Help your learners speak English more in class

Should we teachers use L1 (mother tongue) or L2 English (target language) in class? Using L1 for translation and explanation is more efficient. It’ll make things move faster and remove a lot of frustrations. However, there’s an argument for using only L2 and it might be motivating. If they know that they have to talk to you in this new language and then they’ll be motivated to do so. That being said,there’s no right answer, just different people. But chances are if you’re coming from a non- English speaking country (like me), it’s clearly going to be really difficult to do it only in L2. And my question is “what techniques, tips , activities, methods, tricks, etc. do you use to  limit the amount of unnecessary L1 your learners use in class?

Here’re some of the ideas for encouraging learners to speak English more.

  • Try to convince them to use English. Explain to them why it’s a good idea to do it.
  • You could get them to do something physical and possibly embarrassing if they speak L1 like:Jump up and down, do push ups and crazy dances.
  • Pretend you don’t understand
  • Use a card thing: each of them have three ‘Vietnamese’ cards per class. They can use that if they need to (if they want to have something, want to say or ask anything, they’re going to write down on the cards in L1). If they’ve used up all three, no more L1 in class.
  • At the beginning of the class, you split the class into 2 teams (apple team vs water melon team, chicken team vs duck team and so on) and give them some points to start with. When you hear anybody use L1, you just erase one point of the board. They’ll feel like they’re letting down their team and peer pressure can be a really useful thing, a powerful thing.Presentation1
  • The red card. (I use it a lot)there’s anyone who speaks L1 in class will get a red card and then when another learner speaks L1, they’ll get the red card from the first learner, it gets passed around class. And the last person who’s holding the red card  will get punished like: get more homework, sing songs, dance, no break,etc. This activity is so much fun.  Red-Card

What ideas, tips, techniques do you use in class to encourage your learners speak English more? Can’t wait to hear yours. Have a fabulous day.



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