There are two very different types of speaking in the modern language or foreign language classroom.
Very structured speaking- mechanical speaking
…. Focuses more on the correctness of vocabulary and grammar than on the actual content. “What did you buy on Monday? I bought shoes. What did you buy on Tuesday? I bought a blouse.”
…. Uses the same vocabulary and grammar of the question in the answer. “Does she go to the store? Yes, she goes to the store.”
… Uses convergent questions (When? Where? Who?) which only have a few limited answers. Each answer is highly predictable.
… Often has different forms of the same verb in subsequent statements/questions. “I go to the store. My father goes to the store. My brothers go to the store.”
… Limits the questions/ statements to one topic such as places such as in the following fill-in-the-blank exercise. “I go to the store. I go to the mall. I go to the park.”
… Does not follow the logical order of a conversation in subsequent sentences/ questions but these sentences/ questions exist only to practice the indicated grammar or vocabulary. “Where is the bed? It is in the bedroom. Where is the stove. It is in the kitchen.”
… Is not interactive except in that the partner asks a predetermined question which the person answers.
… Is not personal. Usually a student does not express his/ her own opinion but follows the prescribed format.
… Most like a textbook/ workbook exercise
Spontaneous speaking / free speaking
… Focuses on the actual meaning/content of the answer, not on the form (grammar or vocabulary). “Do you like winter? No, I hate it.”
… Uses different words in the answer or subsequent statements. “How was class? I took a test.”
…Uses divergent questions (Why? How? which leads to a huge array of possible answers. The answers probably are unpredictable. “Why do you think the team will win”?
… Moves the conversation/ monologue forward through subsequent statements/questions “After I left school, I went to my favorite restaurant. I had two hamburgers with fries.”
… Guides the conversation /monologue through many related topics. Students may start talking about school, then talk about sports, and then talk about things they will do this weekend.
… Requires the partner to react with the conversation. There is give and take during the conversation. “I thinking of going to a horror movie. How does that sound to you?”
… Is very personal. The speaker offers his/her opinions and views and tells how he/she does something. “ I never order onions on my pizza. I do have double cheese.”
… Most like a real conversation.
Do your modern language/ foreign language students do more spontaneous speaking or structured speaking?
I originally published this blog at my eduwithtechn site
I have developed many Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation. My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs), Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group), Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs), and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle
My three formative assessment books: http://is.gd/tbook