Effective Speaking Instruction in ESL

Speaking instruction can be incorporated into every aspect of your class. Speaking is a function that our students desperately need to survive in this world. Speaking is taught through example. The way you talk is the way your students are learning to talk. We have to treat this area of our teaching very carefully, if we try to push students too hard when they are not ready, it could be detrimental to their learning.

A few ways to consciously incorporate speaking in your class:

1) Share Out - After students read have them share out with the class what happened in their book.

2) Think~Pair~Share - You give the students a question to think about. They take 2 minutes to think about their answer. Then they have 2 minutes to get into pairs. Last they each have 1 minute to share with their partner their answer. This technique gives them time to think about their answer and then share it out, this will reduce their anxiety about talking in front of a large group.

3) Turn and Talk - During the read aloud students turn to the person next to them and talk about what is happening in the book. Or you can ask them a question (ie: what do you think will happen next? why did the main character just do that?) to keep the talking more structured.

4) Conference - Meet with the students one on one and pratice speaking with them. Talk about what they did on the weekend, who their favorite singer is and why, what they are going to do after school. Make conferencing a time that you and the student can practice speaking while building your relationship.


Nafis said...

Why do not teachers want students to do more than speaking about simple things?
I took part some English classes and in every class they wanted us to talk about the weather, favorite sports, favorite movies and somethings like these.I think I never became a good speaker. I am better but I have difficulties yet.Finally, I decided to learn by myself to speak in English.
In my opinion, why do students choose a topic and then talk about it? I think it is better.
I appreciate that technique but I think there are different ways to learn speaking.

Melissa said...

Nafis, I agree with you completely. It is far more effective when students talk about something they are interested in. The population that I am teaching have been in the US for 1 year or less. Half of my studnets came to the US within the last 3 months. So for my purposes I try to teach them common things that they can build upon. After students have a decent vocabulary, I think that speaking instruction should be based around the interests of the students. This is a good point that you are making and I think as teachers, we need to remember this, thanks!

Nafis said...

Dear Melissa,

Thank you for the explanation.