Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Discussion-Based Activities on the Speaking Ability of Iranian Intermediate Efl Female English Learners

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Discussion-Based Activities on the Speaking Ability of Iranian Intermediate Efl Female English Learners

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

There are many reasons to suppose that English is the world's most common language. Speaking English not only can allow you to travel and do business and still be able to talk to a large majority of people no matter where you go but also can convey information and ideas, and maintain social relationship by communicating with others. It is worth to point out that McDonough and Shaw (2003) devoted considerable attention to speaking skills and said: -With the recent growth of English as an international language of communication, there is clearly a need for many learners to speak and interact in a multiplicity of situations through the language, be it for foreign travel, business or other professional reasons." (p.133).

As McCarthy(1991) mentioned, it is undeniable fact that: -Interactional talk has as its primary functions the lubrication of the social wheels, establishing roles and relationships with another person, confirming and consolidating relationships, expressing solidarity, and so on" (p.136).

In sum, speaking is a key to communication. By considering what good speakers do, what speaking tasks can be used in class, and what specific needs learners report, teachers can help learners improve their speaking and overall oral competency.

Many language learners show great regard for speaking ability as the gauge of knowing a language. It is a commonsense understanding that students' speaking respect to optimal level is not often met by a straight forward process. Because the elements of speaking are numerous and not always easy to identify .However, learning speaking involves developing subtle and detailed knowledge about why, how and when to communicate, and complex skills for producing and managing interaction, such as asking a question or obtaining a turn.

As Burkhart(1998) mentioned that teachers should also be aware of these three aspects of knowledge that speaking encompasses. First, mechanics: pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar. Second, functions: transaction or interaction. Third, Social/Cultural rules and norms.

Harmer(2007)explains three primary reasons for getting students to speak in the classroom. Firstly, rehearsal opportunities- chances to practice real-life speaking . Secondly, providing feedback for both teacher and students. And finally, activating the various elements of language they have stored in their brain. Discussion, whether unplanned or planed, has the great benefits of fostering fluent language use. He also focused his efforts on discussion-based activities and stated that discussions range from highly formal, whole-group staged events to informal small-group interaction. Buzz groups, instant comment, formal debates, unplanned discussion and reaching a consensus come into the category of different formats of discussion.

The fundamental goal of this current study was to investigate whether the discussion-based activities have any substantial effects on the speaking skill of EFL learners in order to enable them to reach a high level of communication proficiency, whereby they can communicate fluently, accurately, and appropriately. So, this paper not only took as a basic premise that using discussion-based activities was an attempt to magnify one of the most effective factors that has main role in improving speaking skill, but also it investigated innovative techniques for teaching speaking skills in order to obtain the tips that focusing on them are necessary for English teachers and for the EFL learners .With such purposes in mind, this study sought answers to the following question:

Do discussion- based activities have any significant effects on the speaking ability of Iranian intermediate EFL female English learners?

Ur(2012)stated that speaking is the most essential among all the four skills, not only people who know a language are referred to as speakers of that language but also language learners are mainly interested in learning to communicate orally. …

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