Geekyteacher











{September 22, 2009}   Helping Students Talk

Perhaps the most difficult thing that teachers face is making students develop their oral skills properly. Sometimes, we have few practice opportunities to offer, other times, students may not be so interested in talking in the target language. So, what can we do to help our students talk in English?

  1. Be a model. Use English in the classroom, when talking to fellow teachers and students.
  2. Place visual aids in your classroom. You can use pictures, common phrases, etc. to create a welcoming atmosphere.
  3. We must count on the idea that they must have some kind of opinion on simple issues such as food, music, TV. Work on those topics for some weeks to help the students gain confidence in themselves, and then, switch to more difficult topics.
  4. Try to give them striking topics to talk about. If you have tweens or teens, you may enjoy listening to their opinions on Internet usage (fotolog, facebook and all those social networks they like) and on urban tribes.
  5. Help them activate their prior knowledge through brainstorming exercises, through texts, etc. Be ready to collect any ad you find in magazines!
  6. Why don’t you use a video or a listening text as a starting point? There are many resources on the Internet that you may find interesting for discussing with your students!
  7. Remember that, speaking and listening go hand in hand! Provide as much opportunities for listening activities as you can!

Here are some links that may provide some leads.

http://academics.smcvt.edu/cbauer-ramazani/present/Colombo/oralskills.htm

http://www.idebate.org/debate/start_debate_club.php

http://www.beijing-kids.com/magazine/Learning/Debate-Club

http://flynn.debating.net/CountRep.doc

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/talk/questions/conversation-club

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/forum-topic/english-speaking-club

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