English Speaking Activities for Beginners

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In order to master any new language for practical use, a student will likely need to have the ability to speak that language in an understandable manner. Beginning learners of English need to learn the way that native English speakers pronounce phonemes in order to communicate with native speakers in a school or work setting. For best results, beginning lessons should include a mix of creative and structured activities.

Introductions

  • Self-introductions allow beginning English learners to talk about themselves while practicing their basic speaking skills. This activity works best when a native or advanced speaker leads a group of beginning speakers, but even an individual learner may practice this activity on his own. Self-introductions should begin with the individual's name and age. For adult learners, introductions also typically include one's profession. As a speaker gradually learns more of the language, he may also wish to include other information, such as hobbies, favorite books, family or other interests.

Drills

  • Vocal drills, while lacking in excitement, help beginning speakers practice the specific intonation of the English language. Every language consists of basic sounds and phonemes, or distinct units of sound, but these sounds may vary slightly from language to language. Repetition of the alphabet, including the multiple sounds made by certain letters -- such as long and short vowels -- helps in the pronunciation of English words. The repetition of specific vocabulary terms also helps perfect the pronunciation of these terms. Flashcards often prove advantageous for phonetic and vocabulary drills.

Repeat after the Speaker

  • Listening to the way a native English speaker pronounces words allows beginning speakers to learn through example. This activity works best when performed with an instructor on either an individual or classroom level, but learners may practice this activity on their own if they have access to an English learning CD or audio. The native speaker clearly pronounces a phoneme, word or short sentence, then pauses for the learner to repeat what was said. For best results, repeat each example several times before moving on to the next.

Games

  • English communication games work especially well for young learners but may still benefit learners of all ages. Many games require multiple participants. One example, commonly called "hot seat," requires one student to sit in a chair with her back to the other students. The teacher holds up a flash card with a vocabulary word for the other students to see. The other students must then describe the word to the student on the "hot seat" until that student guesses the correct term.

    A similar game involves miming. The teacher usually starts as the mime and acts out an action without speaking. The students must describe the action using accurate terms. After correctly terming the action, students may take turns acting out their own action for the others to guess.

References

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