Adult C2 Discussion Advice Needed

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Phillip Schofield
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:47 pm

Adult C2 Discussion Advice Needed

Post by Phillip Schofield » Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:56 am

Hey guys. I thought I'd pick your brains over a problem I have been having.

Here's the background information.

Husband and wife class.
The wife is an English teacher and university lecturer in Classical history. She is fluent in Latin, Ancient Greek and has a high ability in German and Spanish. Her English is C2 level.

The husband owns a successful company and I would put him at a low C1 level.

I have them for 3 hour lessons.

They have been coming to the school for about 6 years. Initially I was led to believe that they were studying to re-take their CPE exam, but I later found out that they had last taken the exam 7 years ago, so it's clear that they're in no real hurry to take it again.

First, I began working through one of the CPE books, but it became clear that they hated it. They have never once completed any homework (they're simply too busy) so I have given up setting them any.

I suspect that their writing could use some improvement, but since they wont do it in class and wont do it for homework, I have given up on the writing aspect of English.

They look dreadfully bored with any listening I give them, no matter how I set it up or what the topic is.

Basically, they seem to just want a speaking class. Fine. But without anything to work from, I'm finding it hard to formulate a good lesson.

I've been teaching ESL for 6 years and I've never hit such a problem.
Grammatically, they are pretty sound. In a whole lesson the wife will perhaps make 3 or 4 mistakes. Usually dropping an article or using present perfect when present simple would have been better.

The husband makes the most mistakes, but I can't really work on grammar with him without making the lesson dull for the wife. Again, setting him grammar homework is pointless because he wont do it.

So each lesson I pick a topic to talk about. It's been 6 months and I'm running out of topics.
Another issue is that the students are just too damn intelligent. I once gave them an original except of Beowulf, written in old English. The wife read it out loud perfectly and then found grammatical errors in the text. She was surprised that I struggled to read "Hwæt! Wé Gárdena in géardagum þéodcyninga þrym gefrúnon"

I really have no idea what to teach them? Even when I give them new vocabulary, they never write anything down or look as though they will try to learn it.

So here's the problem. How do I create a lesson structure for such a lesson? With no grammar/language aims or real point to the lesson other than 'get through 3 hours alive' I find it a real struggle to make a good plan.

Don't get me wrong, my lessons are OK and the students leave happy. But I hate myself because I want to give a lesson which is better than OK. I want to give a well structured, badass lesson.

How would you guys structure such a thing?
Despite teaching for so many years, I have never really had experience teaching speaking clubs or discussion classes. I've obviously checked online for help, but nothing of use comes up. So I come to you.

Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:05 am
Location: Korea

Vocabulary Speaking

Post by sawlor29 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:39 am

Hi Phillip,

I understand what you are going through, and a 3 hour lesson for only 2 people can be difficult! I am teaching a 3 hour class to a group of 6 adult students and find that one topic can become a bit boring. However, they sound like your students and really just want to talk. So, here is what I did:

Vocabulary Speaking:
-Whether I use a topic or an article with a main topic, I would make a list of the vocabulary that will be used.

-I would then create one question for each vocabulary on the word list. (so if I have 15 vocabulary words, I would make 15 questions)

-don't worry about matching the vocabulary questions to the topic. The purpose is to have the students use the vocabulary word in the question and in their answer.

-You could also make the list of vocabulary words and have them come up with their own vocabulary discussion questions.

PURPOSE: my students usually know the meaning of all the vocabulary. However, creating questions and giving answers using the vocabulary properly was sometimes not as easy for them.

RESULT: What ended up happening is because there was such a variety of topics to discuss within the vocabulary questions, students were easily able to speak for the 3 hour class. (i actually have to stop them from discussing vocab questions in order to have time to do the lesson topic)

Hope this helps!


PS. I also have a site that creates lessons using English TV shows (1-5 minute clips). Each show has some main topic to it, and I created discussion questions around the topic (and also use the vocabulary speaking questions as mentioned above) site is also for English learners in Korea, but the 'TEACHER' page can be used by English teachers in any country.

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