Top ESL Speaking Classroom Activities 2: Getting your students to speak!

Following on from my last blog on making students aware how we speak, here are some ESL speaking activities to actually get the little (or big) rascals to open their mouths and produce streams of sound. These are ways of easing them in and they are controlled in some sort of way because students have a script or text to read from.

Sounds good to me!
Photo by unlistedsightings
I have to say that I never used to pay much attention to drilling, but after the DELTA I know how important it is. For drilling resources have a look hereHere are a few drilling activities.

Reading aloud
Great photo for making a dialogue with your class.
Photo by Pensive Glance
Using the dialogues in the course books
There are loads of ways you can use the dialogues in the course books.
Information Gap Exercise
This is a slightly freer activity, but it's a great way to practise any grammar point. I love it because they are only asking one or two questions and they get better at asking that question. Also the responses are normally in English. Here’s an example with ‘going to’.

On the board write up three or four ‘going to questions’ and to the right draw three horizontal lines. Like this:

                                                                     _________   __________  ___________
What are you going to do tonight?
What are you going to do next weekend?
What are you going to do this summer?

Spin your pen on the floor to choose three students. Ask each student the questions and write the answers on the board. Students then make their own chart in their books and change the questions. Do some drilling and then rotate the class so they ask three or four other students and fill in their own chart. After that they can write up a text based on the results and present it to the class (that way they practise the 3rd person too). This is great for kids and teenagers because it forces them to use the language. And you can do this for any grammar point, trust me....Also very little prep!

Role plays
I think these are a great way for students to practise speaking. This works best if students have a model so first you have to write up a mini role play and maybe act it out with one of the stronger students. You can also include any grammar point or vocabulary you've been teaching into a role play.

Students make their own role plays, using the grammar point or vocabulary you have just taught, and present them to the class. You can give students points for each time they use the grammar point or vocabulary and have a competition.

This is even more fun if you elicit a few famous peoples’ names on the board and students have to be that famous person. You can also set destinations and give them objects they have to use in their mini play.

To make this really worthwhile, help them with the pronunciation. Get them to mark the key words in their part, show aspects of connected speech and really get them to practise before they perform in front of the class. Even if you have to do it over two classes.

So there are a few controlled ways of getting students to speak. The next blog will be on more freer activities to help students improve their speaking. 

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