Marta Navarro, English teacher in ESO
One of the main goals of teaching English is to empower and enable students to communicate effectively and confidently. However, students usually find speaking more difficult than the acquisition of other skills such as listening, reading or even writing, and it is a greater challenge for them to hold a fluent conversation.
To try to overcome this, it is crucial to develop activities in class based on spontaneous and natural communication. We’ve been looking at ways to address this issue and trying different activities in different classes. In ESO3 we have been practising communicative skills through games and speaking activities about annoying habits and use of modals, trying to move away from memorised dialogues.
Feedback Mar Abil i Aina Llurba (3rB)
We love speakings! Preparing speaking tests is one of the things students usually look forward to. But…what happens if the teacher doesn’t give us much time to prepare? One of the tasks we did this year in class was about choosing two or three situations that we considered annoying. Then, we had to give our opinion about that topic and talk about it as fluently as we could. The point of this activity was to speak based on the knowledge of each person because there wasn’t enough time to prepare a text and even less to memorize it. Our teacher, Marta Navarro, gave us some minutes to prepare a quick and short draft of our arguments and practice, so the next class we would be able to do the speaking. Although it was a very unexpected and quick exercise, we learned a lot because of its effectiveness.
In our opinion, these kinds of activities are important and helpful to improve fluency in English, because whenever we prepare a traditional speaking test is always about memorizing, and although you get to improve your pronunciation it’s not always an efficient method to learn how to express yourself in English.
To memorize a text and represent it in front of your class it’s something most people can do, and that doesn’t really help you to communicate in English besides it’s usually not practical for real life. That’s why spontaneous speech has more to offer when it comes to learn how to speak the language in a more natural way than traditional speaking tests do.
We also like other activities to practise our speaking skills in a more spontaneous way, such as arranging ourselves in groups and just talk in English, with the help of board games like the one you can see in one of the videos.
In conclusion we would say that these types of exercises are the best way to practise our communicative skills because the students will be socializing and having fun at the same time they’ll be learning. Also, if the teacher wants to mark your performance and you don’t have much time, this activity is perfect because it’s super-quick. So, as students, we’re very thankful to be able to say that we have lived this experience.
Mobile phones…annoying!! & Let’s Modal.