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For Teachers: Conversational Lessons

Conversation lessons. Those type of lessons where you basically just have a chat with a student. They sound ideal, and you might think it's easy money, but I think you can only wing it so many times before 1. things start to run a little dry and there isn't much left to talk about 2. You feel as a teacher you aren't really doing anything other than having a chat and therefore are not using your full potential.

To make sure you're not just having a good chinwag and to give some meaning to your chat, try drawing a table with three columns on a piece of paper, each with the titles Pronunciation / Words / Mistakes – throughout your lesson with your student add to these when there is a problem and then either bring them up at the end of the lesson or at the time of the error if you feel necessary. You can give the student the piece of paper at the end of the lesson for their own record.

I also think these type of lessons should have some kind of structure. Setting a topic before you start is a good way to keep the lesson to a theme, and having some useful language that can be used to talk about that topic will also prove beneficial.

Here are a couple of lessons that you can use with your students that require no preparation time and have proven to be very effective.

Conversational Lesson #1 I like

Go over the different ways of how you can say 'I like' and get your student to note them down (I'm into/I'm a fan of/ I'm keen on/ I enjoy/ I'm mad about etc) Then ask them to write the word like on a piece of paper and draw a circle around it. Get them to draw six(or more) legs around the circle and ask them to write down 6 things that they enjoy. Go around the circle by choosing and asking students about each of their likes, expanding on what they say. You could try it with I don't like if you have time or another lesson, but this lesson will easily take an hour (or more) if you're listening and following up with questions on what your student is saying.

Conversational Lesson #1 A-Z

A very simple idea that gives the student full control of what is talked about. Start each topic with A is for.... and let your student answer. For example they might say animals. Spark up a short conversation about animals before moving onto the next letter. B is for.... Work your way through the alphabet. You won't get through a whole alphabet during one lesson, so this could be spilt into two lessons.

Remember, the key to these types of lessons is really listening to what your student says and asking engaging questions that will make them think, and use language that they probably wouldn't usually have to.

Cheers - English native speaker in Lviv


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