Supporting your career in English teaching
in the Japanese school system

Company SiteMap

Rinjin Blog

Increase Student Talking Time


"Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I might remember; involve me and I'll understand." 

No one ever learned to swim without getting into water. The same is true with speaking a language; the best way to learn, is to do. As teachers, we must encourage students to speak for themselves. We will begin a series considering 3 methods to increase student talking time.


Intentionally increasing opportunities for speaking in class...

The first technique is the most traditional; intentionally creating situations where students have more opportunities to speak, an example being recitation or presentation by either a group or an individual. This could be chorus style reading, where the entire class or a group of students read together, or requiring an individual student to read or present for the class. The idea here is to break the ice, if a student can read or speak English before their entire class, than other exercises later on will be a piece of cake. However caution and balance is crucial with this, if there is failure in this task it might intimidate or traumatize the student into giving up. The level of content ought to be easy for them to do, from identifying the ABC's to reading a poem or the class rules, this activity should never be new content, or something the student is uncomfortable with. Chorus style reading by a group or the entire class will be less stressful on individuals, and might also break the tension against speaking in class. Beginning your class with reading is a great way to start, and set expectations about what the class is all about. Reading material might include; class rules or creed, chanting review material, a poem or a passage from the textbook, or an original statement or diary by the student.

Another way the teacher might intentionally create need for communication in English for the class is to include 'information gaps' in activities. This is a great way to increase beneficial pair-work and meaningful communication in English. Giving the first part of a puzzle to half the class, and the second part of the puzzle to the other half of the class will intentionally force them to communicate in order to complete the puzzle or worksheet activity. If you increase the amount of pair work, mingle games, and information gap activities you will directly increases the amount time students have a chance to talk in class.

If students are hesitant to speak either as a class or with pair work, begin with simple 'yes' or 'no' questions as a non-threatening way to get initial responses that you can use to build from. If student's insist on responding in Japanese, rather than pushing them with the phrase "In English Please", a more helpful phrase might be to ask "Is that English?" which puts the pressure back on them to speak again, and reminds them of the class goal to learn English, and not annoying them with a request to speak English for you. Whenever a student slips up or wants to say something they can only express in Japanese, a policy where they write down their thoughts in Japanese, and then translate it to English will help them to get faster at translating on the fly, and eventually even begin to think in English better.


So why not try a new technique to get your students to speak up more in class? Warm up the class with a reading of the class rules and goals, create more group work and information gap activities, ask 'yes/no' questions to break the ice, and ask them "Is that English?"

Thank you, please join us next time to investigate increasing student motivation to speak English in class.

[Back]<<Cut out the Chit-ChatMotivate Student's to Speak>>[Next]

I want to teach at a school in Japan

More about Japan's education system

Current openings

Become a member

Japan's education system

Become a member

Job Board

EduCareer Members

Members will receive exclusive job information

EduCareer Name

EduCareer Email

Want to bacome a member

Become a member






EduCareer Map

5 minutes from Nakano Station (Chuo/Tozai lines) South Exit

2 Chome-13-26-202 Nakano,
Nakano-ku, Tōkyō

Office hours : 09:00-18:00
Regular Holiday : Saturday/Sunday

Rinjin Blog

Available areas

Hokkaido・Tohoku[Hokkaido・Aomori・Iwate・Miyagi・Akita・Yamagata・Fukushima] / Kanto[Tokyo・Kanagawa(Yokohama)・Saitama・Chiba・ Ibaraki・Tochigi・Gunma・Yamanashi] / Shinnetsu・Hokuriku[Niigata・Nagano・Toyama・Ishikawa・Fukui] / Tokai[Aichi(Nagoya)・Gifu・ Shizuoka・Mie] / Kinki[Osaka・Hyogo(Kobe)・Kyoto・Shiga・Nara・Wakayama] / Chugoku[Tottori・Shimane・Okayama・Hiroshima・ Yamaguchi] / Shikoku[Tokushima・Kagawa・Ehime・Kochi] / Kyushu・Okinawa[Fukuoka・Saga・Nagasaki・Kumamoto・Oita・Miyazaki・ Kagoshima・Okinawa]

Recruiting countries

USA,Canada,UK,Ireland,Australia,New Zealand,South Africa,India,France,Germany,Spain,Italy,Russia,China,South Korea,Thailand,Indonesia,Malaysia,Mexico,Brazil