David Bradshaw on getting them speaking

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David Bradshaw explained how speaking is a very difficult skill to promote in secondary school classrooms, and how he used to dread it. He then went on to demonstrate a series of activities which he has found to work in that context, really motivating the students to want to talk, and incidentally providing excellent preparation for Cambridge exams.

David began by demonstrating an icebreaking idea from Nina Lauder. He put up on the board various numbers that were of significance in his life, and we had to ask yes/no questions to work out why they were significant. He continued with another whole-class questioning game in which the students had to play the detective and solve a mystery story from Rinvolucri's Grammar games.

David selected several formats from BBC radio 4 programmes as speaking practice, including 'Just a minute', where you have to speak for a minute without repetition or hesitation. If another student correctly identifies one of these, they take over where the first left off. There was also 'Desert Island Discs', in which students explain why a give piece of music is specially significant to them, and an activity called 'Would I lie to you', in which the teacher presents several pieces of autobiographical information and the students have to interrogate to find out which are lies.

Other suggestions included a relay narrative around the class against the clock, describe and draw, and various dictation formats such as Chinese Whispers.

David blogs here: http://davidbradshawblog.wordpress.com/



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