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.

Continue reading

• Conversation magic: Two most important conversation techniques (Part 1)

Cover Rejoinders SHOT

(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.) Rejoinders from CS

YouTube This posting is discussed on my YouTube video The Two Most Important Conversation Techniques to Teach ESL Students (Part 1)

Making conversation magic happen

After a colleague used these exercises with her students, she told me with wonder in her eyes, “I saw magic happen in my class today.  My students suddenly became very animated, their voiced rose, and they were laughing!” 

Then she wondered if it was some kind of set up.  In other words, by using these techniques, students have no choice but to feel like someone is interested in what they are saying.

In a sense, she is right.  But isn’t that what we hope our students will experience? These are the two techniques:

1) Use rejoinders to show that they understand what the other has said by giving understanding responses.

2) Ask follow-up questions to maintain the conversation and to show interest in each other..

When someone uses these in a conversation, their interlocutor can’t help but feel like someone thinks they are interesting to talk to.

Use rejoinders and make your interlocutor feel good.

Continue reading

• Introduction to Teaching ESL Conversation: Effective Pair/Group Activities

Cover intro esl conv shot

How to teach ESL conversation

(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)

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.

Continue reading

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

Having a purpose.

Having a purpose.

(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)

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.

Continue reading