Speaking Performance

Speaking Performance

The mastery of speaking skills in English is a priority for many second-language or foreign-language learners. Consequently, learners often evaluate their success in language learning on how much they feel they have improved in their speaking skill.  Thus, it emerges many varieties of approaches to learn speaking, ranging from direct approaches focusing on specific features of oral interaction to indirect approaches that create conditions for oral interaction.

According to Jack C. Richards (2008:19) he uses three-part expanded functions of speaking to design the suitable materials for the students. There are talk as interaction, talk as transaction, and talk as performance. Each of these activities is different in terms of form and function and needs different teaching approaches.

1.      Talk as interaction

Talk as interaction refers to the conversation that we usually do. It describes interaction that serves a primarily social function. The focus is more on the speakers and how they wish to present themselves to each other than on the message.

2.      Talk as transaction

Talk as transaction refers to situations where the focus is on the message or what is said or done. The primary focus is on the message of making oneself understood clearly and accurately, rather than the participants and how they interact socially with each other.

3.      Talk as performance

The third type of talk is talk as performance which refers to public talk that transmits information before an audience. It can be such as classroom presentations, public announcements, and speeches. 

Based on those functions of speaking, teacher needs to have appropriate approach to teach speaking to the students in terms of what function is the goal of the learning process. After the teacher decides the appropriate approach, then indicators are needed to measure the students’ progress.

            According to Van Duzer (1999: 1) students’ speaking skill and their speech habit have an impact on the success of any exchange. Students, as the speaker, have to be able to anticipate and then produce the expected patterns of specific discourse situations. They must also manage other elements such as rephrasing, providing feedback, turn-taking, or redirecting. The speaker must know the usual pattern that such interaction follows and accesses the knowledge as the exchange progresses. They must also choose the correct vocabulary to describe things on that topic, rephrase or emphasize words to clarify the description, and use appropriate facial expressions. Other things which are included into indicators of good speaking skill:

1.      Producing sounds, stress patterns, rhythmic structures, and intonations of the language.

2.      Using grammar and structure accurately.

3.      Selecting vocabulary which is understandable and appropriate for the audience, the topic being discussed, and the setting in which the speech act occurs.

4.      Applying strategies to enhance comprehensibility, such as emphasizing keywords and rephrasing.

5.      Using gestures or body language.

6.      Paying attention to the success of the interaction and adjusting components of speech such as vocabulary, rate of speech, and complexity of grammar and structure to maximize listener comprehension and involvement.


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