Masaryk university brno faculty of education


PRACTICAL PART 3.1MY TEACHING EXPERIENCE

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3PRACTICAL PART



3.1MY TEACHING EXPERIENCE


As I already mentioned in the introduction, I have been working for the Military Language Institute in Vyškov and my responsibility is to prepare our students – mainly military staff – for passing the military exams called Stanag. There are three different levels of the students: pre-intermediate, intermediate and upper intermediate. Although the goal of our language institute is the same as other educational organizations providing language tuition, the learning system is completely different. To be more specific – being a class teacher does not necessarily mean to spend most of the time in a particular class but the teachers rotate in different classes, which means that their schedules are supposed to differ from week to week. Even though this procedure may be perceived as a disadvantage by many teachers, I find it very effective not only from the students´ but also the teachers´ point of view. The advantages lie in having the opportunity for students to listen to various teachers´ accents and also experience different approaches to teaching. The teachers can also benefit from this procedure – being able to teach diverse levels provides them with the advantage of miscellaneous work and enables them to avoid the routine typical of schools. Moreover, the number of students in each class is very convenient since there are no more than ten students and, as many teachers would probably agree, teaching in such a class is more efficient, enjoyable and the success in passing the exam is more forseeable than in a class of fifteen or more students.

Even though I have the experience with teaching all the levels mentioned, I decided to deal mainly with the intermediate level in the practical part of my thesis and focus on communicative activities that I have already practised with my students. My aim is to describe the activities and evaluate their advantages, disadvantages and this way help the majority of teachers that are desperate in searching for any communicative activities to encourage speaking and conversation in the class.

3.2COMMUNICATIVE ACTIVITIES AND THEIR EVALUATION





  1. Told you so !


Level : intermediate, upper intermediate

Type of activity : information search role play (pairwork)

Objective : to encourage fluent speaking - giving advice and opinions
The teacher is supposed to copy one „now“ and one „one year later“ role card for each student and a questionnaire per pair of students.
First, the teacher gives out the „now“ role cards and ask the students to imagine they all work in the same place. It is a coffee break and they are all bringing various bits of gossip.Students are asked to offer opinions to each other on what people should or should not do about their problems.
Then the teacher seats the students in pairs and gives them a questionnaire to fill in together. They are supposed to discuss the problems, find solutions and make predictions about what will probably happen.
When they have finished, each student is given the appropriate „one year later“ card and goes round with a „told you so“ attitude, commenting on what people should have done. The aim of this activity is to discover how many of students´ predictions were correct.
My evaluation of this activity

I found this activity very effective because my objective was reached – I managed to encourage all the students to communicate with each other and share information, opinions and advice.

The topic could not have been chosen better since gossiping belongs to every day communication, especially in a working environment. I deal with the adult learners who are quite „experienced“ in this area and speaking about different people´s problems and their solutions seems to be quite a common issue nowadays. Although this activity is slightly demanding on students´ understanding the instructions, the teacher´s clear explanation would prevent possible missundestanding. Giving clear instructions and demonstrating the task should never be neglected by teachers since these are essential for a successful communicative task.

This activity is student-centered so the teacher´s role in it is mainly observing the whole class having conversation. Even though I heard many mistakes while circulating among students, I managed not to interupt their enthusiastic conversation. Instead of interuption, which would have discouraged their motivation, I decided to take notes and wrote down the most common mistakes. As I have already noticed in my class, immediate error correction while listening to students´ conversation had no positive effect since the students were plunged in talking and did not pay attention to the teacher´s comments.
The error correction was different while the students were working in pairs. I was walking around listening to the pairs and tried to alert the students every time I heard a mistake and we made correction together. This time my role has changed, instead of constant observation without error correction, I concentrated on making students aware of their own mistakes. Due to working in pairs, they paid attention to clarifying mistakes.
After finishing the communicative activity I wrote all the mistakes I gathered from students on the board and we were discussing them as a whole class. All the students were taking notes about corrections very carefully and after that we were practising these in sentences.
What is very important is reviewing the problematic structure again and again having in mind that practice makes perfect. For that reason, at the beginning of each lesson, if possible, I focus on revision of the items I have done with students in previous communicative activities to prevent recurrence of already explained mistakes.

My aim in this activity was to motivate the students to identify with a person on a given card and lead conversation with other colleagues about people´s problems. Students were explaining these problems, trying to find solutions and made predictions what was going to happen in a years time. This fluency communicative activity induced my students to practise fluent speaking and also helped develop their imagination while giving advice and making predictions.



  1. Debate on a given topic


Level : upper intermediate

Type of activity : a debate (groupwork)

Objective : to get the students involved in a debate on a given topic and practise exchanging the opinions and supporting arguments for and against
Students form to groups - the first group supports the idea and the second group gives reasons against it. Then the teacher introduces the topic which is the subject of a debate – euthanasia, the capital punishment, state or private education etc. - and allows the students some time to think about it and make notes as a group preparing arguments to „beat“ the second group. When they are ready to start, the teacher pretends to be a moderator of a TV show and welcomes both teams to a discussion on a given topic. When the debate is over, the moderator thanks all of the presenters for their interesting remarks. A very important rule is that students are allowed to advocate only the opinion given to them by the teacher even if their real thoughts are completely different.
My evaluation of this activity

I must admit this activity belongs to my favorite ones and I practise it with my students whenever the time allows me to do so. The beginning of this activity is slightly embarrassing for everyone in the class because the students do not dare to be the first to express their opinions and are shy. But once the activity has started and students manage to „fit in their roles“, the debate is being developed into a lively discussion and instead of being shy, students compete to have a word in it. The teacher has a fantastic role in this activity, since he or she only observes a lively discussion and is entertained by the students´ excitement about it.

I would recommend the teachers interested in this communicative activity to reorganise the classroom, if possible, and arrange it as a TV studio with chairs for guests participating in a debate. To increase excitement, I would ask the students to vote for a moderator being responsible for the smooth performance. In my personal experience, it is sometimes a very tough job, especially while trying to calm down some of the brisk guests.

Error correction is utterly undesirable in this case due to the kind of communicative activity. The debate is a precise example of the activity where the teacher is not expected to correct mistakes while the activity is in progress. His role is either to observe the show or to participate in it (as a moderator or one of the guests.).
To fulfil the task does not mean for the students to speak correctly all the time but to lead a fluent, understandable and reasonable discussion about a particular matter. On one hand, no one is forced to speak, which may sound „safe“ for shy students, but on the other hand any member of one group can be challanged by the other group to express his or her opinion. In this case, the student can not remain silent but has to reveal his or her ideas. Therefore, the students are induced to be alert and listen to what is going on in a debate.


  1. Lifeswap


Level : intermediate

Type of activity : exchanging information (whole class)

Objective : to practise fluent talking about dissimilar lifestyles and habits
The teacher gives out the picture cards to the students and asks them to imagine they are the person pictured on the card. Some time is allowed to think about the person´s life, daily routine, work, family etc. Then the students are told to imagine they are fed up with their lifestyle and would like to change it. Some time is provided to think about what they dislike and are really looking for in life. After that the students are asked to go round the class and explain their problems to the others until they find someone they would like to swap their lifestyle with. The aim of this activity is to find a person willing to swap his lifestyle with someone else.

My evaluation of this activity

This activity is an excellent preparation for speaking part of Stanag exam because its main purpose is to talk about person´s lifestyle - habits, daily routine, family, friends etc. Even though the students are given pictured cards and talk about the different lifestyle, it encourages them to think and use variety of vocabulary vital for every day communication. Learning new vocabulary items connected with different lifestyles might be a great advantage in a real world while meeting people of various professions and customs.

To make the students more enthusiastic about this activity, I would recommend to use the photos of world famous celebrities instead of pictures of ordinary people. This may sound irrelevant, however, talking about celebrities´ lifestyles and scandals would be definitely more enjoyable and it would lead to involvement of all students. Even if some students have difficulties with speaking, the photos of celebrities could enable them to express themselves more easily due to the knowledge they already have about these personalities.
From a grammatical point of you, this activity enables a great deal of grammar practice, e.g. present, past and future tense. Furthermore it might be used while teaching comparative and superlative form of adjectives and adverbs. While looking at the photo and describing their lifestyle, the students are encouraged to talk not only about the current situation in their lives but also about their past and challenges for future. In addition to this, they may compare advantages and disadvantages of various professions, life-styles and habits.
At the end of this activity the teacher may announce the competition and let the students vote on the most and the least tempting lifestyle.


  1. Crossed lines


Level : intermediate

Type of activity : information search (whole class)

Objective : to practise asking for information
The teacher is supposed to copy enough task sheets for half the class and information sheets for the rest of the class. Then he or she places the chairs around the room in pairs back to back and asks the students to sit on them holding different sheets.

The aim of this activity is for students with task sheets to complete their task in order. That means they have to phone the stationary students behind them beginning the conversation with : „Hallo, is that the Gaumont Theatre?“ If they get the right number, their reply will be : „Yes, can I help you ?“ and they should ask for information they need and write it down on the task sheet. If they get a wrong number with the reply :„No, sorry. I am afraid, you have got a wrong number, this is the station.“- they should apologise and move on to another pair of chairs. Students are instructed to complete the tasks in order, so they are not allowed to make two consecutive phone calls from the same place.

My evaluation of this activity

Being able to communicate face to face is undoubtedly perceived as a crucial form of conversation. However, living in a busy society requires the ability to make phone calls considering all the rules essential for a successful and polite conversation. This activity enables the students to try out various situations while seeking information about entertainment, transport, health care etc. They have the opportunity to call the dentist pretending they suffer from toothache and make an appointment, or call the railway station to find out the timetable, or call the theatre to book tickets for the performance etc.


Alternatives

Since there are various institutions and authorities students may find useful for gathering information, the teacher can ask them to make a list of them. After that, the teacher allows a short whole class discussion on responsibilities of each institution and provides the students with vocabulary they need. Then, he or she proceeds with pair work and let the students practise phone conversation based on a previous discussion. I was very surprised how creative and imaginative the students can be if the teacher allows them to use their own ideas.


It is essential to pre-teach the universal phrases used while having phone conversation and write them on the board to provide support for the students during the communicative activity. Any time the student is not sure, he or she can look at the board and find the suitable phrase for the dialogue. Pre-teaching should be done in an active way to involve students´ own ideas for better memorizing. The teacher is supposed to help and add phrases which have not been mentioned yet but should not interfere too much since the students deal with the theme they have already covered in previous lessons.

  1. Good intentions or the road to hell



Level : intermediate, upper intermediate

Type of activity : matching (whole class, pairwork)

Objective : to practise stating intentions
The teacher makes up a form of „good intentions“ and gives it out to each student in the class. Then the students are asked to imagine that it is New Year´s Eve and they are making their resolutions for the New Year. They are supposed to tick the resolutions which are somehow connected with their personalities and add one more personal resolution on the last line. After that they go around the class asking each other about their resolutions and telling about their own.
The aim of this activity is to find someone with at least three resolutions that are the same . When the students have found their match, they are asked to sit down together and imagine the time is one year later. In pairs, students now discuss what they succeeded in doing and what they were going to do, but did not.
My evaluation of this activity

After giving the class the instructions to this activity, the students´ reaction was so dreary that I was wondering if my choice of this communicative activity had been right. The students started complaining about the purpose of this activity and the reason was : „We do not make New Year´s resolutions. We have nothing to say.“

Teachers should not be put off by these statements but find the way to motivate the students to talk about the given topic. I decided for demonstration and without any hesitation described my previous bad habits I wanted to get rid of without mentioning the word „resolutions“. Suddenly, the students began to be interested in my talk and asked questions if I managed to give up those bad habits or not and their enthusiasm in communication was increasing. I took advantage of this and asked them to work in pairs and interview their partner about the same. They led a lively conversation and finally realised that it was just a game and started pretending their resolutions.The lesson was finally entertaining and the students liked it.

Pre-teaching some grammar structures before the activity starts is worth while, especially the rules for using „to be used to“ and „ used to“ since these are often mixed up by students. It is important to emphasize the difference between them and also explain their correct usage by giving examples taken from the activity to show the students what is going to be practised. e.g. „Now I am used to eating a lot.“ The teacher uses this sentence as an example and explains that for describing the present situation (habit) this grammatical structure is required. Than the teacher changes it into „I used to eat a lot“ and explains the usage of the second grammatical structure.


  1. Sales reps


Level : intermediate, upper intermediate

Type of activity : matching (pairwork)

Objective : to practise describing properties and abilities
The class is divided into two halves : sales representatives and buyers. The machine cards are given out to the sales reps and they have five minutes to : write down what the user of each machine will be able to do and give each machine a price. The buyers are asked to write down three everyday problems (what makes them busy and why). The buyers have two thousand pounds each to spend on machines to improve the quality of their lives. Students work in pairs : the buyer explains to the sales representative what he does not want to do any more, what household chores annoy him, asks for devices to help him lose weight or learn English faster etc. The sales representative offers the buyer the devices, explains how they work and tries to persuade the costumer to buy them.
The aim of this activity is for the buyers to obtain the machines they need and for the sales representatives to sell as many devices as possible.

My evaluation of this activity

This activity has proved very enjoyable for my students and also useful considering the need to buy different things in an English speaking environment. To make it even more realistic, I cut out various types of devices from newspapers and magazines to fit in everyday life and used them instead of drawn funny pictures. Adult learners always appreciate the direct connection between the activity and the real world, so it is vital for me to have this in mind while choosing suitable materials for a particular communicative activity.

The teacher´s role in this activity is to observe the pairs offering and buying devices and take notes about serious mistakes which the intermediate students should be able to avoid. Providing the students with new vocabulary items within the activity may seem reasonable but my aim was to make them think of indirect expression of problematic words. I also explained to them that it is not necessery to be familiar with all English words but be able to express their ideas using vocabulary they already know to be understood.
Students’ roles can differ depending on the topic. I have used it many times in my lessons considering the weekly topic. While talking about relationships and marriage, I instructed the students to work in pairs and imagine that one of them works for a dating agency and helps the single one (his schoolmate) find an eligible partner. While talking about jobs and work, the students were asked to prepare a dialogue between a person seeking a summer job in England and a company worker offering different jobs abroad. The role play commonly used by the majority of teachers is asking for information about a holiday in a travel agency. Since a role play is one of the three parts of Stanag speaking exam, I have to concentrate on its practice as much as possible.


  1. Guess what I´ve been doing !


Level : intermediate

Type of activity: guessing card game (pair work)

Objective : to practise describing recent activities using present perfect continuous

The teacher copies and cuts up one set of cards for each pair and puts the whole set face down on the table. One student takes a card from the top of the pile and performs his appearance and mood according to the depicted card, for example „I´m crying“. He must not show it to his partner who guesses what activity the student has been engaged in, for example „Have you been watching a sad film ?“ If the student guesses correctly, he or she is allowed to keep the card.

The aim of this activity is to collect the most cards and, above all, practise the use of present perfect continuous in common daily situations.

My evaluation of this activity

The purpose of this guessing activity differs from teacher´s objectives in communicative activities mentioned above. While the main aim of those activities was encouraging students to lead fluent conversation and the teacher focused on students´ fluency, this activity is based on speaking with the emphasis on accuracy – correct use of present perfect continuous. Although fluency activities are prefered by most teachers because of the spontaneous language use in a real world, they should be preceded by sufficient amount of accuracy activities focusing on a particular grammatical pattern. In my lessons, this procedure proved to be very effective and after practising various grammatical patterns in accuracy communicative activities, the students were able to speak more fluently with fewer grammatical mistakes.


Pre-teaching is essential in this case since the students need to be familiar with a particular grammatical structure before the activity starts. For that reason the teacher should devote some time revising the formation of present perfect simple and present perfect continuous and drill its negative forms and questions. After sufficient explanation, students are ready to practise it in different situations set by cards.
Since I dealt with an accuracy activity, it was necessary to check students´ dialogues and concentrate on mistakes made in the present perfect tense. I was circulating checking each pair and giving advice.
Pair work required for this activity enabled me to focus on weaker students who were struggling with the use of present perfect, whereas the others were able to work on their own.

Alternatives

The teacher can use this activity for practising any grammatical pattern just by changing the title of the activity, for example : „Guess what I did yesterday!“(practice of past simple) or „Guess what I was doing yesterday!“ (practice of past continuous) or „Guess what I am going to do tomorrow!“ (practice of expressing future) or „Guess what has been done!“ (practice of passive voice) etc. By drilling the particular grammatical feature the students become aware of it and start using it in fluency communicative activities without hesitation pauses.



  1. Detective work


Level: intermediate, upper intermediate

Type of activity : arranging card game (group work)

Objective : to practise reporting past events
The teacher copies and cuts up one set of cards for each group, shuffles them and places them face down in the middle of the group. Then he or she tells the students that a murder was committed last night. An old lady was found dead in her living room. She had been hit on the head and jewellery worth five thousand pounds had been stolen from the house. The murder occurred between seven and ten o´clock in the evening. One of the principal suspects is Annie Hudson, the district nurse, who has the key to the old lady´s house, and who lives ten minutes´ walk away. The cards contain details of Annie´s movements that evening. The groups´ task is to read them and try to work out if she could have committed the murder or not. Since the cards have been shuffled, the events will be in a muddled order. Students should turn over one card at a time from the pile and discuss the probable sequence of events.
The aim of this activity is to reconstruct Annie´s evening and work out if she could have committed the murder or not. After the groups have finished, let them compare their findings.
My evaluation of this activity

Any activity concerning detective work and the police investigation seems to be tempting for most students. They seek adventure, thrill and are keen on working out the crime which had been committed. This works not only with young learners but also adults. They are fond of thinking and talking within the group about the sequence of events and compete who will be the first one to solve the case. This leads to a lively discussion among group members trying to persuade the others about the correctness of their ideas.

I would evaluate this activity as useful not only because it enables practising fluent speaking within the group but also from the grammatical point of view. The members of each group have the opportunity to improve their speaking skills and revise the correct use of past tenses since this activity is focused on reporting past events. Furthermore, it enhances their ability of logical thinking in a foreign language due to arranging the events in a logical order.

Correcting mistakes was done at the end of the activity when I asked each group to describe the events, which happened that evening, in an order which seemed the most probable to them. Although the teacher is usually expected to correct students´ mistakes, this time I asked the rest of the class to listen and write down all mistakes they heard while the group was explaining the sequence of events.When one group finished, we put all mistakes the other students noticed on the board and discussed them as a class. The explanation of certain rules especially usage of past and past perfect tense prevented other groups from recurrence of the clarified mistakes.
Alternatives

With advanced learners, it would be possible to perform the questioning of a suspect at the police station. Teacher can either ask the class for volunteers or choose at random a suspect and two police officers who will perform questioning in front of the class. A suspect is allowed to choose someone from the other students who will support him or her at the police station e.g. a husband, a wife, a best friend etc. Even though there is a slight diffidence at the beginning of this activity, later on the embarrassment vanishes and the students enjoy the development of the case.


Teachers should be careful when planning this activity and consider the level of students. Since it is based on fluent speaking, I would not recommend this activity to low level classes because they would not probably feel confident in such demanding roles and their long pauses could lead to embarrassment and also class boredom.


  1. Tact


Level: upper intermediate

Type of activity : matching up role play (groups of three)

Objective : reporting what was said (reported speech)

This communicative activity must be performed in groups of three – one person per each side of the dispute and one person to carry messages. The teacher is supposed to divide the students in groups and copy three sets of cards (neighbours, husband and wife and countries) for each group in the class. Then he or she arranges the classroom if possible so that there are two rows of desks with a free space between them. All the neighbours A are seated in one row and all the neighbours B in the opposite row, with the go-betweens standing in the middle. The students are given the cards : neighbour A, neighbour B and the go-between. The neighbours are not allowed to speak with each other directly but must relay messages through the messenger.

The aim of this activity is for neighbours A and B to reach a satisfactory compromise. When a group has reached a compromise, the roles are changed , so that a different person has a chance to be a messenger. After that the husband and wife role cards are given out. When the students have finished that, the messengers are changed again and the students take up the countries role cards.
My evaluation of this activity

The teacher’s role in this accuracy activity is to go round and observe the groups. The conversation between two sides is based on a free speech being reported by the messenger and the teacher just listens to what is being said and does not interfere. On the other hand, the role of a messenger is very important, not only due to relaying information between two sides, but also from the grammatical point of view. The grammar practised in this activity is reported speech and the teacher should not be indifferent to what the messenger is saying. When he or she makes a mistake in reported speech, the teacher should stop them and ask for their correction. Interfering in this role is essential, otherwise the students would not find out if they were correct or not.


Pre-teaching the rules of indirect speech formation is inevitable before the activity starts. Some students may feel confident even without revision but the teacher´s aim is to make sure that each student understands the patterns.
The main purpose of this accuracy activity is to practise mainly speaking and grammar, however, it can be easily changed to a fluency activity if the teacher´s objective is practising fluent conversation. In this case, the role of a messenger is neglected and the two sides of a particular dispute are trying to deal with the situation.

Follow up

The teacher could develop conversation based on reported speech (gossiping at the party about the problems covered in the activity) and let the students be involved in it without teacher´s interfering. While listening to the conversation, the teacher may write down the common mistakes the students have made, and after finishing the activity, write these mistakes on the board and familiarise the students with them and correct them as a whole class.

This activity also serves for enlarging the students´ vocabulary while talking about relationships (husband x wife, neighbours) but also about different countries negotiating serious matters (occupying territory, building a nuclear power plant near the border, high taxes on food etc.)


  1. Eye-witness accounts


Level : intermediate, upper intermediate

Type of activity : filling in a questionnaire (pair work)

Objective : reporting an event, asking questions
The teacher is supposed to prepare questionnaires from different fields of real world situations (record of criminal events, veterinary report sheet, estate agents´ questionnaire about customer´s requirements, medical information sheet etc.) and give one questionnaire to each pair. Then a student A fills it in by asking students B questions. The teacher should insist on formulating the questions correctly and make sure the student does not simply show the form to his or her partner. Students B are asked to invent as plausible and coherent answers to the questions as possible. When students A have completed their questionnaires, the roles should be changed and another questionnaire used.

My evaluation of this aktivity

Filling in the questionnaires or forms with open answers belongs to favorite activities of those students who are creative and like inventing stories and making up plots. On the other hand, this kind of form is quite inappropriate for the slower students who have difficulties with creating the possible answers. It takes them some time and leads to untrustworthiness of their answers. When this occured in my class, I decided to divide the students into two halves. The better part of students was given complicated and open-answer questionnaires and the weaker students were instructed to look at the pictures I gave out. Due to difficulties with making up the answers, I asked them to use these pictures and, according to what they saw, answer the partner´s questions. Pictures gave them the opportunity to formulate the answers straight away without unwanted pauses. Eventually, I felt confident to have managed this activity successfully.

All communicative activities based on filling in the questionnaires are very useful as they prepare the students for real life situations they may come across later on.
Based on my teaching experience, the best option is to start with the questionnaire requiring the personal information because this kind of form is undoubtly mostly used in reality. When the students feel confident with filling in personal forms, I proceed with using the more demanding ones. To fill in these, students have to be familiar with a wider range of vocabulary and also grammatical structures. E.g. a medical information sheet will require vocabulary concerning diseases, their symptoms, first aid etc. or the record of criminal events will demand the terminology about crime. Dealing with these forms, pre-teaching specific vocabulary items is essential for understanding the task and smooth activity development Choosing the appropriate form or questionnaire sometimes depends on a topic covered within the week.
The teacher´s role in this activity is to go round the class and observe students. In my lessons I try to listen to all pairs having dialogues and not to ignore anyone. While circulating I correct some mistakes made by students either in questions or the answers. This interuption is not interfering, moreover, when the teacher is near by, the students expect to be corrected. Even if the teacher manages to correct some mistakes during the activity, at the end of it there should be an overall feedback on students´ mistakes and on their ability to formulate questions and answers.

4CONCLUSION

In my thesis I tried to deal with speaking as one of four basic skills and highlight its importance in every day situations. My aim was to distinguish speaking and conversation since these terms are commonly used but often get mixed up. I pointed out that conversation plays a crucial role in our lives and without it we would not be able to exchange the information and share our knowledge.

I also dealt with motivation as an essential factor for language learners and classified its types – extrinsic and intrinsic, with the emphasis on the teacher´s personality which influences the students´ willingness to participate actively in the learning process. I mentioned native speakers as a great source for our teaching practice and described the ways they may encourage the students to carry on studying a foreign language.
To feel confident while learning to speak a foreign language, the students are supposed to be put in a „safe environment“. This prevents them from embarrassement or anxiety when they are asked to express themselves. I tried to explain this term and suggested possible ways to decrease students´ concern about speaking. Due to students´ different personalities and also abilities to speak a foreign language, I dealt with pair work and group work as the ways of organizing the class. I mentioned the advantages of this kind of work, especially reducing tension in class, creating a pleasant atmosphere and building up students´ independence and confidence. Pair work was evaluated as more useful since it is closer to real-life situations and dealing with them is the main aim that the students are heading for.

Another area I focused on, were communicative activities and their categorization : information gap activities, discussions, role plays, simulations and guessing games. I characterized them and evaluated the interaction they offer to prepare students for real-life language use. In connection with them, I dealt with terms accuracy and fluency and explained the importance of distinguishing them due to teacher´s objective within the lesson. I introduced different techniques for correcting mistakes in either accuracy or fluency communicative activities and also described the roles of a teacher and requirements which he or she has to fulfil to manage the roles successfully.

In the practical part of my thesis I first introduced the classes I have been teaching and also explained the teaching policy at the Defense Language Institute in Vyškov. Then I presented a set of pre-taught communicative activities which I have already used in my lessons, described their objectives and provided them with my evaluation. All activities were aimed at practising speaking in English lessons, focusing on either fluency or accuracy.

By means of this thesis I realized how important it is for the teacher to have a great amount of information concerning teaching speaking to be able to provide the students with efficient conversational lessons. The methodology literature I was reading through enabled me to have a look at a speaking skill from a different point of view and think about this issue more deeply. All the theoretical information I gained from this literature was used in the practical part of my thesis. Based on that, I reached several findings.
One of them was realizing how important role motivation plays in the learning process. It was proved that students´ progress in speaking a foreign language depends on motivation and encouragement from their teachers. I found out that if there are no stimulating factors and the students are not motivated, it leads to boredom in class. To prevent this, entertaining communicative activities and interesting topics proved to be very useful and effective. Another fact which I found reasonable while evaluating presented activities, was distinguishing them according to the teacher´s objective. The fluency activities proved to be essential while practising fluent conversation to prepare students for the real world. On the other hand, the accuracy activities focused on grammar and due to them the students were given the opportunity to practise the correct use of foreign language. Since using various types of communicative activities proved very beneficial in my classes, I would like to recommend them to all teachers whose aim is to improve their students´ communicative skills.

55 BIBLIOGRAPHY




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