Oral Interaction

On this page you can download all the materials for developing oral interaction in the classroom which were disseminated at the PDC in MFL workshops in Summer 2012. To watch video clips showing how the Principles for oral interaction can be used in language classrooms click here. You will find other useful resources for developing oral interaction skills sent in to us by teachers here.

The research based Principles relating to oral interaction are:

Principle 1 Target language input is essential for learning but it can be made more effective if learners are encouraged to check the understanding of it by asking questions of what the teacher is saying or asking the teacher to repeat.

Principle 2 Learners need to be encouraged to speak spontaneously and to say things that they are not sure are correct

Principle 3 Less spontaneous oral interaction should nevertheless be of high quality.  By high quality we mean including substantial student turns; adequate wait time; cognitive challenge [e.g. by requiring a verb phrase or subordinate clause]; appropriate teacher feedback; nominating students rather than waiting for volunteers.

Principle 4 Students should be explicitly taught strategies to use when faced with communication difficulties. These should be used alongside techniques for developing their oral fluency, such as repetition of tasks and chunking of pre-learnt words into whole phrases.


  • A discussion activity.  Look at these pancake making lesson outlines.  Consider why/how these two approaches are different and what is the same that they are trying to achieve. If possible, discuss this with another person. Please write up brief summaries of your discussions and conclusions. If possible post them on our blog
  • A summary of indicators showing what constitutes ‘quality’ when speaking in the target language (Principle 3)

             Quality of target language interaction

  • These various tick sheets are for students to record times when they asked the teacher for help with saying something, when they answered a question in their head, or when they used conversation fillers. The teacher can then collect these in and add feedback. This document extends over 5 sides of A4 – please make sure you scroll down far enough!  Download tick sheets for oral interaction
  • New! Spanish conversation fillers are available here: conversation fillers_Spanish_German-French
  • Exercise for teachers: here are transcripts of two quite different lessons. Compare the two lessons in terms of effective or less effective teaching and learning, and list (as bullet points) key features that you would highlight.  Download the two lesson transcripts