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Speaking problem in EFL class

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  • gningsi
    6 July, 2007 at 8:42
    • Total posts: 2

    I teach english in a private course to adult learners. Our native language is Turkish. Majority of my students are graduated from secondary and high school. That means I face with several problems with grammar teaching because they do not have a power on their native language’s grammar. That makes it difficult for them to learn a new grammar. However I try to handle that problem with studying on a lot of grammar questions.
    The real problem occurs on when they want to or have to speak english. I really have a problem to teach them how to speak english. I tried asking questions, correction, teaching useful phrases, vocabulary. But it is useless. My class is on pre-intermediate level and they can not speak. I hit on a wall. I need urgent help and solution to make them speak in english.
    Thank you for your help.

    8 July, 2007 at 20:21
    • Total posts: 272

    Reply To: Speaking problem in EFL class

    Hi gningsi

    First of all, if your students won’t speak, it may be because

    – they have no reason to
    – they don’t know anything about the topic
    – they don’t know what to do
    – they haven’t got the language they need
    – the task was unmotivating

    So, bearing this in mind, we can look at some approaches to getting your students to speak:

    Firstly, choosing a task:

    Tasks you choose should have some kind of motivation for the students. This can be a personal motivation (something which is related to the students’ interests or lives), or motivation to complete the task itself through a sense of achievement (competitions, problem solving, information gaps, spot the difference, etc)

    Tasks need to have an achievable outcome for the students to see the point in doing them. They should also provide an opportunity to practise any language that you have introduced during the class, and they should take into account diferent personalities and learning styles – you may have students who are uncomfortable in a very talkative role, for example.

    Next, preparing your students for the activity:

    To talk about something, we need to know something about it! The less connected to your students’ interests and experience, the more interest-generating you will need to do for a task. Brainstorming ideas is one way to do this.

    Students also need the language necessary to perform the task – if they don’t, they will fail. So, if the aim of your speaking activity is for the students to use some language you have taught them, clarification of form and meaning, and some controlled practice using the language is often necessary.

    Give them time to prepare, and don’t necessarily insist on English as they prepare – the aim is to set up the speaking activity, and insisting on Engish can make their planning less efective, which means you may get less out of them in the actual activity.

    Give clear instructions, and then allow them to speak freely. Manage the activity, but don’t control language in a free speaking activity – this is for controlled speaking tasks.

    I hope this general overview helps to get you started – if you’d like more detailed help with anything I’ve mentioned, just post a reply.


    9 July, 2007 at 9:59
    • Total posts: 2

    Reply To: Speaking problem in EFL class

    Dear Keith,
    Thank you very much for your help. It is much more clear now how they feel when they are asked to speak. I will be careful about the topics you have mentioned.
    Best wishes,

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