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Ideas for Conversation with adults
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drbux



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2003 7:43 pm    Post subject: Ideas for Conversation with adults Reply with quote

I have a group of 4 adults and we have just started to work with them on conversation - 1 hour a week. Their English could be described as intermediate.

I want students to learn new phrases/verbs etc and apply these in our discussions. I have used some story boards which they have to order and then explain what is going on using the vocabulary I provide them. This sounds great, but in practice, once they had explained the story once, I didn't have a clue how to direct/continue the class to take advantage of the activity or develop it.

I want to structure the class so that it has a direction and that they are learning new words/phrases and then putting them in practice rather than chit chat without an objective.

If you have any useful ideas for conversations, please post a message and let me know.

Thanks again

Mark Buckingham
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Showem



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2003 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark,

Your idea for giving a conversation class direction sound great. Provided that's what the students want too. I've found that with adult learners in a private situation (you don't say, but I'll assume that's what it is, otherwise it probably wouldn't be described as a conversation class) they often do just want to practice speaking in a comfortable setting. See what they want first.

A way to give a "chit chat" more direction is to provide the direction not at the beginning, but rather at the end or in the middle. As the conversation develops, write down phrases that would be useful for whatever they happen to be talking about. At some point during the class, present the phrases to the students and get them to try and make sentences using them. Maybe for one st. to use a phrase in a sentence, then someone to respond with another sentence using another phrase. You will have to do some experimentation to see when it works best. Some might want to practice the phrases that week, others might just like to leave with a list of the phrases so they can use them on their own.

Not really what you are asking for, I know, but hopefully useful none the less. I personally prefer it this way because then the conversation flows naturally, rather than within the framework of the set phrases to use.

Andrea
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strider



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 160
Location: France

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like your idea to use storyboards to get people talking!

Here's a couple of ideas to extend the lesson (a lot of this depends on whether your students are ready to 'have a go' or not!)

After you get a 'standard' version of the story and everyone has the basic vocab, change the setting of the person who is telling the story. For example, a telling a friend over a drink, telling it as an anecdote to your boss, explaining it to a blind person (who keeps saying things like 'What does it look like?'), retelling the story as a fairy tale to children, etc, etc.

Another way to vary it is to change the method of communication. Try getting the students to tell each other the story back to back (it's not as easy as it sounds!). Then, by phone. Why not get them to write a brief account as an 'e-mail' (on a piece of paper) and then reply to it?

Yet another way to exploit this set up would be to change the grammar. Give each student a time reference (now, yesterday, next year...) and they have to tell the story in the correct tense. If your students are a bit more advanced, try the same idea using reported speech, or use the third conditional to try alternative endings to the story...

Over to you...!
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LarryLatham



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1195
Location: Aguanga, California (near San Diego)

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some terrific ideas here!! Very Happy

Larry Latham
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drbux



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2003 5:19 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

As Larry said, there were some truly great ideas here which I am incorporating into my conversation classes. Maybe having a clear structure isn't so important as I thought it was.

One useful tip for conversation storyboards is to use cartoon sequences such as those found at www.groovechamber.com. The students have to describe and reconstruct the story after watching it. Another useful source for storyboards can be Mr. Bean films- a short sequence can stimulate story reconstruction activities.

Thanks for your help again

Mark
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sita



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 261
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2003 5:17 am    Post subject: HELP Reply with quote

I have a new conversation class with 20 members
90 minutes- any useful suggestions how to cope with such a large group?

Group work for sure but....

Thanks!
Sita

I mean by the time they have all introdced themselves the lesson is over
Twisted Evil
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Ann



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends on how advanced the students are.
I ask my students to debate on controversial topics or the current topic and it works. Of course, I have to make sure that I act as the facilitator only and not jump into the discussions myself. Its one way to remain objective. There have been times when I haven't done that and its not achieved good results. Embarassed
Again, this sort of conversation may seem "non-subject" related to your students (like some of my German students) and you could probably go with something more structured.
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Roger



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 274

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My students are Chinese, but I guess the following might work with Germans too:
- Holiday destination (Germans are among the most-widely travelled naionals!);
- Languages they speak, and why;
(might easily slip over to more serious debates on cultures, preserving their integrity and what visitors could do to preserve them);
- review the previous day's world and national news;
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sita



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 261
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 3:50 am    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

Hi Roger & Ann!

Thank you for your ideas. The students were all firm they DON'T want any heavy discussions about politics etc

We spoke about countries and their traditions last lesson and students spoke about their holidays ( China/Russia)

I am a sort of talkmaster Wink
I gently guide ( when required) and encourage shy students to speak up with questions.
So far it is all running smoothly Twisted Evil

Siān

P.S Thanks for the input about "Your Country" from my international members at my site - If you read this guys! It helps me a lot because I have authentical information for my courses in Germany
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Ann



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a great resource book for conversation with adults. Its not about politics or religion etc. but it does let students discuss their ideas and values about certain topics without starting a war.
I have discussed issues such as euthanasia, capital punishment, health care systems around the world, etc.
Of course, a lot of these are relevant to my teaching because I am introducing immigrants to the US, but through these discussions, they get a chance to share their frustrations about the system.
I have a feeling people are uncomfortable about talking about all this because no one wants their opinions or ideas challenged. That is understandable. But as a teacher, I have to make sure I remain objective and steer the discussion where it remains neutral and yet, open to discussion.
never to shy away from controversy, Wink
Ann
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sita



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 261
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2003 6:00 am    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Hello Ann!

Could you tell me the name of the book, please?

I personally prefer topics like: Abortion, Genetic Engineering, Capital Punishment, Gay Rights, War, Muslims, Single parents etc

but my pupils wish to 'relax' during the conversation course and all wrote "soft topics" in the anonymous questionnaire sheet.

Siān Twisted Evil
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Ann



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2003 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sian,
I am still looking for that book. I must have misplaced it somewhere.
It's something like "Conversation with Adults." It's a very old book and I don't know if it is out-of-print or not. Once I find it, I will pass along the ideas to you.
Hmm...maybe I lent it to someone. Sigh!
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Celeste



Joined: 20 Jan 2003
Posts: 74
Location: Fukuoka City, Japan

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2003 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For conversation topics, I like Conversation Inspirations published by ProLingua Press. Also try www.eslpartyland.com for some good conversation questions. For more in depth topics, I like a book called Discusions A to Z.
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sita



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 261
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2003 8:24 am    Post subject: tips Reply with quote

Hi Celeste!

Thanks for the useful information!

Siān Very Happy
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Rania



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 59
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2003 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sian,
Another good book is 'Discussions A-Z', I'm not sure who published it but there are various photocopiable worksheets on different topics that are popular with my students (I work in Germany, too.)
I understand your students - a lot of my students shy away from discussing heavy subjects in class, these are the type of topics that Germans prefer to discuss with family or friends in a more intimate setting, not have an open argument about them in a class full of strangers. It's just a cultural thing.

Another - neutral - subject that always gets students talking (and one that is very informative for us too) is 'What makes a good teacher?' based on an exercise from Penny Ur's book about teaching languages. You have a list of characteristics or skills of a 'good' teacher - sense of humour, knowledge of subject, good clothes sense, etc - put the students in groups of 3 or 4 and have them rate them from one to ten (most to least important.) Conversation takes off - I mean, we have difficulty deciding what a 'good' teacher is! Everyone has an opinion or an experience to share and you, as a teacher, learn a lot. IF you're interested, I'll post the activity here (have to find the book at home)
Rania
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