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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English Conversation Teaching Tip | How to Teach ESL Conversation

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Many native English speakers when they go somewhere like China or South Korea teach “English Conversation.” Many people teach it poorly. Few do it well. Tip: It’s more than just talking to your students! Check out my #1 tip for doing English conversation a bit better. #1 Tip for Teaching English Conversation For those who teach English conversation classes, here is my #1 tip to do it well. Conversation is a two-way street and in order to be good at it our students need to know how to ask questions. Conversation is not simply asking and answering something like: A:…

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ESL Speaking Activity for Adults: Something in Common

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ESL Speaking Activity for Adults: Find Something in Common If your students are not shy, this ESL speaking activity for adults is an excellent way for everyone to get to know each other. Here’s how you do it: The students stand up with a piece of paper and pencil in their hand. They have to talk to everyone in the class to try to find something in common (they are both from Seoul, or they both know how to play the piano). Once they find this thing in common, they write it down along with the person’s name. They keep…

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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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81 Ways to Make your ESL Speaking Class Awesome | Teaching ESL

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Make your ESL Speaking Class Awesome 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! Ready? Keep on reading for the ESL speaking class awesome. 1.What’s your Target Language? The first way to make your ESL speaking class awesome is to be clear about the aims of your lesson. “Practicing speaking” isn’t enough. Something more specific like, “Introduce and practice 5 feeling words,”…

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ESL Speaking Lesson Plan Template | EFL Lesson Plan

ESL Speaking lesson plan template

An 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…

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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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Teaching Mixed Level ESL Classes | How to Teach English

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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 Speaking Feedback | Feedback for English Speaking

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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

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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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Graded Language: Use it! | Grading Language for ESL Students

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I’m sure we’ve all been there. We’re in a language class, and the teacher is talking, but we’re actually understanding nothing about what is going on around us. Kind of like the deer in headlights effect. All of our students have been there too. Should we care? Should we try to use language that is simpler, or speak slower? Or, should we just soldier on because we’re helping them get used to what it’s like in the real world. Keep on reading to find out. Let’s dig into two of the major theories related to this idea of graded language.…

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