Self-Recording to Enhance Speaking Skills


(Posting on self-recording to enhance speaking skills; fragment of a presentation paper; by one NEB)

It is believed that learning is best and most effective when learners learn from their own mistakes and odds that they realize and later fix by themselves. Self-recording enables language learners to do just this. They will find out how they actually speak and their own mistakes. Karen Price (in Rivers 987: 161) states this by saying “a natural extension of the widespread use of tape recording to let students hear their own performance… is an effective way for students to obtain immediate feedback on their non-verbal as well as verbal behavior.”

By knowing the way they sound, the way they speak, and the mistakes they make, learners will better know where to go with their learning. One thing that is certain is that they will be motivated to improve given the right reason for doing so. Learning at their own pace, learners will train to perform different functions of speaking such as narrating, explaining, describing, etc. If they manage to do this on a regular basis, they should be able to perform better and better in the long run over a period of time. It is this way that learners “take charge of their own learning.” Completely, the motto goes “take control of your own learning and assume responsibility for your success…” independent of the teacher and his “intervention.” This gives way to self-recording constituting what Brown (1991: 6) terms as “home study program”, which is “something that supplements other experiences. It can act… as an additional set of materials along with a regular language class.”

Unlike Horwitz, who contends that learners’ learning that goes on outside of the classroom is not anymore subject to the teacher’s intervention, others still believe that the teacher can still play his role in that he can still help learners correct their mistakes and comment on their performances anytime they need. Borrowing terms by Voller (1997 cited by Aoki in Arnold (ed.) 1999: 147), this can be done over “one-to-one situations” with the teacher serving as a “counselor” giving both psycho-social support caring and motivating learners as well as raising their awareness, and technical support helping learners to carry out their learning, and to evaluate themselves. Specifically, Brown and Yule (1983: 105) states “if the student records a number of performances on the same tape over a period of weeks and months, the teacher can check over those performances and gain an impression of whether the student has improved or not. He can, moreover, illustrate any improvement… to the student himself.”

Dwelling on the above explanation, self-recording here in this context is then taken to mean learners’ recording their voice talking about something of their choice: English-course topic, school-subject topic, feeling about something, etc. They can tell about, narrate, describe, explain, argue, or give a speech on that something for as long as they can and want. Then they listen to it, paying attention to their language, intonation, tone, pronunciation, etc. They jot down odds and mistakes they made. Then they have a one-to-one conference with their teacher. Together they check the recording again for more mistakes the learners missed to note. After that the learners record that again, this time making it better correcting all they have made wrong. Then they listen to the recording again. It goes on like this following the cycle, until they think it is perfect, so perfect they want to talk about something else now.

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