5 Highly Effective Speaking Strategies to use with EAL Learners

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EAL learner’s need a wealth of opportunities to develop and practice their spoken language in the mainstream classroom. This is the case for all age ranges from early years through to secondary school and for all proficiences.  It is vital that we give them ample opportunities to do this.

There are a range of spoken language activities / strategies that you can utilise to support development and practice.  Below I have listed 5 of my favourites from my classroom-strategies page.

Concentric Circles – Non threatening strategy that allows learners to practice oral rehearsal with different partners.  Can be used to develop questioning and answering and as such learners get to hear a range of answers and therefore a range of different vocabulary and language structures.

Conga Lines – extremely good strategy to use with beginner EAL learners.  Learners stand in line facing each other, talk and when finished move down the line.  Meaning that they speak to a different person each time and hear good models of language and also a variety.

Quiz Quiz Trade – One of my all time favourites! Accessible for all ranges of language proficiency, involves the whole class, and learners get to hear and use lots of different questions and answers.  This strategy can be used in any classroom and with any content.

Split Dictation – Actually practices all four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.  Split dictation is a barrier activity that can be used in a number of ways to develop understanding of any content area.  It’s also an effective strategy to model sentence construction.

Snowball – My learners love a snowball.  It’s really fun and very engaging for all age ranges.  I think the most enjoyable part for them is getting to throw pieces of paper at each other, although, I do make it clear that the ‘snowballs’ must be thrown below head height.  I use this to review content and to check my learners understanding of vocabulary we have investigated or questions I have asked them.  


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