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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 13th, 2007, 09:05 pm
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Default free talking

I had a request from one adult, around intermediate level, to have a free talking class. I have heard about free talking but don't know how you can go about conversing for one hour. She said she her previous teacher didn't use any textbook. Does anybody have any experience about this kind of class? Are there any sites or textbooks for this?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 13th, 2007, 09:25 pm
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Default Re: free talking

Generally, as the teacher, you need to prepare a couple topics for students to discuss in pairs, then they take those ideas to the group and discuss again. If you have a larger class, the groups can report to the entire class.

The teacher will help in the discuss a little, draw attention to any big mistakes or problem areas. You can make a list on the board of new vocabulary that comes up and a list of any sentences students struggle with.

Some good topics are generally local or national news, environmental issues, school, cultural events, food ...

They are beneficial for the students but it's really hard to see progress. I would suggest taping the first few classes and then reviewing them 6 month to a year down the line. Then students will be able to see the progress they have made.

You can find structured news articles on these two sites
www.headsupenglish.com
www.breakingnewsenglish.com

Good luck!
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 15th, 2007, 07:04 am
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Default Re: free talking

Thank you very much! I will be meeting the student next week and it would most likely be 1-2-1. Will check on the sites. Hope everything goes well. Thanks again!
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Unread Mar 15th, 2007, 08:44 am
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Default Re: free talking

So the student doesn't want a textbook? That is interesting as usually students want to have a book, depending on their level. You can always try http://iteslj.org/questions/ too for lots and lots of questions. I suggest having a topic and some vocabulary and they talk about it. Also make sure that the student doesn't want any book or homework. In my experience of 1-to-1 classes are fast paced with highly motivated students who want lots of homework and lots of work from the teacher too. It's enjoyable once you get used to each other.

Best of luck!
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 15th, 2007, 08:36 pm
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Default Re: free talking

well she said her previous teacher just gave her a copy of the lesson for the day although I did mention to her that I use a textbook and the conversation can flow from there. I have other 1-2-1 adult classes and yes, I do enjoy it. They even correct my Japanese which I use when vocabulary and explanations get too complicated for them to understand in English. Thank you for your suggestion.
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Unread Mar 19th, 2007, 02:47 am
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Default Re: free talking

Rica,

Some students hate to use a textbook because it brings back memories of high school English. In Japan, where I am, that is often the case -- and understandably so, when high school English was heavy on grammar, reading, and writing for the uni entrance exam. The best thing about a textbook is the structure it lends to a course. But there are ways around the "no textbook" request.

As others have said, assign a topic each week. I usually give an article as homework from my website. The student reads it, understands it, and comes to the next lesson ready to talk about it. For some of my students, I focus on vocabulary, which means one or two pre-lesson assignments. For others, I focus more on fluency, so we then do a lot more with speaking activities. In either case, the lesson is structured, meaning I'm always working towards an objective in mind. An article of 300 words often helps the student along, because it serves as an introduction to the topic. A series of questions on a single topic also achieves this.

Compare this to a free conversation. Without having thought about a topic and/or prepared for it, how can an ESL student challenge himself with new vocabulary (particularly higher-level words on a specific topic)? How can he form intelligent responses once the discussion moves to concepts he hasn't necessarily thought much about in his native tongue? Instead, the lesson usually hovers around familiar ideas, grammar structures, and vocabulary. Time also gets wasted as the student frequently checks a dictionary.

Pre-assign a topic; give a brief article and/or questions; work on specific activities with an end objective in mind: these should give the lesson enough structure to assess, challenge, and improve your student's abilities, yet still skirt around her apprehension of a textbook.

Good luck!

Chris Cotter
www.headsupenglish.com
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  #7 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 3rd, 2007, 08:33 am
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Default Re: free talking

Just wanted to thank everyone who replied to this post. I gave the student a trial lesson a week ago and she enjoyed herself a lot. She's very much looking forward to our first lesson next week. Thanks again!
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