Teaching speaking strategies for initiating productive interactions and providing speaking opportunities (young learners)

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Teaching speaking: strategies for initiating productive interactions and providing speaking opportunities

Kateryna ProtsenkoInternational House Kyiv

Internal Presentation.September 2014

Greet teachers.Introduce the topic.Highlight the fact that the age group for this presentation is 11-16.

Time 45 (if 15 teachers) 60 min.


Pull up the slide.What do you think the mom is saying? - elicit ideas from teachers.Provide You shouldn't have done it.Drill (backchain) the sentence chorally.- done it- have done it- shouldn't have done it- you shouldn't have done itAsk individual teachers, correct where necessary.

Elicit the type of the activity (drill) and record it on the board.

What did you do yesterday?

Talk to your partner and find three things you have in common

Put teachers into pairs.Give instructions: ask the teachers to talk to their partner and find three things they have in common. Give them the task to talk about what they did yesterday. ICQ if necessary.

Elicit answers from pairs.

Elicit what type of activity it is speaking.


SPEAKING AS A SKILLSs use any language at their command.

There is a clear, communicative purpose, i.e. Ss have a real need to convey their message.

Speech is often characterised by pauses, hesitation, paraphrase, fillers (erm, uh).

Activities must be motivating and interesting in order to promote S speech.

SPEAKING AS LANGUAGE PRACTICESs use the target language the T has in mind (e.g. past simple, a specific lexical set, i.e. adverbs of frequency).

There may or may not be a communicative purpose, e.g. drills dont have any real message.

Ss receive more language support, e.g. prompts and this reduces the amount of uncertainty.

Activities may or may not be of personal interest to Ss.

Ask teachers if both activities were speaking (yes because they were opening their mouths and producing sounds, words, sentences).

Ask teachers to work in the same groups and talk about the following:What is the difference between the two speaking activities?

Elicit a few ideas and pull up the slide with the notes. Ask if teachers have questions and respond to those.

Potential problem 1: the task 'talk about yesterday' may be considered as language practice because it imoses the use of past simple. The point here is that students may use any language at their disposal (simple, continuous, perfect etc.) and the task is to find something in common, so it is a more complex set of language items to use.

Potential problem 2: Speaking as a skill vs. Function (agree with your partner) the skill of agreeing is more than just saying 'so did I', so this activity may be used as language practice (as part of PPP) as well as skills (as part of TBL).


SPOKEN INTERACTIONcasual conversation

informal discussion

formal discussion

SPOKEN PRODUCTIONgiving a presentation

Pull up the slide and draw teachers' attention to the classification of interaction vs. Production, say that this list is not exhaustive and elicit more ideas, record them on the board.

Hoghlight that the topic for today is both speaking as a skill and language practice, as well as both interaction and production.


- Students aren't interested in listening to their partners;- Students lack ideas;- Students get distracted by their mobile phones, tablets etc.

- Students are unwilling to produce full sentences;- Students don't want to make mistakes and are reluctant to speak;- Students switch to L1;

- Students are too shy to speak out;

TOPICTOOLSTASKWhole class:Elicit potential problems with speaking. Pull up the slide and say that all these problems may be divided into three categories based on the reasons. Tell teachers you are going to show them a few questions to ask yourself when setting up an activity. Let them quietly read the following four slides.


Is it something that everybody in the class can relate to, to some extent? Things like politics or music, while often successful, can isolate the less interested or knowledgeable..


How would you feel talking about the same thing in front of other people? Maybe a shy student would be more comfortable with a light-hearted discussion on national stereotypes or differences between generations than one on the death penalty or abortion laws.


Are the students capable of dealing with the subject on a meaningful level, or is their English too much of a handicap?

Preparation time!


Is it something they might have done much before? For example, something like the 'agree on your plans for the weekend' can generate substantial production, but tasks like 'convince your partner' will be of very limited use.


Speaking as a skill

Agree with your partner

What do you remember about your partner?

Find something in common / different

Debates (roles assigned)

Speaking as language practiceInformation gap

Drill emotions

Elicit several task types from the teachers, pull up the slide and ask them to add their own ideas.

swimskiplay the guitarspeak Spanish



*** can ___ vey well** can ___ quite well* can ___ a bitx can't ___ at all


Revise the following vocabuary (miming) swim, ski, play the guitar, speak Spanish)Revise Can you ?, drill it.Elicit How well and elicit possible answers, record them on the board (see the bottom of the slide).

Nominate teachers apple / banana. Ask apples to make a line facing the board. Tell them they are statues in the museum, they are very unusual and cn speak, but cannot move. Tell them to pretend they are holding something which is their secret (demonstrate). Tell bananas that they are visitors and tell them to find a statue they would like to interview.

Tell students that there are nightguards the museum, Jack and Jill, and both statues and visitors know SOME information about them, but they would like to find out more because they need to choose one person to write about him / her on the museum website.

Show the HO and model 'can Jack...? How well' with one of the students. Tell Ss to work.

When they finish, ask them to work with their partner and decide who they would like to write about. Elicit ideas. Tell students to sit down with their partner and write a short text for the museum website about the person they chose.

For feedback, ask teachers if task, topic and tools had been introduced / seletced well. Ask for feedback.

Ask teachers how to adapt this activity to dofferent levels / age groups.

swimskiplay the guitarspeak Spanish



*** can ___ vey well** can ___ quite well* can ___ a bitx can't ___ at all


- travels by bus every day of the week __________- is going out tonight__________- gets up earlier than you on weekdays__________- uses the computer more than you__________- send more than five text messages every day__________

Tell students they are going to do a quiz.

Put the following on the board: 'find someone who travels by bus every day'. Ask them what they are going to do to complete this task (ask the people in the group 'do you travel by bus every day?'

Give instructions: look at the list of tasks and decide what questions you are going to ask, you may make notes. Give two minutes and ask teachers to work in pairs.

Elicit questions. Drw teachers' attention to questions for 'FSW gets up earlier than you' and elicit ' what time do you get up?' and to compare that with their own time. Do the same for 'uses the computer more than you'.

Demonstrate with on of the teachers: ask him / her the questions and write their name next to the questions they answer 'yes'. Elicit from the teachers that you don't have to ask these questions any more because you have the answers.

Instruct half of the teachers As and tell them to stand in different corners of the room. Tell the other half (Bs) to find a partners. Tell them to talk to each other and, when they finis, tell Bs to rotate.

Elicit feedback, run language feedback.

Elicit if this was a successful activity and how teachers can adapt it to different ages / levels.


Give teachers some time to ask you questions.