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  1. #1
    mira adya is offline Newbie
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    Default how to get students speak english

    I'm an english teacher for elementary school in Jakarta, Indonesia. My students are reluctant to speak in English, even for simple things like going to the bathroom etc. They seem shy and afraid to make mistakes, although I never use a negative comment on them. Could someone give me suggestions on how to solve this? Thank you.

  2. #2
    MartinEnglish is offline Member
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    Default Re: how to get students speak english

    In the past I've introduced an "L1 Box" - a money box into which a student has to pay a very small amount of money (in the UK it was 20p) every time you hear them speak in anything other than English. If properly enforced it will quickly break the habit of not speaking English. At the end of the course/term spend the money in the box to buy a big cake or chocolates or whatever for the class.

  3. #3
    Char at EarlyYearsEnglish is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: how to get students speak english

    It sounds like they are very shy and afraid of making mistakes, even though you've made an effort to make them feel comfortable. Some students just need a bit more encouragement. Do you speak their language? I have found that setting aside 5 minutes at the end of class for them to teach you words in their L1, and for you to practice simple phrases in their L1 helps them to see that you know what it's like to be a language learner too. You could have an agreement with your students - I'll learn 5 words of your language if you learn 5 words of mine.

    The other thing I would recommend is to give them lots of support. Try choral reading - everyone reading the same thing at the same time. Repeat each reading several times to give them a chance to get used to it. You could also give them sentence frames. So, give them the whole sentence with one word missing and have them verbally fill in the missing word for you. E.g 'Today is (monday)'. Repetition will help them build up their confidence. Having everyone say the answer at once will also help. Another suggestion is to give them lots of opportunities to rehearse what they are going to say before they have to say it. So for example, if you are asking them to talk about their families, you could give them the vocabulary they will need (brother, sister, mother, father etc). Have them chorally practice saying those words. Then give them a sentence frame, eg 'I have two ______s'. Practice saying a sentence together a few times. Then have them work in partners to practice the sentence frames with each other, adding their own words ('I have a mother', 'I have two brothers', 'I have one sister' etc). Then have them say their sentence aloud to the class.
    Lastly, you might want to give them some positive reinforcement - points or tokens for effort in English.
    -Charlotte

  4. #4
    EastBayESL is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: how to get students speak english

    I use choral reading a lot. I also use physical games to get people started. One student will give another directions around the room or we will play question toss (where students ask a simple question "what's your name?", "what's your favorite color?" of someone by throwing them a ball). We sometimes play a modified version of musical chairs where everyone is sitting save one student who is in the center and has to speak while the others listen. If they agree with what the person in the center says, they stand up and find a new seat. The last one standing then has to speak and so on. I find the physical activity lets students be a little silly and forget about their nerves.

    Hope this helps!

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