Students often wonder what kind of speaking activities online classes can offer. This is because speaking skills is essential for when you’re living in an English-speaking country or trying to learn a new language. Speaking is, generally, a skill that most students don’t practise enough. Here at UKCE, our classes obviously teach all the four skills within our courses. But we like to focus a lot on Speaking skills throughout our lessons so that our students benefit from a lot of practice. There are, in fact, thousands of speaking activities for an online class but here are our favourite speaking activities for online lessons.
Question based tasks:
Often students struggle with question formation, so speaking activities like these are popular with teachers because they are simple but effective:
- Know the teacher – sometimes the teacher will give you the chance to have a think and write the questions down. However, in this activity you simply ask the teacher any questions you want to find out the information you’re looking for. This one is a great way to get to know your teacher plus a great way to gain some practice asking questions in different tenses or grammar styles.
- Agony Aunt – in this activity students present you with a problem and their classmates tell them how to solve it. There are many ways of coordinating this activity but ultimately the students are practising question formation.
- Dice – here the teacher has a list of verbs and a dice with some question words on it: who, what, when, why, where and how. Students then have to ask a question using the verb and the question word that they accumulate from rolling the dice. A very simple activity but great for students thinking on their feet.
Timed tasks are great for Business English courses or exam preparation courses, or just for those students that love to natter:
- TED Talk – students give a 2-minute presentation on a topic of their choosing. It must have an introduction two main points and a conclusion. This is great practice for students thinking of going to university. You can even record it for them so they watch it again later to see where to improve.
- Lift Pitch – This is a bit like Dragons Den but you only have 60 seconds to convince another person to do something. It can be something funny, such as convincing someone to marry you, to go on a holiday somewhere or to change someone’s mind. It can also be something more serious, such as a sales pitch. Obviously depending on students and their levels the teacher can change the time but the timing keeps in short and sweet.
- Give Me the Short Version – in this activity, students need to summarise or paraphrase something they’ve watched or read in class and maybe even answer a few questions about it. This is a great activity to practise summarising but also guaranteeing that the student has understood the reading or listening task.
Creative speaking activities are great for Young Learners and generally creative students, adults or otherwise, the possibilities are endless. It’s a fantastic way for you to widen your vocabulary in English:
- If Only Things Had Been Different – students think about some celebrities they know and write a list of what they have achieved. Then, they tell the class what would have happened if they hadn’t achieved something on their list. This gets the students thinking out of the box but also using some key grammar forms in this activity.
- Excuses, Excuses – students are presented with a situation and asked to make up some credible excuses for their actions like forgetting their homework or being late for work. Now this game can be adapted to different classes and it can be either funny or serious. It’s a great way to get students thinking creatively.
- Every Picture Has a Story – here the teacher shows the students a random picture and the students act like journalists to try and answer the questions to where, when, what happened and why. Creating a story out of a basic picture really gets the students opening their minds to different possibilities. Also, the stories they come up with can be fun for the whole class.
We’ve given you quite a few different speaking activities for online classes. Please feel free to use and adapt them for your own students, you won’t regret it. I promise.