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Three Tips to Encouraging Students to Speak Spanish In Class

written by: Audrey Alleyne • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 8/2/2012

The more your students speak Spanish, the more fluent they become. Read a story, look at a DVD, listen to a CD, then have the students discuss what they have seen, heard or read.

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    Let the students speak

    When your students speak and listen to each other, they are preparing themselves to be able to communicate orally. As a teacher, you should give your students every opportunity to speak; while you speak less and simply monitor. There are many activities that can promote speaking Spanish in class. First you teach the lesson, and then choose an activity which will allow them to practice what they were taught; in order to improve their ability to use the language.

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    Let’s look at some of the activities you can use.Questionnaires can be used on their own or in conjunction with picture posters, charts or picture books. Many themes and structures can be taught this way.

    Questionnaires: Let’s say you are teaching ordinal number; you can have the students discuss where they live; for example, have the students ask each other:

    ¿Vives en un apartamento? - Do you live in an apartment?

    If the answer is “Yes’, then student A could ask:

    ¿En qué piso vives? - What floor do you live on?

    Student B could then reply

    Vivo en el primer piso - I live on the first floor.

    Student B then asks student C the question, and the reply could be

    Vivo en el segundo piso - I live on the second floor.

    The activity could be extended to the students looking at a picture of a hotel, or having one of the students draw a hotel on the board. They can number the rooms, to get a practice of cardinal numbers at the same time. Now they ask each other questions like

    ¿En qué piso está el cuarto número 16? - What floor is room 16 on?

    A student or students can reply together:

    Está en el tercer piso - It’s on the third floor.

    You could also use questionnaires to have students talk about the past, after you have taught the Past tenses; for example. having them recap what they did for their holidays, or what countries they have traveled to, are good examples:

    ¿Estuviste en España el año pasado?

    or ¿Haz visitado a España?

    No, nunca he estado en España.

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    World maps can also be used to encourage conversation about travelling. Place a large world map on a wall and have students ask each other which countries they have been to, or would like to go to; how did they travel or how would they like to travel, for example:

    ¿Adónde quieres pasar tus vacaciones?

    Student B can point to France for example and say

    Quisiera ir a Francia.

    Another student can then ask:

    ¿Como quisieras ir ; en bus, en avión o en tren?

    Primero ire en avión, luego ire en tren, porque ire lejos de la ciudad, al campo.

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    Role Play

    Role play and games are among of the best ways to get your students speaking. Let’s say you want hem to practice asking each other for direction in a city. Have some of them hide flashcards of building in different areas of the classroom, or on a playground to allow more movement. Have them ask each other directions, let those asking the directions (tourists) for example repeat them when given by the passer(s)-by, and then follow them. Have the student or students (tourists) who follow the directions, return to the passer (s)-by with the relative flashcard.

    A variety of these activities can be very useful and interesting tools in helping your students to speak more Spanish in class, and become more proficient orally in the language.