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Developing speaking skills outside a lesson

Digital tools for speaking.
© UCLES 2019

Speaking practice is no longer something that can only be done in a lesson. There are many digital tools that allow learners to communicate outside the classroom and complete speaking tasks, both synchronously and asynchronously. Let’s look at some of those tools and consider how they can benefit learners.


Below are links to three digital tools followed by three descriptions of the tools. Match the tools (1–3) to the descriptions (A–C). Click on the links to visit the sites.

  1. Voki
  2. Flipgrid
  3. Voice Spice
A. Students record themselves talking about an enjoyable trip away to practise using the past simple. They share a link to their recording via their class online chat group and listen to each other’s. In the next lesson, they vote for the most enjoyable trip and the teacher gives overall feedback.
B. The teacher creates an avatar and adds their voice, introducing themselves to a new student (a young learner). The student creates their own avatar and introduces themselves to the teacher.
C. The teacher records a video, asking all of their students at an intermediate level to talk about a film they’ve enjoyed watching recently. The students then record their own videos, completing the speaking task. Despite the fact that each student has one-to-one lessons with the teacher, the students watch the other videos and then tell the teacher which film they heard about that they’d like to see and why. The teacher provides overall feedback on the students’ performance.

Check your answers.

Note that for each of these activities, the learners (or their parents) will need clear instructions on how to use the tool. This might mean demonstrating this in a lesson and/or giving written instructions. There are also video tutorials available on websites such as YouTube for these kinds of websites. Older learners could watch these tutorials in English to help them with their listening skills.

Reflect and share

Go to Padlet 1 and record a short message telling other participants which of the above tools you’d like to research further and why. Then, listen to two other recordings.

If you need help using Padlet, click here. (Don’t upload copyrighted or trademarked images, video or other content which you aren’t authorised to use.)

© UCLES 2019
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Teaching English Online

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