Teaching ESL

How to get children talking???
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Author:  sms04n [ Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:03 pm ]
Post subject:  How to get children talking???

Hello, so I've been following the curriculm on here with one of my 8 year olds that I give private lessons to. I see her once a week for an hour. She remembers a lot of the vocabulary, but I can't get her to talk. She always speaks in Italian to me since I understand it. Her mom likes to test her in front of me to see if she's learning. I know that one hour a week is nothing, but parents in Italy don't understand that. Does anyone have advice for me?

Author:  mesmark [ Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get children talking???

One of the ways I get children to produce language is to say things that are wrong. For example, if I show them a red triangle, I'll say, 'It's a blue triangle.' Students know this is wrong and love to correct me. Once they are producing a bit of language they start to repeat or answer more regularly.

Another thing I do is to say what they are supposed to say in another voice or in a low whisper. This sort of serves to tell them what they are supposed to be saying. If you do this with response they already know, then they'll start to understand what that 'voice' means. So, if they already know how to answer the question 'How are you?' with something like 'Great! And you?', then, ask the question and provide the answer in your 2nd person voice. While they already know what they are supposed to say, this will show them what that 'voice' means - this is what you are supposed to say.

The other method is to give them their own cards. If you are always holding the cards, you are always in control of the language. I like to put the cards out in a pile and we each take one. Then we can either tell each other about the card, ask about the card or ask about the card someone else is holding.

How long have you been having classes with this student? How far along are you in the curriculum?

Author:  Chareford [ Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get children talking???

My issue with getting the children to speak, is that they always want to resort to the "one word answer." If I am holding up a flashcard of an item that they already know, and I expect a "This is a (shirt)." answer, often times all I get is "Shirt!" in response. I work hard to get the kids to use more than one word, but in China, it seems much easer for the kids to revert back to not speaking than to say the wrong thing. Are there any hints on how to get the kids to break that habit?

Author:  Jovette [ Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get children talking???

I teach to children from grades 1 to 6 and had a hard time getting them to speak English. I created some functional language cards for them, cut out and assembled on a key chain with 4 categories : basic courtesy vocabulary, asking permission, asking for help and teamwork vocabulary. I had my students play pictionary to "drill" the expressions. It works for me!

I could sent them to you if you by email...

Author:  mesmark [ Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get children talking???

Chareford - It's hard to tell from the information, but there are a few things that could be the problem. My first thought is they might not be competent enough with both the sentence structure and the vocabulary. I usually drill the vocabulary as is first. So, let's stay with your example, I would show a picture of a shirt and have them say "a shirt". Once they have practiced the vocabulary and they hav a good grasp of all of the words, I move the set to a utilization stage.

Now, I have always done this, so my students may just be used to it. However, once we have learned and know the vocabulary we begin using it. So, we might play bingo and one kid will take a card and ask, "What's this?". The other kids will try to guess what's on the card by saying, "Is it a shirt?" and so on. Eventually, I encourage them to build to longer answers and say something like, "No, it's not a shirt."

In the beginning, I just try to get them to repeat and make these longer phrases. I'm hoping that after studying for a while this will increase their fluency by increasing language chunk speed.

Anyway, if at later stages they are still saying just, 'shirt'. I ask, "oh, you want a shirt?", "You have a shirt?", "Your shirt is on fire?!!!! Call the fire department!" and the last one I do in a bit of a panic and ham it up. Once we all calm down ( :) ) I explain that if you just say 'shirt', I don't know what you mean. So, we need all those words and the full sentence to get our point across.

That sort of goes back to my first reply and by saying the wrong things, hopefully you can get them to say the correct thing.

Author:  Chareford [ Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get children talking???

Thanks Mark, maybe I don't drill enough. I think its boring, but I have to think again sometimes that even if it is boringh to me, I am not the reason for the class. I know the chinese teachers like to hear drilling, since that is how they teach here. They give me strange looks when I have the kids all excited and yelling around the classroom, but I know they are learning also when they are having fun with it. I just cannot let them stray too far away from the materail.

Author:  daniel84 [ Thu May 16, 2013 12:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get children talking???

I strongly suggest to start from the things they know and like, such as: cartoons, toys, their friends, famous people/characters, animals.. Talk about their favorites and then they will start talking with you.. Of course, conversation at the beginning will be "thin" because they will be shy, but after a while and kind of effort, when ice is broken through, you will enjoy by talking with them...

Author:  Kiwione [ Tue May 21, 2013 12:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get children talking???

try to find out what he or she likes and try some fun games

Author:  diuna2004 [ Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get children talking???

Games, games and once again games. I've been using all kinds of game to make children revise simple constructions like to be, have, can. After half a year of hard work they are finally speaking e.g this animal is samll, it can fly, it has got 6 legs...

Not to spend a fortune on games I use traditional games which I have e.g Ludo + a pile of flashcards with vocabulary I want to practice. Last time I revised "can". The game went as follows - a student casts a dice, moves on the board, draws a flashcards and makes a sentence using the word from the flashcard e.g I can swim or Can you swim?
Top trumps is great to drill simple constructions like be, have, can. A child shows a card and says, 'my animal is strong, it's big, it can run fast.' I take my card and say, "My animal isn't strong" - if my animal is weaker.

On every lesson I play games and my students keep revising the same constructions all over again. In the beginning it was very frustrating but now it's beginning to pay off and I really feel proud (of my students and myself :-D )

There is a great Polish website with a lot of games and printables. it's in 99% in English so you won't have problems finding what you need. Give it a try!


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