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eLearning Blog: Tips to Encourage Spoken Language

Clare Roach, M.Ed. Itzxul Moreno, M.Ed. Jennifer Dees, M.Ed. Katy Walter Lichon, Ph.D. on Thursday, 23 April 2020.


Educators are navigating unprecedented challenges, and the ENL team has heard from many of you who have questions about English learners (ELs) and remote learning. We are responding to these concerns each week with strategies and suggestions.

We’ve addressed several topics in past posts including navigating communication, the digital divide, giving directions, and language supports. This post is a follow up from last week’s topic about modeling spoken language, and we offer ideas for helping students produce spoken English through eLearning assignments. 

Challenge: Now that we’re not in the classroom anymore, I am worried that my students aren’t getting to practice speaking in English. Often, my ELs are able to express themselves better in spoken English, as opposed to writing. So, how do I encourage speaking in my eLearning assignments? 

Purposeful inclusion of all of the four domains of language (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) in eLearning can be a challenge. But, with a bit of creativity, we can still give students opportunities to practice speaking in English. Remember, you can assess your ELs content knowledge through speech as opposed to writing. Here are a few ideas to try:

Short Recordings (Asynchronous)

Ask students a simple question and invite them to record their answer.

  • The Remind.com text messaging service allows for students to record short voice messages. Ask students to leave you a message at least once a week to encourage them to produce spoken English. You will be able to listen to these recordings on your cell phone or computer. 
  • Another platform that promotes oral production is FlipGrid.com, which allows students to create short video responses to a teacher’s question. If you’d like to see what FlipGrid can do, click here to respond to ENL’s FlipGrid question: What is an eLearning tip that you’ve found to be particularly helpful?

Digital Video Conferencing (Synchronous)

Google Hangouts and Zoom are two video conferencing applications that are being widely used to conduct live classroom conversation. A caring interaction with a teacher can go a long way in promoting engagement in eLearning. Check in with your principal before setting up a Google Hangout or Zoom meeting to ensure these are permissible under your diocesan technology policies.

If you want to learn more about these and other strategies, consider becoming an ENL Hernandez Fellow this year. We need more teacher-leaders equipped to advocate for the success of English learners in Catholic schools! If you are interested in applying or if you would like to submit a question for us to answer on this blog, please email Jennifer Dees at .

The ENL Team
Clare, Itzxul, Jenny, and Katy


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