Adult Lessons: Free Conversation

adult lessons, free conversation

 If you teach adults, chances are you've been told:  "We want free conversation.   No texts please."  

At Dave and Amy English School, we don’t do free conversation.
These are the reasons why:
  1. In conversation, students will use the same vocabulary and grammar that they always use.  I know from personal experience: my Japanese is not that great and could really improve, BUT my conversation skills are pretty good precisely because conversation often covers the same topics.   And I’m good at speaking about family, school, hobbies……
2.   We want ALL our students progressing.   With a text, students learn new grammar, vocabulary, have homework and hear different voices in the listenings.    They WILL improve.   (****The exception might be older students. Retaining the same level is actually 'progress' for older students.****)
3.  Conversation has a tendency to revisit the same topics every week.   Students will talk about what they know.   A lack of variety in topics can make the lesson boring for student and teacher. 
4.    A GOOD text provides interesting conversation starting points.  A good text book will have readings, listenings, discussion points--- around interesting topics.   And have grammar/ vocabulary and homework to further solidify learning.
5.  How about bringing in newspaper clippings to discuss???   This COULD work---but to work well is often a lot more work for the teacher.     And is often too difficult for most learners.    
In case you're wondering, our adult lessons DO focus on speaking (and listenings) in the class.    But we insist on using a textbook (for all of the above reasons).    Without the text, our students' progress would stagnate and boredom would prevail.
How about your lessons?

Write a comment

Comments: 1
  • #1

    Kiwi ken (Wednesday, 13 June 2018 11:58)

    For my more advanced students I bought English magazines that were about things that interested them, for example cooking, diving, fishing, business (high level!) and health. I would ask the student to read a page at home and highlight the words they didn’t know and find out their meanings. Then in class they would talk about the article and ask about any language they didn’t understand. This worked really well if the students were motivated (luckily mine were)... but is only applicable for the really capable students. Another tool I used was breaking english (the webpage) as it has really good resources for all levels, and I found the three page mini lessons to be perfect for an hour long lesson. Again, I would give it at the end of a lesson and have the student do the reading and check the language at home and then do the vocab and speaking exercises in the lesson. I would always offer them 3 different articles to choose from so that they couldn’t complain that the articles weren’t interesting to them. Having “free talk” lessons without something to base them on are a nightmare!!!! I learned that lesson early on and will never do them!