How much time do your students spend speaking in class? Most teaching of English as a foreign language that takes place is based on a communicative approach.
What does that actually mean? That the student is encouraged to speak – the focus is on using English. Therefore, according to one resource, your students should be speaking 80% of the time.
Get your students talking
80%! That sounds like a lot. Your students should be speaking for 40 minutes, if it is a 50-minute lesson. Speaking time can never be that precisely calculated, of course, but it does emphasize the point that most of the time you won’t be talking.
Student speaking tips
How can you get your students to open up and talk for that amount of time in the TEFL classroom? This can be particularly challenging in certain cultures. Here are some tips to get your students chatting:
1. Introductory speaking activities – start the lesson with an intensive speaking assignment based on the material for the day or free conversation
2. Ask the students for examples – don’t provide examples of new language yourself. See what they have to offer first.
3. Role-play – situational exercises get your students speaking and hone the language, making it more practical and useful.
4. Why are they speaking? Be clear about the goals for each speaking assignment – concrete aims will be more effective than free chat.
5. Encourage group and pair work – as long they use English only and don’t revert to their mother tongue GW and PW is a great way to encourage communication.
I’m sure there are many more great tips out there to encourage speaking in TEFL. Please share your ideas with us in the comments below.