English course in academic and professional contexts. Face-to-face communication, public speaking and listening skills. Developing interview skills and giving speeches: impromptu, demonstration, informative and persuasion. Verbal vs non-verbal communication. PowerPoint presentations and outlines of speeches. LEARN MORE...
Academic speaking and listening. Face-to-face communication, public speaking, and demonstration speeches. Interviews, discussions, debates, and impromptu speeches. Preparation of speech outlines and PowerPoint presentations. Verbal and nonverbal communication. Free academic spoken communication materials. LEARN MORE...
How to Teach Speaking They spell it ‘Vinci’ and pronounce it 'Vinchy': foreigners always spell better than they pronounce. - Mark Twain Do you know that speaking English can increase a person’s salary up to 40%? The number is quite impressive but this is just general statistics. In some specific cases speaking English can increase a person's salary 80% and more. But even 40% is a good motivating number for those learners of English who care about their future. There are two basic types of speaking, face-to-face communication and public speaking. Students often ask their teachers which type of speaking is more difficult, face-to-face or public. On the one hand, face-to-face job interview can be more difficult than anything else in the world. On the other hand, speaking in front of a large audience - five hundred people or more - can also be difficult. Our answer is that both face-to-face and public speaking is difficult but they can be mastered. Let us look at each type of speaking and discuss the essentials of their teaching. 1. Face-to-Face Communication Is it not enjoyable to learn and practice what you learn? – Confucius We must admit the sad fact that in many schools face-to-face communication is not taught properly, if taught at all. A teacher stands in front of class and explains boring rules of grammar, and the students are waiting for the day when they will start speaking in English using correct grammar and syntax. Unfortunately, it never happens. Face-to-face communication teaching can be very effective if you organize the teaching process appropriately: 1. Consider TTT - Teacher Talking Time; a good ESL teacher will not deprive his/her students of the chance to practice speaking. 2. Select suitable partners according to their abilities to speak. 3. Choose suitable topics. Some students do not talk to each other not because they do not speak English; they would not know what to say even in their mother tongue! 4. If students are not willing 'to open their mouths' the teacher should prepare handouts with discussion questions; in this way students can communicate with each other by trying to give answers to these questions; if the questions are interesting they will start talking; if not - change the questions. 5. Never teach grammar when you teach speaking; grammar is only a teaching tool; students must practice speaking by speaking; they do not learn speaking skills - they acquire them (i.e. pick them up) in the process of speaking (you can read many books about swimming but you will never learn to swim, right?). 6. Encourage students to rehearse their conversations / topics outside the classroom (role play). 7. Case studies are very useful not only for face-to-face communication but also for public speaking: students discuss the topic and then give oral presentations in front of class. You will find a few useful cases studies samples here. Face-to-face conversation develops critical thinking skills and gives the students enough time to practice English even in large classes. A lot of useful classroom materials are available online: conversation questions, topics for discussion, newspapers, or even quotations by famous people. 2. Public Speaking They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. - Carl W. Buechner Public speaking is related to fear. Even some experienced professionals would rather die than speak in public. However, practice has shown that everybody can develop the skills of public speaking and achieve amazing results.
The following important aspects should be considered: 1. Students must collect information related to their public presentation topics and write outlines of their presentations; if it is their first time, the teacher should help them to do it; an outline of a presentation should contain basic points of the speech. 2. Students should learn to speak but not to read; while standing in front of an audience, they should be allowed to look at their outlines, from time to time but not read them; an outline helps a student “not to forget to mention the things which he knows well but can forget in front of a large audience”. 3. PowerPoint presentations should not be overloaded with information (and should not be copied-and-pasted texts from the Internet). 4. It is the teacher’s job to explain to the students how to organize a speech, how to overcome fear, how to use proper intonation, how to use and how not to use body language - gestures and mimics, how to use a microphone and how to answer difficult questions. There are many good quality books, CDs/DVDs and online tutorials which can help an ESL teacher to teach public speaking skills. Those ESL teachers who teach British English can use English Pronouncing Dictionary compiled by Daniel Jones.
A sample public speaking course outline is available here.
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Conversation Questions for ESL Classroom is a Project of The Internet TESL Journal. If you would like to suggest a topic, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Conversation Questions should not be copied and pasted online elsewhere. However, you may edit pages to be more appropriate for your own students. You can delete questions which you feel are inappropriate, localize the questions to your country and sort the questions into a sequence which you like. Conversation Questions are a large group of questions which you can use in your ESL conversation classes.
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