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Motivating learners to speak

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2.1
We have to empathise with the students. We have to make the situation as authentic as possible. And we have to really respect the students’ ability to speak. In fact, we need empathy, authenticity, and respect. We need a good ear.
23.2
Good morning, class. Supote establishes a friendly learning environment early in the year. Good morning. Good morning. How are you today? [INTERPOSING VOICES]
35.7
To motivate the student to talk at the beginning of the semester we found it a bit difficult because the student and the teacher are still not being friendly. So we have to try to be friends with them and make them feel comfortable in the classroom. Shorts. It’s– Shorts. Shorts. Empathising with the students is important to develop a rapport, a trust. The students must trust you. You must trust the students and you have better chance of a successful fluency practice. [INAUDIBLE]
76.1
It’s a jacket. Focus on the content words only. But you have to say the full sentence. OK. Ready? Montakarn is a secondary school teacher and wants to encourage her students to speak more. They’re still too shy to speak sometimes. And it seems like the accuracy is more important for them, not the fluency. You have to present to me you your quotes, your saying. One by one in front of the class. You need to reassure your students that making mistakes is OK. Quite often they’re doing something which is personally quite challenging. So praise them for their efforts, encourage them. If a smile will help, smile.
127.6
What are these? These are calculators. Look at me. Calculators. Eye contact is extremely important. The first thing you do when you begin to communicate with anybody is you look at them. So in the classroom remember establish good eye contact with your class. Ask them to look at you. Stand where they can all see you. Place your vision about halfway down the class. And by doing this you can reach everybody. Wow. It’s expensive. It’s expensive.
167.2
Oh.
170.6
Her birthday. She looks old. She looks old? It’s extremely important for the teacher to be genuine with the students. The student gives a good answer and the teacher says, “good,” “fantastic.” Mean it. Don’t do two things at the same time. Don’t say, “yes yes, very good, very good” while you’re doing something else. Because it’s obvious that you’re not listening and this is lacking authenticity.
199.7
Very good one. OK. [INAUDIBLE]
210.7
Respect your students. Allow them to express themselves. Think about whether they could actually contribute more to maybe hand out things or move so they feel more involved in this. I asked you to bring some clothes with you. Can you put it on here? Yes. [INAUDIBLE] The more you involve your students, the more motivated they’ll be. And this will have a positive effect on their speaking and their fluency. Today, I’m wearing a blue shirt, black jeans, and a white sock. Thank you. We just try to encourage them to motivate them to speak and make them interested and participate in talking. A hand to all of these [INAUDIBLE]. Thank you. Now you can go back to your seats.

Watch clips of classroom speaking activities and teachers talking about how they get their learners speaking.

Teacher trainer John Kay provides a commentary in this video, which shows teachers from South East Asia doing motivating speaking activities with their learners. Before you watch the video, download the video viewing task sheet in the Downloads section below.

As you watch, think about these questions:

  • What techniques do the teachers use to motivate learners how to speak?

  • Most of the learners in this video are primary, do you think there are different ways to motivate older/younger learners?

Want to know more?

Download the procedures for two of the activities from the video to try them out with your own learners.

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