It can be very challenging for some teachers to plan a speaking activity that is effective and motivating for their learners. That is because many teachers cannot see beyond the task. In other words, they may not know how to think about the outcome of the activity. In our TEFL program, we have helped hundreds of candidates plan an effective communicative tasks for their learners.
Why do we normally speak?
The answer to this question should help you think about your speaking activities more effectively. People don’t usually speak for no particular reason; we speak because we need to fill a gap in our existence knowledge. Some reasons for natural conversations are:
- Getting to know someone
- Asking for or giving advice
- Finding things in common with someone.
- Expressing opinion about a particular topic
Hence, when planning a speaking activity, we need to create a simulation of a real-life natural context; bearing in mind that we teach learners what they need to communicate effectively outside the learning environment; when learners see that the activity is something they may need in real life, they will definitely be more motivated to speak.
An example of a not very effective setting:
OK! So now, I know you guys LOVE speaking activities, so it’s time to speak
Here are some questions, I’d like to ask your partners these questions in 5 minutes. OK!
An example of an effective setting:
Ok! So we’re still talking about similar interests. I’d like you to work with a partner. You need to ask your partner 5 to 10 questions to find out things you have in common. OK!