Tips for Teaching English Learners Video Series: Using Turn and Talk to Encourage ELLs
The minds of English learners are always hard at work. Turn and Talk activities are a great break from formal instruction. They let students have fun and get moving as they practice their speaking and listening skills. These activities also allow them to join in small, informal discussions, which is far less intimidating than speaking in front of the whole class.
More than likely, you’re familiar with how Turn and Talk works. You pair-up students, pose a question or topic related to your lesson and then allow them to discuss as you walk around to observe and record their performance. When you’re getting started with Turn and Talk, assign roles for Partner A and Partner B. Begin by giving about one minute for Partner A to speak and then another minute for Partner B to take a turn. Some days, let Partner B go first to make sure they get equal participation time and that the same students aren’t always dominating the conversation.
You can also try a Turn and Talk variation called Second Set Partners where each student gets to interact with two friends over the duration of the activity, as opposed to just one. Here’s how it works: After your student pairs discuss the question or topic, each student turns to a second partner and shares the thoughts the first partner gave.
For example, if Jon and Emily are partners, Jon would tell his second partner, “Emily said a rock would sink because it is very heavy.” And Emily would tell her second partner, “Jon said the paper floats.” This Second Set Partners activity is also great practice for paraphrasing skills.