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Federico Riva

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Productive and Receptive Skills - Speaking Activities

Productive and Receptive Skills - Speaking Activities | ITTT | TEFL Blog

In this blog post, we will consider three different categories of speaking activity. For each we look at where each individual type is used and then look at some general ideas for delivering any of the three types of activity.

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Speaking activities will come in many different forms but we can generalize them into three basic types.

  1. Controlled activities tend to be used in the study phase and here the teacher will be helping the students in terms of what they need to say and how they go about saying it. So there's a high level of structure within a controlled activity.

  2. A guided activity has slightly less structure than this and it can be used in either they study or the activate stages themselves.

  3. The final type of activity or class of activity is called creative activity and this one would be used in the activate phase. In a creative activity we're giving a scenario or a very small amount of structure and we're asking the students to actually create their own answers to this particular question.

What to check before doing a speaking activity.Regardless of whether your activity is controlled, guided or creative there are a number of things that you need to make sure are in place before you could expect the students to actually start them.

The first thing goes back to the reasons why we communicate in the first place. There is little point asking our students to create speech unless there is some need or desire to do that. So we have to make sure that we generate interest in this particular activity before we actually start.

The second thing is, do our students have the language knowledge that is necessary in order to be able to complete such a speaking activity? If they have a lack of grammar knowledge or a lack of vocabulary knowledge around this particular speaking activity it's going to be very difficult for them. Even if you think they have the knowledge, it is important to give them time to organize their thoughts before being asked to speak.

Finally when asking the students to create language in terms of a speaking activity it's always very useful to put them in pairs. By putting them in pairs you allow them to interact and therefore gain even more speaking practice, but also you reduce stress because all of the pressure to succeed is not concentrated on a single individual.

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