All of our students want to speak more fluently in English! It can be difficult to help your students with this though because most of the activities you’ll find in textbooks focus more on accuracy. However, teaching English speaking fluency can often be quite a difficult task.
Teachers are more comfortable fixing accuracy mistakes as well. After all, it’s easier to pick out wrong grammar or vocabulary choices than telling a student to just “talk faster!”
Here’s one ESL speaking fluency activity that you can try out in your classes. It’ll help get your students speaking more quickly but with a bit of the familiar. They’ll be speaking more quickly, using a topic they’ve already spoken about. Here’s how it works.
ESL Speaking Fluency Activity Activity: 120-90-60
If you want to help your students speak more quickly and fluently, this is the perfect ESL speaking fluency activity for you. It’s more of an activity for intermediate to advanced students because beginners will find it a struggle to speak in English for a full two minutes without stopping. They also are at the stage of focusing on saying anything, as opposed to saying it quickly!
Students have to talk about a topic for 120 seconds. The next time, they have to include all the same information but cover it in 90 seconds. The third time, the same information but in 60 seconds. It’s challenging but also really fun! It’s amazing to see who can actually do it.
Here’s How to Set Up 120-90-60
Give your students a topic that they know a lot about. For example good or bad points about their school, university, or hometown. I often give 1/2 the students one topic and the other 1/2 another just to make it a bit more interesting to listen to.
Give your students 1-5 minutes to prepare, depending on their level. Advanced students will need less time than intermediate ones. For the best students, I’ll get them to just think “in their heads” and write nothing down on paper. This makes it a bit more challenging for them.
Emphasize that your students should just write one-two words for each point, and not full sentences because it is actually a speaking activity and not a writing one. The most important point is to NOT write full sentences.
I’ll often show an example of what I expect to my students. I’ll always remind my students to use things like contractions when trying to speaking quickly.
Hometown: Good & Bad Points:
- Good (parks, restaurants, my family)
- Bad (traffic, no university, pollution)
This is the outline from which they’ll talk for 120 seconds, then 90, then 60.
The Talking Part of 120-90-60
Then, with a partner, the first student has to give their speech and talk continuously for 120 seconds while their partner listens. I use an online stopwatch so that the students can see the countdown. Then, I give the students another 2 more minutes and they switch roles.
After that, the students have to find a new partner and the activity repeats, except they have to include ALL the same information as before, just in 90 seconds. Then, switch again, and 60 more seconds. For lower level students, you can adjust the times to make them shorter.
An Optional Add-On for this Speaking Fluency Activity
To make this ESL speaking fluency activity a bit more interactive, you can require that the listener ask 2-3 questions after listening. This gives the students a reason to listen, which is always a good thing!
Need More ESL Speaking Fluency Activities?
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 96 Pages - 06/04/2015 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent...
If you liked 120-90-60, then you’re probably going to love this book: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities for Teenagers and Adults. It’ll make your lesson planning easier, guaranteed.
Many of the activities focus on speaking fluency, while others focus on accuracy. There is a nice mix and your students will love the variety in your English-speaking lessons. The detailed instructions will show you exactly how to implement the activities easily into your classes.
If you’re really busy, or just out of fresh ideas, then you’ll need to check out the book for yourself on Amazon. It’s available in digital and print formats. The (very cheap!) digital copy can be read on any device by downloading the free Kindle reading app.
Get it today:
Is there an Audio Version?
If you prefer to listen to your books, then I have some good news for you. You can find 39 ESL activities in audiobook form on iTunes, Audible or Amazon.
The even better news is that you can listen to the book for free on Audible when you sign up for an account. You get a free book, so why not make it this one, right?
It’s easier than ever to get some inspiration for your ESL classes when cleaning your house, exercising, or when on the go.
Learn more here: 39 ESL Speaking Activities Audiobook.
More Speaking Fluency Activities for English Learners
There are lots of other speaking fluency exercises to try out with your students. Here are some ideas.
Role Play: Have students act out different scenarios to practice real-life conversations.
Debate: Encourage students to discuss and defend their opinions on various topics.
Storytelling: Have students share personal anecdotes or create fictional stories.
Picture Descriptions: Show images and ask students to describe what they see in detail.
Speed Talking: Set a timer and have students speak on a topic without hesitation for a certain duration.
Interview Practice: Pair students up for mock interview sessions, taking turns as interviewee and interviewer.
Story Starters: Provide the beginning of a story and have students continue it in groups.
News Discussion: Bring in current news articles for students to read and discuss their perspectives.
Problem-solving Scenarios: Present challenges for students to discuss solutions collaboratively.
Public Speaking: Have students give short presentations on topics of interest.
FAQs about Activities for Fluency
There are a number of common questions that people have about helping students build fluency in speaking. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
How can role-playing enhance speaking fluency in ESL learners?
Role-playing allows ESL learners to practice real-life conversations, improving their communication skills, vocabulary usage, and confidence in various situations.
What’s the benefit of incorporating debates in ESL speaking fluency activities?
Debates encourage ESL learners to articulate their opinions clearly, research extensively, and think critically in English, thus boosting their speaking and critical thinking skills.
How does picture description help improve ESL learners’ speaking fluency?
Picture description activities enhance ESL learners’ ability to observe and communicate details, which is essential for fluency, vocabulary expansion, and descriptive skills.
What’s the purpose of speed talking exercises in ESL speaking practice?
Speed talking activities challenge ESL learners to think on their feet, eliminate hesitations, and speak fluidly, contributing to improved speaking fluency and spontaneity.
In what way can news discussions contribute to the speaking fluency of ESL students?
Engaging in news discussions allows ESL students to explore current events, express their opinions, and engage in meaningful conversations, thereby enhancing their speaking fluency and awareness of global issues.
How can public speaking practice benefit ESL learners’ speaking skills?
Public speaking practice helps ESL learners build confidence in addressing larger audiences, organize their thoughts effectively, and present ideas coherently, leading to enhanced overall speaking fluency.
Why are problem-solving scenarios valuable for ESL speaking fluency?
Problem-solving scenarios prompt ESL learners to engage in discussions that require negotiation, collaboration, and expressing ideas clearly, contributing to improved speaking fluency and communication in practical situations.
Have your Say about this ESL Speaking Activity
What are your thoughts on this ESL activity that focuses on fluency? Do you have another fluency when speaking activity or game that you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API