As a trainee or novice ESL teacher, one of the skills that you will have to develop well is your conversation teaching skills; after all, for most people – speaking is the most important reason for learning English.

The majority of ESL students feel frustrated when it comes to expressing themselves in English, and students will often complain that they don’t get enough speaking practice in order to become more confident in speaking. If you use these tools regularly enough, the students should become confident in expressing themselves. It should be remembered that the words and expressions needed when using these tools must have been taught prior to the activity.

Role play is probably the most useful tools for developing speaking skills, and it is also great fun for the students. It can be used with all age groups.  Once a scenario has been selected, students can participate in the roles that have been assigned to them. It is a good way to learn how to use the vocabulary and expressions that one might come across in everyday situations, e.g., ‘a road accident’, ‘shopping at the grocer’s’, ‘reporting a theft to the police’, etc. Don’t be too ambitious – start with small role plays, and use cue cards if the students find it particularly difficult. 

Individual oral presentations can be very effective in developing confidence, and they can be used with all age groups. The student should be given a topic to talk on for about two minutes. On completion of the presentation, the rest of the class can put questions to the speaker. In those cases where the students do not feel comfortable standing in front of the class, allow these students to give their presentations standing or sitting at their desks.

Debating is a useful tool for use in all those classes that are at the B2 level or higher. The class should be split into two groups: one group should argue in favour of the motion and the other half against the motion, e.g. ‘Living in the countryside is better than living in a city’ – discuss. Prior to the debate, the groups should be given the opportunity to discuss their position amongst themselves.

Videos are a very useful and enjoyable tool for developing speaking skills. After the video, quiz the students on their understanding of the video. Don’t forget to watch the video before you show it to the class, and make notes on any useful or difficult words or expressions.

Get them talking – that’s what language is all about. 

The majority of ESL students feel frustrated when it comes to expressing themselves in English, and students will often complain that they don’t get enough speaking practice in order to become more confident in speaking. If you use these tools regularly enough, the students should become confident in expressing themselves. It should be remembered that the words and expressions needed when using these tools must have been taught prior to the activity.

Role play is probably the most useful tools for developing speaking skills, and it is also great fun for the students. It can be used with all age groups.  Once a scenario has been selected, students can participate in the roles that have been assigned to them. It is a good way to learn how to use the vocabulary and expressions that one might come across in everyday situations, e.g., ‘a road accident’, ‘shopping at the grocer’s’, ‘reporting a theft to the police’, etc. Don’t be too ambitious – start with small role plays, and use cue cards if the students find it particularly difficult. 

Individual oral presentations can be very effective in developing confidence, and they can be used with all age groups. The student should be given a topic to talk on for about two minutes. On completion of the presentation, the rest of the class can put questions to the speaker. In those cases where the students do not feel comfortable standing in front of the class, allow these students to give their presentations standing or sitting at their desks.

Debating is a useful tool for use in all those classes that are at the B2 level or higher. The class should be split into two groups: one group should argue in favour of the motion and the other half against the motion, e.g. ‘Living in the countryside is better than living in a city’ – discuss. Prior to the debate, the groups should be given the opportunity to discuss their position amongst themselves.

Videos are a very useful and enjoyable tool for developing speaking skills. After the video, quiz the students on their understanding of the video. Don’t forget to watch the video before you show it to the class, and make notes on any useful or difficult words or expressions.

Get them talking – that’s what language is all about. 

ESL classroom tools for conversation skills

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The majority of ESL students feel frustrated when it comes to expressing themselves in English, and students will often complain that they don’t get enough speaking practice in order to become more confident in speaking. If you use these tools regularly enough, the students should become confident in expressing themselves. It should be remembered that the words and expressions needed when using these tools must have been taught prior to the activity.Role play is probably the most useful tools for developing speaking skills, and it is also great fun for the students. It can be used with all age groups.  Once a scenario has been selected, students can participate in the roles that have been assigned to them. It is a good way to learn how to use the vocabulary and expressions that one might come across in everyday situations, e.g., ‘a road accident’, ‘shopping at the grocer’s’, ‘reporting a theft to the police’, etc. Don’t be too ambitious – start with small role plays, and use cue cards if the students find it particularly difficult. Individual oral presentations can be very effective in developing confidence, and they can be used with all age groups. The student should be given a topic to talk on for about two minutes. On completion of the presentation, the rest of the class can put questions to the speaker. In those cases where the students do not feel comfortable standing in front of the class, allow these students to give their presentations standing or sitting at their desks.Debating is a useful tool for use in all those classes that are at the B2 level or higher. The class should be split into two groups: one group should argue in favour of the motion and the other half against the motion, e.g. ‘Living in the countryside is better than living in a city’ – discuss. Prior to the debate, the groups should be given the opportunity to discuss their position amongst themselves.Videos are a very useful and enjoyable tool for developing speaking skills. After the video, quiz the students on their understanding of the video. Don’t forget to watch the video before you show it to the class, and make notes on any useful or difficult words or expressions.Get them talking – that’s what language is all about. 
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