The challenges of speaking in B1 classrooms.

Speaking is the active use of the English language to express not only meaning but also personal ideas and feelings. There is a big discrepancy between understanding the English language and being able to constructively use it. Students of B1 level have a relatively good understanding of the English language and should be given input to practise it.

Text by: Helen Dougekou

Oral language acquisition is no easy task. Although with the acquisition of new vocabulary oral expression becomes easier it does not necessarily lead to eloquence.  As teachers we should support such development by creating a safe and friendly class environment where students can express themselves freely without the fear of being criticized either for their English or for their opinions.  As teachers we should be supportive and not correct every mistake they make as they speak because this inhibits expression and creates fear.

Students should be given topics to analyse that are of high interest to them. Talking about hobbies or extra-curricular activities are easy topics to engage students orally but somewhat boring and repetitive. I have noticed that creating debate teams (Funny Debate Topics and Controversial Debate Topics) and acting out role plays or creating scenes (this Drama game is a favourite with students of all ages) are more effective since students have to improvise, get personally engaged and work in pairs or groups. Also, another idea is to ask students to make up a story and improvise on the spot. At BD Schools we use Three props on a box stories, One-minute stories, Carry-on-stories and The one-word-stories and we have observed that students participate actively and become confident communicators.



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