Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Role of Brainstorming in Enhancing Iranian Efl Learners' Speaking Progress and Achievement

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Role of Brainstorming in Enhancing Iranian Efl Learners' Speaking Progress and Achievement

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Improving EFL/ESL learner's speaking skill has been one of the main focuses of English teachers. They must develop some approaches and classroom talks to provide a communicative situation and to motivate students. But how to motivate the learners to speak has been controversial. Researchers have conducted a lot of studies on different methods to improve learners' speaking skill. Of the most well-known methods is brainstorming which has been studied in this research. In recent years many researchers have conducted a lot of studies to investigate the role of brainstorming in developing language skills.

Any teacher wishes to facilitate learning by using suitable activities and make the students become good learners. Good learners are those students who can recall their existing knowledge and organize and direct the knowledge towards the subject in which they are involved. In this way the learners provide a link between the new and existing knowledge, which causes extraction and integration of ideas from the mind of the learners themselves. Because these ideas belong to the learners themselves, they are very willing to expand and maintain them for a long period of time. It seems logical to say that in a brainstorming session, everybody is more willing to consolidate his own idea which originated from his own mind than others' ideas. Ariana and Mirabela (2012) stated that nowadays teachers help learners to discover knowledge on their own, as they are no longer empty recipients and they are eager to integrate and exchange ideas. This makes the students become good learners in natural contexts, but how the teachers can help the students to express their ideas is the key point.

Brainstorming can be a useful tool to help learners generate ideas. In this way, it is supposed that the teachers can create a situation in which the learners, when speaking, think about the subject of the discussion, but not the grammar, vocabulary and other language issues, so that they can help EFL learners enhance native-like fluency. Soleimani and Taheri Mahmoodabadi's (2013) investigation showed that in task-based learning approaches the learners' mind is free of language control and learning language in these approaches is developed naturally.

Native speakers of a language speak fluently, whether they are children or adults, while L2 learners, even if they are advanced learners, cannot speak as fluently as native speakers. The main and key point which differentiates their fluency is that native speakers, when speaking, think about the subject of the discussion, but not the grammar, vocabulary and other language issues. In other words, their mind is merely involved in the subject issues. However, because EFL/ESL learners concentrate on their grammar, vocabulary, etc., they cannot speak fluently, as it seems that they do not think about the subject itself. To overcome this problem, ESL/EFL learners can exercise and develop their speaking skill by using brainstorming strategy in the classroom. It seems that brainstorming can be a good way to solve this problem and results in learning cognitively.

For the EFL teachers, teaching the four main skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) is a goal. They wish to facilitate learning these skills, but how to facilitate learning is their main problem. Productive skills like speaking have always been regarded as important skills in teaching and learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Productive skills stimulate thinking, compel learners to concentrate and organize their ideas, and cultivate their ability to summarize, analyze, and criticize. It also reinforces English learning ability and the ability of thinking in English carefully and deeply. Nevertheless, students find these skills difficult, because the process demands that they utilize many cognitive and linguistic strategies of which they are uncertain. On the one hand, many students cannot generate ideas as they lack ideas and cannot think creatively of anything interesting or significant enough to write or speak about. …

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