How to Reinforce Speaking
I would be grateful for any hints or ideas on the following:
Given: a group of students trying to master speaking skills to pass CPE/IELTS (at least 7,5).
In general, the classroom activities are of two types: doing either exam tasks with strict timing or freer thematic discussion with long-run talks. Surprisingly enough (or, probably not surprisingly at all) Vocabulary appears to be the main stumbling block. While their passive knowledge is extensive and in 90% they easily pick up new words, the language they use in the final tasks does not seem to be improving that fast. Most of them complain that while speaking they cannot remember anything at all, as if spontaneously they could not use the new language at will. Even if that is only partly true, it is still very frustrating. Assuming, it takes a quite while to acquire a natural command of the language, what else can be done? Any particular types of activities/ course books/ whatever would be highly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
Re: How to Reinforce Speaking
Hi, hope I can help.
Learning vocabulary and knowing vocabulary are two different things. Seems as though your group are good at the learning side and that is a good start.
I would encourage them to use the macmillan dictionary (available on-line free or cheap download app). This dictionary has a system of red words and red stars. These indicate the most frequent 7,500 words and they are the important ones to learn and know. Focus on the red words, and lots of work in putting them into sentences, making lots of meaning using them.
Students can write them on little cards and shuffle through them a few times a day, until they really know them.
I'd also be tempted to make up some games with their words - a simple board game, when students land on the word they must put it into a sentence.