How to Teach English Conversation

English-conversation

Many foreign ESL teachers abroad, especially in places like South Korea, teach predominantly English conversation classes. Some teachers (and students too!) have the perception that teaching English conversation involves just “talking” to the students. Free-talking does have a role in helping students learn English, but it shouldn’t be the only thing we do in our English conversation classes. If you’re looking to level-up your ESL teaching game, you’ve come to the right place! I have plenty of tips, lesson plans, and activity ideas for how to teach English conversation the better way. Help your students actually improve their conversation skills…

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ESL Speaking Lesson Plan Template

ESL Speaking lesson plan template

Whenever I talk to people who are preparing a lesson plan or a demo lesson in order to get ready for an ESL teaching job interview, I’m always surprised that many people really have no idea how to plan a lesson. I was pretty clueless too, until I took the CELTA and the DELTA where my trainers beat this ESL speaking lesson plan template into my head such that I could basically recite it in my sleep. A short disclaimer. “Speaking” is not enough of a lesson plan objective in itself. You need to put it together with something else,…

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Free Talking for ESL Students: Why I Hate It

Free-Talking for ESL Students

I recently attended the Kotesol International conference 2015 in Seoul and want to talk about a presentation that I attended by Tina Zaman called, “English Conversation Workshops for Fluency.” The gist of it is that she begins her classes by having students talk with their partner about a single open-ended question for 15 minutes. She made no mention of whether or not this question is related to anything else that her class is studying, or whether it’s stand-alone. I tried asking her, but she wasn’t open to answering questions it seemed. A few people questioned how it was possible that…

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How to Teach Speaking

how to teach speaking

You want to know how to teach speaking? You’ve come to the right place if you want a basic overview of a few of the principles you need to remember when teaching speaking. Here are 5 things to keep in mind: Repetition is Key Be sure to provide plenty of opportunities for your student to practice. Start out with controlled practice, and then move to freer speaking sessions where students can experiment with using the language. Then, follow-up with review in subsequent classes. Another thing to think about is teaching language in “chunks.” If students can get to the point…

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81 Ways to Make your ESL Speaking Class Awesome

introduction

I’m sure you want your ESL speaking classes to be as awesome as possible. Everybody does! Here are my top 81 tips to help you do that. Ready for great classes in the future? Because that’s what you’re going to get if you follow these tips!   1.What’s your Target Language? Be clear about the aims of your lesson. “Practicing speaking” isn’t enough. Something more specific like, “Introduce and practice 5 feeling words,” or “Practice using the simple past in conversation” is much better.   2.Change Speaking Partners Often– It’s boring to talk to the same person all the time!…

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Teaching Mixed Level ESL Classes

conversation class

Mixed Level ESL Classes are a Big Problem! One of the negatives of teaching at a university in Korea is that students are often grouped according to what major they take and not what their level of English is. This results in classes having one or two students who are semi-fluent (having studied overseas perhaps, or private institutes for years) mixed in with a few students who struggle to say their name and how old they are. The instructor is then supposed to make one class fit all. This not only happens in Korea, but in all countries around the…

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ESL Conversation Class: Tips to Make it Awesome

ESL conversation class

ESL Conversation Class: Great, or Terrible? Over my decade teaching English in South Korea, I’ve had some great English conversation classes and I’ve also had some pretty terrible ones. Here are some tips for teaching these kinds of classes from my other blog, My Life! Teaching in a Korean University that will hopefully make them as awesome as possible. Multi-Level ESL Classes– These kinds of classes are most definitely not awesome, especially in a conversation class because the best students can easily dominate, leaving the weaker ones feeling frustrated and unhappy. Some tips to deal with this bad situation. How…

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Task Based Language Learning

Task Based Language Teaching

The New Way Task based language learning is kind of all the rage these days as part of the overall communicative approach, which focuses on having students being competent communicators as opposed to some of the older models like grammar translation or the audio-lingual method. Why I Love Task Based Language Learning A Why I personally love task-based activities because they give students a reason to do something as opposed to just using the language in a meaningless kind of way such as in a “repeat after me” activity. Learn what you want to Learn The second reason I like…

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How to Teach ESL Speaking

speaking

Over at my new website, My Life! Teaching in a Korean University, there are some posts which you need to check out if you teach conversation or speaking classes. Kind of a “how to teach ESL speaking 101.” Vocabulary Review Game for ESL Students– This is a fun game for kids as well as adults which works best in a smaller class of 12 or less. It’s possible to play with larger groups, but it will be far less student-centered. It requires very little in the way of prep, which is most definitely my style. For even more ESL Speaking…

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How to Teach Speaking: Change Partners Often

change-partners

One aspect of how to teach speaking to ESL or EFL students is to require them to change partners often. This is necessary for a variety of reasons-I explain them in this short video. Even more ideas for how to teach ESL speaking, delivered straight to your inbox each week:

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ESL Speaking Feedback

esl-feedback

ESL Speaking feedback is really important if we want our students to improve their English speaking and writing skills. If you’re learning any new skill, it’s so useful to have a skilled teacher guiding you along and learning a language is no exception. In this short video, I talk about how and when to give useful feedback to our students during English conversation or speaking classes. For even more advice on how to teach ESL speaking, particularly to low-level students, check out: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Teenagers and Adults.

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Speaking Classes Don’t Always Need to be Fun

clown

When you’re new to teaching, there is the temptation to always be a constant entertainer and make your speaking classes always fun. I call these people edutainers. However, edutainer mode is hard to keep up, week after week, month after month, and year after year. While it’s good to have a laugh and a joke once in a while, learning English is not easy so it is okay to have more serious kinds of speaking activities that do not involve a game of some sort. For example, partner conversation activities or surveys are extremely valuable because that means that every…

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ESL Conversation Teaching Tips

role-plays

Get the book free before it’s published by signing up for my email list. Email Address Some of my favorite tips for teaching ESL conversation and speaking. It can be quite a difficult subject to teach because everything happens in real-time and you often need to react instantly to what’s happening around you. But like any skill, teaching ESL speaking can be improved through practice. ESL Conversation Teaching Tips: Provide a Demonstration of the Language or Activity Engaging Apathetic Students ESL Lesson Planning Template Teach your Students how to Ask Questions Graded Language: Use it!

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5 Successful ESL Speaking Activities

ESL survey

A video showing a demonstration of 5 successful ESL Speaking activities from The Art of Teaching Speaking: Research and Pedagogy for the ESL/EFL Classroom by Dr. Keith Folse. The explanations for the activities are very clear and useful, especially for beginners to ESL teaching.

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