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More Oral English Help Needed!

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New member
Mar 15, 2008
Member Type
English Teacher
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???



Key Member
Jan 14, 2008
Member Type
Native Language
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
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?
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