View Full Version : Teaching Spoken English

24-Jun-2005, 10:28
My neighbour's children (13 and 11 years old) drop in daily to learn spoken English. They understand, read and write English, but don't speak it too well. Can anyone suggest how I might go about teaching them to speak English? At present all I do is start a casual conversation about some previous day's activities. It's mostly me asking questions and they mumbling some broken English, which I then correct and get them to repeat. I would appreciate some advice and help.


25-Jun-2005, 09:55
You've been doing a great job! I encourage you to go on and add more communicative games. As an EFL teacher, I've tried hard to approach the same target as yours. Unfortunately, most of my students are not quite good at reading or writing at all,so I need to look for any possibility to invite any foreigners to my classes. They might be more active and entertaining to interact with such visitors.
Best wishes,

25-Jun-2005, 19:03
Give them some tasks. If they understand it, get them to listen or watch something and then report it back. If you can shift the focus to making them produce, then they'll improve. Try not correcting them, but making them reforumlate things and expertiment to get their message across. If you spoonfeed the answers, it may make them dependent on you. If they have to fall back on their own resources, however limited, they will have to start being more creative. Make them 'bring' \something new to class like a word or phrase that they have learned. They have to become active in their learning. ;-)

02-Jul-2005, 19:08
I experienced that my pupils can make sentences easier if I
first tell them that sentence in their own language and they
translate it. Otherwise, many of them are not able to do it on
their own.
Am I "spoon-feed" them. :?: What does this word mean?

03-Jul-2005, 10:57
spoon-feed = give them to much so they become dependent, rather than acquiring independent skills. There's nothing wrong with translation, though it has its limits. It also depends on the language they are translating into. However, while translation may help, it can be counterproductive in some ways, and may get them into the habit of thinking of a sentence, then translating it, which slows them down and also is not an especially good way of developing fluency or natural speech patterns. Nevertheless, it's a very useful tool for many, especially in the early stages of learning. ;-)

03-Jul-2005, 21:26
Thanks tdol,
your thoughts were right. I meant children aged between 10 to 14.

Probably I have the bad habit while I'm trying to make sentences orally-on my level I mean. Of course I can use a lot of grammar rules without thinking of them but many times I think about words, grammar therefore it worries me.
I'm not practised enough, aren't I?
Would you tell me some ideas to "acquiring independent skills" and "developing natural speech patterns" so that I could use them in my teaching , too.

04-Jul-2005, 05:11
Certainly, but could you give me a bit of background- where are these learners from and where are they living? Are they living in an English-speaking setting? If so, then it is important for them to use things that native speakers use. Many learners arrive in the US or UK and find that the language they learnt is very different from what they hear. Some teachers insist on full answers to questions and frown on monosyllabic yes/no answers, but thiws is what many of us use. Also, this doesn't enable them to learn the different ways we can say 'yes', so they might not understand a tentative 'yeees', or see the difference between a firm 'yes' and an ironic one. This is less important where they don't have daily contact with English, hence my questions. With taking responsibility for learning, it is a case of the old adage about teaching a person to fish rather than giving them food. It is worth spending time with them teaching them how to use a ditionary properly, so that they have the research skills to find things out themselves, and there are good dictionaries that could be used at that age, like Oxford Wordpower. It's also worth teaching them the questions they could ask to get help, so that they can ask for repetition, clarification, etc, confidently, rather than saying 'what mean xxx' and other such questions. ;-)

08-Jul-2005, 15:09
Hi tdol,
My pupils and I live in Hungary and I am a teacher in a primary school at a junior section in a small town. So, it isn't an English-speaking area at all.
First of all, I should use this language more confidently. I know this so I'm working hard to improve my English. Besides, I'm a correspondent student at a Teacher Training College of English.
I'd like my pupils to use English more independently, therefore I get them to work in pairs or small groups thus each of them will have more time to practice.
Do you have anything to add?
Alice :-)

13-Jul-2005, 01:01
I learned English as a teenager and am now teaching it to school aged children and adults. I think building vocabulary is essential when teaching English Language Learners conversational/essential English. Using "realia" (real objects things they can see or touch) when introducing new vocabulary is of great help, it gives them a very real reference point that does not require translation into their primary language, therefore a connection is created without relying on translation as a means of learning a new language. I also find that chants or songs are effective ways of teaching pronunciation or phrases that are part of everyday life. You can accompany this with actions/movement/pictures therefore increasing the number of connections the child(ren) makes and using as many learning modalities as possible. I know this has worked for me and my students so I hope it works for you and your students as well.

20-Mar-2008, 21:47
is this dead?

20-Mar-2008, 21:54

Beijing Fan'er
15-Jun-2008, 16:16
Hi, I'm an English teacher and recently I've been teaching students spoken english to pass the GESE test. The most frequently used way is firstly introduce a topic for the day, and then show the students some video clips about the topic and introduce some related knowledge and words might be used. Then it is the students' time. They have discussions in groups and share their ideas and whatever they want to say. Then as a guide, the teacher may ask them questions such as: what do you think of today's topic? what are your group members' opinions? Do you agree with them or not? Why? etc.

18-Jun-2008, 19:30
one of the easiest starts is to work with procedural language; as Carmelita mentioned 'building vocab is vital.
Choose a topic/theme: making something fun - food usually works as they get to it after it. They can then give each other instructions to make something and they are only allowed to follow what is said (this is great writing practice too). This is fun because kids usually leave out the knife so you can't cut and they have to find an alternative.
Work on the names of the food and untensils you will use and have a word wall where you will add these words to (later you will add the phrases that make instructions - get the....; cut the...pour the...).
You can play memory games to start and you can record their attempts at saying the words and then play it back to them. As you work with one on the words the other can record and listen and vice-versa....Then build on actions - pour, cut (using flashcards and actions together - play 'Simon Says....').

Keep up the great work. I have some simple flashcards, but I dont know how to send them to you.