How to T.A.L.K. to Your Students


Ahh, the sound of little voices chirping away in English. That’s what every VIPKid teacher–and parent–wants to hear. So, how do we get our students talking?

By Teacher Kate C

T-Take an interest in your student.

Find out about your student. What did he do today that was fun? What is his favorite color? What did she eat for dinner? Did she like it? What is that on her shirt?

A-Ask questions.

Use the ppt as a springboard. There is so much to talk about! Solicit opinions. Ask questions that help the student connect the ppt to his experience. This is the essence of learning–taking new information and hanging it on the right “pegs” in your brain.

Can he walk to the grocery store?

Does she ride her bike to school?

What is that pig doing?

Who is driving the bus?

Does he like to ride on the bus?

Even when teaching letter b, in the first lesson of level 1, you can ask, with lots of TPR, “Do you (point) like (smile/thumbs up/heart/draw smiley/draw heart) bananas (show/circle)?” Find ways to link the information in your ppt to your student’s experience.

L-Listen to the reply

Be sure you’re giving the student enough “think time”. He may need to translate your question in his head, think of an answer, translate that in his head and gather the courage to speak. This takes time. Listen actively, smiling and waiting.

After the student answers your question, show that you heard him. Rephrase the answer if it was grammatically incorrect. Agree with the student…or be shocked…or whatever. Let them see that what they said impacted you. Comment on it to further the discussion.

K-Keep trying

Sometimes it takes multiple attempts to get a student talking. Look for clues that will help. Often you can see from what a student is wearing (Is that Hello, Kitty?) some good conversation starters. But, if you don’t succeed the first time, keep trying. Keep smiling. When your students feel safe and see that you are genuinely interested in them and their answers they’ll start chatting. And your classroom will never be the same. :>

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