This essay discusses the learning of English through pushed output technique of language acquisition. According to this approach, learners can acquire language skills if they are pressed to speak in various situations.
Pushed output technique enables learners to acquire both semantic and syntactic language skills. Learning of English through pushed output technique is carried out through a systematic process that involves identification and presentation of a research topic. Once a learner has identified a topic, he or she should plan to talk about it. Planning of speaking tasks enables learners to communicate in an organized manner during speaking activities.
Pushed output technique requires regular speaking tasks that can be carried out formally or informally. Nonetheless, formal speaking tasks are important because they push learners to communicate effectively during transactional conversations. Evaluation of speaking tasks is an important aspect of the pushed output technique because it enables learners to improve consistently their language production.
Language acquisition is an intricate process that requires proper techniques and regular practice. The syllabus of an English learning course for learners will vary significantly according to the reason for learning, educational experience, and age of the learner.
A learner’s experience with English should also be considered when designing learning tasks. Students can learn English through various techniques. According to the comprehension technique, learners should not be motivated until they have considerable experience and understanding of the language scheme.
Nonetheless, some language experts contend that the skills required to talk cannot be developed unless learners are compelled to converse. Swain asserts that learners can understand a language without closely examining grammar.
Nonetheless, if learners are compelled to speak, the focus they give to language rules change (Nation & Newton, 2009). The pushed output technique is based on the assumption that knowledge of a language does not transfer mechanically from reception to verbal communication. Articulation of words also encompasses syntactic processing. This essay discusses the learning of English through the pushed out technique.
The Concept of Pushed Output Technique
Learners are ‘pressed’ when, through need or motivation, they have to speak a given language in unknown places. These areas can be strange since learners are more accustomed to listening than talking. Also, learners may be inured to speaking some types of discourse.
Unlike other techniques of language acquisition, the pushed output approach enables learners to pay attention to grammatical characteristics in the productive application of the English language. Learners only acquire basic language features that are essential for comprehension. Since learners of English can only pay attention to one challenging activity at a time, they at first learn vocabulary.
Learners give attention to grammar after mastering vocabulary. According to Swain, learners cannot pay attention to language rules if they are not pressed to articulate words. The pushed output technique enables learners to acquire both semantic and syntactic language skills. Moreover, it makes a learner refine his or her grammatical skills.
Understanding language procedures entail semantic interpretation. Language output includes syntactic dispensation. Learners can be informed of mistakes in their output comprehension of language aspects if they are expected to talk in strange genres. The aim of creating challenging activities is to motivate learners to increase their application of grammatical features and vocabulary.
There are various mechanisms for making learning tasks complicated. This includes getting “learners to talk on unfamiliar topics, speaking where high standards of performance are expected, speaking without the opportunity for planning or preparation, and speaking in informal situations without interactive support of others” (Mystkowska-Wiertelak & Pawlak, 2012).
Learning the English Language through Pushed Output Technique
The pushed output approach involves studying English through reading and writing. Learning activities in this aspect of the push output approach include speaking in conversation, giving a talk, and writing. Many spoken language “tasks include a mixture of meaning-focused input and meaning-focused output” (Mystkowska-Wiertelak & Pawlak, 2012). An individual’s production can be another individual’s input.
The output theory has been important in explaining the importance of talking and writing in English. The output theory states that the process of talking and inscription comprises, under certain situations, part of the procedure of learning English.
Nonetheless, the opportunities that output creates are different from those given by input. Through the push output technique, the leaner tries out an English language task and then confirms or improves it based on the level of performance. This hypothesis-testing function “is particularly important in interaction when learners negotiate with each other” (Richards & Rodgers, 2001). The response provided in a conversation can advance the understandability of input and can enable learners to refine their language output.
Research suggests that feedback from language instructors enables learners to acquire language skills effectively. Also, push output has a reflective purpose (Nation & Newton, 2009).
This entails using the verbal output to resolve language challenges in association with others. The most efficient language application is called generative application. Therefore, English can be learned through the pushed output technique, which involves the following steps.
Learners of English can be pressed to talk on a variety of subjects. Each topic has a unique vocabulary. For instance, a political topic has a unique vocabulary that cannot be compared with words used in an economics topic.
Thus, if learners of the English language are pressed to speak on various themes, they acquire a variety of English vocabulary. This enhances their ability to speak English. “There could be strong gender difference effects about background knowledge of topics that can make some topics more demanding than others for male and female learners” (Nation & Newton, 2009).
Learners of English language can carry out speaking activities under various conditions. Therefore, it is important for learners to prepare for speaking tasks. For example, learners can be given ten minutes to prepare for speaking tasks. Planning a speaking task entails taking time to analyze a given topic (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2000). This involves making short annotations about what to speak.
Preparation for a speaking activity may involve describing a picture that symbolizes a story. Planning helps in learning English because it makes it possible for learners to do part of the work before the actual speaking task.
The impact of planning a speaking task can be evaluated by checking the effect on grammatical correctness and vocabulary complexity. Several studies indicate that planning facilitates the learning of the English language (Mystkowska-Wiertelak & Pawlak, 2012).
One of the most “effective ways of bringing receptive language knowledge into productive use is to make use of techniques which involve retelling” (Richards & Rodgers, 2001). For example, learners of the English language can be instructed to retell a written text or verbal input. Learners can carry out speaking tasks successfully if they are allowed to prepare for the task (Richards & Rodgers, 2001).
The second significant performance requirement that affects talking is time pressure. Pre-activity planning enables learners of English to identify and organize several ideas to present. Thus, it provides learners adequate time to carry out a speaking task. It also enables them to use both their unspoken and explicit grammatical skills. Hence, they can speak English properly (Nation & Newton, 2009).
Quantity of Support
Learning of English language can be facilitated by guiding learners to speak (Harmer, 2001). Learners of English can be supported through the following mechanisms. First, “a language instructor should give enough waiting time while the speaker prepares what to say” (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2000). Second, a language instructor should occasionally summarize what the speaker has said to enable supportive listeners to understand the speaker properly.
“A significant necessity in supportive listening is allowing the speaker to find the language items needed without being overwhelmed by the support” (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2000). “Another way to get supportive listening is to give listeners the chance to experience the difficulties of speaking and to reflect on these difficulties” (Harmer, 2001).
Standard of Performance
The quality of language output expected is the fourth main presentation condition. Learners can be pressurized to speak English properly in public. Moreover, learners are often motivated to speak correct English if they know that their performance will be evaluated.
Transactional verbal communication with other individuals is another mechanism of pushing learners to learn English (Harmer, 2001). Talking with others can be helpful, but it can be challenging.
Learning Informal Speaking of English
Learners can be taught English through the push output methodology by giving them informal and formal speaking tasks. Informal dialogue characteristically involves activities were communicating information is not as significant as upholding friendly relationships (Mystkowska-Wiertelak & Pawlak, 2012). In this type of dialogue, cordial interaction between two parties is important. Hence, it can be called interactional speaking.
Through interactional speaking, learners can acquire conversational skills that sustain a dialogue. To sustain an informal conversation, questions raised in dialogue should be answered in details. This strategy needs a lot of regular practice, and learners should be guided on the type of additional explanation that they can give. Indeed, learners who have conversations with supportive individuals easily learn English.
Learners of English can be taught to support other speakers. This support can entail providing unknown utterances, finishing sentences that the orator has begun, and seeking important clarifications to give language support (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2000). Repeating activities is another important mechanism for giving support. At first, it can be difficult for learners to speak English, but through repetition, it can turn out to be easier.
For instance, retelling a story can serve as a form of repetition. Learners can prepare for interactional speaking by regularly writing diaries. Every day, learners should come together and share the contents of their diaries. Listeners can ask various questions during presentations to facilitate the acquisition of skills.
Spoken English uses more multi-word units than written language (Richards & Rodgers, 2001). Therefore, it is important for learners to memorize commonly used words, phrases, and sentences.
Learning Formal Speaking of English
Formal speaking is another important aspect of the push output technique. It facilitates the learning of English as follows. “It represents a new use of English for most learners and requires them to focus on language items that are not as well represented in other uses of the language” (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2000).
Transactional speaking demands managing of language content, the consciousness of mainly passive listeners, and being the center of attention. Thus, formal speaking compels learners to communicate in difficult situations, which enhance skill development. “It is important to note that transactional speaking of English is affected by all the performance conditions of planning, time pressure, support, and standards already discussed” (Harmer, 2001).
Moreover, formal speaking is guided by written words. In most cases, the speaker’s presentation will be guided by written notes. Formal communication also requires adequate use of academic vocabulary.
Guidelines for Formal Speaking
The following principles should be taken into consideration during a formal speaking task. The communication should focus on three to four essential pieces of information. For example, if the speaker plans to talk about his nation, he can identify three major points about it. “The speaker should present or gradually build a simple outline of the main points of the talk” (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2000).
Alternatively, the speaker can read the outline of the presentation at the beginning of the speaking task. This enables listeners to have a general idea of the entire talk. There must be four shifts of attention during the talk. This implies that during the talk, the speaker should allow the audience to respond to his presentation.
For example, the speaker can allow the audience to ask questions at certain intervals during his presentation. Nonetheless, many changes during the presentation can confuse the audience (Nation & Newton, 2009).
“The transactional nature of formal speaking means that the effectiveness of the learners’ performance should focus on the successful communication of information” (Richards & Rodgers, 2001). Thus, transactional speaking tasks should be carried out with a clear audience who are willing to pay attention to the speaker’s information.
Physical organization of the learning environment can affect the effectiveness of a formal speaking task. Learners of English can present planned talks in front of listeners. In this case, the orator should face the listeners during his presentation.
It is advisable to have specific time allocations for speaking tasks, but listeners must be allowed to answer as many questions as possible. Learners can be asked to prepare some questions before a speaking task. If learners are performing speaking tasks in groups, they can share preparation tasks. During class presentations, two learners can present their works. For example, one leaner can talk positively about a topic, and another can speak against it.
Learners should avoid writing an entire talk presentation. Instead, they should make short notes to guide their presentations because it is not always pleasing to read aloud an entire essay. Brief notes enable learners to construct complete sentences and to be creative in conversations. Learners of English require favorable circumstances to talk carefully on themes they understand properly.
They need responses on what features of the English language they need to understand. Listeners should participate in a speaking task by asking the orator questions and giving responses. Participation of listeners in speaking tasks improves their concentration. It also enables the speaker to know whether the learners understand his talk.
Moreover, it enhances the quality of verbal communication, especially if some of the listeners are already familiar with the topic being presented. Presenting an official talk is a valuable ability, but it is difficult for many learners of English. Nonetheless, it is a significant skill that facilitates the learning of English (Nation & Newton, 2009).
Monitoring Formal Talks
During the performance of English speaking tasks, teachers and learners should identify weaknesses and strengths of the orator. Learners of English should be motivated to evaluate the quality of their formal talks. For example, during a speaking task, a learner can identify his communication mistakes and should try to avoid repeating them in subsequent speaking tasks.
Therefore, formal speaking compels and motivates learners to communicate effectively. It is worth noting that transactional speaking is one of the important ways of assisting learners in speaking English properly (Nation & Newton, 2009).
Fluency Development through Push Output
Learners can develop fluency in English by practicing writing, listening, talking, and reading. Fluency in English can be achieved by assisting learners in applying the knowledge they have acquired through the push output approach. In this case, the main objective of a language learner is to get and relay information (Mystkowska-Wiertelak & Pawlak, 2012).
The focus on fluency is an advanced stage of learning English. At this level, learners are expected to communicate efficiently without necessarily referring to notes. Fluency development can be facilitated through regular formal speaking tasks in which learners of the English language are motivated to speak efficiently (Mystkowska-Wiertelak & Pawlak, 2012).
This essay has revealed that push output technique can facilitate the learning of English by compelling learners to speak. This approach of learning English requires learners to regularly practice both informal and formal conversations. Learners of English language should be encouraged to perform speaking tasks to make them acquire language skills.
The success of learning English through this approach depends on how speaking activities are designed. Therefore, learners should be encouraged to prepare properly for speaking tasks. Preparation for language output entails writing guiding notes, which keeps the speaker focused on a given topic. Learners can acquire a variety of vocabulary by speaking about different topics.
Also, learners should regularly evaluate their speaking tasks to enable them to identify and correct their output mistakes. Once learners have acquired basic grammatical skills in English, they should focus on speaking fluently. Fluency in speaking can be achieved through regular speaking tasks.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the pushed output technique facilitates quick learning of English because it compels learners to articulate words in various circumstances.
Harmer, J. (2001). The Practice of English Language Teaching. New York: Longman.
Larsen-Freeman, D., & Anderson, M. (2000). Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mystkowska-Wiertelak, A., & Pawlak, M. (2012). Production-Oriented and Comprehension- Based Grammar Teaching in the Foreign Language Classroom. New York: Springer.
Nation, I., & Newton, J. (2009). Teaching ESL/EFL Listening and Speaking. London: Routledge.
Richards, J., & Rodgers, T. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. New York: Cambridge University Press.