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Getting them to talk in English (when they don't want to)

Getting them to talk in English (when they don't want to)

Date: Tuesday 20 January

Time: 15:00 GMT

Getting learners to talk in English is one of the most difficult challenges facing the teacher. One of the major reasons for this is that speaking – unlike listening, reading and writing – can only normally take place directly in interaction with an audience, in real time: so if you express yourself badly, hesitate, make mistakes – such failings are immediately exposed to the listener(s). Many learners feel uncomfortable and stressed in such a situation, even within a supportive classroom, and often prefer to keep quiet or use their mother tongue.

It has been suggested that we should not push students to speak, but let them work through a ‘silent period’. I don’t agree: I think that speaking is important, and promotes language learning in general. So I'll be looking for ways to get students to speak in English, even at the earliest stages, with minimum stress and maximum success and enjoyment. In this webinar we’ll discuss the problems, and suggest some practical ideas as to how we might get such reluctant students to speak in English and feel good about doing so.

Penny was educated at the universities of Oxford (MA), Cambridge (PGCE) and Reading (MA). She emigrated to Israel in 1967, where she still lives today. Penny has thirty years’ experience as an English teacher in elementary, middle and high schools in Israel. Now retired, she has taught M.A. courses at Oranim Academic College of Education and Haifa University. Penny has presented papers at TESOL, IATEFL and various other English teachers’ conferences worldwide. She has published a number of articles, and was for ten years the editor of the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series. Her books include Discussions that Work (1981), Five Minute Activities (co authored with Andrew Wright) (1992), A Course in Language Teaching (1996), and Grammar Practice Activities (2nd Edition) (2009), all published by Cambridge University Press.

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