Monday, 25 November 2013

How to Ensure Students Speak During Conversation Activities

Sometimes when you want to do a conversation activity it can be hard to make sure that all the students are using the time given to speak English, and are not in fact talking about their favourite TV shows in their own language. This can be especially difficult in public schools where the students aren't intrinsically motivated to learn English. Here are some ways to make sure the students do their work!

Presentations about the other persons answers.
A good way to make sure the students are talking about the topic is to tell the students that they will have to tell the rest of the class their partners answers. When I do this activity I like to give them a few more minutes than I normally would so that they can gather their ideas.

Tell the students that they have to ask everyone in their group/class the conversation questions and that they have to record their ideas in a survey. This way it is easy to check who has been doing the activity and who hasn't.

This speaking and listening lesson uses surveys.

Circulate the classroom.
The simplest and arguably most effective way to check the students are talking is just to circulate the classroom. If you hear that one group is being quiet or speaking in their native language you can just go over and ask them a few questions to get them back on track.

Find someone who..
Very similar to a survey activity. Just give the students the questions you want to ask in the form of Find some one who.. The students should then walk around asking each other the questions untill they have found someone who fulfills the category. Like the survey this works because you can check the sheets to see who is completing the activity.

This conversation lesson on vacations uses the find some who activity.

Make sure the conversations aren't to hard.
One of the main reasons for silence during conversation activities is that the students aren't quite sure what they should be asking. In my lower level classes I like to give my students a few example questions that they can ask each other to get the conversation started.

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