Visual Aids for Fluency

Kenta was an upper intermediate student.

He had an extremely high vocabulary with very accurate sentence structure and grammar.


He was also able to recognize when he made a mistake and consistently self-corrected.


His delivery … well that was another thing altogether.


Kenta’s fluency was the one thing that made him sound like a beginner particularly if you never knew him or had only taught him once or twice.


He had all the skills in the world but struggled to express his thoughts and deliver them fluently. He had his own opinions and ideas but just couldn’t put them all together.


Fluency is a skill that can be worked on and improved with a variety of drills and exercises.


There are also a number of reasons why students are very high level (vocabulary, grammar and comprehension) but cannot clearly deliver what they want to say.


Sometimes it is a matter of being shy and introverted and as a result afraid to make a mistake and reluctant to speak.


Other times students are trying to translate the words from their mother tongue into English.


Of course there are other reasons as well.


One of many methods that have been very effective for me is using our flashcards. That is actually the primary reason that they were developed; to get shy students speaking.


It’s pretty simple really.


Choose a flashcard or sequence of flashcards.


First get your student to brainstorm words that they associate with the picture.


After creating a list elicit synonyms and antonyms (where possible) from the words that the student came up with.


Ask them to use every word that they brainstormed (including the ones that you elicited synonyms and antonyms)


*Give students a few moments to think about their story. Depending on what skills you want to work on this can also be a writing exercise.


I have watched students improve considerably from doing this exercise over and over. From beginner to advanced it will help develop a number of skills.


Give it a try!

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