LEARNER TRAINING

FOUR-THREE-TWO

This task is a spoken fluency development one where we use repetition and steadily decreasing time limits to encourage more and more focussed language. Don’t be tempted to change your story or ideas - it’s important that you keep the message the same.

The Basics

  1. Choose a topic that you want to talk about - it could be a very general one like ‘family’ or a more specific one like ‘your most recent holiday.’ Take a few moments to think about what you might like to say.

  2. Set the timer on your phone for four minutes. When the timer starts, start talking and don’t stop talking until the timer stops.

  3. Set the timer on your phone for three minutes. Repeat the exercise using the same stories, points or arguments you used before.

  4. Finally, do the same again but this time in two minutes.

Don’t be tempted to change your story each time you tell it. The value of this exercise comes in the repetition so it’s important that you keep the ideas the same, although the language you use may change as you think of better ways of expressing your point.

By reducing the time limit each time, we’re forcing ourselves to be more focussed and precise. It also pushes us to speak a little faster and hesitate less.

Adaptations

  1. If you’re preparing for an exam or an interview, why not use this to practise answers to common questions? If you think the final time is too long or too short, simply scale up or down: 3-2-1 or 7-6-5 will also work.

  2. Make it real! Use your friends or flatmates to help you - it can feel a bit weird talking to yourself so ask them to listen and ask you questions at the end.

  3. Record yourself. Listen back and become familiar with the sound of your own voice and what you typically say. Perhaps there are phrases you repeat a lot or mistakes you often make.

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