Teacher Tip – Increasing Student Talking Time


We all know that students should speak as much as possible in class. However,  actually implementing this it can be difficult.  Here are a few tips to get your students speaking more:

  • Do pair work. If you pair your students, half of them are talking at once. This provides for much more practice time than calling on them individually in a group.
  • Do written exercises from the book orally.
  • Set up a simplified debate. Present your students with a question  and assign them to defend one point of view. For lower-level classes it can be something simple such as Which is better—summer or winter? For higher-level students, assign a more complex topic.
  • Have students do individual presentations at the beginning of class. You can have them work on this for homework, and then ask them to speak for one minute to the whole class. Tell them they can use notes, but cannot read straight from a text.
  • Take it one step further. When doing the Real Life and Extra! Extra! activities in Interactive English, make sure to refer to your students’ own life and experiences.
  • Be quiet. Almost everyone is uncomfortable with long silences. If you want your students to speak more, be sure to allow time for them to think and answer before you jump in.