An underpinning assumption of helping students to talk in a more expert fashion or to talk in a more fruitful way with others is their confidence to talk in the first place. Some students will find talking challenging. Research suggests that a teacher’s role is critical here as they facilitate opportunities to talk through prompting or inviting students to talk and encouragement from a teacher goes a long way too. For example, making deliberate attempts to read over the shoulder of reluctant speakers in class, praising aspects of their work, and inviting them to contribute to subsequent class discussions can provide them with confidence that they have something meaningful to say.

When students build the confidence to speak, how can they do this well and in a self-assured manner? Students should consider their voice including their pace, tone, pronunciation and projection. With respect to body language, confident speakers may use gestures, consider their posture and facial expressions as well as use eye contact.