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Speaking frames to build confidence and skills

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:30 by NZTecAdmin

A speaking frame provides a strategy for breaking down and analysing 'what we say' and 'how we say it' in familiar and unfamiliar circumstances. Thinking about speaking frames and using speaking frame grids in your course may help your trainees understand

• the way they speak – and best ways to interact in different contexts

• gestures and other body language that help or hinder successful communication

• what they bring to the conversation in terms of attitude and approach

• what they can already say – and now need to say – scripting where necessary.

This resource

  • describes some common and less common speaking frames
  • shows an example of a speaking frame grid
  • encourages you to reflect on your learners speaking skills against course or job demands, and think about how to address gaps between the two.

Examples of speaking frames in everyday life

Find out which speaking skills your learners have experienced or seen modelled in their own lives - at home, at school or in the community.

Speaking frames in a carpentry context

Carpenters Speaking and Listening Demands


Suppose a trainee discovers the need to discuss problems with a plan or design with supervisor or other carpenters.

Although the trainee is good at speaking about things that matter to him (intrinsic motivation)...

he finds it more challenging to speak up about a problem he sees at the workplace.

The tutor may use the teaching sequence of a Speaking Frame to help the trainee with this.

Teaching Sequence for Speaking Frames

The teaching sequence outlined here can be used to train learners how to prepare to speak in unfamiliar or challenging situations.

  1. Elicit the process, approach and possible scripts
  2. Discuss body language or attitudes that may be important
  3. Create a glossary or set of vocabulary around the context
  4. Link to future vocational pathway

The grid below serves as a framework for the teaching sequence.

Watch the video to see the teaching sequence in action:

Speaking frames introduction

Speaking frames example

The completed grid

Key literacy outcomes

Some benefits of using speaking frames for embedded literacy teaching:

  • Models familiar and unfamiliar speaking processes
  • Develops confidence and encourages clarity of expression
  • Provides opportunity to use technical vocabulary or specialised words and create glossaries or word lists relevant to context
  • Helps learners understand meaning of new language and expressions
  • Models appropriate use of language and register



If you have any comments please contact us.

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Knowing the Demands Knowing the Learner Knowing the What to Do

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