There aren’t six ways to get your students actively speaking, there are an infinite number or, maybe, just one way.
They have had lives as rich (or as poor) as your own. They have loved and lost, been angry and felt frustrated, laughed out loud, wept for days, hoped things would change, tried, failed and succeeded.
They eat food, enjoy or don’t enjoy their drink, think other people are better or greater than themselves. They have pontificated, theorized and hold strong opinions.
They all wish they spoke better English.
What to talk about in the ESL/EFL classroom boils down to six things, their:
- personal relationships– friends, family & enemies
- professional lives -work, colleagues, projects and responsibilities
- leisure time – their hobbies and interests
- casual experience of the world they live in – what they see or hear or read
- private stuff – their political, religious or personal belief systems
- dreams – their ambitions, hopes and expectations
Ask them about themselves and you will not be able to shut them up.
Karenne Sylvester is the author of SimplyConversationsTM, a speaking skills system designed to activate language learners’ fluency levels and she writes two blogs, one aimed at language teachers, Kalinago English, the other is aimed at English language students, How to Learn English.