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Speak Up! 5 Recording Tips for Students

April 16, 2021

You can now practice your speaking using ESL Library tasks! Your teacher will assign you a speaking task for homework. You will see this task on your student dashboard. A speaking task may be one question or a few questions. You always have 2 minutes to answer each question. 

Here are 5 Speaking Tips 

1. Read and Reread the Instructions

Read the intructions carefully. Did you already start the task? You can review the instructions by clicking on the i in the top right corner. 

instructions modal

2. Study the Prompt

Every speaking task is different. The prompt might be a question, a picture, or a listening task. Study the prompt before you speak.

speaking task example

Note: There may also be a reference that you need to look at. Click the View Reference button if you see one. Some text or a video will appear. This will help you answer the question.

3. Make a Plan

Take a bit of time to plan what you want to say. There is no time limit. Take some notes. Your teacher will be able to see how long you spent on the task (not just the recording time).

speaking plan example

4. Practice

Practice before you submit your final recording. Record your answer and listen to it. Did you speak loudly and clearly? Did you say everything you wanted to say? If you want to try again, delete the audio and re-record it. 

Check that there is no background noise in your room. Make sure you are close to your microphone. Do not cover your microphone with your hand.

Review Answer

If you are happy with your recordings, submit your responses to your teacher!


5. Review the Feedback

Your teacher can leave you feedback about your speaking activity. After your teacher leaves you feedback, you will see a speech bubble on your dashboard beside the speaking task. Review your teacher's feedback or rating. You can try again if you want to improve!

Teacher Feedback


  • instructions (noun): information about what to do
  • prompt (noun): the text, audio, or picture you are going to speak about
  • reference (noun): an extra prompt to help you answer the question
  • plan (verb): to think about what you want to say
  • delete (verb): to erase your response
  • re-record (verb): to record your response again
  • submit (verb): to send the file to your teacher
  • feedback (noun): your teacher's notes and rating
  • speech bubble (noun): a comic icon that you write spoken words in (see image at the top of this blog post)
  • dashboard (noun): the place you go to find digital assignments from your teacher 

Waiting for speaking assignments? Ask your teacher to assign you some tasks from our Speak Up resources (Beg–Low IntLow Int–InHigh Int–Adv). Your teacher can also assign a task called Pronounce Your Name from the digital version of this Discussion Starters lesson. 

Video Demo for Teachers

Teachers: Please take our short Speaking Task Survey to help us improve this task type. Thank you!

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Comments (19)

Jéssica A.(Teacher)

I loved this new task!

Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

Great! We'll be adding this new task type to lots of lessons. Be sure to let us know if you have any special requests!

Miriam S.(Teacher)

I tried out this new task myself. I recorded my answers and tried to listen to them , but could not get any audio response. What am i doing wrong ?


Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

Hi Miriam,
Do you mean the playback did not work in the Review Answer step or do you mean you can't access the responses after you hit Submit? This task is meant for asynchronous learning, so the student leaves a recording and submits it to the teacher. If you test it with a teacher account, you don't actually submit the audio anywhere, so you can't review the audio after that. You should be able to hear it in the Review stage, though. Please let us know where you are having trouble. Thanks!

Luella S.(Teacher)

I think I like this...will have to see if my class can understand the instructions--especially if I cannot do it with them first.

Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

Hi Luella,
You can definitely use the Task Player to show them how to do this task. The only thing that is different for them is that they send their work to an actual person (you). The Thank you message also adds a line saying that their teacher will review the recordings.

Valerie S.(Teacher)

Will this also be available for CLB 0-2 levels? I would love to try this with my Beginner class.

Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

Hi, Valerie. We will definitely add Speaking tasks to our beginner-level lessons now that we have this task type. Let us know if you have any specific requests for prompts, question styles, or themes!

Melanie G.(Teacher)

Can you add a speaking task about work? Please

Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

For sure! We can add a Work theme to Speak Up and can add this task type to some other work-related lessons. Let us know if there is an existing work-themed lesson where you’d like to see speaking tasks.

Arthur M.(Teacher)

This new task has been part of my students' weekly homework. Thanks ESL library.

Reply to Comment

Lei Kayanuma(Author)

Thank you, Arthur! We're happy to hear that you are making great use of our Speaking Tasks :)

Rosalind R.(Teacher)

I do one-to-one online teaching and share the page with my students who live in a different country from me. This is a fantastic tool for them to autocorrect their pronunciation errors. It would be nice to have a beginner/low intermediate level on greetings: hello, how are you? etc...
Thank you for everything.

Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

Hi, Rosalind! Thanks for your message and suggestion. We'll be working on adding more speaking tasks to our Functional English section very soon. I'll move the lesson on greetings up to our priority list!

Marilyn H.(Teacher)

What do you think of putting all the resources that have speaking tasks available into a named collection ( with their CLB levels) so that it is easy to find them quickly?

Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

Hi Marilyn,

We talked about doing something like this, but actually our goal is to have a speaking task in almost every lesson. We have added almost 1,000 speaking tasks already and plan to continue adding speaking tasks to older and new lessons. If there's a section you are curious about or want to see speaking tasks in, please let us know! Thanks! ~ Tara

Marilyn H.(Teacher)

Would love to see more speaking tasks/assessment tasks in higher levels .

Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

Hi Marilyn! We have speaking tasks in many of our higher level lessons. Check out Discussion Starters and The Washington Post sections. Look for the task type called "Personal Response."

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