This TESOL Blog series focuses on teaching speaking to English learners.
As the editor of the newly released New Ways in Teaching Speaking, Second Edition, I’m thrilled to tell you about it! For those unfamiliar with the New Ways series, it’s a bestselling series in which English language teachers from varied teaching and learning contexts share professional knowledge and classroom activities gleaned from many years of classroom practice.
This volume contains more than 285 pages and more than 100 brand new activities, bringing together the very best activities designed, classroom-tested, and written about by dedicated English language teaching professionals from around the world. They represent every continent except Antarctica and work in a wide variety of contexts.
In this TESOL Blog series, we’ll meet some of the contributors from this exceptional, diverse group and get some tips from them on teaching speaking to English learners. In this first post in the series, you’ll learn a little about me and about the book, and you can download some free activities.
About the Book
New Ways in Teaching Speaking is divided into five major sections:
- Developing Fluency
- Developing Accuracy
- Developing Pronunciation
- Speaking in Specific Contexts
- Speaking and Technology
Download the Table of Contents and Introduction (PDF) for a look at the many activities.
New Ways is an excellent series that is one of my go-to resources. When I’ve taught abroad, I’ve taken my New Ways books, even before the e-books were available.
During the editing process, thinking of other teachers inspired me to focus on every detail. I was committed to creating a book that teachers can use with confidence. When teachers use materials, they rely on their quality. I checked each activity very carefully, so that teachers can successfully follow the directions and have a positive classroom experience.
I also contributed an activity of my own, called “Elevator Pitch Competition for Environmental NGOs,” for high intermediate to advanced learners. Here’s a little about the activity:
An elevator pitch is a short speech that successfully delivers a sales pitch in the time it takes for an elevator to travel from the first floor to the top floor of a building. This is based on the premise that a business person must always be prepared to sell their venture to a prospective client, no matter the location or the brevity of the interaction. Elevator pitches spread from the corporate world into academia, where many business programs now have their students compete to give the best pitch. This activity was created for a content-based ESL class focusing on environmental issues. Students from many disciplines appreciate practicing their ability to speak.
I designed the activity because I had a pedagogical need in my ESL Environmental Issues course. I wanted my students to complete a presentation, but there wasn’t much time left in the course calendar. Also, the activity needed to appeal to all of my students, who range from recent high school graduates to doctoral candidates. The elevator pitch was a good match.
Here are three free activities from the book for you to try out in your classes:
I teach ESL in the intensive English program at Lewis & Clark College. My courses vary from semester to semester, but I’m teaching different levels of Communications class in both fall and spring semester, as well as content-based courses and reading and writing courses. I also complete freelance projects as a materials writer and editor, time permitting.
Teaching Speaking Tip: For New Teachers
The newer that you are to the profession, the more I encourage you to use professionally developed materials for teaching. Carefully choose what really needs to be designed from scratch. This will free up more of your time and energy to develop your skills as a teacher through reflection and interaction with your students. Teachers are very susceptible to burnout, so it’s important to practice self-care.
Teaching Speaking Tip: For Veteran Teachers
Even a small update in our teaching can result in very enthusiastic responses from our students, particularly when we incorporate technology into our speaking classes. I’m currently including more activities with smartphones, such as pronunciation practice with automatic speech recognition, and my students are very engaged.
You’re welcome to connect with me via LinkedIn to follow my posts about teaching speaking. Also, I’d like to thank Noah Foster-Koth for taking the picture of my current Communications class.
If you have any comments and/or questions, please share! Have you used any activities from New Ways in Teaching Speaking, Second Edition?
About the Next Blog in This Series
In my next “On Teaching Speaking” blog post, meet contributor Laura Giacomini from Argentina! She wrote an activity for the Speaking and Technology section about developing fluency and accuracy. Laura’s activity, “Video Recording on Flipgrid,” may be used with learners of all proficiency levels to increase fluency, increase engagement using technological tools, and promote autonomy and self-evaluation skills.