Speaking is one of the important skills in English as a Foreign Language (EFL). It shows the best influence when seeing goal of speaking learning process, especially in EFL. The goal of English teaching is to make students able to communicate well.
There are some problems in teaching speaking. The problems come from internal and external. Internal problems are native language, age, exposure, innate phonetic ability, identity and language ego, and motivation and concern for good speaking. An external problem is institutional context that puts English as second or foreign language in a nation.
Each problem is connected with decision in choosing suitable method in teaching speaking. The conclusion of this paper is by applying the suitable method in teaching speaking, it will help the English teacher to overcome some problems in teaching speaking.
Language skill separates into two kinds that are receptive and productive. Receptive consists of listening and reading skills. Productive consists of speaking and wring skills. All of the skills are important in communication, including English communication. That is how the four skills are taught in English as a Foreign Language (EFL).
One of the most important skills in EFL is speaking skill. According to Oxford dictionary, speaking is the action of conveying information or expressing one's thoughts and feelings in spoken language. From the definition, it concludes that speaking is expression in sending messages from a speaker towards listeners. Sending message in speaking uses verbal language. Because of that, communication in speaking way should be accurate. The accuracy will decide the success of communication.
By the importance of speaking, the skill needs special method in teaching EFL. Some of method that support in teaching speaking are Direct Method, The Silent Way, Community Language Learning, Total Physical Response, and Communicative Language Teaching.
Direct Method receives its name from the fact that meaning is be conveyed directly in the target language through use of demonstration and visual aids, with no recourse to the students’ native language (Diller 1978). The Silent Way supposed that learning is a process which we initiate by ourselves by mobilizing our inner resources to meet the challenge at hand. Community Language Learning, by applying this method, students’ confident will appear and they will be communicative in saying something based on their idea because teachers very support them and consider their students as “whole persons”. Total Physical Response, in this method after the learner internalizes an extensive map how the target language works, speaking will appear spontaneously. Communicative Language Teaching became clear that communication required that students perform certain functions as well, such as promising, inviting, and declining invitations within a social context (Wilkins 1976).
Although there are many approaches in teaching speaking, the learning process still faces many failures. There are many problems which influence the failure that are Clustering, Redundancy, Reduced forms, Performance variables, Colloquial language, Rate of delivery, Stress rhythm and Intonation, Interaction.
All of the obstacles have to be observed in order to reach the success of teaching speaking. The observation result will help teachers in deciding the suitable method in teaching speaking. The result also can be a source in developing approaches or methods in EFL. Teaching speaking needs to know about obstacles that may be occur in the learning process. Some problems come from the internal of students and others come from outside students. So, the paper will discuss about the problems found in teaching speaking.
There are several discussions about problems that come from body of the students their self. The problems are commonly become obstacles in teaching speaking. The problems are native language, age, exposure, innate phonetic ability, identity and language ego, motivation and concern for good speaking.
1. Native language
The native language is the most influential factor affecting a learner’s speaking. Brown, (2000:284) states, “If you are familiar with the sound system of learner’s native language, you will be better able to diagnose student difficulties. Many L1-L2 carryovers can be overcome through a focused awareness and effort on the learner’s part.”
By the statement it concludes that mother language of students will be a problem in teaching speaking if the teacher cannot understand the fact and decided a way to solve the condition moreover if the linguistic aspect of the native language students have is really different with target language. In the condition, linguistically, the difference of L1 and L2 is the fundamental factor that determines success of a speaking class.
Generally speaking children under the age of puberty stand an excellent chance of “sounding like a native” if they have continued exposure in authentic contexts. Beyond the age of puberty, while adults will almost surely maintain a “foreign accent”, there is no particular advantage attributed to age. A fifty year old can be as successful as an eighteen year old if all other factors are equal. Although, Brown, (2000:284) argues that remind the students are older, that “the younger, the better” is a myth. It is because, in fact, every step of age has its own characteristic that sometime has a potency to be a problem in teaching speaking.
Learners are often described as children, young learners, adolescents, young adults or adults, (Harmer, 2007:14). The term children are generally used for learners between the ages of about 2 to about 14. Students are generally described as young learners between the ages of 5 to 9 and very young learner are usually between 2 and 5. Adult are generally thought to be between 16 and 20.
Brown, (2000:87) gives clearer map of children characteristic that could be problem in language teaching. Children are still in an intellectual stage. Because of that, children are centered on the here and now, on functional purposes of language. They have little appreciation for our adult notions of “concreteness” and they certainty cannot grasp the metalanguage used to describe and explain linguistics concepts.
Actually children are often innovative in language forms but still have a great many inhibitions. They are extremely sensitive, especially to peers. Moreover, their egoism is still being shaped, and therefore the slights of communication can be negatively interpreted. Children are also focused on what this new language can actually be used for here and now. They are less to willing to put up with language that doesn’t hold immediate that is neither authentic nor meaningful.
Adults have a wider range of life experiences to draw on, both as individual and as learners than younger students do. Adult comes with a lot of previous learning experiences which may hamper their progress, (Harmer, 2007:15). Brown, (2000:90) also says that adults usually have acquired a self-confidence not found in children. Unfortunately, adults have weakness that often brings a modicum of general self-confidence (global self-esteem) into classroom.
By the explanation above it can be concluded that teaching language is really related with the age of students that affect the characteristic of the students its self. In every age there is some uniqueness which can support the teaching processes on other hand the uniqueness can be hard obstacle in the teaching. It can be anticipated by make an observation about the age of students and find the formula in teaching each age.
It is difficult to define exposure. One can actually live in a foreign country for sometime but not take advantage of being “with the people.” Research seems to support the notion that the quality and intensity of exposure are more important than mere length of time. Brown, (2000:285) says that if class time spent focusing on speaking demands the full attention and interest of the students, then they stand a good chance of reaching their goals.
The statement shows that in terms of exposure the discussion will be very fuzzy. Some students may be more interest by quality and intensity of exposure the teacher gives in speaking class. Some of the students may have contradictive condition; they prefer to get long time of exposure in reaching the speaking class goal. The relativity is an obstacle in teaching speaking so the teacher should know the condition of his or her students in order to be able to give suitable exposure.
4. Innate phonetic ability
Often referred to as having an “ear” for language, some people manifests a phonetic coding ability that others do not. In many cases, if a person has had exposure to a foreign language as a child, this “knack” is present whether the early language is remembered or not, (Brown, 2000:285). Others are simply more attuned to phonetic discriminations. Some people would have you believe that you either have such a knack, or you do not. Therefore, if speaking seems to be naturally difficult for some students, they should not despair; with some effort and concentration, they can improve their competence.
In other words, sometime speaking skill often placed as a talent from an individual. The perspective is not wrong because many researches, especially in education have proven that human has specific talent or inelegance. Here, speaking skill mastery includes verbal intelligence. So, the teacher should understand the fact by realizing that students have their own chance to be success in speaking class. It will a big problem if the teacher do not see his students in diverse talent.
5. Identity and language ego
Yet another influence is one’s attitude toward speakers of the target language and the extent to which the language ego identifies with those speakers. Learners need to be reminded of the importance of positive attitudes toward the people who speak the language, but more important, students need to become aware of - and not afraid of - the second identity that may be emerging within them, (Brown, 2000:285).
The perspective shows that students’ attitude is very important in speaking class. Positive attitude will help the students to master speaking skill better. On the contrary, by bad attitude, the students will be more difficult to reach the speaking class goal. Good attitude is a power that helps the students to accept speaking material. It will be a huge trouble if the teacher does not know the importance of Identity and language ego of his students.
6. Motivation and concern for good speaking
Some learners are not particularly concerned about their speaking, while others are. The extent to which learners’ intrinsic motivation propels them toward improvement will be perhaps the strongest influence of all six of the factors in this list. Brown, (2000:285) says that that motivation and concern are high, and then the necessary effort will be expended in pursuit of goals. It means that motivation is very important in teaching speaking.
The teacher does not have other choice expect try to wake students’ motivation. The problem is that motivation is a very complex thing. Motivation means a cluster of factor that ‘energizes’ the behavior and gives it ‘direction’ (Atkinson 2000: 13). In Atkinson point a view, motivation is term used to describe what energize a person and what directs his activity, and energy and direction are the center of motivation. Furthermore, Motivation is divided into intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (Arnold, 2000:14). The problem here is that how to build both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation from the students. Moreover, each student has his own characteristic so it needs many strategies and approach to make up the motivation.
Teacher can help learners to perceive or develop hat motivation by showing, among other things, how clarity of speech is significant in shaping their self image and ultimately in reaching some of their higher goals.
The effectiveness of teaching speaking does not only come from internal aspects of the students but also influenced by external factors. The completeness understanding of problem in teaching speaking should be known by the teacher. The factor is an institutional context that puts English as second or foreign language in a nation. The context in which the language is learnt is still considerable relevance to kind of English a nation will want and need to study, and the skills they will need to acquire.
Harmer, (2007: 12) says there are three main kinds of English teaching. It has been suggested that students of EFL (English as Foreign Language) tend to be learning so that they can use English when traveling or to communicate with other people, from whatever country, who also speak English. ESL (English as a Second Language) students, on the other hand, are usually living in the largest-language community. The latter may need to learn the particular language variety of that community (Scotch English, shouter English, from England, Australian English, and Texan English). ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) to describe both situations.
In teaching speaking English as second language the students are ready access to the target language both outside and inside language classroom. The students have a tremendous advantage. They have an instant “laboratory” available twenty-four hours a day. Because of that, it is easier to teach English as second language than as foreign language.
Language teaching in what might broadly categorize as an EFL context is clearly a greater challenge for students and teachers. Often, intrinsic motivation is a big issue, since students may have difficulty in seeing the relevance of learning English, (Brown, 2001:118). Their immediate use of language may seen far from removed from their own circumstances, and classroom hours may be the only part of the day when they are exposed to English.
Moreover, speaking is a skill that very needs many exercises. In EFL, the time to do exercise is limited in the classroom. When the students out from the class they will use their mother language. From the fact, the teacher should choose the most suitable method in teaching speaking. Therefore, the language that teacher present, model, elicit, and treat takes on great importance.
Problem in teaching speaking is complex. It is not only related with the students’ factor but also about context outside. In the internal aspects, the problems occurred are related with native language, age, exposure, innate phonetic ability, identity and language ego, and motivation and concern for good speaking. The points of those problems are related with condition of the students.
In the external problem, teaching speaking has challenge to make suitable classroom hours, because usually in the junior or senior high school English lesson only four hour a week, so they do limited time and they do not maximize in their ability in English, they do not have the maximal time to practice in the outside of classroom because the teacher should teach suitable with the syllabus from the government, remembering that there is final examination from the government. They do not have time to practice outside the classroom because they do not have suitable partner to speak in English and the fact, they `speak in their native language.
Based from the problems above, it suggest to the teacher to choose the suitable method based on the problems that they found in their teaching. Several methods that are often used in teaching speaking are Direct Method, The Silent Way, Community Language Learning, Total Physical Response, and Communicative Language Teaching.
Brown, Douglas. (2001). Teaching by Principle. Pearson Education, Inc.
Harmer, Jeremy. (2007). How to Teach English. Edinburg. Longman.
Hornby, A.S. 2002. Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary of Current English. Britain: Oxford University Press.