I've seen many speaking conversation class help threads but none seemed to answer my concerns.
The new semester has just started (I teach in Beijing at a training college) and I seem to already be in a rut with teaching. It's my second semester at the school teaching oral English. I use the New Interchange Books but only use them rarely in the class for some of the more useful things in them (dialogues, Q&As, some grammar roleplays).
But what I feel is that I am not a good teacher. Many students have told me I am a great teacher but my own confidence level is so low (though I dont protray it to the class). For my lessons I mostly take the book's lesson and tweak it and make my own Q&As for pairs, roleplays, add in some new vocab/idioms, and some discussions for small groups.
The classes have around 30 students ranging in age from 18-50 and I am in desperate guidance for more things to do for speaking, like activities, games for older people, anything! The classes are two hours and most of my lessons have about 4 or 5 activities.
For example, my lesson last week on money/clothing included:
- bargaining with a partner about items on your desk using some terms I provided about bargaining/asking price
- me listing some items on the board and in groups they try and guess the prices in America- practice saying monetary values in English
- clothing: having some students come in and people name what they wear and what they don't know how to say
- passing around pictures of magazine people to work with a partner to describe what they are wearing, such as material, color, design, etc.
But it was a good class but I felt it lacked a certain free speaking.
I have realized the classes are not for me to be teaching too much as it is me giving them chances to speak. So now I want to take a backseat and let their English take center stage. But how can I best go about this???
Can you bring in "guest speakers"?
A clothing store owner, a seamstress, a clothing designer, a fabric shop owner, might be able to come in and speak about their business.
Also, can you leave the classroom for a field trip? Could you have taken the students to a store or sent them on a scavenger hunt to find certain clothing items?