Tag Archives: teaching techniques

Great Self-Study Conversation Technique: Not an Oxymoron


Self-study conversation technique

When I was living in Japan and in Africa, I occasionally met a non-native English speaker who spoke almost fluent English with clear pronunciation, natural intonation and mature vocabulary and had great listening skills.  Naturally, I assumed that they must have spent time in an English-speaking country or had English-speaking friends or a tutor, but all of them told me that they had never left their country and had little contact with English speakers.  However, I soon learned that all of them had one thing in common: each of them had developed their oral skills through one fairly simple technique.

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Conversation class: Two most important conversation techniques (Part 1)

"That's interesting!" Photo by alvesgaspar

“That’s interesting!” Photo by Alvesgaspar

Some students (and even some native-English speakers!) think that a good conversationalist is someone who just asks a lot of questions.  Anyone who has tried to have a conversation with my former roommate (name unmentioned here) will know that that’s not true.

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Introduction to Teaching ESL Conversation: Effective Pair/Group Activities



Effective pair conversation

How to teach ESL conversation

One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching a conversation class is that when you teach your ESL students conversation techniques, you get to hear them talk about their culture, their experiences, opinions and dreams.

A student-centered approach doesn’t mean the teacher just puts students in groups, gives them a topic and tells them to talk about it.  It doesn’t even mean that the students are put in pairs (Student A/Student B), given two different “information gap” papers and told to complete the exercise by talking.

A student-centered approach to conversation-skill development is much more than that.

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Purposeful reading: Students read faster if they know what they are looking for.


Having a purpose.

Having a purpose.

One reason that ESL students often take so much time reading a passage is because they think that they need to understand all the information.  As a result, many of them tend to cover a text in translation of every word that they are not familiar with.  We have often heard of international students staying up until 2 a.m. trying to complete reading assignments in their academic courses.

This can change if they know in advance the purpose of the reading assignment.

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