Authentic Speaking & Listening

Many students have learned to play the “game” of school, answering with one word answers or just enough language to get the teacher to move on to someone else. Or, students are asked to use a sentence starter that they might not fully understand to answer a question to which the teacher already knows the answer. And yet, language is meant to bridge information gaps, to communicate ideas and information to others who don’t already know them—to be used to get things done and build up ideas. Students’ language doesn’t need to be perfect or even correct, but it needs to communicate. If it is fake or just for show, it won’t grow. To truly reach--and exceed--new standards, students need to learn how to use language to clearly communicate, in real time, to build up whole ideas that are valued in the discipline.  

So, one way to improve speaking and listening activities is by enhancing any or all of them  with the three features of authentic communication. Here is one example of enhancements for a jigsaw activity. 


Stronger & Clearer Each Time Overview
This overview describes how to help students build language and content as they talk with successive partners.

These cards provide different information to students in pairs and small groups. Students need to have a reason to ask for and provide information.

Opinion Formation Cards (TV)
This activity provides students with an opportunity to build language as they talk with successive partners to strengthen their opinions on an issue.​