Conversation lesson tips

Status
Not open for further replies.

EnglishRyan

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
China
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
 

oregeezer

Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
Thailand
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.
 

EnglishRyan

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
China

Heads Up English

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Member Type
English Teacher
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
 

EnglishRyan

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
China
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
 

ddeubel

Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2007
Member Type
Academic
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
 

EnglishRyan

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
China
Thanks ddeubel! I will try it out
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top