communication skills and beginners

I'm teaching in an institute of hotel management. I'm taking the communication skill program. Here the students are mostly from the rural background. They have very scarce knowledge of English. As English is important to get a good career in future. I'm faced with a lot of challenges everyday. Firstly, generating the speaking skill . I've tried many strategies like grammar games, conventional approach of grammar, communicative approach but what I've noticed is that the student sticks to it's habitual form of structures and vocabulary. Despite my telling them repeatedly, the correct form of structures e.g. she has or it has they commit the same mistake of uttering "she have" etc. I'm pondering as to how to make them fluent in english ! as they would be having interviews shortly. Is there any "mantra"  for it? if yes , please share it.

mangay's picture

Divide your class into pair groups and ask them to chat in English on simple topics for the first ten minutes of your class. You be a silent spectator without correcting  their grammar mistakes initially.please do it regularly at least for ten days. You can find a spectacular change in their fluency. Then you can introduce grammar in sentence gamesIf your students have mobile ask them to record their talking as home assignment. These two methods will improve their speaking skills quickly.regardsdr.mangay

girishseshamani's picture

Before I address your problem, let me state that I lived in Mumbai for 40 years. I am presently teaching down South in Kerala. I did my schooling from a very prestigious school in Mumbai, which easily ranks amongst the top five schools in India. I make it a point to attend all alumni meets. I passed out in 1985. The last alumni meet I attended was 2 years back. The bonding that develops in school, as you know, is very strong. One point which I noted while conversing, was the limited use of vocabulary, while speaking. Without exception, all of them were holding prestigious positions and when we went down nostalgia, one batchmate regretted at not having tried to hone his language skills. This really set me thinking. The remorse ( if I can call it ) was there to see. Their learning stopped the moment, they finished their schooling. A feeling of superiority crept in, which blocked further learning. You have limited time at your disposal right now, as far as this batch is concerned. You cannot create miracles. Old habits die hard. Try to do a variety of speaking activities. When you get the next batch, you need to really put them through the grind. You have not mentioned the duration, as in the number of hours, given to you. Initially your focus should be to make them come out and speak everyday without focussing on grammatical structures. When you feel the time is right, you can gradually start correcting the structures. Also make it a point to tell your students very bluntly, that it is in their interest to keep on honing their language skills. They need to communicate only in the English Language and never come to their mother tongue at any given point of time. Purely sticking to the English Language during the training session and then switching on to their mother tongue the moment they are out, is not going to help their cause in any way.  They need to be at the language throughout their life.