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conversation activities for adults ??? 
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Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:18 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Istanbul
Hi everyone,

As far as I have read over, I can see that most of you teach kids. I have 2 classes of grown ups who are trying to improve their communication levels. It is more like a conversation class and I am trying to make them learn as much vocabulary as possible. The problem I have is that the class activities suggestions on the web-site is more for kids and that unfortunately does not do me any good.
Does any of you know a class activity I can use for grown ups?

Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:23 pm
Profile YIM
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Melissa - I do teach a lot of kids and this site is geared towards ESL/EFL for kids, BUT I would say almost every idea here is adaptable to adult classes. I use a lot of the same games (even bingo) with great success with adults. You just need to tone it down a bit, but keep the fun.

Adults enjoy the fun aspect and learning. As long as they can see the 'why' in what they are doing they will enjoy the game. Again, toned down.

I teach an equal number of adult/college students and the games go over well for me. Basically, I try to imagine myself as a student and then I ask whether I would appreciate this game or rather, how could I appreciate this game. I apapt them slightly or maybe just get rid of the scoring/point system.

Give a couple a shot. I bet your adults will surprise you.

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:58 pm
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Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:18 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Istanbul
Yes Mark you are right, but still teaching adults is always a little bit more difficult. Especially the class I have....they are taking my conversation class after taking 6 levels of grammer and each lecturer has taught them different things. Now they think that they have control over the language whereas they are only at the beginning.
Most of the Turkish teachers in Turkey ( non native Teachers ) have a kind of British accent but the strange thing is that the students pronounce half the words with the Briyish accent and the rest with an American accent which disturbes you a lot when you are listening. Once you try to correct adults they take it personal give you the thought that it's actually you teaching it wrong.
I have been trying to give the correct pronounciations in a fun way, but that is where I get stuck as I can not come up with different activities that I can use in class.

Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:07 pm
Profile YIM

Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 2:27 pm
Posts: 70
Location: Austria
Hi Melissa,
I have encountered similar situations in my adult classes. They often get rutted in rusty ideas about how something should be pronounced. Sometimes, they correct me! They open a can of pre-World War British English and insist "the" must be pronounced "thee". :roll:
My, my.
Maybe you could let up on saying there is a right or wrong pronunciation (unless it is completely off, and even then, I'll let it ride if the adult cannot manage it). I shy away from saying one must use either the British or the American pronunciation. After all, there's Australian, Canadian, Irish, etc. There is a wide difference in how we say things. It makes life more colorful. It is the same with vocabulary. I about died the day one man in class told me he had a large cock, and his neighbor said "that's nothing, I got three large cocks!" :shock:
We cannot homogenize English, can we? As you wrote, you could stick to making your lessons fun. Most of the adults learning English are not going to be making a profession of it. They need lots of leeway.

Sat Apr 14, 2007 1:01 am

Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:18 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Istanbul
Hi Ktupper,

That is a funny experience that you have :D

I do agree that there area lot of accents and that people can learn different accents but once the students have all accents it does not sound nice while they are talking. If it is only 1 accent that you have then it's ok and you can focus on that accent's pronounciations, but when you have 3 accents and use all of them at once, then it also becomes difficult to understand.

I tried to teach them phonetics, but that came to hard for them. Now I am just writing the exact pronounciation in Turkish and that sort of helped them out.

Teaching children is easier as they are open to get new things, but adults insist on what they know and makes it very difficult to teach something new.

Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:22 pm
Profile YIM

Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:43 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Kanagawa, Japan
It sounds like the students haven't spent too much time using English for communication. If you want to solely focus on conversation, to get the students' productive level equal to their receptive level, I would consider choosing a topic to build a lesson around.

A warm-up introduces the idea with some general questions for discussion. Next teach some vocab and/or phrases useful to the topic. An article that you've chosen or rewritten can show the words in context, as well as give the students some new ideas. Read it aloud for listening practice, or let the students read it and summarize it together. Last use everything studied in the class so far to launch a discussion. Pair up students, give a few questions, and discuss.

This isn't so dissimilar to some of my intermediate and advanced level lessons, where I want to focus on fluency but avoid free conversation.

Chris Cotter

Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:28 pm
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:38 am
Posts: 21

There is a web pages called "InsideOut" ( which cointans lots of materials for adults based on keeping conversations. It's great!

Fri May 11, 2007 11:38 pm

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 9:08 am
Posts: 1
Location: Yamanashi, Japan
If your problem is teaching them consistent pronunciation, perhaps you could incorporate activities with movies? This works very well with advanced high school ESL learners because they listen and see conversations in use.

This is a suggested activity: Students watch a scene from a movie and get a page with that scene's dialogue. They watch it several times so they can read the dialogue. After that, they "dub" for that scene and create their own dialogue. They then perform their dialogue in front of the class.

The students love it because they can get as creative as they want, and mistakes and improvisations are OK. Hope it helps.

Thu Jul 05, 2007 10:29 am

Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:36 pm
Posts: 386
Location: Tohoku Japan
here is a great resourse for straight up grammar worksheets (etc) ... heets.html

you could focus on a grammar point at each lesson, do the worksheet and then start a discussion, chat about topics that come up

there is heaps of stuff on that site (more of a mature student focus)

hope it helps :lol:

Thu Jul 05, 2007 10:58 am
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