Warming Up the Gears: 7 Fun, Field-Tested Vocal Exercises

Oxford University Press

Woman massaging her facial musclesGetting students speaking is one of the toughest challenges a language teacher can face. In this article, Li-Shih Huang, Associate Professor at the University of Victoria, Canada, introduces some vocal exercises you can use with your students to help get them speaking.

Does anxiety seem to prevent your students from participating in class, from enjoying practicing speaking with their peers, or from doing oral reports individually or as a group?

In one my previous posts on helping learners to minimize anxiety in speaking, I included a tip for “warming up the ‘gears’.” For any ELT practitioners who wish to experiment with ways to help students feel more at ease in speaking, this post shares a set of vocal exercises to warm up learners’ “gears” that I have learned through researching and voice training, used in my teaching of English-as-an-additional-language learners, and shared with practitioners through workshops.

These vocal…

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How many hours does it take to be fluent in English?

How many hours does it take to be fluent in English?

It’s a boy! After lots of waiting, we have a royal baby in the UK! People are still waiting to find out what the name will be. In fact, lots of people are going into betting shops to place bets on what the name will be. Personally I think it will be ‘Georoge’. But I’m not going to put any money on it!

How many hours does it take to be fluent in English? Well, that’s a good question! Many people think that it might take a learner 360 hours of study to achieve B1 level – but you probably know that a B1 speaker is not very fluent! You need to
achieve B2 if you are going to study in a British university. Having said that, I meet many students who are B2 but who still are not fluent. You probably know this, but I’m going to say it anyway: you don’t need a classroom to get fluent! If you want to become fluent you should surround yourself with English speakers and speak English all the time. If you can, live with an English speaking family. Get a part time job. Volunteer and work in a charity shop. Do anything you can to spend time speaking English. If you are in the UK then watch some interesting programmes on television – like the one I watched this evening called Why don’t they speak English?. The BBC is a great support for language learners – practise your reading skills by reading this magazine article titled How many hours does it take to be fluent in English?