ESL Speaking Tests: 3 Options | English Speaking Tests

ESL-speaking-test

There are various ways for language teachers to do an ESL speaking test, all of which have their positives and negatives. I will give only the most basic of overviews of three different speaking test methods for English as a Second Language students. If you want to dive deeper into the topic, I recommend this book: Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices (2nd Edition). ESL Speaking Test #1: 1-1 Interview with the Teacher The 1-1 interview with the teacher method is generally thought to have the highest validity, since weaker students cannot affect the stronger students in any way. However,…

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How to Teach English Conversation | Teaching English Speaking

English-conversation

How to Teach English Conversation Many foreign ESL teachers abroad, especially in places like South Korea, teach predominantly English conversation classes. Some teachers (and students too!) have the perception that teaching English conversation involves just “talking” to the students. Free-talking does have a role in helping students learn English. However, it shouldn’t be the only thing we do in our English conversation classes. Teaching English Conversation: More than just Free-Talking There is far more to English conversation than just free-talking. In my first year of teaching, I was given a “free-talking” class with middle school students. My boss told me to…

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5 Lesson Plans for Advanced ESL Conversation Classes

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An advanced ESL conversation class can be a bit tricky to teach because it’s sometimes hard to see any improvement in your students. But, I’ve found that it can be really useful if you use authentic material and challenge your students that way instead of just relying on ESL textbooks, which are often too easy and often quite boring. Here are five lesson plans that I’ve used in my own advanced level English conversation classes: Lesson Plans for Students in any Country Technology and Sleep This is a good one for the cellphone zombies in your class. Wake them up…

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English Conversation Teaching Tip | How to Teach ESL Conversation

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Many native English speakers when they go somewhere like China or South Korea teach “English Conversation.” Many people teach it poorly. Few do it well. Tip: It’s more than just talking to your students! Check out my #1 tip for doing English conversation a bit better. #1 Tip for Teaching English Conversation For those who teach English conversation classes, here is my #1 tip to do it well. Conversation is a two-way street and in order to be good at it our students need to know how to ask questions. Conversation is not simply asking and answering something like: A:…

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Picture Prompt | ESL Warm-Up For Kids and Adults

Picture prompt ESL warm-up

ESL Warm-Up Activity: Picture Prompt Picture prompt is a great ESL warm-up for kids as well as adults. It can be used for all levels from beginner to advanced. Show students an image and have them generate questions or speculate about the picture. Example for Lower-Level Students For lower level students, this can be purely descriptive: Q: What do you see?    A: I see a house, a car, and some people. Q: What colour is the car?    A: It is blue. Example for Intermediate Level Students For high beginner/low intermediate students, have an image which can generate questions…

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Tell your Story | ESL Speaking Activity to Practice Reported Speech

reported-speech-esl-speaking-activity

You can often find a unit on reported speech in most intermediate level English textbooks. But, it’s not that easy to design some ESL activities to practice this. Check out one of my favourite: “Tell a Story.” It’s fun, engaging, and creates some great opportunities for students to practice this important skill. Reported Speech ESL Speaking Activity Skills: Writing/reading/speaking/listening Time: 15-30 minutes Level: Intermediate to Advanced Materials Required: Nothing Have students write something interesting. Some examples are: most embarrassing moment, scariest thing you’ve ever done, your dream for the future, etc. Base it on whatever you are studying in class.…

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Do You Like to _____? | ESL Speaking Activity

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Do you like to ___? ESL Speaking Activity Skills: Speaking/listening Time: 15 minutes Level: Beginner-Intermediate Materials Required: Strips of paper (or students can make their own) Give each student five strips of paper. On each piece of paper they write something interesting about themselves. Then, collect them, mix them up and distribute them back to your students (three per student). At this point, everyone stands up and goes around the class asking questions to try to find the owner for each paper that they have. If someone is done early, you can give them another paper from the reserve pile…

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Just a Minute Game | ESL Speaking Activity

just a minute

The Just A Minute Game is a fun “Toastmasters” kind of ESL speaking activity. I like it because it gets students working on speaking fluently, without worrying too much about accuracy. To start, write up a bunch of topics on the board such as animals, family, jobs, hobbies, schedule, societal problems, TV, etc. The topics of course depend on the age and level of students. Just a Minute: Student #1 The first student throws a scrunched up paper ball at the board. The topic closest to where the paper hits must talk for an entire minute about it. The challenge…

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Problem/Advice Reported Speech Activity

reported speech

You’ll often find reported speech in some of the higher level ESL/EFL textbooks, but it’s not easy to design an interesting, engaging activity to use with it. Check out what I do related to giving advice. Problem/Advice Reported Speech Activity If you have high level students, an excellent activity that you can use for reported speech is problem and advice. They just naturally fit well together. Show the students a problem that you found online or made up. Here’s mine about a high-school student dating a college guy. Note the reported speech examples that are underlined. I wrote it myself…

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Discussion Starters for Children | ESL Conversation Topics for Kids

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It’s common that native speaker English teacher have to teach “conversation classes.” This is not always easy to do with lower level students, especially kids who might be a little bit shy. I like to start off my classes with one of these interesting discussion starters for kids. Or, you can keep a few in your back pocket for those few minutes at the end of class when you’re done your lesoson. The Best Discussion Starters If you want some conversation starters for children, you’re in the right place. Use a favourite discussion starter to start your classes off in…

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ESL Speaking Activity for Adults: Something in Common

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ESL Speaking Activity for Adults: Find Something in Common If your students are not shy, this ESL speaking activity for adults is an excellent way for everyone to get to know each other. Here’s how you do it: The students stand up with a piece of paper and pencil in their hand. They have to talk to everyone in the class to try to find something in common (they are both from Seoul, or they both know how to play the piano). Once they find this thing in common, they write it down along with the person’s name. They keep…

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Introduction Survey ESL Speaking Activity | ESL Surveys

introduction

ESL Speaking Activity for the First Day of Class This is an excellent ESL Speaking Activity to do on the first or second day of class as a way for students to get to know each other. Here are a few of the reasons why I like to do an introduction survey with my ESL/EFL students: It breaks the ice between students if they don’t already know each other It sets the tone for the rest of the semester (students have to get up, out of their seats and talking in English to everybody) This ESL survey is a non-threatening…

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Vocabulary Review Game for Kids and Adults | ESL Vocabulary Game

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Flip Chart ESL Vocabulary Review Game Skills: Speaking/listening Time: 20 minutes Level: Beginner to Advanced Materials Required: Flip-chart or flashcards This is a fun way to review some vocabulary words. It can work for any level of student, but it’s ideal for beginners to intermediate when the vocab words are quite simple. I’ve used this activity for small classes of 10, or big classes of 20. It works equally well for all, but the ideal number of people on a team is around 5-6. More than that and not everyone is able to participate. The “captain” sits in a chair…

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ESL Speaking Warm up Activity | Famous People at a Party

Michael Jackson

An ESL Warm-Up: Famous People at a Party Skills: Speaking/listening Time: 5-15 minutes Level: Intermediate to Advanced Materials Required: Nothing This is an excellent ESL speaking warm up activity for higher levels. Put the students in small groups of 3-4 people. Have them pick four famous people, dead or alive that they’d like to invite to a party they are having. Then, they have to say the reason why they’re inviting them. I do an example like this: Person: Michael Jackson Reason? He can play some dance music and entertain us. Also, I want to know why he got so…

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