Michael Brand

Really Getting Your Students Speaking

In research into teachers’ needs, ‘getting my students to speak’ typically comes in the top three positions. This session will look at general principles to follow for effective speaking lessons. We’ll examine why some students are reticent to speak and look at remedying that with speaking goals, getting them listening to one another, effective feedback and speaking games.


"Why aren’t students speaking?

Don’t know the words for what they want to say

Don’t have any ideas

Are shy / lack confidence

They don’t want to make a mistake / can’t see themselves improving

Don’t have enough time to plan what they want to say

Don’t understand the task

Can’t see the point of the task

No reason to listen to partner – not proper interaction

Why are we doing this?

How establishing clear speaking goals can help give meaning to a lesson

Example lesson based on GSE speaking goal ‘Can make and accept a simple apology’ (A2) – includes * apologies across cultures *vocab/language exercises *models *pronunciation exercises *role play

Getting them listening to one another

Ways to work with questions (follow-up questions, listening tasks, making notes, guessing the question, assessing your partner)

Debates – rephrasing your opponents arguments before proceeding

Recording students

Why recording makes sense – have a record, reason to repeat tasks, notice mistakes and improve, proof of progress, speaking outside of class, Ss make an effort

How to use recording with our students *recording speaking task at start and end of lesson *recording speaking task, transcribing, correcting *recording a presentation for how *students listening to teacher recordings


Ways of giving effective feedback to speaking

-Desk notes

-Error checklists

-Responding to content

- Memorable correction

Speaking games

Trying out four games to get our students speaking (keep talking, cross the board, truths and lies, word sneak)


Michael Brand is a Teacher Trainer for Pearson. Having taught in England and Spain, he has experience in the public, private and state-assisted sectors and has taught young learners, teens and adults. He now spends his time training teachers on all things ELT and his interests include collaborative learning and the creative use of video.