Speaking in English is something that many students find stressful or anxiety provoking. They can fear making mistakes, failing to understand the person they’re speaking too, or simply drying up. So shouldn’t we try to make speaking activities as stress free as possible?
There are certainly benefits to making sure students are well prepared, that they have the necessary language, that they have a clear idea of what the task demands. However, there are also some good arguments for not trying to remove all stress, and even adding some pressure at times
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Every teacher recognises the concept of the intermediate plateau.
Students at intermediate, or upper intermediate level start to feel that they aren’t making real progress anymore. They just don’t feel as if they’re getting significantly better, despite putting in plenty of hard work.
Feeling this way can be pretty de-motivating and it’s one of the key reasons why learners often give up at this stage.
In this post for the British Council Teaching English site, I explore how recent findings in neuroscience can help us motivate our learners to go beyond the plateau.
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