How to Distribute Talking Time Between Students

How to Distribute Talking Time Between Students

Andrei Zakhareuski
by Andrei Zakhareuski 13,964 views |

Some people will find that there are students who do very little talking during the class. This can sometimes be a pain for the teachers and it is usually tempting to just give up on that particular student. Others will more or less dominate the class. There are many cases where a student will just keep talking to the point of others not really being able to put a word in edgeways.

Of course, it is important that every person in the class has a chance to talk, express their view and ultimately practise their use of the language. Teachers might think it is a lot easier for them if one student keeps talking, as it does make time go faster, but this can be detrimental to the learning of others. One needs to make sure that everyone is up to the same level. There is no telling how much the others have progressed or learned if there is one or two people who have all the talking time during the class. Below are several method whereby a teacher can insure that everybody has a chance to speak. Of course, some students will be a little bit more shy than others and this definitely plays a role in it.

How to Make Sure Everyone Gets a Chance to Talk

  1. 1

    Asking an Opinion

    Find a controversial or interesting topic for students to read about. After the reading exercise is finished, allow them to discuss it by asking each student in turn. This is by far one of the easiest ways to make every student get a say in the topic at hand. Don’t feel bad about cutting one short, and just remind them that there may not be a lot of time left and therefore everyone will need to get a word in. This is also a great way of getting the students who are a bit more shy to give their opinion and practice their skills. It is also a great way to get new vocabulary up on the board.

  2. 2

    Story Stick

    This is another excellent way of making sure some of the talking is done evenly between students. The concept of the story stick is that a group of people make up one story, each adding their own part to it. This could be done as a warm up exercise, or one to fill in the last few minutes of a particular class. It is usually best if the teacher comes up with the first sentence or part of the story. Start with something simple such as “Linda is a girl who likes to dream…” and let it go from there. Allow each student to add a sentence to the story. Eventually, something will begin to shape. Get one of them to write it down and then pass it around. Allow each student to read out a paragraph from this.

    Not only can the story stick be a great way of distributing talking time between the students, but it can also be a lot of fun. This is indeed a great exercise to practise on children. It will stimulate their own creative juices and you never know what they may come up with!

  3. 3

    The Leader

    Usually, in some classes, there will be one student who tends to dominate all conversation. This could discourage other students from joining in which can be detrimental. As a result, it will be important to make sure the more shy students have a chance to get their word in. Usually they may not feel that they are good enough to and would rather that someone else speak for them.

    One of the first things to do is, when the dominant student is talking, is to politely stop them and asking another student if they agree with his or her opinion. This will do well to stimulate conversation between the two students, allowing the less practised one to get a few words in. There are of course other ways in which this can be put to use.

    If the more talkative student prefers to do a lot of the speaking, then form an activity such as a debate that the class has to do. Allow them to organize it, but have them ask for help and the opinions of others on their team. This way they will happily be able to keep talking, but others will also get a say in what is going on.

As you can see, utilizing the strong points of a class can have many good results. This means that all students will be more than happy to participate, without feeling like they are being put on the spot.

This is especially important when it comes to the idea of “the Leader”. You may feel bad in telling them to stop talking after a certain point, so this is just a subtle way of letting them continuing speaking, but also giving others a chance to do so as well. This way, no one’s feelings are hurt and the appropriate goals are reached!

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