Last night’s webinar ‘More than just speaking’ by the venerable Adrian Doff covered a lot of familiar territory – natural speech, interactional strategies etc. He categorized these concepts under language preparation. However, towards the end of his talk, he shared a couple of tips he termed ‘psychological preparation’ i.e., allowing Ss an opportunity to prepare their thoughts and giving them thinking time before they start speaking with a partner or in a group. I suspect most of us get our Ss to make notes before they start talking but I thought Doff’s tips provide an interesting variation.
Give Ss a question to mull over like this one on privacy. However, instead of getting them to write notes – ask them to rate their perspective on a Likert scale. Allow them time to think about their selection before sharing their opinions with a partner.
When using a picture prompt to facilitate speaking, allow time to individually reflect on the picture. Display or distribute the image. Then ask a series of questions to get the cognitive juices flowing (no responses necessary at this stage).
- Take a look at this house, where is it?
- Why is it in this place?
- What is it used for?
- Does someone live there?
- You go up into the house, what do you see?
- What sort of atmosphere does the house have?
- Are there people? What are they doing?
- Is it a beautiful house? Or is it not a nice place to live?
Then turn to the person next to you and share.
The bottom line according to Doff is that having thought about it, Ss are more likely to have something to say. I concur.
Image attribution: Both these images are sourced from Cambridge ELT’s (@CambridgeUPELT) Twitterfeed.