Why We Love Speaking Exercises (And You Should, Too!)

19 Apr 2015
by evan

Speaking is an important piece of second language acquisition but for many years teaching speaking has been time consuming and very difficult.  The goal of every student when taking a world language class is to one day be able to carry a conversation with a native speaker.  I’ve definitely dreamed of going to China and being able to freely conversate with anyone on the street.  So how can we help our students achieve this goal?  It’s important to teach speaking in a way that should not only improve student’s communication skills but also how they can learn to follow the social and cultural rules in each specific circumstance.  Many teachers have continued to try to teach speaking through repetition drills or dialogue memorization without realizing results.  So how do we achieve this?

When designing speaking exercises it’s important to make them authentic, varied and engaging.

1.  Make them authentic.


Speaking exercises should be as authentic as possible.  This can be achieved through using authentic content to when teaching. When learners are exposed to authentic content they feel they are learning the ‘real’ language.  Authentic content is a great way to expose students to culture while learning language!  Check out this blog post on why authentic content rocks!

2.  Make them varied.

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Repetition is very important when learning foreign languages.  Sometimes it can make sense to spend a few weeks on a particular concept, however this doesn’t mean there’s no room for creativity!  You can use many different activities for one concept, this helps keep your students fresh and excited to learn.  There’s so many great blogs and resources on the internet to help you get creative and find something that will fit your class.

3.  Make them engaging.


Speaking exercises have to be fun enough to make the students want to spend time engaging with them.  Engaging assignments helps keep motivation up in the classroom even when they are tackling difficult language concepts.  The excitement you have for introducing a new activity will be contagious and make your students more excited as well!  Make your speaking exercises exciting and have fun with them!

With these three concepts in mind, the goal should be to try to reduce your own speaking time in class while increasing student speaking time.  If you want more ideas on how to create fun speaking assignments for your students check out our post next week on great in-class and out-of-class speaking activities.





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