50 Ways to Teach Speaking – review

Posted on Jan 18 2016 - 11:03am by Zdenda

After reviewing the book 50 Ways to Teach Grammar, I was contacted by the editor of the series and she offered me a book of my choice for free. I chose the book 50 Ways to Teach Speaking by Janine Sepulveda. Here is a short review of the book.

The book is cheap and short. It costs only $0.99 and it has 16 pages. The activities are briefly and clearly described. Therefore, if you need a quick inspiration, this might be the book for you.
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The book is divided into three parts: Tips to Ice Breakers / Warm-ups / Games, Fluency and Focused Practice Activities and Make Activities More Effective. The first two parts contain real activities, but in the last part, there are just some tips how to organise the activities in class.

After reading the book, I have chosen 5 activities which I would like to share with you.

50 Ways to Teach Speaking – sample activities

The first activity, which I can recommend is in Czech called “Kufr” because of the TV show it first appeared in. It is simple and it works really well.
In the book it is called Guessing Game:

“Ask one student to come to the front of the class and stand with her/his back to the board. Write a word on the board. The rest of the class must give clues to the student until s/he can guess the word (It’s alive; You can’t find one in this country).” (50 Ways to Teach Speaking, page 6)

Another activity which I have successfully used is called Two Truths and a Lie.

Students write two facts about themselves and one lie. They take turns reading their pieces of information. The rest of the class guesses which is the lie. It is a good idea to ask the students to number the sentences and the rest of the class just write the number of the suspected sentence next to the student´s name. Thus the students will really listen to the others.

The third activity is called Describe a Picture. “Divide students in pairs. Each receives a different picture or drawing. One partner describes her/his picture, and the other draws it on a separate piece of paper. The student who is drawing should ask questions to clarify anything that is unclear. Then switch roles. This is good for practicing adjectives, shapes, prepositions, etc.” (50 Ways to Teach Speaking, page 8)

The fourth activity was absolutely new for me, and I would like to try it out in class. It is called 3-Picture Story:

Put students into small groups. Prepare 3 different pictures: #1 – a picture of some people; #2 – an object or group of objects; #3 – another object or group of objects. Hand out one picture at a time. First, students create a background story about who the people are and how they are connected. Then, with the second picture, they explain how this object is important to the people. With the 3rd picture, they explain why the people dislike or have a negative experience with the object. When they are done, mix up the groups so that there is one member from each original group in the new groups.
They share their stories with their new group. At the end, students can vote on which
story they liked best
.” (50 Ways to Teach Speaking, page 10)
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The last activity, which I think is great, is called Soap Opera. First, watch Que Hora Es? on Youtube. The lines in this short video are from a beginning textbook for learners of Spanish. Then ask the students to work in small groups and prepare such a soap opera using the sentences from their English textbook. It might be a great fun.

50 Ways to Teach Speaking – conclusion

The book 50 Ways to Teach Speaking contains 51 activities to make your students speak. I have to say that all of the activities are sound. However, as an experienced teacher I have not found there many new things that might inspire me (though there were some). It is not expensive and it is great for novice teachers.

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