Teaching ESL
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Make the students speak
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Author:  Michèle [ Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:03 am ]
Post subject:  Make the students speak

I have been teaching English for a long time ( private lessons) and I am still wondering whether there is a method for speaking , especially for adults.
I think I have used everything ( talking about oneself, pictures, various topics etc..)
One day when I realized I was the only one speaking. I decided to change and adjust role-plays on everyday life conversations. The student 's part
( A or B ) is in her/his native language ( in French) so that he/she has to translate ( the idea, not word for word) into English. He/she can learn colloquial words and expressions. Practicing these role-plays enable them to speak like a native, using exclamative expressions and even slang words. They eventually get a better comprehension. Although it takes some time to do the worksheets it is very rewarding because we have so much fun acting parts. Isn't it the best way to learn a foreign language?

Author:  mesmark [ Wed Apr 12, 2006 10:20 am ]
Post subject: 

tough question! and the key to it all.

I agree with you that scripted dialogues and role plays don't really get the ball rolling when it comes to free speech. I generallly like to introduce some sort of stimulant into the mix. This is similar to what you suggest, but maybe the next step.

If it's a travel English and we're working on hotel reservations, once we've covered the necessary language and gone over some difficulties they may have, we enter into a new role play.

One person or group are guests and another is the desk clerk. There are no rooms available but the hotel is in real need of money. The guest have no where else to go and must stay at that hotel. Go!

Making a reservation that goes smoothly is no problem. You don't even need English to do that. So, I find those problematic unscripted role plays really help students to learn to communicate and experiment with language. These also require little prep on the teacher's part, which is just an added bonus.

I like your method of going from L1 thought to speaking English. I might give it a shot.

Author:  Michèle [ Tue May 30, 2006 1:46 am ]
Post subject: 

Mark, when the kids have practiced several times the same role plays. I use a picture corresponding to the dialogue we've practiced for example Mum and Dad having various activities on the beach, a dog running etc...
I can assure you that when you ask a question about the people on the picture you get a quick answer. I've tried with a 6-year old kid who was very shy. : and I was very surprised myself I wasn't so sure about the result! But it worked perfectly. I am sure you could try with Japanese children. :)

Michele ( France)

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