Chrissie spoke to us about using debate, group discussion and oral interpretation to help learners develop their speaking skills.
She informed us of research results concerning debate. According to the research, it improves formal functional language, develops critical thinking, prioritizing, listening, summarizing, expressing disagreement and extended discourse, expressing opinion and justifying. Group discussion in turn improves interactive communication, extended discourse, listening, expressing polite disagreement, facilitating discussion, summarizing, interrupting, research ,critical thinking. Oral interpretation (reading aloud) requires good phonology, body language, manner of expression and interpretation of text.
Then she took us to the children who participated .They were given, before they took part in debates and group discussions, useful language which they were to use. It gave us encouragement to see 11 year olds debating, very politely and using precise language to present and argue their points, to present their arguments logically and coherently and then participating in a group discussion, presenting results of research they had undertaken, asking for further defining… and all in excellent English.
By George Raptopoulos
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