What can we do to help students to keep talking?

What can we do to help students to keep talking?

Teaching tip

For some students it’s easy, for others it’s the most difficult skill. So what can we do to help students to keep talking? …


The first thing is to make the classroom a safe place where students feel at ease and will not feel judged. Remember, many students’ last experience of a classroom is often their school days where teachers were quick to pounce on errors - making their pupils feeling at ease was certainly not the main thing that teachers were trying to achieve. And school material in the past was often rather dull.

So we can also help our students by using motivating material which engages students and makes them want to speak out. Topics where students have their own opinions or experiences are a great way to encourage them to speak.

And we also need to give them the tools to speak – not just the necessary topic vocabulary – but the functional language to help them frame their conversation. Phrases which they need to introduce or change a topic, to agree, to apologise; the words they need to talk to a partner, to talk in a group, to talk outside the classroom. All of these expressions are invaluable to learners to give them the confidence to talk meaningfully in the classroom.

We’re pleased to announce that we will shortly have the very thing for you to make your students want to talk: Let's Talk Now A2, a conversation book that will have plenty of personalization, motivating topics and the necessary support and guidance that will help your students start talking - and keep talking. You’ll learn more about it next month …

Here is a short activity on a topic where everyone has some experience and he/she can talk about easily:

My school days (level A2 upwards)

  • Either write the following questions on the board or dictate them.
  • Students work in pairs. Give them 5 to 10 minutes to ask each other the questions.

At junior school …

  • What was the name of your favourite teacher?
  •  What was your favourite lesson?
  • How did you go to school?
  •  What were the names of your friends?
  • What games did you play in the playground?

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