Is this really true or is it only a myth?
For most language teachers, the main goal is to have their students talking as early as possible and as much as possible. They believe that they should be quiet during their classes, while their students should have the opportunity to speak; students are expected to speak in class and write compositions almost from the first lesson, even though they have had almost no chance to absorb the grammar and vocabulary of English.
What is happening in our language classes is that we demand output from our students, but do nothing to ensure they have had enough input. A few hours of English classes every week, where the teacher tries to speak as little as possible (to give his students the opportunity to speak), are not nearly enough.
Yes, that’s right! Speaking is a very important skill and a very important aspect of the Language teaching performance... but not the only one!
It is obvious that, in order to talk like a native speaker, you have to listen to the things they say and read the things they write. So, students need more input from the very beginning. We should spend all of our time on reading and listening activities, in order to acquire the necessary vocabulary and grammar until they can write a few simple (but 100% correct!) sentences in English.
We should give lots of oral and writing inputs until the students will be able to produce simple and correct sentences without consulting the dictionary or “Mr. Google”!
And this is when they should start speaking, slowly and carefully, but still spending most of our teaching time on reading and listening activities, because input is the only way to develop vocabulary and grammar.
"Let's go shopping" is a short project made in my classes of grade 4 with the priceless help of our Language Assistants of the "Sharing to Learn" project.
Speaking was the main goal, but I had to previously work on some vocabulary, grammar structures, some writing, some reading and some listening... before they could speak in a proper way!