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.

My Wikipedia

This is an activity 'about' the internet, but it doesn't start online. In fact it has to start offline: the idea is that students try and predict the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry for their town, region or country.

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.

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.


Evaluating speaking - the IELTS speaking test - speaking article

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. 

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.

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.

Developing pronunciation through songs

Like us, you might already use songs in class, and find that your students enjoy them. But have you considered choosing songs specifically to work on pronunciation?

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.

Personalised speaking

People spend a huge chunk of their everyday conversation time talking about themselves and the people they know, so the most natural thing in the world is for us to invite our students to do the same.


An introduction to using visualisation - methodology article

An introduction to using visualisation

Visualisation has been widely used in sports psychology over the last 30 years to enhance all aspects of performance. In this article I will be looking at some of the ways that it can be applied to language learning.

Audio exchange project - speaking article

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. 

a house

Choosing a house

I use this activity with higher-Elementary level students, primarily to practise vocabulary and collocations related to house and home, but also as an early confidence builder for speaking skills.

Christmas Games

Here are some games which we associate with parties and Christmas celebrations in UK schools. These games can be adapted for language learners of all ages and levels.

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.

Controversies in Business English

I began teaching business English in 1980 and have observed over the years huge differences in the way we teach.

Controversies in using technology in language teaching

In his first article for TeachingEnglish, Pete Sharma considers some of the controversies surrounding the use of technology in and out the classroom.

Core activities for using the chart to integrate pronunciation

I often see the Sound Foundations chart (you can see it below) in classrooms, and teachers using it to bring pronunciation into the central arena of language work. But sometimes teachers say they have not been introduced to a basic method for using it and they end up treating it like an ordinary wall chart.