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  1. #1
    cutieboy01 is offline Newbie
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    Exclamation Conversation Workshop

    Hello everyone!

    I need your help. I was assigned to hold a Conversation Club in a group of 10 girls who are 13 and 14 years old!! So, as you may guess...They're so difficult to please when it comes to topics or activities to do. I've got just 45 minutes to develop the "lesson plan". Every day I have to choose a different topic. I don't know what I should do in 45 minutes so they can learn, without getting bored. How can I get them to talk? Should I split them up by teams? I've tried it by pairs. But I'd like to try something new. Please help me out. Just keep in mind they're 13-14 years old, and 45 minutes to go.

  2. #2
    mgaryza is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Conversation Workshop

    I,m not a teacher, but a mother. Girls are interested in music, films, fashion, friends, to travel, future studies or professions, boys, teenage literature (vampires, Harry Potter, etc), television programs, computers, for example.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Conversation Workshop

    What sort of topics have you used?

  4. #4
    cutieboy01 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Conversation Workshop

    I've just started this week working with the girls, and so far we've just talked about languages. I know they're interested in TV Shows, music, etc. What I don't know is how to develop a topic in 45 minutes, without getting them bored. Taking into consideration they're just 13-14 years. How should I start? Giving them vocabulary? Since it's just a workshop, they don't have book, so I don't have any book as resource, I have to choose the subjects and make them speak! I'm so overwhelmed...I'd appreciate your help a lot. Thank you.

  5. #5
    JoanneL's Avatar
    JoanneL is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Conversation Workshop

    Perhaps besides thinking of a topic, you should have a target language item that you want them to use while conversing about a topic.
    So providing some useful vocabulary as well as introducing the target language item will eat up part of the 45 mins....and the rest of the time is for conversing :)

    I've no idea on how proficient your girls are but for example...if the topic is on music, perhaps the target language could be phrases to show like or dislike.
    For example:
    I can't stand...
    ... drives me crazy.
    I'm crazy about....
    I adore...
    I don't care much for....

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6
    cutieboy01 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Conversation Workshop

    Music and Languages.

  7. #7
    eslwriter is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Conversation Workshop

    Hi cutieboy01,

    The choice of topics is important. But you might need to consider the medium. Hoping that teenagers will sit down and engage in a 45 conversation on a topic is wishful thinking and potentially disastrous for the teacher.

    Here are a few suggestions based on 10+ years ESL teaching in Asia.

    1. plan activities in chunks. Probably two 20 minute chunks per 45 minute class.
    2. use one roaming activity per class; where students walk around and meet others.
    3. use pair activities that require imagination or problem solving. I like "which one is different" - A reads 4 words and B says which one is different. Any reason is OK as long as it is logical.

    That's it for now. Grab the website link from my profile and you'll find more useful activities.

    Good luck and let us know how it's going.

  8. #8
    lkw787 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Conversation Workshop

    In my experience having THEM come up with the topics they want to discuss or write about is a great way to go and picking one of them (say one with a dominant personality) to stand at the blackboard and write down other students' suggestions also helps harness the natural "leader's" energy in a constructive way. After they generate a list of about ten subjects or so (listed on the board) you can ask them to vote as a group on which one they will ALL write about. The only rule really is that they do what you ask them. I had one girl (when I taught freshman composition at UMass Amherst) routinely try to undermine these in-class assignments by coming up with joke ideas, snotty thumb your nose at the teacher answers. (I guess requiring students to think independently rubs some of them the wrong way.)

    When students write about topics that interest them (rather than ones they pick to please an authority figure like a teacher or a parent) they really engage with the assignment, making it THEIR OWN. This is the biggest challenge (I find) in teaching --- how to get the students to write and learn FOR THEMSELVES rather than just to please the figure in charge or to get a good grade.

    The best college course I ever took as an undergraduate at NYU had us ask "open questions" (ie questions we didn't already know the answer to.) Then, as a class, we had to all write on that question for an entire semester in order to come up with a collaborative answer. Of course we all made the question "our own" in separate essays but together the separate essays made a great "quilt" on the same theme. My final paper on our question: is it possible to be religious and be ethical? (subquestions: what do we mean by the term "religious" what do we mean when we say "ethical?") literally changed my life.

    Hope this helps you get the girls interested. In brief: harness THEIR tendencies to talk and to collaborate if you can. As someone I know once commented, "Sometimes it's easier to ride the horse in the direction it is already going." LOL.

    Have fun and good luck!

    Sincerely,

    Lisa

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