Tips for teaching English speaking skills

May 09, 2016

One of the biggest challenges faced by many EFL tutors today is teaching English speaking skills. It’s a tricky subject to teach and currently in high demand by many professional students around the world. I regularly meet students who tell me they struggle with English speaking skills, whether it’s thinking of new vocabulary for upcoming job interviews or presentations. Or, whether it’s a lack of confidence regarding their English pronunciation skills.

By having a low proficiency for English speaking skills, students can often feel nervous in social or work situations. Worst still, it can knock their confidence and build their anxiety. It ‘s not an easy skill to master but with some practice exercises and gentle encouragement, students can start feel confident with speaking English.

So, here are some tips for teaching English speaking skills that I have found useful in my 1-2-1 tutoring sessions:

  • Building vocabulary: Students often struggle with speaking English because of their lack of vocabulary. Spend some time understanding a student’s needs in terms of lack of vocabulary. Some students want to learn new phrases or words for their jobs, some want to build vocabulary skills for their day to day life. A thorough needs analysis in the first session should guide you in the right direction.
  • Icebreakers: Start the session with a warm up speaking game. Whether it’s 20 questions or a short presentation exercise, its gets the student talking and helps them to feel relaxed. Students often feel more alert after an icebreaker speaking game.
  • Role –plays: Role plays exercises are a good way to build a student’s confident with speaking English. It’s always a good idea to pre-teach vocabulary beforehand so students don’t feel too nervous. I often used Role plays for building speaking skills for job interview practice and upcoming work presentations.
  • Telephone English: Students often have a hard time communicating in English via telephone. One method I find useful in building telephone skills is to ask the student to speak to you via mobile from a different room/area. This makes the situation real-life and you can test the students on their listening and pronunciation skills.

I hope you find the tips useful and your students feel more confident in improving their English speaking skills.


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