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Excellent Speaking Activity

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Paul Nation is particularly known for his research on helping English Language Learners develop vocabulary, but he knows far more than just that area. In this video, he shares a simple activity that lets students develop greater speaking fluency. It’s a variation on an exercise that many of us probably already use in our classrooms, but the variations he suggests are important one.

He calls it the “4-3-2” Fluency Activity. In it, students line up (standing or sitting) facing each other. Each one must be prepared to speak on something that they are already quite familiar with. First, they speak to their partner for four minutes about the topic. Then, they move down the line, and say the same thing for three minutes. Next, they move and speak for two minutes. Then, the students on the other side do the same thing.

Nation explains in the video how this practice meets the criteria of a fluency activity. Professor Baker (I found the video in his blog) summarizes the criteria in this post.

The video is worth watching, and I’ll be trying this activity out soon in class. Professor Nation suggests that it would be a nice weekly activity.

You can see more of his videos here.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

One Comment

  1. This reminds me of the “joke/story” telling activity I’ve promoted and teachers always give good feedback about.

    The key is giving students time to read it and absorb it. Two, appropriate level of the reading material. Three. It has a structure that students can use to organize. Then they do the retelling…

    But I don’t think it won’t work if teachers just tell students to talk about something for 4/3/2 min.


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