Which teaching method has the best results for an English conversation lesson?
Attitudes to classroom conversation and casual chat have varied over the years. Many expert teachers have warned that the traditional “conversation lesson” is of no value at all if the student is not ready for it…
The traditional approach suggests English students must be trained to use patterns in carefully graded oral drills. Only in this way will they finally learn to speak. This implies that chatting is a waste of time.
A more modern mentality sees language learning evolving out of learning how to carry on conversations, i.e. how to communicate. By extension, it has been argued that conversation in a second language is not the result of language learning, but it is the site where learning occurs.
A holistic perspective organises conversation classes around a set of real-life themes. Ideally, these should be negotiated with the English learners in advance, through the use of a questionnaire or by means of a consensus debate. Theme-related texts can be used to trigger conversation, either in open class or in groups, and the key learning points will naturally materialise on as-needed basis.
SLI English-Speaking Class
Our expert teachers provide a safe environment for individual students to take turns in sharing personal opinions and experiences on pre-selected topics, which is then followed by open discussion. Small group class sizes range from about 3 to 12, allowing plenty of time for both correction and practice.
Pre-planned lesson content can take the form of teaching useful conversational formulas and routines, such as how to open and close conversations, how to interrupt, changing the subject and asking for clarification. Or the focus could be on learning and using communication strategies, building up fluency, and learning new cultures as well as promoting friendship, racial harmony and so on. It is clear that fluency often trumps accuracy when it comes to speaking – so naturally our goal is to have our students leave the classroom more confidently then when they arrived. The confidence to make mistakes has helped our students become more accurate and fluent.
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