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Conversational skills in English may differ from a student's L1. How do you teach them successfully

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Summary of #ELTchat 26 oct2016
by Maria Conca

Published in: Education
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Conversational skills in English may differ from a student's L1. How do you teach them successfully

  1. 1. #ELTchat on October 26, 2016 Edited by Maria Conca Conversational skills in English may differ from a student's L1. How do you teach them successfully?
  2. 2. Teaching conversational skills What Where Why Teaching conversational skills can be different depending where you are, what your teaching context is and, most importantly, what your learners actually need. SueAnnan said that her BE learners practise conversation with the teacher in class as she makes a lot of genuine small talk. Surely, learners in an English-speaking country have more practice opportunities than learners, who are in a non-English environment. MConca16 said she finds it hard at times to teach conversation because of the nature of conversation itself, which is so complex. It’s even harder when learners have limited practice opportunities and rely on conversation focussed lessons to improve their skills.
  3. 3. What problems learners have
  4. 4. What we can do to help
  5. 5. Differences with L1 to focus on in the classroom
  6. 6. Practical teaching ideas turn-taking practice opportunities confidence
  7. 7. Practical teaching ideas start/end keep going hesitation lack of ideas spontaneity
  8. 8. Wrapping up Teaching conversational skills successfully Join the#ELTchat every Wednesday@7pmGMTto connectwith ELTprofessionals aroundtheworld The nature of conversation is very complex and entails different aspects of oral communication. There may be huge differences between conversation in learners’ L1 and the L2. Teaching conversation will have to focus on: social conventions; taboo topics; how to start/maintain/end an exchange; turn-taking; keep the conversation going; hesitation; repair & deal with misunderstandings; spontaneity. It is important for learners to have as many practice opportunities as possible in the classroom to gain skills and confidence in managing conversations with both native and non-native speakers. Teachers can be a great source of conversation through genuine small talk at the start/end of a lesson if everyone is involved and the teacher is genuinely interested in what learners have to say. Alternatively, real life models and prompts such as videos & audio resources will help learners discovering conversational skills in context. Interactive tasks and engaging activities that provide chances for rehearsing and repetition like mingling, talk shows or speed dating, are of great help for learners to build their confidence and become more spontaneous. Join us next Wednesday for #ELTChat

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