Developing the Speaking Skill among ESL Elementary Learners
The issue regarding the command of English among Malaysian students has been raised and discussed very frequently. One of the language skills they are obviously weak at is the speaking skill. They may have passed the English Language paper in the final examination. However, many are not successful at interviews which are conducted in English. Several reasons are attributed to this problem. One of the reasons is the weak foundation laid at the elementary level. This paper presents a case study on the teaching and learning of English at the elementary level. It focuses on developing the speaking skill at the initial stage among Primary One pupils. Although the focus is on the speaking skill, the other language skills are not ignored. In fact, they are integrated to reinforce the speaking skill. Various theories are provided to support and justify the undertaking. These theories aid in the understanding of acquisition of the speaking skill among young learners of English. This paper examines a number of factors that enable the pupils to acquire the language within the classroom context. The objectives of the paper are: to find out the teacher’s pedagogical practices that encourage pupils to speak in English; to find out the views of pupils regarding the learning of English; to evaluate the activities used to promote the speaking skill; to find out the challenges experienced by the language teacher.