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Key Takeaways from ESL Talk Podcast on Speaking Strategies

August 20, 2021

Have you heard about the ESL Talk podcast? As described on their Apple Podcast page, ESL Talk is “a podcast for English teachers by English teachers.” In each episode, the hosts and their guests discuss various teaching topics, methods, and approaches specifically pertaining to ESL teachers. Here are some key takeaways from their episode on effective speaking strategies.

Incorporate more small group discussions

Whether it’s for a warm-up exercise, a comprehension check-up, or an end-of-class discussion, try to incorporate discussion-based pair work and group work as often as possible.

Don’t give the answer immediately

When your students ask questions, don’t immediately give them the answer. Instead, ask your class what they think the correct answer is or put students into pairs to discuss what the right answer might be. If you’re teaching a student one-on-one, you can first ask your student what they think the answer is. Giving your students the opportunity to discover the right answer on their own will get them talking and will help them to become more independent.

Provide students with positive feedback

After a speaking task, be sure to provide both constructive and positive feedback. Encouragement will increase your students’ confidence which will lead to chattier, happier students!

Give students options and choices

When assigning a speaking task, provide your students with choices. If your students can choose topics that they are interested in and passionate about, they will feel more comfortable to speak about that topic. 

Create a friendly and safe environment

Create an environment where students aren’t afraid to make mistakes. Lead by example when you make a mistake and remind your students often that they don’t have to be perfect. Use humor too! Jokes will help to put your students at ease.

Speak as little as possible

At first glance this may seem odd, but try to speak as little as possible. As a teacher, you are the language facilitator. Your job is to check, clarify, and empower.


Teachers, what speaking strategies do you use in your classroom to get your students to talk? Let us know in the comments below!

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