Productive and Receptive Skills in the ESL Classroom - Speaking Activities

 

So speaking activities will come in many different forms but we can generalize them into three basic types. Control activities tend to be used in the study phase and here, the teacher will be helping the students in terms of what they need to say and how they go about saying it. So, there's a high level of structure within a controlled activity. A guided activity has slightly less structure than this and it can be used in either the study or the activate stages themselves. The final type of activity or class of activity is called creative activity and this one would be used in the activation phase. In a creative activity, we're giving a scenario or a very small amount of structure and we're asking the students to actually create their own answers to this particular question. Regardless of whether your activity is controlled, guided or creative, there are a number of things that you need to make sure are in place before you could expect the students to actually start them. So, the first thing goes back to the reasons why we communicate in the first place. There is little point asking our students to create a speaking activity unless there is some need or desire to do that. So, we have to make sure that we generate interest in this particular activity before we actually start. The second thing, do our students have the language knowledge that is necessary in order to be able to complete such a speaking activity? If they have a lack of grammar knowledge or a lack of vocabulary knowledge around this particular speaking activity, it's going to be very very difficult for them. Thirdly, when asking the students to create language in terms of a speaking activity, it's always very useful to put them in pairs. By putting them in pairs you allow them to interact them therefore gain even more speaking practice but also you reduce stress because all of the effort is not concentrated on a single individual. So, let's consider now a typical speaking lesson and the stages that we need to go through from the very start until the finish.


Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

This unit covered methods of managing classes. First, we read about how to use body language to control and manage your class. Eye contact can be used to indicate a speaker or to keep the attention and focus of students, but one must be careful not to use it aggressively. Gestures are a good way to communicate with students who don't yet know a lot of English or to communicate without interrupting. Next, the text focused on the way teachers speak - especially using student names. Teachers must pay close attention to clarity, range, variety, and projection to make sure students understand and react appropriately. The next section concerned grouping of students during activities. Students can be grouped by whole classes, in pairs or small groups, or as individuals. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, but it's best to mix things up often to ensure maximum participation and understanding of lessons. The arrangement of the classroom is also something that can have a great effect on student behavior. There are many factors to consider when arranging space in the classroom. Students can sit in traditional rows, in a circle or horseshoe, or in small groups at separate tables. Again, there are advantages and disadvantages to each method. It is important to be able to balance students' comfort with the teacher's ability to lead the class. The seating arrangement can also change based on activity, or any social or discipline problems the teacher and students may be having. Next, we covered student and teacher talking time. Although there are times when it is necessary or expected for the teacher to talk, the students must of course practice speaking as much as possible. Teachers can choose their language and methods of presenting lessons or activities carefully in order to minimize TTT. Keeping everything simple, clear, and consistent can make teaching and understanding much easier. As long as the teacher and student have established a good rapport, everything should proceed smoothly. It's important to keep a respectful, relaxed, and positive atmosphere so that the students feel comfortable and confident speaking and studying English. The final section of the readings was on discipline and managing problem behavior. It was a good reminder that problem behavior can be a result of something outside the teacher's control - for example, the student's home life or low self-confidence. The teacher can try to stop problems from arising in the first place by maintaining an atmosphere of mutual respect. However, often problems will still arise. The teacher can attempt to solve these problems by speaking with the student 1-on-1 and focusing on the behavior rather than the student when disciplining. The teacher should try to stay calm.


Check out ITTT's Blog Posts


Apply for your TEFL/TESOL Course!
  • 1 The application process is free and does not commit you in any way.
  • 2 Anyone fluent in English and aged 18+ is eligible for our courses.
  • 3 No previous experience or qualifications are required.
  • 4 Apply today and receive a free e-guide covering the basics of TEFL/TESOL
  • 5 Sign up for your course before 30 July, 2019 and receive an additional course free of charge. *
* Applies to in-class courses, combined courses, diploma courses and 120-hour online course with tutor and videos
Personal data
Course Details
Additional Info
Country

Where would you like to teach? (optional)

The personal information we collect on this page will be treated in accordance with our privacy policy.
By submitting this form you declare to have read and agreed to the Terms & Conditions.