Student Talk Time

Elizabeth Benson, India, 2008

Increasing student talk time is a very valuable thing to do in a second language classroom.

Here are a few ways of helping to make that happen.

  • Ensure that all students have the relevant vocabulary for the lesson. In this example we had been looking at places in town: bank, hotel, museum, library, police station, stadium, etc.
  • Write down the structure that you want to work on today.¬†“Yesterday I went to the bank. Where did you go yesterday?”
  • Get the students to repeat it after you in a chorus. You may need to break it down depending on the ability of the students.
  • Ask individual students and get them to respond (prompt them if you need to).
  • Get a student to ask another student.
  • Now divide the class into pairs. Label one person as person 1 and the other is person 2. Person 1 starts. Person 2 responds.
  • Demonstrate with one or two pairs.
  • Tell the students to ask and reply and then to find another person to ask.
  • You can then wander round the class to try to listen out for those who need help or encouragement.

By then end, all the students should have had a lot of practice using the structure and will have done a lot of talking during your lesson.


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