Discussion Classes

ESL Textbook Review – Communication Strategies

The belief that “discussion” classes are easy to teach is one of the biggest misconceptions new teachers have. They believe that you walk into class and simply ask the students “what’s up?” Then, waves of conversation flow from the students mouths and the teacher sits back thinking about a party they will go to later in the night. Well, maybe I exaggerate but only a little. While many teachers approach their “discussion/conversation” classes this way the truth is that those teachers classes are not very good. “Discussion” classes need structure, they need a good lesson plan and they need a good textbook that is devoted to discussion classes. Today we are going to see if the textbook “Communication Strategies” written by David Paul and published by Thomson is one of those.

ESL Textbook Review – Topic Talk

Today we will take a look at “Topic Talk” written by David Martin and published by EFL Press. I came across this book in a slightly unusual way in that I did not purchase it myself. It was actually left at my school by a teacher I had hired over 9 years ago. I have hundreds of different textbooks in my school and there are many that I have never even opened. After sitting on the shelf for some time I finally picked it up and leafed through it. At the time I was looking for some new class warm-up ideas. I found that a lot of the more major textbooks warm-ups weren’t producing the conversations that I wanted from my students. But before we get into that let’s go over some the basics of this book.

How to Teach Secondary Objectives in a Conversation Class

Secondary Objective Methods   Mind map Many students have difficulty continuing a conversation after an initial question. Mind maps help students practice thinking about related subtopics in a particular conversation. Click here for more information about mind maps (separate article)   Point of view/reading A good way to help students get started with any conversation is to have them read a sample conversation. If the subject is economics and then the sample conversation can be two people discussing various issues and opinions about economics. Generally the sample conversations will have sentence patterns and questions that the teacher will introduce to the students and write on the board.   Sentence patterns and personalization Sometimes it can help to provide students with...

Example Lesson Plan for Conversation Class (situation base)

Below you will find an example lesson plan for a situation base discussion class. Of course you can use this lesson plan as it is in any of your classes but the main reason we are providing this is so that teachers can have a general understanding on how to create their own lesson plans for their discussion classes. It’s best to look at this lesson plan as a basic template. Later on I’m sure that you will want to change many things or add other activities and exercises that you don’t see here. A good teacher will always consider their students experience, personalities and change their various lesson plans to reflect that.   Type of class Discussion Class (Situation Based)   English level Intermediate   Class time 70-90 minutes   Teaching key points Conversation Practic...

Example Lesson Plan for Conversation Class (subject base)

In this article you will find a sample lesson plan for of subject based conversation class. These conversation or discussion classes focus on giving opportunities to our students to practice their conversational skills. These are different from “standard” classes in that standard classes focus on the skills needed to have a conversation and English, these discussion classes focus on the actual discussions and conversations. The following lesson plan is best used as a template. You can follow it step-by-step and have a successful class but it’s better to use this as a general idea for creating your own lesson plans.   Type of class Discussion Class (Subject Based)   English level Advanced   Class time 70-90 minutes   Lesson plan Topic related warm-up questions Vocabulary...

How to Teach Free Discussion Conversation Class (free talk)

Today we will look at “free” conversation classes. In these classes there really is no “primary” objective. The “primary” objective is to have the students freely talk about any subject that you choose or that they want to talk about. You want the students to basically use everything that they’ve learned in any other classes here. This provides students with an opportunity to have a conversation that is very similar to any conversation they might have outside of the classroom. Of course this doesn’t mean that you should sit down in front of your students and tell them to “talk”. There is a method to conducting this type of class. But there really is not “primary objective” to teach. Your job in this class is more akin to a moderator in a debate or a coach watching their fighter spar. If th...

How to Teach Subject Based Conversation Class

In this article we hope to give you an idea on how you can teach your discussion classes. In this article we are going to take a look at our subject based conversation class. Here we choose a specific subject to base our conversations and class around. For example, we can talk about friendships, economy, politics or any other subject. In this type of class our first priority is to have the students talk about the subject as much as we can. Secondly we want to teach them some vocabulary words related to the subject and hopefully give them an opportunity to use those words in their discussions. After that, we want to show students some example questions that they could ask each other, some sentence patterns that they can use to talk about the subject, and how to smoothly transition into othe...

How to Teach Situation Based Conversation Class

In this article we are going to take a look at a situation based conversation class. In many ways these classes are very similar to the previously discussed subject based conversation classes. But there are certainly differences. Our primary goal is still to have the students talk as much as possible. We also want to continue teaching vocabulary words related to the topic. But, we’re going to focus more on expressing your own point of view and listening to other people’s points of view in this class than in the subject based class. We’re also going to talk about strategies on how to agree or disagree with someone else’s opinion, about how to express your opinion and how to reinforce your opinion with various reasons.   Situation based conversation class Topic related warm-up questions...

Introduction to Teaching an English Conversation Class

In the next couple of articles we’re going to go over one of the more common types of classes that you may teach at an English school. These classes we generally call “discussion” classes. There are various types of discussion classes but they all have the same common goal, which is to allow students a place and time to practice their English in conversations with other people. These classes are different from the “standard English” classes in that there’s not necessarily a key point that the teachers are trying to teach the students, the teachers are trying to get the students to initiate conversations. During these conversations the students will have chances to use anything that they have learned in the previous “standard English” classes. The k...

Lost Password

Register