Bringing a guest speaker into our class is an opportunity I always seek out !
My students are exposed to a different style of spoken English, and they also learn content that will benefit them in their education, in general !
To make sure that my studenrs get full benefit , I don’t just bring a guest in and let him/her speak, though…. I usually guide him/her and help them with ideas about what they can do with each one of my classes
I always prepare my students on the topic first! That is, after presenting my students with information about the speaker and the topic which she will discuss, I have each student write three to five follow up questions for our guest. For example, before Vicky Loras visited my class last week, I asked my students to think about what they would like to know about both her and her country . Thinking of questions for a guest speaker can be very challenging to most ESL students, especially if we ask them to do it on the spot .When Vicky finished talking to my students, I encouraged them to ask the questions they had written earlier in the week, as well as the ones they wrote down as she was speaking.
I also make sure that, I prepare my students on the speaker, too! The more I can prepare the students on what they will hear and experience, the less anxiety they will suffer. I encourage my students to do their best to understand our guest speaker and to let it go when they do not.
Behavior matters! I communicate with my students ahead of time what behavior is expected when listening to a guest speaker. I tell them that, they should listen quietly. They can ask questions, but it is most polite to wait until the end to do so.
I have to admit that, my students were really well behaved when Vicky arrived! I am really proud of them!
Also, I , always prepare my guest speakers as to the language level of my students before they coms to class to speak. Vicky for example, was well aware of the different levels of my classes before she stepped into each one of them.
To help my speakers, I make sure I have everything they would need for the presentation including a projector and our laptop!
Vicky was amazing at encouraging my students! The lower the language level of the class the more important this engagement is and Vicky was superb at this!
After Vicky had left and my clasess had asked their questions, I asked my students how they felt about the experience! They were just thrilled! They loved Vicky, they came to know so much about Canada, too! Few students told me that they had struggles understanding the speaker but, I told them it was perfectly normal for their level and age. Working with my students before she came and then again after she left made this good experience for my students even better.
I usually try to bring in speakers of different ages with different ethnic and geographical backgrounds. It is also helpful if the speaker is a native speaker of English ,since his or her speech patterns are more realistic even if more challenging for my students.
I have been thinking about how my class can benefit even more, by developing an ongoing relationship with our speakers. In Vicky’s case, it would be great if she could either visit again one day or, arrange a Skype meeting with our classes! How cool would that be?
Thank you Vicky Loras, for the opportunity to share a lesson with you ! I am looking forward to reading your comments about your visit in our classroom, in a future guest blog post!