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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 22nd, 2005, 09:15 am
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Default when they don't speak...

What do you do with a class of students who just don't speak or respond to anything you say or do? (middle school ~adults)
It drives me insane! ANY ideas welcome.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 23rd, 2005, 06:27 pm
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I guess it depends on the age.

Children
There are a few ways that i deal with quiet children. If i am asking the class questions and no one is responding, I have everyone stand up. Then I get them to do a little exercise. I know it sounds silly but sometimes they just need to be revitalized. They could do jumping jacks or just walk around in a circle or whatever.

A variation to that is to walk around in a circle and when a student answers my question, they can sit down. That's when the answers start flying out of their mouths. Usually you will never have to do this more than twice, because they will get tired of walking around in circles.

Remember, these students have been sitting in class all day having fact after fact thrown at them. Their blood needs to get flowing. The exercise is silly but it helps to revitalize them.

Also for children, the The Slam Game works really well. Then they are forced to speak.

Adults
This is a bit more difficult. If they aren't responding to you, try some group work. It might be they just don't feel comfortable with their classmates. Get them to get to know each other. Once they feel comfortable with each other then they can start to express themselves ie. speak more in class.

Try surveys where they have to gather information from other students in class. Or pair work where they have to learn things about their partner.

One thing i did with my adult classes is had them bring in topics of discussion. that way, they are bringing things that interest them.

If that fails, just be silent and wait for them to respond. Eventually they will, but you have to be strong enough to get through those painful silent moments. But DONT let them off the hook.

Last resort, guilt trip. Why are you here? Do you want to learn to speak English? Etc...

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Unread Mar 30th, 2005, 09:54 pm
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Did you try any of these ideas yet? If so, how'd they work?
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Unread Apr 18th, 2005, 01:14 am
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Here's a few tricks

You need some kind of reward system or coupons that can be traded in for a prize. Some people use candy.
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Unread Apr 18th, 2005, 01:59 am
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Quote:
Quote fishead soup
Some people use candy.
and stickers, stamps or smilies on the whiteboard.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Unread May 27th, 2005, 06:20 pm
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For Japanese teenagers and adults who wont respond it's usually an insecurity issue not a language or teacher issue. They are concerned what others will think of their answers or they simply just aren't imaginative enough to come up with one.

If you have a class like this, limit their response selection to just 2 or 3 until they feel more comfortable. Or, you can give them responses (have flash cards for the target language and they must reply with whatever flash card they have.)

Ex: target language - have to/ What do you have to do tomorrow?

Give each sudent one or two cards with chores. Then tell them this is what you have to do tomorrow. Then proceed to practice the language in whatever method you see fit. You can build slowly away from the cards as the activities progress.

Once they are speaking and have got a good grasp of the language maybe you'll get some non-scripted answers.

I hope that helps.

Mark
www.mes-english.com
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Unread May 10th, 2006, 03:02 pm
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Default Re: when they don't speak...

Quote:
Quote fishead soup
Here's a few tricks

You need some kind of reward system or coupons that can be traded in for a prize. Some people use candy.

Um...I was always told not to take candy from strangers...



I've tried a few things before and these seemed to work alright. One way is to have everyone stand up and either ask a question or answer a question to sit down. Make it a race or a game, and the losing team has to write more homework or something little like that. Another way is to have them answer in groups, as a lot of times kids are just shy and don't want to be the only one talking.

Yes, these people are in your class to learn/speak English, but not all of them are there by choice. That's when it gets really difficult, when the student doesn't care one bit. Ah, that's what long meter sticks are for...just kidding.

Be patient, be supportive and be reassuring. This is not their mother language and most don't want to get their answers wrong. You could tell them that there are no wrong answers...but that wouldn't be true.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Unread May 11th, 2006, 04:49 am
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Default Re: when they don't speak...

I will have my first offical parent's class tomorrow. I had one last week where it was just an introduction but naturally enough they were stand offish. I will use some sponge balls which they will throw to each other while asking and answering, "What is your name?", "My name is..."

For adults, especially new students you have to try and make it as enjoyable as possible. Deep down inside they are a bunch of kids too!! Also pick some book for them to use but use some games too so that they are both learning and having fun.

In Korea, if they don't have a book in class then they don't think that they are learning so keep that in mind too.
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Unread May 11th, 2006, 07:47 am
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Talking Re: when they don't speak...

Quote:
Quote songsengnim
What do you do with a class of students who just don't speak or respond to anything you say or do? (middle school ~adults)
It drives me insane! ANY ideas welcome.
Well, making students speak is tough.: Well for private lessons ( one to one ) adults or children I've done special worksheets, using role plays. But the part they have to act is in the native language. for example A is in french ( I 'm French) and I'm acting B . On the worksheet nothing is written so they have to understand what I say. The first time , they don't. But increasingly they get a better comprehension. This method has been successful with my students since I began using it. But it takes time to do the worksheets.

michele ( France)
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  #10 (permalink)  
Unread May 11th, 2006, 05:11 pm
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Default Re: when they don't speak...

Quote:
Quote michèle 2
Well, making students speak is tough.: Well for private lessons ( one to one ) adults or children I've done special worksheets, using role plays. But the part they have to act is in the native language. for example A is in french ( I 'm French) and I'm acting B . On the worksheet nothing is written so they have to understand what I say. The first time , they don't. But increasingly they get a better comprehension. This method has been successful with my students since I began using it. But it takes time to do the worksheets.

michele ( France)
Yes worksheets can be a pain to do especially when they take up so much time.
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  #11 (permalink)  
Unread May 15th, 2006, 10:49 pm
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Default Re: when they don't speak...

Quote:
Quote michèle 2
Well, making students speak is tough.: Well for private lessons ( one to one ) adults or children I've done special worksheets, using role plays. But the part they have to act is in the native language. for example A is in french ( I 'm French) and I'm acting B . On the worksheet nothing is written so they have to understand what I say.
That's a great idea. It goes back to what I said about scripted responses but adds the element of surprise by not having the teacher's text there.

Thanks, Michèle!
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Unread May 20th, 2006, 03:07 am
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Default Re: when they don't speak...

If your students don't want to speak or are afraid of speaking you can do the following: split them up in pairs and give each pair an interesting dialogue to read. After all, what exactly is speaking? It is producing words with your mouth. Now, if you don't have the right words and sentences readily available, what happens? You feel uncomfortable to open your mouth. When you read a dialogue out loud it's almost as if you speak freely because you have to produce the sound yourself. Reading texts aloud can be a powerful method of building speaking skills because you practise your articulation, you reinforce correct sentence structures and you can follow an interesting story...
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