Speaking and Listening
teaching strategies and activities

Develop speaking and listening skills with GLOW

Games and Drama

Games and drama are brilliant for developing speaking and listening skills and engaging those reluctant pupils. They are also useful for developing the skills of concepts and vocabulary you have recently taught. Inserting a range of drama activities into your regular routine can bring dull topics to life and ensure that you are consolidating new learning.

Barrier games are interactive activities where children are separated by a barrier and have to speak and listen clearly to complete a task. The games develop oral language skills such as giving clear instructions, describing objects and asking precise questions. Listening skills are also developed.

Barrier games can be played in pairs, groups, teams, or as a whole class. Implement barier games into your programme and monitor the effect on speaking and listening skills - you'll be impressed! Try these free Barrier Games.

Language prompts

Language prompts support pupils in using a variety of increasingly complex sentence structures, thus enabling them to engage in dialogue in a variety of academic and social contexts. Displaying language prompts, such as ‘I think .. because…’ or ‘you could ….’ enables children to refer to the explicit structures during learning tasks thus accelerating mastery of language functions such as problem solving, hypothesizing, giving opinions, questioning and generalising. Displaying relevant prompts also supports focus and thinking as pupils stick to the point at hand.

Speaking frames are also useful for supporting pupils talk and focusing their thinking. Fulton's speaking frame books are especially helpful for accessing ready made frames to suit a multitude of purposes:

Oral rehearsal

Oral rehearsal enables children to practise ordering their thoughts and formulating responses. Paired talk with a talk partner provides a safe environment in which to explore one's own ideas before speaking in front of a larger group.

Collaborative group activities provide opportunities for pupils to develop the language of problem-solving and informal interaction. Having group roles can ensure that everyone gets a turn. Pupils with EAL benefit from hearing good models of English. Alternatively, grouping pupils who speak the same language together can be useful in allowing pupils to draw on their first langauge skills to help in understanding new concepts or creating ideas.

Storysacks provide opportunities for retelling stories and consolidating new input. The tactile nature of the storysacks helps with memory recall of the story which increases motivation. They can be an excellent resource to send home for parents to use with their children.

The Mantralingua PENpal comes with sticky labels that you or your children can record onto in English or any other language. This is great for capturing their discussion points to enable you to see how a paired talk activity went. It's also useful for children to record onto objects or on diagrams to remind them of new vocabulary.

The initial outlay for the pen is quite reasonable and the stickers are cheap and can be recorded over many times. A really handy classroom tool!


Whiteboards, fans and similar resources support pupils in committing to an answer or idea and when used for reporting back enables the teacher to quickly scan the class or group to determine who has understood the concept.