Articles on speaking

Look at specific speaking skills, or broader issues such as motivation in our articles below.

Meetings 2: Getting involved in meetings

Many learners of English worry about their mistakes and allow their insecurities to prevent them from participating in meetings fully. This lesson provides reassurance that such insecurities are very common and normal. It also presents some strategies for increasing their confidence and ability to participate actively in meetings in English. The lesson also warns students that they themselves are responsible for overcoming this barrier to communication. There is also some guidance for learners with the opposite problem: overconfidence and dominance. It is suitable for a wide range of professional contexts, not just businesspeople.

Getting teenagers talking

Getting teenagers to use English in class can provide a considerable challenge to most teachers. This article examines some of the reasons why it can be so difficult and makes some suggestions for overcoming these problems.

Rhythm, rhyme, repetition, reasoning and response in oral storytelling

Live storytelling is a spontaneous creative process which fires the imagination. The listener experiences and participates in the story creatively. If the storyteller allows, the listener can have a direct influence on the story as it unfolds.

Online video for ELT

In this article I am going to explore the use of short video clips in the classroom. 

Goodbye game

This activity is great for last lessons of a course, but could be used in other contexts too. It is influenced by an idea from Headway Pre-Intermediate.

Global English and the teaching of pronunciation

The emergence of so many different kinds (or 'varieties') of international English has caused a number of linguists to question the use of native speaker pronunciation models in the teaching of English.

Teaching without a coursebook

Whether you're starting with a new class or just changing direction a little the decision of how to structure a course without a coursebook can sometimes be difficult for a new or even experienced teacher.

Picture books for all

Can I hear you tutting? "Picturebooks for all? But aren't picturebooks for babies and small children?"

There are some wonderful examples of picturebooks, often in board book format, which are specifically for babies and small children, but picturebooks are not just for babies.


Evaluating speaking - the IELTS speaking test

This is the third in a series of articles looking at evaluating speaking, focusing on the IELTS speaking test. 

Low-tech learners

Many teachers who have tried to take an English class onto the internet have often come back with a similar problem - students who are reluctant to work on computers.

Using Social Media in the Classroom

I’m a big fan of social media. Facebook, Twitter, blogging platforms and other ‘web 2.0’ sites offer users the ability to publish their thoughts and exchange ideas with a global audience.

Group secretary

To motivate everyone to take part in a group discussion and listen to each other, I sometimes ask them all to be secretaries and take notes on what they discuss and any opinions people in the groups have or decisions they make.

Lateral thinking

I like to use this activity to promote recognition and then practise the past continuous. It utilises a well known lateral thinking puzzle.

When did you last...?

This is a simple activity to set up and gives Elementary level students plenty of opportunity to speak and practise using the past simple.

Managers and management training

Management vacancies that arise in LTOs (language training organisations) can be filled by candidates recruited from outside an organisation but are frequently taken up by teachers selected/promoted from within the organisation’s current staff.

Vanishing Dialogue

This activity practises language of ordering food in a restaurant although this can be adapted for any scenario. It's a great way to consolidate the language and recycle the vocabulary.


Art in the classroom

As the saying goes, ‘Art is all around us’. In its many forms it presents fantastic opportunities for discussion, focused language work and skills-based activities.

Arts and crafts with young learners

Using arts and crafts in the classroom can be an excellent way to facilitate language learning with young learners. 

Audio exchange project

I was teaching a monolingual group of 12 teenagers (15-17) at upper-intermediate level who were following a course book. The students were motivated but they needed a 'real' communication task, the opportunity to communicate with students who didn't speak Russian or Ukrainian. I decided to record them and send the tape to students in a non-Russian speaking country. 

Blogging for ELT

This article takes a look at blogging, which is becoming increasingly popular as a language learning tool.

Comparative plips and plops

I like to use this activity to promote the use of the comparative form. It is a fun guessing game that encourages creativity.

Concordancers in ELT

Over the past decade there has been a huge increase in the power and abilities of computers to digitise, store and analyse text.

Connected speech

Teaching pronunciation used to involve little more than identifying and practising the sounds of which a language is composed, that is to say, its phonemes.

Connected speech 2

An advanced student of mine speaks both clearly and usually correctly, but can often sound over formal and at times stilted.