Speaking activities are inseparable with learning foreign language, because they give chances to practice real-life speaking and to use the language knowledge as well as opportunities to produce language automatically without very much conscious thought (Harmer, 2004). In my classroom setting, speaking becomes a rule in the teaching and learning process, especially for Diploma IV students (STAN Jakarta). It’s like a habit between us to communicate in English in and outside the classroom. Therefore, whatever topic or plan stated in the syllabus, it is always speaking integrated with the class activity. Especially for me as the teacher, I always try to use a 100% of English in the language of instruction. I put myself as the model for my students in practicing speaking.
For my Diploma III and Diploma IV classes, I use different activities. Diploma III is of intermediate-level students, with the average age of 17, so they like something fun. Therefore, I use communicative games, simulation and role play, or buzz-group discussion. For Diploma IV, in which the students are on the advanced level and their average age is 24, the students prefer something more challenging. So the activities can be discussion on controversial topics or moral dilemmas, debate, and individual presentation.
As a facilitator of speaking, I try not to dominate the class activity, but I will intervene if the activity is not running smoothly. In making correction, too, I do it after the speaking activity is over (based on the notes I took during their activity). This usually leads to further discussion in the language lesson since usually more questions will arise from critical students.
I think teaching listening is also important for EFL students. Listening will expose students with what native speakers are saying, both in authentic or inauthentic source. It is good for students’ pronunciation, because they can listen to examples of appropriate pitch, intonation, stresses, and sounds.
For my classroom activities, I use intensive listening, i.e. listening to get the gist purpose and the gist-topic, the specific information, the pragmatics, and the summary information. The sources can be from such CDs as TOEFL (listening to academic lectures), Pusintek, Tell-Me More, Speak More, etc. It can also from DVDs like National Geography, movies, and so on. For students’ home assignment, I make them use the Internet for free listening sources and practices (I usually tell them to visit www.ets.org, www.npr.org, www.bbc-english.org, and so on), and they must report their activities. For me, that will encourage them to listen more and more.
In short, in teaching speaking or listening, teacher must design activities that are desirable for communicative activities and improving their language. Listening and speaking are actually getting students to actually do thing with language, so it is the “doing” that should form the main focus of each session. Lastly, make them independent learners by assigning them individual practice outside the classroom.