Making my students speak English is quite a hard job. It is not that they are reluctant to speak but they usually can’t find much to say 🙂
I usually turn to mind maps: big maps on the blackboard where we gather ideas, vocabulary and all that we need to prepare our talks. They usually help because students can get kind of draft to develop on their own.
Here is an example we have created before a class conversation about holidays
Sometimes we use presentations which show pictures in order to collect ideas, just like this one
But the best way to make them speak fluently and in a correct way is to film them when they feel ready to speak.
I prefer filming them using ToonCamera because I think that they can overcome embarrassment this way and I must say that the activity always gives good results for more than a reason.
First, they concentrate more since they know that everything is recorded; then they try to sound more natural and probably they also feel more natural – when asked to speak after preparing their talk, they usually tend to read instead of speaking; finally they enjoy watching themselves and every time they notice what was wrong and could be improved. When the videos are ready, I usually embed them on our class blog and so they can write their comments.
Making videos in the classroom is extremely helpful for me too since it allows me to revise the activity and see what can be improved.