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Tips for Enhancing Spoken Language in the Classroom

Updated: Dec 11, 2018

The classroom is a key learning environment in the timeline of a student’s language development. In the classroom, students find themselves reading out-loud, partaking in discussions, answering questions, working in teams and practicing phonemic awareness.

One of the main responsibilities for any teacher is to create a rich language environment for their students. Doing so will allow students to develop their verbal communication skills and will assist in highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. For example, highlighting whether a student may need speech therapy, or may have hearing loss, cochlear implant or Specific Language Impairment (SLI).

Here are 4 activity ideas to help you reinforce classroom communication:

Picture of the Day:

Place a new illustration or photo in an easily visible area of the classroom. As part of the daily routine, show the students each day’s new image. Ask each student to think of words to describe the image. These could be directly related to the picture, for example colours and textures, or the words could be more abstract. As the students become comfortable with this activity, slowly introduce more complex images.

Tactile Descriptions:

Have all the students close their eyes and place an object in their hand. Ask them to give 3 words to describe the object without looking at it. The object could be a toy, a book, a utensil etc. To encourage creativity, make it so that no word can be repeated by another student.

Scene Baskets:

This activity involves students acting out scenes in groups. Out of three baskets students pull out cards, one detailing the environment of the scene, another with a keyword they must use, and thirdly a sentence type that the keyword must be used in. For example, a statement, question, exclamation or command. The students have a time limit to create a scene that relates to the cards they pulled out, making use of speech roleplay to meet their three criteria.

Here’s an example of the activity in action:

The information on the cards that the students draw is 1) a bookstore, 2) the word “amazing” and 3) an exclamation sentence type. After 10 minutes of planning, the students perform their scene. One of the students plays the role of a store clerk, and the others play a group of customers. The group of customers come in and ask the clerk for a specific kind of book they are looking for as a gift. Through dialogue, the clerk asks the group about details regarding what they are looking for, and makes a number of suggestions. Eventually the clerk shows the group a book that fits their needs and one customer says “Amazing! Just what we are looking for!”

Pretend Play:

A great way to help students become more accustomed to social interactions is by having them act out interactions through short scenes. Have students act out scenes that allow them to cooperate towards a specific goal. For example, a group of students could be a team of chefs who are tasked with presenting a meal to the other students who will be play the customers of a restaurant.

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