I hope you are ready to open your mouth because this course requires a lot of speaking! Oral skills in English are extremely important since there is no better way to communicate with someone directly. Having good oral skills also includes a basic knowledge of cultural-specific communication strategies. It is not enough to just get by in English, you have to be able to discuss complicated issues at a higher level and that requires learning the necessary vocabulary (glossaries). However, the first step is always just trying your best and compensating if you don’t know!
This is a new national course in English. At the end of the course there will be an evaluation of each student’s oral skills (testing in pairs) based on national guidelines and a national testing system with tasks provided by the Ministry of Education.
- BBC Learning English Pronunciation
- The Sounds of English video
- Check the pronunciation of a word on Dictionary.com or on Nuance.com, practice your intonation here. Pronunciation and intonation matter!
- Record your own speech at VoxoPop or using Voki.com
Theme 1: School and work
- BBC: Why do Finland’s schools get the best results?
- School Systems (Finland, UK, USA)
- Oral skills test: school & work
- Quizlet:School and Quizlet: Work
Theme 2: Health and traffic
- British Council: English for Medicine Tasks
- British Council: Pedestrians
- Quizlet: Health and Quizlet: Traffic
Theme 3: Politics AND CRIME
- Democracy? You Decide – video by Danny Wallace
- The United Kingdom Parliament
- Listen to what Finnish politicians sound like when they speak English + Test if you understood what Paasikivi is saying!
- Oral skills test: political speeches
- Quizlet: Politics and Quizlet: Crime
Project: WAR, PEACE AND NATURE (current issues)
- Choose a natural disaster or war (current news)
- Find 1-2 articles from reliable online newspapers: British or American, perhaps using SweetSearch.com as your search engine.
- Study your topic carefully so that you can tell your audience about it IN YOUR OWN WORDS! You are the expert and your job is to report this piece of news.
- Create a Prezi with JUST pictures (you can use more sources than just the article) + 10 challenging words from the article(s) that you will be able to explain in English (Eudict.com, Dictionary.com).
- Don’t forget to mention your sources on the Prezi.
- Practise makes perfect! Be prepared to present your topic in front of an audience (approximately 5 – 10 minutes). Learn your presentation by heart!
- Quizlet: War and Peace and Quizlet: Nature
Theme 4: Performing arts
- Quizlet: Performing Arts
- Chocolat Discussion Tasks
- choose any poem / short story / song lyrics to recite in class and try to learn it by heart
- make sure you know how to pronounce each word and make it into a performance with intonation and emotion
Theme 5: Multicultural issues and development aid
Prepare to debate a political / multicultural issue. Choose a motion, take sides (houses) and then prepare in pairs. You will be evaluated according to the following rubric, so do some research and be on your toes:
- Opening statement (main argument)
- A rebuttal (your response)
- A closing statement (summarizing what you have already said)
Theme 6: Science, technology and economy
- Quizlet: Science and Technology and Quizlet: Economy
- In small groups, come up with a hypothesis and a research plan.
- How would you prove it scientifically?
- What do you expect the results to show?
- What are the ramifications of your study
Course evaluation criteria
- Active performance and constructive criticism in class = 12,5% of your grade
- 7 vocabulary tests (glossaries) = 12,5% of your grade
- 6 oral skills evaluation tests based on themes = 75% of your grade
National Oral Skills Evaluation Criteria
- 1 oral skills test (30 min. preparation + 30 min. test) during exam week (in pairs / filmed)
- Eurooppalainen viitekehys – A Common European Framework of Reference for Languages