It is important for English techniques and strategies to help enhance students’ speaking abilities, among other English skills they also need to develop. Furthermore, realizing that speaking is very important for English learners, it is essential for English teachers to encourage the students to speak. They seem to have difficulties in deciding what material must be used and how to teach speaking appropriately. Moreover, they must be able to find out the ways of how to make speaking easier and introduce the fun activities for the students to learn. In this case, teachers have responsibilities to guide the students during the learning process and to give motivation to them to improve their English especially in the speaking skill. Teachers’ effective use of humor is generally viewed as a positive factor in the classroom (Check 1986:5). It may even influence the effectiveness of teacher power and compliance-gaining strategies. Wheeless, Stewart, Keamey, & Plax (1987) note that compliance is an enactment of power. Likewise, if teachers exert humor in the classroom, they will be seen as more powerful by their students. Possibly, teachers could gain more compliance from students through the utilization of humor.
1.1Statement of the problem
Teachers come in two types: Boss teacher and lead teacher. Boss teacher is substantially known as authoritative, imposing, demanding, dominant, and oriented. Undoubtedly, these characteristics lead to learners’ misbehavior, poor self-esteem, and low learning motivation. Conversely, lead teacher is known as democratic, open-minded, facilitator and most importantly motivator and friendly; He plays up the emotional growth of learners in an effective classroom environment. Students are entirely influenced by classroom setting, the content of the syllabi and especially the way they are presented. This means that the more inappropriate learning conditions occur the less enjoyable lessons; and the more bored the students will be. Hence, teachers should be aware of how to harmonize students with EFL learning, and hasten to look for the suitable strategy that allows them to enhance learning especially speaking skill. Because teachers at Abbes Laghrour university face many obstacles in English language teaching and as for the students, they lack confidence to speak English with their teachers and classmates because most the of them complain about such difficulties in pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, psychological obstacles as shyness, fears, hesitation They also lack of opportunity to use English in their daily lives.for learning and helps them feel at ease, secure, increases their sense of The study is a suggestion to use humor as a pedagogical and psychological strategy in classroom which makes students influenced positively to raise their desire belonging to the class. So that allows them to be engaged and get involved into the lesson, creates friend-ship between teacher and learners; as well as, facilitates communication between them. Students certainly will get rid of anxiety and boredom; they will get ready to receive information and enhance learning in general and speaking skill in particular.
1.2. The aim of the study
The researcher aims in this study to interview EFL learners by increasing their level of speaking skill. Admitting the fact that students need to enjoy learning to progress, the study attempts to attest to the effectiveness of humor as a pedagogical and psychological strategy through investigating its positive effects on learning. In order to check the validity of the hypothesis, the following questions should be answered:
A- Does the use of humor in the English foreign language classroom facilitate the students’ speaking skill?
B- How can teachers use humor in the teaching process?
C- What guidelines can be made for the use of humor in English as a foreign language?
1.3. The Hypothesis
This work attempts to test the following hypothesis:
Teaching English by using humor can improve the students -speaking skill.
Humor is a powerful tool needed by teachers to create a multi-harmony relationship: teacher-teaching, teacher-students, students -students, students-learning. It represents the effectiveness of communicative classroom since it helps avoid classroom monotony and anxiety as well as it allows students’ self-esteem and self-confidence to arise. Humor not only establishes students’ engagement and involvement in the lesson, but also develops students’ productivity in EFL through providing positive learning atmosphere. Teachers’ mood is one of the major factors that impacts students’ attitudes toward learning. Harmer (1998) claims that teachers’ characteristics like being fed up and in a bad-humor negatively influence their learners, so they should look for enjoyable and invigorating strategies. Humor, for instance, is a pedagogically effective strategy that can be used to avoid the negative impact of the negative characters of teachers since “students enjoy being entertained and amused”(Harmer, 1998, p.1).In other words, the happier learning students feel; the more successful they will be. Humor is defined by saying what makes the others amused.(Vossler, Sheidlower, 2011)say that in classroom, humor is not only being funny or saying what is laughable, but also is giving the impression of being friendly and having affinity with learners .Gatt (2000) defines Humor as follows:
It is the ‘breathing-out of the soul’. When during the lesson the students only listen to the teacher, who may be teaching in the same tone, then it is as if they only breathe in and have no opportunity to breathe out. They need humor, which the teacher can find in very different places. Therefore the teacher must bring in humor during his lessons and this humor should result from the vitality and momentum of the lesson. Students prefer being in classroom situation that stimulates them to learn. Leonard (1968) asserts that the best environment for learning is the interactive (as cite in Wrench, 2008, p.46) where students participate rather than being merely receptive (Jones & Jones, 1981, as cited in Wrench, 2008, p.46).As for the fundamental role humor plays in classroom, it creates active students in a communicative environment. The smooth running of lessons ensues. Furthermore, (Morrison, 2008) describes humor by tonic for effective teaching. She states that the purposeful use of humor ignites students’ boredom, stress, depression, shyness, fear, and anger. Humor is the best “brain food”. It is the link between brain and learning; it rings the brain’s bell to activate “memory” to start storage to push them up for exchange information’ to speak out loud without any fears. So, information presented humorously is extremely memorable. Berk, also, notes that Humor can create an unforgettable image if it is accompanied by the use of” your words plus your physical expressiveness in your eyes, face, hands and arms, and the rest of your body”(2003, p. 64). Sylwester assumes that emotions are considered as the stimulus of learning; they attract the attention which is required to learn (as cited in Morrison, 2008, p.2).Emotions can be presented by humor. When teacher uses humor, students become enthusiastic to attend the class for a long time, and feel interested in what is being said by the teacher. Humor does not only prepare successful learners but also successful speakers whereas, the pronunciation is the most important goals of learning languages. As for teaching, it is necessary to use humor since it retains students’ attendance, improves trust between teacher and learners, and provides positive energy. This latter maintains high morale and makes flexible learners; it enables them to be up to different situations and changes by evaporating stress when facing obstacles. Humor is “catalyst for creativity”. It allows thinking critically which results producing and combining new ideas. Those ideas are necessarily demanded for managing problems-solving .Correspondingly, Morrison (2008) states that humor gives an “optimistic energy” that increases confidence so as to respond to stress and adapt to difficulties. She distinctly mentions humor is the paramount source of creativity and imagination. Humor positively affects the brain. It enables learners create various ideas. Loomans & Kolberg & Weston & Allen go further, arguing that what makes somebody laugh may be is not for another since humor differs according to gender, generation and culture. However, some forms of humor are universal. Therefore, teachers should apply that latter to suit all learners (2002).Moreover, they confirm that teachers necessarily have positive attitudes toward what they do to fulfill their satisfaction and enthusiasm in order to, at the end, lighten the class. Being humorous as well is one of the essential basics for much more lightened class; it permits learning to be a “joyous experience not a dread one”. Loomans categorized humor benefits. Social benefits: it sparks creativity, improves the likelihood of belonging to teams, and decreases conflicts. Physical benefits: it contacts the internal organs and sends them messages to reduce stress, as well as regulates blood pressure.
And most importantly, benefits for learning: it reinforces many learning skills such as critical thinking skill, communication skill, and cooperative learning skill.
1.5. Research method
In this study, the researcher has been looking for a correlation between two variables humor and students’ speaking skill achievements. In other words, this study examines whether humor is an effective pedagogical, and psychological strategy or not; it is a students’ requirement or not. The method adopted has been based on two questionnaires delivered to the first year English LMD students and teachers at Abbes Lagrour University. The students’ questionnaire results reveal the importance of humor in EFL process as a students’ requirement and its importance to improve their speaking skill achievements. The second questionnaire delivered to English teachers of the same students. Researcher has been based on students and their teachers requirements, needs and point of view about the research topic as they considered the main sides of the teaching- learning process .Analysis and the discussions of the results of both questionnaires to decide whether humor is an effective teaching-learning tool to enhance the speaking skill or not.
1.6. Limitation of the study
It is important to indicate some difficulties when collecting background data. Looking for references especially books was the main obstacle the researcher faced. Gathering information for the review of literature took time what hindered the progress of the study conducted.
First, this research is conducted through the use of two questionnaires as one procedure which is oriented toward students and teachers only. Classroom observation procedures needs a long period of time to collect information and to watch thoroughly what is going on in the classroom and pay attention to the sudden changes that may take place in order to guarantee its reliability.
Second, the term humor is very assorted that makes the researcher has been obliged to use the term humor in its general meaning without precise one kind at the expense of another, in some times the researcher use terms as (laugh, amusement), as a synonyms of the term humor.
Chapter 1 (theoretical part)
Section 1 Humor
Humor is the link between effective teaching and successful learning. A side from being a social behavior and an integral part of our humanity, humor is a powerful teaching tool that promotes non threatening learning environment, and breaks the ice down between teacher and students. Then rapport and trust Relationship between them are evolved. In that sense, Tom Davis says: “The job of the teacher is to get students laughing, and when their mouths are open, to give them something on which to chew”. Why humor is solidly related to teaching? “Attitude and behavior are a key part of your role as a tutor, since they can be so influential”(Morss & Murray, 2005, p. 141).
Being boring is one of the major sins in teaching (powers, 2005) as boredom and dullness can kill students motivation and negate their desire to learn (Deiter, 2000). In addition, content is firmly connected to pedagogy; what is taught is as important as how it is taught(Chickering & Gamson, 1987);the teacher should be able to present the lesson in engaging way (Flanagan, 2007) Humor is the demanded strategy. It helps “to your subject knowledge with influencing social interactions and shaping the climate and motivations of students”(Morss & Murray, 2005, p. 141).Appropriate and timely humor in the classroom can foster cognitive processes, affective and emotional processes (Berk, 1996), as well as contribute to over all teaching effectiveness (Kher & Molstad & Donahue, 1999). Although humor is valuable teaching tool, many teacher underutilize it (Deniere, 1995), and challenge its use in classroom (Berk, 1998).Gravely said, ??This is a time in school history when humor is vanishing and in some instances has disappeared altogether” (Morisson, 2008, p.71). Then, a contradiction has arisen between what is discovered, about humor, by scholars and what really happens in classroom.
1-What is humor?
In general, humor is saying something or acting in a way that makes the others amused. To Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary, since the late 16th century, humor takes the following definition: ‘the quality in something that makes it funny or amusing; the ability to laugh at things that are amusing’. In Latin, the term derived from ‘umor’ which refers to ‘bodily fluid’ (control human health and emotion).
Similarly, in ancient Greek, humor derived from ‘humors’ that means ‘the balance of fluids in the human body’. Webster’s Dictionary defines humor as “quality of imagination quick to perceive the ludicrous or to express itself in an amusing way; fun; caprice; disposition; mood; state of mind.”(As cited in Shade, 1996, p. 9)
Apart from tending to provoke laughter and provide amusement, humor has been differently defined by many authors. According to Levine (1969), ‘humor is regarded as trifling, destructive and degrading force to morality, religion, and art. Seen differently, it is liberating, socially constructive, and even ennobling art’ (p.1).Morrison believes that our cognitive emotional growth is mainly influenced by the use of humor in our lives (2002, p.23).Humor is ‘an amusing communication that produces positive emotions and cognitions in the individual or in the group’ (Romero & Cruthirds, 2006, p. 59).However, Hurren thinks that humor is any message, verbal or non verbal, communicated by the teacher and makes the students feel amused (2006). ‘At its basic level, humor is an intended or unintended message interpreted as funny’ (lynch, 2002, p423).
Vossler & Sheidlower go deeper , claiming that humor, at its heart, it is not the behavior of telling jokes, but it is that strategy used to create rapport between teacher and students in a way makes them feel closer to their instructor (2011) since ‘ laughter is the shorter distance between two people’ (McGhee, 2002 as cited in Role, 2011, p. 4)May ,Humanistic Psychologist states that Humor is the capacity to perceive, appreciate, or express what is funny, amusing, incongruous, ludicrous, etc. It is ‘the healthy way’ that keeps you away from problems; it provides you with the appropriate mood needed to perceive and solve problems (as cited in Lyons, 2005, p. 3). Humor is a basic part of ‘humanity’s unique capacity for language’. It is considered as a universal human experience (Kruger, 1996).
2- Basic theories about humor.
1.2. Theories of Humor
The different definitions of humor reveal the distinct perspectives the authors rely on when expounding humor and what social function it serves. Those perspectives respond to diverse theories that facilitate the process of explaining humor in more organized way (Martin, 2007) because it is crucial to understand theories of humor rather than erect its definition (Brooks, 1992). Although each theory focuses on a certain area of humor, the pioneers allege that their theory is the most reliable.
1.2.1. Superiority Theory
“Everything is funny as long as it’s happening to someone else!”
The superiority theory of humor traces back to Plato and Aristotle. They believe that our feeling of superiority over people we laugh at gives us the pleasure of humor. Cornett (1986) cites that humans feel joy at being superior to others. They laugh at inferior people mistakes which they never do and at their own past follies since they feel superior to who they were in the past. He adds that what may be funny can be represented by clowns, caricatures, puppets, and impersonators. Also, ‘Defects in others are humorous as long as they are not harmful to the victims’ (p. 26).
Monro (1988) asserts that ‘humor is derisive’. Pleasure derives from feeling superior at those who have ‘failing’ or ‘defect’; ‘laugher always looks down at whatever he laughs at’. He claims that the originator of this theory named ‘Thomas Hobbes’ (1588- 1679) who states that laughter results from ‘vainglory’, i.e. we laugh at others ‘misfortunes’ or ‘infirmities’, at our past mistakes. Monro cites laughter definition according to Bregson (1859-1941), supporter of superiority theory of humor: ‘laughter is society’ defense against the eccentric who refuses to adjust himself to its requirements’. In other words, humor is a reaction to what considered inexplicable.
Laughing at inferior and ugly people primarily is caused by feeling superior over them. Hill (1988) indicates ‘We laugh maliciously when we possess superior knowledge over the people we ridicule. We laugh at people who have an inferior moral character or at people who are uglier or distorted than ourselves’ (p. 40). This type of humor elevates inequality in society. Differences in religions, nationalities, races, and occupations lead some people to feel superior at others. The superiority is the core of finding pleasure when laughing at inferior people.
1.2.2. Incongruity Theory
According to this theory, humor is perceived at the moment of realization of incongruity between what really happen and what is expected to happen. Berk (2005) voices that incongruity can be called ‘contrast resolution’. It is “the juxtaposition of the ‘expected’ with the ‘unexpected'”. Deckers & Kizers (1975) maintain that the condition for humor takes place is the divergence between what is expected to happen and what really happens. Kerr (2001, p. 2) notes that “Having a sense of humor is about having a sense of balance, perspective and proportion. A sense of humor is the ability to recognize the incongruities and absurdities that confront us on a daily basis. In other words, it is the ability to look at the same thing as everyone else and see something just a little different”. Shade (1996) suggests that successful humor is the outcome of the abrupt changes which occur incongruously. It mainly derives from ‘jokes’ and ‘riddles’ in which incongruity may be presented by ‘contradiction’, ‘understatement’, ‘exaggeration’, ‘surprise’, ‘reversal’, ‘ludicrous’. He adds that the incongruity in humor results when there is: first a discrepancy between the punch line and the body of a joke, and second a violation of expectancies. These may involve: a) Two conflicting sets of rules, b) Two different frames of reference, or c) The reversal of figure and ground. (p.11) Degrading a value is an essential feature of incongruity theory. Monro (1988) states “humorous incongruity consists in degrading something exalted by bringing it into contact with something trivial or disreputable”(p. 351). This idea is supported by Spencer (1820-1903) (as cited in Monro, 1988, pp. 352, 353). Spencer defines humor as “descending incongruity”. Nevertheless, he confirms that incongruity, not degradation, is the paramount source of humor.
German philosophers Kant (in 1790) and Schopenhauer (in 1819), the developers of this theory, proclaim “The basis of this theory is that humor is created when we expect one thing and is (sic) suddenly presented with another .Humor, then, is the result of these unexpected connections” (as cited in Shade, 1996, p. 11). For Schopenhauer (1788-1860) (as cited in Monro, 1988, p.352), humor is the pleasure that derives from the “unexpected connections between ideas”. Kant (1724-1804) (as cited in Monro, 1988, p.351) identifies incongruity by ??frustrated expectation”. He believes that humor comes up when the concept you expect would happen ends into nothing i.e. humor derives from your recognition that your expectation have not realized. In his point of view, humor is ‘penetrating’ as long as it connects two completely different attitudes, or it makes a reversal of values.
Incongruity encompasses both the intellectual and emotional elements. Kant &Schopenhauer phrase that the mental component of humor realized when the unexpected connections between two things come about. Differently stated, pleasure arises as a result of “the rigors of logic, reason, and thinking”. Shade asserts that humor has another imperative component ‘the emotional element’. ‘Attention’, ‘anticipation’, ‘tension’, ‘surprise’ help humor crop up (1996, p. 11). Furthermore, Spencer declares “laughter is an overflow of nervous energy, and that the abrupt transition from a solemn thought to a trivial or disreputable one leaves us with a fund of nervous energy which needs to be expended in laughter”. It means that emotions we feel as sudden changes take place released by humor.
1.2.3. Relief Theory
In this theory, humor is seen as catharsis. It is the preferable strategy used to challenge pent- up emotions. Seaward (2006) regards humor as a response to stressful situations .Monro (1988) highlights that relief is the core of humor. People laugh as strain removed. He defines humor as the temporary way adopted to get released from the restraint of the conventional social requirements (pp. 353, 354). Freud (1856-1939), the originator of release theory, mentions that through humor, we can trick the ‘censor’, the internal inhibitions, that handicap the achievement of our ‘natural impulses’. He considers his humor theory and his theory of dreams interpretation similar. Humor, exactly like dreams, can beguile censor. Suppressed wishes then may come true. Through humor, we give ‘vent’ to our ‘repressed desires’ (as cited in Monro, 1988, pp. 354, 355).
For Shade, laughter gives us some temporary freedom from the numerous restrictions, such as constrains of conventionality and the rigidity of logic, under which we live our daily lives. This theory focuses on the social and behavioral elements of humor. Laughter helps elude the dictatorial social conventions .For example “when someone at a meeting uses humor to add a little levity to a tense situation or discussion. This allows everyone to laugh for a moment, break away from the topic at hand for a minute or two, regroup their thoughts, and begin addressing the issue, perhaps with a new perspective”
The most noticeable thing about these theories is that each theory has its own perspective and area of focus which means that no theory can fully explain the nature of humor and its social functions.
3-Kinds (types) of humor
Humor is in huge variety of more than 20 types .The research focuses on the famous only as below:
Types of humor Definitions Examples
idiom a form of expression peculiar to a language, especially one that has significance other than its literal one
He was as mad as a cut snake means that he was angry.
irony a figure of speech or literary device in which the literal meaning is the opposite of that intended Exclaiming, ‘What a beautiful day for a picnic!’ in the middle of a thunderstorm.
joke something said or done to excite laughter or amusement; a playful mischievous trick or remark
What does a storm cloud wear under its coat?
parody humorous or satirical imitation of a serious piece of literature or writing; to imitate in such a way as to ridicule
Scieszka , Jon, The true story of the three little pigs
Munsch, Robert, The paper bag princess
pun the humorous use of a word in such a manner as to bring out different meanings or applications, or of words alike in sound but different in meaning; a play on words.
Police were called to a daycare centre where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
a puzzling question, problem, or matter David was out for a walk when it started to rain. He did not have an umbrella and he wasn’t wearing a hat. His clothes were soaked, yet not a single hair on his head got wet. How could this happen?
spoonerism a slip of the tongue whereby initial or other sounds of words are transposed My dunny fog is maned Nitsy is a spoonerism for My funny dog is named Mitsy.
4- Forms of Humor in Classroom
Humor in the classroom can take many forms. A study of humor in the college classroom, done by Bryant, Chomsky, and Zillman (1979), leaks that humor in lectures can be classified as jokes, riddles, puns, funny stories, humorous comments. Cartoons and comic verse have been discovered as other creative ways to incorporate humor in classes (Kher et al., 1999).
Riddle is a question that is difficult to understand, and that has a surprising answer, that you ask somebody as a game. The term riddle derives from the old English word “radels” or “radelse; it is related to Dutch “raadsel” and German “ratsel” (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 2008). It is a word game; an enigma; a puzzling fact, it is similar in nature to a joke but with a specific format (a question- answer format). For instance, ‘Matt: How do you keep fish from smelling? Jenny: Cut off their noses’.
Riddles are preferably related to subject matter. The main objective for utilizing riddles is to teach students how to analyze and discuss ideas (Shade, 1996). For example, ‘Imagine that you are in a boat, in the middle of the sea. Suddenly you are surrounded by hungry sharks, just waiting to feed on you. How can you put an end to this’? (The answer is: stop imagining). Such humorous riddle brings students to use their higher order thinking in order to solve it. Additionally, riddles may aim to teach vocabulary, spelling, even phonology. Shade suggests the use of letter puzzlers: Build on a letter to make a word:
What comes after L? Bow (elbow)
What comes after E? Z (easy)
What comes after B? 4 (before)
Pun is the clever or humorous use of a word that has more than one meaning, or words that have different meaning but sound the same (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary).Partingtone describes pun by the “creative use of language” (2006, p. 110). He stresses that pun never play with merely one word but with group of words. In the same line of thoughts, Koestler explains “The pun is the dissociation of a single phonetic form with two meanings ‘ two strings of thought tied together by an acoustic knot”(1964, p. 65). Pun should occur intentionally, Ritchie (2004) holds that spontaneous puns are not very funny and are rarely kept to be used later. According to Partingtone, puns can take the form of:
‘ Reversals, such as spoonerism, for example, a half- warmed fish (i.e. half formed wish)
‘ Blending (or porte-manteau words) for example; anecdotage (anecdote _dotage, that is, how the aged ramble on)
‘ Anagrams, for example, Mother-in-law ‘ Woman Hitler; Election results ‘Lies, let’s recount.
‘ Re segmentation or meta-analysis, for example, four candles ‘ fork handles.
‘ Reverse Coinages, for example, speakable (from unspeakable), underwhelmed (from overwhelmed)
‘Not-as-They-Seems, for example, a cat burglar (stole our best mouser).
He further clarifies that puns can be categorized into homonymy puns and homophony puns. Homonymy puns means words alike in sound and spelling. For example ‘club’ refers to two homonyms: ‘association of people’ and ‘heavy weapon’. Whereas, homophony puns are words alike in sound only. For instance, ‘leek’ and ‘leak’. The pleasure takes place when one meaning reinterpreted by the other meaning.
Joke is something to say or to do to make people laugh. The term ‘joke’ emerged in late seventeenth century. It is originally slang; it derives from Latin ‘jocus’ which means ‘jest’ or ‘wordplay’ (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 2008). It is seen by (Morrison, 2001, p. 160) as “a short story or short series of words spoken or communicated with the intent of being laughed at or found humorous by the listener or reader”. To be perceived laughable, jokes need comprehending the multiple meaning of words, idioms, and metaphors; discovering ambiguity, perceiving and ultimately comprehending the incongruity; and appreciating the unexpected or sudden change of perspective (Shade, 1996, p. 3).According to (Schmitz, 2002, p.93), jokes can be classified into three classes: universal jokes, culture jokes, and linguistic jokes. Universal jokes refer to “humor that is obtained mainly from the context and the general functioning of the world; ?? in other words, they are jokes which any one can laugh at. For example, Teacher: Gwen, come here and point out Africa from this globe. Gwen: here. Teacher: Correct! John, who discovered Africa? Class: Gwen!. Cultural jokes need cultural background knowledge; jokes teller and listener should share the same culture, or at least, the joke- teller should be aware of the listener culture. For instance, “What do you call a dog at the beach?””A hot dog”. Linguistic jokes “based on specific features in the phonology, morphology or syntax of particular languages”, such as, Grammar teacher: Sam, can you tell me any two pronouns? Sam: Who, me? Teacher: Good answer, Sam! Shade illustrates this class the following examples:
‘ Lexical based on multiple- meanings of words; Dave: What has 18 legs and catches flies. Lynn: A baseball team.
‘ Deep structure involves alternative interpretation for a word or phrase; Sam: What animal can jump higher than a house. Chris: Any animal. Houses can’t jump.
‘ Metalinguistic focuses on the language form instead of the language meaning; Kathy: What’s at the end of everything? Tim: the letter g.
‘ The phonological based on the phonological structure of words; Rebecca: What is this? Waiter: it’s bean soup. Rebecca: I don’t care what it’s been. What is it now? (1996, p. 3.4).
Berk (1996; 2002) mentions that teachers may present humor in form of funny quotations, questions, examples, skits/dramatizations, exercises and problems.
‘ Humorous questions: they are often used in all courses. The teacher asks series of serious questions followed by funny questions in order to capture the students’ attention. For example,
a. How many of you think this one is the correct answer?
b. How many of you think this one is the correct answer?
c. How many of you don’t care?
d. How many of you want to go back to bed’? Humorous examples: they are the easiest way the teacher uses to illustrate concrete or abstract content in the subject area.
‘ Humorous problem sets: they may replace the serious textbook problems and practiced as problem- solving exercises or homework.
‘ Skits/ dramatization: they are the best warm- up practice. They can be presented by music, Masterpiece Theater.
‘ Humor forms are sorted into larger groups. (Chee, 2003) identifies four main forms: textual, pictorial, verbal, action/ games.
– Textual examples: stories, jokes.
– Pictorial examples: cartoons, comics.
– Verbal examples: puns, word games, acronyms.
– Action/ games examples: theater, video, role play, contests.
‘ Disparately, (Shade, 1996, p.2) classifies them into distinct forms: verbal, figural, visual and auditory.
– Verbal humor includes jokes, puns, riddles, anecdotes, wit.
– Figural humor includes comic, cartoons and caricature.
– Visual humor includes impersonation, impression.
– Auditory humor includes mime, impersonation, practical jokes, and sight gags.
5-Benefits of humor
5.1. Psychological benefits
John F. Kennedy was reported to have said, “There are three things which are real: God, human folly, and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension. So we must do what we can with the third” (Hunsaker, 1988). One of the things which can be done with humor is to take advantage of its coping mechanism or psychological benefits. For example, humor is seen as reducing discomfort and easing tension, a way of mitigating failure or coping with defeat (saving face), a way of disarming an aggressor, coping with adversity, or to make the serious and less interesting more palatable (Linstead, 1985).Humor can serve as an outlet (though temporary) for frustration, apathy, resentment, hostility and anger; it can offer an escape from the harshness of reality and lighten the burdens present in the classroom (Weaver, 1987).
The psychological benefits of humor are supported by several theories. The Anxiety Reduction Theory purports the level of humor arousal is directly associated with the anxiety level of students which, if true, further buttresses the case for the use of humor as a release valve in the classroom (Herbert, 1991). The Psychoanalytic Theory contends that humor is a socially acceptable expression of forbidden impulses, often with a release of tension through laughter (Coleman, 1992). Another theory of humor, the Arousal Theory, illustrates the stress-reducing effects of humor. This theory explains the function or laughter as that of reducing built-up tension and energy (Lefcourt & Martin, 1986). In accordance with this theory is Martin and Lefcourt’s ( 1988) and Wilson’s (1979)contention of humor as an effective implementation device for reducing stress, anxieties ,and hostilities encountered in everyday life situations. Martin and Lefcourt (1988) contend that nurturing children’s sense of humor may arm them with a coping skill to combat the stresses of life. Freud (1960) labeled humor as, “the highest of the defensive processes (i.e., defense mechanisms).” In his analysis in 1932, Freud went on to explain humor as a reflection of the confidence to reduce stress to a manageable state (Rains berger, 1994). Similarly, laughter was seen as a means of burning off extra energy or tension (Martin & Lefcourt, 1986). Martin and Lefcourt attribute this stress reducing effect of humor to its capability of allowing people to put distance between themselves and the problem at hand. Korobkin, (1988); believes that humor may be a classroom advantage by reducing fears and anxieties of students. Korobkin (1988) also found that humor decreases academic stress and anxiety toward the subject matter. Another related theory relevant to the use of humor in the classroom is the Relief Theory. Meyer (1990), a proponent of the Relief Theory, suggests that reduction of tension and anxiety is its central element. Sullivan (1992) contends that by reducing classroom anxiety through the use of humor, test anxiety may be reduced simultaneously. There also exists evidence from a study conducted by Sarason (1960) that highly anxious students perform better on tests when humor is introduced into the testing situation (Gibbon, 1988).
Another psychological implication of humor is the enhancement of learners’ self-esteem (Pollak & Freda, 1997). A successful learning process involves the assumption, “I can do it.” Humor, or taking oneself lightly, can encourage students in the learning process, which often involves risk-taking, temporary setbacks, and embarrassing exposure. Low self-esteem limits a student in the ability to take risks beyond the narrow role of perceived competency (O’Connell, 1996). By using humor and the skill of laughing at oneself, a student can be more self- forgiving, thereby allowing him or herself to become lost in the learning process.
5.2. Sociological benefits
The sociological implications of humor are equally telling. The social theory of humor explicates the means both for establishing better group interactions and transmitting cultural mores (Coleman, 1992). One of the major functions of schools is socialization: To acculturate knowledgeable, understanding, compassionate, and empathic new members to society (Callahan, Clark, & Kellough, 1992). Effective teachers are individuals, according to Hageseth (1995), who can “take themselves lightly, but take their work and life seriously as they encourage others to do likewise.” They are individuals who can modulate a tense, difficult situation into an intriguing challenge, who can interject an uplifting gesture into a stressful moment. As such, teachers can encourage students to appreciate the universality of the human condition, that all are here to make the world work by complementing one another (Pollak & Freda, 1997).Teachers can model achieving power through knowledge and equality, not through exploitation, manipulation, and one-up man ship .Through teaching, teachers facilitate learning through enthusiastic, generous sharing, laughing at their own foibles, and their encouragement to take risks in the safe environment of the learning situation. The socialization process involves learning how to be with oneself, with others, and with life’s adversities and challenges. Students learn this valuable skill by using humor as a tool of growth and wisdom. Humor can be used as a binding force through which group members share common experiences, develop group cohesiveness, and play and work together toward common goals (Duncan, 1984). Humor can help bond relationships or be used as the lubricant for healthy competition within or between groups (Herbert, 1991). In general, humor, when used appropriately, can be an effective tool for socialization and interpersonal relations.
5.3. Educational benefits.
Humor serves many educational (communication) functions as well. Maslow, after all, defines humor and laughter as “education in a palatable form” (Weaver & Cotrell, p. 168).Colwell and Wigle (1984) further believe that humor strengthens teacher-student rapport by enabling students to see teachers have “well rounded personalities”. Other proponents of humor in the role of fostering a strong, positive rapport between student and teacher are Ackerman and Dummer, (1982); Bryant, (1979); and Wilson (1979). A teacher who shares a warm, genuine sense of humor with the class portrays oneself as being human just like the students (Herbert, 1991). Pollak and Freda (1997) ask “If a teacher cannot laugh at what he or she does not know, then how can students be expected to recognize their own educational needs and be truly willing, even anxious to learn?” For example, if an English teacher puts a sentence on the board to label parts of speech and a student points out a mistake the teacher has made in labeling one of the more complicated components, that teacher has several options. One is to deny the mistake; another is to pretend the mistake was made on purpose; another is to own the error, thereby revealing his or her humanness and ability to recover. Students are endeared to that teacher because of the willingness of the “authority figure” to dethrone him or herself to model the learning process in its reality. The reality of learning is that trial and error, stumble and recovery, are not only inevitable but crucial for real learning to take place. If a teacher can laugh at himself or herself and laugh with (never at) students, the teacher is well on the way to establishing a positive climate and eliminating much of the stress that is often present in classrooms today. Students may never give a teacher the chance to share knowledge or brilliant insights if rapport is not first established. Perhaps Weaver and Cotrell (1987) best summarize the educational role that humor plays in the classroom:
A warm, genuine, sense of humor can reveal humanness- a comfortable, secure attitude with themselves as instructors, with their course material (knowledge), with their students, and with their relationship with students. Certainly, one of the important benefits of humor is that it breeches the broad gap between instructors and students. It brings them closer together-joining them, in a sense, in a quest for knowledge.
When teachers confront negative students with humor, they often find that this use of humor is an effective way to reduce the students’ anger and hostility (Pollak & Freda, 1997). Humor is a powerful tool in education and can be used within the classroom to put the students at ease and make the learning process more enjoyable. As educators become active participants in their students’ laughter, they will have an opportunity to become engaged with them (Ackerman & Dummer, 1982). A humorous response exerts a powerful force over a tense situation. Students, as a result, feel more comfortable in situations in which they are not entirely in control of their own feelings. Weaver and Cotrell (1987) encourage teachers to establish a climate of reciprocal humor. Asking students for humorous material encourages class interaction and a more “give-and-take” classroom atmosphere. Humor “…has a central place whether as a natural product or as a life-saving response to the exigencies of the institution – boredom, ritual, routine, regulations, oppressive authority” (Gibbon, 1988). Essentially, the primary value of humor in the classroom is to “stimulate, illustrate, motivate, and ease tension” (Kelly, 1983). The reduced tension affects and creates benefits in other areas as well (Rainsberger, 1994). Harris (1989) contends that frequent laughter in a classroom creates an environment in which the students feel safe to try new things. Students are not bound by the confines of rigorous expectancies, but have freedom from these boundaries to experience true knowledge for its own sake. Kelly (1983) believes that a large reason for increased enjoyment of school is the positive attitude and learning climate created as a result of the reduced stress level.
Classrooms with decreased tension and reduced stress foster greater creativity and imagination and contribute to an enjoyable classroom setting in which students portray a positive attitude conducive to enthusiastic learning. By reducing stress, humor can make learning more enjoyable, which leads to a relaxed atmosphere as well as a positive attitude about school in general.
Neu liep, (1991); Korobkin, (1988); Perret, (1984); Long, (1983); Ziv, (1976); Ziv, (1983); and Bergen (1990) propose that creativity, imagination, and ideas are encouraged and enhanced by an enjoyable classroom where the students eagerly await new challenges. Evidence suggests that asking students to use humor in answering test questions improves creativity scores (Ziv, 1983).Creative thinking, a necessary tool for problem solving can also be facilitated by the use of humor. When employing brainstorming techniques, for example, if a teacher offers a thought that is “incongruous or unexpected or incompatible” (Fry & Allen, 1996), that input can help students see a situation in two very rational but drastically different perspectives. Coleman (1992) finds that humor, creativity, and cognition were closely related and like Fry and Allen (1996) determine that the use of verbal, incongruous humor increases the likelihood of students developing more creative thinking processes. The essence of creative thinking therefore, is that ability to perceive situations from various points of view.
Humor is an effective device in interpersonal communication skills. Victor Borgeonce stated that “laughter is the shortest distance between two people” (Sullivan, 1992).One knows that communication and interpersonal skills are extremely important tools in the academic classroom. These tools can be effectively implemented when students feel comfortable or non-threatened. Many scholars argue that the use of humor aids in creating an open communication climate in the classroom (Herbert, 1991; Korobkin, 1988; Perret, 1984; Long, 1983; Ziv, 1983; Mogavero, 1979; Ziv, 1976; Dixon, 1973; Gilland & Mauritsen, 1971; and Coser, 1960). Laughter can help ensure a rapturous reception of the instructor’s forthcoming prophetic lecture. In addition, laughter is seen to coordinate human interaction as a turn-taking cue, approval and invitation for the hearer to respond in kind, an invitation to elaborate, and a resource in affiliation (O’Donnell-Trujillo & Adams, 1983).Power struggles often surface in classrooms .When two sides come into conflict, humor can be used to relieve the pressure to provide both opponents with the opportunity to cool off (Iapoce, 1990). In such situations, humor provides the teacher with the chance to re think the situation and react with a rational consequence as opposed to a punishment established out of stress and anger (Curwin & Mendler, 1990). Such a rational response spares the child’s self-esteem. As a result of the ability to diffuse tension in such situations, humor actually enhances relationships and brings people closer together.”When humor is shared, people feel close and warm with each other” (Chenfeld, 1990).
Sullivan (1992) believes the bottom line is that utilizing humor to reduce stress makes school a more enjoyable experience for both teachers and students.
6- Guidelines of using humor in teaching process.
Humor can be a liberating force, or it can be a destroying one. Some guidelines to ensure that humor has a positive effect may include: beginning class with an amusing thought or joke; the use of humorous stories and anecdotes; relating student-oriented activities that often contain comic material; and taking “commercial breaks”(O’Donnell-Trujillo & Adams, 1983). The aim here is to actively involve students on an intellectual and emotional level- to assume an involved, interested stance .Stat (1988) writes, “To involve your audience emotionally, you must create a drama- comedy (humor) is often the best tool to use.” There are situations in which humor can prove counterproductive. If used at the wrong time, it has the ability to cause distraction. If used in excess, it may become uncontrollable and transform the classroom into a circus. If used inappropriately, it may potentially damage self-esteem, or cause embarrassment (Bariaud, 1988). Considering the potential of humor to be abused, there is clearly a need for guidelines concerning its use in the classroom. Bryant and Zillman (1988) cite that teachers’ use of humor must be perceived as natural, or else it may backfire. Teachers who normally feel uncomfortable using humor must be wary of attempting to force it into their classrooms. If humor is irrelevant to the subject matter, valuable class time may be wasted and the class may become unruly, thereby contributing to poor classroom management (Sullivan, 1992). Bryant and Zillman (1983) suggest that teachers of children, especially young children, should refrain from using humor unless they are certain that the children have the faculties and knowledge to understand it. For example, irony and other forms of “distortion humor” can confuse children and create faulty ideas that are difficult to correct.
The basic component of some humor is ridicule. Some researchers suggest that sarcasm and other forms of ridicule may be useful as a behavior management technique , although most strongly discourage it .Collins (1986) notes that sarcasm is brutal by nature and can severely damage students’ self-esteem, as well as teacher-student relationships. Bryant and Zillman (1988) suggest that although sarcasm and ridicule may serve a corrective function, the long-term consequence of diminished esteem in the eyes of students may make the immediate gains in terms of behavioral correction not worth the costs.
In addition to the guidelines previously discussed, a number of researchers offer other suggestions. Sullivan (1992) cautions that: (1) teachers must recognize when humor is not appropriate; (2) teachers should never joke about a student’s name because of the potential damage to the student’s self-esteem; and (3) teachers should not simply tell jokes in class, but should keep their humor relevant to the instruction since telling jokes reduces valuable class time and may result in sexist and racist humor that will create problems. The use of non-relevant humor, or that which is not at all related to the subject matter at hand, is shown to be an especially effective aid in information acquisition for younger children, those of preschool to early primary school age (Zillman & Bryant, 1983). The effectiveness of non-relevant humor diminishes with age so that by adulthood, non-relevant humor is not only acceptable, but can even hinder the acquirement of information. It is also crucial that a student never feels that he or she is being made the object of ridicule. Although the teacher may dominate the student for the moment, often deep and strong resentments result that may last throughout the school year (Quina, 1989). Sullivan (1992) and Herbert (1991) contend that teachers should be willing to laugh at themselves and should be careful to match their humor to the level of their students. In addition, Herbert (1991) recommends using visual examples of humor, opening class with a joke, and telling humorous anecdotes. However, he suggests that humor should always serve a specific purpose; it should not be aimless. Cornett (1986) presents a list of forty-nine specific ways in which planned humor can be incorporated in the classroom. Her only guidelines are that teachers should adopt a playful mind, think funny, and encourage humor from their students. Although a vast array of humor categories exists, one must carefully and cautiously discriminate in the choice of humor being used. Clearly, the misuse or abuse of humor in the classroom may have negative effects.
Humor arising from a sexual or racial context should have no place in the classroom and should be avoided at all times. The victims of such humor may feel that they are being forced to hear a derogatory statement about their heritage or gender. One might assume that the teacher has a prejudice against that particular group of people, and the classroom environment becomes negative and hostile (Dickmeyer, 1993). Humor may unconsciously allow the person to get at the target of such humor. The “target” is the individual who is placed in one of these situations by humor (Edwards & Gibboney, 1992). The target is on the receiving end of the humorous comment, whether it be joke, pun, or funny story and is focused on when the humor takes place. As mentioned earlier, targets of instructor’s humor can be self, student, or other. Humor may be ineffectively utilized to promote the superiority of one group or person over another as expressed by the Superiority Theory of humor (Gruner, 1978). This theory focuses upon the heightened sense of self- esteem, confidence, and reduced threat that are coupled with a humorous response to a typically stressful experience or situation (Martin & Lefcourt, 1988). It is embodied in the slur, the put down, and the barb in which an individual or group laughs at another, supposedly inferior individual or group (Pollio, 1983). Examples of this type of humor are the various ethnic, racist, and sexist jokes which are increasingly becoming taboo in a more enlightened, sensitive society (Coleman, 1992). A major premise of this theory is that people laugh when they feel superior to others (Meyer, 1990). Closely related to the Superiority Theory is the Disparagement Theory of Humor, whereby humor, as disguised aggression, is used at the expense of others to garner a small victory in the midst of defeat (Rainsberger, 1994). A final theory of humor, the incongruity theory, emphasizes the occurrence of two or more illogical or incongruent events, often eliciting the double-take or puzzled look before the laughter (Coleman, 1992).At the end and as a resume these types of humor should be remain out of the classroom:
‘ Sexual humor: celebrating the fun of sex, mildly flirtatious to outright obscenity and lewdness
‘ Ethnic/Racial -humor: in which a particular ethnic group is demeaned, ridiculed, or made fun of.
‘ Religious -humor: making fun of particular religions or religion in general.
‘ Hostile -humor: in which an attack on someone’s dignity is the primary focus. These may be insulting, invective, or involve a put-down of someone.
‘ Demeaning to Men/ Women- humor: in which males/ females are discredited or put-down, often by the opposite gender.
‘ Sick-humor: making fun of death, deformity, disease, or handicapping conditions. (1996, p. 87).
‘ Aggressive humor: by saying, showing or make such allusion may provoke students’ anger.
Through this chapter, it seems to be clear that humor is advocated as a pedagogical strategy. Many authors recommend the use of humor in the academic context. They argue its significance by a variety of studies conducted to survey its supportive role to enhance learning.
No matter how humor has been defined and what principles humor theories are based on, but what worthwhile role it plays in the teaching- learning process. In addition to its therapeutic function in medicine and psychology, humor has the potential to give rise to successful learners and, thus, to successful workers.
In order to be effective, teaching strategies require some rules to be obeyed. The appropriate and timely humor relies on a set of principles. Following these standards, it will be easy for professors to make humor an integral part of material to be learnt, and then their teaching will be conducive to optimal learning.
Section 2 Speaking skill
Speaking is one of the most demanding skills in the daily life. Every person needs to communicate with others through speaking. Speaking plays an important role in making a social interaction with another people in order to gain information. Thus, it is necessary for every people to have a good speaking skill.
As the needs of English increase over the year, people do not only communicate with those who come from the same country, but also with those who come from different countries. In order to be able to convey meaning and talk to people around the world, they must be able to speak English since it is an international language. Due to its importance, it is very reasonable why the objective of the English teaching as a compulsory subject at university level is to enable students to communicate in both oral and written forms. As the language is a means of communication, students have to be accustomed to speak utterances orally in the classroom even in the very simplest way, such as greeting, answering, expressing ideas, giving responses, and the like.
The actual situation of students’ speaking English competencies at Abbes Laghrour University insure that the most of students are at low level, despite teachers use hard efforts and many techniques to enhance their students’ speaking level. From a daily observation the researcher ‘which is a student at the same university ‘ has been noticed that the majority of students keep silent during lessens; hesitate in the participation, or using humble and individual words or short sentences at most by French or Arabic phonetics and pronunciation. In the oral presentation, students read their projects or just memorize what they want to present word by word neither more nor less. Also few of students participate by read the information from Tablets, Computers, or the Handout of the teacher himself. Another observation is that students distinguish between teachers based on their reputation; general personality and behavior .That enable to classify teachers into two sets, beloved and non beloved .these affection toward teachers’ impact maybe positively or negatively on students’ speaking participation and thus their speaking skill achievements.
1-Definition of speaking
Speaking is one of two productive skills in a language teaching. It is defined as a process of building and sharing meaning through the use of verbal or oral form (Chaney, 1988:13 and Gebhard, 1996:169). Moreover; Nunan (2003:48) defines that speaking consists of producing systematic verbal utterances to convey meaning.
To know deeper what speaking is, Nunan differentiates it from writing. First, in spoken language, speaking must be listened by others. It has temporary and immediate reception. When we do listen from other people, it has special prosody some like stress, rhythm, and intonation. It must be there an intermediate feedback for communicating directly. By speaking activity, orator or speaker have to pay attention of planning and editing by channel. Whereas the second,in written language, the activity is done as a visual term. The time for doing it, is permanent and it is delayed reception. The writer uses punctuation as well to make others clearer in vision or reading the meaning. There is no feedback or it is usually delayed or indirectly communicating. The planning is unlimited and there are often editing and revision in any parts of the written language.
Based on the utterances above, they can be concluded that the differences between spoken language and the written one as follow:
Spoken language Written language
Temporary; immediate reception
Prosody (rhythm, stress intonation
Planning and editing limited by channel Visual
Permanent; delayed reception
Delayed or no feedback
Unlimited planning, editing, revision
2-The importance of speaking
Human being as social creature always communicates to one another. It can be occurred with the process of interchange of the thought or ideas which include interactions. For examples telling information or some news, asking other helps for their needs, or etc. All of them can be done trough speaking to others directly. It means that the activity of speaking itself has a very important role in human life. Ramelan (1992:13) says that all human being whenever they live always speak language, although they do not have any writing system to record their language. From the statement above it can be concluded that speaking is very important in mastering foreign language. Thus speaking capability can be measured whether a foreign language learner in successful in learning or not. But in mastering speaking skill can be seen not only from the performance of learners in spoken, but also we have to see from their competence in using the language.
Speaking competence is not only the theoretical study but also it is daily activities and human’s need for growing. As according to Chomsky in Garnham (1985:23) said linguistic performance is the actual use of language in concrete situation. And also according to William O’Grady, et.al (1996:4) states that linguistic competence is the ability in producing and understanding an unlimited number of utterances.
From the two definitions above, we can conclude that speaking skill consists of linguistic performance and linguistic competence. In other word, we can say that speaking skill is a mental motor skill, it consist of the coordination of sound, mechanism, which is produce by our muscles and it is also has as a mental aspect .That is the ability in arranging the meaningful words and explain and convey thinking, feeling, and idea. Speaking ability means the ability to think .Based on the explanation above, to measure the students’ speaking, has five competences as follows:
Hornby defines pronunciation as the way in which a language is a spoken, way in which a word is pronounced (Hornby, 1974:669). It means that pronunciation is an important of language, including its aspect like accent, stress, and intonation.
Grammar and pronunciation has a close relationship. In addition to the sound system learners must be taught by using structure system of language. Learners must be given insight into word order, inflection and derivation into the other meaningful features of the English language. It will help students to speak fluently.
Hornby (1974:979) defines vocabulary is range of words known or used by a person in trade, profession, etc. If students have many vocabularies, it will be easier for him to express his idea. d. Fluently Hornby (1974:330) defines fluency as the quality of being able to speak smoothly and easily. It means that someone can speak without any hesitation. Someone can speak fluently even though he makes errors in pronunciation and grammar.
Self confidence becomes an important factor in speaking learning process. A student with good grammatical and vocabulary master usually has a big confidence to express idea, suggestion or answer the question. He feels like that, so he thinks he knows what will he say and how to express.
4 -Aspects of speaking
Eventually, aspects of the speaking skill need to be closely scrutinized and put into consideration. These aspects pose some challenges and identify some guidelines for understanding this skill and hence design instructional activities to prepare learners to communicate effectively in real life situations.
A. Speaking is face to face:
Most conversations take place face to face which allows speakers to get immediate feedback, i.e. ‘Do listeners understand? Are they in agreement? Do they sympathize (Cornbleet &Carter, 2001: 16) . Thus communication through speaking has many assets, such as facial expressions, gestures and even body movements. Speaking also occurs, most of the time, in situations where participants or interlocutors are present. Such factors facilitate communication (Widdowson, 1998 & Burns, 1998).
B. Speaking is interactive:
Whether we are speaking face-to ‘face or over the telephone, to one person or a small group, the wheels of conversation usually turn smoothly, with participants offering contributions at appropriate moments, with no undue gaps or everyone talking over each other (Bygate, 1998: 30 and Cornbleet & Carter, 2001: 27) Turn taking, a main feature in interaction, is an unconscious part of normal conversation. Turn takings are handled and signaled differently across different cultures, thus causing possible communication difficulties in conversation between people of different cultures and languages (Mc Donough & Mackey, 2000: 84).
C. Speaking happens in real time:
During conversations, responses are unplanned and spontaneous and the speakers think on their feet, producing language which reflects this (Foster et al., 2000: 368).These time constraints affect the speaker’s ability to plan, to organize the message, and to control the language being used. Speakers often start to say something and change their mind midway; which is termed a false start. The speaker’s sentences also cannot be as long or as complex as in writing. Similarly, speakers occasionally forget things they intended to say; or they may even forget what they have already said, and so they repeat themselves (Miller, 2001: 27). This implies that the production of speech in real time imposes pressures, but also allows freedoms in terms of compensating for these difficulties. The use of formulaic expressions, hesitation devices, self correction, rephrasing and repetition can help speakers become more fluent and cope with real time demands (Bygate, 1987: 21; Foster et al., 2000 and Hughes, 2002: 76).
Actually, exposing students to these spoken discourse features facilitates their oral production and helps them compensate for the problems they encounter. It also helps them sound normal in their use of the foreign language.
5- Purpose of speaking
It was argued that the purpose of speaking can be either transactional or interactional. Apparently, there are some differences between the spoken language used in both transactional and interactional discourse. In transactional discourse, language is used primarily for communicating information. Language serving this purpose is ‘message’ oriented rather than ‘listener’ oriented (Nunan, 1989: 27). Clearly, in this type of interaction, accurate and coherent communication of the message is important, as well as confirmation that the message has been understood. Examples of language being used primarily for a transactional purpose are: news broadcasts, descriptions, narrations and instructions (Richards, 1990: 54- 55). Speaking turns serving this purpose tend to be long and involve some prior organization of content and use of linguistic devices to signal either the organization or type of information that will be given (Basturkmen, 2002: 26). On the other hand, some conversations are interactional with the purpose of establishing or maintaining a relationship. This latter kind is sometimes called the interpersonal use of language. It plays an important social role in oiling the wheels of social intercourse (Yule, 1989: 169). Examples of interactional uses of language are greetings, small talks, and compliments. Apparently, the language used in the interactional mode is listener oriented. Speakers’ talk in this type tends to be limited to quite short turns (Dornyei & Thurrell, 1994: 43 and Richards, 1990: 54-55). However, in spite of the distinctions between the two types, in most circumstances, interactional language is combined with transactional language.
This helps to ease the transactional tasks to be done by keeping good social relations with others. In, other words, we can say that speakers do one thing by doing another (Brazil, 1995: 29). So both purposes can be viewed as two dimensions of spoken interaction. Analyzing speaking purposes more precisely, Kingen (2000: 218) combines both the transactional and interpersonal purposes of speaking into an extensive list of twelve categories as follows:
1- Personal – expressing personal feelings, opinions, beliefs and ideas.
2. Descriptive- describing someone or something, real or imagined.
3. Narrative-creating and telling stories or chronologically sequenced events.
4. Instructive-giving instructions or providing directions designed to produce an outcome.
5. Questioning-asking questions to obtain information.
6. Comparative-comparing two or more objects, people, ideas, or opinions to make judgments about them.
7. Imaginative-expressing mental images of people, places, events, and objects.
8. Predictive-predicting possible future events.
9. Interpretative-exploring meanings, creating hypothetical deductions, and considering inferences.
10. Persuasive-changing others’ opinions, attitudes, or points of view, or influencing the behavior of others in some way.
11. Explanatory-explaining, clarifying, and supporting ideas and opinions.
12. Informative-sharing information with others.
This list corresponds closely to the language functions explained by Halliday (1975).
6-Main Factors That Hinder Students from Speaking
It has been mentioned earlier that there are some psychological factor that hinder students from practicing their speaking in English class. Each of them is explained below.
6.1. Fear of mistake
As argued by many theorists, fear of mistake becomes one of the main factors of students’ reluctance to speak in English in the classroom With respect to the fear of making mistake issue, Aftat, (2008) adds that this fear is linked to the issue of correction and negative evaluation. In addition, this is also much influenced by the students’ fear of being laughed at by other students or being criticized by the teacher. As a result, students commonly stop participating in the speaking activity (Hieu, 2011).Therefore, it is important for teachers to convince their students that making mistakes is not a wrong or bad thing because students can learn from their mistakes.
Shyness is an emotional thing that many students suffer from at some time when they are required to speak in English class. This indicates that shyness could be a source of problem in students’ learning activities in the classroom especially in the class of speaking. Therefore, paying attention on this aspect is also quite important in order to help the students do their best in their speaking performance in the classroom (Gebhard, 2000). In line with this, Baldwin (2011) further explains that speaking in front of people is one of the more common phobias that students encounter and feeling of shyness makes their mind go blank or that they will forget what to say.
This theory is also supported by the result of this research in which most students fail to perform the speaking performance at their best. As they say, their inability to show their ability in speaking is also influenced much by their feeling of shyness. In other words, it can be said that shyness plays an important role in speaking performance done by the students.
Anxiety is a feeling of tension, apprehension and nervousness associated with the situation of learning a foreign language (Horwitz et all cited in Nascente, 2001). Further Nascente writes that, among other affective variables, anxiety stands out as one of the main blocking factors for effective language learning. In other words, anxiety influences students in learning language. Therefore, paying attention to this factor of learning should also be taken into consideration.
The fact that anxiety plays an important role in students’ learning is also shared by other researchers like Horwitz (1991) as cited in Sylvia and Tiono (2004). He believes that anxiety about speaking a certain language can affect students’ performance. It can influence the quality of oral language production and make individuals appear less fluent than they really are. This explanation suggests that teachers should make an attempt to create a learning atmosphere which gives students more comfortable situations in their learning activity.
6.4. Lack of Confidence
It is commonly understood that students’ lack of confidence usually occurs when students realize that their conversation partners have not understood them or when they do not understand other speakers. In this situation, they would rather keep silent while others do talking showing that the students are lack of confidence to communicate. In response to this, Tsui cited Nunan (1999) says that student who lack of confidence about themselves and their English necessarily suffer from communication apprehension. This shows that building students’ confidence is an important part of teacher’s focus of attention. This means that the teacher should also learn from both theories and practical experience on how to build the students’ confidence.
6.5. Lack of Motivation
It is mentioned in the literature that motivation is a key to students’ learning success (Songsiri, 2007). With regard to the issue of motivation in learning, Nunan (1999) stresses that motivation is important to notice in that it can affect students’ reluctance to speak in English. In this sense, motivation is a key consideration in determining the preparedness of learners to communicate. Zua (2008) further adds that motivation is an inner energy. She says that no matter what kinds of motivation the learners possess it will enhance their study interest.
It has been proven in many studies that students with a strong motivation to succeed can persist in learning and gain better scores than those who have weaker motivation of success showing that to learn is urgent for every teacher.
7- Ideas about using humor in speaking lessons
Humor as we have seen is an open ended teaching tool , it may be just a small smile with students till make them laughing out loud or giggling; between this and that; the researcher proposes some thoughts to introduce humor in the teaching process.
7.1. Tongue twisters are a great way to practice and improve pronunciation and fluency. They can also help to improve accents by using alliteration, which is the repetition of one sound. Examples:
‘ Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked’? Betty Botter bought some butter
But she said the butter’s bitter
If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter
But a bit of better butter will make my batter better
So ’twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter
‘ How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much wood As a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood
‘ She sells seashells by the seashore
‘ How can a clam cram in a clean cream can’? I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream
‘ I saw Susie sitting in a shoeshine shop
7.2. Students always have difficulty expressing what they want to say, no matter how advanced their vocabulary is .Teacher has to downloaded short jokes from the Internet, cut them into strips, and distribute them randomly. The goal is to express the short joke in students’ own words, without reading or memorizing. Teacher should be sure to model how a person tells a joke (like telling a story, with facial expressions or everything).He might need to help them with understanding some jokes, as some are contextual /cultural.
A: I have the perfect son
B: Does he smoke?
A: No, he doesn’t
B: Does he drink whiskey?
A: No, he doesn’t
B: Does he ever come home late?
A: No, he doesn’t
B: I guess you really do have the perfect son. How old is he?
A: He will be six months old next Wednesday.
Girl: You would be a good dancer except for two things.
Boy: What are the two things?
Girl: Your feet
A family of mice was surprised by a big cat. Father mouse jumped and said ‘Bow- wow!’ The cat runs away.
‘What was that father’? asked baby mouse. ‘Well, son, that’s why it’s important to learn a second language.
7.3. Create dialogue comic strip
This is a simple worksheet with single comic strips for students to use their imagination and fill the speaking bubbles freely. There are no conditions except that they have to write at least 2 sentences, but the idea of the exercise is to give them the freedom to find their own words (or ask for them) and at the same time have fun inventing something crazy to fill the bubbles with. There is no right and wrong in terms of content. This is to check grammar and vocabulary.
From: busy teacher .org
7.4. Psychology quiz
Teachers in ESL classes can practice this fun quiz with students’ .quiz to make them think about their priorities in life in a fun way. Nice way to relax the class. It takes 5 minutes to use it.
From: busy teacher .org
Teaching and learning English in Abbes Laghrour University have faced many difficulties. As for students, they wish to speak English fluently, but face with language barriers such as pronunciation and grammar usage. Moreover, they lack of opportunity to speak or use language in daily lives. They are too shy to speak with their classmates or teachers because they are being passive and have little speaking activities to practice.
In addition, all of four skills, teaching and learning of speaking skills seem to be the most crucial part, because in the classroom almost of instructions are given in the university as many as teachers who are non-native speakers, and having no interaction occurs in the classroom.
These difficulties in primary and secondary schools, where the English curriculum and environment do not meet the demand of the learners, and do not focus on speaking, have affected on learning English in university level where listening and speaking skills are most used. Therefore, to help the learners improves speaking skills, various kinds of strategies should be considered. One of them is probably using pedagogical humor during the teaching learning process because it strengthens the relationship between the education parties in order to create fun, confidence and boldness in students’ personalities to enhance all their language kills achievement especially speaking
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