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    #1

    Unhappy Dynamic lessons

    Hello!
    My name is Silvia and I am an English teacher in Madrid. I work at a language school and I have a class of two adult learners (level B2) who do not want to use any kind of book and want to practise English by just speaking, playing games. They are willing to complete photocopied exercises but they don't like this very much. I only teach them once a week and the length of the class is one and a half hours.
    I do not have much teaching experience so I am a bit worried about what to do with them, they want very dynamic classes but I do not know how to make the whole class that active. What kind of activities would you suggest? How would you organise the class? Any advice is very much appreciated.
    Last edited by teechar; 23-Sep-2017 at 14:56. Reason: typos

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Dynamic lessons

    Hi Silvia, and welcome to the forum!

    I have experience here! I used to teach in Madrid - I taught almost exclusively adults, with no more than two students per lesson, and I only used textbooks with one student. I mainly taught conversational English although, when required, I helped them with speeches, job interview techniques or anything else they wanted.

    I can sympathise entirely with your situation. 90 minutes is a long time to keep a lesson going with just conversation.

    The trick, I found, was to spend a decent amount of time finding out what they're really interested in. If you can start each lesson on a topic they find interesting and which they really want to talk about, the conversation should start to flow freely. From there, it's relatively easy to go "off topic" and move on to other topics. I certainly recommend going along with at least two or three topics.

    Another trick, if they're confident enough to talk about just about anything, is to use the "pick a card" game. Make a stack of "conversation topic cards" and get one of them to pick a card at the start of the lesson. Tell them that you will all discuss/debate the topic for at least ten minutes. Make sure, though, that you don't do all the talking! (I would avoid cards about religion or politics though - those can turn ugly pretty fast!)

    I also used to use a game I stole from a job interview. I would find a relatively normal object (pen, tennis ball, CD) and tell the student that they have to pretend to be a sales rep who must sell this "exciting product" to me. At my class with two students (who were husband and wife), I would give them 5 or 10 minutes to themselves to prepare their presentation, which should last 5-7 minutes (that's longer than it seems!) I also made it clear that they had to split the presentation into two equal halves and present one half each. That way, the stronger speaker (the wife in this case) didn't get to do all the talking.

    The only issue is that you're teaching for a language school, not privately. Does the language school have a strict curriculum to be followed? Does it dictate which textbooks you're meant to use? Are the students preparing for a test or an exam?

    Teaching privately gives you the option of, if necessary, explaining that you're not the right teacher for them and suggesting they look elsewhere (that's a last resort, of course). I taught for an academy for 8 hours a week but the rest of my students were private. I only ever dropped one, who flatly refused to listen to anything I said, seemed to be obsessed with writing transcripts of TED talks, and regularly failed to pay me!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: Dynamic lessons

    Thank you so much! I really like your ideas and I'm going to put them into practice really soon :D
    I see our situations are very similar, they are husband and wife too. They aren't preparing for any exam and I don't really have a curriculum to follow with them, they just want to learn and improve their speaking.

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    #4

    Re: Dynamic lessons

    Are you familiar with Mario Rinvolucri's Grammar Games? This might be a good book to get for them:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Grammar-Gam.../dp/0521277736

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