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Elementary english speaking lessons

May 1, 2018


Level 2 English Lesson

This is a free kids English lesson taken from our second beginner English course for ESL kids that expands on their basic English skills. Try this free sample lesson from this level.

Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr I think that nothing is impossible when you want to fulfill a dream. A lot of people will tell you that you can't do it, that you don't have what it takes, but if it is in your heart and you feel it, there is nothing that will stop you. It is like the sun - you can't block it: it will shine regardless, if that is what you want. Thalia I think sometimes when you want attention, you can wear sunglasses, and people are like, 'Who is that?' Kat Graham People are so selfish. Those you help are the ones who turn against you. Munshi Premchand As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. Amy Poehler A lot of people, when a guy scores a lot of goals, think, 'He's a great player', because a goal is very important, but a great player is a player who can do everything on the field. He can do assists, encourage his colleagues, give them confidence to go forward. It is someone who, when a team does not do well, becomes one of the leaders. Pele

Unfortunately, I think that all too often, 'speaking' can be confined to students answering the teacher's questions or repetition and manipulation of form. As my elementary students have limited linguistic resources, it can be difficult to find ways to get them to really 'push' their productive skills in a meaningful way.

Lesson paradigms
In 'Learning Teaching,' Jim Scrivener proposes a teaching sequence model which he calls 'ARC.' He suggests that any teaching sequence could potentially have three elements to it: 'Authentic use,' 'Restricted use' and 'Clarification and focus.' Hence ARC. In this model,

These elements of the lesson can appear in any order in the lesson, depending on aims, level and focus.

'Authentic use'
is not confined to speaking, it incorporates any elements which allow the students to engage with the language in an authentic way. It could include any of the four skills. In this article, I'd like to look at the 'authentic use' element of the lesson and see what it might mean in terms of elementary speaking. I'll describe three very different lessons which introduce speaking in a more 'real life' way to our elementary learners.

Three example lessons
Talking about my room (Using here is / there are / is there…? / are there…?)

Parents (Using adjectives which describe character / comparatives)

Teenage advice (Using: should)

Personalisation
These exercises all involve a degree of personalisation. Instead of talking about a fictional picture in a course book, students are creating their own meanings. We all like to talk about ourselves and our lives. This makes the lesson transcend the level of 'practice phase' and move into the realms of 'real communication.'

The students will relate to the teenage problem, as it's likely to be one that they or their friends have had. It allows them to deal with personal issues in a safe context, as they're talking about someone else.

Creating the need to communicate
The activities all involve an element of information gap and demand that the students interact in order to complete the tasks. In the first lesson they have to communicate because they can't see each other's drawing, the only way to get the information is to speak. The ordering exercise in the second lesson also helps them to focus. If the students are engaged, they are striving or 'pushing' to communicate. Any potential frustration when they find the 'gaps' in their language skills is offset by the intrinsically interesting and engaging nature of the tasks.

Quality of teacher feedback
As always, it's essential to give feedback on content as well as language. Otherwise, the message we're giving to our students is that only the language element is important. In this case, some comments about different rooms you've heard about during monitoring will be helpful.

What will you do about correction of the 'form'? Well, it's unlikely that the students will get everything right first time. What I try to do is select one element to correct immediately, for example pronunciation of 'schwa', and then decide to review at another time.

Conclusion
It's important for elementary students to go beyond simple repetition and manipulation of form. They sometimes need to get away from mere 'language practice' and to strive to communicate meaningfully about topics which really concern them. This will inevitably mean mistakes, and sometimes frustration. Both these are part of language learning and shouldn't be avoided. If as teachers we give good quality feedback on content as well as language, we will encourage our students to strive to create their own meanings through English.

References
'Learning Teaching' Scrivener, Jim, Heinemann 1994

Sue Leather, freelance trainer and writer

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