Teacher talk is a new series of videos featuring some of our TeachingEnglish Associates speaking about important teaching issues.

The theme of this video is encouraging speaking. Adam Simpson, Lizzie Pinard, Rachael Roberts and George Chilton look at why some students are reluctant to use English. They then provide a number of fun and useful activities that can be used to encourage them to speak more in English.

What activities do you use to help your students feel more confident using spoken English in class? Why not write your favourite speaking activities below in the comments.

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I really appreciated that article. I would like to share my strategy in encouraging my students to increase risk taking.I just introduced BONUS CARDS ie I gave each student a card with their name on it.I collect the card in relation to his-her contribution in taking part in speaking activities If the card is collected three times in a month the student gets+1 and the more one's card is reported the more your average term mark is positively affected.I found out as a result that all students became eager to take the floor and make their mind speak increasing the whole class motivation.

Encourage by introducing a current topic that you believe will really grab their interest. Subject, and the way it is introduced, is so important, and should be targeted on your knowledge of the group. Their interest overcomes the barriers, often to a surprising extent.

In the example below:
1. coutline briefly the facts as to how the UK parliamentary system works. (or footballballer transfers, popular music, health service - whatever)
2. ask them how the system works in their country. Discussion, between themselves or with you, on the differences in system and (in this case, democratic) benefits and results.
3. circulate recent newspapers which include a current or recent issue in the UK (relating to the subject) and ask their views. (e.g. Scottish independence). Get them to select an item they are interested in, relating to the topic.
4. identify the differences/similarities between how they feel about the particular issue, and how you/people in the UK view it.
5. highlight what you've learnt from them and what you like about their system - both very important - and whether their views of the UK issue have changed.

They'll have learnt something more than just confidence in speaking, and will walk away with something to think about, and talk about together. There's nothing better than spreading understanding of each other.

Although I found these tips really useful, I would really appreciate any comments on the ways of rewarding and 'punishing' students of different ages.

I am from the Universidad de El Salvador I think that one way to encourage students to talk in the class giving opinions, suggestions about the content of a topic making them build new vocabulary from the media and dictionaries as tool.

If your students are beginners in learning English, they might not speak, because they do not have enough basic knowledge for speaking, like phonetics and lexis. Try to warm up first, like using pronunciation drills. When student is used to pronounce some English words, s/he will probably say those words more freely in their speech. Second tip is providing basic lexis on the subject you want your student to speak on. Learner may eager to speak, but without having essential vocabulary and not knowing connecting words, their speech will reduce to several words and this might also discourage further trials in speaking.
So, first of all, students repeat and simulate and than they use the words conciously in their speech. By the way, listening connected tightly with speaking skill. And it is important to add emotions and intonation while speaking. Especially children like to repeat the very intonation of the sentence while simulating.

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