Articles for Teachers
Method 1. Teach English rhythm
Rhythm is very important in English. Students struggle with the up and down rhythm of English sentences but if they practice speaking rhythmically, it not only helps them sound more natural when they speak, it also builds up their confidence.
Method 2. Encourage students to record their own voices
Students should try to find their own mistakes. At first, they may not be able to hear many (or even any!) mistakes. With practice, however, your students' ears will become more sensitive to the sounds of English.
Method 3. Try "backwards sentence" practice
I always tell my students, "Words are knowledge but sentences are fluency". Students need to practice more than the usual one or two word sentences. A short response is often enough to answer most questions, but students don't improve if they rely on short answers too much.
Method 4. Use "Shadow Practice"
This is a simple way to improve but it can really change how smoothly students speak. Whenever someone is speaking English, either a teacher in the classroom or someone on TV or in a movie, students should simply move thier own mouths as if speaking. They should NOT use their voices, because they need to listen carefully to the speaker. One of my students did this every day in class, and became the teacher's "shadow". She ended up being the best speaker in the whole school.
Method 5. Listen to Songs
Songs are fun so students will listen many times and still enjoy them. The lyrics of English songs naturally follow the rhythm and intonation of speaking. At the same time, students will learn some good vocabulary and sentence patterns. There are thousands of songs available free on sites such as You Tube and Metacafe for students to enjoy.
About the Author
Joe DeVeto has over 15 years experience teaching ESL to students from all over the world. He shares his teaching on his website, www.teacherjoe.us/Teachers.html.