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Strategies for Successful In-Class Speaking Tasks

Mel Brown
September 27, 2023

It’s been an exciting journey this past year learning how to bring Speakable into my classroom and give students a high quality, differentiated experience working on their pronunciation. My students have embraced the challenge and have shared that they feel that Speakable has helped them improve their French pronunciation and has given them more confidence to speak and participate in class activities. I can’t ask for much more! I’ve done a lot of experiments and made a lot of changes…and I still am. But it’s an app worth spending quality time on, and I want to give that to my kids. You? I love that Speakable allows students to work on their pronunciation at their own pace. Everyone struggles with different words or phrases, and everyone has their own pace.

Speakable allows for the inherent differentiation in speaking practice. One of the challenges early on was figuring out how to accommodate everyone at the same time. Everyone has different comfort levels and confidence levels with the language and I want to make sure everyone has the environment they need to feel ready to dive in and go for it! I average 25-32 students per class, so one of the initial challenges was how to let everyone practice without ending up with a mosh-pit-meets-live -auction scenario. Every school/classroom is different, but here are a few ideas on how you can get everyone going:

Zone out

A pair of headphones with a built-in microphone creates a bubble in which a student can focus on themselves and their work. If everyone has one, you can keep the class in the classroom and let them go for it!

Spread out

I have individual desks in my room, so on Speakable days I let the kids spread the desks out so they have the space and the privacy they feel they need. Students can also sit on the floor if they prefer. Kids put the desks back before class ends.

Get out

As in, get out of your classroom. Kids LOVE field trips, even if it’s just to another room. We have a library where I can reserve a section for my class. We can go there, spread out all over the place, and get working! My students look forward to Speakable time partly because they get to go someplace else for a change. It also allows them to move based on comfort level; some kids want to sit near their friends so they can hear each other (and help each other if they’re struggling or just have a laugh while trying); others want to hide in a corner where no one can hear them. It works well for everyone and it allows me to walk around and check in on everyone. I can give a little extra one-on-one help or just make sure everyone is on task. So think bigger spaces at school that are unoccupied at times.

A few ideas that have worked for me:

  • Library
  • Gym
  • Cafeteria (we eat lunch then it sits empty most of the day)
  • Auditorium
  • Choir/band room (ask the teacher if you can borrow it during their plan - and buy them a coffee)
  • Courtyard (we have interior courtyards surrounded by classrooms; a great, safe, enclosed space on campus)
  • Outside…seriously. The wifi works outside. Go out on a beautiful day and work in the grass! This is students’ all time favorite option!
  • Next level outside…football field, soccer field, etc. If there’s wifi they will come… ;)

So get on the Speakable train and find a destination in and around your school where students can meet their needs while improving their language skills!

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