…for your world languages classroom?
Managing a large number of students while creating effective speaking activities… that’s pretty challenging!
But know that you don’t have to spend too much time on it 😮
In this article you’ll find some useful strategies, such as:
- Applying thematic templates 📋
- 15 Speaking activities set-ups ⚙️
- Using powerful online tools 💻
Thematic Templates 📋
As a language teacher, you want to simplify the process of crafting speaking activities. Thematic templates might be a viable solution.
They are structured frameworks that can be reused across different lessons. In other words, they offer a consistent format while allowing room for customization.
Here’s how you can apply them:
- Develop a set of thematic templates for various speaking activities (role plays, debates, interviews or presentations). Each template should include sections like introduction, main content and conclusion.
- Choose specific vocabulary or content that can be tailored to the current lesson topic.
- Create templates suitable for different proficiency levels. For beginners, focus on basic questions and responses. Intermediate templates might involve expressing opinions or providing descriptions. Advanced ones could include debates or analyzing complex topics.
- Incorporate visual aids into your templates since they enhance engagement and comprehension. These could be images, diagrams, or prompts that stimulate discussion.
- Add cultural elements related to the target language. This not only enhances language learning but also broadens students’ cultural awareness.
- Embed sections within the template for immediate feedback and self-assessment. When students get the opportunity to reflect on their performance, it cultivates continuous improvement.
- Empower students to contribute to template creation. This ensures the activities resonate with their interests.
Now, here’s an example:
Thematic Template: Cultural Comparison Conversation
Objective: Get students to compare cultural aspects of 2 different countries.
Template Structure: Introduction – Main Content – Conclusion
Greet your partner.
Mention the 2 countries you’ll be discussing.
Main Content (Cultural aspects – Similarities and differences – Opinions)
1. Cultural Aspects:
Each student discusses one cultural aspect of their assigned country (e.g., food, festivals, traditions).
Use vocabulary related to the cultural aspect.
2. Similarities and Differences:
Compare and contrast the cultural aspects of both countries.
Use phrases like “In [Country A], they [cultural aspect], while in [Country B], they [cultural aspect].”
Share personal opinions on which cultural aspect you find more interesting or appealing.
Use phrases like “I think [Country A]’s [cultural aspect] is more [adjective] because…”
Summarize the main similarities and differences discussed.
Thank your partner for the conversation.
Get students in pairs. Provide each pair with the thematic template for the “Cultural Comparison Conversation.”
Assign one student to discuss a cultural aspect of Country A, and the other student to discuss a cultural aspect of Country B.
For instance, Student A discusses traditional festivals in Country A. Student B talks about traditional music in Country B.
They engage in a conversation comparing the festivals and music of both countries. Students express their opinions on which aspect they find more appealing.
Finally, they wrap up the conversation by summarizing their findings.
Thanks to following the thematic template, students have a clear structure to guide their conversation.
It ensures that they cover the necessary components, including cultural details, similarities, differences, and personal opinions.
This simplifies the process of crafting activities for you and offers a consistent structure for students to practice their speaking skills.
15 Speaking Activities Set-ups ⚙️
In accordance with the above, here are 15 efficient ideas for creating speaking activities in no-time:
- Picture Prompts: Use images related to the lesson’s theme as conversation starters. Students describe what they see, infer details, or narrate a story based on the image.
- Speed Dating Conversations: Get students in pairs. Give a fixed time (e.g., 2-3 minutes) for them to have a conversation. Afterward, they switch partners. This encourages quick, spontaneous speaking.
- Role Plays with Templates: Develop role-play templates with various scenarios. Students can pick a role card and use the template to structure their conversation.
- Debate Duos: Students get in pairs, each with an assigned stance on a given topic. They engage in a short debate. Encourage them to articulate arguments in a clear and persuasive way.
- Interview Bingo: Create bingo cards with questions in each square. Students move around the room, asking classmates questions and marking the answers. The goal is to get a row or column filled.
- Narrative Collaborations: Have students collaborate in groups to create a story. Each student adds a sentence or two, contributing to the narrative.
- Two-Minute Expert Talks: Assign each student a brief topic to research. They then present the information in a two-minute speech to their peers.
- Real-World Scenarios: Present real-life situations like: ordering food in a restaurant, asking for directions… Students practice these scenarios in pairs or small groups.
- News Summaries: Have students read a short news article related to the lesson’s theme. They summarize the article and share their opinions in small groups.
- Movie Dialogue Imitation: Use clips from movies or TV shows in the target language. Students imitate the dialogues, focusing on pronunciation and expression.
- Themed Story Starters: Provide the beginning of a story related to the lesson. Students continue the story in pairs, incorporating vocabulary and concepts from the lesson.
- Problem-Solution Dialogues: Give students a common problem to discuss in pairs. They need to come up with creative solutions while practicing relevant vocabulary.
- Story Retelling: Students listen to a short story or watch a video clip. They then retell the story in their own words to a partner.
- Mystery Objects: Bring in an object related to the lesson’s theme. Students take turns describing it to their partners, who guess what it is.
- Cultural Comparisons: Assign students different aspects of the target culture to research. They then discuss the differences and similarities in small groups.
3 minutes – Average time to create Speaking activities on Speakable
The Lightning Builder is a powerful tool that was designed to help language teachers create Speaking assignments in less than 3 minutes!
Let’s take a look at how it works:
Here are some examples to inspire you:
Spanish: ¿Qué planes tienes este fin de semana? – Beginner level
French: Les Sports – Intermediate level
English: May I…? (ESOL) – Advanced level
Looking for getting your students to speak in the target language?
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