Seven Speaks – Celebrating Teacher’s Day

Up and Coming Oral English Activities

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Modern educational technology has employed various approaches, strategies and techniques for the enhancement of English language system and language skills. TEFL training trains the candidates and transforms them into teachers; it also advice on professional development for those who are interested in pursuing ESL as a career. The new portals of TESOL have led us to the new era of teaching and learning English language.

Still there are many learners who are unable to overcome their hesitation because they have never been exposed to an atmosphere which can make their silent talent speak out. Modern educational methods enhance their knowledge, but their real life interactions fail out of nervousness.

According to me there are two main categories of learners: A) which learns out of interest, B) which learns out of need

My aim was to create interest in the second category which learnt for the need of learning. In spite of having good writing skills, these learners feel tensed on not being able to interact with the outside people. I wanted to merge these two categories together in an out of the class room environment.

Classroom studies if combined with the activities out of the box can bring incredible results. According to my opinion only 25% of the students take the initiative to cross question in the class, so what about the rest? You ask them the questions, they answer…it means they should be interviewed all the time!

Debates, discussions, Discourses…the learners participate in these activities because they worry about their class performance and the grades they get on that, but what about their willingness? They unwillingly participate in all the class activities and avoid the eye contact because the feelings of hesitation, fear etc hinder them to speak spontaneously. How can we make them curious learners?

Working as an ESL educator has given me enormous experience in the field of TESOL, and to get the satisfactory results I customized some methods in my own way. Spending 45-50 minutes in a class never seemed sufficient to me; I always strove for more, more interaction with all the students, especially the ones who normally sit quiet and listen instead of speaking in an oral English class. I spread my wings inside the boundaries of my college to give more to and get more from my students. During my lunch break and free time I conducted few programs for my students which utilized my spare time and enhanced their capabilities.

Some of my experiments which worked wonders in the transformation of my students as well as me are mentioned below with a brief description. I want to share them with the whole of my ESL community.

  1. Talking to the teacher in an informal atmosphere– One to one talk is always effective as there is no fear of being targeted by the class mates, the learner open heartedly puts all his/her opinions in front of the teacher and feels satisfied. Everyday a name was picked during the class from the box containing the names of the students and that student got the opportunity to walk and talk with me until I reached my next point.
  2. Lunchtime Oral English Practice– To create the atmosphere of English during lunchtime students were invited to participate in lunchtime oral English practice. Students with queries or difficulties relating to oral English were asked to come unhesitatingly to my office room during lunch time. Initially the students hesitated but later they booked in advance for lunch time meeting. It was a good way to kill my long boring lunch time.
  3. After class social talk– A group of students eagerly wanted to talk after class as they wanted to converse spontaneously without any lesson bounding. I allotted a day in a week to them, where we met in a vacant class. The conversation seemed like we all were the college friends speaking informally about current topics, cultures, literature, family etc. Gradually the number went on increasing, the friends of the students also joined and discussed. A self satisfying feeling emerges in a teacher when the students crave to meet their foreign teacher in order to spend more and more time with him/her.
  4. English Meet up– Once in every 2 months students were asked to organize a meeting where they came up with some kind of entertaining activities and refreshments. Exposure was given to all the students of the college who felt good to speak English when given an opportunity. A nominal share was given by the attendees and the volunteers took the charge of the whole event in the guidance of their Foreign English teacher (me).
  5. Talking on phone- Even not so important telephonic conversations are very important to remove the hesitation of the language learners. No doubt eye contact while speaking is every teacher’s demand, but in my case I feel that the initial hesitation is removed if someone is talking on phone. The person feels 50% safe and confident. In my very first class I used to tell my name and number to the students and invite them to keep in touch without any hesitation. An example of phone conversation and telephone etiquette were taught to them in the beginning classes which helped all of us to have smooth and stress free talk. One of my students, who was very talkative improved a lot because she used to feel good by telling all her matters over the phone. Though I could understand her First Language still she was instructed by me to speak in English. By the end of the course her confidence level reached an unbelievable height.
  6. Speaking with the guests- Usually students feel safe and comfortable when they converse in the company of their own English teacher, on every last Thursday of the month I invited the guests in library to have a free talk with my students and let me tell you that my colleagues played very important role in this activity and I again thank them for their co operation. If the students are given this kind of exposure, it definitely raises the confidence of the learners and they feel that they are being prepared for the future.
  7. English Corners– Though these corners are already being run in the campuses by student’s groups yet the unavailability of a foreign teacher reduces interest in the students. They desperately want a foreign teacher in whose presence they feel their efforts will materialize well because according to them speaking target language is possible only in front of a foreigner. In my presence we had conversation challenges, free talk, Storytelling etc in an interesting and exciting environment. Students got help on their weaknesses too. Overall the teachers and learners can have everyday new fun while they learn.

Here the role of an ESL instructor expands because he/she has to take out extra time and enthusiasm for extra activities. The teacher can influence his/her students inside as well as outside the classroom; the teacher has the power to direct his/her students by creating chemistry with them and providing them with the opportunities which can broaden their horizon of knowledge.

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This post is written for Write Tribe Festival of Words – Day 6

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21 thoughts on “Seven Speaks – Celebrating Teacher’s Day

  1. There are many students and grown-ups who hesitate to make eye-contact while conversing or in debates.I alwasy thought that it was lack of confidence. Your post analysed the reasons of the student’s inability or the unwillingness.

  2. English teacher here! Loved your article. You offer great ideas for helping students. Teachers who create a classroom where students feel comfortable and safe do a great service to students who are shy or who lack confidence. I always tell my students that we are all here to support each other in the learning process and that mistakes are going to happen, and it is okay to make mistakes. When they see that a teacher truly cares, they open up. It’s a beautiful thing. May you continue to inspire your students to grow and learn!
    Penny

    • Welcome! You are absolutely right…in a friendly and disciplined class the students’ performances are unbelievable…loved the tip you shared…
      Thanks and I wish the same to you

  3. Wow, excellent ideas here, Shelly. I’m a teacher of English but literature and I did some ELT as well. Confidence is the key when it comes to learning something new and it a teacher instills confidence, I guess the tasks are easier to handle. I should bookmark this post.

    All the best in your endeavours and a belated happy teacher’s day.

    Joy always,
    Susan

  4. Oh I didn’t realize you were an ELT person, Sheela. I am too – or at least I was. I found it most rewarding.
    Happy Teacher’s Day!
    You’re shared some great ideas here. Nothing quite like creating everyday situations to get students to speak.

  5. The post has identified such simple things that we all can do despite being well versed in speaking. They only help us get better 🙂 Thanks for sharing it with us sweetie 🙂

    Richa

  6. Some very useful and important tips and suggestions here. Knowing English is a must these days and so glad that you are doing so much to shape our new generation. Way to go, Sheela 🙂

  7. My most favorite teachers till date are my English teachers. My love for language was coz of them and the way the taught they treated all of us.
    A wonderful post!!! 🙂

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