An advanced ESL conversation class can be a bit tricky to teach because it’s sometimes hard to see any improvement in your students. Compare this to beginners who you may teach how to read! Or, learning all the vocabulary about the weather for the first time. It’s certainly motivating!
Advanced Students: Not So Easy Sometimes!
I remember back to when I first started teaching and I thought that higher-level students would be easier to teach than beginners. After all, we could communicate with each other easily. Over time, I found this not to be the case at all. Even though basic communication was not a problem, it’s hard to do things in class that challenges them enough.
I’ve found that it can be really useful if you use authentic material and challenge your advanced students that way instead of just relying on ESL textbooks, which are often too easy and often quite boring.
Maybe you’ve also found that these books cover the same topics, over and over, and over again? Movies, sports, family, jobs, weather (more ideas here: ESL Weather Activities), cities, etc. Switch it up with one of these lesson plans and talk about some real stuff!
What Age Group are these Lessons For?
Here are five lesson plans that I’ve used in my own intermediate to advanced level English conversation classes. I taught English in Korean universities, so the lessons are geared towards this group of students.
However, you could easily adapt them to higher-level high school students. I also used them for private classes teaching business people.
The topics are probably too abstract and not so interesting for anyone under the age of 15 or 16. So, keep that in mind if you plan to use them and you should be good to go!
How Long are the Lessons for your ESL Conversation Class?
The minimum amount of time is about an hour for most of these lessons. Any shorter amount of time, and you’ll just be getting through the reading, leaving you no time for any substantial discussion about the issues. This is the most interesting part though!
For classes of 3-4 hours, you can add some sort of interesting task-based learning project on at the end related to the topic. Get your creative juices flowing to come up with something fun for your students. Watching a follow-up video is often ideal.
Or, incorporate some focused pronunciation practice into your lesson. Here are some of my top ideas for that: ESL Pronunciation Games and Activities.
Lesson Plans for Students in any Country
Most of the readings in these lessons are from Breaking News English. They cover a wide range of skills, from vocabulary to grammar, writing, and listening, but mostly focus on reading comprehension and conversation or discussion. You can use them with students around the world.
This is a good one for the cellphone zombies in your class. Wake them up with a dose of reality about what impact technology has on their health.
This is an interesting lesson plan for science or engineering majors. Other students found it interesting as well, so give it a try.
This song is one of my favorite ESL listening and speaking lessons for when we’re studying conditionals (if). It’s appropriate for middle-school to adults and it can even work for high beginners, with a bit of hand-holding from the teacher (the official term is scaffolding!).
However, this lesson plan is best for intermediate-advanced levels because you can get into some really interesting discussions.
This is best for teens or adults at an intermediate level or higher.
Lesson Plans for Students in Korea
Try out these topics specifically for your students in South Korea. If you teach business English, the first two are kind of perfect and will lead to some very interesting discussions with your students who may know more about this kind of thing than you do!
My Students are Beginner or Intermediate…will These Lesson Plans Work?
If you don’t teach advanced ESL lessons, you may wonder whether or not these lesson plans will work for you. In reality, many of the students I taught in South Korea were more at an intermediate level, and these lesson plans worked well for them. You may have to give a little bit more time for reading, and a little bit more support for things like grammar and vocabulary, or discussion time, but they should still work well.
However, for beginners, you’ll want to consider other options. The readings alone would take a beginner an entire class (or two) to get through! There’s just too much in the way of complicated grammar and vocabulary, that requires basic working knowledge in both these areas.
Of course, use your discretion and adapt these lesson plans according to the needs of your students.
How Do I Plan a TEFL Conversation Lesson?
If you are a little bit shaky on the lesson planning, not to worry, many TEFL teachers are until they get a bit of practice, or take a course like the CELTA.
An ESL conversation lesson plan has a few basic steps in, including the following:
- Setting the context
- Working on meaning
- Pronunciation practice
- Controlled practice
- Freer practice
- Follow-up or homework (optional)
If you want to know more, check out the following article:
Need more Ideas for Teaching English to Advanced Levels Students?
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 145 Pages - 03/10/2016 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
If you need some more help beyond these tips for teaching TEFL conversation classes, then you’re going to want to know about this. You need to check out this book over on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities: For Teenagers and Adults.
Top Quality Activities for ESL Conversation Classes
There are more than 100 top-quality ESL/EFL activities that will get your students engaged, interested, and having fun while learning English. What more could you want?
Makes it Super Easy to Plan ESL Conversation Lessons
The book is organized around various skills including reading, writing, speaking, listening, 4-skills, warm-ups + icebreakers, etc. It’s super easy to find the activity you need in those last few minutes before class.
The good news is that the book is available on Amazon in both print and digital formats. The (cheaper) digital copy can be read on any device by downloading the free Kindle reading app.
Check out the book for yourself over on Amazon, but only if you want to get yourself some serious ESL awesome in your life. And, it’s not just for an advanced ESL conversation class, but the activities are also ideal for beginners or intermediates.
How to Teach an ESL Conversation Class
Check out this short video below for even more information about teaching ESL adult lessons.
Do you Teach an Advanced ESL Conversation Class?
Leave a comment below and let us know your tips and tricks for lesson planning with advanced ESL conversation classes. Or, do you have a go-to source for lesson plans for your TEFL conversation class? We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself, find this useful resource.
Last update on 2020-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API