Several years ago I attended English courses here in Minsk. Our group was quite good at grammar but we were too shy to use our oral English skills in classroom. Then our teacher invented a special system for us.
A person who said even a word in Russian without teacher’s permission got a Black card. It were just pieces of paper. One side was all black and from the other side she wrote different penalties. Sometimes it was funny… but not for those who got them I think.
And the other part of those system was an exercise called “3 minutes of glory”. But we called it “3 minutes of shame”. Every lesson began with little lottery among students. Those one who “won” it must speak for 3 minutes in front of the audience. We didn’t have any specific topic for such appearances so every student set up his own topic. We heard a lot of different stories: one student described his summer in Turkey, a girl was speaking about her plans for the future, other guy was trying to translate his favorite song from Russian…
At first, this exercise was so difficult for us. We had to overcome our fears and start speaking. After several months we found out that it is funny and we are not afraid any more. So we began to speak and sometimes we needed even more than those 3 minutes to finish our stories. Yes, we made lots of mistakes but it didn’t really matter for our teacher at those time. She wanted to make us feel more confident.
My English is not perfect still but due to those courses I’m not shy to use it any more.