One of the major problems EFL learners encounter is the lack of opportunity to improve their speaking skill. They study standardized text books in school and understand grammatical rules but unable to speak English in real life situations.
While I was studying English at College, I suffered a lot because it was really difficult to find someone to speak English with outside the classroom. I remembered how I tried to practice on my own. However, I sometimes visited some of my lecturers in their offices just to chat with them in order to improve my English. Also, whenever I met English speakers I made use of the chance to speak with them as much as possible. After I graduated, one of my friends advised me using Yahoo chat. I then started chatting in Yahoo chat rooms but without much success because most of them considered me a spammer.
Now, as an EFL teacher, I am very concerned about my students’ progress in speaking English since they live in same environment as me with limited access to speak English out of the classroom. I realized that my students are of two groups; the first are those who use technological devices such as smart phones and tablets and the second group have very limited access to technology. What I am contemplating presently is how to motivate these two groups to speak English outside the classroom.
For students with access to technology, I am encouraging them to make the best use of these tools to advance their English. With the internet, there are thousands of applications such as vocabulary games, audio and video programs with which they can considerably improve their speaking skills by listening and viewing these repeatedly. Moreover, through Skype, students can get live conversations with native speakers and may thereby develop self-confidence to speak effortlessly. Teachers can even organize cell phone conversations with other students.
Nevertheless, before the age of technology; many students all over the world have excelled in language learning by using the limited resources available to them. Because of this, we should not neglect those of our students who lack technological facilities even in this age of technology; but we should motivate them to achieve success. This can be done by introducing them to books with short stories and many conversations of different situations. These short stories can be dramatized into plays with students acting designated roles. These can be videotaped and they can view themselves and may easily correct their mistakes.
Furthermore, it has been proved by educators that the best way to improve speaking skill is to read as many short stories as possible and listen to tapes of the same repeatedly. This method it said is very effective in improving the speaking skill. If you know of any other method by which students can speak English easily, your suggestions are welcome in the comment section.