How to Teach English Conversation | Teaching English Speaking

English-conversation

How to Teach 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. However, it shouldn’t be the only thing we do in our English conversation classes. Teaching English Conversation: More than just Free-Talking There is far more to English conversation than just free-talking. In my first year of teaching, I was given a “free-talking” class with middle school students. My boss told me to…

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Picture Prompt | ESL Warm-Up For Kids and Adults

Picture prompt ESL warm-up

ESL Warm-Up Activity: Picture Prompt Picture prompt is a great ESL warm-up for kids as well as adults. It can be used for all levels from beginner to advanced. Show students an image and have them generate questions or speculate about the picture. Example for Lower-Level Students For lower level students, this can be purely descriptive: Q: What do you see?    A: I see a house, a car, and some people. Q: What colour is the car?    A: It is blue. Example for Intermediate Level Students For high beginner/low intermediate students, have an image which can generate questions…

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Tell your Story | ESL Speaking Activity to Practice Reported Speech

reported-speech-esl-speaking-activity

You can often find a unit on reported speech in most intermediate level English textbooks. But, it’s not that easy to design some ESL activities to practice this. Check out one of my favourite: “Tell a Story.” It’s fun, engaging, and creates some great opportunities for students to practice this important skill. Reported Speech ESL Speaking Activity Skills: Writing/reading/speaking/listening Time: 15-30 minutes Level: Intermediate to Advanced Materials Required: Nothing Have students write something interesting. Some examples are: most embarrassing moment, scariest thing you’ve ever done, your dream for the future, etc. Base it on whatever you are studying in class.…

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Do You Like to _____? | ESL Speaking Activity

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Do you like to ___? ESL Speaking Activity Skills: Speaking/listening Time: 15 minutes Level: Beginner-Intermediate Materials Required: Strips of paper (or students can make their own) Give each student five strips of paper. On each piece of paper they write something interesting about themselves. Then, collect them, mix them up and distribute them back to your students (three per student). At this point, everyone stands up and goes around the class asking questions to try to find the owner for each paper that they have. If someone is done early, you can give them another paper from the reserve pile…

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Just a Minute Game | ESL Speaking Activity

just a minute

The Just A Minute Game is a fun “Toastmasters” kind of ESL speaking activity. I like it because it gets students working on speaking fluently, without worrying too much about accuracy. To start, write up a bunch of topics on the board such as animals, family, jobs, hobbies, schedule, societal problems, TV, etc. The topics of course depend on the age and level of students. Just a Minute: Student #1 The first student throws a scrunched up paper ball at the board. The topic closest to where the paper hits must talk for an entire minute about it. The challenge…

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Daily Schedule: ESL Speaking Activity

daily schedule

Daily Schedule ESL Speaking Activity Skills: Speaking/listening/writing Time: 10-20 minutes Level: Beginner to Low-intermediate Materials Required: Nothing Activity Description for Daily Routine: It seems that in most beginner ESL speaking or 4-skills textbooks there is a unit on daily schedules, such as, “What time do you get up?” or, “What do you do in the afternoon?” A fun activity that you can do is to have students interview their partner. You can pre-select questions for lower level classes or let the students choose their own questions for higher levels. Make sure you specify a minimum number of questions if you…

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Discussion Starters for Children | ESL Conversation Topics for Kids

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It’s common that native speaker English teacher have to teach “conversation classes.” This is not always easy to do with lower level students, especially kids who might be a little bit shy. I like to start off my classes with one of these interesting discussion starters for kids. Or, you can keep a few in your back pocket for those few minutes at the end of class when you’re done your lesoson. The Best Discussion Starters If you want some conversation starters for children, you’re in the right place. Use a favourite discussion starter to start your classes off in…

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Vocabulary Review Game for Kids and Adults | ESL Vocabulary Game

vocabulary-review-game

Flip Chart ESL Vocabulary Review Game Skills: Speaking/listening Time: 20 minutes Level: Beginner to Advanced Materials Required: Flip-chart or flashcards This is a fun way to review some vocabulary words. It can work for any level of student, but it’s ideal for beginners to intermediate when the vocab words are quite simple. I’ve used this activity for small classes of 10, or big classes of 20. It works equally well for all, but the ideal number of people on a team is around 5-6. More than that and not everyone is able to participate. The “captain” sits in a chair…

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Top 5 Fun ESL Speaking Activities For Kids | ESL Games

fun-esl-speaking-activities-kids

If you teach kids and are struggling a bit with how to make your ESL speaking classes for kids interesting and engaging, here are some of my favourite fun activities that I use in my own classes. Fun ESL Speaking Activities for Kids Rocks-Scissors-Paper with a Twist: it’s perfect for review and also makes an excellent activity for the class before midterms or finals with your beginner university students. It contains the perfect mix of skill and luck. SOS Review Game: remember playing SOS when you were a kid? Well, it’s back…ESL style. Kids, university students and adults all love…

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Top 10 ESL Icebreakers | ESL Warm-Ups | Icebreaker Questions

ESL-icebreakers

If you’re looking to get your semester started off on the right foot, then you’ll need to use a few of these ESL icebreakers. They’ll help the students get to know each other and you as well. By starting your classes off with some ESL icebreakers, you’re setting yourself up for a successful semester. Keep reading for the top 10 ESL icebreakers. You can see the detailed activity description by clicking the links! #1: Ball Toss If you’re looking for one of the most versatile ESL activities ever, look no further than this Ball Toss one. You can use it for…well…just…

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Partner Conversation Starters | English Conversation Starters

conversation

Have you ever noticed that if you ask students want they want to work on, they’ll often say, “free-talking.” It’s kind of like a buzzword, and even the very lowest of low students will request this. Conversation Starters: ESL Speaking Activity If you teach lower level students, it can be a bit difficult to get a free-flowing conversation going. Most times, it’s almost impossible. The students often don’t know how to get the conversation started, but the good news is that you can help them! For all but the lowest level students who are just learning the most basic of…

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120-90-60 ESL Speaking Fluency Activity | Speaking English Fluently

fluent speaking

All of our students want to speak more fluently in English! It can be difficult to help your students with this though because most of the activities you’ll find in textbooks focus more on accuracy. Teachers are more comfortable fixing accuracy mistakes as well. After all, it’s easier to pick out wrong grammar or vocabulary choices than telling a student to just “talk faster!” Here’s one ESL speaking fluency activity that you can try out in your classes. It’ll help get your students speaking more quickly, but with a bit of the familiar. They’ll be speaking more quickly, using a…

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Role Plays for ESL Students

role-plays-for-ESL-students

Role Plays for ESL Students Skills: Writing/speaking Time Required: 15-40 minutes Level: Beginner to Advanced Materials Required: Nothing Role Plays are one of my favourite ESL activities for lower-level students. They allow beginners to feel like they’re “having a conversation,” but there’s some structure so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Here’s how it works-give the students a conversation starter to get them going. For example, if you’re talking about feelings in class that day, you can use: A. Hey _____, how are you doing? B. I’m great, how are you? A. I’m _____ (sad, embarrassed, angry, bored, etc.). ***Anything besides, “I’m…

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Task Based Language Learning

Task Based Language Teaching

Task Based Language Learning:The New Way Task based language learning is kind of all the rage these days as part of the overall communicative approach. This focuses on having students being competent communicators as opposed to some of the older models like grammar translation or the audio-lingual method. If you’re not familiar with task based language learning, here is a brief introduction to it. Task based language learning can be an excellent choice for large classes. A class of 20+ students makes it impossible for students to get enough speaking time if it’s a teacher-centred classroom. Why I Love Task…

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