How to Include ESL Speaking Activities
in Your Lessons
It's important to include a lot of ESL speaking activities in your
lessons, because most people learning English want to speak
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students want to learn to read and write English as well, speaking is
usually the most important skill for them.
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Using ESL speaking activities in your lessons
It isn't always easy to include lots of speaking activities, especially if you are doing a reading or writing lesson.
One of the most important things to remember is to get the students speaking more than you
speak, as they will learn more by doing than by listening
way to do this in a non-speaking focused lesson is to ask them to
compare their answers together after every activity. This will increase
the length of time they are speaking and reduce the time you are
Asking them to repeat instructions back to you is another way to get them to speak.
If you are doing a reading lesson
, you can ask students to read short
sections out loud. This gets them used to hearing their voice in
English, which sounds very strange to them at first.
With a writing lesson, you could have them read out their work after
they write it. Peer correction works well with this too. Other students
can listen and correct the grammar or pronunciation.
Accuracy or fluency?
If you have a lesson, or part of a lesson, that is focused on speaking,
you need to consider the activities you include, and what your aim is.
If your aim is improving accuracy
, then eliciting scripts and
performing short role plays is a good activity.
If you want to concentrate on fluency
, then activities such as 'Just a
, or improvised role plays
are excellent practice. Students
often enjoy these too.
For a bit more variety in your speaking activities, consider using
For example, play music and get your students to describe
their thoughts and feelings as they heard it.
Or perhaps you could play
a video or film excerpt without sound and get students to make notes,
then to provide a commentary as to what is happening while you play it
Recording your students
If you have the facility, it is really useful to be able to record your
students speaking (either via sound or via video).
They usually find it
very interesting to hear or see themselves afterwards and it makes it
easier to point out any problems. Often, the students notice the
mistakes without you having to say anything.
Creating TV or radio shows is something that students of any age enjoy,
and this task can be adapted for most levels, and can be changed
slightly depending on what equipment you have available.
student news programs and played them back, and I've also had them do
them as performances without being filmed.
I've also recorded radio
shows which included interviews, weather reports, reviews, news, etc.
Most students seem to enjoy doing this, and it helps teamwork as well
as language skills!
Role plays are great, but with a little imagination you will realize
that ESL speaking activities don't have to be limited to role plays.