For many ESL students, the most significant skill to learn is speaking. Although they would agree that writing, listening, and reading are all important, nothing demonstrates your mastery of a language like the ability to speak fluently. As such, speaking-focused classes are becoming increasingly popular for ESL students, especially those living in Asia. From the teachers’ perspective, however, giving effective and practical feedback in a speaking class can often be a challenge.
Teaching speaking skills is not easy with lower levels. Unless you are working with a highly motivated group of students, it can be challenging to get good discussions going. With planning and clearly defined roles, discussions can be very successful for a speaking skills lesson with lower levels.
Making sure that all the students practice all the skills is every teacher’s responsibility. This becomes quite an onerous responsibility when there are many students in the class and class time does not seem to suffice. The speaking activities described below have been tried with large classes and have rendered good results.
For many who teach English abroad, one of the biggest challenges is to teach speaking skills to a large class of 30 or more students. When there are so many students, it is difficult to get them to practice enough in order to continue improving. The other three macro skills – reading, writing and listening – sometimes present difficulties in logistics, organization and mostly marking because of the sheer amount of students’ work; however, when it comes to teaching speaking skills, the number of students makes it more difficult to organize activities and foster participation in the classroom.
A class debate can be a fun and challenging way to encourage class interaction, review vocabulary, and develop speaking fluency. With a solid lesson plan and good moderating skills, your debate will be a success, and well-appreciated by your students. Here are some tips to get you started!
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If you are teaching writing, especially for learners with academic goals, it can be very helpful to explore some of the differences between spoken and written language with your class. Although misunderstandings in spoken communication can be negotiated and overcome, even small inaccuracies in written language can present barriers to effective communication. This need for grammatical and lexical accuracy is one reason why most L2 learners find academic writing to be the most difficult skill to learn.