"Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something." -Plato

Many can speak eloquent words whereas few take the time to listen and learn from others. The previously mentioned issue can be observed worldwide.

There is absolutely no one on the face of the planet who wants a friend or companion who always speaks but never listens!

Nonetheless, there still is hope for future generations of educated youngsters thanks to the spoken language topic from the GCSE English Language curriculum offered by many exam boards in the United Kingdom.

Why is this GCSE subject a great solution in creating listeners and not only speakers? Well, throughout the various sub-sections and group discussions every learner is taught to value, comprehend and build on classmates ideas which improve both speaking skills and listening skills.

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Speaking and Listening

listening to others
Speaking and listening skills are developed in classroom discussions and conversations. (Source: pixabay)

During this section of the GCSE English Language subject, the course material is designed to prepare students for effective face-to-face communication. Determining the audience and purpose while speaking creates meaningful conversations and influences an individual's speech to be more exciting and convincing.

When deciding upon on a specific style of speech, it is essential to think about who you are speaking to and why you are speaking to them. 

For example, a person usually speaks to his friends using a friendly, relaxed and informal pattern of speech. On the other hand, when presenting a lecture in front of an unfamiliar audience, a formal declaration is recommended for use.

The following questions are a great aid in preparing for speaking in listening exercises:

  • Who is your audience?
  • How old are they?
  • What do you want them to feel?

Your answers to these questions will help use speech that is best suited for the audience.

It is also vital to be clear about your purpose: do your presentations and discussions have the aim of persuading your audience to do something? Entertain? Share relevant information or give instructions?

The answers to the previously mentioned questions depend highly on the speaker and the purpose they wish to convey.

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Discussion Skills

The communication skills taught in this sub-section of the spoken language topic are essential in an academic setting and everyday life.

In a discussion, the student should learn to interact and respond to what other people are saying. When it is your turn to speak, express yourself with confidence and when it comes time for you to listen, focus your attention on the speaker.

Listeners can show that they are paying attention by making eye contact with the speaker and responding to what they have to say, use body language such as nodding or shrugging to demonstrate understanding, building on what others say and, finally, challenging the opinions of others.

The best discussions have a steady flow to them with people agreeing and disagreeing by giving well thought out explanations to their viewpoints. 

When having productive classroom discussions, where everyone feels listened to and respected, it is necessary to avoid interruption, cutting people off mid-sentence, talking over other people and breaking off into other minor discussions within a large group.

For respect to be earned and returned, all pupils should have the goal of being polite, positive and balanced. 

By using effective sentence starters to build on others arguments or opinions, a student is demonstrating evidence of the fact that they have thoroughly listened to the conversation.

It is important to note that various opinions and arguments are welcomed since the purpose of a discussion is to open up an issue and invite a wide range of interpretations.

Standard English

Standard English is a variety of English that is the most widely understood by the majority of people and is the most suitable for formal occasions when the audience is rather large or unknown.

It is important to note that there are no informal language, colloquialisms or dialect words that are frequently included in Standard English.

Individual Presentations

When preparing speeches or personal presentations, it is important to be well-prepared because your audience may ask questions about your topic. To get started in presenting an address that is suited for the needs of a specific audience, answering the following items is invaluable:

  • What is the subject of the presentation?
  • To whom are you presenting?
  • Why have you chosen this topic?
  • Why should your audience listen?

The best oral presentations are consistently about topics that interest the speaker.

To better prepare for speaking exercises, role-playing is part of the curriculum from the GCSE English Language subject. During a role play, pupils think about their voice, facial expressions, movement, posture and gestures to create a character they know.

Personal Presence

Body language plays an integral part in our everyday communication with other individuals. A person can dramatically enhance or undermine what they wish to say in face-to-face conversations depending on their use of body language.

It is important to be watchful of your body language when speaking and listening to others since eye contact, gestures and posture can all impact the way you talk and convey volumes to the people with whom you are conversing. 

Eye Contact

Eye contact is an essential aspect of communication with others. It would be bizarre for a person to speak to an individual while looking at someone else. When talking to a broad audience, the speaker makes brief eye contact with many people to help everyone feel included in the speech.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that too much eye contact can make someone uncomfortable. 


By our posture, we give clues to others about what we are thinking. Paying constant attention to position can aid us in conveying a message more clearly to other people. The following are some examples of posture and what they generally mean to other people:

  • Leaning slightly towards a speaker: suggests interest in a topic,
  • Tilting your head to one side: demonstrates the fact that you are listening,
  • Standing with both feet firmly on the ground and chin up: this can be recognised worldwide as a position of confidence,
  • Standing with most of your weight on one foot: indicates that an individual is uncertain about a specific subject,
  • Folding your arms: suggests disagreement to the question mentioned.

The examples mentioned above of posture can be recognised worldwide by a wide range of individuals.

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speaking in an effective manner
Carefully planned gestures can have a profound effect during oral presentations. (Source: pixabay)

Gestures are natural movements that we make when we speak, they are incredibly beneficial, and many equate them with higher intelligence. The previously mentioned fact has been proven right by researchers who have recently discovered that infants who use more hand gestures at 18 months will have greater language abilities later on in life.

Believe it or not, effective writers are also uncannily good at speaking. Discover how you can improve your writing skills... 

It is important to state that not all gestures are recognised worldwide. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended to use purposeful gestures to create emotion and capture the attention of your audience. An audience can understand carefully chosen gestures even if they cannot hear the speaker.

Some of the most commonly used gestures include open hands, arms folded, pointing, nodding and holding the chin.


The meaning of the words that we speak is affected by the way we use our voice. We can effectively use our voice to continue intriguing our listeners, emphasise a point or create humour.

The primary things we can change when using our voice include tone, pitch & volume and pronunciation that are further discussed in the following list:

  • Tone: your tone of voice can affect the meaning of your words. To have successful conversations your sound must match your message or subject matter. The tone must vary to avoid boredom among listeners. No one in their right mind wants to listen to a speaker who lacks conviction and has a monotone way of speaking,
  • Pitch and volume: volume is how high, low or loud your voice is and how it rises and falls while you talk is known as pitch. When a speaker varies their volume, the speech or discussion has a more powerful effect among those who are listening,
  • Enunciation: even the strongest accents can be clearly understood when the vowels and consonants are articulated clearly. Enunciation is defined as the act of pronouncing words correctly and is crucial to make sure that your message is understood.

Voice exercises can be accomplished to become a seasoned speaker that speaks naturally and expressively.

Individual Research Presentation

the best presentations
The individual researched presentation requires students to improve their research abilities and deliver a well-organised presentation. (Source: pixabay)

The individual researched presentation is a fundamental part of the GCSE English Language subject that needs to be presented in front of an audience.

The information is presented in front of your teacher and a few classmates and needs to be delivered creatively and coherently. The focus is not so much on what you say but how you say it.

Every student may be given a theme or may be asked to choose a topic. Careful preparation is vital during this talk that lasts no longer than 1o minutes.

Research skills are honed and a list of things to do and not to do help students prepare in an effective method. Some things to do include the following:

  • Be fully equipped with a notepad, pen and highlighter before researching,
  • Make sure you have decided which topic you will present,
  • Use a library or the internet to grasp an understanding of the knowledge of the subject chosen,
  • Make a note of where you found your information.

Here are a few examples of things not to do:

  • Don't print out a bunch of references from the internet and convince yourself that you have completed useful research,
  • Be careful about which internet sites you use.

Standard English is expected to be used throughout your individual researched presentation. Informal language and too many informal abbreviations such as wouldn't or shouldn't need to be avoided at all times.

Part of the preparation period includes choosing vocabulary words that are wide-ranging and sophisticated. Researching and adding new words to your vocabulary that is linked to your topic will impress those who are listening to you.

Planning a presentation that presents your information in a highly structured and purposeful way is expected from the educator who is grading your assignment.

The following is a suggested structure that should be followed to keep your thoughts on track and faithful to your topic:

  • Introduction: introduce your topic and explain why it is important to you. Mention a few of the main characteristics of your topic to capture interest,
  • Main body: students should aim to cover at least five main points about your topic. Intriguing information about your argument should be shared in this section such as statistics, anecdotes and pieces of evidence,
  • Conclusion: this is the end of your presentation, and you should briefly summarise all the main points covered and thank the audience for paying attention.

A wide variety of tips such as making eye contact with the audience, fluid delivery, clearly answer the questions at the end of the presentation and remembering to use Standard English throughout the entire presentation is invaluable and guaranteed to ensure success.

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Responding and Interacting

Regularly participating in group discussions improves communication with fellow classmates and improves pupils abilities to express their thoughts or opinions in front of an audience.

The responding and interacting sub-section of the GCSE English Language curriculum provides all interested youngsters with a wealth of useful tips. The most remarkable suggestions include the following:

  • Use Standard English throughout the discussion,
  • Ask open-ended questions,
  • Use a variety of sentence starters,
  • Listen carefully to the opinion of others without interrupting,
  • Respectfully comment on what other classmates say,
  • Contribute to a temperate and judgement-free zone where all views are heard.

All of the sections included in the spoken language topic of the GCSE English Language subject contribute to improving language skills and forming generations of seasoned listeners and speakers.

While the spoken language topic of the English Language GCSE is essential and effective, there are other crucial topics worthy of consideration such as analysing fiction texts, reviewing non-fiction writings, competently comparing literary works, and writing fiction and non-fiction texts.

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