If you have a spoken presentation or exam coming up, you may want to read our latest infographic, which gives some great tips for improving your confidence and feeling great while speaking in public!
The annual IATEFL conference will soon be upon us. Of the 600 or so talks that will be delivered throughout the event, more than a few will be given by first-time presenters. IATEFL readily tries to encourage and provide support for first-time speakers. For example, there is the chance to be mentored by a more […]
This week – before we broke up for Easter – I was doing weather presentations with my students.
I work in a middle school in Poland with students aged 14-15 years old. I have quite an interesting situation in that I have eighteen different groups and teach each one for forty-five minutes per week. That gives me eighteen ‘hours’ a week at the school, which is fine. I’m tasked with ‘getting them to speak’. I don’t have to teach the course book – great! – or set tests and exams – other (Polish) teachers do that. I have to ‘get them talking’. This would be great if they were able to produce something! Unfortunately, I found out quite early on in the contract that my students weren’t going to be able to ‘sit nicely’ in pairs and ask and answer discussion questions together, then give feedback to the group.
Another tack is required and I have tried various different activities with them since December, when my classes began. I’ve done things like: team quizzes with an English text (realia: a fish and chip shop menu from my favourite fish and chip shop); class surveys – asking other students about a topic; a reading race – which is one of my favourite activities, because it practises all four skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening; info exchanges (from Talk a Lot Elementary Book 2); and plenty of games.
As I said earlier, I only have each group for forty-five minutes per week, which on one hand can be good (if they are a tough group) and on the other limits what we can do. I ensure that each week there is a fresh topic or concept and a different kind of activity. Luckily I know lots of different things they can do! However, the best would be discussion in pairs – which none of the groups are able to do. It’s no good asking somebody ‘What’s your favourite book?’ and then expecting them to give you a long and detailed answer when they just can’t.
My ideas have all worked with varying degrees of success. Of course games and team quizzes are popular because they are fun, but how to ‘get them talking’? Surprisingly, this week’s activity went much better than all its forerunners, which is why I wanted to write about it.
I had been doing info exchanges about ‘Weather’ with some of my groups. The beauty of my arrangement is that I can repeat lessons and kind of fine tune them. (This doesn’t work with the more challenging groups, of which there are three or four out of eighteen. I have to do something easier or completely different with them.)
I was getting bored with the info exchanges so I decided to get them to do presentations and I wrote the instructions on the board (see image above). The fifteen students and I were working in a computer lab, so everybody had access to a laptop with internet. I realised that they could work in pairs to research the weather forecast for the weekend and put together a spoken presentation, that I could mark and give feedback on. It worked so well with the first group that I persevered and found that, sure enough, each group were able to research and give presentations (weather forecasts).
I will definitely try to use this model again (not with Weather, but with a different topic) because it definitely got them talking, using information that they found out via the internet, rather than having to delve into their own rather limited stocks of English language. Here is the model. The timings might have to vary, depending on what we do:
MINUSES (and ACTION PLAN for future lessons);
In this article Henry discusses the subject of learning to speak English as a young French professional and what he would like to see from a language school, were he in the process of learning. I did not do well at school and school did not do well for me Supposing I were an average……
Download link: 52. The Schwa Sound in English (MP3 12 MB)
Do you know the English alphabet? It’s time to learn – or revise – the English alphabet!
Listen and download the free MP3 lesson: Learn the English Alphabet (9 MB, Google Drive)
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Please join me for a (slightly!) windy walk as I talk about the English alphabet and why you should know how to pronounce it and write it (with capital and small letters) – whatever your level! You can find the material mentioned in the podcast here:
Also, check out our fantastic new guest post by Jack Milgram from http://Custom-Writing.org blog: http://purlandtraining.com/2017/03/23/fun-and-unusual-ways-of-teaching-english-grammar-in-elementary-school/
If you would like to write a guest post for http://PurlandTraining.com on the subject of ELT, I’d love to hear from you! Please contact me via the website!
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Let’s have a fun listening activity on the topic of singing! I’m going to read out loud forty vocabulary words – four words at a time – and you have to either say them out loud or write them down. Check if you’ve got everything right by downloading the free vocabulary handout here:
This activity is probably more suitable for learners at Intermediate level and above!
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Image courtesy of Pixabay.com.