The role of communicative situations in improvement of students' foreign language speaking skills

The article is devoted to the problem of using speech communicative situations for improvement of students' communicative skills at a foreign language lesson. The analysis of scientific and theoretical literature on the problem under research was carried out. The article touches upon the issues of speech formation in the framework of speech situations. Detailed and thorough classifications of speech situations are considered and one of the most effective ways of teaching oral speech identified; on the basis of which, the authors emphasize significant role of speech situations in enhancement of high-school students' communicative ability. The authors conclude that mostly problem-solving situations play an important role in communicative skills improvement, because they create good opportunities for the development of students' thinking and analytical skills. The specific features of development of problem-solving situations at foreign language lessons are demonstrated. Different activities on the use of communicative situations at high- school classes are given in the article.

At the current stage of the society development and integration of Kazakhstan into the world community, knowledge of foreign languages is a necessary condition for socio-economic, scientific, technical and general cultural development of the state. Practical use of a foreign language as an instrument of international interaction has become the need of every educated person.

Within the framework of the humanistic concept, a fundamentally new methodological direction is formed, on the basis of which reorientation of the ultimate goal in the study of a foreign language is carried out, and it means not «learning a foreign language» but «a foreign language education» [1].

Thereby, communicative sphere becomes most important in achieving a reoriented goal in foreign language mastery, in the framework of which oral speech and real life speech situations are determined, it will help students achieve a certain level of foreign language knowledge and skills, and speed up the process of language mastery at a high level. The process of mastery a foreign language usually begins by its study at secondary schools. Therefore, in order to master a foreign language at a high level, it is necessary to develop students' interest, their skills and abilities to the subjects from the school.

Communicative skills are formed and improved in the process of communication. The problem of communication is considered in the scientific works of such psychologists and educators as B.F. Lomov [2], N. Myasishchev [3], A.A. Bodalev [4], A.A. Leontiev [5], A.V. Mudrik [6], A.S. Makarenko [7] et al.

They defined communication as the main way of social interaction of people, a means of formation a personality, a source of obtaining knowledge. Communication in the learning process is a means and condition of knowledge, self-awareness, and the ability of the individual to self-improvement. It is an extremely complex phenomenon, and contains a wide range of interactions, interpersonal relationships, carried out in various forms and with the help of various means. Communication is a set of connections and interactions of people [8].

It is speech that takes an active part in human communication and due to it communication occurs place. Speech is a kind of communicative activity of a person during which the language is used for communication with other members of a society. As a rule communication takes place within speech situations. The concept of a speech situation is the basic concept of «linguopragmatics» - a science that studies how an individual uses the language as an influence, directed to the interlocutor and his behavior in the process of speech communication [8; 32].

There are special requirements for use of speech communicative situation at foreign language classes:  They must follow real life communicative situations, in which the linguistic phenomenon is used;  They should be clear for the students, i.e.:

– clearly formulated speech task (what to learn from the interlocutor, what to tell, what or whom to ask, what to prove, to refute);

performing(words, phrases, structures) and speech material that is learned(already-prepared speech units).

Moreover, students know what they will learn by completing exercises;

  • – Students know that communication will take place in favorable conditions with the benevolent attitude of qpartners to each other, when each of them is interested in communication;
  •  They should stimulate and increase motivation for learning, arouse interest in the task and the desire to participate and perform it as well.

Speech situation is predetermined by the teaching material, interpersonal relationships within the class and has a three-component structure in accordance with the three-phase structure of activity:

  • – orientation phase — the formulation of the communicative task (the target -motivational and orienting phase of speech activity, expressed by the teacher);
  • – the executive phase — the solution of the communicative task (students' performance planning);
  • – control phase — control or self-control (interaction of the teacher with the students).

Control (the last phase) can be carried out in various forms: a student - group, the pair work, the micro group - the class, and also the self-control: a student - the micro group, pair work - the micro group, student - student. The leading form of the control is final teacher's evaluation [9].

Nowadays, there are many classifications of speech situations, in which the most effective is the teaching of foreign language oral communication. The problems of using speech situations at foreign language classes are devoted to the works of such Russian and foreign authors as E.I. Passov [10], Т.Е. Sakharova [11], R.P. Milrud [12], R.C.Scarcella, R.L. Oxford [13] who considered the use of the speech situation as a key factor, which affords maximum orientation on speech communication in the educational process, at the same time to ensure systematic work for development of students oral speech skills. Due to speech situations pupils speech becomes more natural and characterized as real speech communication.

According to E.I. Passov and A.M. Stoyanovsky system-forming component of any communicative situation are relationships between interlocutors which can be determined by such main factors as: a) the social status of a person and his role as a subject of communication; b) performing activities and moral criteria.

The typology of speech situations, proposed by them are:

  • – Situations of social relationships (it is social status that determines the leadership position in the communication process);
  • – Situations of the relationships (in speech situations, students act as representatives of the class, social stratum, professional groups, age groups, etc. The role of the functional side of the status is that role of communication takes place between communicants);
  • – Situations of activity relationships (on the basis of situations of activity relationships are the relationships that are formed within the activity, in the process of interaction between communicants);
  • – Situations of moral relationships (these situations contributes to the creation of the most effective ways to stimulate communication. These relationships are integrative in the nature and have a key meaning for creating situations) [14].

The given typology of speech situations indicates that people's relationships represent integrative unity and depending on the dominance of any type of relationship, the situation of verbal communication can be considered, as a situation of relations of joint activity.

Due to the orientation of teaching languages in close relation to culture, using speech communicative situations at foreign language classes is becoming integral part of it. R.P.Milrud offers regional speech situations for improvement of foreign language communicative skills:

  •  Informative;
  •  Analytical and comparative;
  •  Estimated;
  •  Behavioral [12; 55].

Let's consider regional situations within the framework of specific topics according to the program of the senior classes, namely: «Education in Canada» and «Food Style of Russians and Canadians».

  1. Informative situations: a Russian and a Canadian student are exchanging information about systems of higher education in their countries;
  2. Analytic-comparative situations: analyze proverbial idiomatic values in Canada. Find out Canadians' associations and values on the proverbs idioms suggested. Compare the difference in proverbial idiomatic values in both cultures;
  3. Estimated situations: exchange view points about the difference in men's and women's attitudes to food and dieting. Is it different in Canada and in your country? Compare the differences and make your conclusions according to breakfast\dinner menu.
  4. Behavioral situations: staying in Canada you want to book a table in a restaurant. Ask what they have on their breakfast menu.

To develop foreign communication skills of students, E.A. Solovova offers the following speech situations:

 Real;

 Problem solving;

 Conditional [15].

Real situations in teaching and learning process are limited to the roles of a teacher and student. Basically, they are related by interpersonal communication with the teacher or the training group during the lesson. Communication takes place in the form of a «following-up», for instance, asking of questions by a teacher:

T:Where did you go on Summer?

S: I went to Spain.

T: Did you learn Spanish before you go there?

S: Yes, I did. I've been learning Spanish since 2013.

During the role playing of this situation, the teacher shows a sincere interest to know where the pupil was, what he did and so on, and in this way involves the students in the conversation and further work at the lesson.

The real situations arise at every foreign language lesson and they are also its main part . Educational problem solving situation has a more fruitful effect on the development of student's communication. It activates the thinking and speech activity of students in the classroom in the conditions of foreign language speech and creates educational and cognitive motivation for the realization of this communication. By participating in solutions of problem solving task, students form their abilities to perceive and gain knowledge, share knowledge with others. To create a problem-solving situation, it is necessary to ask a problem-solving question, which obviously implies the possibility of various answers and a clash of opinions. Students learn to interact with each other and find a common solution at the problem.

Conditional situations are the way of stimulating real communicative situations, allowing to cover various types of speech behavior and contributing to enrich the students' social experience by expanding the range of communicative role plays [16].

Nowadays, in accordance with the self-oriented paradigm of education, special emphasis is placed on developing students' creative potential, independence, and improving critical and analytical thinking skills. Problem-solving speech situations play a special role in improving the personality of student. Let us consider in detail problem-solving situations. What are problem-solving situations and how to use them at a foreign language classes?

Emphasizing above mentioned, we note that a problem-solving speech situation is a combination of a number of conditions that stimulate students to perform a speech utterance. The problem-solving situation at foreign language classes should contain elements of novelty in terms of content, include an obstacle in achieving the goal, as well as unknown components. At the same time, situations should correspond the abilities of pupils, their life experience and background knowledge. The structure of the lesson should include such important stages as updating the previous knowledge, their application in new situations; assimilation of new knowledge; formation of skills. At the lesson, devoted to the solution of the problem, the teacher acts as a coordinator and a partner, he helps the students ask questions, formulate their thoughts, defend their point of view and remove fear of mistakes when speaking. The teacher's task is to teach pupils to think and analyze in a foreign language, to use the received knowledge in new speech situations. Particularly important is the work on lexical material.

Every problem-solving situation should be formulated by the teacher in the process of indicating the students' reasons for their failure to fulfill the practical training task or impossibility of explaining it to them.

Creation of a problem-solving situation in the process of an oral monologue statement requires:

  • – Giving in the course of discussion examples from real life situations, practical experience;
  • – Development of various situations in speech to create the necessary semantic supports and the arrangement of accents; orientation to the perception of listeners;
  • – Familiarization of listeners with the facts, suggesting explanations, assumptions, formulations of hypotheses;
  • – Appeal to the listener's personality; use of his cognitive, social, professional, personal motives;
  • – The use of empathy, identification with the feelings and thoughts of listeners;
  • – The question-answer form of conducting lectures;
  • – Playing different operational and situational roles by participants, enabling them to show visually the process of problem solution.

Let's practice the situation using the topic «Internet». High- grade students are asked to choose one of the giving themes within the given topic for oral discussion:

  •  Internet becomes more and more popular. People prefer Internet to books, TV or radio. Give reasons to defend your opinion.
  •  How is our life changed after the invention of Internet? What was people life without Internet in the past?
  •  Discussion of the topic: «The influence of Internet».

Below, examples of the use of problem-solving activities at foreign language classes are given:

  1. One of your friends writes very slowly. He doesn't manage to cope with a task during examination testing.
  2. It's resulted in low level score. How will you help him improve his writing speed?

 You noticed some students troubling elderly citizens in the bus. Discuss with your partner:

– What should be done to prevent them from disturbing other passengers?

– What can be done to make teenagers more compassionate towards elderly people?

  1. Some students misbehave in the school yard. Discuss with your friends:

– How could you solve this problem?

Group activities help students develop and improve their speaking skill. Such tasks as debates, discussions, role-plays etc are effective, because they are used and realized in speech communicative situations. We give an example of the role-play:

A class is divided into two or more teams. A teacher has «Pockets», each filled with a different problem. The team that «pulls the pocket» answers first. Teams then alternate pocket pulling. Teams get points for quickly provided «good» possible solutions. Elements of competitiveness, ability to defend and reason one's point of view should be taken into account in determining the best response. The presence of experts, responsible for the choice of the group with the best answer is important. All teams should be involved in the process of giving solutions. Here are given game requirements:

  •  Teams choose pocket in turns, read situations.
  •  Same solutions can not be repeated twice;
  •  Only 60 seconds are given for solving a problem.

After introducing a problem-solving situation, students should express their own point of view on the given situation, reasoning all details and giving examples. They may have different opinions. All of them should be listened, after which students discuss all view points on the given topic.

Solution of such a non-standard problematic issue develops students' initiative, imagination and their ability to analyze the situation logically and make a prompt decision. Consideration of a problem-solving situation causes intense internal speech activity, regardless of the fact if it is realized in external speech . In such conditions, the students ‘spontaneous speech is trained and developed in an effective way. In performing such tasks, students learn to work in a team and take part in group communication; participants of a discussion should show interpersonal respect and support friendly atmosphere, they should not shout and interrupt each other

It should be noted that the use of problem-solving situations at foreign language classes also performs psychological functions and effectively influences the atmosphere and relationship between students and a teacher and students themselves.

Summarizing all above mentioned, we conclude:

  •  Speech situations play an important role in formation of students' foreign language competence, because in their framework, foreign language communicative skills are developed.
  •  According to a personal-oriented paradigm, development of students' cognitive independence and their creative potential are essential goals of education. That is why, along with the development of students foreign language communicative ability, the teacher's task is improvement of their thinking and analytical skills. In this regard, problem-solving speech situations should be widely used at the given stage, i.e. they create good opportunities for enhancement of students' foreign language communicative skills.



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Year: 2018
City: Karaganda
Category: Pedagogy