Have you ever wondered why students feel so frustrated to communicate and express their opinion in the foreign language they are learning? Do you feel that we as teachers find ourselves run out of ideas of how to motivate our students to talk? Bozica Saric-Cvjetkovic prepared a very interesting presentation which aimed at charging teachers with ideas and tips of how to get students to talk and she showed how to make students become involved in the speaking process by creating activities which can increase the use of spoken language in class.
It is a fact that ,although students perform well in tests, they lack confidence in using spoken language in class. According to Bozica Saric-Cvjetkovic, the reason why this is happening is first of all due to the fact that teachers have to follow a strict curriculum which does not allow them to save time for speaking activities and, second, because most times speaking tasks are usually the ones to be done just before the bell rings. Both reasons may explain why students feel so frustrated to express themselves orally.
Bozica suggests that the first thing to be done is to devote time in order to get prepared. If teachers increase preparation time, creativity and speaking productivity will be increased. Speaking activities should be based on topics that students would be motivated by. Also, it is important to create a secure and encouraging atmosphere in which learners would feel confident to talk. Avoiding topics that students cannot form an opinion on because of lack of information or vocabulary as well as avoidance of teacher correction and the lack of meaningful communication would enhance a positive result in speaking process.
Some of the activities that Bozica suggested in order to motivate students to talk are simple but effective:
- Use photos of city signs. Students could be asked to guess where the signs are from;
- Choose speaking activities based on grammar points students have been taught in class. For example, they can use modals of obligation in order to talk about things that they have to do at school;
- Guessing games, describing things in classroom or other classmates.
To conclude, Bozica points out that the less correction and the more the interaction and the confidence, the better the chance for students to perform in class. All they need is our encouragement and support.
By Efi Tzouri