6 Fluency Activities for the ESL Classroom

Language teachers know that learners should produce language in a written or spoken form however you can approach those activities in two different ways.

A language teacher could focus on either one of those two aspects:

  • Fluency
  • Accuracy

Accuracy is the ability to produce correct language including the use of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

Fluency refers to how well a learner communicates meaning rather than how many mistakes they make in grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary.

Now that you understand those two basic approaches used in production activities.

  • What’s your aim in production tasks?
  • Do you focus on fluency over accuracy?
  • Do you focus more on accuracy?
  • What criteria do you use to choose one or the other in your classes?

Why Focusing on Fluency?

These are some reasons why you should focus on helping students to develop fluency in writing and speaking:

  • These activities help learners become effective communicators of English.
  • Students will develop the ability to communicate smoothly over time.
  • Focusing on fluency and seeing what they can do with the language can be a powerful move to boost their motivation.

Considerations when Promoting Fluency

These are some considerations you should have when promoting fluency.

  • Tell students not to worry about making mistakes.
  • Use fun activities to get students talking
  • Start your classes focusing on accuracy and then move on to activities that focus on fluency.
  • Ask students to talk or write freely about their interests.
  • Ask students to speak as quickly as possible

Fluency Activities for the ESL Classroom

Remember that fluency activities for the ESL classroom deal with the two productive skills which are speaking and writing.

Let’s explore some of those activities that you can easily implement in the ESL classroom

#1 Incomplete Sentences

You can use these activity to promote speaking and writing Fluency.

You have to provide students with some expressions, those expressions are incomplete thoughts that students should complete in written and spoken form.

For example:

You can use these to see how much students can produce using the simple past:

  • On Sunday I usually…
  • On Monday I…
  • I never…
  • I always…

You can use these to see how much students can produce using the simple past:

  • Yesterday I…
  • Last Year was…
  • In 2012 I was…

You can do that with any other tense in English

#2 Ask Me Questions

Choose a topic that most learners should know something about such as family, your last vacation, and school memories.

Tell learners to talk or write as much as they can about the topic.

You can set a time limit so students produce as much information as they can.

You can even integrate the two productive skills, you can tell to provide as much information as possible, and then you can ask them to share what they wrote with another classmate.

#3 Ask Me Why

This is a speaking activity to promote fluency, students can make this activity in pairs or in groups of three.

One of the students makes a statement and their partner has to ask for his reasons.

Let’s take a look at this example:

  • I like watching UFC Fights
  • Why do you enjoy watching UFC Fights?
  • Because it is an art, the art of fighting
  • Why is MMA an art?
  • Because fighters can do things like most people can’t do
  • Like what?
  • They can wrestle, strike, kick, and other things
  • Would you like to learn how to fight like that?
  • I would love to learn a fighting style
  • What fighting style would you like to learn?
  • I would like to learn Muay Thai

The conversation can continue for an undefined period of time if students set their minds to it.

#4 Ranking with Mentimeter

You should create a survey in Mentimeter in which students have to rank some options from one to ten.

For example, they can rank 7 options about how they would spend $500 in an hour.

Once they have ranked their options, they can write as much as they want about the topic or they can talk for five minutes or so about why they ranked those options in the way they did.

#5 Picture Description

Select a picture from a free stock images website such as Pexels or Unsplash.

Ask learners to provide as much information in written or spoken form.

The point is that you have to deduce a lot of things just by looking at a single image.

That requires creativity and the ability to think fast.

#6 Record a Summary

Another task to promote fluency in the ESL classroom is giving your students reading.

The reading can be about something controversial, they have to record their views and analyze the recording and see how they can make improvements to it.

Tell them to stop after five tries or until they are satisfied with their performance

Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of EnglishPost.org, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English