I have read many posts here about the frustration teachers have getting students to speak English. I have been frustrated, as well. I am trying something pretty basic and am wondering if anyone else has done this and what success you have had. Simply, I have a notepad that I carry with me everywhere. If a student speaks to me in something more than just a Hello or How are you, I will write their student number and class down and tell them I will give them credit for the day. I also told my classes that 70% of their grade will be based on their talking to me.
For some classes and students, I am pretty lenient as they have very poor English skills. The more advanced students I challenge them with more questions before I write down their number.
I have only done this for a couple of weeks and the students seem to enjoy it. I do plan to increase the challenge over time, but do you think this will be an effective approach to getting them to speak more?
I think this is a great idea--if you can incentivize them to use the language outside of the classroom, they will do it--and their language ability will improve.
Why not something simple like give them a piece of candy if they speak English to you outside of class?
Thanks, thinkingofachange. I have thought about giving candy and such but I am never sure what they would want. I also prefer to keep it simple. It would make me feel like I am training a pet and that seems disrespectful to me.
Just before I wrote this, four girls from one of my more challenging classes came in to talk to me. These are some of my kids who have been giving me nothing but smiles in class, never answering anything. We sat and talked about their tests next week and where they plan to go on vacation. It was fantastic to realize they could give me intelligent responses.
give them a speaking test. Take 3 or 4 out in the hall at a time and ask them questions directly. a few minutes for each group
It would work okay so long as you don't have very many students. I don't know how it would work with 23 separate classes of 50+ though.
Sometimes I think it would be easier to pull the teeth of a rabid tiger than to get these kids to speak English.
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^ Sorry, I was referring to the OP. I know your system works. With numbers like that it's probably the best option.
I have 14 classes of 50+ so over 700 kids. I am thinking I will only have about 200 of them take advantage, at least at the beginning. I will see how it works through the next semester.
And thanks, Fred. Glad to know I might make some inroads.
Any opportunity to speak is always good. Try to find a local volunteer organisation who can get you native speakers for a day for you kids to practise further.
There's some good points here about encouraging speaking. In too many schools here there are no consequences or rewards for opening your mouth and speaking. therefore students get lazy. If all English exams were 50% speaking you would see at least some use their English. All written exams give students the maximum opportunity to cheat and hide their real knowledge.