Speaking more in lessons

My focus with my Year 10 Spanish classes at the moment is the controlled assessment speaking task that I am planning on conducting with them as soon as we finish the topic. What is so special about preparing my class for controlled assessment tasks I hear you say? My masters dissertation, that’s what.

I am currently completing the proposal for my final dissertation at the moment and my topic of choice/torture is how to improve pupil’s speaking skills and confidence through encouraging use of the target language. I won’t bore you with the details (just yet), but as the idea has been moving around my head for the last few weeks I have begun, slowly, to think about ways of enhancing the amount of pupil speak in my classroom.

Over the last few weeks my classes have learnt how to talk about their musical, television and film preferences, and after watching Pan’s Labyrinth they can also describe it (or any other film) particularly well. Their most recent homework was to record themselves speaking for approximately 3 minutes about what we have covered so far and to send it to me electronically. I gave no specific tool for recording themselves, but pointed them in the direction of their phones, audacity on their laptops (lots of them have school ones) and I also suggested vocaroo. I would loved to have used Voxopop to share pupil’s responses but I was struggling to use it properly and ran out of time before I set the task. One to look at in the future, definitely.

This evening I have sat down to mark the audio files that I have received and so far, they are fab! Pupil’s have clearly spent time preparing what they want to say, and although I would recommend focus on pronunciation for some of them, the content is spot on. They use opinions, linking words and even tenses. If they produce work like this in the actual controlled assessments then we will be getting some very good results indeed!

My plan over the coming year is to develop a range of strategies to further encourage pupil use of target language in the classroom. My routines (register and forfeits) will come in handy with this and I hope that there will be some good use of web 2.0 tools as well. What do you do to encourage speaking in the target language? What activities have worked well for you? My favourites are often based on board games (like Blockbusters or Snakes & Ladders) or a round robin type activity (like I went to the shop and I bought….). What about you?


  1. What kind of activities are you using to focus on improving speaking in the CA? I’ve just joined a new department and we are under pressure to improve results. Worst GCSE results last year.

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