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teaching speaking

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Joined: 26 Oct 2011
Posts: 24
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:04 pm    Post subject: teaching speaking Reply with quote

I have been reading about teaching speaking in Teaching by Principles by H. Douglas Brown. Is there a "right" time to really concentrate on oral communication skills for ELLs? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I would have thought the earlier in their schooling (i.e. preschool and kindergarten) the better. In terms of teaching speaking as a whole, which area (pronunciation, accuracy, fluency, etc) is the most difficult to teach? There are so many different spoken languages in America today it seems that teaching speaking probably brings about the most stress on both the students and the teacher. Then there's the dreaded debate of whether or not to allow student's to use their first language. I've learned to encourage the use of an ELL's L1 at home, but it is still uncertain about using it in the classroom. H. Brown suggests using the L1 in "meaningful contexts." What is considered a meaningful context?
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Joined: 03 May 2012
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:24 pm    Post subject: Teaching Speaking Reply with quote

I teach 3-5 years old preschoolers. Half of them are ELLs who speak a second language at home. Each year I have at least two students who do not speak English at home since their parents are only fluent in the home language. At this age the students can be very quiet at the beginning of the year because it takes them time to adjust to their new environment before they start speaking to us. My assistant is Hispanic so she speaks to the student in both languages. For the Asian students we speak to them in English only. In both cases, the students learn to speak English. We model for all the students how to speak and we correct their mistakes and errors. The children are mainstreamed and are not tested until the end of the year by the ESL teacher to see if they need ESL services the following year. This applies only to the students that turned 5 and will be going to Kindergarten. Therefore, I work with the students the whole year by using different strategies based on their needs and modifying the lessons I teach. Some of the students need help with the pronunciation of some sounds or speech. The Hispanic students would usually speak to each other in Spanish and I donít stop them. They are already aware that at this age there is more than one language spoken in their environment. The whole day of instruction is in English and I encourage my parents to talk to their children in their mother tongue at home.
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Joined: 21 Jul 2006
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recommend doing as much as possible in English.

Demonstrate an activity rather than trying to explain it.

While demonstrating use simple verbs such as "stand up, touch, pass me, jump". Gradually these vocabulary words will be integrated.

On the other hand I am not a purist and would give instructions in the native language to save time in order to be able to get on and do the English activity sooner and more effectively. After the brief explanation I return right away to English for the activity or game.

With youngsters they are often reassured to understand you rather than hear a lot of foreign gabble which can alienate them, especially initially.

More tips and a complete curriculum of stories, games, lesson plans and songs for preschoolers here:

and on Amazon for large size story books:
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Joined: 21 May 2013
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need to work out on the specific areas of English. Try to get grip over basics and then teach.
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Joined: 02 Apr 2014
Posts: 75
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used the "Pimsleur Approach" recently to learn Spanish and I was amazed by the method and the science behind it. I tried using the same approach in teaching English to my preschoolers. I only spend 10 minutes every day to teach them 10- 15 phrases or sentences. I explain what it means on the first day. I don't expect them to remember most of it on the second day so I repeat the process that I did on the first day. On the third day, some kids will remember it. I only have to explain a few of the phrases. On the fourth day, it's just repetition. On the fifth day, most of the students in class already know the phrases and their meaning. I have only used this method for 3 weeks and my students learned over 50 sentences and phrases by only spending 5-10 minutes a day.
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