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Practice with Individualized Impromptu Speaking

by Megan Varney | 24 Jan 2023
Resource Description: In this lesson, students will review and practice effective techniques for impromptu speaking in an American academic or professional setting
Audience: Adult, University
Audience Language Proficiency: Advanced
Duration: 60 minutes
Language Skill: Speaking
Content Area: English for Specific Purposes, English for Academic Purposes, English for Occupational Purposes, military education
Materials and Technology:

After this lesson, students will be able to…

  1. Recognize the key elements of effective impromptu speaking.
  2. Respond to questions impromptu in a coherent and concise manner.

Before the lesson:

  1. Prepare materials according to the materials list.
  2. Provide students the Tongue and Quill reading and videos in advance to review before the lesson.
  3. Assign a student leader to facilitate a readings discussion during the lesson, asking the student to prepare 2-3 comprehension questions and 3-4 higher-order thinking questions on the lesson materials.
  4. Also ask the assigned student leader to prepare an impromptu-speaking question for the instructor based on the instructor’s area of expertise or prior professional experience.
  5. Create individualized impromptu-speaking questions for each student based on their areas of expertise or prior professional experiences; tailor question difficulty according to each student’s language ability.
  6. Decide whether slides or the whiteboard will be used during class; if slides, have slides ready for notetaking during class discussions.

During the lesson:

Prepare (5 min, whole class)

  1. Provide an overview of the lesson activities, explaining connections to the lesson objectives.
  2. Discuss the question, “What are real situations when you have needed or will need to speak impromptu?”

Present (10 min, whole class)

  1. Using their prepared comprehension and higher-order thinking questions, the student leader will facilitate a discussion to review key points from the lesson materials.
  2. To wrap up the discussion, collaborate as a class to build a list on the whiteboard/slides of key elements for effective and well-structured impromptu public speaking; students should use this list as a guide during their impromptu speeches and when providing feedback on others’ impromptu speeches.

Practice (10 min)

  1. (Whole class) Explain that you will give an example 2-minute impromptu speech, during which students should use the whiteboard/slides list as a guide to take notes for feedback, identifying strengths and areas to improve.
  2. Invite the lesson student leader to ask their prepared instructor impromptu-speech question; then, after 1 minute to prepare, deliver a 2-minute impromptu speech.
  3. (Pairs + whole class) After your speech, ask students to share their feedback first with a partner, then solicit feedback from the entire class, using the whiteboard/slides list as a guide.

Perform (35 min)

  1. (Individual students) Ask each student to deliver a 2-minute impromptu speech based on a question from the instructor on the student’s area of expertise or prior professional experience. Students will have 1 minute to prepare before delivering their speeches.
  2. (Whole class) During each speech, advise the other students to use the whiteboard/slides list as a guide to take notes for feedback, identifying strengths and areas to improve.
  3. After each speech, ask students to share their feedback for the speaker, starting with strengths and then offering constructive suggestions for areas to improve.
  4. Provide additional feedback as needed if any strengths or improvements are overlooked by the class, and make notes on which students met the objective and which may need additional practice and feedback.
TESOL Interest Section: English for Specific Purposes, Higher Education