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  1. #1
    varunled is offline Newbie
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    Lightbulb Help-developing a course for speaking english

    hello! everyone... i've got myself in a conundrum of some sorts and I'd be glad if you guys can help me solve it.

    I've been teaching academic english (as a private tutor in new delhi, india) for about 2 years now as i've good understanding of literature and grammar and I'm good with communications and it's also because i love teaching and languages (i'm intermediate french and basic spanish with some sanskrit and bengali), i want to develop a course for spoken english for my students which should have a duration of no more than 4 months, it should have functional grammer+idioms/phrases/ some presentation skills with some confidence building exercises (because here in india the people know what they want to say but are always afraid that they might come out incorrect so i think some cbe would be helpful)and oral material and of course lots of speaking in real life situations and exposure to english via songs, movies, tv etc which i'll arrange myself; the problem is i'm having a hard time comprehending how i should go about it? like how to start and then in what kind of chronological order of exercises should i start and end things with? generally the students have an intermediate level-1 understanding of english, so my course will be focused on these students to enhance their skills.

    can someone please help me develop something like this!

    (in b/w i'm new to social networking and forums so if i made a mistake somewhere i apologise for that, i also want to develop a course for buiseness communications later, so if anybody wants to work together on these things i would really appreciate it, i've a lot of useful material (around 20 gigs on my pc) , also i would love to talk to other english teachers from around the world and exchange methods and develop new techniques)

    any help is much appreciated

  2. #2
    purplefool is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Help-developing a course for speaking english

    conversation courses have been my bread and butter for the last 7 years here in Germany and i would be very happy to help you develop some strategies...however, then you should take a look at my soon-to-be posted question about business english!

    as for speaking english, your problems with hesitation are the same here in germany. a false word is the equivalent to being dubbed an idiot. this has been hard to counter, but i have made some good headway. first off, the thing i inform my students is that, not only are mistakes ok, they are mandatory for 2 reasons: 1 i need to know where their problems are and where i can tailor the course to help them learn and 2 everybody makes linguistic mistakes...even in their mother tongue! since language is a way to communicate and, by definition, communication has nothing to do with grammar, mistakes are ok. however, grammar is important to refine communication and that is why i am there. 'make the mistakes so that i can do my job and help you!' is what i usually end up saying. it works. it is also important for them to realize that if they don't make mistakes they would have no reason to come to me...perfect english doesn't require my teaching skills.

    this is a method to help them understand that the mistakes they make are ok and essential to their learning. it is not easy to do, but in the long run, it is very helpful!

    as to conversation, i usually begin with them writing for/telling me what it is that really interests them. everything from music and films to hobbies and dreams. these are then incorporated into my teaching material. i challenge the students to 'bore' me. i show interest and minimal competence in almost everything they wish to talk about and am willing to show my ignorance too. this is important to let the students 'teach the teacher' and feel important.

    i steer clear of using english books based on several things. first off, it is hard to get american english books here and my british english is (out of respect for native british speakers) very limited. also, a book is usually not 'up-to-date' in it's language use and/or to generic. the only books that i have enjoyed using are either those with a continuous theme or just copied sections of the 100s that i have. otherwise i use the internet very hard and create worksheets on my own for specific topics(good conversation beginners!)

    i use grammar as a scaffolding for language acquisition, focusing on one form and working it into the topic of the day. then i compare two related forms (present simple and continuous or simple past and present perfect etc.) and build from there.

    if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!

  3. #3
    varunled is offline Newbie
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    Smile Re: Help-developing a course for speaking english

    hi! thanks for the quick reply, you've just said all the things that i was thinking i'll start with, seriously my approach is going to be the same plus with some other pointers like making them call on one of those toll free nos. and have them speak in english (i think it would be fun?) and some other practical exercises like going to the market place and have them make small conversation, some tongue twisters and rapid fire rounds where they have to use adjectives and verbs like for example - i'll say a girl and they can add stuff like intelligent,poor..( and so so many other practical exercises and ways i've thought of (TA-da my day-dreaming creative mind finally at play) and gradually have them speak quickly and have them make sentences and all that, i'am really gonna ask them to start thinking in english i think that's how i eventually started speaking.... thanks for all the pointers
    but my real question was how to make a proper curriculum? so that i don't get stuck in between and start wondering what to do next? I've a natural american accent and i think that is the way to go these days because in official places it is preferred and even the world over it is far more understandable and seems to be more in use (no offense to the queen's english!!)

  4. #4
    iainmac is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Help-developing a course for speaking english

    Hello -
    I was interested in purplefool's assertion that:
    "communication - by definition - has nothing to do with grammar."
    Could you give the definition of communication you refer to?

    It's certainly true that the study of grammar can have nothing to do with communication and that an obsession with rules and accuracy can block many speakers' attempts to communicate.
    However, successful communication in most situations is largely linked to 'grammar' - problems emerge when the two are seen and addressed as being separate.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Help-developing a course for speaking english

    Quote Originally Posted by varunled View Post
    i've a lot of useful material (around 20 gigs on my pc)
    This site is registered in the UK and on a server there, so we are bound by the very strict copyright laws in operation there, so please be very careful about sharing things- anything that is copyright cannot be shared through the site and we have to delete any links to such materials. Thanks

  6. #6
    varunled is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Help-developing a course for speaking english

    @ iainmac - Basic grammar functions should be clear with any speaker of any given language and i think whether consciously or sub sub-consciously speakers get to know some rules when they start speaking and make progress, so i do agree with you and that is why over the years I've made some core grammar rules to help my students understand the "rules" of speaking and working with English. Some protocols have to be followed!

    @Tdol - Point duly noted! Thank you for the message (though i would have liked it better if you'd have given some pointers for my question being an administrator and far more experienced than me and all but thank you nonetheless)

    @Everyone else - You people do come and view this thread why not put some ideas in it too
    - Thank You

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