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  1. EnglishRyan's Avatar
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      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 74
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    #1

    Conversation lesson tips

    Hey guys,

    I have been teaching ESL about 3 years now and love it!

    I was just wondering what your basic structure for a 1.5-2 hours conversation lesson looks like. I usually follow a pattern similar to:

    1. Ice-breaking question 'Have you ever...', 'Spot the lie...', etc
    2. 5-10 new vocabulary words/phrases/idioms for the day
    3. a small demo conversation perhaps in video/audio
    4. some conversation starter questions that stress the day's vocab (this usually leads into a class-discussion that carries on to the end of the period)

    The reason I am asking is because I recently moved to China (was in Dubai before) and am having a really hard time getting the students to engage in classroom conversation using this structure. (It worked great in Dubai; the students and I always wound up laughing our heads off! I also found the students would return to the following class having mastered the vocab introduced in the lesson.)

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,

    Ryan

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Thailand

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 348
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    #2

    Re: Conversation lesson tips

    Lots of reluctance to take a chance of loosing face in this part of the world!
    I find scripted dialogs work well. Model the language, ask students to answer, get students to ask, and finally get student-to-student "conversation" going.
    This follows the PPP teaching style.

  2. EnglishRyan's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 74
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    #3

    Re: Conversation lesson tips

    Thanks!


    • Join Date: Jan 2008
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    #4

    Re: Conversation lesson tips

    I'll add two comments to oregeezer's advice, as I think Japan (where I am) is quite similar to China with regards to losing face and standing out of the crowd.

    1. Give the students enough opportunity to practice the language. This means introducing the target language, and drilling it to establish a pattern in the students' minds. A lot of times classes are reluctant to speak because they don't feel confident with the language.

    2. Give the students the chance to pre-study the material. Give them a word list or a sample dialogue the day before the lesson, and let students prepare. This will also go a long way to building confidence.

    Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!

    Chris Cotter
    Heads Up English - Just print, and teach!
    English Lesson Plans | Heads Up English | ESL EFL

  3. EnglishRyan's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 74
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    #5

    Re: Conversation lesson tips

    Thanks Chris, great advice. I started emailing lesson plans to my students before we meet and it has made a huge difference (in the instances where they prepare before I arrive). Thanks!

    Ryan


    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 34
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    #6

    Re: Conversation lesson tips

    I'd also add, make sure the students see the dialogue, conversation in action....and I don't just mean a dry, listen to audio run.

    Role play with the teacher as model for one. Two, lots of videos out there. Real English has some good stuff in that vein.

    3. Nothing kills conversation other than it being two scripted. Really throw wrinkles into it and a blank cloze works wonders. But also extend, change names (to famous people) or situations/scenarios.

    4. Nothing kills conversation soon than students who don't know how to reply or question. Teach questions and make it an expectation that they ask questions during a conversation and also use the uh huh uh huh....(even do the song- lots of fun that one!)

    My few quick thoughts...

    ddeubel
    EFL CLASSROOM 2.0

  4. EnglishRyan's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 74
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    #7

    Re: Conversation lesson tips

    Thanks ddeubel! I will try it out

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