• Overcoming the fear factor
• The King’s Speech
• Presentations, storytelling, speeches, giving
directions, instructions, or our opinions,
narrating a sequence of events
• listening and rapid strategic response
• ‘the art of invention’
• ‘the art of arrangement’
“Conference maketh a ready man.”
-- Francis Bacon
• Teaching speaking is a way of enabling
students to own English for themselves. Their
ultimate goal in acquiring the language should
be for them to find their own voice in it,
literally. Every class you teach should help
them down that path.
What is the right age to speaking activities?
• Younger learners
Speech vs. writing
• Speech is oral and aural. It is phonetic. It’s all about how we
make air vibrate, and how those vibrations are decoded by
• Speech has intonation! Emphasis, color, pauses, so much
may be conveyed by tone of voice and other strictly oral
• Speaking is accompanied (in person) by non-linguistic
features such as facial expression and body language.
• Speech often employs a less formal register. Spoken English
uses more Germanic phrasal verbs vs. their single-word
Latin-French equivalents, for example.
• Spoken English uses far more contractions than written English.
• Speech is less tightly structured than writing – more ‘ands’ and
‘buts’, for example, more hesitations and changes of direction.
• Speech has no punctuation, no paragraphs, no visible shape or end.
The shape is supplied by ‘discourse markers’ and other spoken
• Speech includes many more questions and other linguistic features
characteristic of interaction.
• Speakers adjust their speech in response to what their interlocutors
say back to them or in response to their facial expressions and body
• Don’t you agree? Isn’t what I’m saying making sense.
Hadn’t you thought of that before? Maybe you
should’ve been teaching more contractions all along.
By now you’ve caught on to the fact that I’m using a
contraction for every verb I’m saying. Or maybe you
hadn’t even noticed. You wouldn’t’ve noticed if you
were used to hearing everyday English. So, you ask,
what’s the problem? And if there is a problem, what
are we gonna do about it?
• Of course, I can take it one step further. Doncha ‘gree?
Hadn’tja thoughta that before? I dunno, maybe you
shoulda been teachin’ more contractions…
Sample pronunciation activities
• a small child; a heavy smoker; a basic requirement; a large increase;
• a close friend; close the door; use a spoon; user-friendly; what’s the use?
• silent letters
• an honest man; a great honor; farm-raised salmon; an ancient castle;
• fasten your seat belts; a double-edged sword
• the ‘sh’
• You should have no trouble with it.
• I was shocked to see him there.
• Which Michigan exam are you taking, the lower or the proficiency?
• Are you anxious about it?
• Do you collect seashells?
• Did you hurt your shoulder?
• She married a soldier, a sergeant, in fact.
• You should eat at least one piece of fruit every day.
• He bought a new suit for the interview.
• “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
• What a good book!
• You’re stepping on my foot, you fool.
• Don’t look now, but he’s coming back.
• Oh no, the tub has overflowed and flooded the floor!
• What country is she from?
• Above all, be on time.
• I plan to study multimedia in London.
• It takes courage to start your own company under current conditions.
• That’s the one I wanted, because it was the only color I liked.
• short “i” vs. “ee”
• I’ve been living in this house in the village since I was six years old.
• It’s time to leave for the airport.
• At Christmastime we decorate a ship.
• I’m in the video business.
Enhanced speaking for exams
“Sure, why not? Everybody wants to be famous
now. You get much money, everybody is talking for
you, they see you on the street and they know you.
I would like to be a famous football player and play
“Famous? Yes, but on my own terms. Fame is great,
we all want our share of glory, to earn a lot of
money, to be recognized on the street, but not at
the expense of…”
Some exam resources
• ESOL (Cambridge) FCE speaking ‘actual test’ videos:
• The MSU exam website has useful sets of sample exam speaking prompts
• But the essence of preparation is simply comfort and skill in speaking,
which comes with free practice.
Discourse markers and handy phrases to
connect and contrast…
• In fact,
• As a matter of fact,
• For one thing,…. and for another,….
• On (the) one hand,… (but) on the other,…
• Let me say first of all that…
• The first thing I want to say is that…
• I want to add that…
• Let me point out that…
• I want to stress the fact that…
(a few more)
• Formerly…but now
• In the past…but now
• Instead of…
• In spite of the fact that…
• Contrary to what you might expect,
• In contrast to…
• I think that...
• I believe that…
• I strongly/ firmly believe that…
• It is my belief that…
• Personally, I feel that…
• In my opinion,…
• In my view,…
• To my way of thinking,…
• As I see it,…
• The way I see it,…
• As far as I can see,…
• I would argue that...
• I am of the opinion that…
• I agree with those who think that…
• I support the view that…
• I have come to the conclusion that…