Page 1 of 1

clear speaking

Posted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:35 pm
by iain
I was wondering what people's feelings are towards an aspect of classroom teaching that doesn't seem to be given much time on these forums and possibly not much thought elesewhere. I'm talking about teacher awareness of voice and speech; their own. I have recently finished conducting a training course which included two TEFL teachers with several years' experience in established schools. In practical sessions I was struck by how unclear they were when speaking to students, primarily when providing explanations or examples. 'What' they were saying was clear and accessible but not 'how' they said it: there seemed to be no real effort to make themselves understood. There was no pacing, pausing, or 'highlighting' that people can use to aid understanding.
We probably all know from our own experiences as learners of a foreign language how some native speakers are easier to understand than others. More often than not the people who want to be understood, are: they tend to have the knack of putting themselves in the other person's shoes. Other native speakers rattle on unaware of the difficulties they are creating; to a large extent through choice of lexis but just as significantly through unthought out 'delivery'. Teachers need to be aware of 'language accessibilty' at whatever level they are working but they should also be aware of how to be good 'natural' speakers, without sounding condescending.
Any thoughts?

Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:44 pm
by Luke Zimmermann
Interesting topic. It has often struck me, too, that some presenters seem so unaware of how they present themselves. I have seen presenters with their hands in their pockets (possibly trying to look casual and relaxed), mumbling, racing through material or going over too many basics.

In the classroom we need to be very aware of the level of our students to make sure we communicate effectively. We have to strike a balance between speaking naturally and keeping it simple enough to be understood. It comes with experience I suppose, although as you mentioned some never seem to get it.

Video Cameras...

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:37 am
by eslweb
I found it very helpful to use a Video camera to see how clearly you are presenting. Sometimes students do say that you are speaking unclearly or too quickly and so it is very useful to see for yourself if you are speaking at a normal speed or if your delivery wasn't very clear.

James