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  1. #1
    shabani is offline Member
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    Default free discussion class

    For a discussion class,should a teacher give the topic in advance or just at the beginning of the class? Should the students be prepared for speaking or should they improvise?

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    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: free discussion class

    Quote Originally Posted by shabani View Post
    For a discussion class,should a teacher give the topic in advance or just at the beginning of the class? Should the students be prepared for speaking or should they improvise?
    It depends, on the level of the class for example, both ways can be good.

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    shabani is offline Member
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    Default Re: free discussion class

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    It depends, on the level of the class for example, both ways can be good.
    It's an upper-intermediate class.

  4. #4
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    bhaisahab is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: free discussion class

    Quote Originally Posted by shabani View Post
    It's an upper-intermediate class.
    If you want to test their ability to "think on their feet" then give the topic at the beginning of the class.

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    shabani is offline Member
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    Default Re: free discussion class

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    If you want to test their ability to "think on their feet" then give the topic at the beginning of the class.
    and is there any possible advantage of preparing themselves to TALK?

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    Default Re: free discussion class

    Quote Originally Posted by shabani View Post
    and is there any possible advantage of preparing themselves to TALK?
    Yes, there is an advantage. A well-planned conversation class can go completely down the tubes if the students have nothing to say. In fact, even allowing them to prepare might not be good enough if the topic does not interest them. If they're motivated by academic credits, then they'll force themselves to spit something out, but if they just want to improve their conversational ability in English, then they're only going to talk if they want to talk.

    I think the best way to plan for a conversation class is to get to understand the students first. You should get a feel for the class by starting out with plans that focus on everyone getting to know each other. Then go from there and develop an understanding of who is in your class. The so-called "syllabus" or preplanned idea, does not work, though it may be what the administrators want to see on paper. Forget what's on paper on go with your instincts and intuition. Do what you think is best in your mind and in your heart.

    Syllabus is a term that ought to be eliminated from the ESL or EFL dialog. The term "course outline" is much more appropriate.
    Last edited by PROESL; 12-Oct-2009 at 17:35.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: free discussion class

    Quote Originally Posted by shabani View Post
    and is there any possible advantage of preparing themselves to TALK?
    The title of the thread is 'free discussion class', so for a free discussion, preparing beforehand doesn't seem appropriate to me. In other discussions, preparation can be good as everyone should be in a position to make a contribution, though the downside can be if they try to learn a written text as this often makes for unnatural and stilted language, especially if it's not their own.

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    Default Re: free discussion class

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The title of the thread is 'free discussion class', so for a free discussion, preparing beforehand doesn't seem appropriate to me. In other discussions, preparation can be good as everyone should be in a position to make a contribution, though the downside can be if they try to learn a written text as this often makes for unnatural and stilted language, especially if it's not their own.
    Would this be to suggest that "everyone should talk and discuss whatever comes to mind?"

    I've found that freedom to do anything in such situations turns into freedom to do nothing.

    Even a "free discussion" class needs some limited degree of structure.
    Last edited by PROESL; 14-Oct-2009 at 05:01.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: free discussion class

    As the title suggests, a FREE discussion is an exchange of information about a topic which is chosen by the unanimous agreement of those involved in the discussion.

    But we deal with students in classrooms not professional commentators.

    The propose of holding such discussions is the only factor that can answer your question:

    If the free discussions are only meant to develop social and interpersonal skills, language
    is subordinated to group interaction. In this case, the discussion serves as a stimulating and motivating factor limited to psychological and behavioral proposes.

    However, if the free discussion is included in the curriculum of the institute as a criterion based on which you have to score the students and the focus of class is language in the right sense of the word, then itís the wisest policy to encourage the students to prepare themselves before attending the class.

    You know how difficult it would for the poor students to try to stammer something about a topic about which they have no iota of information.

    Methods of teaching influenced by humanistic psychology propose that anxiety and tension should be minimized as much as possible so that learning will be enhanced by a sense of security. After all, such classrooms seem to be promisingly active.


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    shabani is offline Member
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    Default Re: free discussion class

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    Would this be to suggest that "everyone should talk and discuss whatever comes to mind?"

    I've found that freedom to do anything in such situations turns into freedom to do nothing.

    Even a "free discussion" class needs some limited degree of structure.
    Yes.the problem is, if we let them do some research about the topic,they won't use their own words.They tend to use the words and structures they've just learned and it more sounds like a speech than a discussion class and I wonder if this helps the students improve their English or they forget those recently-learned materials.

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