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  • AutumnFox
  • Adventurer

    • 26

    • June 25, 2015, 08:15:18 am
    • Seoul, South Korea
Help with low level speaking club
« on: October 06, 2015, 07:51:08 am »
So I teach a speaking club filled with some very low level students and with a few high level scattered in.  I have 15 students and the funny thing is, this is supposed to be an advanced speaking class but that is just not the case.  Some are unable or unwilling to speak at all, but either way my last lesson with them was just awful.  I thought that the tasks were very easy, such as a "hangman"-like game where they just have to ask some basic questions to find out the word, say 3 things about themselves, etc. Most of the time they just stared at me blankly, and even though I would give them suggestions or even the exact answer, they just wouldn't say it.  I'm at a loss of what to do.  The first class was just supposed to be an ice breaker class but it was a complete failure.  I find it hard to find materials since they are such a lower level, but don't want to spend hours for one lesson just to make it fun AND low-level.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

Btw they are 5th graders
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 08:40:17 am by AutumnFox »


  • Plaswuff
  • Veteran

    • 107

    • March 04, 2011, 02:36:06 pm
    • Yeosu
Re: Help with low level speaking club
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2015, 02:19:12 pm »
Am in same boat, they dropped it on me with two months to go until term finishes. I haven't actually met the kids yet but I know they'll be the blank staring types.

My idea is to do role plays. It kills a lot of time in preparation, and every kid will have a line or a few lines that they should recite, rather than (heaven forbid) having to use English spontaneously.

Hope it helps.


  • amgoalng
  • Expert Waygook

    • 719

    • August 31, 2012, 08:00:20 am
    • Gobuk, near Seosan, closer to Haemi
Re: Help with low level speaking club
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2015, 03:37:37 pm »
I had this same problem the last two years only with middle school.  I had a couple that were advanced and deserved to be in the class but the rest were blank stares.  "How was your weekend?"  "I play game."  "How are you?" (a competent student whispering to the student I asked, "I'm fine, thank you, and you.") 

(Yelling, wondering, why are they here.  How did they qualify for this class.) 

I tried everything!

If they answered a question correctly, I gave a piece of candy. 
I tried using story dice, letting them make a story.  It went well with the advanced students but the rest got lost. 
I tried giving them something to read and talking about it. 
I showed a video and tried to talk about it. 
I showed funny picture and tried to get them to talk about the picture. 
I tried giving them a set of vocabulary words where they had to make a sentence using those words (words they were told to memorize in their regular class).
I tried free talking. 
I tried finding out what they liked and then making a story with that.  They like Star Wars, make a story using their favorite Star Wars characters.
I tried questionnaires where they had to write down the answers.  Then I would ask them three of the five.
I had them reenact League of Legends using their favorite characters, where one student would act out and another told the other student what to do, in English.  Hence, student A1 tells student A2 to punch B2 and then B1 tells him to use his laser shield.
I tried role playing with Avengers characters.

Nothing freaking worked with the lower level students! 

Still, quick ideas you can try.  Good luck.



  • FrancesS
  • Veteran

    • 156

    • February 20, 2015, 07:10:49 pm
    • South Korea, Daegu


  • nzer-in-gyeongnam
  • Moderator - LVL 3

    • 782

    • August 07, 2010, 01:23:29 pm
    • Gyeongnam-do
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Re: Help with low level speaking club
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2015, 09:51:12 am »
Something I do to help my lower level students, and to challenge my higher levels,

Sit all students in a circle. Everyone in the circle must speak for a minute minimum, either in Korean or English - I choose based upon student level and ability, and sometimes change it up just to challenge them.

The key to this exercise... the student next to the speaker is going to translate everything said into the opposite language. (IE: High level speaker - 1 minute in English. Low level speaker TRANSLATES into Korean. Low level speaker speaks 1 minute in Korean, High level speaker translates to english.)

The aim of this exercise: Students get a chance to speak to their peers about anything. Students will listen to one another more closely/carefully. Students can hear what was spoken in both their mother tongue and their target language for understanding.

This was an activity that I used to do in a Japanese conversation club in my home country. It worked really well there, and it seems to work with my after school students here. It challenges them to help one another, to listen more carefully to one another and to work together to make sure phrases are correct.
"It's better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all!"
Teach this to your students... they'll thank you for it later!