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IH Matar, Teacher Development Forums

Get talking!
In this session we will: reflect and discuss issues related to developing speaking skills in primary school pupils look at management and motivation difficulties in working with large groups investigate the features of a wide range of speaking activities suitable for different ages and levels Typical problems when teaching large monolingual groups. What do you think are the causes of these problems? What are the possible solutions? Students won't talk or say anything. When students work in pairs or groups they just end up chatting in their own language. When all the students speak together it gets too noisy and out of hand and I lose control of the classroom.

Support We can provide support for our learners in many ways, for example: - support through motivating topics If children are to talk meaningfully in English they must have something they want to say. The teacher needs to take responsibility for adjusting tasks and topics so that they relate to pupils' interests. One of the best ways of achieving this is by building an element of choice for pupils - support through task structure Children often benefit from knowing what is going to happen at the different stages of a task. Security is provided if a task has a clear and achievable goal - a communicative or interpersonal purpose. Preparation is vital through providing opportunities for short language practice activities before the main task - support through language practice Children need more than interest in a topic and a purpose for a task. They need sufficient language to do so. Controlled practice of the target language should include: Models of the language from listening. Plentiful opportunities for repeated listening Plentiful opportunities to say the words or phrases Feedback on production to improve both fluency and accuracy. Group and pair work Teachers of large classes have tried different strategies: open and closed pairs mixed-ability groups: The more able learners in the group can help the others to master the work so that the teacher need not teach some parts.. same-ability groups: The teacher can leave the groups of faster learners to get on with the work on their own. S/he can give extra help to individual learners in the slower groups. using group leaders/monitors: Some teachers appoint faster, more able learners as group leaders or monitors who can help slower learners. monitoring the groups yourself: The teacher needs to move around the classroom to see what progress learners are making and what problems are coming up. S/he can give advice, encouragement and extra individual help where it is needed. using active / passive learners: for speaking activities you can divide students into active and passive learners. The active students are the ones who speak English. The passive learners can participate without speaking English. They could be the ones who write the dialogue, for example or they could do types of self-access work.

Simon Gillow

IH Matar, Teacher Development Forums

Activity types
Highly controlled spoken practice This is not speaking as such but oral language practice. This type of work is useful in large classes because it is very focussed and easily managed by teachers. With a few adaptations this type of work can easily be made more communicative. Drills/chants There was a lot of drilling in the dialogue building task sequence. This is designed to support learners by providing controlled rehearsal time, by providing an opportunity for short language practice activities prior to the main speaking task. Furthermore it drilling can help provide a focus on phonology, such as sounds, stresses and intonation. Drilling has a bad reputation, seen as behaviourist in methodology and as being mechanical and impersonal. It is not hard to imagine, however, drilling activities which offer students more than the traditional 'listen and repeat drill.

The task is particularly suitable for younger children but could work with children up to 9 or 10. It is communicative and motivating. The fact that the children chant in unison provides support for weaker or shy students. Language is simple and practised repetitively. Other drill activities: Rub out words/ sentences off the board gradually. Can the children tell you what was there? Eg. Retelling stories eliciting back the story from learners. Building this up on the board with learners either as a skeleton text or using the word wall technique. Repeat if true eg. facts. Paris is the capital of France. Repeat if true, but correct if false. Eg. Canada is the biggest country in the world Repeat if true for you. Eg. I like teaching Repeat if true for a picture which you show the class. Other ways to work on pronunciation Lip reading spelling dictations, etc Repeat the words. Mazes (two example suitable for 5th and 6th primary. Tongue twisters (examples from ) Categorising according to word stress

Simon Gillow

IH Matar, Teacher Development Forums

Less controlled practice Information gap activities are quite controlled and are intended to provide oral practice of specific language items. A gap in knowledge, or content or opinion underpins much of real-life communication and in the foreign language classroom it can provide a good starting point for developing speaking skills with larger groups.

What colour is your .?


Aims: practice the question What colour is your +object. Response Its + colour Students start with two blank T-shirts. Dictate some objects, for example, banana, apple, pineapple, pear, melon, etc. Prepare this to practise lexical sets from your coursebook. The children draw the objects on the T-shirts one set on each T-shirt. Tell the students to colour in the objects on one of the T-shirts, using any colours they know the name of. In pairs students ask and answer questions. They colour in the second T-shirt the same as their partners. Some other examples include: Weather maps School timetables Agendas Picture dictations / Picasso dictations / etc. Spot the differences Battleships Find someone who (pictures or words)

Simon Gillow

IH Matar, Teacher Development Forums

Towards freer speaking Student presentations: Show and tell. Writing a story and a story book. Telling this to other, younger students. Videoing students performances. This can have a profound effect on motivation Integrating skills. Recording students speaking and using these as the basis other classroom activities, such as dictations or listening comprehension work.

20 questions Aims: semi-controlled speaking practice, making questions. Think of an animal (famous person, etc). Do a class example and brainstorm useful questions. Students discover the animal by asking yes/no questions. Taboo Aims: semi-controlled speaking practice, developing communication strategies to convey the meaning of unknown lexis. Work in pairs or small groups. Each pair / group has a set of cards. One person describes the object on the card without using any of the words that follows.

Simon Gillow

IH Matar, Teacher Development Forums

Get talking! Session materials


Typical problems when teaching large monolingual groups. What do you think are the causes of these problems? What are the possible solutions? Students won't talk or say anything. When students work in pairs or groups they just end up chatting in their own language. When all the students speak together it gets too noisy and out of hand and I lose control of the classroom.

Hear / say Hear / say Student A Aim: to practice language in a cognitive way through a pairs speaking activity. Work in pairs. Students A starts. Student B look on the back pageStudent B Student A

Hear
Start 11208 81310 98945 51831 12936 33765 42391 23410 75319

Say

Simon Gillow

IH Matar, Teacher Development Forums

Student B

Hear 42391 23410 12936 33765 75319

Say
11208 Finish 51831 98945 81310

Simon Gillow