Category: Develop Students’ Speaking Skills

Six Tips to Encourage Students to Speak Out in English

1. Give Clear Goals and Instructions.

Inform your students with the main goal of speaking and the importance of developing speaking skills. Model speaking with one of your best students so everyone can see what to say. Students also need to know how to say something. Without understanding why, what and how, many students think it is not important to do anything.

2. Reinforce Any Attempt of Speaking.

Reward ANY attempt to speak in English. If students speak out loudly and clearly, but make a mistake, praise them just for speaking out. As students improve, you can focus on the most outstanding successes. The more you encourage, the more students will try to speak. On the other hand, if you do not encourage them, they will likely become passive in class.

3. Use the Element of Surprise.

Students usually know exactly what will happen in class and answer questions mechanically. By adding surprises to your lessons, students will be forced to think about the meaning and will pay more careful attention. You might ask students about their families, and then ask if they are married, or if they can drive a car. Students who are answering without thinking will say “yes” automatically. In such cases, their classmates will usually laugh at their mistakes, and they will realize the importance of paying attention.

Saying anything strange will improve the class atmosphere. So, whenever you prepare a list of questions, add something funny or strange at the end. Add some intentional mistakes to see who will find them and react to them by speaking out.

4. Do “Information Gap” Activities.

You can do what is called the “information gap” activity with students to encourage speaking. Give only SOME students certain information, a text or picture, for example, the other students must use English to find out what information they are missing. Successful pair practice and language games include “information gaps” can encourage students to talk and ask questions to discover what information they do not have.

5. Use the Types of Speaking Activities in the Right Sequence.

Start with a simple, mechanical activity, then continue with something more meaningful, and finish with a communicative activity. When students do a variety of speaking activities, they will practice speaking in the right way. This way will encourage both high and low achiever students to speak with ease and comfort.

6. Use Competition .

Competition automatically grabs students’ attention. The easiest way is to divide the class into two teams and play some kind of game. You could have the left side of the room against the right side, boys against girls, or each row against all the others. Competition can be used on an individual level as well, by giving points to students for their work. You can give points for any attempt of self-expression. Students enjoy seeing their progress over time. This will keep them motivated, attentive and ready to talk to win the competition.

Following these six tips in your teaching of speaking will make your students change over time. Positive reinforcement, having clear goals and instructions can be used right from the beginning, in every class. using surprise, variety of activities and competition can be added to your lessons slowly, so as not to overwhelm your students. Make one or two small changes in every lesson, and pretty soon your students will untighten their tongue and speak out in English freely to express themselves effectively.


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The Top Five Tips That Help Students Speak English

1. Praise them for speaking and pronouncing English well:

Encourage them to peak in English without fearing of making mistakes. Focus on the use of English and reinforce any successful attempts to produce English in real-life situations.

2. Set goals, give clear instructions and model activities:

Tell students WHY an activity is done and what objectives should be achieved at the end of each activity. Tell students HOW to do the activity and give them clear instructions. You should model the activity with one of your best students so everyone can see what they need to do and say.

3. Force students to think and express personally:

Don’t focus only on questions that require mechanical answers but surprise students with questions that force them to pay attention and think personally to give answers. This will improve the class atmosphere and not only enhance speaking but also develop listening skill.

4. Vary your activities:

Start with simple, mechanical activities, then continue with something more meaningful and finish with communicative activities. Variety is required to keep students’ attention and improve their involvement in activities accordingly.

5. Use competition to motivate students to speak:

Divide the class into teams and design a challenge for them to encourage each team to do their best to express well so as to win.


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The Eight Ways to Engage Shy Students in Speaking Tasks

Supporting and encouraging shy students within classroom can sometimes be one of the most important things that the teacher should focus on. But first, you should think about it, some students are naturally introvert and quiet. They like to be silent. So, your mission is not to turn them into extroverted students, but your aim is to increase their self-confidence and improve their speaking skill. It may take some time, but you can have positive results in the end. Just be patient an persist.

Don’t make special exceptions for “shy” students in the class as this will bring attention to them and create more anxiety for them. Here are ten suggestions you can try to encourage and support shy students in your class

1. Build a relationship with them:

Find out their likes and dislikes and then make their interests as triggers for them to speak and answer questions. Explain to them that there is no right or wrong answer to a certain question, so they should try to speak to untie their tongue and improve their speaking skill. There is no need to be shy or afraid to participate in the discussion.

2. Motivate them:

Any kind of participation from them in speaking tasks even it is just repetition must be encouraged and praised from you.

3. Create comfortable and supportive learning environment:

All students including shy ones will not speak and participate in class tasks unless they feel comfortable and not threatened.

4. Use collaborative learning:

Using pair and group work can encourage students to take small steps in speaking. When the shy student become a member of a group, he/she feels less threatened and less anxious. In groups, students exchange opinions freely without fear because they are not exposed directly to the whole class-environment which can lead to silence and reluctance to participate.

5. Use role-playing:

Use social interactions, situations or stories that may occur in real life and encourage shy students to participate in role playing them. Introduce how to play each role and teach the class some social openers for greeting others.

6. Involve parents and past teachers:

talk with them about what works and didn’t work with shy students. Ask parents about how their children feel at home and how they support and encourage them to speak up more.

7. Provide confidence:

All the time tell students that it doesn’t matter if they make mistakes while speaking as it’s normal to happen. The only most important thing is to talk in public in front of the whole class. Add, be confident and try again and again, and you will not feel embarrassed for sure.

8. Let them do easy tasks:

Ask them to repeat after you or after a brilliant student. Tailor as easy tasks as possible to them to give them the push they need.

Always observe their behavior and take notes of their reactions for situations particularly uncomfortable ones to change the setting for their favor.

Do you have any more suggestions. Let us know by leaving a comment. 

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