It is a matter of pride for educators that their pupils have good speaking skills. But it can also be a difficult task to ensure that students keep making progress. Teachers and educators can make the whole process more interesting and seemingly effortless by engaging students in various activities:
1. JAM or Extempore Speaking
This could be a regular class room activity that students can participate in on a weekly basis. Pick topics that are part of the course material or even current events that are of interests to the students. Then have the student speak about it. You could have a JAM (just a minute) format where the participant has to speak without hesitation, repetition or deviation on a given topic for 1 minute.
Or you could have an extempore type of public speaking activity where the student is given very little time for preparation. Such activities help improve fluency in spoken English and also help kids improve self confidence when addressing groups.
2. Debating Society or Moot Court
Debating can be fascinating for a student, particularly if you pick subjects that are close to the hearts of the students. When a student is passionate about a given subject and is required to compete for a distinction or prize, this can help reduce stage fear. As part of the debating team, a child may come across as more confident and may be able to improve his/her English skills in a seemingly effortless fashion.
The class can be divided into two teams or one class can be pitted against another to create a sense of competition. The topics can be given in advance, permitting the students to prepare a written speech beforehand. Debating or having a moot court in class can be interesting, enriching and something the kids will look forward to.
3. Group Discussions
These can be a less formal, non-competitive way for kids to share ideas and practice their language skills. This type of activity can also permit the student a bit of preparation to tabulate points, get more information, etc.
4. Acting and Dramatics
Participating in drama enables the students to identify with the character being played. Understanding and memorizing one’s part helps improve vocabulary and comprehension, whereas dialogue delivery will be a great help in improving speaking skills. And it’s not just the final performance or delivery but the entire preparatory work involved that contributes to the learning process.
5. Other Creative Activities
There are many other activities that involve speaking that can be planned. For example, participants can be given a product that they are required to sell or promote to a group of audience sitting in front of them. Mock Interview is another interactive activity where the interview panel (consisting of teachers) throws questions to the participant; and feedback as to the body language and other areas of improvement can be provided later.