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Start the lesson speaking slow.  Increase your speed steadily.


Ask these questions:

  1. Can the student answer your question when we speak at a certain rate?

    1. If not can they answer it when you slow down?

      1. No=may be an issue with grammar or vocabulary.  Reword. 

      2. Yes=they have low listening skills


If the student answers your questions easily, speed up how fast you talk until they cannot answer or ask you to slow down. 


If you are unfamiliar with what different rates of speech sound like, check the links below.  Find the identify the speed that most closely matches how you speak when you speak 1) slowly, 2) normally, and 3) fast.  Use those numbers as a reference.  There’s no need to check the exact rate of speech. 


That is, if the student answered all your questions when you spoke slowly (maybe 150 wpm) but only half when you spoke at your normal rate (maybe 200 wmp), you can write something like, “the student answered 50% of questions correctly at a rate of 200 wmp.  This is a regular rate of speech for native speakers, so we will work to improve the students listening skills…” 

If they answer the wrong question, for example: you ask, “how old are you” and they say, “good”,  note that as evidence of low listening.


Rate of speech links:

  1. 120 wpm:

  2. 140-200 wpm:

  3. 250 wpm:





Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can the student speak in full sentences?

    1. No = weak grammar, this is not necessarily a sign of weak speaking. Note that they need to improve grammar before producing their own language.

    2. Yes = move on to next questions

  2. Does the student have long pauses when they speak?

  3. Does the student re-word often?

  4. Does the student use many filler words?

  5. Does it make you (the audience) tired to listen and understand?

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