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10 easy tips to get students talking in English lessons - Part 1 of 2

A free professional blog to support English teachers


Do you know that feeling when you build up the confidence to speak in English (or another language) but when you open your mouth to speak, you mess up all the words and it’s nothing like you planned?! Urgh, we do too! 

This is why our students are so reluctant to try. And who can blame them?


So, we have collected 10 simple tips that you can build into your English lessons that will take the fear away. They will make your students feel supported and confident and over time, students speaking will improve. 


Read the first 5 tips below and the next 5 tips next week, giving you time to try them in your lessons one at a time.


1. Give context

Ensure students understand why and when they will use the English they are learning. This will help them apply it to a conversation and build their confidence around the situation.


2. Brainstorm

Share ideas, thoughts and possible challenges around the situation in your local language first. This will ease students into the topic in a comfortable way so they can feel more prepared - in all languages. 


3. Time to think

Not every person thinks at the same speed. Some people need time to process, reflect and make connections with existing information. This means when you ask a question, it is usually the fastest answer you receive and not necessarily the most thought through.

A simple tip is to ask students a question and give them time to think in silence about the answer first. After 30 seconds ask for answers. This will also improve the quality of discussion. 


4. Get them to work in pairs 

Working with other people requires communication.

How do we communicate best? Through speech.

Ask students to complete tasks in small groups but they may only communicate in English. This will create opportunities to practice the language, whilst also taking the focus away from how the students speak, and shifting it to achieving a goal instead. 


5. Role plays

Do your students like role plays? Some do and some don’t. This will differ from class to class.

Role plays are a fun way to build team work, creativity, empathy and most importantly speech into your everyday lessons. Try it and see what your students think.


Try these 5 tips in your lessons this week and we will come with another 5 tips next week.

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Written by Jennifer Gardner

Owner of The English Classroom

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