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ERIC Number: EJ1065703
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1559-663X
On How Thinking Shapes Speaking: Techniques to Enhance Students' Oral Discourse
Casamassima, Myrian; Insua, Florencia
English Teaching Forum, v53 n2 p21-29 2015
The institution at which the authors work--Asociación Ex Alumnos del Profesorado en Lenguas Vivas "Juan Ramón Fernández" (AEXALEVI)--is devoted to the teaching of foreign languages, particularly English, and it administers examinations all over Argentina. One central problem the authors identified in their work in the AEXALEVI Teachers' Centre is the compartmentalization of instruction and assessment. Virtual and face-to-face forums with instructors from Buenos Aires and other districts were held for five years, and most of these teachers reported that they generally teach the content of the syllabus as one thing, and they deal with exam training as a separate component in the course design, which is developed close to examination time and not before. However, when the teacher indulges in teaching to the test, the student does not have the chance to develop skills over time. For example, students have been observed rattling off the summary of a story, overtly learned by heart, without ever being able to answer a simple question from the examiner or interact with a peer in a communicative task. Here lies the danger of treating course and exam, and by the same token, teaching/learning and evaluation, as two separate components rather than as an integrated whole. At the Teachers' Centre, the authors designed ways to introduce changes in skill development to help students both improve their speaking ability and perform better on tests. This article describes three techniques which allow students to structure their oral discourse in meaningful ways in order to help teachers in similar contexts: (1) WWW (What You Think; What You Like; What You Do; And Other People, Too); (2) Who, Where, What, and Why, You Can Have a Try!; and (3) Now and Next, I Will Pass This Test! The authors posit that if students learn to conceive of ideas following a strategic organization reinforced by raising awareness, modeling, and anchoring of the techniques by means of rhyme, gestures, movement, and analogy, then their discourse will be framed within the structure provided and away from random oral discourse. The development of oral discourse can occur only over time and requires a consistent approach by the teacher to contextualize work in the classroom, provide opportunities for interaction, and offer assessment on the part of both the teacher and the students.
US Department of State. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of English Language Programs, SA-5, 2200 C Street NW 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20037. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Argentina
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A