts.
- The lack of theme to be spoken Some learners get the difficulties in thinking of anything to say, they have no motivation to express themselves beyond the guilty feeling that they should be speaking.
- The low participation Only one participant can talk at a time if he or she is to be heard. In a large group, this means that each one will have only very little time to talk. This problem is compounded by the tendency of some learners to dominate, while others speak very little or not at all.
- The use of mother tongue In a number of classes, the learners share the same mother tongue. They may tend to use it because of some reasons. Firstly, it is easier. Secondly, it feels unnatural to speak to one another in a foreign language. The last, they feel less “exposed” if they are speaking their mother tongue. If they are talking in small groups, it can be quite difficult to keep using the target language.
Solutions for the Problems of Speaking Activities There are some solutions which can be selected to overcome the problems in speaking activity [Ur, 19, 121-122]. These are:
- Use group work This increases the sheer amount of student talk going on in a limited period of time and also lowers the inhibitions of students who are unwilling to speak in front of the full class. It is true that group work means the teacher can not supervise all students speech, so that not all utterances will be correct, and students may occasionally slip into their native language; nevertheless, even taking into consideration occasional mistakes and mother tongue use, the amount of time remaining for positive, useful oral practice is still likely to be far more than in the full-class-set up.
- Base the activity on easy language In general, the level of the language needed for a discussion should be lower than used in intensive language learning activities in the same class. It should be easily recalled and produced by the participants, so that they can speak fluently with the minimum of hesitation. It is a good idea to teach or review essential vocabulary before the activity starts.
- Make a careful choice of topic and task to stimulate interest. On the whole, the clearer the purpose of the discussion the more motivated participants will be. A good topic is one which students can relate using ideas from their own experience and knowledge. It should also represent a genuine controversy. Some questions or suggested lines of thought can help to stimulate discussion. A task is essentially goal-oriented. It requires the group, or pair, to achieve an objective that is usually expressed by an observable result such as brief notes or lists, a rearrangement of jumbled items, a drawing, and a spoken summary.
- Give some instruction or training in discussion skills If the task is based on group discussion then include instructions about participation when introducing it. For example, tell students to make sure that everyone the group contributes to the discussion appoints a chairperson to each group who will regulate participation.
- Keep students speaking the target language Teachers might appoint one of the groups as monitor, whose job is to remind participants to use the target language, and perhaps report later to teacher how well the group managed to keep it. Even if there is no actual penalty attached, the very awareness that someone is monitoring such lapses helps participants to be more careful.
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