5 fun and easy ways to encourage your students to speak English in class!
05 Novembre 2018
What? I need to speak English? Help!? It happens to everyone. Teachers often ask themselves, "What can I do to get my students to speak English?" While it may seem obvious, it isn’t always easy to put into practice, as any teacher will tell you. Here are some useful tips to help your students find the courage to speak English.
1. Have a reward system.
- Tickets, tokens, fake money, stickers, etc.
- Use these to have fun privileges = play a game, have time reading, using the computer, drawing, come and sit at the teacher’s desk, etc.
- Have a box of "treats" that students can choose from when they get a certain number of rewards.
- As Joanna Wiseman suggests in her article on the Pearson English blog: Write ENGLISH on the board in large letters. Each time someone speaks French, erase a letter. Tell students that each letter represents time (e.g. 1 minute) to play a game or do another fun activity at the end of the lesson. If the whole word remains they can choose a game to play.
2. Teach students, "How do you say….?" and other functional language for the classroom.
- Model functional language that is accessible and useful to them.
- Remind them to use their books and reference documents for words you expect them to use in the classroom. "What do you like? I like apples."
- Use this functional language in your teaching.
- Promote pair and group work using the target language. Ease into it with younger students.
3. As a teacher, speak English at all times.
- Greet students in English when you arrive and leave class.
- Repeat as needed but do not resort to French unless it is a behavioural issue.
- Be a positive role model for your students. Make it fun to speak English!
- Give positive feedback when students make the effort.
4. Keep it simple! (KISS)
- Reformulate, simplify language and use cognates.
- Write words on the board or the IWB for visual learners.
5. Give a "Time Out" for French.
- Do this only when absolutely needed. It reassures students that if they are blocked or simply can’t find the words, they have a way out.
- Control the time outs by:
- Having a special place in the classroom where students can do it.
- Give a time period for the time out; for example, 2 minutes.
- Explain to students when a "time out" is acceptable.
Did you know that our Poptropica English series (Grades 3 to 6) offers many opportunities to help students speak English?
- Activity Books 3-6:
- Model dialogue, in context, accompanies all speaking activities in each unit.
- Theme-based vocabulary is introduced in each unit. An audio file is integrated for students to hear the correct pronunciation from a native speaker. Students then repeat the words they hear. There are two vocabulary activities in each theme-based unit.
- Online Lessons: Each unit’s LOOK! Box (grammar) has accompanying audio files that model the language needed to interact. Teachers can project the LOOK! Box on their IWB and play the audio files. There is also a Grammar Train interactive activity used to reinforce what was learned.
- Online Bank of Resources: Includes role-play activities for each comic strip excerpt with student and teacher resources. Audio and video files provide native-speaker models. Under the Island Adventure tile, you will find animated comic strips that can be projected and used as models for students to practise pronunciation and intonation. These models are the springboard for the role-play activity where students get a chance to react to the storyline in groups or pairs.
- Study Buddy 3-6: Includes illustrated and concrete examples of level-appropriate functional language that supports oral interaction. Under the Study Buddy tile, you will find slides of all targeted functional language illustrated in the Study Buddy. These can be used to animate your classroom and provide practical and useful support for oral interaction in class.