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  1. #1
    a_vee's Avatar
    a_vee is offline Junior Member
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    Default My student wants to practice English

    Hi everybody,

    I have a 1:1 student who comes to my place for an informal speaking class, just to keep her English alive, so to speak. I do conversation with her and a few grammar lessons and exercises.


    Here's the thing: I'm not a spontaneous conversationalist, and I have basically exhausted my conversation topic books and lists, and the game I bought isn't a real hit. I don't want to start talking about topics that would make us both feel weird.

    What have you been able to use successfully? I have some ideas, but I'm sure you guys have great ideas too. Thank you so much for reading.

  2. #2
    Dave Skypelessons is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: My student wants to practice English

    Hi!

    Have you tried giving her TV shows to watch for homework, and then discussing them in class?

    I do this with all sorts of shows (because I understand - after a year of 3 lessons a week, you've very often talked about everything that you could possibly think of). It doesn't matter which TV shows/films you choose. You just have to decide on one (which the student likes) and then both watch it for the lesson. I have a number of lessons already written here, and available for free (they cover IT Crowd/Sherlock/The Office/Jamie Oliver....I'm currently writing lessons for the old 'Game On' BBC comedy)

    English Video Lessons - Skype Lessons

    But its not actually necessary to use my lessons - they are just for additional vocab + grammar and to give the TV show course some structure. You could just find something else which she would like to watch, and then watch it yourself too. That will give you something to talk about. She retells the plot, and then you discuss any themes which come up in the show.

    Happy teaching,

    Dave

  3. #3
    a_vee's Avatar
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    Default Re: My student wants to practice English

    Homework is a no-go, actually.

  4. #4
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: My student wants to practice English

    With my conversation students in Madrid, I used to bring English magazines or newspapers along, or print stories from the net and spend the first 5 minutes letting the student read through some things I'd marked (I would frequently ask them to read the story aloud as that helps with pronunciation and syllable stress). We would then choose one and talk about it. Sometimes the conversation would get really interesting and last the whole hour and sometimes it would drift off on a tangent and change subject. It didn't matter as long as the conversation kept going.

    I found some things could get them really going and of course sometimes were a complete flop but that was pretty clear pretty fast and I would just find another article or topic to start on.

    Another favourite I had was taking along a photograph, one of my own or ripped out of a magazine, which had people in strange positions or with odd looks on their faces but always where it really wasn't clear what was happening without the caption under the picture. I would then just say "What on earth do you think was going on here?" and get them to make up a whole back story for the photo. I would interject with open questions to make sure that they were doing the majority of the talking (the most important thing in a conversation class).

  5. #5
    I'm With Stupid's Avatar
    I'm With Stupid is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: My student wants to practice English

    Do a project together.
    Try shadowing rather than just normal conversation.
    Games that involve talking for a set time limit on something.
    Board games.
    Dictagloss.

    Yeah, I'm also not a natural conversationalist, and so prefer to have a more structured approach to any free conversation section of a class. Perhaps as simple as writing 20 questions about a topic and having students turn them over one at a time and ask someone else in the group.

  6. #6
    a_vee's Avatar
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    Default Re: My student wants to practice English

    Quote Originally Posted by I'm With Stupid View Post
    Do a project together.
    Try shadowing rather than just normal conversation.
    Games that involve talking for a set time limit on something.
    Board games.
    Dictagloss.
    Thank you. Do you mind if I ask what you mean by "shadowing"?

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